What Were You Thinking

Part One      Part Two      Part Three      Part Four      Part Five      Part Six      Part Seven     


Part One

Many people hold positions of authority, whether in their family, their work place or in a social setting. This authority may empower them to give directions to others. Jesus also carries the authority of His heavenly Father, and in turn through faith, this authority can be accessed by those who put their trust in him, and believe in Him. As disciples, we can be empowered with this authority, if Jesus is the object of our faith and trust.

Discover

Read Matthew 8:5-13. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

 

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Discuss

1. When you come to Jesus with a request, do you filter what to ask Him for? Discuss.

2. When the centurion came to Jesus, he came on behalf of his servant. He was asking for the healing of one of his employees. This was ‘third party faith’! Discuss.

3. What were some of the qualities of this Roman centurion which seem unusual for a Roman soldier and why? (Matthew 8:5; Luke 7:4)

4. What was Jesus amazed about with this centurion? (Luke 7:9) Discuss.

5. Share the last time you experienced God’s miraculous intervention. What happened? When did it happen? Who was impacted?

6. When do you think was the last time heaven was amazed at your faith?

Respond

The Centurion demonstrated “jaw dropping” faith in recognising the authority that Jesus carried and trusting that He could heal his servant by simply the power of His word. What is a step of faith that you can take this week that is beyond your own human capacity? It may be to share your faith with a friend or offer to pray with a friend for healing. What is something that you can prayerfully initiate that will require the empowerment of Jesus for it to succeed?

 


Part Two

There is incredible power in the stories we have of when the Lord has intersected our life and circumstances with His life-changing grace and power. The fleeting encounter a man stricken with leprosy had with Jesus in the moments after the Sermon on the Mount was a moment that he would never forget. He would never be the same again. His story was preserved to encourage us and to fill us with faith that we can meet with Jesus as well.

Discover

Read Matthew 8:1-4. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. Jesus had just finished teaching the Sermon on the Mount. People were amazed by His authority. What does the encounter with the leper show us about Jesus’ character and authority?

2. Jesus touched the leper before He healed him. What would that have meant to the man?

3. What is your attitude to asking God to intervene in your life? (Matthew 8:2) Discuss.

4. As in the leper’s case, when has your ‘condition’ dictated your life situation? This may be family, work, study, finance etc. What part does God play in that? Discuss.

5. Have you experienced “being touched” in some way by Jesus? Discuss.

6. Living life in community is an essential part of life. How does your family and community network bless your life? What opportunities do you have to invest significantly in people around you?

Respond

We have all either experienced, read about or heard of God’s healing power in someone’s life. Spend some time in quietness reflecting on God’s faithfulness and goodness to you. Share your stories and memories together and have a time of thankful praise for the reality of all that God is doing and has done in your life.

 


Part Three

Jesus called His disciples to go to “the other side of the lake”. It was a foreign, challenging environment for them. But they discovered a man whose life was transformed and he took his story to his own people. In many ways we have been placed “on the other side” because there are people in our world that only we can reach. There are prayers for people who as yet do not know God that only we can pray. There is a story that you have with Jesus that no one else has ever had that only you can tell. The question is, will you go and tell it?

Discover

Read Mark 5:1-20. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. How would the disciples have responded to Jesus’ challenge to “go to the other side of the lake”? How do you feel when you step out of your comfort zone?

2. Jesus had the power to transform the demon-possessed man’s life. What is one area where Jesus has transformed your life?

3. The demon-possessed man was an unlikely choice to spearhead the mission into the Decapolis. No matter what our circumstances or experience, Jesus sees potential in all of us to share the gospel. How could God use you to be part of the mission of the gospel? (Matthew 8:5; Luke 7:4)

4. What do these stories say about God’s favour to you? Discuss. (Psalms 139:7-12, Hebrews 11:6)

5. Compare the responses of the crowds to Jesus in His two trips to the Decapolis. What happened? What changed the spiritual atmosphere?

Respond

Talk together about who is in your world that you can tell your “story” to right now? Who can you be good news to? Who are the “people of peace” (people who like you, listen to you and want to help and serve you) you can invest in? Who can you invite into your life? Share who these are and take time to pray for them and for each other.

 


Part Four – Baptism

Baptism is both a step of obedience and a very significant part of our Christian walk, and is symbolic of the change God has made in our lives, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Baptism symbolises the burial of the old self, and the start of a new life afresh with Jesus. It also represents a change of allegiance, as we bury the life we have lived in the past and all that goes with that, including our self rule, and commence a new life in Jesus from this point on.

Discover

Read Romans 6:1-10. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. Burial is an impacting image. It implies separation from our past life. How do you make the link with death and separation in the act of baptism? (Romans 6:3-7)

2. We all have a past. How we deal with our past can have implications for our now and our future. How did Paul deal with his past that included causing other people’s suffering and even death? (Philippians 3:4-9)

3. Burial gives a demarcation of something ending and a different future. What impact can your baptism have on the way you live life now? (2 Corinthians 5:17)

4. In baptism we recognise the burial of our right to self-rule. (Galatians 2:20) Discuss.

5. Baptism is both a freedom and a bondage. We have freedom in Christ and we are also called to be His servant. What impact does this have on the way we live our lives? Discuss.

Respond

Take a moment now to reflect on what baptism means to you? If you have already been baptised, what did this represent? How did this act of obedience impact your life? If you have not yet been baptised, take a moment to ask Jesus for His perspective on this.

 


Part Five

Jesus’ ministry was characterised by the miracles He performed. People who were crippled became able to walk. The blind received their sight. The sick were healed of all kinds of diseases. His first miracle was the transformation of water into fine wine. John described it as “the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” Like all His miracles it demonstrated the character and nature of what God is really like.

Discover

Read John 2:1-11. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. Have you ever experienced a miracle of God? Share.

2. What can we learn about the character and nature of God from Jesus’ first recorded miracle? (John 2). Discuss.

3. Read John 2:1-11. How do you see the generosity of God demonstrated in this miracle? How have you experienced God’s generosity in your own life?

4. The miracle was a timely provision and thus did not embarrass the wedding host by a shortage of wine. What has been your experience of God’s timely provision? How do you respond when you feel that God hasn’t come through in your time?

5. Read John 2:10. The miraculous wine was of very high quality. What does this say about the nature of God? What can we learn from this?

6. Read John 2:4. What does the statement “my hour has not yet come” tell us about Jesus’ understanding of His life purpose? What might this reveal about what Jesus was thinking?

7. What do you believe was the purpose of this miracle?

Respond

This week take the opportunity to give away one or two things that would be of some value to someone else. They can’t be junk but must be in good shape — things that will be a blessing to someone else. If at all possible give these possessions to someone you know. Be careful, because sometimes people are uncomfortable accepting unsolicited gifts. You might struggle to let these things go, but think about how much of a blessing they could be in the hands of the right people. Offer this prayer: “God, help me demonstrate Your provision and generosity in the life of someone else”.

 


Part Six

We can often underestimate what we have to offer to God to use in bringing His power and change into other people’s lives. The picture of a young boy bringing small portions of bread and fish to help Jesus feed thousands of people is a powerful reminder that part of having “child-like” faith is bringing whatever talents, resources or experiences we might have – however limited we might think they are – and making them available for God to multiply their effectiveness in ways only He can. We can all do this.

Discover

Read Matthew 14:6-21. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. When Jesus showed compassion to the many hungry people following Him, He did not discriminate about who received the bread. Do you show discrimination in responding to people as to their worthiness or their need? Should we discriminate? Should Jesus have discriminated?

2. Read John 6:5-11. What is the significance of a little boy giving his lunch to feed 5000 people?

3. ‘The miracle happened in the distribution.’ Discuss.

4. This miracle is important and is recorded in all four gospels. Discuss the implications of Jesus not simply calling down manna from heaven but actually being the bread of life. What is the difference?

5. Have you thought of the distribution of this bread as not simply providing food but actually sharing Jesus? Discuss.

6. What do you have in your hand that Jesus can take, bless and multiply if you are willing to release it?

Respond

A small boy in faith brought his meagre lunch to Jesus and expectantly asked him if he could use it. Jesus took what was meagre and turned it into a miracle. And through this Jesus was glorified. What do you have that you can humbly offer to Jesus? What is your meagre “sacrifice” that Jesus can miraculously transform and use to bless many? It may be your prayers, your house, your time, your skills or even a simple meal for somebody. Commit now to prayerfully offer something new to God for His purpose and glory this week.

 


Part Seven

There are many times we struggle to keep trusting God. We might be facing temptation, illness, financial challenges or relational conflict. We know that our heavenly Father has our best interests at heart. We know He has been faithful to us in the past. We hold onto His Word that promises that He is with us. But still we struggle. It’s like there are times we can trust His presence, but find it hard to trust His timing. This is where we can learn the lessons that Mary and Martha learned when confronted by their brother’s death.

Discover

Read John 11:32-44. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

Discuss

1. Have you experienced praying for something and God doesn’t seem to answer? How did you respond?

2. Why did Jesus wait two days until he left to be with Mary and Martha? (John 11:5-7) Discuss.

3. When we try to exercise faith in Jesus, do we also have faith in His timing?

4. Are we willing to be open and honest when we come to Jesus? What does this look like for you?

5. Do your prayers leave room for God to answer in His way, or do we try to dictate an outcome to God?

6. Read 1 Peter 4:19. Even when we have pain in the moment, how can we have confidence in the future?

Respond

Amazingly, the one act of the will that produces energy rather than depletes energy is surrender. Surrender actually replenishes our vitality. So try praying a prayer of surrender as you think of it through the day this week. Something like this: “Father, today I gladly place my life in Your hands…” When I wake up. When I face a decision. When I am in relational conflict. When I am tempted. When I want to give up. When bad habits reappear.

 



Watch full sermons – What Were You Thinking?

 


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