Friday, April 25, 2008

"Scandalous Love" Discussion Guide


God has an incredible love for us. He illustrated this love in scandalous fashion when he had the prophet Hosea marry a prostitute, a woman he knew would be unfaithful to him. As Gomer continues her adultrey God instructs Hosea to take her back time and again, which he does. THis tears his heart apart. Why did God tell Hosea to take this risky behavior? It serves as a metaphor on how God takes us back even when we have committd adultrey against him.


1. Read Hosea 1:2-3. Why does God view our realtionship this way? What actions do we take that God would consider adultrey?

2. Read Hosea 2:2-5. How do these verese describe God's pain when we sin?

3. Read Hosea 2:18-20. Notice the "covenant" language in this text. It uses marriage as a context to understand a covenant relationship. How do you define a covenant relationship? How do you think our culture defines it? How does God define it?

4. Read Hosea 3:1-3. Hosea disciplined Gomer so that she could learn to be a faithful wife. How could God discipline us so owe can learn to be faithful to him?

5. Read Hosea 14:1-4. Why is God eager for us to return to him after our betrayal? What could be the "Assyrias" we chase after in our culture (Where do we take security in our culture instead of God)?

6. Read Hosea 14:5. These are images of refreshment. What images of refreshment exist in our culture that would describe God's refeshment in our life.


How does your realtionship with God reflect Hosea's realtionship with Gomer? How do you respond to a love that respects you enough to let you go your own way but is compassionate enought o take you back every time?


How will you return to God? What guardrails could you put up in your life to keep you from committing adultrey against God?

"Who is wise? he will realize these things. Who is discernng? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous will walk in them, but the rebellious ill stumble in them." Hosea 14:9 (NIV)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Your Biggest Need" Discussion Guide


This week we looked at the final step into embracing a radical relationship with Jesus Christ: forgiveness.

So many times we come to God when a crisis happens with our health, when our comfortable life is disrupted, when our core relationships go haywire, or to ask God to grant us success in life. Many times God allows these events to happen in our life so that we will be driven to him. What's interesting is God's answer to our problems. He forgives us. We often want to bypass forgiveness and get to the real deal of healing our urgent problem. We fail to attach the power of forgiveness to our problem. We also fail to attach our sin to the problems we are facing.


1. Read Mark 2:1-5. What was the urgent need in this story? What urgent needs have you brought before God?

2. How does Jesus forgiving this man relate to his physical need?

3. Read Mark 2:6-7. For the "teachers of the law" Jesus' statement was too simple. Forgiveness to them was a complicated dance down at the temple. Many times we can make forgiveness complicated by thinking we have to be good enough to be forgiven. Why do we think this way?

4. Read Mark 2:8-9. React to this quote, "To experience the personal love of Jesus we have to allow him to forgive us." Why is forgiveness such a big deal to Jesus?

5. Read Mark 2:10-12. How do problems we see today in marriages, children, schools, and work (to name a few) relate to sin? Bonus: Examine the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 and think of the consequences for disobeying them.

6. What are some strategies you could adopt to make the forgiveness of Christ apply to the problems of your life?

Why do you participate in a faith community? Do you go becasue of the experience you have while there or because God has forgiven you through his one and only Son, Jesus?

"Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic,... When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Mark 2:3,5 (NIV)

Friday, April 11, 2008

"He's Personal" Discussion Guide


In our culture we like to put things into categories. We have different categories of food (Mexican, Italian, French, etc.), music (R&B, punk, rap, Christian), and movies (romance, action, sci-fi, etc.) to name a few.

Many times we reject God as a category. Our relationship with him is blocked because we view God as the God who hates homosexuals, or the God of the conservative religous people, or the God of judgement, or the God of blind faith, to name a few.

God is not a category. He is personal. Therefore, God will want us to relate to him personally. When we move from seeing God as a category to someone personal our relationship with him will radically change.


1. Describe a favorite toy or stuffed animal you had as a small child. What made that toy personal to you and not just another toy or stuffed animal?

2. Read Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:5-6. How did God relate to Abraham in these passages? What does this passage teach concerning how God will relate to us?

3. Read Exodus 3:1-15. How did God relate to Moses in this passage? How did Moses relate to God? What does this say about our relationship with God?

4. Read John 15:1-8. What does this passage say about our relationship with God?

5. What would it look like for you to relate to God in a personal way?

6. How would your relationship to God change if you were to do this?

In what categories do you place God? How could these categories jeopardize your relationship with God?

"This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into this world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Something Crazy, Pt 1

April 6, 2008

In part 1 of the "Something Crazy" series (Messages for April) I shared that this month it is my desire for you to embrace Jesus in a passionate, radical relationship. The observation was made that when you read the Bible you don't receive a bunch of arguements why you should believe in God. Don't you find that kind of odd? What you get instead is a God that says he loves you unconditionally. He doesn't list a bunch of reasons or arguments why you should love God. We looked at Jeremiah 31:3 that says God's affection for us is beyond our understanding. The verse says God waits on us patiently to turn towards his love for us.

God's love for us brings up another question. Why? Why would God love us this much? Mercy Me, a Christian rock band, has this line on thier latest CD, "Who are we that you would be mindful of us? What do you see that's worth looking our way? We are free in ways that we never should be. Lord you know our hearts do not deserve your glory. Still you show a love we cannot afford" (God With Us).

The Bible is replete with God's love for us. My challenge to you this week is to put aside whatever raodblocks, arguements, or experiences that may be keeping you from experiencing God's love, and allow God to love you is a significant way this week. Meditate and pray through these scriptues below to help you experience God's love this week.

Ro 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
Eph 2:5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Isa 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

1Co 2:9 However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

Meditate on these verse this week and be sure to memorize Jeremiah 31:3 and let the the Word of God lead you towards the love of God!

Have Yourself Committed!