Friday, May 30, 2008

The #1 One Act You Can Do to Bring Unconditional Love Into Your Marriage Discussion Guide


In this final message in this series on marriage we concentrate on an element of marriage that is essential to experiencing unconditional love. It is forgiveness. You cannot have unconditional love without expressing unconditional love. You don't gain unconditional love by holding conditions on your spouse. This kills unconditional love. In this message we discussed how we can express forgiveness even when we have been hurt. THese questions are designed for you to take the message a little deeper.


1. Do you agree with this quote, "Marriage is not as much as finding the right person as it is being the right person?" Why or why not?

2. How do you handle anger in your marriage realtionship? Inwardly? Outwardly? Do you see it as an ally? Why or why not?

3. How would your attitude change if you got rid of the anger in your marriage relationship?

4. What story could you give to justify your anger instead forgiving your spouse? How does your story keep you from forgiving your mate?

5. How can Christ's forgiveness towards you be expressed towards your spouse?

6. How did God bring uncoditional love into your life? How could you bring that example of love into your marriage?


What does Christ's forgiveness mean to you and your marraige?


"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, JUST AS IN Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Captivating" Discussion Guide


In this week's message we discussed how the wife can demonstrate unconditional love to her husband. The instructions in this message is based on Proverbs 31:10-12, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (NIV)


I. He has a battle to fight- pray for him!

1. How can prayer help your husband fight the battle of good and evil?
2. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Why is it important for you to pray the armor of God on your husband?

II. He has an adventure to live- encourage him!

1. According to Ephesians 3:13 you are to put courage in (encourage) your husband. Why are your words towards your husband so important in that process?
2. Why do you think a man needs to hear from his wife, "I believe in you! Go for it!"? Even if he never actually acts on it?

III. He needs a beauty to rescue- be captivating!

1. React to this statement, "Being capivating to your husband has more to do with how you look at him then him looking at you."
2. How can this verse of scripture help you be captivating to your husband? "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12


How does this viewpoint on demonstrating unconditional love as a wife differ from the marriage your parents modeled (or other marriages you see as ideal)? How is it the same? What needs to be changed?


"Each one of you {husbands} also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Discussion Guide on "How to Unconditionally Love Your Wife."

This message was based on Ephesians 5:25-28a. In this scripture Paul instructs husbands to love thier wives as Christ loved the church. Here is a list of what Jesus does:
1. Gave himslef up for her
2. Cleansed her through the word (scripture)
3. Seeks to make her radiant
4. Seeks to make her holy and blameless.
This is how husbands ought to love thier wives. From this scripture the message Sunday presented 3 ways a husband is to uncoditionally love his wife.


I. She wants to be pursued- fight for her heart.
1. John Elderedge says every woman has a wound in thier heart either through violence or neglect. How can this be true? How can your love acted out towards her help heal that wound?

2. If you are bold ask your wife if she can say about you what Solomon's lover said about him, "I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." (SS 7:10)

II. She desires to share the adventure- hunt for something greater.
1. What were (or are) some of the dreams you have for your relationship?
2. What adventure(s) do you share together? If it's children, what adventure will you share when they are gone? What is something bigger than the two of you can work towards? If you don't have somehting pray about it. Ask God to reveal what you two can work towards.

III. She wishes to be captivating- take delight in her.
1. Husbands, honestly, are your eyes sealed on your wife only?
2. When was the last time you verbalized, or wrote down, how you felt about her? Was this longer than a sentence or two? (Grunts and whistles don't count!)


Scripture teaches men are the leades (not dictators) of the home. Leaders go first. This means you go first in demonstrating unconditional love to your wife. Our model is Jesus, who went first at showing us unconditional love. What can you learn from Jesus' life that can help you demostrate unconditional love?


"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives...." Ephesians 5:25-28a

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"A Hidden Agenda" Discussion Guide

Just a little reminder that this is a discussion guide designed to help you take Sunday's message a little deeper into your life.

This week we began a series of messages that addresses a specific and subtle lie in marriage. The issue is our culture proposes the idea that our spouse is responsible for our happiness. The truth is our spouse could never make us happy all the time. In fact, at some point in the relationship your spouse will fail you in a significant way. The question is how do you treat your spouse when they fail you? Your answer has serious repercussions on the state and future of your marriage.


1. What are some expectations men and women might bring into a marriage? How can these expectations change the dynamic of the marriage from loving each other to testing each other's love? What examples of behaviors and communication patterns are evident in this transition?

2. Expecting your mate to keep you happy usually leads to one of three conditions in a marriage. One, you leave the marriage. You figure out they can't make you happy. Two, the stronger spouse dominates the relationship. Happiness is a one-sided relationship. Or three, you live out a compromised marriage. You both simply pursue your own happiness. The problem is you figure out you can't give yourself happiness either. That's why you got married in the first place!

Of these three results which one do you feel is the most damaging? to yourself? to the family? to others who care about you?

3. React to this statement, "when you put conditions on your spouse the unconditional love in the marriage evaporates."

4. According to 1 Peter 1:13 uncoditional love in a marriage comes from God and not from each other. How could this truth change the dynamic of your marriage?

5. Read 1 Peter 1:14. The evil desire mentioned in this passage in the context of marriage is to expect happiness from our mate. Why does our culture believe in this myth? How can this myth destroy a marriage?

6. Read 1 Peter 1:15-16. God has called us to holiness. How does this calling affect our attitude towards our marrige? How can your husband's / wife's failures help you demonstrate holiness to them?


Am I holding my spouse hostage to my expectations or am I seeking to make him/her more holy through unconditional love?


"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. " Ephesians 5:25-27

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Rebuilding Your Life" Discussion Guide

This past week we had a natural disaster come through right on our church's doorstep. It will be hard work to rebuild the affected neighborhoods. It will be tougher to rebuild the lives affected by this tragedy. How do you rebuild your life when you've lost everything? The Bible gives us seven steps to rebuilding your life.

Below our some discussion questions based on those steps from my message on May 4.


Psalm 62:8b, "Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8b

How do you "feel" comforted by God?

What role does Christ's body, the church, have in helping you feel loved by God?


Respond to this question, "Do I want to be better or bitter?" Why is choosing to be better so important?

"Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you... it causes deep trouble, hurting many others in thier spiritual lives." Hebrews 12:15b

How can bitterness casue deep trouble in your relationships? with God?


Which one of these items would affect you the most today in the event you lost it?
1. Stuff you've accumulated (heirlooms and the like)
2. House or neighborhood
3. Church building
4. God's love

How do you build security in your life?

Respond to this quote, "There is only one way to have real security: Build your life on that which cannot be taken away."


Why do we have this need to take on problems on our own?

"Each of us needs all the others." (Romans 12:5b) Why would the scripture teach that we need each other?


How do you...
...lean on Jesus for peace?
...look to Jesus for hope?
...learn from Jesus to get courage?
...listen to Jesus for wisdom? in Jesus for strength?

How can you practically claim this promise from scripture, "Come back to God almighty and he'll rebuild your life." Job 22:23


Luke 21:19 says, "By standing firm you will gain life." What are you standing on that will give life?
A. Friends
B. Family
C. God's Word
D. Small Group @ Church
E. Prayer

What are some shifting foundations we shouldn't stand firm on? (Example: Guilt, Shame)


The scriptures repeatedly teach the strongest action we can take is persistent prayer. How can prayer be powerful when we we've lost everything?

1 John 3:17 says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

What material needs can you share?