Small Group Questions: 04-07-2024

ICE BREAKER

What was your first job? What memories to you have of your first job?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Refamiliarize yourself a bit with the book of Mark by looking over the headings and sections markers in the book of Mark. If there’s a story that you or someone in the group wants to read or summarize, feel free to so.

1. Reflecting on the sermon series from Mark, were there particular points, applications, or illustrations that stood out to you?

2. James talked about the tension created by Jesus' actions and teachings. What stories or teachings or interactions come to mind for you from the Gospel of Mark where Jesus’ actions or words would have caused tension for those around him?

3. The concept of denying oneself and taking up one's cross to follow Jesus was discussed. How do you understand this concept in your own life? How do you navigate the tension between self-indulgence and following Christ's call to deny oneself? How have you experienced the paradox of finding life by losing it for Christ's sake.  What has it looked like to "lose your life" in order to find true life in Christ? How can denying ourselves and dying to selfish desires actually lead to more life?

4. James used rubber bands to illustrate healthy tension versus too much tension. What are some areas of your life where you experience a healthy level of tension that motivates you? What about areas of unhealthy or excessive tension?

5. James mentioned that our culture often promotes self-indulgence and self-gratification. How do you see this playing out in your daily life? What are some challenges you face in resisting these cultural messages?

6. The idea of surrendering our desires to God through prayer was emphasized. Have you experienced moments of surrender in your own life? How has prayer helped you in relinquishing your own will to God's?

7. Jesus’ statement about the Sabbath being made for man, not man for the Sabbath is connected to the upcoming series on Sabbath practices. What are your thoughts on this perspective of Sabbath? How might Sabbath observance help in the process of denying oneself? What have been your experiences with Sabbath up to this point in your life?

8. James quoted a rather famous quote from C.S. Lewis that concluded with, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” Discuss Lewis’ quote. As you do, do you agree with Lewis's assessment? How does Jesus' claim to be God impact your understanding of him?

9. James invited us to prioritize attending the upcoming series on Sabbath practices. What are your expectations or hopes for this series? How do you think it might impact your spiritual life and understanding of self-denial? 9. Reflecting on the tension discussed in the sermon, what practical steps can we take to embrace the paradoxical teachings of Jesus and live out our faith authentically in the world today?

10. Reflecting on the tension discussed in the sermon, what practical steps can we take to embrace the paradoxical teachings of Jesus and live out our faith authentically in the world today?

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