Category Archives: Bible Study

“Making the Wise Choice” Bible Study

Choices

 

Big Idea: Making wise choices is largely dependent on heeding wise counsel.

Introduction

            Since the beginning of time, man has wrestled with decision-making. Ancient cultures employed what they thought to be the divine wisdom of oracles, seers, and mages. Even people in modern cultures still consider the advice of medicine men, witch doctors, and mediums before making important decisions. The question “What should I do?” has been asked since the beginning of time. The president has a chief of staff that he consults before history-altering decisions. The boss of the mafia has a consigliore that advises him on business matters. And many of us have trusted friends that we would never make a decision before asking for their advice.

But the questions still remain. How do we go about making a wise choice? Who should we go to for wise counsel? When seeking wisdom, where should we look? James advises us to seek the wisdom that comes from heaven (James 3:17). And Jesus imparts us with that wisdom in his Sermon on the Mount (found at Matthew 5 – 7). In this sermon, he touches on a range of subjects from anxiety to handling money. In the seventh chapter, Jesus wraps up his teaching by explaining that the one who listens to his teachings is like a man who built a house upon a rock, but the one who doesn’t listen is like a man who built his house upon sand.

 

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: Matthew 6: 16 – 24

Day 2: Matthew 6: 25 – 34

Day 3: Matthew 7: 24 – 27

 

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Read James 3:14 – 17
  • What is the difference between earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom?
  • Where can we get “wisdom from above”?
  • Why are Life Groups important when it comes to making wise choices?
  • What are some ways that we can help one another make wise choices?
  • Why is it difficult to apply the wisdom that God has given us in the Bible?

 

 

Action Step

Have each person in the group talk about an important decision that they are facing and, as a group, talk about what the wise choice and counsel one another through the decision.

Advertisements

“Our Choices Affect God’s Kingdom” Bible Study

Choices

Big Idea: The way we live affects the way nonbelievers perceive Jesus

Introduction

            In the movie Donnie Brosco, Johnny Depp plays an undercover FBI agent that is trying to infiltrate the mob. He becomes friends with a mobster named Lefty. In one scene, right before Lefty introduces Donnie Brosco to the mafia, he explains how introductions are made. He tells Donnie that he will introduce him as a “friend of mine” and that will tell them that he is a connected guy, but if he were to call him a “friend of ours,” that would tell them that he was a “made-man.”

Have you ever been introduced to someone through a mutual friend? A lot of times, our first impression of someone is largely based on who introduces us to that person. If we have positive feelings toward someone, we will trust that the person they are introducing us to is a good person. If we have negative feelings about someone, we may transfer those feelings to the person we are meeting.

When people know that we are Christians, the way we live is their introduction to Jesus. If we claim to follow Jesus, we are claiming that our lives mirror his. If we have a bad attitude, people perceive Jesus to have a bad attitude. If we treat people poorly, people think that Jesus treats people poorly. If we act like we are better than people, those people will think the same thing about Jesus. But if we live the way Peter instructs us to, their perception of Jesus will be that he is the same way.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: 1 Peter 2: 1 – 8

Day 2: 1 Peter 2: 9 – 16

Day 3: 1 Peter 2: 17 – 25

 

 

Questions for Discussion

  • How do our lives reflect who Jesus is?
  • What do you think that it means to be an ambassador of Christ? (see 2 Cor. 5:20)
  • Why is it so important for us to follow Peter’s instruction?
  • What do you think is the most difficult part of this chapter to follow?
  • What are some ways that we can give people a positive impression of Jesus?

 

 

Action Step

Spend an hour this week talking with a friend in person. Do not look at your phone once during that hour. Show them that you truly care about them and care about what is going on in their life. Talk to them the way Jesus would talk to them.

“Our Choices Affect Ourselves” Bible Study

Choices

 

Big Idea: Unhealthy choices lead to unhealthy consequences

Introduction

Proverbs 2:11 – 19 explains why it is so important to make wise choices. Making wise choices will lead to positive results. It will keep you safe from harm and cause your life to better. Walking in the ways of the Lord will lead to the blessings that are described in Deuteronomy 28. It is so important to make wise choices in order to live a good, healthy life.

Unwise choices are dangerous because of the consequences that may occur. Some of these consequences may be broken relationships, unwanted pregnancy, a night in the drunk tank, a tainted reputation, emotional pain, or financial instability. However, when we make wise choices, our relationships tend to be healthier, our criminal record remains unblemished, we tend to develop a reputation for being a generally good person, and we tend to be better off financially.

God wants us to live the best life that we can possibly live and that is why he has given us his law. He has told us how to obtain a good life and that is by striving to live like Jesus did.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 5

Day 2: Deuteronomy 28: 6 – 10

Day 3: Deuteronomy 28: 11 – 14

 

Questions for Discussion

  •       Why is it important to make wise choices?
  •       Why is it difficult to make wise choices?
  •       How can we know what is wise and what is unwise?
  •       Who are some wise people that we can model our life after?
  •       What are some practical steps that we can take to make               wiser choices?

 

Action Step

Find a verse from Proverbs that will remind you to be wise and put it up in your locker at school.

“Daniel” Bible Study

OldSchoolScreen

 

Big Idea: Sometimes following God will get you some haters

Introduction

            Haters are people who try to step on others so they can either appear or make themselves feel better. They get an ego trip by making other people feel bad. They are addicted to the feeling that they get from the false sense of superiority that putting down others gives them. They look at others and see how well they do at something or how good their life is going and that makes them feel bad about themselves. So, to feel better, they hate on people.

When we follow God and live for Christ, it causes other people to examine their own life. When they examine their own life against the life of a Christ-follower, they realize that the sinful life that they live is ultimately without purpose. When they come to this conclusion, they get angry and take it out on those that do have purpose in their life. They try to be like Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood,” when he repeatedly shouts, “I drink your milkshake!” But the only way that they can actually drink your milkshake is if you let them get to you.

It is difficult to deal with “haters,” especially if you have a people-pleasing personality. The other government officials in Daniel’s story were haters, but he focused on pleasing God more than what all those other people thought. Even though it can sometimes be hard to not care what other people think, it is important for us to only seek the approval of God and of other people who are also striving to live their life for Christ.

 

Reading Guide:

Day 1: Daniel 6: 1 – 9

Day 2: Daniel 6: 10 – 19

Day 3: Daniel 6: 20 – 28

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Why do you think that we seek the approval of others?
  • Why is it so hard when other people disapprove of us?
  • Why is it so hard to ignore haters?
  • What are some practical ways that we can avoid seeking the approval of others, especially non-Christians?
  • What are some things that we may need to change in our life to begin living for God’s approval?

 

Action Step

Partner up with someone else in your group to text throughout the week to encourage one another to seek God’s approval and not other people’s.

“Jonah” Bible Study

OldSchoolScreen

 

 

 

Big Idea: God offers grace that we do not deserve and we should too.

Background Information

            The story of Jonah is a lot like the parables that Jesus told in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The parables were earthly stories with spiritual lessons behind them. The story of Jonah closely parallels the events that transpired throughout the ancient history of Israel. If you read have ever read through the Old Testament, you have probably gotten bogged down by archaic laws and weird stories about battles and wars and you may have wondered why anyone would have even taken the time to write it all down.

But throughout the Old Testament, there is an overarching storyline about the people of Israel. And here it is in a nutshell: God made a covenant with the people of Israel. This covenant basically stated that God would love them and bless them as long as they remained faithful to him. So, throughout the story, the people of Israel turn from God. When they do, the blessings that God promised them were taken away. When bad things started to happen to them, they turned to God for help. When they did, God gave them the blessings again. But once times were good again, the people turned their backs.

This cycle continues throughout the story until two major events happen. The first event occurred in 722 BC when the nation of Assyria conquered the northern half of Israel and took the people into slavery. The second event happened in 587 BC when the nation of Babylon conquered the southern half of Israel and took the rest of the people into slavery. These events are represented by the things that happen to Jonah in the fourth chapter.

Jonah sits down outside the city and a plant grows up to offer him shade from the sun. This represents the growth of the nation of Israel in power, wealth, and global prestige. The height of the nation’s power occurred under King Solomon. Next, a worm comes and eats through the roots of the plant and kills the plant. The worm represents foreign religions infiltrating Israel and causing the people of Israel to worship false gods instead of the one true God. This worm effectively ate the roots, which was the people’s faithfulness to God. This caused the plant to die, the culminating event being the conquering of the northern portion of Israel.

Last, God sends a scorching east wind to blow against Jonah. This represents the conquering of the southern portion of Israel. Jonah’s constant complaining mirrors the complaints of the people of Israel during their time in slavery and Jonah’s anger reminds us of the anger of the people of Israel as foreign nations seemingly receive God’s favor instead of the ones who believe they are God’s only favored people. The Israelites took pride in being the people of God and held a deep disdain for other nations because they thought they were better. When God showed favor to other nations, the people of Israel burned with anger toward God.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: Jonah 1 – 2

Day 2: Jonah 3

Day 3: Jonah 4

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Have you ever wanted God to punish someone for something they did to you?
  • Have you ever wondered why good things happen to bad people?
  • Why is it so difficult to forgive other people?
  • Why do you think that God forgives those people?
  • How can we work toward forgiving the way God forgives?

 

Action Step

Write a poem or a song about how God has forgiven you similar to the one in Jonah chapter 2.

“David & Goliath” Bible Study

OldSchoolScreen

 

Big Idea: Sometimes “giants” aren’t that scary

Introduction

Watch this 15-minute video to set up the lesson. This is Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk called “The Unheard Story of David and Goliath.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_the_unheard_story_of_david_and_goliath.html

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: 1 Samuel 17: 1 – 18

Day 2 : 1 Samuel 17: 19 – 36

Day 3: 1 Samuel 17: 37 – 53

 

Questions for Discussion

  • What are some things that might be considered “giants” in our lives?
  • Why are those things so scary?
  • Do you have an example of a time that a “giant” turned out to be not so intimidating?
  • How can we draw courage from the thought that the things that we see as “giants” may not be so scary?
  • How can use this lesson in our daily lives?

 

Action Step

Identify something in your life that you would consider a “giant.” Make a list of reasons why that “giant” is not scary or intimidating at all.

“Multiplication” Bible Study

Simple Math

Isrl_Jdea

 

Big Idea: God multiplies small groups into big things

Background Information

            This chapter tells the story of the Northern Kingdom’s struggles against the nation of Aram during the reign of Ahab. Aram was a nation of city-states to the northeast of Israel in modern-day Syria. Ben-Hadad (which means Son of Baal) was king of the city-state of Aram-Damascus and the 32 kings that accompanied him were kings of vassal city-states. These (at least) 33 city-states (there could have been more) made up the nation of Aram.

The army of this nation of city-states numbered in the hundreds of thousands when they first attempted to lay siege to the Israelite capital of Samaria. Whereas, Ahab was only able muster an army of 7,000. Not only was the measly army able to resist the onslaught of Aram’s massive military, they drove them back to Damascus on multiple occasions. It was only because of the strength that God provided that they were able to accomplish this feat.

So often, in our own lives, we feel outnumbered and outgunned. We feel like we have no chance of making an impact in this world. But God turns small things into big things. Even if our influence is small, it has the potential to multiply. If we are able to influence one other person to follow Jesus, his kingdom is doubled. If those two people are able to influence one other person apiece, his kingdom is doubled again. Think of the impact that is possible when we focus on multiplication.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: 1 Kings 20: 1 – 11

Day 2: 1 Kings 20: 12 – 22

Day 3: 1 Kings 20: 23 – 34

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Has there been a time in your life that you have felt like you are going up against an army of 100,000?
  • What did that feel like?
  • How does this story encourage you?
  • How can we use our small amount of influence to multiply Christ’s disciples?
  • What are some practical ways that we can influence others to imitate us as we imitate Jesus?

 

Action Step

Invite one person to life group next week.