Bible Study – Isaiah 43:16-21 – The Challenge of Change: Our Unchanging God Does New Things to Help Us


Summary: Past experiences can help us look forward the future with hope. But dwelling on the past can hinder us from following God into the new things that He will do in the future. Jesus, and the refreshment, renewal and life that He gives us, are what help us to follow Him through whatever challenge or transition the future may bring to us.

Big Idea: The new thing God did in sending Jesus to be our Savior encourages us to follow Jesus into the new things of the future.

Ice-breaker question: Would you classify yourself as someone who welcomes change or do you find change difficult? What are some possible reasons for how you feel about change?

Read: Isaiah 43:16-21

  1. As the Lord begins speaking to the people through the prophet Isaiah, He refers to something that He did in the past. What event did He refer to and why is it significant for the Israelites?
  2. Why would God’s action in the past, during a time of great challenge and transition, help the people to trust in Him more fully as they face times of challenge and transition in the future?
  3. Describe a past experience where God helped you in a significant way.
  4. How does that past action of God help you to trust Him more as you go into the future?
  5. In verse 18, God said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.” What can happen to our faith, vitality of spirit and direction in life when we dwell in the past?
  6. How is dwelling in the past different from drawing on the past to face the future with confidence?
  7. In verse 19, God said, “See, I am doing a new thing.” He then paints a word picture of streams of water bringing forth life to plants and animals in the desert, something which would have been familiar to the Israelites, who lived in an arid land. God is telling us that the new thing that He is promising to do will bring restoration, rejuvenation and life to the parched, barren lives of His people. What may have caused the lives of God’s people to become parched and barren?
  8. Have there been times when your life was parched, barren and lacking life? What might have been some contributing factors?

Read: John 4:4-14

  1. God did a new thing in the person of Jesus by coming to earth and becoming human to be our Savior and bring us into the family of God. How does Jesus refresh and renew you from within like “…a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (verse 14)?
  2. Looking again at Isaiah 43, in verses 20-21, God said that He was going “…to give drink to my people… that they may proclaim My praise.” What are some things that you want to praise God for today?

 

 

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on July 15/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Bible Study – Psalm 109 – Silly Love Songs: Our Neediness for God’s Love


Summary: Given enough time, all of us will face challenges that are beyond our ability to meet and that’s when we cry out to God for help. But God wants something more for us in life than that. He invites us to live in continual confidence of His saving love for us. That begins by being aware of our own neediness.

Big Idea: Awareness of our own neediness is the starting point for becoming confident in God’s greatness.

Ice-breaker question: How would you define confidence and why is it important?

Background: Psalm 109 is like a case someone is making before a judge as they ask for judicial action in a situation that they are facing.

Read: Psalm 109:1-5, 16-20

1.What injustice is the writer of the Psalm (the Psalmist) asking God to rectify?

2. If you are willing, describe a time when someone did an injustice to you.

Read: Psalm 109:6-15

3. What action is the Psalmist asking God to take?

4. Have you ever wished for some similar things to happen to someone who was hurting you?

Read: Psalm 109:21-31

5. The Psalmist is not only asking for God to do something to his enemy, he is also asking God to do something for him. What is the Psalmist asking God to do for him?

6. The Psalmist then make the case for why he needs to be saved. What are some of the reasons he gives?

7. If you were to make a list of all the reasons why you need God to save you, what would you put on that list?

8. In verse 26, the Psalmist appeals to a particular quality of God as he asks God to save him. To which quality of God does he appeal?

9. Which qualities of God would you appeal as you ask God to save you?

10. In verses 30-31, the Psalmist praises God in advance of his requests being fulfilled because he is confident that God—based on who He is and what He does—will fulfill his requests. How would your prayers be different if, after making your prayer requests to God, you praised Him in advance because of your confidence in Him?

11. Our ultimate reason for confidence in God’s ability to save us is Jesus. What neediness of ours did Jesus address?

12. What characteristics or actions of Jesus help us to praise Him, even in times of great challenge or need, because we are confident that He will save us?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on July 8/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Mt. 6:19-27 – The Path to Heart Health: Investing in Treasure in Heaven


Summary: It is very easy for us to value things on this earth and then become worried about losing them, so we become stingy. But God invites us to see that he unconditionally loves us and infinitely values us. When we do that, God’s generous love transforms us into being generous people.

Big Idea: We exercise the new heart that God has given us by investing in treasure in heaven.

Ice-breaker question: Did you ever have something that was very valuable to you that ended up getting ruined? What happened?

 Read: Matthew 6:19-27

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. What does this passage say about where we should store the things that we value?
  2. What are some examples of treasures that we store up on earth?
  3. What are some examples of treasures that we store up in heaven?
  4. What are the differences between treasures that are stored on earth and those that are stored in heaven?
  5. For what reasons should we not worry?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

6. What does it mean to say that our heart is in the same place as where we store what we value?

7. How does money become a master that we serve?

8. Why cannot someone have both God and money as a master that they serve?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

Verses 22-23 are using a Hebrew expression that refers to generosity. Using this expression, saying that someone’s eyes are healthy means that they are generous and saying that someone’s eyes are unhealthy means that they are stingy. So Jesus is saying here that if someone is generous, their whole body is full of light. But if someone is stingy, their whole body will be full of darkness. Jesus is also saying that your interior world is where there is supposed to be light. So if there is darkness in the place where there is supposed to be light, then the darkness there is going to be very great.

9. What is going on in your interior world that prevents you from being freely generous?

The remedy for our stinginess is God’s gracious love. Because He loves us, God the Father sent His Son into the world to save us by being our substitute on the cross. Because He loves us, Jesus suffered and died to take away all of our sins and rise from the dead on the third day that followed to give us a new life with Him that will last forever. Because He loves us, the Holy Spirit has lovingly applied all of God’s promises of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life to us personally in our Holy Baptism and gives us the gift of faith to receive and trust in those promises.

The treasure that is (temporarily) stored on earth is God’s. You are His precious treasure, far more valuable than birds who know better than us to trust God to provide for their daily needs. God looks after the birds. God will provide even better care for us in this life so that we are prepared for life in the world to come in which there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away (see Rev. 21:4).

  1. What will help you to trust more in God’s love for you?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Feb 25/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Acts 2:42-47 – The Path to Heart Health: Groups


Summary: We tend to think that we can get all that we need out of life as an individual. But God does something special in our lives when we gather together with others around God’s Word and share life together. God helps us to grow.

Big Idea: We exercise the new heart God has given us through devoting ourselves to biblical teachings, sharing life with other believers, eating together and prayer.

Ice-breaker question: Describe what happens at your favourite holiday meals with family and/or friends. Why are those events so special?

Read: Acts 2:42-47

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. What are the four things that the believers devoted themselves to?
  2. What did they do with their possessions?
  3. Where and how often did they meet?
  1. What did they do in their houses?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. What does being devoted to the apostles’ teaching look like?

6. The word “fellowship” here means to share in something that is held in common. In this case, it refers to sharing in life together as followers of Jesus. What are some things that followers of Jesus have when they share life together that they do not have on their own?

     7. What makes eating together with someone else a special thing?

  1. Describe how praying with someone else is different from praying by yourself.

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

Sharing life together with other people gathered around God’s Word, food and prayer does not earn or enhance our salvation. Through faith in Jesus, our salvation is already complete. Sharing life with other believers is part of how we live out our new life in Jesus.

Living in Christian community and having spiritual friendships looks different for different people depending on their circumstances and their personality. For example, introverts find being in groups of people to be very draining, but they tend to do well at maintaining one-on-one friendships over a long period of time. On the other hand, extroverts are energized by being in a group, but because they process by talking, people who need a listening ear might not get from them the support they need.

9. Taking into account your circumstances and your personality, how are you doing at living in community and/or maintaining spiritual friendships?

  1. What are some intentional things that you can do to foster a shared life with other believers?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Feb 18/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Mt. 20:20-28 – The Path to Heart Health: Serving


Summary: Our old heart was focused on having power over others. But Jesus laid down all his power and gave his life to save us. As we rest in Jesus’ humility and love, he sets us free to serve others with self-less love.

Big Idea: We exercise the new heart that God has given us through serving others.

Ice-breaker question: Describe a time when someone served you in a way that you did not expect.

Read: Matthew 20:20-28

Background: Jesus and his disciples are travelling from the area around the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem. They are east of the Jordan River and probably around Jericho. The sons of Zebedee are James and John who are, along with Peter, Jesus’ closest disciples. James and John may have been cousins of Jesus if their mother Salome was, as some say, the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary.

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1.What did the mother of James and John ask of Jesus?

2. What was Jesus response?

When the other ten disciples found out about the request, they were indignant with James and John. Jesus responded by calling them altogether and telling them what they should and should not do.

3. What did Jesus tell his disciples they should not do?

4. What did Jesus tell his disciples they should do?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. Give some possible reasons why the mother of James and John made the request that she did?

6. Why is it a problem for a follower of Jesus to want to have power over others?

7. How did Jesus serve us?

8. As followers of Jesus, what is our motivation for serving others?

(If you have time, read Acts 12:2 to see what happened to James. Also, you can read Matthew 27:37-38 to see who was on Jesus’ right and left when he was publicly declared to be the King of the Jews.)

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. What is one area of your life where you need to give up power or the desire to control?

10. Describe how you are or will be intentionally serving others.

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Feb 11/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Col. 3:12-17 – The Path to Heart Health: Worship


Summary: When the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith in Jesus, he also gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). But how do we care for and exercise our new heart? One way is through worship.

Big Idea: We exercise the new heart that God has given us through worship.

Ice-breaker question: What kinds of exercise, either in the present or in the past, gives (or gave) you a sense of well-being?

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. As a result of being lovingly chosen by God to be his people, what traits should we emulate?
  2. How are we to relate to each other?
  3. What should be the main thing in our hearts?
  1. As we correct and encourage one another and worship together, what should be abundantly present among us?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. Why are virtues like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience important?

6. What is the peace of Christ? Describe what needs to happen for it to rule in our hearts?

7. What is the message of Christ? What does having it dwell among us richly mean?

  1. What does saying and doing all things in the name of Jesus look like? Why is it important?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. What are some areas of your life where you need more of the peace of Christ ruling?

  1. What would help you to give thanks to God while doing all things?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Feb 4/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

John 5:31-47 – You Can Trust the Witnesses


Summary: When we encounter someone making an extraordinary claim, we might ask others if that person really is who they say they are. On the basis of what others say, we make a decision to accept or deny that person’s claim. Jesus know the importance of witnesses so he points to several that support his claim that he is the Messiah.

Big Idea: You can trust the witnesses that point to Jesus as Saviour.

Ice-breaker question: Describe a time when you saw someone famous. How did you know that it was really them?

 Read: John 5:31-47

Observation (What does the passage say?)

Jesus is continuing to make his case with the Jewish leaders. He takes his argument to another level by referring to witnesses who support his claim that he is the Messiah, the Son of God.

  1. Why is it problematic when a person testifies in their own defence and there are no other witnesses or supporting evidence?
  2. List the witnesses that Jesus says in this passage testify that he is who he says he is.
  3. Read John 1:29. What did John the Baptist say about Jesus?
  4. Read Luke 3:22 and 9:35. What did the Father say about Jesus?
  5. If you have time, google “Top 40 Most Helpful Messianic Prophecies – Jews for Jesus” What do the Jewish Scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament) say about Jesus?
  6. Conservative Bible scholars consider Moses to be the author of the first five books of the Bible. Read Gen. 49:8-12 and Numbers 24:17-19. What does Moses say about Jesus?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

7. Read Galatians 1:10. Why is it a problem when someone seeks glory from other humans instead of from God?

8. How did some of the things that Jesus did support his claim that he was the Son of God?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. People only accept the testimony of a witnesses if they believe that the witness is trustworthy. We live in a time when many people do not believe that the Bible is trustworthy. How does this make it difficult to convince a skeptic that Jesus is their Saviour?

  1. What witness testimony do you find most convincing? Why?
  2. Why is your personal testimony perhaps even more important now that it was in times past?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Jan 28/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.