Daily Reflections

HELP! // Week Two // 12.6.15

Ruth 2-4

Daily Reflections:

These Daily Reflections are for YOU and your time with Jesus — so go ahead and make them your own! If you want to focus on just one or two of the questions or activities… Or if you want to expand your Bible reading to the entire chapter or passage… BY ALL MEANS, do so! Whatever works best for helping you build up your habits of spending time with Jesus…

Your time will be richer if you write out some or all of your responses — and you will be more able to look back over the week and recognize those things that God is wanting to highlight to you!

—————-

DAY 1

  • Read Leviticus 19:33-34.
  • What does God say about how we should interact with people from other places and customs?
  • Why does he say we should treat them this way?
  • How do these instructions strike you today, considering all that is going on in the world?
  • Have you ever been “the foreigner”? Were you drawn in, or pushed away? How did that feel?
  • Is there anyone in your life you may consider too different to show compassion and love?
  • Take a moment to pray and ask God to show you what he’d like you to take from this passage.
  • Pray for your Three* and for your Disco Group.

*At Discovery, we encourage everyone to have Three people for whom they are praying daily, that those people might know Jesus. Who are your Three?

DAY 2

  • Read Ruth 2:8-9 twice.
  • What action words do you find in this passage?
  • What do these action words tell you about Boaz’s attitude toward Ruth, a foreign woman with little means and no husband? Does he want to empower her or take power away? What does this tell you about the character of Boaz?
  • After all the loss and pain she had experienced, how do you think Ruth felt to hear Boaz call her “daughter”? How might Boaz’ gentleness have been a healing experience for her?
  • Consider the influence you have on those in your life, especially those who have less power than you. Is there anyone you can think of who could benefit from a dose of grace?
  • Take a moment and ask God to show you who needs your love and compassion this week.
  • Pray for your Three and your Disco Group.

DAY 3

  • Read Ruth 2:10-12.
  • How does this deepen your understanding of Boaz’s gracious treatment of Ruth?
  • Boaz’ generosity is not anything Ruth ever could have earned, yet he tells her he treats her as he does because of all the good he has heard of her. He believes he can be an agent of the Lord’s blessing. How do you think hearing this might have blessed Ruth?
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
  • Has there been a time someone has spoken words of encouragement and praise over you? What did they say? What kind of impact did that have on you?
  • Who in your life could you bless in this way?
  • Take a moment and thank God for those in your life who have spoken encouragement and praise into your life. Ask him to show you who you can build up this week.
  • Pray for your Three and your Disco Group.

DAY 4

  • Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
  • What sticks out to you about this passage?
  • Take a closer look at Corinthians 12:22-26. When Paul speaks metaphorically of the “less honorable” parts of the body (of Christ), what is he saying about people who are marginalized? How does God value them? How are the other parts of the body to treat those who are marginalized?
  • Read Ruth 3:18. In this passage, Naomi tells Ruth Boaz will not rest until he settles on who will marry Ruth and take possession of Elimelech’s land. Why do you think Boaz is in such a hurry?
  • What do Boaz’ actions tell you about the way God wants us to deal with injustice?
  • What injustices do you see at play in your daily life? What are some specific ways in which God might be calling you to be an agent of change? What kind of equipping will you need from God in order to live this out?
  • Take a moment to ask God to empower you with clarity and the confidence to become an agent of blessing and change for his Kingdom.
  • Pray for your Three and your Disco Group.

DAY 5

  • Read Ruth 4:13-17.
  • Write down all of the nouns in this passage. What do you notice? Is there a pattern?
  • Just looking at this passage alone, what could you learn about God’s value of relationships?
  • Take a closer look at Ruth 4:16-17. The word for “nurse” comes from the verb (aman), here meaning “nurse fathers” as opposed to “nurse mothers” (yanaq). Naomi, who is an old woman, could not be asked to physically nourish the child. But she could spiritually nourish him: drawing him near and loving, teaching, and guiding him towards the Lord, as she did her own sons.
  • Are there people in your own life whom you have been called to nourish spiritually?
  • Take a moment to thank God for the people he has placed in your life. Ask him how you can be more aware of their needs – both physically and spiritually – and how you can be his hands and feet to serve them.
  • Pray for your Three and your Disco Group.

DAY 6

  • Read Ruth 4:13-22
  • Have you ever held a newborn baby? What do you think were some of Naomi’s thoughts & feelings when she first held Ruth’s son?
  • Why is the birth of Obed important from a genealogical standpoint? Who will be his grandson?
  • Obed’s birth is important for another reason: Naomi and Ruth’s stories have been redeemed. Through the birth of Obed, these widowed wanderers have secured placement in the lineage of King David and eventually of Jesus. What does this picture tell you about the possibility for God’s grace and redemption in your own story?
  • Read John 14:6. What does this verse tell you about the key to experiencing redemption? Have you experienced Jesus’ redeeming power in your life?
  • Take a moment and sit in the presence of Jesus. Ask him if there are any areas in your life that need to be surrendered to him. Ask him what he’d like you to hear from him.
  • Pray for your Three and your Disco Group.

[click for a printable copy]
[link to Group discussions]


 

Help! //  Week One // 11.29.15

Ruth  

 

Day One:

  • Read Ruth 1:1-7 twice.
  • Pick out a key word in each verse. What theme do you glean if you look at these verses as a group?
  • What drove Naomi from her homeland initially?  What pulled her back?
  • When have you felt like you were experiencing a famine? Are there ways you feel like that right now?
  • Naomi responded to where she saw God at work and went there in verse 6. Where do you see God at work? Where and how is He calling you to move toward Him?
  • Pray for your Three* and for your Disco Group.

*At Discovery, we encourage everyone to have Three people for whom they are praying daily, that those people might know Jesus. Who are your Three?

Day Two:

  • Read Ruth 1:6-14 twice.
  • Summarize this passage in a couple of sentences.
  • What do you learn about Naomi from this passage?
  • How have you had to continue in roles of responsibility amidst pain or hurt? Did it look like the caretaking of Naomi?
  • Why does pain feel so isolating?
  • What does Psalm 34:18 offer us about how God responds to pain?
  • Pray for your Three & for your Disco Group

Day Three:

  • Read Ruth 1:11-18 twice.
  • What action words do you find in this passage?
  • Does Ruth’s response surprise you?  Why or why not?
  • Do you have a friend like Ruth who’s clung to you through hard times? Have you been a friend like Ruth to others?
  • Ask God to use you like He used Ruth to accompany Naomi. Spend time in prayer asking Him to show you opportunities to love on those in pain around you now.
  • Pray for your Three & for your Disco Group

Day Four:

  • Read Ruth 1:16-22 twice.
  • If your Bible doesn’t tell you, look up what the name “Naomi” means.
  • What does Naomi begin to call herself when she arrives back in her hometown. Why?
  • Has there been a time in your life where pain somehow changed your identity or how you viewed yourself?  Have you seen it happen to others?
  • How has Naomi’s pain changed her view of God?  Has it changed yours or others’ around you?
  • Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal Himself to you and others you know in the midst of pain. Ask Him to remind you and others how much He loves you, how valued you are, in specific ways in those seasons.
  • Pray for your Three & for your Disco Group

Day Five:

  • Read Genesis 19:30-38.
  • What do you learn about the Moabites’ heritage?
  • What impression does Ezra 9:1 give us about the relationship between the Israelites and the Moabites?
  • What dimension does this add to the relationship between Naomi and Ruth?
  • Ask God to prepare your heart and those in our church to respond to those in pain despite our differences. Ask that He tear down cultural and socioeconomic barriers that keep us from each other.
  • Pray for your Three & for your Disco Group

Day Six:

  • Read Ruth Chapter 1.
  • How have you been able to relate to Naomi this week?
  • How have you been able to relate to Ruth?
  • In what ways did Naomi respond to God?
  • How did God use Ruth in Naomi’s story?
  • How is God asking you to respond to Him?  How does He want to use you to bless others in pain? What is He teaching you about pain and about Himself?
  • Pray for your Three & for your Disco Group

[click for a printable copy]
[link to Group discussions]

 


 

Ten Pennies Week Four // 11.22.15

Philippians 4:4-14, 17

 

Day One:

  • Read Psalm 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 29:10-14.
  • How do these scriptures show the generosity of God? List phrases from these passages that reveal His generosity. Reflect on your own life events in the past weeks, months, years. What personal examples do you have of God’s generosity toward you. Write your examples down alongside your list of God’s generosity from the passages. (For example, you might write “Wealth and honor come from you” – My recent promotion and raise.)
  • Take a few moments to say a prayer of thanksgiving about each item on your list.
  • Keep your list with you today as a physical reminder of God’s generosity to you. As you are reminded, ask God to guide you in your response to His generosity. Write down any thoughts or promptings you receive.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide                                                                                  

Day Two:

  • Read Luke 19:11-27. If you have notes from the 11/1/15 sermon on this passage, read through them as well.
  • Reflect for a moment on what you have, your stuff, material possessions, your “minas”. What has God entrusted you with to invest? How are you investing in God’s kingdom and mission? What are you holding back and why? Pause to ask forgiveness for any misuse of the resources He’s provided you.
  • What is one thing you can do today to invest a piece of the temporary material wealth you have been entrusted with in something of eternal value?
  • Pray that God would reveal to you a grander vision for the gifts He’s entrusted you with. Pray for the courage to respond to His call.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide                                                                                  

Day Three:

  • Read Luke 12:13. Has your financial situation ever brought you before Jesus with a similar plea? Have you ever felt entitled to more than you have? What were you feeling about your life at the time? About your finances? About God’s provision?
  • Now read Luke 12:13-21. If you have notes from the 11/8/15 sermon on this passage, read through them as well.
  • What makes the rich man in Jesus’ parable a fool? Do you long for a similar sense of financial security? Do you feel your ability to be generous is hindered by your current financial situation?
  • Write down ways you have experienced the generosity of others that didn’t involve money or things. Think of a person you know needs Jesus. What could you do today that would demonstrate the generosity of God to this person without the use of money?
  • Pray that God would free you up for service, regardless of your current financial situation. Pray that desire for financial security would not hinder nor stunt your desire to be a part of God’s mission.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide                                                                                  

Day Four:

  • Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. If you have notes from the 11/15/15 sermon on this passage, read through them as well.
  • Have you made a heartfelt decision about what you should give? If yes, do you struggle with feelings of reluctance or guilt compelling you to give? If this describes how you feel when you give, pause now to pray. Ask God to remove this guilt and reluctance, and to replace these feelings with joy, knowing that getting to participate in God’s mission far outweighs any cost, and that He will grow your faith in His provision for all your needs.
  • If you have not yet decided in your heart what to give, what stops you from making that decision? Write down your reasons.
  • Read Malachi 3:10. God does not invite us to test Him often in scripture, but He does here. Will you commit to taking Him at His word? What might happen if He is telling the truth? Read through the reasons you just wrote. How do they hold up in view of God’s promise?
  • Pray for more courage to release your hold on your finances, to give as generously as you are able, and to trust that God will keep His promise to take care of you.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide                                                                                  

Day Five:

  • Read Philippians 4:8-9.
  • How do your thoughts affect your use of the resources God has given you? Your time, your money, your things? What would have to change for your daily thought-life to more fully reflect what Paul describes in this passage? And how would this change the way you spend your time and money, and use your material possessions?
  • Take a few moments, close your eyes, and ask Jesus to clear your mind of all unworthy thoughts. Then ask him a simple question. Possibilities: Jesus, what do you think about? Who/What would you have me think about? Where do you want me to spend my time/money/thoughts today? Pick only one, then be silent and wait. Allow Him time to speak, or show you something. If you don’t “hear” or “see” anything this time, don’t be discouraged. Practicing being silent and listening isn’t easy. But also, don’t be quick to dismiss an image or thought. If you are unsure it’s from God, ask yourself if it contradicts scriptural truth. If not, write it down. You may choose to share and discuss with someone, or bring this back before Jesus and ask Him for more.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide                                                                                  

Day Six:

  • Read Acts 4:32-36.
  • Have you seen this type of commitment to giving lived out anywhere in today’s church? How would it affect Discovery if our members lived this way? How would it affect the Church as a whole if believers lived this way?
  • Read through your generosity and thanksgiving list from Day One. Are there more things you could add to this list? With no limitations on what you can draw from, write a new list, detailing God’s generosity and its specific manifestation in your life. Does this compel you to respond? In what way?
  • Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for His radical generosity, and asking for His guidance in how you should respond to this, that He would lead you toward a daily practice of radical generosity. And that He would lead Discovery and His global church similarly toward radical generosity

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Ten Pennies Week Three // 11.15.15

2 Corinthians 8 & 9

 

Day One:

  • This week, come to your devotional time expecting that God wants you to hear from Him.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
  • Prayerfully ask “What do you want me to hear today, Lord?”
  • Read the passage again. Slowly
  • What is going on? What is Paul asking of the people of Corinth? Why is he asking this?
  • Read verse 9 again. This is the gospel. Read verse 9 again.  This is the gospel.
    • If you know Jesus, thank him for becoming poor so that you might receive the riches of knowing God. Name some of the specific riches you have received and thank Jesus for them.
    • If you don’t know Jesus as your redeemer, this is the gospel for you: in our sin we are poor and separated from God,  Jesus took our sin on the cross and gives us His righteousness so that we are right with God. Talk with God about this. If you have barriers to trusting in Jesus, tell God about them. Ask Him to make truth clear to you. Let him know if you are ready to make a faith step.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 one last time
  • Write down anything that sticks out to you and keep it with you.  As you go about the day, talk to God about it, ask what it means if you don’t know. You can be honest with God and let him know you don’t get it.  Thank him for his Word today. Sometimes the thing you wrote down shows up in a conversation, on the radio, newspaper or somewhere else and gives you greater insight. In the process of taking the Word with you and talking to God about it, you are practicing the presence of God.
  • Pray for a heart rich toward God.
  • Pray for your Three* and for your Disco Group.
  • Pray for today’s highlights in the Missions Prayer Guide

*At Discovery, we encourage everyone to have Three people for whom they are praying daily, that those people might know Jesus. Who are your Three?

Day Two:

  • Bring your expectation to hear God’s word to you today.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5
  • Why is Paul sending Titus?
  • Read the passage again, prayerfully asking God “what do you want me to hear today?”
  • Why is generosity important to God?
  • Read the passage again. Write down what sticks out to you and keep it with you today.
  • Pray over the Commitment Card
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide

Day Three:

  • Bring your expectation to hear God’s word to you today.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
  • What is sowed? And what is reaped? Are they the same?
  • Read the passage again.
  • What is God calling his church to do?
  • Read the passage again. Write down what sticks out to you. Take it with you today and ask God about it.
  • Pray for our church as it seeks to fulfill its mission.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide

Day Four:

  • Read 2 Corinthians 9:12-15
  • What are the different things that generosity reaps in this passage?
  • Read the passage again.
  • Giving is “obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ” (v.13) Do you feel guilted into giving?  Paul is telling the Corinthians to put their money where their mouths are.  God doesn’t want money that you give out of guilt, he wants you to be part of His mission to reach people, and to give out of your joy in being part of that mission.
  • Read the passage one more time
  • Think about your use of money. Write what your use of money says about God and what it shows other people about God.  Take this with you today and talk to God about it.
  • Pray over the commitment card
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide

Day Five:

  • Expect to hear from God today.
  • Read Luke 16:1-15
  • What is going on in this parable?  Why would the master commend the servant for his dishonesty?
  • Read it again
  • The manager was using his master’s money to gain friends.  If we honestly answer the question Jon asked at the beginning of this series – “Whose is it?” – we must recognize everything we have is God’s. We are like the manager, because everything we have is already God’s.
  • Read the passage one more time
  • Write down anything that God is pointing out to you. Take it with you today, and talk to God about it.
  • Pray for the heart to serve God and nothing else.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide

Day Six:

  • Expect to hear God’s word to you today.
  • Read Psalm 112. Paul quotes verse 9 in the 2 Corinthians passage we were reading.
  • The repeated characteristic of the person in this passage is “righteous”. Who is righteous? See Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 12:2-3 & Romans 3:22
  • Read the passage again.
  • What is the relationship with money that the person has in this Psalm? What is the relationship to money that you have? (Remember that the poorest in our country are wealthier than most of the world.)
  • Read the Psalm one more time
  • List the things in this Psalm that are true of the person about whom this Psalm is speaking. Which of these sticks out to you?  Write it down, and take it with you today.
  • Pray for the courage to trust that God is really as good as this psalm says he is.
  • Pray over the commitment card.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide

[click here] for a printable copy
Link to Group discussion guide 

 


 

Ten Pennies Week Two // 11.8.15

Luke 12:13-40

 

Day One:

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Luke 12:13-40
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about God.
  • Spend some time thanking God for being this way — and if there is anything you find challenging about him, talk with him about that!
  • Pray for your Three* and for your Disco Group.
  • Pray for today’s highlights in the Missions Prayer Guide.

*At Discovery, we encourage everyone to have Three people for whom they are praying daily, that those people might know Jesus. Who are your Three?

Day Two:

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Luke 12:13-40
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about the way that God sees us.
  • Often, reflecting on God’s view of us brings two responses: 1. conviction about our wrongdoing and rejections of him, and 2. gratitude for his loving grace toward those who place their faith in Jesus. Take a moment to confess your wrongs to him — and to thank him for his forgiveness. Note: If after confessing, you are still struggling with guilt, see 1 John 1:9 for assurance of your forgiveness. Also, if you have never placed your faith in Jesus, see John 3:3-18 to catch some of Jesus’ heart for you — and feel free to contact your Disco Group Leader for someone to talk with and support you!
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide.

Day Three:

Jesus knows that we often need to hear the same truth repeatedly or in a different way — so he taught like that. You’ll see this in these next days’ passages.

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Matthew 6:19-34 & 7:7-11
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about God.
  • Spend some time thanking God for being this way – and if there is anything you find challenging about him, talk with him about that!
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide.

Day Four:

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Matthew 6:19-34 & 7:7-11
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about the way that God sees us.
  • Take a moment to confess your wrongs to him — and to thank him for his grace.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide.

Day Five:

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Matthew 25:1-13 & Mark 13:33-37
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about God.
  • Spend some time thanking God for being this way – and if there is anything you find challenging about him, talk with him about that!
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide.

Day Six:

  • Begin by spending a moment thanking Jesus for some of the good things in your life. Name them. Ask him to open your mind & heart, and meet you during this time.
  • Read Matthew 25:1-13 & Mark 13:33-37
  • Read again, and this time, mark or write out everything this passage tells us about the way that God sees us.
  • Take a moment to confess your wrongs to him — and to thank him for his grace.
  • Pray for your Three, for your Disco Group & for today’s Missions Prayer Guide.

[click here for a printable copy]
[link to Group Discussion questions]

 


 

Ten Pennies // 11.01.15

 

All this week we are going to be using the Lord’s prayer as a guide for thinking through the passage we heard preached this last Sunday. For this first reflection read through Luke 19:11-27 and Matthew 6:9-13.

Monday: The Father

Read Luke 19:11-27 and this section of the Lord’s prayer.

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,”

  • This parable can be a little confusing because the ruler in this story does not look exactly like Jesus. What are some ways in which God is unlike the ruler in this story?
  • How would this situation be different if the ruler in this story were just like The Father?
  • Spend some time in prayer meditating on how singularly good God the Father is. Pray that he would continue to act to make you look more like Himself this week.

Monday: Missions Prayer

Tuesday: The Father’s Kingdom

Read through Luke 19:11-27 and this passage from the Lord’s prayer.

“your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • In this parable Jesus tells the story of a ruler who is about to return and rule his kingdom. In a similar way the world is awaiting the return of Jesus. Remembering our reflections on God the Father from yesterday, how do you think the world will be different when Jesus  finally takes charge as King when He returns?
  • How would a family that worships Jesus as king look differently?
  • How does an employee who worships Jesus as king go to work?
  • How does a neighbor who worships Jesus as king interact with their block?
  • Thank God for the sure promise of Jesus’ return.

Wednesday: The Father’s provision

Read through Luke 19:11-27 and this passage from the Lord’s prayer.

“Give us today our daily bread.”

  • In the parable we have been meditating upon, the ruler provides his servants with funds and charges them to cultivate those funds. Reflect on what God has provided you with.
  • What skills has God given to you?
  • What sort of personality has he given to you?
  • What occupation has he given to you?
  • Take some time to thank God for what he has given to you.
  • Ask God to help you to understand how you can use these gifts in a way that expresses your gratitude.

Thursday: Our shortcomings

Read through Luke 19:11-27 and this passage from the Lord’s prayer.

“and forgive us our debts

as we forgive our debtors”

  • The parable tells the story of a man who has squandered the gifts that God has trusted to his care. James 4:17 gives us one definition of sin that is particularly relevant. James says that the one who knows the good thing that he ought to do and does not do that good thing has sinned.
  • Are there times when the inspiration to bless others around has arisen, and you have shrunk back from the opportunity through fear?
  • Confess those fears to God. Entrust your sins to God.
  • Thank God for not refusing to do good to us.
  • Ask God to help you to receive His forgiveness and move forward in the full assurance of his love for you.
  • Rejoice that God has promised to cleanse us from all of our sins and to make us more like His Son.

Friday: Our struggles

Read through Luke 19:11-27 and this passage from the Lord’s prayer.

“And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.”

  • How we handle or mishandle what God has entrusted to us has been the cause for many trials and difficulties in this world. But they can also be the means by which the struggles of others are alleviated.
  • Have you ever created difficulties in your life through unwise choices? How have you, or how can you, express your repentance?
  • Has anyone ever intervened in your life and alleviated some of your difficulties? How have you, or how can you, express your gratitude?
  • What are some ways in which you can use your gifts to alleviate the struggles of others?

Saturday: Our Worship

Read through Luke 19:11-27 and this traditional benediction added to the public recital of the Lord’s prayer.

“For yours is the kingdom

and the power

and glory forever and ever. Amen”

  • In our parable, the third servant did not simply forget the source of his gifts, he also forgot what their purpose. But he is not the only character in this parable. We also have the witness of two faithful servants who used their gifts to honor their master. They were honored in return for their faithfulness. When we are faithful with the gifts God has given us, we bring honor to God. It is an act of worship.
  • We know from Christ’s own words in Matthew 25:31-46 that whatever we do in honor of God and in service to our neighbors will not be forgotten. Every small act of faithfulness and trust will be remembered.
  • Pray today that God would help you to bring honor to him by being faithful with your gifts — and to help you grow in your ability to selflessly love those around you.
  • Pray that God would help you to trust him with the outcomes of your actions, and to encourage you to love boldly for His sake.

[click here for printable copy]
LINK to Group Discussion Questions 


 

Simplify Week Six // 10.25.15

Philippians 1:21-25, 27

Day One:

  • Read Philippians 1:21-25, 27 at least twice.
  • What part of Paul’s struggle speaks loudest to you? We all have ebbs and flows in how we feel about life and its circumstances. The motivation for Paul’s perseverance was his view of God’s purpose for his life. How has your sense of purpose helped or hindered your motivation? To what fruitful labor is God calling you?
  • Pull out the verse or phrase that most speaks to you, and work to commit it to memory. Write it out a couple of times and place it somewhere you will see it through the week. Every time you see it, practice saying it.
  • Pray for your group this week that they would know and understand God’s purpose for their lives.

Day Two:

  • Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 at least twice.
  • Why do you think Paul puts rejoicing and praying together in this passage?
  • What would change if you were to rejoice, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances?
  • How would that change your interaction with others?
  • Why do you think that Paul says “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”?
  • Practice your verse or phrase from Day One
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Three:

  • Read Matthew 25:14-28 at least twice.
  • Why do you think the master did not give more detailed instructions to his servants before he left?
  • What does this say about the masters relationship with his servants?
  • What do you do when you’re unsure what steps you should take?
  • How have you been faithful with the blessings God has given you? What areas could you still grow in?
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Four:

  • Read 2 Timothy 2:20-26 at least twice
  • Write out some of the “vessels” in your life, include both those that are honorable and dishonorable.
  • Ask God to help you cleanse the dishonorable things from your life.
  • How does removing the dishonorable things make us ready for every good work?
  • Is there a good work that God is leading you to? What are your next steps in completing that work?
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Five:

  • Read Hebrews 13:18-21 at least twice.
  • Write out some ways in which you could use prayer, that you would “have a clear conscience”.
  • For whom can you be praying verse 18?
  • How can others be praying for you that you would be equipped for doing God’s will?
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Six:

  • Read Philippians 1:21-25, 27 at least twice.
  • Ask God to reveal ways in which your manner of life is not in tune with the gospel.
  • How would things be different if God changed those parts of your life?
  • With whom are you striving side by side for the faith of the gospel?
  • Pray for them. Pray for greater opportunities for the gospel to infuse your shared work.
  • Look back over your notes from the week. What is God particularly saying to you?
  • Pray for your Discovery group

CLICK HERE for a printable copy
LINK to Group Discussion Questions 


 

Simplify Week Five // 10.18.15

 

DAY ONE

  • Read John 15:15 at least twice.
  • Read John 15:14 & John 6:28-29. What does it take to be one of those whom Jesus calls ‘friend’?
  • Does Jesus call you friend? If so, how does that make you feel? If not, what are the barriers that are keeping you from the kind of belief in Jesus described in John 6:28-29? Is there someone with whom you would be willing to talk more about those barriers?
  • What does John 15:15 tell you about how we are to view our relationship with the Lord?
  • Take time this week to commit this passage to memory. Write it down and post it somewhere you can see it. Practice repeating it every day.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for calling you his friend. Ask him to show you how to lean into this calling of friendship and see how this plays out in your daily life. Ask him to show you how to be a friend like he would have you be.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY TWO

  • Read Proverbs 18:24 at least twice.
  • Have you had unreliable friends in your lifetime? Did these relationships cause harm? How did it feel to know you could not count on those you considered trustworthy?
  • Have you ever been the unreliable friend? What were the consequences?
  • Have you had a friend who has “stuck closer than a brother?” How do you feel in his or her presence?
  • Practice your verse from Day One.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for the close friendships you have experienced. Ask him if there are any friendships in need of repair in your life, and if so, to show you the steps you can take today to begin to make things right. Then, ask him if there is anyone in your life who is in need of a friend who will stick closer than a brother.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY THREE

  • Read Proverbs 27:17 at least twice.
  • What does the process of sharpening iron look like? What does this metaphor say about the friendship of believers?
  • Have you ever had a friend who encourages you and edifies you, consistently bringing you back to God’s word and his promises? Have you had the opportunity to be that friend to someone else?
  • How do you imagine your life would be different if you prioritized this kind of friendship?
  • Practice your verse from Day One.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for those in your life who have taught you and encouraged you in your walk with Jesus. Ask him if there is anyone in your life who needs your prayer and faithful encouragement.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY FOUR

  • Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 at least twice.
  • What are the action words you read in this passage? What stands out to you the most?
  • Where do you see yourself in this passage?
  • Have you experienced the helping hand of a good friend? Have you experienced a time you felt you did not have someone you could call on for help? What was that like?
  • When you feel lonely, do you practice turning to the Lord? Have you had lonely times when you turn inward instead? Which works best for you?
  • Practice your verse from Day One.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for being your friend, even when it feels there is no one else around. Then ask him if there are people in your life you can allow to befriend you. If so, ask him how to let them in.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY FIVE

  • Read Matthew 18:19-20 at least twice.
  • What does this passage tell you about the friendship of believers?
  • Does this mean we are not to befriend those who do not know the Lord?
  • Do you pray together with others? With friends? Family? Your spouse? If so, what have you noticed about these times of prayer?
  • Practice your verse from Day One.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for those who have boldly prayed with you in the past. Ask him to show you opportunities to take the lead in praying with others in your life.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY SIX

  • Read 1 Sam 18:1-5 at least twice.
  • Where do you see yourself in this story?
  • Have you had a friend like Jonathan? Have you ever been a friend like Jonathan?
  • Some friendships just “click” immediately and we feel like they must be a part of God’s design for our lives. Others take more work. Do you find yourself gravitating towards the easy friendships? Why or why not?
  • Practice your verse from Day One.
  • Take a moment before God and thank him for the presence of the rich friendships which have blessed you. Ask him if there are others he has placed in your life you are neglecting, and if so, for courage to reach out and offer them love in the way he leads you.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

DAY SEVEN

  • Return to John 15:15 and read it at least twice.
  • What have you learned about God’s design for friendship this week?
  • When you think now about Jesus calling you “friend,” does that sound or feel different to you than it did at the beginning of the week? What has changed?
  • What does this passage tell you about how we are to view our relationship with others?
  • Take a moment before God and thank him again for calling you friend. Then, sit with him for a few minutes, opening your heart and mind to anything he may have to reveal to you.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God how you can be a friend to each of them.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

CLICK HERE for printable 

CLICK HERE for Group Discussion questions


 

Simplify Week Three // Week 3: Forgiveness

Day One:

  • Read Luke 23:33-35 a few times. What are the key verbs/action words in this passage? How do they differ between characters?
  • What does this context and Jesus’s timing in praying for their forgiveness say about the heart of God and forgiveness?
  • Put yourself in His shoes. Think about being an innocent man sentenced to die as a criminal, set up by your dear friend, and abandoned by those closest to you. How would you feel?
  • Why did Jesus choose to prioritize forgiveness?  What does that mean for you?
  • Spend some time in quiet prayer and reflection. What are you prioritizing over forgiveness?  Confess that to God.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

Day Two:

  • Read Matthew 18:21-35 and summarize it with a sentence.
  • What do you think the intent is behind Peter’s question in verse 21?  What do you think Jesus means by His answer?  
  • Which of the character’s in the parable do you identify with, if any?
  • Put yourself in the story as the initial servant who owes the king an impossible amount of money. Read Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. What does it say we deserve based on our sin?
  • Read Romans 5:8. How does it display Christ’s forgiveness?
  • Spend time praying through Romans 5:6-11, thanking God for reconciling us to Himself despite our sin.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

 

Day Three:

  • Read Luke 22:28-30 and Matthew 26:30-31, 56 and then think about Jesus relationship to the disciples. Jot down what you know about it from these passages and any others.
  • Who might these relationships compare to in your own life?  Who would you call your inner circle?
  • Think of a time you’ve been hurt by one of these or that you’ve hurt someone close to you. What was the chain of events that followed?  Where does it stand now?
  • What was Jesus’ turnaround time in offering forgiveness following the offense? Why?
  • What was most important to Jesus?
  • What means more to you than forgiveness and reconciliation of relationship? Ask God to search your heart and identify anything that might be standing in the way.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

Day Four:

  • Read Romans 12:28-21 until you can summarize it in one sentence.
  • Think back through your reflections this week. What is God identifying in your heart about forgiveness? What are you struggling to let go of?
  • Why do we often desire or enact revenge?
  • Who does this passage say is responsible for vengeance? What does it mean when we try to take on that role ourselves?
  • Consider how choosing to avenge or hold a grudge instead of trusting God to handle justice is actually idolatry and a trust issue. We are taking His place and saying He’s not sovereign. Is this true for you?  In what ways?  Spend some time in reflection and confession.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

Day Five:

  • Read Matthew 18:15-20 and summarize it with a sentence.
  • The passage cuts right to the chase of instruction: go and speak with the one who wronged you.  To what end?  What is the goal?
  • Why do you think it escalates by adding more people?  Why does Jesus entreat us to strengthen our plea to our brother who has sinned?
  • If you’re not familiar with the parables of the Lost Sheep or the Prodigal Son (both in Luke 15), read those. What do these stories tell us is important to the Father? How do they relate to the instructions given in Matthew 18 about reaching out to a brother who has sinned?
  • Relationships and reconciliation are paramount to the Father. Spend time in prayer asking God to show you how and who He wants you to pursue in reconciliation. Maybe you know and you need to pray for boldness and strength.
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

Day Six:

  • Read Matthew 5:23-24 a few times and summarize it in a sentence.
  • To whom would we be offering our gift at the altar?  What’s another way you would describe this act for us today?
  • Scripture speaks over and over about what’s going on in our hearts weighing out over what we’re doing with our hands or our mouths. Which do you think is more important to God?  1 Samuel 16:7
  • Read these verses in Matthew 5 one more time. Why is reconciliation necessary before we can truly worship and commune with God?
  • Read Matthew 22:37-40. If “love God and love people” are the 1st and 2nd greatest commandment, how does lack of forgiveness impede our ability to do both of these based on the verses you’ve read this week?
  • Look back over your notes from the week. What is God particularly saying to you?
  • Pray for your Discovery Group!

CLICK HERE for a printable

Link to Group Discussion Guide


 

Simplify Week Three // 10.4.15

Luke 19:1-10

Daily Reflection:

 

Day One:

  • Read Luke 19:1-10 at least twice.
  • Write out some of the things you could learn about Jesus from just this passage (note: Jesus referred to himself as ‘the Son of Man’)
  • Jesus’ interaction with Zaccheus made Zaccheus aware of his sin, which ultimately enabled Zaccheus to get free of it. From what sins in your life does Jesus want to free you? Take some time to ask him to show these to you — and then confess them to him.
  • Read 1 John 1:9. Take some time to thank Jesus for freedom from the thing you confessed… trusting that even if you do not yet feel it, he is faithfully moving you into full freedom!
  • Freedom from the grip of money is one of the themes this week. The antidote to worry & greed is Thanksgiving. Take 60 seconds and write down as many things as you can think of for which you can thank God!
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Two:

  • Read Luke 19:11-27 at least twice.
  • Jesus tells this parable to Zaccheus and his friends immediately after Zaccheus’ step of faith. Why do you think he did told this particular story at that moment?
  • To whom did the money in the story belong?
  • What did the king expect from those to whom he entrusted the money?
  • What are some things with which God has entrusted you? Take a moment to thank him for them. Ask him how he wants you to invest those trusts.
  • Write down one step God is calling you to take to better invest the things with which He has entrusted you.
  • Thanksgiving: The Antidote! Today, slowly write down ten things for which you are thanking God.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Three:

  • Read Luke 21:1-4 at least twice.
  • What do you think motivated the widow to put all of her money in the offering? What do you think she may have been thinking as she did so?
  • Is there an extravagant act of service or of giving with which you can bless the heart of Jesus this week? What barriers are in your way? Talk openly to Jesus about those!
  • Thanksgiving: The Antidote! Choose one of the things you wrote yesterday. Reflect on all of the ways that impacts you and the world around you. Give thanks and take joy in the fullness of that gift!
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Four:

  • Read Philippians 4:6-8 & 11-13 at least twice.
  • From these verses alone, write down some of the things that you think were part of Paul’s secret to being content.
  • What is one action from these verses that you can take this week to grow your contentment?
  • Thanksgiving: The Antidote! Write down 5-10 things in your life that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Thank God for placing these things in your life.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Five:

  • Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 at least twice.
  • Regardless of how we may feel, those of us living in the United States count as “rich in this present world”. How does thinking of yourself as rich challenge your attitudes about money?
  • What responsibilities are given in these verses to those who are rich?
  • The ability to transfer hope from wealth to God requires that we know God personally. What is one step you can take this week to know God better?
  • Thanksgiving: The Antidote! Think about 4-5 things God has provided you with in which you take particular enjoyment. Thank him for these.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Six:

  • Read Ephesians 3:14-21 at least twice.
  • Write out some of the blessings listed in these verses for those who belong to Jesus.
  • The primary theme of this week has been about experiencing freedom by trusting God with our finances. What reasons do you see in these verses that God is worthy of that kind of trust? Take a moment to thank him for his trustworthiness — and at the same time, go ahead and ask him to grow your trust in him.
  • Look back over your notes from the week. What is God particularly saying to you?
  • Pray for your Discovery group

CLICK HERE for printable
Link to Group Discussion Guide


Simplify Week Two //9.27.15

Luke 10:38-42

Optional Daily Reflection:

Day One:

  • Begin your time by giving your worries to Jesus. This method is called palms down, palms up. Quiet down, sit still and with your palms down pray, “Jesus, I give you my anger toward x, I give you my anxiety about y, etc.” Slowly go through those things that are on your heart. (Some find it helpful imagining dropping these things in Jesus’s lap while praying this.) Now turn your palms up as one who is receiving, and pray through the things you gave to Jesus but now say “Jesus I receive your divine love for x, I receive your peace about y…etc.” When finished, rest here for a moment.
  • Read Matthew 11:25-30  twice, slowly.
  • Note what words and phrases stick out to you. Write them down.
  • What are your burdens? (The exercise to start was to help identify some of them.) What does giving them to Jesus look like?
  • Take a moment to thank Jesus for working in & through your burdens.
  • This passage says Jesus is the sole access to God the Father. This is the gospel in short. Take a moment to thank Jesus for providing access to the Father.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Two:

  • Begin with palms down, palms up (see day one).
  • Read Luke 10:38-42 twice, then read Mark 10:45.
  • Why did Jesus come?
  • Mark says Jesus came to serve. How does Jesus serve?  Mary in this passage let Jesus serve her, but Martha did not.  How does your busy-ness cause you fail to let Jesus serve you?
  • Mark also says Jesus came as a ransom for many.  Jesus made the worst business transaction in history: he assumes all our liabilities and gives us all his assets. We give him our sin, and he gives us his righteousness.  Why? For our benefit and his glory. In order to serve God, we must allow Jesus to serve us and change our hearts…. So that we rely on him and not our own resources.
  • Ask God to help you become more able to rely on him rather than yourself.
  • Thank God for giving himself for us.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Three:

  • Begin again with palms down, palms up. (See day one)
  • Read John 15:1-14 twice
  • What does it mean to “abide” (some versions “remain”) in Jesus?  
  • What is the relationship between a branch and a tree?
  • In order for grapevines to bear fruit they must be pruned. Think of pruning as creating margin for that vine or tree. The roots remain the same so there are more resources for fewer branches. Pruning keeps the tree from being over crowded.  What things clutter your life that Jesus needs to prune out?
  • Ask Jesus today what needs to go so that you can make room to abide in him.  It may mean saying no to something.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Four:

  • Begin again with palms down, palms up. (See day one)
  • Read Hebrews 4:12-16 twice
  • What characteristics of God’s Word are listed in these verses? What do you think it means to divide soul & spirit, joints & marrow?
  • What are some of the blessings mentioned in these verses that we can experience by drawing near to Jesus?
  • How have you experienced that combination of God’s Word judging your thoughts and attitudes… and Jesus sympathizing with your weakness and giving you mercy and grace? How has that grown your love for Jesus?
  • If you have not experienced receiving Jesus’ mercy and grace (v. 16), will you take this moment to ask him to give those to you — even though he knows all of the hidden thoughts and attitudes of your heart!
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Five:

  • Begin with palms down, palms up (see day one). Don’t rush it
  • Read Exodus 16:1-13 twice
  • What is going on here? Try to put it in your own words
  • This passage comes right after God rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea.  Why do you think they were complaining when they had just seen God’s amazing power and His faithfulness to them demonstrated so convincingly?
  • The story in the Bible isn’t so much about people being faithful to God, though there is some of that…  it is about God’s faithfulness to His people whether or not they were faithful to him.  God is faithful. Take some time to rest in His faithfulness by taking your complaints to Jesus. Don’t try to pretty them up, He already knows what they are.
  • Just like the God provided manna for the Israelites, we can pray “give us this day our daily bread.”
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Six:

  • Begin with palms down, palms up. (See day one).
  • Read Luke 10:38-42 again.
  • Look back over your notes from the week. Is there anything that stands out differently to you in the Luke passage after having reflected on the other passages this week?
  • What is God particularly saying to you? What step can you take this week to be faithful to whatever He is saying to you?
  • Take some time to thank him for his goodness — that he would want for us to spend time with him!
  • Pray for your Discovery group.

Click here for printable pdf SimplifyWeek29.27.15Individual
Link to Group Discussion Guide


Simplify Week One // 9.20.15

Luke 15:3-7

Day One:

  • Read Luke 15:3-7 at least twice.
  • Where do you see yourself in this story? Are you still being sought after? Are you being carried on the Shepherd’s shoulders? Are you safely in the open country with the rest of the flock? Are you partnering with the Shepherd in the search? Where do you want to be? Stop and tell this to Jesus. Ask him for help in this!
  • Pull out the verse or phrase that most speaks to you, and work to commit it to memory. Write it out a couple of times and place it somewhere you will see it through the week. Every time you see it, practice saying it.
  • Choose 3 people who are lost and commit to praying for them every day. When you see your verse, let it remind you to pray for them again.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Two:

  • Read Luke 15:8-10 at least twice.
  • Why do you think Jesus tells two such similar stories back to back? This was not Jesus’ usual approach.
  • What does this tell you about Jesus?
  • What is one step you can take today to line yourself up with Jesus? Stop and ask Jesus for help in this.
  • Practice your verse or phrase from Day One
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God to open opportunities for you to build relationship and to share Jesus with them.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Three:

  • Read Psalm 23 at least twice.
  • Write out some of the characteristics of life lived near the Shepherd.
  • How can remembering Psalm 23 motivate us to pursue those who are lost?
  • Spend some time thanking God for the ways you have experienced his shepherding. Write some of these.
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God to open opportunities for you to build relationship and to share Jesus with them.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Four:

  • Read Ezekiel 34:11-16 and Isaiah 40:11
  • Write out some of the characteristics of God that you see in these passages.
  • If you have experienced God’s rescue, take a moment to look back and reflect on the way he brought that about. Thank him for that!
  • If you are still scattered and separated from God, this can be your moment for asking him for rescue! (Gospel…) If you are not ready for that, take this opportunity to tell him why you are not ready.
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God for opportunities for you to build relationships and to share Jesus with them.
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Five:

  • Read Jeremiah 29:11-14 at least twice.
  • God is not the only one the Bible talks about seeking and finding. Who is doing the seeking in this passage, and whom is she finding?
  • What does this tell you about your role in being near to Jesus and enjoying the blessings of his shepherding?
  • What do you think it means to seek God with all your heart? What is one way in which your life might look different if you sought God with all your heart?
  • Reflect on your verse / phrase.
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God for opportunities for you to build relationships and to share Jesus with them
  • Pray for your Discovery group!

Day Six:

  • Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 at least twice.
  • In verse 21, how does Paul describe “being found”? What do you think it means to “become the righteousness of God”?
  • In these verses, what responsibility is given to those who have been found by Jesus?
  • What is one step you can take this week to living out that responsibility?
  • Look back over your notes from the week. What is God particularly saying to you?
  • Pray for your Three. Ask God for opportunities for you to build relationships and to share Jesus with them
  • Pray for your Discovery group

Link to Group Discussion Guide