What is a Small Group?
At River of Life we believe that transformation happens in circles not rows. That is what small groups are all about; where life on life, authentic faith is carried out. Small groups typically consist of 12 to 18 people meeting in homes. They meet in locations throughout our area and on various nights of the week. Each group varies on meeting length, child care, food and start time.
Questions to Consider:
WEEK 1 (March 1): Jesus is the “Buck”
- Talk about a specific time when you experienced the MERCY of God through Jesus.
- What could God have punished you for and how did you experience His mercy when He chose not to?
- Talk about a time when you experienced the COMPASSION of God.
- What emotions has He “felt with” you?
- Talk about a time when you experienced the POWER of God.
- When you think about the universe being created BY Jesus, what comes to your mind first?
- Do you wrestle with some of the “evil” in the world?
- Are you in awe of the “wonders” of the universe?
- In what ways have you experienced God’s creation bringing glory to Him?
WEEK 3 (March 22): Stay the Course
- Talk with each other in very practical terms about the price that Jesus paid for you to give you peace. What sin(s) did He take on? In what ways did He give you peace? Pastor Dave talked about an experience as a teenager when he was “caught”? Do you have a similar experience to share?
- Are you more often a peacemaker or a peacekeeper? What would it look like for you to become a peacemaker?
- In what ways have you been experiencing anxiety recently? What would living one day at a time do to change that?
- When you have been anxious, have you turned to prayer? If not, how can you envision God’s peace coming to you if you “pray about everything?”
- What are you thankful for today? In what ways can you replace anxiety with gratitude?
WEEK 2 (March 15): Jesus desires to Covenant with us; not Contract with us
- On March 1, we learned that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” and that all things were created “through Him and for Him”. In what new ways have you noticed God’s beauty and glory since hearing that message?
- Talk with each other about a time when you were “falling apart,” but God in His love and knowledge of you “held you together”.
- Think back to a time when you were “running away” from God or “unfaithful” to Him. In what practical ways did God draw you back into a relationship with Himself?
- Stand together and read 1 Corinthians 1:15-18. When finished, sit down and talk with each other about what stands out to you, in particular in what ways God’s glory has been revealed to you in a deeper way.
WEEK 4 (March 29): Stay the Course
- Has the current crisis challenged your faith and made it difficult to “stay the course?” Talk with each other about the challenges you’ve been facing in your faith. What is happening in your relationship with God? In your understanding of who you are?
- What is happening for you financially? Are you struggling to make ends meet? Do you have opportunity to “share with those in need?”
- Have you been thinking more about the return of Christ? What does that mean to you? Is it frightening? Motivating?
- In what ways have your prayers changed during the COVID crisis? In what ways would you like them to change?
- What opportunities has the COVID crisis opened for you as an individual/family or for us as a church? What can we do to seize these opportunities?
Questions to Consider:
WEEK 1 (December 8): THE FOUNDATION FOR A STRONG FAMILY
- Read Joshua 24:14-15 and discuss the modern-day gods that we serve today. Discuss ways that serving the Lord intentionally is counter-cultural today.
- The first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me”—simply stated is: Put God First. We used the acronym F.I.R.S.T to help describe what putting God first literally looks like in daily living. Discuss which of the below five is the easiest for you to apply, and why?
- Which of the above five is hard for you to apply, and why?
- How do you make time for God in your day?
- Going Deeper: Romans 6:14 states, and this applies to all who truly follow Jesus, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”’
- Since followers of Jesus are not under the law but under grace, does this mean we don’t have to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments?
- Read Matthew 5:17-20 in several different translations. What does Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law mean for our daily lives?
WEEK 2 (December 15): ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES
- Read Deuteronomy 6:5-9. As we are engaging in this series called, “Kingdom Values That Build Strong Families,” what are some ways you can commit wholeheartedly to God in your life, and with your family?
- What idols in your life may be holding you back from wholeheartedly serving Jesus and making Him King of your life?
- What are some ways you can create more God time in your family?
- Are you an example, to your family, of someone who puts God as a priority?
- What day to day things take up more of your time with God?
- What plans are you willing to put into place to break idolatry in your life and in your family life?
- Who are you going to ask to hold you accountable to this for the next week?
- What does God time look like with your family as a whole?
WEEK 3 (December 29): TAKING GOD SERIOUSLY
- What ways have you misused the name of the Lord in your life?
- Do you have areas in your life that are hard to exemplify God in?
- When you’re at work/school, how do you exemplify God and make His name great?
- What ways can you glorify God’s name at home, with your family?
- What does a family look like that glorify God’s name together?
- Who in your life needs to see God’s name glorified in your life? Is it family, friends, coworkers?
- During this next week, what actions can you take to make that happen?
- Who will keep you accountable to that?
WEEK 4 (January 12): GOD’S WORD TO WORKAHOLICS
- How often in your week can you say you are physically rested and spiritually refreshed?
- If being physically rested and spiritually refreshed are good things, what stands in the way of you experiencing them more often?
- What will you do this coming Sabbath to help you be physically rested?
- What will you do this coming Sabbath to help you be spiritually refreshed and focused?
WEEK 5 (January 19): HONORING YOUR PARENTS
- The first “table” of the Law teaches us how to love and honor God. The second “table” teaches us how to love and honor people. Before He teaches us how to love people, He tells us that we are to honor those in authority. Why do you think God tells us to honor authorities before He tells us how to treat others?
- The word for honor can mean “weighty/burdensome”. Talk about a time when submission to authority was burdensome to you.
- What did you learn from submitting or not submitting to authority?
- The word for honor also means “to give glory.”
- In what ways do you glorify (or not) your parents?
- Others in authority?
- What is the result in your life of not giving them the honor that is due them?
- How does it affect them?
- In what ways will you accept the burden of submission to authority this week?
- In what ways will you give glory to those who are in authority over you this week?
WEEK 6 (January 26): HOW TO AFFAIR-PROOF YOUR MARRIAGE
- If you feel comfortable, talk about a time or a way that your life has been impacted by adultery/betrayal or trust issues with your spouse.
- Talk about a time when you tried to “white knuckle” love for another person.
- Did it work?
- For how long?
- Do you think you could tell if someone was “white knuckling” love for you?
- Is your picture of marriage more about happiness or holiness?
- Talk about a time when another person completed/complimented you.
- Talk about a time when you experienced grace from someone else.
- How did it make you feel?
- In what way can you more fully love your spouse or someone close to you this week?
WEEK 7 (February 2): LET THERE BE LIFE
- If “sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words will never hurt me,” why would God prohibit verbal abuse?
- In what ways have you been abused by words?
- In what ways do you abuse others with your words?
- In what ways has your life or the lives of those around you been impacted by suicide?
- How have you responded?
- In what ways has your life or the lives of those around you been impacted by abortion?
- How have you responded?
- What will you do this week to obey the command, “You shall not murder?”
WEEK 8 (February 9): PROSPERING WITH INTEGRITY
- Talk about a time when you were impacted by stealing.
- Were you involved in stealing?
- Did someone steal from you?
- What did you feel when the theft was discovered?
- How did you feel during the sermon when “stealing” was expanded to include deceit, fraud and non-payment of loans?
- Did that strike closer to home?
- When have you struggled to be honest?
- What was the result of your dishonesty?
- How have you experienced the dishonesty of others?
- In what ways can you make restitution for stealing in the past?
- How can you be more honest with God in your giving?
- What needs to change in your life to remove the temptation to steal?
WEEK 9 (February 16): TELLING THE TRUTH
- Today’s topic is about honesty. Before you start your discussion, take some time in prayer asking God to give you the courage to be honest with each other.
- Talk with each other about times when dishonesty has impacted your life. If someone else lied about you, what was the result in your life? If you lied about or to them, what was the result in their life? What feelings linger for you about that experience?
- Which type of lying are you most likely to engage in? (Cruel, Cowardly, Conceited, Calculated or Convenient) In what ways does your lying benefit you?
- “We need to be honest about our sin, about our fallen world, and give our pride to God.” In what ways does your pride lead you to lie? What would it be like for you to set aside that pride?
- In what ways will you commit to growing in honesty this week? With God? With Others? With Yourself?
- Read John 16:7-15, then spend some time in prayer with each other asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.
WEEK 10 (February 23): LEARNING TO BE CONTENT
- God tells us not to covet what others have. Why?
- What impact does it have on your life when you covet what someone else has?
- What impact does it have on your relationship with your neighbors?
- Your relationship with God?
- What do you most often covet?
- Why that instead of something else?
- How does coveting most often affect you?
- Fatigue? Debt? Worry? Conflict? Dissatisfaction?
- Have you learned the secret of contentment in an area of your life?
- How did you learn it? Did you learn it by choice?
- If you were going to teach someone how to be content, how would you go about it?
- What will you do this week to learn contentment?
Questions to Consider:
THE KEY TO KINGDOM MINDSET (December 1)
- Jesus starts out His Sermon on the Mount on what sounds like a negative note. What does He mean by “poor in spirit”? Explain the difference between being poor in spirit and having a low self-image?
- In your own life, is poverty of spirit something that appeals to you? Why?
- How do we confuse humility with modesty? Pride with conceit?
- The key to Kingdom mindset is acknowledging that God owes you nothing and you owe Him everything. As followers of Jesus, if we were to remind ourselves of this truth, what would it produce in us (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 3:6-7; 21-23)?
Questions to Consider:
WEEK 1 (October 6): KINGDOM MINDSET
- What is Kingdom Mindset?
- Discuss what having a Kingdom Mindset means to you.
- What kinds of thoughts, beliefs, or wounds keep you from being “two feet” in God’s Kingdom?
- What has happened in your life to cause you to rely on yourself or the “world” instead?
- Which areas of your life would be different if you would surrender your whole mind, heart and soul to God?
- Explain exactly what would cause you to not trust God with certain areas of your life; areas in which it might be difficult for you to completely submit to God’s will (ex. career, marriage, money, children).
- If you believe you are wholly committed to God with your faith, in what ways are you being challenged to think like God thinks, to behave in a way that is Christ-like or to become more observant and obedient to how the Holy Spirit is leading you on a daily basis?
WEEK 2 (October 13): ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM CULTURE
- What are Kingdom Values?
- Pastor Dave talked about the power of culture and how “Culture eats strategy for lunch!” Discuss the healthiness or unhealthiness of your work or school culture.
- Those of you who are fully following Jesus, why do you do so?
- And, how do you keep on following Him in the midst of the good and bad of life?
- What or who is holding you back from fully following Jesus and His ways?
- How do you keep Kingdom of God values over worldly kingdom values?
WEEK 3 (October 20): THE KINGDOM IS A MYSTERY
- This message centers on the Mystery of God’s Kingdom. The first point is drawn from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “The Citizens of the King have a REAL RELATIONSHIP with the King and other citizens.” What are some of the words that describe a real relationship?
- The second point focuses on God, our King, being the mystery! Look up Isaiah 55:8-9 & 64:8. Why is it a good God thing is a mystery?
- The third point: We cannot DISCOVER the deep things of God. The deep things of God come by REVELATION for us to RECEIVE. Look up Daniel 2:19; 2:28 & 2:47. What are the things we can discover about God? What are some of the things we cannot discover about God, but can only be revealed to us by God?
- The fourth point: The Holy Spirit literally gives kingdom citizens new vocabulary to impart spiritual truths to other Kingdom citizens. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabus was known as “The son of encouragement.” Look up Acts 15:36-41. What “spiritual truth” do you think Barnabus said to Paul and John Mark?
- The fifth point: By way of the Holy Spirit, Kingdom citizens have the mind of the King (1 Corinthians 2:16)! Read Philippians 2:5-11. As citizens of the King, why do we struggle with accepting and believing our new identity in Christ?
WEEK 4 (October 27): HOW TO THINK LIKE GOD THINKS: MIND OF CHRIST
- Discuss your reaction to how a spirit of rebellion and worldly deception can cause us to have an ungodly mindset. (Genesis 2)
- How does it make you feel to think about being a bond-servant to God, a slave to righteousness?
When you think of Jesus, do you see Him as servant? Why or why not?
- Discuss how you have avoided pain and suffering in your life, what did you use to distract or comfort yourself? Did it work?
Do you believe God has used your suffering for good and for His purpose and glory? Give a personal testimony of a time when you KNOW your suffering brought you to another level in God’s Kingdom.
- How have you viewed sacrifice in the past?
What are some ways you feel/believe you have sacrificed for others? Was it for a certain purpose? Was it rewarding?
How does a “Kingdom” perspective change how you feel about sacrificing? In what ways would it motivate you to be more sacrificing?
WEEK 5 (November 3): DETOX YOUR MIND
- Discuss a few topics or schools of thought that are prominent in the world today that do not line up with God’s truth. Can you identify the lie or deception of the Kingdom of darkness? What would the absolute truth (quote Scripture here) in God’s Kingdom be?
- Describe a time when you believed a lie of the world/Satan and how it made you think and feel. Then talk about how you felt once you came to believe God’s truth about that area of your life? Share a common lie you continue to believe, one that you know is not true, but you continue to think or feel it often. (Feelings of failure, unworthiness, rejection, insecurity)
- Have you ever had a “life verse”? One that meant a lot to you because it spoke truth into an area of your life in which you had once struggled.
Share it with the group and then discuss how other verses might be applicable in your life, on daily basis, as you look to make declarations over your mind and emotions to become steadfast in God’s truth and hold onto the promises He has for your life.
WEEK 6 (November 10): HOW TO RECEIVE THE KINGDOM
- The message is centered on how to receive God’s Kingdom. Begin by reading the passage in Matthew 13:1-23. Discuss the four types of soil: What causes a hardened, shallow, unguarded and surrendered heart? What are some remedies brought up in the message? What are some additional remedies?
- What did we learn about God, our King, in this passage?
- One of the quotes in the message is from Dallas Willard: “As subjects of God’s Kingdom, in order to receive the King’s Kingdom, we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.” Dave gave three ways to slow down: 1) Silence: Ten minutes a day. 2) Sabbath: One day a week to soak in the King. 3) Simplicity: Pair down your life.
- When can you get alone for 10 minutes of silence to read Scripture and/or pray and listen to the voice of God?
- What does it look like to dedicate a whole day to the King?
- What can you take out of your life in order to simplify, slow down, and focus on the King and His ways?
- Which one of these will you begin now?
WEEK 7 (November 17): BE STILL, BE HEALED
- Identify and discuss some performance driven labels or standards you have experienced. These could be personal goals, expectations you have put on your children or spouse or perhaps the common worldly messages you see in our culture today. (“Do more, try harder and be better!”)
- What are some ways you have encountered God’s love? How do you spend alone time with Him? Share with others specific ways God speaks to you, directs you, and inspires you to love others.
- If you have experienced healing in your mind, emotions or physical body while having alone time with God, share your testimony with your group, friends, family or your spouse.
- As your intimacy with God deepens, have you noticed that you have less fear for your future? If you continue to experience a lot of fear or worry, discuss with others how their trust and confidence in God has changed their perspective in life and why they feel secure in their future.
WEEK 8 (November 24): THE KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH
- Share with one another the kind of relationship you had with your dad, guardian or male role model when you were a child. What kind of words describe that relationship? How does that relationship on earth influence your relationship with our Heavenly Father?
- Sunday’s message is a lot about repentance. How would you best describe repentance? What keeps people from repenting? What are some positive results from repenting?
- In order to truly live with a Kingdom of God mindset one must be connected to the Holy Spirit. Read Ephesians 5:15-21. How does one be filled with the Spirit of God? What will life look like if one is filled with the Spirit of God?