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A Green Christmas

Colours of Christmas 2:  A Green Christmas

John 1:1-4, 10:9-10

 

Green speaks of the promise of life, growth, fertility and harmony

 

Theme: Green in winter symbolizes everlasting life in Jesus—our divine Creator who came to bring abundant life.

 

John 1:1-2 –

beginning =

 

Word (Logos) =

Trinity is one unified God, diversity of persons in perfect community –

with =

 

evergreen tree (shape, vertical lines, needles) symbolize –

 

Application to My Life:

How does Christmas bring you renewed life?

 

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John 1:3

universe infinitely large and infinitely small

 

Application to My Life:

How does Jesus creating the world affect your Christmas?

 

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John 1:4

“life” includes physical life AND eternal life –

 

Good Shepherd picture in John 10:9-10

 

Psalm 92:12-14

 

Application to My Life:

How is Jesus birth giving you a “green” abundant life this Christmas?

 

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Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:

Icebreaker: What does your name mean? How does your name affect your destiny?

 

1. Read John 1:1-2? Why do you think John does not start with the birth of Jesus like the other Gospels? What does that suggest about the origin of life?

 

2. Why does John call Jesus “the Word” (Logos)? What does the designation mean about who Jesus is?

3. How does God as Trinity give us a picture of life and community?

 

4. Read John 1:3 and Colossians 1:14-17. What do these verses teach about Jesus role in creation and in giving life?

 

5. How does Jesus creating & sustaining the world affect you?

 

6. Read John 10:9-10. How does Jesus as the Good Shepherd give us a picture of abundant life reminiscent of Psalm 23?

 

7. Psalm 92:12-14. How does green give you a picture of abundant life in these verses?

A Blue Christmas

Colours Of Christmas 1:  A Blue Christmas

Luke 2:25-35; Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

            Christmas brightness in the midst of bleak winter –

            blue = colour twilight, water, the sky (heaven), spirituality, and sadness

 

Big Idea: Blue shows multi-shades of Christmas: a spiritual Priest and royal King born into a sad, dark world.

 

Application to My Life:

How do you respond when events threaten the joy of Christmas?

 

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            sad & blue tones of Christmas –

Lent was traditionally a time of somber fasting.

The first Christmas had sad parts to the story.

The shadow of the cross falling across the crib.

 

Simeon’s prophecy of hope in Luke 2:25-33 –

 

blue as the colour of spirituality –

Tabernacle curtains and high priest’s robe

blue threads in the prayer shawl used by the people

 

Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

 

Application to My Life:

What light and “glory” do you need shed on your path to show you the way into 2015?

 

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the “blue notes” in Simeon’s prophecy in Luke 2:34-35

the child Jesus will reveal the true nature of people’s hearts

 

Isaiah 53:4

 

Application to My Life:

Even when this world hurts and your carefully laid plans fall apart, how do you experience peace?

 

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Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:

Icebreaker: While growing up, did you ever have a person outside your family who made you feel special? How did they do that?

 

1. What does the colour “blue” symbolize to you? Why?

 

2. How do you respond when events and stress threaten the joy of Christmas?

 

3. Read Luke 2:25-33. What are the many things Simeon says about Jesus?

 

4. How is blue a colour of spirituality in the Old Testament (see notes)?

 

5. Read Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7. How is Jesus the light and hope of Christmas?

  1. What light and “glory” do you need shed on your path to show you the way into 2015?

7. Read Luke 2:34-35. How does Simeon’s prophecy introduce some “blue tones” into the story of Christmas?

The Kingdom Banquet

Did you miss the sermon last Friday? Listen to it online and use this outline to follow as you study God’s word with us.

Kingdom Come 11: Kingdom Banquet
Luke 14:15-24

Theme: The kingdom banquet is for those willing to receive grace,
not for those caught up in the world’s priorities.

the gift of a white elephant –

setting: challenging those who assume they will be at the kingdom banquet

Isaiah 25:6-9 (OT reference for kingdom banquet) –

initial invitation to the banquet had been sent days ahead of time –

refusals to the second invitation to come to the banquet that night:
visit a parcel of land (caught up in work) –
see oxen just purchased (caught up in possessions) –
recently married (caught up in relationships) –

not waiting expectantly for God’s banquet, not willing to sacrifice lesser things

Application to My Life:
Are you waiting expectantly for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb?

Are you willing to sacrifice lesser things for the greater blessing?

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host invites the “unworthy” and “undesirable” who are not distracted –

poor, crippled, blind could have given their own excuses –

based on grace and goodness of the host, not character of the guests –

roads & highways (Acts 1:8) =

Application to My Life:
What are your priorities in life?

Are you willing to go into the roads and highways to invite others to come to the Kingdom Banquet?


 

Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:
Icebreaker: What is one of your favorite parties you have given? Why?

1. Read Isaiah 25:6-9. How is this banquet a background for Jesus’ parable?

2. Read Luke 14:7-14. What attitude is Jesus challenging in the Pharisees?

3. Read Luke 14:15-20. How valid were the excuses given for not coming?

4. What priorities of the world distract you from the kingdom of God?

5. Read Luke 14:21-24. How do you think the poor, crippled, and blind felt coming to this royal banquet?

6. What is the significance of keeping going from streets and alleys to roads and highways to find guests for the banquet (see also Acts 1:8)?

7. With which character in this parable do you most identify? Why?

Kingdom Come: Greatest Mystery Ever

Kingdom Come 4: Greatest Mystery Ever

In case you missed the service, here is the outline from Steve’s sermon!

Mark 4:26-29, Matthew 13:31-44

 

the enormity and power of the kingdom of God –

 

secret, invisible life energy of a common seed –

 

the ground (John 6:44) =

 

we often don’t see or understand how God’s kingdom moves –

 

  1. Growth of the Kingdom is mysterious and powerful. Mk 4:26-29

 

Application to My Life:

How is the Kingdom seed in your life? A seed waiting to germinate? Many leaves for “show”, but little fruit? Fruit making more fruit?

 

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How is a tiny mustard seed a symbol for the kingdom of God?

 

birds turned into a positive symbol for –

 

How did Jesus turn the negative symbol of leaven into a positive?

 

a little leaven in a huge amount of flour –

 

2. Growth of the Kingdom starts small and unnoticed. Mt 13:31-33

 

Application to My Life:

How has the leaven of the Kingdom spread to transform your life?

 

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hidden treasure invites a search –

 

giving up everything (our ideas & expectations) for the Kingdom –

 

3. Value of the Kingdom is worth any price or sacrifice. Mt 13:44

 

Application to My Life:

Your choice: will you give up everything for kingdom treasure?

 

 

Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:

Icebreaker: With which symbol for the Kingdom do you most identify: hidden seed, mustard seed, leaven, buried treasure? Why?

1. Read Mark 4:26-29. What principles can we learn from the seed about how we should treat the growth of God’s kingdom?

  1. In what stage is the Kingdom seed in you: Still waiting to grow? Producing leaves that are seen, but little fruit? Bearing fruit that reproduces more fruit?

 

3. Read Matthew 13:31-32. What does the mustard seed teach about God’s kingdom?

4. How would birds as a symbol for Gentile nations be so difficult for the Jews hearing this parable? How do we demonstrate similar attitudes in the church?

  1. Read Matthew 13:33. How does Jesus turn leaven into a positive symbol? How did Jesus break past the Old Testament laws to reach out to everyone?

 

6. How has your life been saturated and transformed by the leaven of the Kingdom?

 

7. Read Matthew 13:44. How is the Kingdom a treasure in your life worth giving up everything (including your pre-conceived ideas and expectations)?

Kingdom Come: “Now-Not Yet” Restoration

summit-with-hands

Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:

Icebreaker: What is the most dramatic miracle of God that you have witnessed?

  1. Read Matthew 9:16-17, 35 & Isaiah 53:4.  Why do you think Jesus performed miracles in connection with proclaiming the message about the kingdom?  What then might be the purpose of miracles today?
  2. Read Matthew 10:1, 5-8.  What is the significance that the disciples were given the same message and same miracles to perform?
  3. What are you pursuing in your life?  Which do you pursue more:  God’s miracles or God Himself?  Why?
  4. Read Matthew 12:22-28.  Why do you think the Pharisees made this accusation when their own disciples used herbs and magic formulas in casting out demons?
  5. What evidence would the crowd and Pharisees have that Jesus was operating from the power of the Holy Spirit?
  6. How do you live out the principles of God’s kingdom as a citizen of the kingdom?
  7. Read the Eric Swanson quote below.  How can you participate in spreading the kingdom of God to structures around you?

“Through His miracles, Jesus gave us a picture of what the kingdom of God is and will be like… Spreading the kingdom of God is more than simply winning men and women to Christ.  It involves working toward shalom and the redemption of structures, individuals, families, and relationships as well as surprising others with unexpected deeds of grace, mercy, and justice.”

Tomorrow: Be there, Be the Church!

Guess what tomorrow is? KICK OFF! Hope you’re planning to join us at Victory Field at 2:30 for the picnic and head over to the church for the service at 5!  It’s going to be a lot of fun!  Just remember, bring food OR plan to buy something yummy from Jared’s Bagels/Micah’s Grill.  

We start off our prayer challenge tomorrow as well so check Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for our daily posts!

Can’t wait to see everyone there!

Kingdom Come: The Epicentre of the Kingdom

In case you missed yesterday’s sermon, Steve shared with us how Jesus is the epicentre of God’s Kingdom.  We studied through Luke and Mark discussing the promise and basis of Jesus’ kingdom: love and sacrifice.  You can find a link to listen to the sermons here.  Use the questions below to guide your further study or discussion within your life group!

 

Life Group Discussion/Personal Meditation Questions:
Icebreaker: What is a memorable time someone took advantage of you? What was your reaction?

1. Read Luke 1:31-35. What important statements about who Jesus is does the angel Gabriel make? Why those particular statements?

2. Mark 1:14-15 & Luke 17:20-21. What does it mean if the Kingdom of God has come near or in their midst? Is the Kingdom more than a realm?

3. Read Luke 7:19-23. How could John the Baptist be confused about who Jesus was? What misconceptions about God’s Kingdom might you have?

4. Read Mark 12:1-12 & Isaiah 5:1-4. How does these two stories overlap in expressing God’s view of Israel’s lack of being good stewards of their privilege?

5. What is the significance of the son being cast outside the vineyard and Jesus being crucified “outside the camp” in Hebrews 13:12?

6. Read Psalm 118:22. When Jesus quotes this verse (read during Passover) to the religious leaders, what is He saying about them and their future?

7. If a major kingdom theme is the truth that the Kingdom of God is for those of right heart, not a particular people group, then how might we make the same error assuming we are Kingdom people just because we attend church?