7/7/19 Sermon Questions

1 Hit Wonders

Matthew 16:13-19

Life Group Questions:

• How would you answer the question, “Who is Jesus?”

• Share a time when you have entered into a conversation about Jesus with someone who has a different worldview than you. How did the conversation go?

• Why is it so important that discovery of Jesus is a personal discovery?

• Read Matthew 16:15-18. What do you see about Peter and Jesus’ interaction? Why was this conversation crucial to the ministry that was ahead for Peter?

• What is your takeaway from this week’s sermon?

• How can our life group pray for you this week?

Sermon Notes and Scripture:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-19

1. WHEN WE TELL CHRIST WHO HE IS, HE VERIFIES WHO WE ARE.
2. WHEN WE CONFESS BOLDLY, THE CHURCH IS UNSTOPPABLE.
3. THE CROWD MAY HAVE ANSWERS, BUT NOT THE RIGHT ONES.

TWO QUESTIONS:
1. WHO DO YOU SAY JESUS IS? AND, HOW HAS THAT TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFE?
2. WHO DOES JESUS SAY THAT YOU ARE? AND HOW HAS THAT TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFE?

7/7/19 Sermon Questions

1 Hit Wonders

John 12:27-34

 

Life Group Questions:

  • Look at verse 27 of this passage and what Jesus says. What does His conversation with God the Father show about how He felt/thought about His purpose here on earth?
  • What did Jesus want glorified from His obedience?
  • What did some people hear when God the Father spoke in this passage? How about the others in the crowd?
  • Look at John 11:40. What did Jesus say about the glory of God?
  • What does the Greek word “glorify” mean?
  • How is your life “spotlighting” who God is to a watching world?
  • Read John 12:30. How does this verse show that God is actively involved in your life?
  • How can you be specifically praying for your Me to We this week?

 

Scripture:

John 12:27-34 New International Version

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

Patriotic Celebration marks 50th milestone

Our annual Patriotic Celebration received more buzz than ever this year as we celebrated 50 years of honoring our military heroes and thanking God for the true freedom we have in Jesus Christ.

To help recognize the big milestone, we invited all former choir and orchestra directors back for the celebration. We’ve had six directors in total during that time:

  • Bruce Erickson (1970-1983)
  • Otis Skillings (1984-1989)
  • Doug Thiesen (1990-1998)
  • Renee Cooper (1999 to 2001)
  • Kristyn Thor (2002)
  • Eric Walker (2003-2007)
  • Renee Cooper (2008 to present)

Renee Cooper, who serves as our classic worship director, was our director again this year and is the longest-serving director in the group. Bruce Erickson, our first director, attended this year’s festivities, and a few others were unable to attend but did send us videos sharing wonderful memories of the event.

According to Bruce, Patriotic Celebration started in 1970 as a way to bring together a divided country/community during the Vietnam War. It was a positive offering and initially took place at the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell – sometimes after the Fourth of July and sometimes in June. The celebration began with one night, was eventually expanded to three nights, and then scheduled for two nights once it moved to the current First Free Rockford main campus.

In addition to special outreach for past directors, we also invited all former choir and orchestra participants to celebrate with us this year. We had people join us from many states, including Texas, Florida, Michigan and South Carolina. More than 200 volunteers total helped organize and participated in the event, and over 2,100 people attended the celebration performances.

The color guards from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Rockford Police Department presented the colors both nights, and our procession of veterans was once again a highlight for the crowd. A freewill offering collected during the program are being divided between three local veterans’ nonprofits: The Veteran’s Drop-in Center, the Oscar Mike Foundation and Brightening Veteran’s Lives (Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 984 Rockford).

6/30/19 Sermon Questions

1 Hit Wonders

Matthew 4:1-11

 

Life Group Questions:

  • How did you grow in your understanding this week of how faith is tested?
  • Has your faith ever been tested? What was revealed about your faith during that time of testing?
  • Do you ever allow your circumstances to dictate who God is to you?
  • What was Jesus’ response to Satan? What can we learn and apply from His example?
  • How do you see the heart of God in this passage?
  • How can our life group pray for you this week?

 

Scripture:

Matthew 4:1-11 New International Version

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

6/23/19 Sermon Questions

1 HIT WONDERS

Week 3: Matthew 9:27-30

 

Life Group Questions

  • Do you think Jesus would be amazed by the amount of faith you have? Why or why not?
  • What had these blind men in Matthew 9 just witnessed Jesus do?
  • In the Christian faith, believing leads to seeing. Belief comes first. Where do we see that in this passage? (Matthew 9:27-31)
  • How can that translate to your life and faith? (Hebrews 11)
  • Pastor Luke said that what we pray about reveals what we believe to be true of God. As you look at your prayer life, what bold prayers are you praying right now?
  • Read Colossians 4:2. What does this verse say is important as we pray? How can you be expectant in the waiting?
  • A faith that is tested is a faith that can be trusted. Share your favorite Biblical example of this.
  • Is there an area of your life that Jesus is calling you to walk by faith in?
  • Where is the Holy Spirit calling you to action that you don’t fully understand?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” – Matthew 9:27-30

 

FAITH THAT PLEASES GOD

1) A FAITH THAT BELIEVES WHAT IT CAN’T SEE. (Heb. 11:1; Matt. 9:28)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1

28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. – Matthew 9:28

 

2) A FAITH THAT ENDURES DESPITE THE OUTCOME.

Calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors… – Matthew 9:27b-28a

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

 

3) A FAITH THAT LEADS TO ACTION WHEN WE DON’T UNDERSTAND. 

22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. – James 2:22

6/16/19 Sermon Questions

1 HIT WONDERS – Week 2

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Matthew 4:18-22

Life Group Questions:

  • Have you ever wondered why the disciples dropped everything and followed Jesus? Why do suppose they did?
  • What did you learn about Hebrew schooling and learning?
  • How does your perspective of the calling of the disciples change when you know the background of Hebrew schooling and the fact that they were fishermen?
  • How have you seen God choose “the willing?” How does that encourage you?
  • How have you made yourself available to what God has asked you to do?
  • Is there something that Jesus has been calling you to drop so you can be with Him?
  • What does this passage reveal about the heart of Jesus?

Sermon Notes and Scripture:

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Psalm 119:103 says: “how sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

 “because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” – Matthew 7:29

BEING A MATTHEW 4 DISCIPLE:

  1. JESUS DOESN’T CHOOSE THE BEST, HE CHOOSES THE WILLING.

“God skipped all the wise that day! The great scholars were in Egypt; the great library was in Alexandria; the great philosophers were in Athens; the powerful were in Rome. He passed over Herodotus the historian and Socrates the great thinker and Julius Caesar. He chose men so ordinary it was comical. No Rabbis, no teaches, no religious experts, not even… a synagogue ruler! Half were fisherman, one was essentially an IRS agent, and one was a former terrorist.” – John MacArthur

  1. HE CHOSE US, NOT WE HIM.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. – John 15:16

  1. JESUS WANTS US TO BE WITH HIM.

“Follow me.” (vs.19)

  1. FOLLOWING JESUS MEANS THAT HE IS THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES.

6/9/19 Sermon Questions

ONE HIT WONDERS

Luke 10:38-42

 

Life Group Questions

  • What is keeping you busy in your life?
  • Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Would you say Jesus has a preference?
  • In verse 42, what does Jesus say about Mary?
  • How would you respond to this saying, “busyness equals faithfulness?”
  • In what ways do you see fear driving Martha to busyness?
  • Have you ever replaced a relationship WITH God for trying to earn approval through busyness FOR God?
  • How can you implement rest and a time of pause in your week so that you can hear from God?
  • Pastor Luke gave a few practical ideas to implement. What are you going to do this week?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

 

Here’s the MYTH He shatters: Busyness = faithfulness

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. – Psalm 127:1-2

 

THE QUESTION IS NOT, “WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? “THE QUESTION IS: WHAT DOES HE WANT ME TO DO?”

  1. SLEEP!   

he grants sleep to those he loves. – Psalm 127:2b

  1. REFUSE TO WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW! 

 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength… 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:13,19

  1. CREATE SOME MARGIN!
  2. OBSERVE THE SABBATHS.

Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to learn wisdom! – Psalm 90:12

 

TWO QUESTIONS:

  1. If I looked at my calendar, what would it show me that I prized and pursued most?
  2. What is God calling me to do?

6/2/19 Sermon Questions

ACCIDENTAL PHARISEES

Week 6: Romans 12:3-8

 

Life Group Questions

  • How would you define what “gift projection” is?
  • Where have you seen “gift projection” play out?
  • Have you ever projected your gift on others? What was the outcome?
  • What did Pastor Luke say our giftedness should start with? How do they go hand in hand?
  • How has your spiritual gift made you uniquely different from others? How are you using your gift to build up the body of Christ?
  • What are some of the gifts and callings in your life that you would be most likely to pass onto others?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

  1. GIFTEDNESS ALWAYS STARTS WITH HUMILITY.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. – Romans 12:3

  1. OUR GIFTS DON’T MAKE US BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE, JUST UNIQUELY DIFFERENT.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:4-8

  1. OUR GIFTS ARE TO BE USED FOR THE KINGDOM, NOT FOR BEATING OTHERS DOWN THROUGH DRIVE-BY GUILTINGS.

05/26/19 Sermon Questions

ACCIDENTAL PHARISEES

Week 5

Life Group Questions

  • During our current Accidental Pharisees series, what do you sense God doing in your heart?
  • Before this series, how did you think about The Pharisees? How do you view them now?
  • In what ways is God challenging you right now?
  • Is there an area of your life or spiritual life that you have on rose colored glasses as it pertains to the past?
  • In what ways have you allowed cynicism taint your view of the Church, Christian leaders and culture?
  • If someone asked you, “How can we learn from the past without idolizing the past,” what would you tell them?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. – Ecclesiastes 7:10

Larry Osborne says it this way in his book: “holy cynicism has an eagle’s eye of what’s wrong and a bat’s blindness of what’s praiseworthy today.” – Larry Osborne

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. – Luke 11:47-51

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47

 

  1. IGNORING THE GREAT COMMISSION

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:4-8

 

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. – Acts 8:1-4

  1. THEY RAN OUT OF MONEY
  1. THE GENTILE PROBLEM

 

LOOKING CLEARLY INTO THE PRESENT

  1. FIND THE GOOD AND PRAISE IT.
  1. SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.

5/19/19 Sermon Questions

Accidental Pharisees

Part 4: Ephesians 4:1-6

 

Life Group Questions

  • Share a story of a time where you saw true unity (as described in our sermon) happen and the results that followed.
  • Contrast that with a time in which you saw a group of people who were not unified. What were the differences you noticed in these two scenarios?
  • How would you describe the difference between unity and uniformity? How have you seen these two played out in the Church?
  • Read verses 2-3. Share a time in your life that someone lived out one of these characteristics in your life.
  • Why is unity so important for us as the Church?
  • Where do you need to seek unity, not just uniformity, this week?
  • How are you doing at loving people that are different than you? (John 13:35)
  • How are you pursuing oneness and not just sameness?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV)