Monday, April 12, 2021

Philippians | Week 1 | Small Group Questions




Coastline Bible Church is doing an eight-week sermon series called: "Defined by Joy." The Apostle Paul helped plant the church in Philippi (see Acts 16) but never forget about them. They played a key role in supporting him as God called him to plant other churches. From this series we want to learn how to have our lives defined by joy and not circumstances. Paul modeled this well to the early church. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions | A Joyful Perspective | Philippians 1:1-11

The church in Philippi is the first recorded church started on a different continent! You can read about the roots of the church in Philippi in Acts 16. Paul help found the church and kept in close contact with them throughout his missionary journey. About a decade later he is writing them a letter of encouragement from a prison cell. Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and is awaiting trial in Rome. He is living in his own rented house while chained to Roman guards. This is important to keep in mind because the words Paul writes don’t sound like the sentences of a dejected prisoner, they are quite the opposite. Paul writes as a joyful man sharing joy with others! 

1) The church in Philippi was started by Paul and his traveling companions. If you read Acts 16 you will see that the church was comprised of a variety of a people. What do you love about the diversity of the local church and why? 

2) Paul was a well known leader in the church but introduced himself as a bondservant (read Philippians 1:1-2). While on earth, Jesus taught the disciples about serving others (see Mark 10:44-45). What is one way you can serve others this week? 

3) Read Philippians 1:3-6. Paul modeled an attitude of thankfulness, joy, and gospel partnership. Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to complain than to be joyful? Go around the group and share about what you’re thankful for.  

4) Paul had a great love for the church in Philippi (read Philippians 1:7-8). Jesus taught that love would be a defining characteristic of Jesus followers (read John 13:34-35). How are you doing at loving others? Where do you struggle with loving others?  

5) Read John 3:16-17. God sent His one and only Son because He loved the world. in Matthew 9:35-38 we read that Jesus had compassion people. How can you grow in your capacity to love others as the Bible teaches? 

6) Paul prayed for the church on a regular basis (read Philippians 1:9-11). Jesus taught people how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount (read Matthew 6:5-14) David encouraged us to pray early in the morning (Psalm 5:3). How is your prayer life helping your love to abound more and more?  

7) Paul longs for the church to be filled with the fruit of righteousness. Read Galatians 5:22-23 and talk about the fruit of the Spirit. Where would you like to grow as you wait for the day of Christ to return?  

Close your time in prayer by praying for: My Babies First Teacher. 

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Flawed but Faithful | Week 5 | Small Group Questions



Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Flawed but Faithful." This is going to be a unique sermon series because typically when we read the Bible we are looking for the text to be God-centric; meaning we put God at the center of our focus. But for five weeks we’re going to focus on the life of Peter. We’re going to see that Peter is a human just like us. We’re going to learn that Peter followed Jesus, stepped out in faith, tried to justify himself, and had wild ideas. We’re going to see that Peter is a flawed man who was faithful to God. Peter played a key role in building the local church and because of his faithfulness to Jesus we have the local church. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A  New Job Title ::: John 21

We started this series looking at Peter leaving his occupation as a fisherman to follow Jesus. For three years Peter followed Jesus, sat under His teaching, walked on water with Him, and knew the power that He had. Near the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter denied knowing Jesus in an attempt to protect himself. As Jesus hung on the cross Peter was no where to be found. In the throws of discouragement, Peter goes back to fishing. Things didn’t turn out how he had planned. In John 21 we read about Peter’s restoration as a disciple. Take note that this story takes place on the same shoreline that Jesus called Peter to leave everything and follow Him. 

1) In 2016 a group of university students put up a chalkboard on the sidewalk of a busy New York intersection. At the top of the board was written: “Write your biggest regret.” Share your biggest regret in life. 

2) Read John 21:1-3. Things didn’t turn out the way Peter and the other disciples planned so they returned to fishing. Their hope was for Jesus to be a conquering king not a humble servant (Mark 10:44-45). What do you do when your plans fail? 

3) Read John 21:4-9. A potential reason the disciples returned to fishing was to meet their physical needs. Share about a time when the Lord provided what your needed despite of your fears. (see Psalm 22:26, Matthew 6:31-32, & Philippians 4:19) 

4) For some reason the disciples seemed to not recognize Jesus (read John 21:4, Luke 24:13-32, and John 20:11-18. Share about a time that Jesus was working in your life but for some reason you didn’t recognize it was Him at work. 

5) The night that Jesus was betrayed Peter denied knowing Him three times. Read Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, and John 18:25-27. What do you think Peter was experiencing in the days after denying Jesus? How did he fell?   

6) Read John 21:15-19. Jesus takes Peter for a short walk and invites him back into the original plan of ministry. Where is Jesus inviting you to care for others? (see Romans 12:17, Philippians 2:3, Colossians 3:23, & 1 Peter 5:2). 

7) Although Peter had failures in his life, he didn’t allow the failures to define him. This account in John 21 would have been helpful for the early church. Share about a time you made a mistake and how the Lord used that mistake to encourage others.  

8) Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Response of Forgiveness



We all know that we can’t live in this world without being hurt by someone else. We have all been hurt. It might have been by a longtime friend, a family member, or someone we just met. As a pastor I’ve heard countless stories from people who’ve been wounded, mistreated, or taken advantage of. I’ve sat in my office, my house, and coffee shops hearing painful stories that have broke my heart listening to. Some people have chosen to forgive and others haven’t. 

When we refuse to forgive someone we give that person power in our life. Think about this with me. We have been wronged in a situation. For the next day, week, month, or maybe longer we think about the injustice that took place. We might perseverate on the actions of the other person. We play the scenario over and over again in our mind. It distracts us from living our life. We rehearse the conversation thousands of times. We think about what we will say to the person next time we see them. 

This is the hard part to grasp here. Most of the time the other person isn’t even thinking about the situation. They have forgotten it while we have let it dominate our life. We hang on to the past while the other person is happily living his/her life.  

You might have walked in this post today carrying the weight of that wrong that was done to you this week, this month, this year, or many years ago. If that is your situation I’ve been praying for God to speak to you today. 
If you have ever been wronged and struggled with forgiveness this message is for you. 
If you have been hurt in life by the actions of someone else, this message is for you. 
If you have hurt someone with your words or your actions, this message is for you. 

A Gracious King
To help Peter understand the extravagance of forgiveness Jesus tells us a story about a gracious king (read Matthew 18:23-27). True to His teaching nature, Jesus gives you and I an example of forgiveness that we will never forget. In this story the king represents God and the servant represents mankind. The servant represents you and me. The servant owed the master 10,000 bags of gold. This was an incomprehensible amount of money. Historians think that the entire wealth of the Roman Empire was around four to five thousand bags of gold in this time period. For Jesus to use that amount of money would have been incomprehensible. 

The man is unable to pay his debt so the order is given to sell his family and put him in jail until he can repay the master. In the ancient world selling people into slavery to pay off a debt was a common practice. The king knew he wouldn’t get all of his money back but at least he was able to recoup some of his costs by doing that. Look at verse 26 with me. At this… It’s almost as if the words barely left the kings mouth when the servant falls on his knees and begs for mercy. He makes  a promise that he will surely not be able to keep. There is no way he can pay back that debt. 

To the astonishment of Jesus’ original audience, the master had pity on him. The king had compassion on the plight of his servant. No stopping the conversation for deliberation. No consulting with the finance department. The king has the authority and cancels the debt right there. The audience would have been awestruck. They would have never forgotten the story. We’re talking about Peter. He was in the front row when Jesus said this. I imagine Peter sinking his head down a little when he realized how gracious this king is in comparison to what he thought was being generous with forgiveness. We learn a lesson from Peter and Jesus here: Forgiveness requires more than I think is reasonable. 

You might have heard the story about Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man in his apartment. On September 6, 2018, she returned home from work and went to what she thought was her apartment. She was off duty but still in her police uniform. The apartment door was ajar, she said, and when she entered she found a man inside. She fired her service weapon, killing him. It was a tragic loss of life. But let me show what is so unreasonable about forgiveness. This is the kind of forgiveness Jesus calls us to. This is the kind of forgiveness we’re invited to participate in. 


An Ungrateful Servant
Act two of our story begins now. The camera fades from the palace to the streets of the city (read Matthew 18:28-31). This is basically the same scenario re-enacted here. Only that this scene takes place between two servants. The amount of money is significantly reduced. The amount of money is possibly equal to 100 days of work. What is so starkly different is the response of the man who was forgiven such a huge debt. He uses violence in an attempt to get what is owed him. He starts out with choking this man for a third of the guys annual salary. 

The fellow servant responds with the exact same words that the first servant said to the king. Both men asked for patience and committed to pay back the entire sum of money. Just as the sum of money is sharply contrasted so is the response of the first servant. The first servant didn’t take pity on his fellow servant. He was bent on destruction. Look at verse 30. When Scripture says: “He refused” it means that he was unwilling. The man who had been shown mercy was unwilling to show mercy. He was unwilling, it was his decision not to forgive. Someone once said: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Here is an aspect of the Biblical story we can miss. There was a group of people who saw all that transpired. Someone is always watching how we act. They saw the malicious behavior of the servant and told the master. One of the core values at Coastline is: Grace happens here. What we are seeing from this servant is not grace. The king offered grace but not the fellow servant. Which is so difficult to understand because of what he was forgiven. We too need to offer forgiveness because we know the debt we’ve been forgiven. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” Martin Luther King Jr. Jesus is making sure we know that forgiveness isn’t natural and we must allow God to rule our hearts.

The Response of the King
We now move to act three of the story; the two original characters are back (read Matthew 18:32-35). To say the king is furious at the actions of this servant would be an understatement. The king wants us to treat others with love, respect, and compassion. He asks about showing mercy. Mercy is giving someone what they don’t deserve. It’s withholding power and showing compassion. This servant was shown compassion but couldn’t extend that same mercy to another servant for a far lesser debt. Jesus is teaching Peter that we need to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. Listen to this: “Here's the problem: We have a strong tendency to think we can receive forgiveness from God but not give it to others.” -Scott Wenig.  

I bet Peter never thought that Jesus would give him the lesson that He did to his question. Peter’s question about forgiveness needs to change the way we view forgiveness. If we are honest, we can all grow in this area. We can be more like the King. Let’s think about this story from a Heavenly perspective. Jesus, the only Son of God, came to earth. He lived a sinless life. He was betrayed by one of his closest friends. Jesus is the King. He is the King who went to the cross to cancel our debt that we couldn’t pay. Jesus chose death so we could have life. It seems to be a reckless decision but He did it on purpose. For us. 

This passage requires action on our part. I have one application for us today: offer forgiveness to someone who you’ve withheld forgiveness from. Who is holding your thought life captive because you keep thinking about how to get revenge on them? It won’t help. Studies show that whatever you’re willing to pay to get revenge on them won’t help. There is someone that you haven’t forgiven. They did something minor or horrible to you. You might need to call them today. This is the eight step in AA. It is to make amends for our short-comings. I’m not asking you to make excuses for a person, or to forget what they did, or to reconcile with the person. I’m asking you to sit with the Lord. Ask God for the power to make the decision to forgive that person. You might want to write the person a letter and let him/her know that you’re forgiving them. Make a choice to grow in emotional, spiritual, and relational maturity. Make the decision to forgive and let God rule your heart today. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Flawed but Faithful | Week 3 | Small Group Questions



Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Flawed but Faithful." This is going to be a unique sermon series because typically when we read the Bible we are looking for the text to be God-centric; meaning we put God at the center of our focus. But for five weeks we’re going to focus on the life of Peter. We’re going to see that Peter is a human just like us. We’re going to learn that Peter followed Jesus, stepped out in faith, tried to justify himself, and had wild ideas. We’re going to see that Peter is a flawed man who was faithful to God. Peter played a key role in building the local church and because of his faithfulness to Jesus we have the local church. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: The response of forgiveness ::: Matthew 18

Peter seems to have learned the lessons that Jesus has taught he and the other disciples. The story in Matthew 18:21-35 is the fifth and last account that is unique to the life of Peter. Peter was the most outspoken of all the disciples. You could even call Peter the leader or spokesman of the disciples. Peter asks Jesus a question that seems very generous for this time period. It was significantly over the cultural norm of the boundaries of forgiveness but it wasn’t enough for Jesus. The topic of forgiveness can be a painful subject for many. We have all been hurt at some time in our life. Many of us bear the scars of those painful situations. Be encouraged to start your time in prayer, asking Jesus to guide your conversation on forgiveness and power of forgiveness. 

1) Share about a time when you were hurt by someone and extended forgiveness to that person. Recount what it felt like to offer forgiveness. Did you feel better about the interaction or do you wish you didn’t offer forgiveness?  

2) Read Matthew 18:21-22. Rabbinical law says that you are to forgive a person three times when they have wronged you so Peter looked very generous. What do you think about Jesus telling us to forgive a person so many times? 

3) Neal taught us that forgiveness isn’t: making excuses, forgetting, or reconciliation. Read Psalm 103:12, Isaiah 64:9, and 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. What one of these was most helpful for you to learn/understand about forgiveness? 

4) To illustrate extravagant forgiveness, Jesus told a story (read Matthew 18:23-27). What do you think it would have felt like to have that large of a debt forgiven? Share about a time someone extended wild forgiveness to you. 

5) Immediately after being forgiven such a large debt, the servant acted wickedly (read Matthew 18:28-31). Why do you think this servant in acted in such a wicked manner after being forgiven? Read Luke 7:47 and talk about the response of forgiveness. 

6) The next move in the story brings up back to the two original characters (read Matthew 18:32-35). How has God shown us great mercy and we have failed to show that same mercy to others?   

7) Many people think that getting revenge will make them feel better. Studies show that the opposite is true. Read Matthew 5:38-48. How will you act on offering and asking for forgiveness this week? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Flawed but Faithful | Week 2 | Small Group Questions




Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Flawed but Faithful." This is going to be a unique sermon series because typically when we read the Bible we are looking for the text to be God-centric; meaning we put God at the center of our focus. But for five weeks we’re going to focus on the life of Peter. We’re going to see that Peter is a human just like us. We’re going to learn that Peter followed Jesus, stepped out in faith, tried to justify himself, and had wild ideas. We’re going to see that Peter is a flawed man who was faithful to God. Peter played a key role in building the local church and because of his faithfulness to Jesus we have the local church. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Walking on Water ::: Matthew 14

Last we studied the calling of Peter and today we will look at one of his greatest acts of trusting Jesus. Hours before this story took place the disciples watched Jesus feed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. After the miraculous feeding, Jesus instructed the disciples to meet Him on the side of the lake. They acted in obedience and it brought them into a treacherous storm. It was in the middle of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus came to them, walking on water. It seems that Jesus is breaking the laws of nature to care for His disciples. In fact, we learn that Jesus is the Lord of creation. But since we’re studying Peter we see his bravery in following Jesus by walking on water with Jesus! 

1) Neal shared about the catastrophic destruction that hurricane Katrina caused in the golf coast back in 2005. Share about a time in your when you were in a literal or figurative storm that caused you to trust God. 

2) Read Matthew 14:22-24. The disciples obeyed when Jesus asked them to get in the boat and head to the other side. Read John 8:51, 14:23, Acts 5:29, and Romans 2:13. Why is it easy to obey Jesus sometimes but other times it seems so difficult?  

3) In the middle of the storms of life, what keeps you committed to obeying the truth of God? Do you find it hard to remember the truth that Jesus has spoken to you in the dark times? Psalm 119:11 teaches us to hide God’s word in our hearts.  

4) We need to know what voice to listen to in the storm  (read Matthew 14:25-27). In the middle of the lake Jesus encouraged the disciples not to be afraid. What are you afraid of right now? Read Isaiah 41:10,  Genesis 15:1, and Psalm 118:6. 

5) Jesus said: “It is I” to the disciples. This would have made them think about what God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:1-15. Discuss the significance of Jesus declaring His deity to the disciples during that storm.  

6) Read Matthew 14:28-31. Peter is the one disciple who was courageous enough to get out of the boat. Two questions: What is holding you back from getting out of the boat and what is pushing you to step out of the boat this week? 

7) The first thing the disciples did was worship Jesus when He got in the boat. Read Acts 14:8-18. In the boat, Jesus permitted the disciples to worship Him. What does this teach us about Jesus being fully God and fully man? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

3 random thoughts on TV




A couple nights ago I was laying in bed trying fall asleep. I starting thinking about TV and what we watch. Growing up I loved Adam Sandler movies. I also watched Days of our Lives with my grandma. When I stayed home sick from school I enjoyed watching the Price is Right (confession: I still enjoy it). Charity and I have watched Survivor, The Amazing Race, and more together. 

Having seen the progress of the television I can share of my thoughts on this. I remember when you had to walk up to the TV to change the channel. I remember being a teenager sitting in front of the TV watching the Watts riots take place. I remember when TiVo came out (I know it's not called that anymore). I remember getting our first DVR. I remember switching to Hulu and cutting the cord. The way we interact with television content has changed in the last twenty years of my life. 

All of this didn’t go through my mind but it might provide some back story to where I’m going here. As I laid in bed I thought these three thoughts: 

1) Who decides what makes it on the news? 
I’m not sure when the news originated. I’m guessing it was once just word of mouth, then went to print, and now we have it on television. I wonder who sits in the News room and decides what makes it on the news. I’m guessing it’s the producer/director. I’m also guessing they are looking for stories that will get ratings. 

2) Reality TV stars make it because their life is so wild. They are less than 1% of the population.
I have three young kids. I remember when the first season of The Real World was aired on MTV. I thought to myself: this isn’t the real world. The goal was to find something so provocative and so compelling that people would want to watch. They created drama and it took off. The show, in my opinion, went downhill. It turned to: drinking, fighting, sex, and drama. But if the goal is to make money and attract views, they have succeeded. 

3) Most reality TV doesn't reflect reality. 
What is reality TV isn’t is reality. What if we are teaching the next generation that reality TV is what life is really like. I enjoy watching shows like: Alaska the Last Frontier and Homestead Rescue. I don’t enjoy the Real Housewives of any city or the Bachelor. I think the latter shows focus on drama. I think the prior shows are trying to show a different version of life. I don't know how to make the change but I'm aware of this as a father. 

So there you have it, my random, late night thoughts on TV. 

Monday, March 08, 2021

Flawed but Faithful | Week 1 | Small Group Questions


Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Flawed but Faithful." This is going to be a unique sermon series because typically when we read the Bible we are looking for the text to be God-centric; meaning we put God at the center of our focus. But for five weeks we’re going to focus on the life of Peter. We’re going to see that Peter is a human just like us. We’re going to learn that Peter followed Jesus, stepped out in faith, tried to justify himself, and had wild ideas. We’re going to see that Peter is a flawed man who was faithful to God. Peter played a key role in building the local church and because of his faithfulness to Jesus we have the local church. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Nothing but Net ::: Luke 5

If we were to write a short biographical sketch of the Apostle Peter it might look something like this: Born into a Jewish family in the region of the Sea of Galilee. Raised in a small fishing village called Capernaum. Followed the family trade and became a fisherman. Married. But those statistics don’t define Peter. In Luke chapter 5 we read about a wild encounter that Peter had with Jesus. Peter knew who Jesus was but now would be given a great decision of trusting Jesus. After an unsuccessful fishing trip, Peter catches the largest catch he’s ever seen. At this point Jesus invites Peter to follow Him as a disciple. This was a huge invitation for Peter to leave everything to follow Jesus. Study these questions and see what Jesus is inviting you to. 

1) Our sermon started with some actors who passed on high profile roles. In a sense they missed out. What is something that you feel like you missed out on in life? Can you point to an event that you wished would have gone different in your life? 

2) Read John 1:35-42. Near the Jordan river is when Peter first met Jesus. Jewish people were constantly looking for the Messiah (see John 4:25). Share a time when you brought someone to meet Jesus and how they responded. 

3) We don’t know how long it was until Jesus taught on the shore of the sea of Galilee (Read Luke 5:1-3). Peter was in the presence of Jesus. How do you practice being in the presence of Jesus (see Psalm 5:3, Mark 1:35, and John 1:43-51) 

4) Peter went from the back row to close proximately to Jesus (read Luke 5:4-5). Peter was willing to obey Jesus even when it didn’t make sense. Share about a time that Jesus asked you to do something that didn’t make sense.  

5) Obedience can be a tough thing because it goes against our will. Read Luke 2:51, Acts 6:7, Romans 16:19, and 1 Peter 1:14. Many of our heroes in the faith learn obedience. Where is God asking you to obey Him right now?  

6) Peter has a unique response to Jesus (read Luke 5:8-11). Share about a time when you recognized the depth of your sin and couldn’t handle being in the presence of God. How did that change your faith walk? 

7) This encounter gave Peter a new purpose in his life. He would now fish for men. Read Acts 2:37-41, 3:1-10, 4:8-13, and 10:34-46. Looking at the story in Luke and these accounts in Acts, how were these words of Jesus fulfilled?  

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Pursue- Week 4 Small Group Questions


Coastline Bible Church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Pursue." During this series we are going to study the Scriptures about loving God, loving others, living a holy life, and having a healthy marriage or preparing for marriage. This is a sermon series for everyone who is looking to have a little more love in their life. It seems there has been so much division in our Nation over the last several years. Marriages are growing cold. Dating relationships are falling apart under the stress of the pandemic. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A Thriving Marriage ::: Ephesians 5

We live in a culture obsessed with Pinterest weddings, shows about quick weddings, and finding love on television. On the contrary, the Biblical standard for marriage is much different than what culture presents to us. God established the marriage relationship in Genesis but the beautiful picture of marriage was quickly marred when sin entered the world. In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus he gives us detailed instruction for a thriving marriage. Paul provides an outline for couples to follow in the marriage relationship that can bring us back to God’s original plan. Paul longed to see married couples have longevity and be a witness to those around them. Paul’s instruction involves mutual submission and and an extra serving of love. 

1) Neal started the sermon by sharing about what football players are taught by NFL coaches. Each player is to do their best to help move the ball down the field. Are you trying to do your best to help your spouse succeed in your marriage?  

2) Read Ephesians 5:21. The Biblical command is for the husband and the wife to submit to each other because of their relationship to God. What are some practical ways that spouses can submit to each other as to the Lord? (see James 4:7).  

3) Paul instructed wives to submit to their husbands (read Ephesians 4:22-24). How come the word submission has such a negative connotation in our culture? Read Colossians 3:18 and 1 Peter 3:1 to talk more about submission in a positive light. 

4) The Biblical instruction for men is to love their wife (read Ephesians 5:25-32 & Colossians 3:19). How can men love their wife in the same way that Jesus loved the church? Read John 3:16 for one example of how Jesus loved the church.

5) Men are told to help lead their wife spiritually. What are some practical ways that men can lead their home spiritually? (see Proverbs 18:22 & 1 Peter 3:7). How can women support and encourage their husband in spiritual leadership? 

6) Read Ephesians 5:33. How come Paul told men to love their wife and the wife to respect her husband and not the other way around? Wouldn’t it make sense the other way since women tend to love better and guys understand respect? 

7) Neal invited every married couple to either find a mentor couple or invite a younger married couple to their home. What steps are you taking to invest in your marriage? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Pursue- Week 3 Small Group Questions




Coastline Bible Church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Pursue." During this series we are going to study the Scriptures about loving God, loving others, living a holy life, and having a healthy marriage or preparing for marriage. This is a sermon series for everyone who is looking to have a little more love in their life. It seems there has been so much division in our Nation over the last several years. Marriages are growing cold. Dating relationships are falling apart under the stress of the pandemic. For this sermon we had Doug Meye write the small group questions that go along with this sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Love for a Lifetime ::: 1 Corinthians 13

Pretty much everyone agrees that “love” is one of the most important concepts in relationships and life.  Yet, love is used in so many different ways, to describe so many different things, that it’s difficult to know what love really means. As followers of Jesus, we can begin here: God is the definition of love. Furthermore, God’s love for us shows us how to love others. The deepest and most intense expression of this kind of love is found in the marriage relationship. In this study we will dig into the kind of love that’s needed to make a marriage last a lifetime, and why those who love for a lifetime come to understand God’s love in a richer way. But this study goes way beyond marriage: it’s for all of us who want our everyday relationships to better express and experience a different kind of love.

1) As a group think of as many different phrases/sayings as you can that have the word love in them. (For example – It’s love that makes the world go round.) 

Read I Corinthians 13

2) Based on I Corinthians 13, do your best to define love in a single sentence? 

3) Many people have noted that you could easily replace the word “love” in I Corinthians with “Jesus.”  Try it with some of the phrases.  In what substantial ways does Jesus’ love differ from the love you described in question 1? 

4) The divorce rate in our culture is very high. What is the reason Jesus tell his listeners Moses grant a certificate of divorce in the OT law (Matthew 19:8)? What different kinds of things can make it so challenging for two people to stay married for the rest of their lives? How does Matthew 19:8 factor into these challenges?

5) In the sermon on Sunday, the following 4 exhortations were given to help marriages last a lifetime: Stay Married, Choose Love, Apply Grace, Invest Generously.  What is meant by each of these? Which one spoke the most loudly to you personally? How can you apply it? What would you add to these?

6) Author Gary Thomas has written a (wonderful) book on marriage, called Sacred Marriage. The subtitle of the book is: What if God Designed Marriage More to Make Us Holy than to Make us Happy? How do you respond to this subtitle? Why is the marriage relationship such a powerful instrument in God’s hand for us to become more like Jesus?  

7) As a church, Coastline wants to be a community which strengthens marriages, comes alongside those who have experience brokenness, and helps all experience the transforming power of Jesus in their lives and relationships. Having gone through this study, what do you most need from others in your groups.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Pursue- Week 2 Small Group Questions



Coastline Bible Church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Pursue." During this series we are going to study the Scriptures about loving God, loving others, living a holy life, and having a healthy marriage or preparing for marriage. This is a sermon series for everyone who is looking to have a little more love in their life. It seems there has been so much division in our Nation over the last several years. Marriages are growing cold. Dating relationships are falling apart under the stress of the pandemic. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Live in the light ::: Romans 13

The month of February tends to get our mind thinking about love. Love is in the air, love is on our mind, love is what more of us need. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome in anticipation of his upcoming visit. In chapter 13 we read about being prepared for the return of Christ and living a holy life. The Romans culture endorsed idol worship, sexual promiscuity, and appealing sexual behavior. It would have been increasing difficult for a Christ follower to not partake in this type of behavior. But, not partaking in this type of behavior would have helped the Christ-follower to stand out as an anomaly in the Roman culture. The call of living a holy life is what God desires for all of us. Take some time to go over these questions and figure out what it looks like to pursue a holy life and not a life dictated by following the desires of the flesh. 

1) Have you noticed an increase of co-habitation before marriage, a decreased desire for marriage, or increase in divorce? If so, what do you think is causing that? 

2) Read Romans 13:11-12. Why do you think Paul talked about the return of Christ in regards to us living a holy life? Read Mark 13:32-37 and talk about what Jesus instructed us in regards to His second coming. 

3) Paul encouraged the church in Rome to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. How is putting on the full armor of God and putting on the armor of light similar? 

4) Coastline longs to see people find freedom in Jesus Christ and be sanctified. Read:  John 16:1-11, Ephesians 4:22-24, Romans 12:2, and 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23. What does the Bible teach us about leaving a life of sin and following Jesus? 

5) Read Romans 13:13-14. Paul instructed the church to avoid any sexual sin. Read Matthew 5:32, Acts 15:20, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, and Ephesians 5:3. How do we avoid sexual immorality in a sex saturated culture? 

6) What does culture teach us about the value of marriage, the reason for marriage, or the meaning of marriage? What does the Bible teach us about a Biblical marriage? See Genesis 2:24 and Hebrews 13:4. How can our marriage make us holy?  

7) Paul’s instruction is to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). Read Colossians 3:12-17. As we live in a culture that is slowly degrading the value of marriage, how can we uplift marriage and clothe ourselves with Christ?  

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Monday, February 08, 2021

Pursue- Week 1 Small Group Questions



Coastline Bible Church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Pursue." During this series we are going to study the Scriptures about loving God, loving others, living a holy life, and having a healthy marriage or preparing for marriage. This is a sermon series for everyone who is looking to have a little more love in their life. It seems there has been so much division in our Nation over the last several years. Marriages are growing cold. Dating relationships are falling apart under the stress of the pandemic. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Love God, Love Others ::: Matthew 22

This week we kick off a brand new sermon series called: Pursue. For the month of February we’re going to focus on the love of God and how that impacts our lives. In Matthew 22 we read that the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus with a question. Jesus does a great job at summarizing the 600+ Jewish Laws into one statement. Jesus knew it was all about love. He encouraged us to focus on loving God, loving others, and loving ourselves. The words that so easily rolled off Jesus’ lips can be a tough teaching for us to implement in our lives. We have past hang-ups, negative interactions, and a poor ability to put boundaries in our lives. Before studying these questions, ask God to help you to understand love in a new way this week; a way that He loves. 

1) Neal started the sermon by sharing a story of a time when he had a difficult time loving someone he worked with. Think about a time in your life that you’ve had a hard time loving someone, how did you respond to that person? Did it work?  

2) Read Matthew 22:34-38. Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart. Read Psalm 73:25, 1 John 4:19, & 2 Corinthians 3:16. What does it look like to love God with our entire heart? What holds us back from loving God with all our heart? 

3) Jesus also invited us to love God with all our mind. There are some churches that want you to ‘check your mind at the door’ and simply trust. But Jesus invites us to love God with our mind. How can we love God with our mind this week? 

4) Next, Jesus invited us to love God with all our soul (Matthew 22:37). Read: Matthew 11:29, Mark 8:36-37, Luke 1:46 & 1 Peter 2:11. How do these passages provide instruction on what it looks like to love God with all our soul? 

5) Jesus added to the question and told us to love our neighbor as ourself (read Matthew 22:39). How come we don’t love others? Read 1 John 4:11, 1 Peter 4:8, Romans 12:9, & Ephesians 4:32. How can we love our neighbor this week? 

6) Neal said that one of the reasons we don’t know how to love our neighbors is that we don’t love ourselves. Read Micah 6:8, 1 John 3:1, and John 3:16-17. What holds you back from loving yourself? How can you grow in loving yourself this week? 

7) Jesus was able to answer the question with Scripture (read Deuteronomy 6:4). Do you feel confident in knowing God’s word so that you can answer questions based on Scripture? If not, how can you know God’s better? (see Psalm 119:11) 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Monday, February 01, 2021

Lean in to the Holy Spirit- Small Group Questions

Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Lean In" as we move into the New Year. There are so many parts of our lives that we don’t engage. We lean away from confrontation, difficult subjects, broken relationships, and things that require change. But what would happen if we began to lean in? What would change if we choose to lean in to God this year and see what He has for our lives? For five weeks we are going to lean in to different aspects of the Christian faith. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Lean in to the Holy Spirit ::: John 14

As we wrap up our sermon series Lean In, we are going to talk about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. We see the work of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. The Holy Spirit is rarely preached on and some people can think of Him as mysterious. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come on a person for a certain time or task but in the New Testament there is a change. in John14, Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would be their guide and comforter. We know that the Holy Spirit is a free gift of God; He is not something that can be purchased. One purpose of the Spirit is so we are not alone. The Holy Spirit helps us to accomplish the commands of God. Take some time to study these questions and lean in to the Spirit. 

1) One of the places we read the most about the Holy Spirit is in the book of Acts. We see the Spirit embolden the believers to do the work of God. Share about a time when you knew the Spirit was giving you power to do God’s work. 

2) Read John 14:15-21. Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit as a free gift. Meaning the Spirit is available to anyone and everyone who places their trust in Jesus. Read Acts 10:44-48 and talk about how the free gift of the Spirit was seen. 

3) In John 14:17-18, Jesus told the disciples that the world neither sees or knows the Holy Spirit. Read: Matthew 1:18, 3:16, and Luke 1:41. Talk about how God’s people saw the Holy Spirit at work in miraculous and tangible ways.  

4) Read John 14:22-24. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave us alone. Think of a time when you felt lonely and needed the Holy Spirit to help you. Read Acts 4:8-22 and talk about how the Spirit helped Peter when he needed it most. 

5) Some of Jesus’ final words were a commission to the early church (read Matthew 28:18-20). Read Acts 2:42-47, 8:34-40, 13:1-3, and16:11-15. What do these stories teach us about the obedience of the disciples? 

6) Read John 14:25-27. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would teach us and remind us of all the things that He said. Read Acts 4:8-22 and talk about how the Spirit gave Peter the words to speak.

7) Some believers have never really studied the work of the Holy Spirit in their life. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Paul encouraged the church not to “quench” the Holy Spirit. Can you ways to allow the Spirit to work more in your life? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

What would you change?


I heard a story a couple years ago about an older pastor who was leading a ministry to seniors. They were having a great evening together. They ate a meal and sang some of their favorite songs (hymns). The pastor then asked a couple questions: “How many of you would change your weekend plans to see your grandchildren?” 
Almost everyone raised their hand. 
His next question was: “How many of you would change your Christmas plans if your grandkids would join you?” Once again, almost everyone raised their hand. 
Then he asked: “How many of you would change your vacation plans if your kids would join you?” Nearly everyone. The audience was elated, you could tell they loved their family. 
The final question was: “How many of you would change your worship style so your grandchildren would know the Lord?” Only a few hands were raised; the joy was sucked out of the room. 

This story has always stood with me. How are we willing to change so much to spend time with our families but we are unwilling to sing a new song to the Lord? It doesn’t mean we can’t ever sing an old worship song. I'm grateful for the church I serve at and their willingness to sing a new song. 

So many people can get stuck wanting to hear that same song, that “oldie”, when God wants to do something completely new in our lives. When we sing a new song we can learn about the love of God. 

Singing a new song to the Lord would reflect a new orientation in our lives. 

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

As we lean in to worship, we are going to see that worship is active (read Psalm 96:1-3). 
The Psalm begins by setting up suspense for reader. It prompts our minds to think: “Why do we need to sing a new song?” This isn’t a song reserved for only the Israelites, this is a song for the entire world to sing. One thing we say here a lot is that the gospel is for everyone. Right here we read that other nations are starting to learn about the greatness of God. His renown is expanding so much so that the whole earth is encouraged to sing a new song to God. 

Singing a new song to the Lord reflects that there has been a life change in us. Think about a song that you once sang (tell us in the chat) and now you sing a new song. You might have loved to go to the clubs on Saturday night but since you met the Lord you are singing a new song. You used to listen to Bob Marley and smoke weed all week long but God put a new song in your heart. Now you praise the Lord. Look at what Paul said to the church in Ephesus (read Ephesians 5:8). You were once in darkness. When you lived in darkness you sang that songs that were played in the darkness. When you start to worship the Lord it changes your mind and your focus. You are walking in the light of the Lord. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Lean in to Worship- Small Group Questions


Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Lean In" as we move into the New Year. There are so many parts of our lives that we don’t engage. We lean away from confrontation, difficult subjects, broken relationships, and things that require change. But what would happen if we began to lean in? What would change if we choose to lean in to God this year and see what He has for our lives? For five weeks we are going to lean in to different aspects of the Christian faith. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Lean in to Worship ::: Psalm 96

When you talk about worship in a church the first thing that most people think about is worship through music. It’s what we’re accustomed to when we think about worship. When we look at the entirety of Scripture we read that worship is more than singing. In Psalm 96 we are instructed to sing a new song to the Lord. The instruction is because a new song can be from a new thing that God is doing in our lives. But it’s more than singing. We are are taught to proclaim and declare the glory of God. Our speaking the truth of God is a form of worship because it draws the unbeliever closer to Jesus. Worship is singing, sharing the good news of Jesus, and giving. Our giving is an act of worship and an example of trusting the Lord. Work through the following questions. 

1) Neal shared a story about teaching at Mount Hermon and reminding students that God is not a feeling. When you think about worship do you seek out God as a feeling or are you seeking out the God of creation? 

2) Read Psalm 96:1-3. The Psalmist teaches us that worship is active. Read Psalm 95. What are the different ways that these two Psalms teach us to make our worship active? What one do you want to practice in your worship this week? 

3) Psalm 96 teaches us to proclaim the salvation of the Lord day after day. Read Matthew 9:35, Mark 1:14, and Luke 4:43. How do these passages encourage us to share our faith? When was the last time you shared your faith as an act of worship?  

4) Read Psalm 96:4-6. The Psalmist teaches us that the Lord is great and worthy to be praised. Read Psalm 8 and talk about the worthy things that the Lord has done. Share a story of when God was great in your life. 

5) Part of worship is remembering who we are worshipping. We live in a time where idol worship is lifted high. Read Exodus 20:1-6, Acts 14:8-18, 2 Corinthians 6:16, and 1 John 5:21. What is so detrimental about idol worship? 

6) Read Psalm 96:7-10. The Psalm has a repetitive theme to keep us focused on the Lord. Verse 9 tells us to tremble before the Lord. Read Exodus 34:29-35 and 1 Kings 19:12-18. Do you think these men trembled in the presence of the Lord? 

7) Read Psalm 96:11-13 and 150:6. So often we think of worship as only singing songs but what we are really learning is that worship is a lifestyle. How do you want your lifestyle to change to be more worshipful? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

There are two seas in Israel


A couple years ago I visited Israel. On that trip we had an opportunity to visit the two different seas in Israel. As we drove south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea our trip leader told us a story of the two different seas in Israel. It sent something like this: 

In Israel there are two seas. One is the Sea of Galilee and the other is the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is beautiful, the water is blue and life is thriving in there. Trees line the banks. Families travel there in the summer to splash in the water. Fish swim throughout its bounds. 

The Jordan River flows into this Sea from the sunny hills to the north. The snow melt travels down. On the south end the Jordan river continues to flow into another sea. The Jordan is used to irrigate fields and trees. Flocks drink its water and find life. Families are sustained with the life it gives. 

The Jordan flows south into the Dead Sea. Here there are no fish swimming, no birds flying above, no kids playing in the water and no families surrounding the shoreline. No man or animal can drink of this sea. Life does not exist in the Dead Sea. 

One might wonder: What makes this enormous difference between these neighboring bodies of water? Does something happen in the Jordan that turns the water bad? No. 
The water that flows into each body is good water. It’s not the soil, the people, or the geography of the land. The difference is that the Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the water. For every drop it receives it also gives back. The Sea of Galilee gives equally as it receives. The Sea of Galilee is generous. 

At the other end, the Dead Sea keeps the Jordan. It hordes all the water that is poured into it. Every drop is kept for itself; it never sends water elsewhere. It selfishly keeps all that is given to it with no thought of giving. 

There are two Seas in Israel. The Sea of Galilee is generous and giving while the Dead Sea shares nothing. What sea best represents your life? What sea do you want to be like? I think that God gives us money to steward, not to posses. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Lean in to Generosity- Small Group Questions


Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Lean In" as we move into the New Year. There are so many parts of our lives that we don’t engage. We lean away from confrontation, difficult subjects, broken relationships, and things that require change. But what would happen if we began to lean in? What would change if we choose to lean in to God this year and see what He has for our lives? For five weeks we are going to lean in to different aspects of the Christian faith. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Lean in to Generosity ::: 2 Corinthians 9

To lean in is the opposite of running away. In this sermon sermon series we are leaning in to how God wants to shape and form our lives. Almost 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul started a church in a city he never visited; he choose to lean in to loving people. After leaving that church he wrote them about living a generous life. Paul instructed them on what do with their financial means. Giving isn’t reserved only for the rich but giving is act of faith. Giving is one way to say: “God I trust you with everything I have.” We want to lean in to all that God has for us. Today we’re going to focus on leaning in to generosity. We want to lean in to what the Bible teaches us about what to do with our financial resources and we want to be obedient to follow God’s word. 

1) Neal opened the sermon by talking about the RAS (reticular activating system) that helps our brain choose what to process. Share about something that your RAS has highlighted at one time or another in your life. 

2)Paul writes to the church in Corinth about being generous with their financial resources (read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). In general, what are your thoughts about giving to God? How did you originally format this thought process?  

3) Paul instructs the church in Corinth to be cheerful and decisive in their giving. Read Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus was decisive in his giving and gave half his possessions to the poor. What does it look like to be deceive and cheerful in your giving?  

4) Read 2 Corinthians 9:8-9. God promises to give us what we need but not what culture says we must have. Share about how you have fallen into thinking that wants are needs and been mislead on financial purchases. 

5) Giving reflects a deep trust in Jesus. Read Luke 21:1-4. This woman was acting in obedience to God and her experience with God (see Malachi 3:10). What sticks out to you most about this woman and her trust in the Lord?

6) In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke these words (Matthew 6:19-24). What makes it easier for a person to store up treasures on earth than in heaven? What do you think about Jesus’ words in verse 24, can a person serve two masters?  

7) When we trust our financial situation to God, He will provide all we need (read 2 Corinthians 9:10-11). Share about how you’ve seen God provide for your needs because you’ve made a commitment to trusting Him with your finances. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

16 thoughts on 16 years of marriage


Last week Charity and I celebrated 16 years of marriage. It was a pretty surreal experience. We were able to get a hotel room in the same place we celebrated our honeymoon in San Diego. We stayed at the Hotel del Coronado. Coronado Island has many great memories for us. It’s the first place we celebrated a Valentine’s Day. We would visit the beach there. We loved to walk downtown there.

On the drive to San Diego we talked about some of the highlights and hard times in our marriage. We talked about supporting each other during school, having kids, vacationing, making marriage a priority, and much more. 

When we returned home it prompted me to write this post. I’m not going to expand on each point but if you’d like to talk about them let me know: 

1. Our marriage is stronger because we’ve chosen to seek God first
2. Listen to your spouse 
3. Over-communicate on anything and everything 
4. Make dating your spouse a priority 
5. We’ve chosen to make vacations/adventures a priority 
6. Lots of couples fight over money and it’s not worth fighting over 
7. Life is well spent eating sushi together 
8. If you’re spouse is interested in it, find a way to be interested 
9. Don’t neglect your sex life, make that a high priority 
10. Look for ways to bless your spouse (don’t be selfish) 
11. Find creative ways to surprise your spouse with things he/she will love
12. Take lots of pictures, you will want to look back on them later 
13. Focus on a healthy marriage, not a perfect marriage
14. There are times to listen and times to offer advice 
15. Pray for each other and together; you can never have enough prayer
16. Make sure to tell your wife that she is beautiful every time you think it; she can’t read your mind 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lean in to Scripture- Small Group Questions

Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Lean In" as we move into the New Year. There are so many parts of our lives that we don’t engage. We lean away from confrontation, difficult subjects, broken relationships, and things that require change. But what would happen if we began to lean in? What would change if we choose to lean in to God this year and see what He has for our lives? For five weeks we are going to lean in to different aspects of the Christian faith. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Lean in to Scripture ::: Psalm 19

Today we’re starting a brand new sermon series at Coastline called; Lean In. There are three reasons that people avoid Scripture. First, we're not sure if God's word is trustworthy. In Psalm 19 we read that the Law of the Lord is perfect. We learn that God’s precepts are trustworthy. We learn how to have a reverent fear for the Lord. We are keen at seeing imperfections in others but fail to see the perfect value of the Bible. Second, we're not sure if it's practical. It is easy to think that because the Bible is so old that it's antiquated. We forget that Scripture transcends time and culture. There are practical lessons for us to learn today. Third, we don't know how to apply it to our lives. When we don't read the Bible we fail to learn how to apply it to our lives. We are so inundated with information that we rarely apply life change. We long for the easy life. Work through these questions either alone or with some others and grow in Scripture. 

1) Neal shared a story about a neighbor in college and how their conversation prompted him to read the Bible on a daily basis. What was a catalyst for your reading the Bible on your own? Where are you currently reading in the Bible? 

2) One reason people don’t read the Bible is that they don’t think it’s reliable. Read Psalm 19:7 and talk about how God’s words perfect. Share a story when reading the Bible was the perfect words you needed for that exact time. 

3) Thinking about the Bible being perfect, read Psalm 12:6-7. Share a time time in your life that you considered participating in sinful behavior. How did the word of the Lord protect you from participating in that wicked behavior? 

4) Another reason people don’t read the Bible is because they don’t think it’s practical. Read Psalm 19:8 and talk about God’s word can be our personal conduct. Share about how the Bible has been practical in a life situation you encountered. 

5) Read Hebrews 4:12. The author teaches us that the word of God is alive and active. He goes on to share that it judges our thoughts, attitude, and heart. Can you think of a time that God’s word impacted your thoughts, attitude, or heart? 

6) A final reason people don’t read their Bible is because they don’t know how to apply it to their life. Read Psalm 19:9. So often we think about fear as being scared. What does Psalm 19 and Proverbs 1:7 teach us about fearing the Lord? 

7) Read Psalm 119:11 and 105. the Psalmist teaches us how the word of God is applicable in our life when we apply it. Talk about ways that you have applied God’s word to your life and share what the outcome has been. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Christ the King :: Small Group Questions



Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Searching for Christmas." As we approach the Christmas season we wanted to take a look at some of the most famous words ever spoken about Jesus. We might be familiar with the New Testament accounts of Jesus but what if we looked back, hundreds of years earlier, to the prophecies spoken about Jesus. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Christ the King ::: Isaiah 9

The Christmas season is filled with a variety of emotions. Single parents might be trying to add an extra shift so they can afford that special gift for their child. A couple might be trying to balance the calendar in anticipation that family will be visiting. Or a student might be working their hardest to figure out how to surprise his/her parents on Christmas Eve. With the current climate many plans are in limbo, canceled, or on pause. It seems that some people are affected greatly while others aren’t feeling the impact as badly. As we study Isaiah 9 we read that the coming Christ will bring light to the darkness we’re experiencing. Isaiah gives four attribute names to the Son of God. Take some time to study the following questions together.  

1) One of the most watched Christmas movies of all time is Home Alone. Kevin is left at home while his family travels to Paris. Once they realize the mistake, the family is in distress. Are you feeling any distress this Christmas season? 

2) Isaiah let God’s people know that they no longer need to walk in darkness (read Isaiah 9:1-2). Talk about how Jesus has set you free from dark behaviors you participated in and has brought you into His wonderful light. 

3) Jesus said that He is the light of the world (read John 8:12). Jesus also told us that we are the light of the world (read Matthew 5:14-16). What are we doing to actively shine the light of Jesus this Christmas season? 

4) Read Isaiah 9:6-7. This is one of the most famous prophecies about Jesus. Read the four names that describe Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. What role of Jesus do you need right now? 

5) Focusing on the first two names of Jesus. Neal taught us that Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor and not a consoler. We also looked at Jesus being a Mighty God. Read Matthew 8:5-10, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 7:11-17, and John 8:1-11. What account about the power of Jesus sticks out most to you? 

6) Focusing on the final two names of Jesus: Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. How do you relate to God as Father? (read John 8:42-47 and Romans 8:14-17). Where do you need Jesus to bring peace in your life this Christmas season? (Read Mark 5:21-34, Luke 24:36 and John 14:27) 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Monday, December 07, 2020

9 Ingredient Top Ramen



This is not a food blog, I'm just a guy who knows how to eat Top Ramen! For years I've been doctoring up my Top Ramen. Don't get me wrong, I started like many of you. I boiled the noodles, put the seasoning in the water, and thought I was done. I'm not sure how it started, who prompted it, or where it came from but it's turned into a game to see how many ingredients I can add to my Top Ramen. 

This weekend I made my latest rendition of my favorite winter soup (when I only have 15 mins and I'm hungry). 

Use some common sense in following my directions:
Boil water

While the water is boiling, use this time to cut some celery and carrots. The best way for the carrots is to peel them so they cook quicker. If you have an onion around, this is a good time to add some of that to your healthy vegetable pile. 

Once the water is boiling:
Add Top Ramen

While that is going on, get a bowl on the counter and add the following: 
Top Ramen Season Packet
Pepper
Slice of butter
Tabasco (I do about 10-11 hits on the bottle)

About this time your noodles are close to ready. This is important: you need to get out any excess water that won't fit in your bowl. Once you've done that you can move on to being a master chef: 
Crack egg into boiling noodles with water and stir. This is kind of like egg drop soup! 
In about 30 seconds you can add your vegetables to the soup. 

At this point I give it enough time to help my kids get a drink (maybe a minute). Then I pour the entire contents of the pot on the stove in to the  bowl on the counter. If you get some hot water in the bowl first, you can stir in the seasoning packet (it's easier now). Then let it all go in the bowl and stir. 

Now, you get some cheese and break it up on top! Oh ya, cheesy goodness! 

Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Hope for the Hopeless :: Small Group Questions


Coastline Bible Church is doing a five-week sermon series called: "Searching for Christmas." As we approach the Christmas season we wanted to take a look at some of the most famous words ever spoken about Jesus. We might be familiar with the New Testament accounts of Jesus but what if we looked back, hundreds of years earlier, to the prophecies spoken about Jesus. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Hope for the Hopeless ::: Isaiah 7

In the Christmas season it seems that everyone is searching for something. You might be searching for the perfect gift for a family member. You might be searching for a new apartment for the new year. You might be on the hunt for a new job. When we open our Bibles to Isaiah 7 we see that Israel was searching for Hope. The King of Assyria was planning to attack the region of Israel. King Ahaz had allied himself with two local kings to increase his odds of survival. At this point the prophet Isaiah approaches Ahaz and encourages with a word from the Lord. The spoke truth to the young king to help him thrive in his role in leading God’s people. Unfortunately the king didn’t heed the wisdom of the Lord and lead God’s people astray. Keep in mind that the words of Isaiah were spoken about 700 years before Jesus was born. 

1) Neal started the sermon by sharing about a jacket that he searched for as a gift for his wife last Christmas. What are you searching for this Christmas? Is it a present, a new living situation, hope, forgiveness, peace, or something else? 

2) Read Isaiah 7:1-2. Israel was in a tough predicament. King Ahaz was pressured into a coalition with two local kings. Think about a time you were pressured into a relationship or agreement. How did it turn out? 

3) As we search for Christmas, Isaiah gives us a roadmap on how to keep up our search (read Isaiah 7:4). What one statement do you need to work on most? 

4) The Christmas season can bring much joy and much fear in people’s lives. The Bible gives us over sixty verses about not being afraid. (Exodus 14:13, Numbers 14:9, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 27:1) What are you afraid of right now? 

5) Isaiah spoke these words of comfort to the young king (read Isaiah 7:7-9). It was God’s promise to provide for and to protect the king but he wouldn’t listen. Read Proverbs 4:25-27 and talk about being faithful to our Lord. 

6) We come to one of the most known prophecies of Jesus (read Isaiah 7:10-14). The nickname that Jesus would be given is Immanuel meaning: God with us. Talk about how you’ve actively seen God at work in your life. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online?