Thursday, July 02, 2020

Racism isn't Biblical


On Sunday June 28, I preached against racism. At the bottom of this post I'll share the entire worship gathering. This post isn't about that sermon but about resources that we all need to read to understand the deep seated racism happening in our world. Not just our world, but our nation. Not just our nation, but our cities. Not just our cities but our churches. Some people have allowed subtle and overt racism to take place in their life and we need to actively work to stop that.

Sunday June 28 follow up email

Hi Coastline,

This morning we kicked off a brand new sermon series. At the end of our worship gathering I shared that I would send an email with follow up resources. We want to engage our mind so we can apply what God asks of us in our actions.

Here are some links/ideas to books, videos, and resources to help us have a Biblical view of the harm of racism.

Scripture to read
Genesis 1:26-27
Galatians 3:28-29
Romans 10:12
Micah 6:8
John 3:16
Colossians 3:11

Books to consider 
Not all the books on my list are from Christian authors. Most are, but some are not. That means there might be language or stories told that you might not agree with. My hope has always been to read far and wide. Please note that not all thoughts represented in these books are the belief(s) of Coastline but are the authors own thoughts. We are seeking to grow and learn during this time from others. If you are curious about a certain book, reply to this email and let's talk about it.

Divided by Faith

Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Woke Church

Just Mercy 

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Small Great Things: A Novel 

A Movie to watch 
Just Mercy (Currently free for Amazon Prime customers)
https://amzn.to/3hYJfCA

For Families
ARTICLE: Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Talking to Your Kids About Racism

Sermon:

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A Prayer For Marriages


About two months ago I read an article explaining how marriages are struggling during the pandemic. Having grown up in a divorced home, I was interested and kept reading. The author went on to share that domestic violence is increasing, child abuse is on the rise, and marriages that were struggling are splitting apart at the seams. The article shared that the pandemic would cause an increase in divorce rates around the world. I stopped and thought about how much pain would be felt from this. I hurt for the kids who see their parents fighting. My heart sinks for the spouses who have to move out. I thought about the divide that might happen because of this. Then it hit me; we need Jesus.

I started thinking about what Paul said to the church in Ephesus:
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

As I think back on life, no one told me that my marriage would be easy. But people did tell me that marriage would be worth it!

We are living in a time where the word of God is diminished and devalued.

We are living in a stress-filled time.

We are leading in uncharted waters.

We are living in a time where non-believers are looking for believers to lead the way.

Paul goes on in Ephesians 5 to talk about the value and importance of marriage (I encourage you to read it). Marriage doesn’t have to be bad. Marriages can be healed by our Lord. It requires both parties to submit to Jesus and live a selfless, Spirit-filled life.

Prayer Points:
Today, will you join me in praying for marriages in your neighborhood, your family, and across the world? Let’s get on our knees and ask God to heal broken hearts. Let’s ask God to help us to love our spouse in the way He has asked us. Let’s pray for God to heal marriages so that families can serve the Lord together!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Three Father's Days without you


Today is a reminder to me that my dad is dead. I'm not trying to be morbid in that opening line. I'm not trying to skirt around the feelings either. I'm being open and honest in this post and I hope that is ok with you.

Three years ago we moved to Ventura. It was such a joy for our family to be closer to family. Just weeks before our move things went from joyful to painful. My stepdad was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer and my dad's health declined. We moved to Ventura and my dad's health went into rapid decline.

My first elders meeting I got a text that my dad had 24-48 hours to live. I immediately drove to the hospital and I knew it was bad. My sister and I cried together. The next day I brought my whole family to say goodbye to gramps. It was a Wednesday and it was the most aware I saw him in his final week of life. It was a true joy. My dad spoke kind words over our family. My dad told me how much he loved me. He expressed his deep love for my wife and her support. He told my kids how much he loved them. It was a real joy. Two days later my dad died.

We took our family to Disneyland on Friday June 23, 2017. It was a great day. We laughed more than we had in weeks. The stress of moving, getting into a new home, starting a new leadership role, and more was tough. We rode rides, ate cotton candy, and just enjoyed the day. We were getting read to leave when my phone rang... it was my sister and I knew what the call was about. I began to cry in the large Disneyland store on the California Adventure side. I tried to hide it from my kids to not ruin the day.

We got in the car and while on the freeway we shared the news with our kids. The whole car erupted in tears. I lost my dad. My kids lost their grandpa. There was a loss in our family. I was able to see my dad more than I would have been if we didn't move. As I look back on our situation, I'm so grateful that we moved and had this time with my dad.

This post is mostly for me to share a remembrance. As I knew this date was approaching I could sense some grief in my life.

I'm reminded that it's good to grieve.
It's ok to miss those who've passed away.
It's good to look at pictures and enjoy the memories.

Miss you dad!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Jonah 4 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God." We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. 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 God who cares ::: Jonah 4

The book of Jonah is small in words but deep in theological truth of the love of God. It begins with Jonah fleeing from the Lord and turning to obedience to God. The book concludes with a melancholy prophet seemingly focused on selfish desires. Many times the book of Jonah isn’t read through chapter 4, but we must discuss the emotional state of Jonah as he relates to the great compassion of God. Jonah leaves the city of Nineveh and watches the great city. At this point God asks two questions of Jonah and provides an object lesson to help Jonah see the great love of God. The book ends rather abruptly as Jonah has no response to the great love of God.

1) Neal shared a couple of stories where his kids learned to do the right thing with his guidance and then began to act on their own. How have you learned to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord?

2) Jonah confesses that he knew the character of God (read Jonah 4:1-3). Jonah knew that God was gracious and compassionate (Exodus 34:6, Nehemiah 9:17, & Psalm 145:8). Share about how you’ve seen God’s character in this manner.

3) Some scholars think that Jonah was setting up a location to watch Nineveh burn. Read Genesis 19:1-29 to learn about Sodom and Gomorrah. Discuss how one city was destroyed and one city was spared in different time periods.

4) Read Jonah 4:4-8. Jonah appears to be angry at God for acting in compassion. Compare the state of Jonah here with Peter in John 21. Peter was restored to ministry after denying Jesus. Do you relate more with Jonah or with Peter?

5) The Bible calls believers to invest themselves into growing others believers (read Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 16:1-5, Ephesians 4:2-24, & 1 Thessalonians 1:5). Who are you intentionally investing your life in to help them grow in the Lord?

6) As the book of Jonah nears the end we see God’s great concern for this Nation (read Jonah 4:9-11). What is something in our world that you are concerned for (It might be a people group, an organization, or a personal calling)?

7) It is evident form our text that God has a desire for all people to know Him (read John 3:16, Acts 20:1-6, & 2 Peter 3:9). What role are you currently playing in to help more people know about the great love of God?

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Jonah 3 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God." We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. 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 God who speaks ::: Jonah 3

The book of Jonah is small in size but great in impact. Jonah is one of thirteen minor prophets. Jonah received a call from the Lord to speak to the great city of Nineveh but ran the opposite direction. Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. He spent three days in the belly of the fish before being spit on to dry ground. Jonah then makes the journey to Nineveh and preaches the word of the Lord. The people heard the message and repented of their sin. The message was so urgent that the king ordered everyone to fast and give up their evil ways. A great spiritual awakening took place in the pagan land. Study Jonah 3. 

1) Neal opened the sermon by sharing about a TV show he watched about people who lived alone in the wilderness. What has God taught you in the times you’ve been intentional to spend alone time with him?  

2) Read Jonah 3:1-4. God gives Jonah a second chance to preach the message to the great city of Nineveh. Not everyone gets a second chance (read Numbers 20:1-13). Share about a time when God gave you a second chance. 

3) The man in Jonah 3 is starkly different than the man in Jonah 1 (although Jonah is the same man). In Jonah 3 we see immediate obedience to God. When have you obeyed God and how did it turn out?  (see: 1 Samuel 15:22, Micah 6:8 & John 8:51) 

4) Jonah shared with a group of people who were far from God (read Jonah 3:4-5). Read Acts 13:48-49 and 14:1-7. What do you see about the effort given to spread the Gospel message? Where is God asking you to share the Good News of Jesus? 

5) The King of Nineveh leads the Nation in a time of repentance (read Jonah 3:6-9). Share of a time where you realized the depth of your sin & the action that followed.   

6) The people of Nineveh participated in evil behavior. Another prophet spoke against the evil taking place (Habakkuk 1:12-13). What evil is happening in our world now? Where do you think God is asking you to speak against evil? 

7) A personal commitment to repentance of sin is a regular part of following Jesus. Take the time to read through Psalm 51. Talk about the aspects of repentance and how you can have a clean heart before God. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday. 

Let's Keep Praying


For the last couple weeks I've been praying more for our world.
The brokenness is bubbling over.
The sin has been exposed.
The time has come for the church to stand for what is right.

Charity and I led a time of prayer for Coastline on Tuesday night. Here are some of the verses we read and prayed through as a church family.

I am so proud of our church engaging Scripture during these uncertain times. I'm so thrilled to see God's people seek God's word to bring hope to a hurting world.

Prayer for our Nation 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2–3

Prayer for Identity 

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Prayer of repentance 

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:13-14

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Prayer for wisdom 

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
 and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10

Closing Prayer

Monday, June 01, 2020

Jonah 2 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God."
We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. 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 God who hears ::: Jonah 2

Jonah was a prophet in Israel who God asked to visit the city of Nineveh. Instead of heading North to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a boat and headed in the opposite direction. Jonah caused a great deal of harm to the sailors around him and was eventually thrown into the sea where he was swallowed by a whale. In Jonah 2 we find Jonah in the third location of the story: the belly of a large fish. While inside the fish, Jonah takes the time to call out to God, repent of his sin, and speak of the greatness of God. For three days Jonah is in the belly of the fish. During this time he ponders his situation and his disobedience to the Lord. Finally the fish spits him out on dry land. At this point in our story we see that the fish has been more obedient than Jonah. 

1) Early in the sermon Ryan asked: “How many of us have needed help?” Share about a time in your life that you needed help and how help came. 

2) Read Jonah 2:1-2. In his distress Jonah called to the Lord. Who do you call to in your distress? Read Psalm 4:1, 18:6, 102:2, and 120:1. What does Scripture teach us about reaching out to God in our distress? 

3) While in the belly of the fish Jonah knew he needed to look to the Temple of God (read Jonah 2:3-7). In Jewish culture, the temple was the place to meet with God. What is your favorite place to spend time with God? 

4) Jonah has been willfully disobedient to God. The three days in the belly of the fish transformed Jonah’s hard heart (read Proverbs 4:23, Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, and Romans 12:1-2). Where is God working in your heart today? 

5) Jonah repents of the idols that he followed after (Jonah 2:8). We often think of idols as metal or wooden images and they can be, but idols can also be personal comforts, luxuries, material possessions. What idols have you clung to that have hindered your walk with Jesus (Exodus 20:4-6, Micah 5:13, and Acts 17:16)? 

6) Ryan encouraged us to focus more on worshipping God and praying. Share with your group what some of your favorite ways to worship the Lord are. Then share where you’re growing in prayer or where you want to grow in your prayer life. 

7) Must of Jonah’s plight could have been resolved with obedience to the Lord. Read  Psalm 119:34, John 14:23-24 & 1 John 2:5. Talk about obedience to God. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Jonah 1 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God."
We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. 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 God who speaks ::: Jonah 1

The book of Jonah is small in size but great in impact. Jonah is one of thirteen minor prophets. Titled “Minor” based on size of the book, not of effectiveness of ministry. Jonah was a prophet in Israel who was asked to preach to a pagan nation (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah refused to obey the word of the Lord to preach against Nineveh and instead went the other direction to Tarshish. It is unique to see Jonah take a boat to flee from the Lord because the Israelites are known to be people of the land and not of the sea. Some scholars think that Jonah might have sold his personal possessions to amass enough money to pay the far to sail some 2000 miles from Israel. Study Jonah 1 to see what you can learn about running to God.

1) Neal started the sermon by sharing about his call to move to Vegas and help serve at a growing church. Share about a time you followed the voice of the Lord.

2) Read Jonah 1:1-3. Jonah chooses to go in the opposite direction that God called him to go. Read Acts 9:1-19. Compare Jonah running from God to Ananias obeying God. What history of God’s goodness do you have to move forward and trust Him?

3) We read that God sent a great wind and violent storm on the sea (Jonah 1:4-5). Scripture teaches us that God has dominion over every aspect of His creation. Read Matthew 8:23-27 and talk about the greatness of God.

4) While the storm was raging, Jonah slept in the boat. Jonah was never out of God’s sight. Read Psalm 139 and talk about the omniscience (God sees all things) and omnipresence (God is present in all things) of God.

5) Genesis 12:1-5 is an account of Abraham’s calling to follow the Lord. Scripture  teaches us that God desires for all mankind to know Him (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Where is God growing you in a compassion for those who are far from the Lord?

6) Neal shared about the grace of the sailors in Jonah 1:11-16. They responded with empathy to Jonah. Read to story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Where is God asking you to step out of your comfort zone to help others know Him?

7) Ultimately Jonah was swallowed by a large fish (read Jonah 1:17). Even in his disobedience God was unwilling to let Jonah die. Share about a time where God stepped in and saved your life.

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

You can view the entire worship gathering here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Isaiah 6 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. 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 ::: Questions from the Throne ::: Isaiah 6

In 742 B.C. Isaiah was in the Temple of the Lord. The king had passed away and Israel was looking for leadership. They had looked to a human king when God wanted them to Him as their eternal King. Isaiah chapter 6 looks like a good introduction to the life of the prophet. The book of Isaiah is about the faithfulness of God to an unfaithful people. Isaiah is a priest ministering in the Temple when he finds himself in the presence of our Holy God. The temple, in Jerusalem, is filled with the glory of the Lord. Some scholars think that Isaiah was in the company of the priests, meaning he wasn’t the only priest who experienced this interaction with God. But Isaiah is the only one who volunteers to go for the Lord. Open your Bible to Isaiah 6 and study God’s word in community.

1) Neal introduced the sermon and talked about volunteering. He volunteered to go to Africa in 2006 and it radically changed his life. What is something you have volunteered for that has changed you?

2) Read Isaiah 6:1-5. We read about Seraphim praising the Lord. Read Psalm 8, Psalm 19, and Romans 1:20. Discuss what these verses teach us about the glory of God.

3) In the presence of God is where Isaiah sees the depth of his sinfulness and the sinfulness of Israel. Read Matthew 8:5-13. Talk about the power of being in the presence of God.

4) Read Isaiah 6:7-9. Isaiah hears the voice of God and responds to the question. Read 1 Samuel 3. How can we learn to hear the voice of God in our daily life?

5) The call of Isaiah teaches us about the doctrine of: The priesthood of all believers. God has called all of us into ministry roles in the place we find ourselves. Read 1 Peter 2:5-9, Acts 2:1-4, & 1 Timothy 2:1-4. How can you live as a minister this week?

6) Isaiah knows that ministry can be a difficult calling (read Isaiah 6:10-13). Read Hebrews 6:4, 10:24-25, and 1 Samuel 30:6. How do you stay encouraged as a servant of the Lord?

7) Coastline has a core value of being outreach focused (read John 1:41-42, Acts 2:47, 17:16-34, and Luke 15:1). Talk about what is holding you back from your sharing your faith in Jesus. How can you step out in faith this week?

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mother's Day ::: Small Group Questions


Coastline took a break from our regular sermon series to bless mothers this Mother's Day. Mother's Day brings different emotions for everyone. Some women love this day. For other’s it’s a reminder of a broken relationship with their mom. Some are reminded that their mom is no longer with them. Some women are longing to be mother’s. Others are thrilled to celebrate all. For this sermon 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.

How to Bless Mothers ||| Various Passages 

In the beginning God created mankind in His image. Genesis 1 tells us that mankind was created in the imagine of God. Once a year, at Coastline, we focus our attention to appreciate, bless, and encourage mothers. Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on the spiritual influence that mothers have on their children. It’s a time to be reminded of the great investment that woman have done to raise another generation of children who are influenced but the Word of the Lord. It’s not only biological mother’s who are raising the next spiritual generation. Spiritual mothers have stayed up late, gone on camps, and spent their money to invest into the lives of younger believers. Take some time to work through these questions and learn what Scripture teaches and investing into others. 

1) Neal and Charity started out sharing two very different memories. Can you think of a time that you totally blew it on Mother’s Day or a Mother’s Day that was a blessing?  

2) Read Genesis 16. In this dark time in Hagar’s life we read that God was close to her. Share about a time where you thought God was far from you but realized that He was near you every step of the way. (see Deuteronomy 4:7 & Hebrews 13:5) 

3) Choosing to trust God in difficult times might not be your natural reaction. Read Psalm 20 and Proverbs 3:5-6. Talk about the reasons you have to trust in the Lord. Share about God’s faithfulness in your past. (see 1 Corinthians 1:9 & Hebrews 11) 

4) Neal shared the story of Samson’s parents (Judges 13). What do these parents teach us about allowing God to shape our parenting? You might not be a parent, what do you want to take away for potentially being a parent in the future?  

5) Charity read Deuteronomy 6:5-7. How have you applied this to your parenting? How do you want to apply this to your parenting style as your move forward?   

6) In our world it is easy to delegate the task of parenting to others. Read these verses and talk about the great responsibility of raising children in the love and instruction of the Lord: Psalm 78:1-7, Proverbs 3:1-12, Colossians 3:21, & 2 Timothy 3:15. 

7) Scripture reminds us of people who devoted their life to teaching others about the goodness of the Lord. Who are you investing your life? (see: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 16:1-2, Acts 16:11-15 and 2 Timothy 2:2) 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Here is the entire worship gathering if you'd like to watch it

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Job 38- Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. For this sermon we had Joey Ross as a guest speaker. A big "thanks" to Joey for writing these questions. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Questions from the Storm ::: Job 38

The book of Job is written like a play, There is action in two stages.  There is what happens on earth and what happens in heaven.  While the reader/audience knows what’s happening in both settings, the characters on earth do not.  Job cannot see, he cannot hear, and in the end he never finds out even why its all happening.  But far more important than knowing the whole story, Job discovers who God is and


1) What did you find most memorable about this weekends message regarding Job struggles?

2) Share one things you're learning about God through this pandemic/ or something you learned about God during another storm in your life?

3) Read Job 1:1-5 and 1:20-22
What kind of person was Job and how was he perceived by the people of Uz?
What is Job reaction when calamity strikes?

4) Read Job 2:4-5; 10
What is the main question Satan is challenging to God?
What happened to Job and how is his reaction different this time?

5) Read Job 38:2-7 and 42:12-15
How does God respond to Job question of why is he suffering?
What does God’s answer communicate to Job (and to us)?
How does Job respond?

6) During the early part of Job’s story, the amount of blessing that Job experiences is mistakenly seen as being proportional to the amount of ;obedience he offers to God.  How does this belief influence the way that you approach your own life?

7) Job has an experience of Orientation-Disorientation-Reorientation with God.  Have you had similar experiences where you believed something about God or Christianity and then your life experience / new learning of God force you to reevaluate?

Close in a time of prayer

You can watch the entire worship gathering and find the sermon here


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Hope in Scripture


For the last several days/week, I’ve seen different options about the virus being shared on social media. Some are political, some are medical based, some are rants, and others are laments. I’m not here to draw lines in the sand, to pick a side, or bolster a video you found. I’m here to remind us about what Scripture says. I’m actually just sharing with you what I’ve been telling myself.

When you are discouraged remember that David was discouraged too:
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV)

When you are lonely remember that God is always with you:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

When you are confused remember that God is truth:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

When you feel lonely, Jesus knows what that is like:
Then everyone deserted him and fled. Mark 14:50 (NIV)

When you are feeling tired, go to God:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Monday, April 27, 2020

1 Kings 19 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. 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 ::: Questions in the Cave ::: 1 Kings 19

Reading 1 Kings 19 must be done in connection with 1 Kings 18. The two chapters show us the highest of highs combined with the lowest of lows. The prophet Elijah has defeated the prophets of Baal and longing to see Israel return to the Lord their God. Jezebel, Israel’s murderous first lady, has other plans. She plays on the emotional fragility of Elijah and causes the prophet to flee Israel. Elijah leaves Israel altogether. It looks like Elijah has left his ministry position and resigned his fight for the Lord. At the lowest of his life is when God speaks from the soft wind and calls the prophet back to full-time ministry. 1 Kings 19 teaches us that when we think we are done with ministry might be the time that God is ready to redeploy us for a greater work!

1) Living during a pandemic can be frightening; fear of catching a virus, groceries, and more! What fears do you have right now that make you want to run and hide?

2) For three years Elijah had not made a move without hearing from the Lord (1 Kings 17:2-3, 8-9, 18:1). But now Elijah fled from Jezebel (read 1 Kings 19:1-4) How do you go about your decision making? What role does the voice of the Lord play?

3) From watching the news, reading the paper, and scrolling social media we are inundated with information. Our bodies become over-stimulated. Elijah needed to rest his body and be restored (read 1 Kings 19:5-7). How are you restoring yourself during this pandemic? (see Psalm 91:1, 118:6, and 127:2)

4) Read 1 Kings 19:7. Some scholars think the angel of the Lord is an Old Testament title for the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Read Genesis 16:7-10, Exodus 3:1-4, and Judges 2:1-4. What does Scripture teach us?

5) Elijah felt lonely in his service to the Lord (read 1 Kings 19:9b-14). How are you avoiding loneliness during this pandemic? (see Hebrews 10:24-25).

6) On Mount Sinai, God met with Elijah and asked him: “What are you doing here?” It seems that Elijah was there because of fear. How are you battling the feelings of fear this week? (see Joshua 1:9 and 1 Peter 5:7)

7) God gave the prophet a fresh vision and renewed service to the Lord (read 1 Kings 19:15-21). Where are you living like a minister of the Lord? How are you obeying the Lord during this time? (see 2 Corinthians 5:20 and 1 Peter 2:9).

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Genesis 3 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. 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 ::: Questions in the Garden ::: Genesis 3

Genesis 3 documents what we have come to know as “the fall of mankind.” The story is rather lengthy and spans a variety of discourse through multiple characters involved. Although there are several characters in the narrative, it is clear that God is the central focus of the story. It is best to read Genesis 3 through the eyes of an Israelite looking to enter the Promised Land. The narrators goal is probably more than to simply teach Israel about the origin of brokenness. The goal is to teach people about the hope comes from God after we fall into sinful decisions. Looking with New Testament eyes, we see how Adam is a type of Jesus. Both were tempted but Jesus conquered sin.

1) Neal shared a story about his daughters painting the side of their rental house. Share a story about a time you got caught doing something you knew you shouldn’t have been doing.

2) To fully understand the fall in Genesis 3, you have to read the blessings of God that come in Genesis 2. Read Genesis 2 and discuss the beauty of creation. What stands out to you about the creative ability of God in Genesis 2?

3) Read Genesis 3:1-5. The serpent plants a seed of doubt in the mind of Eve. Satan ignores the good gifts of God. Read John 8:44, John 10:10, and 1 Corinthians 15:33. What do we learn about the enemy and who we keep company with?

4) Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and willfully disobeyed the commands of God. Neal shared that the immediate results of sin are: feeling guilty for our actions & being afraid of God. How can we resist temptation? (read James 1:13-15)

5) Read Genesis 3:14-20. God makes is clear that Satan will be defeated. Read  Isaiah 11:1, 4-9, Matthew 4:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-34. What does Scripture teach us about Jesus defeating sin so we can be in relationship with God?

6) The relationship between Adam and Eve will never be the same. In the same way, our marriage relationships with always need work. Read Ephesians 5:21-33. Talk about how to have a thriving marriage while living in a broken world.

7) Although Adam and Eve will be sent out of the garden, God still showed His grace after judgement (read Genesis 3:21-24). How do we live in the grace that God has so generously extended to us? (see John 8:1-11, Romans 3:24, Ephesians 2:8-10)

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

In case you missed the sermon you can watch it here

Friday, April 17, 2020

3 Ways to grow spiritually during COVID-19


The last several weeks have been some of the wildest weeks of my life. And my guess is your life too.

From seeing the e-brake thrown on the world, to the stock market roller coaster, to the unemployment level rising, to domestic violence on the rise, and suicide hotlines experiencing an increase in calls. It's not all bad news. We've seen drive-by birthday parties, the launch of SGN on YouTube, churches blessing people and more.

As we've been going through COVID-19 here is something that I've learned. This is how I've tried to maintain spiritual growth and focus.

1. Read your Bible each day
This one isn’t going to shock you. Think about driving a car. You are with your friend visiting the town they just moved to. You’re driving along the 1 right along the beach. Your friend begins to point out her favorite surf spot and the car begins to drift in that direction. It wasn’t her fault; the truth is that we are drawn to where our eyes are fixed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch Hulu as much as the next person, but this is not a time to just binge all day long.
I can’t watch/read the news all day. New information is coming at us like rocket speed and it’s tough to process it all.
Social Media will never fill the need that only God’s word can.

I invite you to find a Bible reading plan. You can start reading the Proverbs. You read one Proverb a day based on the date of the month. If today is April 17, read Proverbs 17. Read the book of 1 Peter. Peter writes to exiles who are suffering. Perfect timing. Read the Gospel of Mark. It’s fast-paced, and action-packed! You get to learn about the life and ministry of Jesus.

2. Go on a prayer walk
Your body needs spiritual and physical exercise. Take a break and go for a quick walk. What if you took that time to share your thoughts, fears, dreams, and prayers with the Lord?

In my county we are still able to exercise outside. I know you want to endlessly scroll social media and catch up on all the updates. I know it’s great to read the stories of working at home and my co-workers just nap all afternoon. Put the phone done and talk to God.
Pray for this virus to be beaten.
Pray for your church.
Pray for your family.
Pray for your Governor to have wisdom.
Pray for your neighbor who lost his job.
Pray. Pray. Pray.

3. Care for your neighbors
This can be tough in social distancing but easy to do if you know your neighbors. Make sure your older neighbors have a ride to the store. Maybe call them and get their shopping list and pick up their groceries for them.

One person I know has called the single moms in her life and asked how she can help. Some of them have neighbors already sharing the load. Some have family members doing the shopping. Some need help.

Bake something and drop it at your neighbors doorstep with a kind note. This has happened to us. It is so cool when the kids walk out the door and find that. It has helped them feel connected to the rest of the world while social distancing.

What are some ideas that you can share?
What is missing or can be added?

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Mark 16 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 Empty Tomb ::: Mark 16

The Gospel of Mark comes to a conclusion in chapter 16. Mark has taken the reader on an action packed journey of following the Messiah. Mark has taught us about Jesus being the Son of God (Mark 1:1). We have followed the footsteps of the healing ministry of Jesus, seen the miracles, and listened to the teaching. We sat on the edge of our seat as Jesus went to the cross. Mark draws us to the conclusion with the three women finding an empty tomb. They obviously didn’t believe that Jesus would rise from the dead. Grab your Bible and study these questions to get a better understanding of the fast paced, action-packed, Gospel of Mark.

1) About four weeks ago it felt like the emergency brake was pulled on the entire world. News outlets, social media, and phone calls are filled with COVID-19. Share a story of good news that you heard this week.

2) Read Mark 8:31-33 and16:1-4. Mark makes is clear that the three women had no context for Jesus conquering the grave. They brought the spices to anoint His body. How do we misunderstand Jesus teaching because we aren’t paying attention?

3) The Bible gives us a few accounts of people rising from the dead. Read 1 Kings 17:17-24, 2 Kings 13:21, and John 11:38-44. Knowing that God has the power to raise a person from the dead how can we adjust our view of God?

4) It can easy for a person to miss the spiritual realm taking place around us. Read Mark 16:4-7, Genesis 18:1-15, Joshua 5:13-15, Daniel 10:4-6, and Matthew 1:20-21. Talk about angels speaking with man and the heavenly visits in Scripture.

5) There are times we tell people about Jesus and they accept the message. There are times that people are not ready to accept the message. Read Mark 16:9-11 and John 1:35-42. Talk about difference in how the message was received.

6) Scripture tells us about how Jesus connected with the disciples after His resurrection (Mark 16:14, Luke 24:36-49, and John 20:19-23). Share about how your faith has grown because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

7) Before returning to heaven Jesus instructs us to share our faith (read Mark 16:15-19 and Matthew 28:18-20). How can you share your faith this week? Make sure to be kind and compassionate when sharing (1 Peter 3:15).

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Mark 15:1-24 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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. If you missed the sermon you can find it at the end of this post.

Small Group Questions ::: Three Responses to Jesus ::: Mark 15:1-24

In Mark 15 we read about our Savior willingly going to the cross. As we read/study this chapter we must keep in mind that Jesus had been up all night. Jesus had been taken to an unfair, unjust, midnight courtroom. He was unfairly beat, unjustly tried, and now will be handed over to the Romans officials. The Jewish people had no legal ability to kill a person and therefore must involved the very government they find themselves subjected to. Mark does a great job at keeping our thoughts in a theological channel as we watch Jesus go to the cross for us. We must read these verses through the eyes of love; it was love that sent Jesus to the cross.

1) Neal started the sermon talking about how our world feels like we are waiting to experience a tsunami. Did this illustration resonate with you? How does the global pandemic feel to you right now?

2) The religious leaders took Jesus to Pilate (read Mark 15:1-5). Pilate sent Jesus to Herod to examine him (read Luke 23:6-12). Herod then send Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:13-18). How come no governing official was able to find any reason for Jesus to be put to death and yet Jesus was still crucified?

3) Read Mark 15:6-15. If Pilate was able to find no basis for a charge against Jesus, why did the religious leaders hand Jesus over to him? (read Isaiah 53:7-9 and John 18:33-40, and 1 Peter 2:21-24).

4) The Gospels tell us what happened to Jesus but not in graphic detail (read Matthew 27:27-31 & Mark 15:16-20). Discuss with your group about what Jesus went through to earn our salvation.

5) There is a theological term called: atonement- the work Christ did in His life and death to earn our salvation. (Read Romans 3:23, John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:2, and 1 Timothy 2:5-6). Discuss how important atonement is to our salvation.

6) Mark tells us that Simon from Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus (read Mark 15:21). What would it have felt like to carry the 100 pound cross beam for the exhausted, beaten, dehydrated, hungry Lord?

7) The Bible invites us to a life of serving others (read Matthew 6:1-4, Mark 10:43-45, Acts 3:7, Acts 16:9, & 1 Thessalonians 5:14). How can you help others this week?

Close your time in prayer. Pray specifically for your Plus One at Easter

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Three Sundays Later

Here is a copy of what I sent to Coastline Bible Church yesterday. I'm sharing as it might be helpful for you. Maybe you want to see what I'm sharing. You might want to steal some ideas. You might need an encouragement too during this time!



Hey Coastline,

The last three weeks have been some of the wildest, most interesting, bizzare, confusing, and learning-filled weeks of my time as a pastor. I have thought a lot about discipleship, leadership, spiritual growth, leader empowerment,  prayer, and Bible reading. I’ve also prayed a lot for those in our community who have lost a job, are sick, are scared, and are fearful. My guess is that each of us have gone through a myriad of emotions the last several weeks.

My aim in this email message is a simple: “Thank you.”

Thank you for being so supportive as we’ve moved to Coastline Online only. I will be the first to admit that we’ve had some bumps along the way. Thank you for being patient with the different platforms we’ve used. We have found that going to our website has been the best way to get to our online worship gathering.

Thank you for giving to Coastline. The first two weeks of giving were a drastic reduction from our proposed budget need. Many of you have continued to give generously during this time. Some of you have just started giving. We see tithes/offerings trickle into the office on a daily basis. Thank you for giving online, via text, and mailing your gift to the church office.

I’ve had some requests to get the small group questions out for everyone. Here is a link for the questions from Mark 14:27-72. I’ve been posting all the small group questions on my personal blog. After Easter we will begin posting these questions on our website in the sermon section so that everyone can access them!

Let me leave you with an encouragement; my heart is that those who follow Jesus will grow in discipleship during this time. If you don’t have a Bible reading plan, I invite you to find one (You can reply to this email and I have some ideas to share with you). Grab a book to read and grow in your faith. Take a day/meal to pray and fast. Go on a prayer walk (if you are healthy). Sit in your favorite chair and pray. Let’s use this as a time to grow in our personal relationship with Jesus!

Let me end with this. In seminary I studied church history. The thing that surprised me the most was that the church grew during periods of suffering. We might be suffering here, but our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer too all over the world. We are the church! Let’s be the church no matter what happens!

Neal Benson | Lead Pastor
Coastline Bible Church

Monday, March 30, 2020

Mark 14:27-72 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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. If you missed the sermon you can find it at the end of this post.

Small Group Questions ::: A Midnight Courtroom ::: Mark 14:27-72

What do you do when the strongest person in your life suddenly becomes weak? This happens when children find their parents sick, when teammates find players hurt, and when the disciples sat in the presence of Jesus before the crucifixion. After sharing the Passover meal, Jesus takes the disciples for a walk. They travel to the Garden of Gethsemane (Oil Press) where Jesus was pressed to pray. At this point Jesus is betrayed by a disciple and abandoned by the rest. He is unfairly arrested, and taken to an unjust courtroom. Jesus is beaten and mocked for crimes He never committed. Grab a Bible and study these questions to gain a deeper understanding of what Jesus did. 

1) Share a story about a time when you felt abandoned by your closest friends. Read Mark 14:27-31. Jesus knew the disciples would soon scatter from His presence. How do you think Jesus felt about knowing He would be abandoned? 

2) Jesus brought all the disciples to the garden by took His three closest companions with Him for prayer support (read Mark 14:32-42). Talk about how this experience for Jesus made it so He can relate to us (Psalm 42:11, Hebrews 5:8, and 1 Peter 4:16). 

3) While in the Garden, the disciples could not keep their eyes open. It was late at night and they were tired. Jesus encouraged them not to fall into temptation. What are some sins that have plagued you in the past? (Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 4:25-32 and1 Peter 2:1-3 help us see the depth of our sinful nature). 

4) Judas came to arrest Jesus with a small army. Neal said that Judas betrayed Him, the disciples abandoned Him, and the soldiers didn’t know what they were doing. Who do you resonate most with in your faith walk? 

5) Jesus was unfairly arrested and charged with crimes He never committed (read Mark 14:53-65). Why is it so important that there is more than one witness in a court of law? (read Deuteronomy 17:6, Psalm 18:2, & Titus 1:15)

6) The high priest called Jesus the Messiah. Jesus responded with an Old Testament inclination (read Exodus 3:14). Who do you say Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God like He said? (Mark 1:1, John 1:1-4, Acts 9:1-19)

7) Our passage ends with Peter weeping for denying Jesus (read Mark 14:66-72). Have you repented of your sin & found freedom in Jesus? (Romans 3:23, 10:9-10).

Close your time in prayer. Pray specifically for your Plus One at Easter 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Mark 14:1-26 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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. If you missed the sermon you can find it at the end of this post.

Small Group Questions ::: Sacrificial Love ::: Mark 14:1-26

The life of many can revolved around food. In some countries there is an abundance and in some countries there will never be enough. In Mark 14:1-26 we come upon two stories that revolved around a meal. The first meal took place at Simon the leper’s home. It is a meal where we see sacrificial love for Jesus expressed. The second meal is the Passover meal. The Passover meal was a reminder for God’s people that they had been freed from slavery and redeemed for the Lord. At this meal we will see sacrificial love for Jesus.

1) In the sermon Doug asked us how our life will be described by others. Take some time and share with each other how you see God working in the lives of each other. Now share an area you want to grow in so people will know you by that.

2) Read Mark 14:3-9. This woman came and anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume. What is something costly that you can give to Jesus during this global pandemic? What is something you can give to others to show the love of Jesus?

3) Some think this woman is Mary, the sister of Lazarus (see John 12:3). This woman anointed Jesus out of thankfulness. Go around your small group and share some of the things you are thankful for your in life (Psalm 7:17, 106:1, 118:29).

4) Jesus encouraged generosity to the poor (read Deuteronomy 15:11). In Scripture we see the call for Christians to give (Psalm 82:3, Proverbs 14:31, Matthew 5:3, and Acts 9:36) What does Scripture teach us about caring for the poor? What holds you back from giving to others, neighbors, or the church?

5) Read Mark 14:12-16. The disciples gathered to share the passover meal together. Read Exodus 12 to gain an understanding of what the passover meal is. Discuss the similarity of the blood on the doorpost to the blood of Jesus being shed.

6) Jesus knew the cross awaited Him. Unlike the lamb in the Old Testament, Jesus knew what His fate would be. Read Mark 14:22-25. Talk about how Jesus was motivated by love to go to the cross. (You might want to Celebrate the Lord’s supper)

7) In our passage we see two acts motivated by love. Read what Jesus said in John 15:13. Talk about what Jesus did so we could have life.

Close your time in prayer. Pray specifically for your Plus One at Easter

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mark 13 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: End Times ::: Mark 13

As Jesus and the disciples are leaving the Temple, one disciple remarks of the beauty of the Temple. Historians have stated that the Temple was remarked as the most beautiful building in the entire world. The problem was that back in Mark 11, Jesus condemned the Temple and how it had become an example of Israel being inwardly corrupt. Jesus explains the upcoming destruction of the Temple that would happen in just a few decades. We must remember that Jesus shares about the destruction of the Temple and then moves to explain His second coming. We need to keep watch for the second coming of Christ and be ready for His return.

1) Given the current pandemic in our Nation, and world, what is something that scares you most about the spread of a virus that very little is known about? How has your response to the virus helped bring hope to others?

2) Read Mark 13:1-4. Jesus said that the Temple would be destroyed. What do you think was going through the disciples minds when He said these words? Take time to read 2 Chronicles 3 and get an understanding of the original Temple.

3) In Mark 13:5-13 we have false signs that the Temple will be destroyed. Jesus told the disciples to be on their guard. Read Acts 5:17-42, 7:54-8:1, and 12:1-18. How did these events in the life of the early church impact the spread of the Gospel?

4) Jesus spoke of ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ as a marker that destruction would come (Mark 13:14 & Matthew 24:15). How would this person’s actions impact the Temple and to Jews living in Jerusalem? (Read Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11)

5) When the Temple was destroyed, horrible acts were committed against God’s people. Read John 10:7-21, 14:1-7, and 21:15-23. What kind of life does Jesus want us to live?

6) The second coming of Jesus can often scare people. Read Mark 13:26-28, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and Revelation 19:11-21. What does the Bible teach us about the second coming of Jesus?

7) Five separate times Jesus instructs us to: “Watch!” “Be ready” or “Be prepared” in Mark 13. How can we be ready to share the Gospel message with those around us? Read 2 Timothy 4:5 and 1 Peter 3:15 to help guide the conversation.

Close your time in prayer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Mark 12:28-44 Small Group Questions

Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Three Lessons from Jesus ::: Mark 12:28-44

Jesus continues His time in Jerusalem. He has been teaching in and around the Temple Courts and asked some thought provoking questions. The questions will continue to come His way when a teacher of the law asks Him about what is the greatest commandment. Seeing that Jesus silenced the religious leaders it not becomes His turn to ask more meaningful questions. Jesus wants the original audience, and you and I, to think about the Messiah coming to save us. Jesus longs for us to think thoughtfully, lovingly, and critically about Kingdom matters. These snippets of Jesus’ ministry can seem disconnected but in the whole we learn 

1) Pastor Neal started the sermon by talking about a new traffic pattern in Ventura. How do you respond to the changes going on in your life? How has Jesus created a new pattern for your: personal life, schooling, social life, marriage, or parenting? 

2) Read Mark 12:28-34. Jesus encouraged us to love God with our entire being. Some people can learn more intellectual or more emotion driven. What way is it easiest for you to love God? What way  do you want grow in? 

3) If we all followed the instruction of Jesus in Mark 12:31, most of the worlds problems would be eradicated. What hinders us from loving others? (see John 13:34-35). 

4) The teacher of the law affirmed Jesus’ answer (essentially devaluing the Temple). Read: Proverbs 21:3, Psalm 40:6, Hosea 6:6, and Matthew 9:13. What can we learn from the Scripture about being in right relationship with God

5) It was now Jesus’ turn to ask the questions (read Mark 12:35-37). Why is it of extreme importance to have a right understanding of who Jesus is? Read these verses: Romans 1:3-4, Psalm 110:1, Luke 23:3, Mark 1:1, and John 7:41-42

6) Jesus seems to be upset at how the religious leaders were taking advantage of people (read Mark 12:38-40). Talk about some practical ways that you can individually, and as a group, serve others (read Exodus 22:22, Psalm 10:12 & James 1:27 are some verses that talk about standing up for the oppressed). 

7) The chapter ends with Jesus offering a personal lesson to the disciples about giving (read Mark 12:41-44). This widow offers more than a tithe; she gives all she has in complete trust to God. What holds us back from trusting God with our finances? 

Close your time in prayer. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mark 12:1-27 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. I'm so thankful for Joey Ross preaching this week and writing these amazing questions. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Power, Politics, and Prenups ::: Mark 12:1-27

Jesus now finds himself in an increasing hostile situation, he is in Jerusalem, surrounded by various religious parties all of whom are are out to get him.  Here Jesus tells a parable, one that is an indictment on them and the way they have stewarded the gift of leadership God has given them.  From this, they look to trap him every way they can, in order to arrest and eventually kill him.  Today this passage serves as a reminder to us that we are called to steward our gift from God, and in addition to hold everything in its rightful place.

1) Share a time where you held on to something a little to tightly and it was eventually taken from you.  Or to put it another way share about something that became an idol in your life.

2) Read Mark 12:1-27:  Share anything that stood out to you in this passage, a word, phrase, question or something that stood out to you from the from the sermon this week.

3) In Jesus' Parable of the Tenants, who does the vineyard builder represent? The vineyard (Isaiah 5)? The tenants? The son? (Mark 12:1-9).  What character do you most relate to in your life?

4) Read Mark 12:12 Why is this parable the tipping point for the religious leaders?  What about the parable upset them so much?  Have you ever met people who not only doesn’t/didn’t believe in God, but was hostile to God?  What was that like?

5) Christianity has always thrived most as a life-giving minority, not a political majority, however its hard to ignore that these two topics effect one another. Politics and religion have always been hot topic issues.  In Mark 12:13-17, how does Jesus put these topic in proper perspective?

6) What will be the state of marriage in heaven? How does Jesus demonstrate resurrection from God's words to Moses?

7) In Mark 12:18-27 Jesus is very straight forward with his feelings about the Sadducees and their understanding of Scripture, and what God is like.  He says at the end they are badly mistaken.  The truth for all of us is we are all mistaken on something we believe about God.  We just don’t know what it is.  How do you remain open to God’s correction in our understanding of him?

Close your time in prayer and ask God to reveal to beliefs or things in your life that need to be open to him correcting.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Mark 11:12-33 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 Authority of Jesus ::: Mark 11:12-33

Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. Jesus knew that no prophet would be killed outside of Jerusalem (Luke 13:33). In this section of Scripture we see a unique thing take place. The Son of God clears out the Temple of God. Jesus was the only one with the power to do so… and the people allowed it to happen. They must have known what they were doing was inappropriate. Jesus was teaching Israel they had become fruitless and corrupt. It was also a time for Jesus teach about having faith in God and healed relationships. Jesus shows us that He is the true King.

1) Put yourself in the story of Jesus clearing out the Temple. What do you think the tone of the space was like? How do you think people responded? Why do you think people listened to Jesus and didn’t simply brush Him off?

2) Read Mark 11:12-14. In what way was the Israel of Jesus day fruitless? God gave instruction of Abraham about his role (Genesis 12:1-3). Israel was to be a blessing to all. Jeremiah spoke against the fruitlessness of Israel (read Jeremiah 8:13).

3) Read John 15:1-17. What kind of fruit is Jesus referring to in John 15:5? Where is God using your life to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God? How can you avoid a similar fate as fruitless Israel? How can you help others produce fruit?

4) Jesus was outraged that the temple had become a place of commerce rather than prayer and worship (read Mark 11:15-18 and Isaiah 56:7). How can we focus more on prayer and worship in our personal lives?

5) Jesus encouraged Peter to have faith in God. We need to believe in God for what we ask in prayer. We also need to learn to pray for God’s will. Read Matthew 7:7-8, John 15:7, & 1 John 5:14-15). What can we learn about praying God’s will?

6) Read Mark 11:25. Jesus was serious about not holding anything against a person when we are praying. Throughout Scripture this was a consistent message of being in right relationship (read Matthew 5:23-24, 18:21-22, & Romans 12:18). Do you need to make a relationship right to bring unity to the body (Colossians 2:2-3)?

7) Our passage ends with an interaction between Jesus and the religious leaders Mark 11:27-33). Why didn’t Jesus answer their question and tell them that He is the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world?

Close your time in prayer.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mark 11:1-11 Small Group Questions

Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Here Comes the King ::: Mark 11:1-11

Since the beginning of Mark 9 we’ve seen that Jesus has turned His attention to Jerusalem. Much of Jesus’ ministry took place around the Sea of Galilee but now Jesus has moved His attention to Jerusalem (see Luke 13:33). Jesus entrance to Jerusalem is a spectacular event. Crowds lined the streets and praised the coming King. The same crowd that shouted HOSANNA will be the same crowd that shouts: “Crucify Him!” The world has praised many kings but Jesus reveals to us that He is the true King. Jesus is the one who is worthy of all praise and honor. Let’s about the coming King. 

1) Who are some people that are praised as a king? What is so important that our culture will willingly hand out this title, and address, people with this title? 

2) Read Mark 11:1-3. As Jesus approached Jerusalem He sent two of the disciples to find a colt that was tied up. Compare what Mark wrote with the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Do you think the Israelites made the connection? 

3) The disciples act in obedience to what Jesus asked them to do (read Mark 11:4-6). Throughout Scripture we see that God desires obedience from us (read John 15:14, Deuteronomy 11:1, & Micah 6:8). Where is God calling you to obedience?  

4) Why would Jesus ride a donkey (read Mark 11:7). In Ancient Israel, riding a donkey was a symbol of peace (Joshua 9:3-8, 1 Samuel 16:20, Isaiah 9:6). Where has Jesus brought peace to your life? 

5) Hosanna is a Hebrew expression meaning to: “Save!” The people cried for Jesus to save them. What did they need to be saved from? What is going on in your life that you need Jesus to save you from? 

6) The people who praised Jesus were quoting Psalm 118:25-26. The crowd was filled with: political activists, men, women, disciples, and people just joining the crowd to see what would happen. Where are you in your walk with Jesus?  

7) The Psalms teach us about worshiping the Lord (read Psalm 29:2, 96:9, & 100). The Bible is filled with different ways to worship the Lord: singing songs, giving, listening to songs, confession of sin, serving, and praising God’s name are just a few. How would you like to focus on worshipping the Lord this week? 

Close your time in prayer. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mark 10:46-52 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Healing Faith ::: Mark 10:46-52

Mark let us know that Jesus is leading the way to Jerusalem. As He progresses towards His destination we see a unique interaction. Jesus ceases His forward progress to listen to the request of a blind beggar. Throughout the Gospel we’ve seen Jesus interact with the least of these all the way to the religious leaders. Jericho is the last city before Jesus heads to Jerusalem. Notice the details Mark provides in this interaction. The crowd is unreceptive to Bartimaeus until Jesus is receptive. Bartimaeus is obviously blind, but Jesus asks him a poignant question. Jesus shows up that everyone matters to God. Jesus teaches us that in Him we find the wholeness we desire.

1) Have you ever had a disease that limited your ability to function in life? Have you ever been hospitalized or been in a situation where the doctors didn’t know how to solve the ailments you experienced?

2) Bartimaeus addresses Jesus as; “The Son of David.” This is the first time in Mark we see that title associated with Jesus. Read Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5-6, 2 Samuel 7:12-16. What does Scripture teach us about Jesus coming in the line of king David?

3) Read Mark 10:46-49. As Bartimaeus was shouting for Jesus the crowd rebuked Him. There will come times in our life that people want to hold us back from following Jesus. Read 1 Corinthians 15:33 and talk about how you can continue to pursue Jesus even when those around you discourage you from doing so.

4) Read Mark 10:48-49. The crowd rebuked Bartimaeus but when Jesus spoke up to Bartimaeus their attitude change. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and talk about how your group can treat the least of these in our community. Talk about serving with Coastline on Saturday February 24 and SurfRider.

5) Bartimaeus asked Jesus to show him mercy. The apostle Paul speaks of the mercy God showed to him (read 1 Timothy 1:13). How has God shown you mercy?

6) When Bartimaeus was face to face with Jesus he is asked what he wants (read Mark 10:50-51). What would you ask Jesus today?

7) In Mark 10 we see two different men with two different responses to Jesus. Read Mark 10:24 & 10:52. Compare the responses of these men and discus their actions. What held one back and gave the other freedom. How does each story close?

Close your time in prayer.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Mark 10:32-45 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Road Trip Conversations ::: Mark 10:32-45

As Mark continues to follow Jesus to Jerusalem we see a few very personal interactions between Jesus and the disciples. Throughout the Gospel of Mark we read that Jesus had a public teaching and then Jesus would give an explanation or a deeper teaching to the disciples. Staring in Mark 8 we read that Jesus told the disciples that He would be giving up His life. Now in Mark 10, we read that Jesus explains this will happen in Jerusalem. After that we see another example of the disciples not clearly understanding their role as servants in the Kingdom of God. Study these questions for to gain a better understanding of what is happening Mark.

1) Studies show that almost 40% of Americans are planning to take a road trip in the spring or the summer. Share about the most memorable road trip you’ve ever taken.

2) In Mark 10:32-34 we read about the third time, in the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus has talked about His upcoming death. The first two are in: Mark 8:31-32 & 9:30-32. Read the three passages and talk about how Jesus is preparing for the cross.

3) The Prophets wrote about the coming of the Messiah and what would take place (read Romans 1:2). Isaiah foretells the death of Jesus in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. What part of Jesus going to the cross sticks out most to you?

4) Read Mark 10:35-40. We read that James and John asked Jesus a selfish question. Where do you find yourself asking Jesus selfish questions that primary benefit your life? Ask the group to pray for you to grow in the areas that are shared.

5) Jesus told the disciples He would take the wrath of God while hanging on the cross. Jesus took the wrath so we could have salvation in Him (1 Thessalonians 5:9, Romans 5:9, & John 3:36). How have you seen Jesus save you from God’s wrath?

6) Although we see a selfish attitude in the disciples, Jesus knew they would mature. Read Acts 2:14-15, 42-47, and 3:1-10 see some of the ways the disciples began to serve the early church.  

7) Jesus commands the disciples to choose to serve others (read Mark 10:43-44). Where is God inviting you to serve in your home, community or at Coastline? What steps will you take to obey God in this or seek His desire for you to serve?

Close your time in prayer.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Mark 10:1-31 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Household Matters ::: Mark 10:1-31

As Jesus continues making His way to Jerusalem, Mark shares several teaching moments of Jesus. In this passage we learn about household matters. There is a natural progression of marriage, to children, to whom we choose to worship. Things in the home impact how we view children, which stem from our commitment to Jesus. These verses might be some of the most difficult to study because of the toll that  divorce has on a person’s life. Take time to study these questions as a group and be sensitive to the working of the Holy Spirit in the time of your group. Someone might have areas of pain from their childhood or decisions that have left scars.

1) How would you describe our cultures current view on marriage and divorce? How is this impacting the family unit and young children?

2) God’s original intent for marriage was a lifetime commitment (read Genesis 2:24). Moses permitted the Israelites to divorce because their hearts were hard (read Deuteronomy 24:1-4). What was Jesus longing to see happen (read Mark 10:9)?

3) In a private teaching, Jesus taught the disciples about marriage (read Mark 10:1-12).  How do you think the importance of this teaching impacted the disciples? Look at Hebrews 13:4 in connection with this verse and talk more about marriage.

4) Jesus used a child to teach a lesson on humility (read Mark 9:35-37). Why do we so often try to avoid being as vulnerable as a little child? How come we have a hard time trusting that God will provide all our needs (read Proverbs 3:5-6).

5) For Jesus to embrace the little child and talk about welcoming children in His name is a big deal (Mark 10:13-16). Do you find yourself viewing children as a blessing or a burden? Where is God asking you to invest in the life of a younger believer?

6) The rich young ruler couldn’t loosen the grip that money had on his heart (read Mark 10:17-27). He might be the only person to leave Jesus’ presence worse off then when he came. What is an important lesson that you’ve learned about money? How can you use money to build God’s kingdom?  

7) Neal shared that we all have something in our life that can hold us back from following Jesus. If you were to fall at the feet of Jesus, what is the one thing He would ask you to leave so you can follow Him?

Close your time in prayer and pray for Bring a friend Sunday on February 2.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mark 9:30-50 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. 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 ::: Preparing for Eternity ::: Mark 9:30-50

Throughout the Gospel Jesus came with a teaching ministry. Some of it has been taught with words, and other times with action. At the end of Mark 8 we saw Jesus turn His focus to Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus will have a good economy of His time on earth and help the disciples focus on eternity. In this passage we see a series of events that all connected through the theme of eternity. Jesus begins by addressing His upcoming death, moves to settle a dispute among the disciples, helps John learn about church unity, and reminds us about character. Work through these questions and talk about how you are preparing for eternity.

1) If you had been invited to one of he private sessions Jesus had with the disciples, what question(s) would you ask Him?

2) Jesus came with the intention to teach people about the Kingdom of God and new thing He was doing (see Mark 1:21, 2:13, 3:23, & 4:1). As Jesus taught the disciples about His upcoming death they really didn’t understand (read Mark 9:30-32). What made it hard for them to understand it?

3) The disciples began arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (read Mark 9:33-34 and Luke 9:46). How come it is so easy for us to turn to our selfish desires and ambitions? When have you seen the selfish behavior of people hinder where God was working?

4) Jesus used a child to teach a lesson on humility (read Mark 9:35-37). Why do we so often try to avoid being as vulnerable as a little child? How come we have a hard time trusting that God will provide all our needs (read Proverbs 3:5-6).

5) For Jesus to embrace the little child and talk about welcoming children in His name is a big deal. Do you find yourself viewing children as a blessing or a burden? Where is God asking you to invest in the life of a younger believer?

6) All too often local churches can perceive another church as an enemy (read Mark 9:38-41). Pastor Neal talked about Coastline being a church where we talk up other churches and rejoice in kingdom advancement. What does that look like in your life?  

7) Our passage ends with a teaching on character & avoiding sin (read Mark 9:42-50). What have you set up in your life to help you avoid sin? How is it working?

Close your time in prayer and ask God to transform your life for Him in 2020.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mark 9:14-29 Small Group Questions


Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. A big "Thank you!" to Joey Ross for preaching this week and writing these questions for us. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Stick-to-itiveness ::: Mark 9:14-29

Coming down from a mountain top experience is never easy, even for Jesus.  As Marks gospel continues to unfold, we get a glimpse into the events that have taken place with the 9 disciples left behind when Jesus was away.  And while there are many incredible characters and themes found in this passage, including one of the most relatable prayers in all of Scripture, the main point Mark seems to want to drive home is the need for any disciple of Jesus to continually devote themselves to doing life with Jesus, that nothing should become merely mechanical.  It severs as a reminder to us, that life with God is about living in continual reliance upon him. Open up to Mark 9:14-29 as you read the story unfolding

1) All of us go through stages in our relationship with God.  Typically it goes something like committing ourselves to Christ, a time of exciting growth with Jesus, serving Jesus, etc…  For many of us though there are ruts we fall into at some point in our journey.  Periods where things maybe seem stagnant, or where we just start going through the motions.  Have you ever had an experience like that?  Share a little bit of the challenges you have experienced.

2) Read Mark 9:14-29.  What stands out to you in this passage as you read it together.  Maybe there is a character you can relate to, phrase that stands out to you, or something that seems confusing.  If you want maybe, even share what stood out to you in the sermon this week that impacted your understanding of the passage.

3) Jesus is constantly surrounded by injustice, often times taking on the form of sick and demonically oppressed children (Mark 5:23; 6:56; 7:26 to name just a few).  In our culture, we hear about injustices all the time and as a result it is so easy to start to experience “empathy fatigue,” but that’s not the case with Jesus. How does Jesus show empathy in this passage?  What things does he not only do but say? (Hint read Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2)

4) Read Matthew 17:19-20 which is a parallel passage and Mark 9:23; 28-29.  Sadly these passages can be misinterpreted that healing is contingent on the size of our faith (Matthew 17:20 should be translated disbelief, not little faith), rather than the object of our faith (even in the smallest faith in Jesus is enough).  Discuss the difference, and any damages you have seen because of misuse of this passage.

5) One of Marks favorite words in his gospel is immediately, three times it is used in this passage alone.  The term doesn’t mean in a hurry (Jesus was never rushed like we tend to live) but it carries the idea of without thinking, second nature, subconsciously.    Take note of each time the word is used here.  What are the immediate reaction of the crowd, the demonic spirit, and the father?  What is the natural reaction of your heart when you encounter Jesus?  Fear? Wonder? Desperation? Excitement?

6) Jesus tells his disciples about his coming death and resurrection in 8:31-33 and again in 9:30-32. Sandwiched between these passages is the Mount of Transfiguration as well as the healing of a boy in which he eventually gets worse (appears dead) before he gets better and is lifted by Jesus to new life (resurrected).  Why do you think Mark places these stories between Jesus prediction?  What is Mark trying to tell us.

7) Reread Mark 9:28-29. Jesus says the disciples were unsuccessful because they didn’t pray, but ironically this passage doesn’t record any prayer by Jesus either.  It seems that Jesus is not pointing to a ritualistic, eyes closed, hands together prayer, but a lifestyle of prayer.  Think of it like a lifestyle of prayer. Where in your life do you find yourself becoming self-reliant instead of relying on God? What are some ways/practices you can put into your life in order to become more aware of Jesus in your everyday life and remain in contact with him?

Close your time in prayer and ask God to continue to transform your life for Him in 2020.