Monday, June 21, 2021

Theism vs. Deism










And God spoke all these words: 
    2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 
    3 “You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:1–3

What a powerful statement about God in verse 2. We read a statement about who God is: “I am the Lord.” 

If you turn back to Exodus 3 we read an account about God meeting with Moses in the desert. Moses is out tending some sheep in the desert. He sees a bush on fire but the fire doesn’t consume it. It proves to me that men of all ages love fire. Moses approaches the bush and out of the bush God speaks. He instructs Moses to free His people from captivity. He speaks about His power (Exodus 3:14). 

The words, ‘I am’ are packed with meaning. God is the creator, sustainer, provider, and director of life. God made the universe and is control of all things. This is a stark contrast to how life in Egypt was for God’s people. At that time Egypt was the world super-power. The Pharaoh was viewed as a god (think little g). He was seen as being the most powerful being. 

But then God comes along and says, “Let me show you power!” You don’t have to grow up in the church to know about the ten plagues in Egypt or the parting of the Red Sea. That is God displaying His power, the proof that He is the great I am! If you don’t have somewhere that you’re reading in your Bible right now, I invite you to read Exodus 1-15 this week. I think it will really help all of us understand the Ten Commandments more fully. 

God is not only powerful but He is personal. Listen to what he says again, “I am the Lord your God.” 

Underline that word ‘your.’ God is personal. He is for us. God loves us. He is my God. He is our God. 

Let’s have a quick theology lesson. There is a point in Theology we call: Theism. The short definition is that- God is a personal and loving God. It means that God is closer than we think. Psalm 34:18 teaches us that God is close to the broken-hearted. He is personal and loving. God knows our struggles and doesn’t leave us when times are tough. God is so personal and loving that He came to live among us (John 1:14). God is near to us today. God is in the place, anything can happen. 

On the other side. Some people think that God created the earth and walked away. They teach that God made mankind, gave us the breath of life, but has forgotten about us. It’s called Deism- God is impersonal creator God. The term was used chiefly in the intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries. This came about because people thought God created the universe but they wanted to reject that God would interact and engage with His people. People felt abandoned by God and used this as a way to justify their feelings. 

One of the core values of the church I lead is: We put God first. 

We put God first because we believe He is a personal and loving God. We believe that He intercedes on behalf of His people. We think He loves us, cares for us, and likes us. 

If God had a fridge, your picture would be on it. If you would be so willing to read the Ten Commandments, I want you to notice that the first four commandments focus on our vertical relationship with God. The next six primarily deal with our horizontal relationship with others. 

We live in a time when people want to remove the first four commandments and keep the last six. We want people to be punished for adultery and murder but want remove the author of the commands. We can’t cut the author out of the book and maintain the integrity of the message. We choose put God first because He is personal and powerful. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Focus | Small Group Questions




This last year served as a magnifying glass in so many areas. Think about your life and how it changed. Some people who’ve been thinking about moving to another state are gone! People started to think more about the time God had given them and how they were spending it. Marriages were either strengthened or broken. People with financial issues either rose to solve those or cracked under the pressure. Life changed happened for millions of people for the better. Let me share the thesis statement for this sermon: I’m convinced that if you show me your calendar, the apps on your phone, and your bank statement I can tell you what is important to you. It seemed like a waste to leave these small group questions in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions | Stepping out of the blur | Matthew 6:19-24

Looking back, the last year helped many people to re-evaluate the focus of their life. This last year served as a magnifying glass in so many areas. In some areas it was also an accelerant for things already taking place in our lives. Think about your life and how it changed in certain areas. The last year helped many to really evaluate the focus of their lives. In some cases, relationships were restored, finances were taken under control and time management improved. In other cases it was just the opposite. Neal made this statement: I’m convinced that if you show me your calendar, the apps on your phone, and your bank statement I can tell you what is important to you. Let’s study these questions together and learn about our focus. 

1) This last year served as a magnifying glass in so many areas. Think about your life and how it changed. Share one area of your life that changed for the better because the pandemic required you to slow down and adjust your focus. 

2) Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Solomon shares a variety of ways that we spend our time here on earth. Looking at this list, what is one area you need to focus your time on right now? Read Matthew 5:23-24 to talk about rebuilding relationships. 

3) Solomon teaches us about eternity and the beauty in life (read Ecclesiastes 3:9-14). How will you use your time to best honor God in this world? Think about how you can adjust your schedule to focus on spiritual growth. 

4) Read Leviticus 11:45 and 1 Peter 1:16. God instructs us to be holy because He is holy. What is a good definition of holiness? Think about how you can use the apps in your life to live a holy life.  

5) Read Joel 2:12, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Galatians 5:19-23. Open your phone and check your screen time. Go around the group and share how much you’ve been on your phone today and this week. Does your screen time honor the Lord?

6) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us about our relationship to money (read Matthew 6:19-24). We have to ask ourselves this question: Do I value my bank account more than God? How are you doing at loving God more than money? 

7) Our relationship to money is an important relationship to keep an eye on. How has this sermon, and these questions, helped you to think about money in a new light? Take some time to review your spending and see where your money is going.  

Close your time in prayer

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Philippians Prayer Prompts




Last week our staff prayer was led by Becky Shipe. She brought this for our team to pray through as we just had finished preaching the book of Philippians so this was a creative idea. I'm grateful for Becky letting me post this on here because it was an engaging prayer time for our staff. 

STAFF PRAYER | PHILIPPIANS PRAYER PROMPTS

1. Philippians 3:1 – “Rejoice in the Lord!”
Tell God how good He is and how much you love Him. Take time to rejoice in who God is, what He’s done for us, and what He is presently doing in our life, our ministry, and at Coastline.

2. Philippians 1:4-5 – “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…”
Pray with joy for our partners in ministry: those on our ministry teams, our outreach partners, other churches in Ventura, Transformation Ministries. 

3. Philippians 1:9-11 – “And this is my prayer…”
Pray specifically for someone you know that
their love would abound more in the knowledge of Christ
they would be able to discern what’s best
they would be pure and blameless
they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness

4. Philippians 4:6 – “...in everything by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.” 
Surrender your anxieties to God and ask Him to intervene in whatever personal or ministry situation you are anxious about. 
Thank Him in advance (and in faith) for how He is going to answer your prayer.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Philippians | Week 8 | 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 | The Church God Uses | Philippians 4:10-23

The letter to the church in Philippi has strengthened believers for centuries. It has been a source of encouragement for Godly people living in crooked times. The letter has encouraged the church to find contentment in Christ in all areas of our lives. That means leaving jealousy, covetousness, and greed. It sets a model for us to be generous with our resources and focus on Kingdom advancement. The church in Philippi modeled being generous. As Paul concludes the letter we are drawn back to the introduction about being a people full of grace. Grace is a natural effect of the goodness God has shown to us and what we can show to others. 

1) Neal opened the sermon and talked about how the church has stepped up to help people out in difficult times. Share about how the church has helped you out or how God has used you to help others. 

2) Read Philippians 4:10-13. Paul has learned how to be content in all situations. Read Proverbs 19:23, Luke 3:14, and 1 Timothy 6:6. Are you content in your current life situation? Share the reasons for why or why not you feel how you currently do. 

3) Paul and Joseph learned to be content because their past experiences shaped them (read Genesis 37:26-27, 39:19-23, and 2 Corinthians 2:21-30). How has your past taught you to be content in your current situation? 

4) The church in Philippi shared in Paul’s troubles (read Philippians 4:14). What are practical ways we can share in the troubles with each other? What does it look like to support each other in trouble? (Psalm 68:19, Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 6:2). 

5) Generosity was a primary characteristic of the church (read Philippians 4:15-20). Do you enjoying giving of your time, talent, and resources to the advancement of the Kingdom? (see Luke 6:38) 

6) Paul understood that God would meet all our needs when we give generously. How can we got about living a generous life while continuing to take care of our personal needs? (see Matthew 6:2-4, 19-24, 17:27, and Mark 12:41-44) 

7) Read Philippians 4:20-23. The last year has made some people hesitant to greet others. How can we excel at being a church body who knows each other while maintaining respect for everyone’s personal space needs? 

Close your time in prayer by praying for: The Martinez Family in San Francisco. 

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Philippians | Week 7 | 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 sermon Joey Ross preached and wrote the questions below. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions | Peace in an Age of Rage and Anxiety | Philippians 4:1-9

Paul begins to close his letter to the Philippians with some very practical exhortations. He encourages them those who are at odds to iron out their difference and make up and encourages those may be fretting and worried (anxious) to give up their anxiety. Both of these calls to live at peace with others and to have inner peace are rooted in one things. Taking an unchanging grip on the unchanging life of Jesus Christ within us. It is only in his presence that true peace is made possible. Discuss in your group the following questions, in order that we might encourage one another to be peacemakers and non anxious presence in culture defined by rage and anxiety.

1) Read Philippians 4:1, Paul says in light of everything that he has said in the book of Philippians that he wants the best for us and the best for us is to hold tight/ stand firm in the Lord.  When has it been difficult for you to hold on to Jesus? What circumstance tempt you most to let go?

2) Read Philippians 4:2-5 and John 13:35. How does Jesus say others will know we are his disciples?  Do you think Christians are good at loving each other and resolving conflict? Why/ Why not?

3) When talking with the women in conflict in Philippi, he tells them the key to resolving their conflict is to agree in the Lord and to rejoice in the Lord. What do you think it means to agree in the Lord?  Why is that so important to Paul?

4) Read Philippians 4:6-9. Have you ever experienced severe anxiety or sleepless night?  If you would be so vulnerable would you be willing to share what the source of it was.

5) Read James 1:2-4.  The peace of God is an inner calm found in the presence of God. Similar to joy, peace does not seem to be built on our circumstances. Why do you think that is? Why might it be more important that it is not?

6) Paul encourages us to think, pray w/thanksgiving, and love God as remedies for anxiety.  Giving thanks even when we don’t feel like it can be a powerful exercise in priming the pump and giving us a heart of gratitude. What are you thankful for today? And why is giving God thanks even before he answers our request so important.

7) Close your time in prayer by praying for: Ukrainian Missionaries with International Partnerships

Monday, May 24, 2021

Philippians | Week 6 | 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 | New Citizenship | Philippians 3:15-21

As we read the book of Philippians we see that Paul hasn’t attained the highest spiritual position possible but continues to follow hard after Jesus. He reminds us that the Christian life requires the exertion of continually running hard after godliness. Paul continues to exhort believers to keep their focus heavenward. He understood that there were topics of confusion and encouraged the believers to seek the Lord for clarification in their spiritual walk. Paul was constantly pointing people to Jesus. More importantly, he knew how to live a  godly life on earth while focus on his citizenship in heaven. He encourages us to allow God to renew our thinking here on earth. 

1) We live in a time when citizenship is a topic of discussion. The Apostle Paul is a man who understood citizenship. He was born a Jew but held Roman citizenship. Talk about how to balance simultaneously being a citizen of earth and heaven. 

2) Read Philippians 3:13-14. Paul exhorts his friends to continue to press on to Jesus. Some scholars think that the church in Philippi might have become lax in their walk with Jesus. How do you maintain spiritual vigor? Have you become lax? 

3) Paul longs for the believers to hold a mature view on spiritual growth (read Philippians 3:15-16). How do you intentionally grow in your faith while not being legalistic? (see: Matthew 7:21-23, Mark 2:24, 3:2, and Colossians 2:20-23)

4) The life of a Christian involves learning from others. Jesus instructed us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Paul also told us to learn from others (Philippians 3:17). Who are you currently learning from and what are you learning? 

5) Paul wrote to, his son in the faith, Timothy about discipling others (read 2 Timothy 2:2). Are you at at place to start investing your life into someone else? If you are, what does that look like? If you’re not, how do you need to prepare? 

6) Read Philippians 3:20-21. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. What happens when we begin to get too comfortable on earth and forget to focus on our eternal citizenship? 

7) Paul teaches us that when we enter heaven we will have glorified bodies. Read Luke 24:31, John 20:19, and Acts 1:9-11. What does these passages teach us about what our heavenly bodies will be like? 

Close your time in prayer by praying for: Camp Pondo. 


Monday, May 17, 2021

Philippians | Week 5 | 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 | One Thing | Philippians 3:1-14

Paul’s life is interesting because he chose to persecute, and even kill, Christians. Paul had a very religious past but met Jesus and his life was radically changed (see Acts 9). Paul starts chapter 3 with what seems like he might be ending the letter but he is continuing his thoughts on being joyful. Paul used this opportunity to teach the church about false teachers who were looming around. He longed for the church to know the truth of God. This meant being able to leave the good things of their life behind so they can grow in their faith. In these verses Paul teaches us the downfall of works-based righteousness, the benefits of faith-based righteousness and following Christ. 

1) Have your group look over Acts 9:1-17. Saul was on a  mission to persecute Christ followers but was intercepted by Jesus. The meeting with Jesus radically changed Saul’s life. What one thing happened in your life that radically changed you?  

2) Read Philippians 3:1-2. Paul warns the church about false teachers and the trouble they cause. Read Exodus 7:11-13, 2 Timothy 3:8-9, Matthew 23:13, and 2 Peter 2:1.  Identify a false teaching you’ve come across and how you knew it was false. 

3) Paul realized he had put his confidence in the wrong place (see Philippians 3:4-6). Read 2 Samuel 11:1-15 and Mark 10:17-23. When have you placed your confidence in the wrong place and how did it turn out? 

4) Read Philippians 3:7-9. Paul is able to explain his conversion and the life change of having righteousness in Jesus. Read Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, and 10:9-10. Share with your group about the time you placed your trust in Jesus. 

5) There is something special about having long-term relationships. Read Philippians 3:10-11. Paul wanted to know Jesus. Read 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and Psalm 46:10. How are you growing in your relationship with Jesus and learning His voice? 

6) Read Philippians 3:12-14. The phrase “one thing” is used throughout the Scripture (see Psalm 27:4 and John 9:25). What is the one thing that is keeping you from following Jesus that you need to give up right now? 

7) Paul was devoted to Christ, growing in the right direction, and had a determination as a Christian. Thinking about these three words, what would your closest friends say you are devoted to, the direction of your life, and your determination? 

Close your time in prayer by praying for: The City Center. 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Philippians | Week 4 | 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 | 1,000 Points of Light | Philippians 2:12-30

If we were to summarize Philippians 1 it would be: Christ first. The summary of Philippians 2 would be: Others next. Paul realized that the generation he was living in was a crooked and warped generation. He knew that if the local church obeyed the truth of God and lived that out in their community that the natural conclusion would be an opportunity to serve others. Paul longed for the early church to be a light to a dark world. Knowing this he encouraged them to have a relentless commitment to become like Christ, to have a joy that reflects Christ, and to live out a sacrificial love for others. He gave them examples of selfless love to help them be a light to others.  

1) Doug taught us that the Luxor light in Las Vegas is the brightest light in the entire world. The light can be seen from 300 miles away. How can we be a brighter light in our homes, neighborhood, community, and workplace for Christ? 

2) Read Philippians 2:12-13. Paul encouraged the church to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. None of us can work FOR our salvation, but how do we play an active role in growing in our faith? (see Psalm 5:3, Mark 1:35, Acts 2:42-47)

3) Paul taught the church that it was God working in them. As you think about maturing in your faith, share about how you’ve seen God in your life to fulfill His good purpose. It might be something that happened years ago or recently. 

4) We are called to do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14-18). What is something that you have been complaining about lately and you need to stop complaining about it because it’s not solving the problem? 

5) Scripture calls us to be holy because God is holy (read 1 Peter 1:15-16). What does it look like to be blameless and pure in a crooked generation? How can you lean into God when you’re struggling being holy? (see Romans 8:26). 

6) Read Philippians 2:19-30. We read about early church leaders who put the needs of others before their personal needs. They modeled a sacrificial love to those around them. How can we live that same lifestyle? (see 1 John 4:16-21, 5:3). 

7) The church in Philippi was marked by a deep concern for the needs of others. Compare their attitude with the parable in Luke 12:16-21. As you think about your life, who do you want to be more like?   

Close your time in prayer by praying for: Young Life. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Philippians | Week 3 | 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 | The Great Example | Philippians 2:1-11

Serving others does not come natural to everyone. Paul wrote the letter to the church in Philippi from a Roman jail about putting Christ first and others next. Instead of talking of being released, Paul focused more on uniting the church. It is truly better to have a united church ministering in the community. Paul longed to see the local church taking up the example of Jesus and chose to serve one another. Paul wants the church to find the joy of serving Jesus that he has found. In Philippians 2:1-11 he writes a poetic masterpiece that shows the chiastic structure that details Jesus coming to earth, serving people, and ascending back into heaven.  

1) Neal shared about the mass shooting in Las Vegas almost four years ago. Many people fled for their lives but some heroes went back to help save others. What motivates a person to put their life on the line to save strangers? 

2) Read Philippians 2:1-4. Draw out the different ways he wanted the church to be united. Talk about the difference between unity and uniformity. How can we be united with Christ for the advancement of the Gospel? 

3) Look again at Philippians 2:3-4. As a group take a couple mins to read Mark 5. Look at how Jesus selflessly served the different people He ministered to in this chapter. What stands out to you about looking to the interests of others? 

4) Paul encouraged us to have the same mindset as that of Jesus (Philippians 2:5). Read John 4:31-34, Luke 7:11-17, Mark 2:1-11, and Matthew 5:1-2. What does these passages teach us about the mindset of Jesus? 

5) Read Philippians 2:6-8. Jesus was obedient to death on the cross. Some believers hear about the cross so often that they forget what really happened (read Luke 23:26-47). What do you need to remember about what happened on the cross? 

6) Jesus ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of God (read Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus allowed God to exalt Him. Read Mark 10:35-45. Why did the disciples want to exalt themselves? Why do we try to do the same? 

7) One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Share about a time where you saw someone confess salvation in the name of Jesus. Who are you praying for to find hope in the name of Jesus?   

Close your time in prayer by praying for: Child Evangelism Fellowship. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Philippians | Week 2 | 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 | Joy in hardship | Philippians 1:12-30

As we study the book of Philippians we must remember that Paul is writing this letter from a Roman jail cell. Paul was wrongly arrested in the Temple in Jerusalem. Some Jews thought that Paul had brought a Gentile into the Temple Court and this caused  a commotion. Paul was arrested and beaten. He was kept in chains because the Jews were looking for a way to kill him. Paul was ultimately taken to Rome where he wrote this letter to the church in Philippi. All day long He was chained to a Roman guard. Paul learned that his suffering gave him an opportunity to glorify God. Through all of this, Paul found joy in his hardship. 

1) Neal shared a story about David McIntyre and his time on a show called Alone. On the show David spoke about how suffering shapes us in to the people we are today. Share a time when you suffered and how it shaped your life. 

2) Read Philippians 1:12-14. Paul found a boldness to share his faith while being locked up in Rome. What motivates you to share your faith? On the other side, what keeps you from sharing your faith? (see 2 Timothy 4:5 about sharing your faith). 

3) Paul was jailed in a private house while being chained to a Roman guard all day long. His chains gave him a boldness to proclaim the Gospel message. What do you feel chained to right now and how can you find boldness to share the gospel? 

4) Paul encourages the church to keep Christ first and to keep proclaiming the Gospel  no matter the situation (read Philippians 1:15-18). Why is Satan happy when he sees conflict arise in the church? 

5) Paul had sufficient courage to face the task at hand (read Philippians 1:18b-21). Courage is a quality we see in many of our heroes of the faith. Read Daniel 1 and talk about how both these men had courage in their unique setting. 

6) Read Philippians 1:22-26. Paul longed to be with the church and to be with the Lord. He knew it was better for him to stay. Who has God placed in your circle of influence that you can encourage with the love of God this week? 

7) At the end of chapter one we learn about conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel (read Philippians 1:27-30). Share one area that you think you excel in conducting yourself in a worthy manner and one area you’d like help to grow in. 

Close your time in prayer by praying for: Family to Family ministry.

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?