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28: The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31 When you were a child, what were you expecting Heaven to be like? Now that you're older, what are you anticipating about Heaven? If poverty didn't exist, would people have a problem experiencing God? If there was no service to do, how would people be Godly? How do the lives of the rich man and Lazarus compare? What kept the rich man from helping Lazarus? (Note that the rich man even knew his name!) Who are the Lazaruses who are right at our gate but we ignore? Note that it...


27: Foundation 101: Don't Get Kajumbled

The Wise and Foolish Builders - Luke 6:46-49 Why would somebody call Jesus “Lord,” and then not do what he says? What does this parable mean to you? What does the rock represent? This parable is also in Matthew 7:24-27, it uses "rock" and "sand." Why is a solid foundation important to a house? Why is a solid faith important to your life? Besides Jesus, what other “foundations” do people depend on? What is Jesus promising to those who live by his words? What is he not promising? Notice that...


26: Pentecost

Acts 2:1-15, 22-24, 36-42 Acts 2:1-4 What was this like? How did it sound? -was it startling? -did it last the whole time? What did it look like? Was it hot--could you feel the flame? How did they feel? …fascinated? confused? scared? emboldened? What would you do with the gift of speaking other languages? Acts 2:5-13 See how loud the disturbance must have been. Compare the reactions of the people in versus 12 and 13. Why were there skeptics? Why are there skeptics today? Acts 2:14-15, 22-24,...


25: A Nice Picnic and Some Awkward Conversation

What is your favorite picnic food? **John 21:1-14** Some interesting things: the number of fish are counted; the disciples didn't recognize Jesus at first, but then knew it was him; Peter gets completely dressed and then jumps into the water. Peter often leaps without looking, which leads us to today's conversation. Why are the disciples back up in Galilee? When we are surrounded with uncertainty, don't we also look for the familiar? Did the disciples think their time with Jesus was over?...


24: A Quick Trip Down the Road to Emmaus

**Luke 24:13-15** How would you describe the mood/disposition of these two men? What kept them from recognizing Jesus? Why do you suppose Jesus decided to have a Bible study rather than just revealing his identity? What Scripture do you think Jesus might have told them about? Why do you think these men were leaving Jerusalem? Wouldn't they have stayed to see what was up with the empty tomb? Why do you think Jesus acted as if he was going further? When did the men finally recognize Jesus?...


23: It's All in the Name

**Acts 3:1-16, 4:5-12** When has your name been misspelled or mispronounced? What was the beggar probably expecting from Peter and John? Was he expecting much?...aren't beggars often just ignored? The beggar's healing was immediate and full! The people expect that Peter has some special power that allowed him to perform this miracle. Peter wants to be sure people know the credit goes to Jesus. How had Peter depended on his own power, instead of Jesus's, before? How did that work out for him?...


22: The Early Church and Their Powerful Testimony

What is your favorite story to tell? Acts 4:32-35 After Jesus ascended into Heaven, his followers needed to organize themselves so that they could continue to spread the Word. But how would they organize themselves? How would they support their efforts? In this reading, what seems very different about the early church than our church experience today? How did they support one another financially? Does anything that we have actually belong to us? What about a mindset that says, "This belongs...


21: No Foolin', the Tomb is Empty!

Happy Easter! John 20 Have you ever received news you could not believe? Mary Magdalene found the tomb open and empty. What did she assume happened? John and Peter run to the tomb. What do they see? They did not yet understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead...why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? It says that they saw and believed. Can you believe without understanding? Why did they go home? Why does Mary not recognize Jesus? Does his resurrection do more than just bring him back...


20: Here, Sit Next to Me

Matthew 26:17-35 -- The Last Supper What is meal time like at your house? Why is it significant that this was the Passover celebration? What is Passover about? How does the plague of death passing over the houses of the faithful connect to Jesus and his sacrifice? How do you think the disciples would have reacted when Jesus announced he would have been betrayed? Why was Judas confused that Jesus was talking about him? What may have motivated Judas to lead the Jewish officials to Jesus? Is...


19: Pep Rallies and Victory Parades

The Transfiguration and Palm Sunday Have you ever had a celebrity encounter? Matthew 17:1-13 What happened here? Why did Jesus want Peter, James, and John to experience this? What message did God have for these three? How might this experience have been beneficial to Jesus? Why is it significant that Moses and Elijah are there? How does Peter recognize them? Why does Jesus ask them to not tell anybody about this? Matthew 21:1-11 What were the people doing with the branches? How many people...


18: In Retrospect, Name Tags Could Have Helped

When have you ever mistaken somebody for being somebody else? Matthew 16:13-20 Why do you suppose Jesus is interested in knowing who people think he is? Who are some of the people that Jesus is apparently being mistaken for? Let’s say somebody were to ask you, Who is Jesus? …what’s your answer going to be? What was Peter’s answer? Did Jesus seem to be surprised by Peter’s answer? How did Peter get his answer? What does it mean to call Jesus the Messiah? Peter gets a cool new nickname. What...


17: Jesus Doodles, Forgives, and Restores

John 8:1-11 Have you ever been caught "red-handed?" There is someone missing in this story. It is evident the Pharisees are corrupt and biased in their handling of justice. Why are the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus? How are they trying to trap him? How does Jesus respond? Why does he say this? Jesus says he doesn’t condemn the woman. Why does Jesus forgive her? What else does he tell her? Forgiveness is a very powerful thing. Why makes it so powerful? Is there somebody you need to forgive?...


16: The Rise and Fall and Rebound of David

As we pick up the story, Saul has been trying to kill David . David had the opportunity to kill Saul, but refused, and he had hoped that Saul would see he wasn’t a threat. It didn’t work. Saul was still trying to kill David. David took refuge in Philistine territory, hoping to be safe there. Meanwhile, all this probably took Saul's attention away from fighting the Philistines. 1 Samuel 31:1-6 Why does Saul ask his armor-bearer to kill him? How do you think David is going to feel about this?...


15: Spear Chucking and Spelunking

We pick up the story after David had been anointed and defeated Goliath. His victory boosted him to fame. It appears he is becoming more popular than Saul, which stokes Saul's outrageous jealousy. (Even Saul's son, Jonathan, seems to like David better than Saul.) 1 Samuel 18:1-11 What is David so successful? Why does Saul feel so threatened by David? Is it strange that Jonathan doesn't feel threatened? Instead, Jonathan admires David, and that frustrates Saul. 1 Samuel 20:30-24 This is...


14: David is Anointed and Starts Slaying Giants

1 Samuel 16 and 17 From the previous 2 episodes...Samuel had anointed Saul as king. Everything started out fine, but Saul soon developed a disdain for God's authority over him. God recognized that Saul's heart was not in the right place, so God removed him as king. Somebody new needed to be anointed, although Saul would not just abandon the thrown. 1 Samuel 16:1 Why was Samuel mourning? He had high hopes for Saul and for his leading God's nation...but he was let down. 1 Samuel 16:2-5 Why was...


13: Saul's Problem with Authority

1 Samuel 13:1-15, 15:13-29 If you are supposed to meet somebody, how late can they be before you give up on them? We pick up the story of King Saul from where we left off in Episode 12\. Saul became king, even though he had no standing, experience, or training, but he did have God and Samuel to rely on...if only he had... 1 Samuel 13:1-15 What is Saul’s rationale for offering the sacrifice? Does this sound like good reasoning to you? The truth is, we can rationalize just about anything that...


12: Samuel Saw Saul

1 Samuel 3, 8:4-22, 10:1-11 When did you ever wake somebody up? By request from Dani, we are going to be talking about King Saul and King David. But before we to Saul, we need to pick up the story of Samuel, one of God's prophets who plays an important role in the stories of Saul and David. What is the job of a prophet? At this time, Israel is a mess. The current prophet, Eli, is ineffective. He seems to lack the respect of the people and his sons are corrupt. Eli either can't or won't bring...


11: Lazarus Makes a Comeback

John 11:1-44 Have you ever been "dead on your feet?" What do we know about the relationship between Jesus and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus? (Luke 10 shows that Jesus had visited their home in the past.) It makes sense that they would send for Jesus to help their sick brother. Why does Jesus delay heading back to Bethany? It didn't seem as though he had pressing business where he was. Jesus said that this illness would not end in death, and the he said that Lazarus had died. Why the...


10: Pearls and Other Treasures

Matthew 13:44-46 What is the most valuable thing you own? Is value measured in money or in what it means to you? What is your first impression of the parables of the found treasure and the pearl? There are two scenarios described here--one in which the person is planning for great gain in the future and the other which has an immediate return on his investment. What can we assume about the merchant? How will he gain from purchasing the pearl? He doesn't know how long it will be until he sees...


9: Mary's Christmas: Even Harder Than You Think

Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12 Listener Email! ( Warm-up question: What kind of travel difficulties have you endured? Mary and Joseph just could not catch a break. How do you think they felt about the timing of the census? How difficult was the journey to Bethlehem? Was there even a donkey? Why was there no place to stay? What would you do if you couldn't find a room? What is a manger? Where would the mangers be located? Was there even a barn? What must have been going...