Sunday Service 10:30am

Rusty Wirt - April 8, 2018

Living Hope

More Messages Associated With "Conflict"...

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Discussion Questions


8.18 – My Words

Ephesians 4:17-32

1. Near the beginning of his message, Pastor Rusty shared some things kids say they wish they could have done more. Most of them involve relationships. What things do you wish you could have done more as a kid? What things do you wish you could do more of now? What’s stopping you?

2. Read Ephesians 4:17-24. In this passage, Paul states that there should be a noticeable difference between the behavior of believers and non-believers. Do you agree? Why or why not?

3. Read Ephesians 4:26-27. In what ways does unresolved anger give the devil a foothold in our lives and relationships?

4. Read Ephesians 4:29. What filters does Paul encourage us to place on our words? In what ways would a typical day’s conversations change for you if you followed these guidelines?

5. Read Ephesians 4:32. According to this verse, what is the standard for how we should forgive others? How is that different from the standard we often use instead?

1. Think of your words as the building blocks of your relationships. Take a few moments to reflect on the conversations you had in your most important relationships this past week. What things did your words build in the lives of those people? What things can you do to improve on that this week?

2. Forgiveness can be tough. What do you tend to require from people before you are willing to forgive them? Where would you be if God applied those same standards to you? Ask God to help you recall the depth of His grace and mercy the next time you hesitate to forgive someone.


8.25 – No Pain, No Gain

Galatians 6:1-3, Proverbs 27:6

1. Read Proverbs 27:6 and Ephesians 4:15. Are you more likely to believe people when they tell you something about yourself that you agree with or want to hear? What are some of the dangers of doing that?

2. Is being nice the same as following Jesus? Why or why not? Give an example of something you might not say or do if you value being nice over following Jesus.

3. Read Galatians 6:1. What guidelines does this verse give us about confronting other believers? Why are these important?

4. Read Galatians 6:2 and Romans 15:1-2. In these verses, Paul tells us that we have an obligation to help other believers who are struggling, not to merely stand by and point out their faults and failures. In what ways can we carry each other’s burdens?

5. Read Galatians 6:3, Romans 12:3, Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 14:10-13. According to these passages, what are some of the pitfalls we need to be careful to avoid whenever we reach out to help restore someone?

1. What areas of your life do you tend to consider to be “off limits” to input from other people? Why do you think you put up those barriers? Ask God to help you be humble enough to receive wise counsel from others regarding these areas, even when it may be hard to hear.

2. Think about the last time you confronted someone close to you. How did that go? Did you treat that person the same way you would have liked to have been treated if you were the one being confronted? In light of this week’s message, what could you do differently next time to improve the outcome?


9.1 – Goodness and Pain

1 Samuel 25:1-42

1. First Samuel 25:4-11 tells the story of a wealthy farmer named Nabal. Everyone in Bible times would have understood that after David and his men protected the farmer’s flocks from thieves, the farmer would pay them for their work. However, when it was time to settle up, Nabal insulted David and his men and refused to pay them for their help. Why is it so hard to deal with people who think only of themselves?

2. In 1 Samuel 25:12-22, we read of David’s angry reaction to being treated badly. He intended to kill Nabal and every male member of his household. While David’s anger was justified, he overreacted. If we aren’t very careful when we deal with foolish, self-centered people, we will become foolish and self-centered ourselves. How can we guard against falling into that trap?

3. In the passage above, David nearly made a disastrous mistake because he was angry and frustrated. Have you ever made a bad decision in anger that you later regretted? What are three practical steps you can take to prevent yourself from acting foolishly during a moment of anger?

4. In 1 Samuel 25:23-34, we learn how the wise, resourceful Abigail helped David reconsider what he was about to do. Can you think of a time when a small-minded, petty person brought you down to their level? Can you think of another time when a wise person appealed to your better nature and stopped you from making a mistake you would have regretted? What steps can you take in the future to help make sure you avoid making the kinds of decisions you will later regret?

5. In 1 Samuel 25:35-42, God provided for David and his men and settled things with Nabal, too. How would the story likely have ended differently if David had taken matters into his own hands instead of allowing God to take care of him and his men and settle the score with Nabal?

1. Can you think of any godly friends who might, like Abigail, help you become a more mature, godly person? Consider asking them this week to help hold you accountable for making wise choices in difficult relationships.

2. When we respond to pain with good judgment and patience, God can use us to help break the cycle of hatred and hurt. Take a few moments right now to ask God to use you to be a peacemaker and to help bring peace into the chaos of our self-centered, angry society by starting with your own relationships.


9.8 – Relational Diagnostics

2 Corinthians 5:10-16

1. Relationships can get pretty messy sometimes and we don’t always handle that mess in healthy ways. What is your typical response when things start getting messy in a relationship? How do your friends and family members typically respond when things get messy for them?

2. Read 2 Corinthians 6:11-12. In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis states: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.” In what ways does loving someone make you vulnerable?

3. Sometimes it’s tempting to feel like relationships just aren’t worth the trouble and the vulnerability. Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-12. In this passage, what reasons does Paul give us for persevering in our relationships when things get messy and we’re ready to quit?

4. Read John 3:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. According to these passages, for whom did Jesus die? Which people have been excluded from His love?

5. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16, 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and 1 Timothy 1:12-16. According to these passages, what kinds of things do we need to take into consideration if we are going to see people the way God sees them?

1. Think of a time when you made yourself vulnerable to someone and were hurt in the process. Did that experience change the way you related to them – and others – after that? Ask God to heal any hurt places you still have that may be keeping you from being willing to make yourself as vulnerable as you need to be in your present relationships.

2. What kinds of things tend to make it hard for you to recognize someone’s eternal value? Do you think other people might have similar difficulties regarding you at times? Take a few moments to ask God to give you a deeper understanding of His amazing love and to help you see others the way He sees them.


9.15 – Relational Diagnostics – Part 2

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What do you think of in a general sense when you hear the words “new creation”? In what ways are we made new when we receive God’s offer of reconciliation?

2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:18. According to this verse, who initiated this idea of reconciliation with God? How does that make you feel?

3. Read 2 Corinthians 5:19. How was this reconciliation with God achieved? Who is included in this reconciliation? What alternative avenues for reconciliation with God does He lay out for us?

4. Read 2 Corinthians 5:20. What special role does God give to those who have received this reconciliation? What is the primary purpose of this role?

5. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. To restate this verse, we could say that although Jesus was not a sinner, He was treated like one so that we sinners, who were not righteous like Jesus was, could be treated like Him. What does this tell us about God? About Jesus? About ourselves?

1. If you are a believer, what does it mean to you to know that you have been reconciled to God? If you are not yet a believer, what would you say is keeping you from being willing to accept God’s offer of reconciliation?

2. As a believer, take a few moments to ask God how to be an effective ambassador for Him this week in your current relationships.