Small Groups & Quiet Times
Friday Night Small Group
Come and See God’s Call (The call of Moses) - Exodus 3
1. What are some significant events in your life?
2. Have you ever had your plans changed by such an event?
3. What do you think Moses was thinking when he walked up on the bush?
4. What were some of the excuses made by Moses as to why he could not do what God was asking?
5. Did his background give him excuses?
6. Do we make excuses?
7. Are they that much different than those that Moses made?
8. When did the calling of Moses begin?
9. When does our calling start?
10. Why do you think that college students struggle with ‘pushing pause’ on their faith?
11. When asked, God told Moses, “Tell them ‘I AM’ has sent you.” Jesus uses this phrase over and over in the Gospel of John. (John 6:48; John 8:58; John 14:6; John 10:11).
12. What are the similarities in the way that God met and called Moses at the bush and the way that He has met and called you?
To close, Pray that the students in your small group will embrace the divine plan of God for them in Christ Jesus and that we would embrace our faith in the now.
Friday Night Quiet Time
If asked the question, “Who is God?”, most everyone has an answer and or an opinion of who God is. Whether you are a
believer, agnostic, or simply one who holds the understanding that there is no God, all of us have drawn a conclusion concerning God. By all of us, that means all of us, even if the conclusion is, “There is no God.” No matter what the circle/group you may find yourself in, or belong to, you are welcome here at #UnitedDNow; however, we urge you to “come and see” the God, the God of Scripture, that we believe is the Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign Authority, and Redeemer of/over all things.
Although not exhaustively, both tonight and tomorrow morning, our hope, as we dive into the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures, is that you will gain a greater, life-changing perspective of who God is and what He has done. Come and see the God of the Bible.
Before we begin: Pray/Prepare
Whether you are a believer in God or skeptical of him, it is important that you pray and prepare your heart, soul, and mind to engage in the truths at hand. For the believer, pray, “God open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to believe the truths found in Scripture concerning who you are and what you have done.” For those who are skeptical, prepare your heart, soul, and mind to engage the truths at hand with a mind open and willing to believe the truth’s of Scripture if persuaded to do so by Scripture, even if such truth is contradictory to your current perspective/point of view.
Come and See: The God of the Old Testament
God as Creator: As you consider the Old Testament Scriptures, the Bible’s first book, the Book of Genesis, begins by declaring the truth, “There is a God.” Such a God, the God of the Bible, is the Creator of all things. Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Job 33:4 declares, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” The Old Testament Scripture’s first claim concerning God is that he is the Creator, Founder, Source, and Divine Designer of all things. This includes you and me.
God as Sustainer: Again, Nehemiah 9:6 states, “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Nehemiah affirms the truth of Genesis chapter one; however, he furthers this truth by stating, “God is both Creator of all things and the Sustainer of all things.” Nehemiah states, “You, Lord (God), preserve all of them.” The word “preserve” is equivalent to sustain. The common, online dictionary defines preserve as, “maintain (something) in its original or exist- ing state.” God creates life, and he sustains life.
God as Sovereign Authority: God is the preeminent “elite” authority over all things. Psalm 97:9 states, “For you, O Lord,
are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” Psalm 24:1-2, “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Psalm 29:10, “The Lord sits enthroned as king forever.” Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” Throughout the Old Testament Scripture, God is portrayed as the divine God, Authority, King, Ruler, and Judge, and there is none who is greater than he. As Creator and Sustainer of all life/all things, He is the Sovereign Authority over all things.
Tonight’s conclusion: Although, there are many aspects of God’s power and position and presence which are beyond our understanding and comprehension (that sorta comes with being God!), Scripture is clear that he is the Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign Authority of/over all things. As you consider who God is, at least from the perspective of these three truths, you may be tempted and pressed to be filled with fear, and questions; yet, the desire of Scripture is that you be filled with hope. God, in spite of all of his wisdom, works, and decisions which are often different than our desires or plans, as Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign Authority is working in your life for His glory and for your good. Psalm 8:4 states, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” An old Christian confession, known as the Westminster Confession of Faith, states, “The chief end (goal or life-purpose) of man (humanity) is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” This Christian confession is gathered from the central truth of Scripture which affirms, “God is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign Authority of all things, and he desires that all his creation know him, obey him, and enjoy him forever.” Contrary to the popular and yet false conclusion that God, especially the God of the Old Testament, is a tyrant ruler who cares for nothing more than to crush humanity, nothing could be further from the truth. God’s position, presence, and power are purposed for his glory and your joy. He calls people by grace to his standard of holiness, to be lived by faith in Christ, for the joy of all who do. When we know him and obey him, he is glorified, and we are satisfied beyond measure.
Do these truths concerning God confirm or contradict your current position and or perspective of God? What do these truths compel you to do, to think, to be, to believe?
If you want to know more about this God, the God of Scripture, or have a desire to know him in a personal/saving way then please take time this weekend to speak with your small group leader, host home leader, or your student pastor about God, God’s pursuit of you, and your understanding of him. Open your eyes and “come and see” God, a God who is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign. Come and see a God of hope.
Saturday Morning Quiet Time
Last night, in your devotion, we learned from the Old Testament Scriptures that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign. This morning, we will seek to expand our understanding of God with one more foundational truth. That foundational truth is this, “God is a Redeemer.” As we turn our focus to the New Testament, particularly the book of Colossians, we will once again affirm that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign; however, Scripture will also testify to the eternal truth, “God is our Redeemer.”
Before we dive into Colossians, let’s begin by visiting the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 1:3 states, “He (Christ and Son of God) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty (God) on high...” Contrary to the false and unhelpful conclusion that the “god” of the Old Testament and the “god” of the New Testament are two different and even competing “gods”, Hebrews presents a completely different truth. They are one being, not separate beings. As you “come and see,” consider (and seek to expand your understanding of God) it is most accurately possible to do so by studying the person, nature, and work of Christ. Christ who is God, his exact nature and glory.
Now, with that as our foundation, let’s turn our attention to Colossians:
Colossians 1:15-20 states, “He (Christ/God) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
By “firstborn of all creation,” Scripture is not speaking to Christ’s origin, for the Bible testifies that God is eternal, having always existed and existing always (bonus truth concerning God). Paul, the author of Colossians, is simply affirming the truth that Christ, as Creator of all things, has been placed in his rightful position as au- thority over all of creation. In this one New Testament passage of Scripture, we see that God is Creator. Verse 16 states, “For by him (Christ/God) all things were created.” Verse 17, speaking of God as Sustainer, states, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold (sustain/preserve) together.” And finally, verse 18 concludes, “He is from the beginning, the head that in everything he might be preeminent (supreme prominence).” In verses 15-19 of Colossians 1, we affirm, along side the Old Testament, that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign. However, verse 20 reveals our final, comforting, and glorious truth concerning God:
God as Redeemer: Verse 20 states, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Once again, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in him (Christ, Son of God) because Christ is fully and equally God. However, verse 20 reveals to us something more about God/Christ. God, though Christ, was pleased to “reconcile” to himself all things (including you and me) by “making peace” through the blood of his cross.” There are two primary things/phrases to make note of in this passage of Scripture: “reconcile to himself” and “make peace by his blood.”
The word “reconcile” means, “to restore or to reestablish, especially relationally.” Our passage specifically states, “God, restored or reestablished a relationship with humanity (his creation) by or through the blood of his cross.” But why? Why must God reconcile a relationship with humanity? Verse 21 gives us the “short” answer by stating, “And you (humanity), who once were (or possibly still are) alienated (separated from God) and hostile (enemies of/against God) in mind, doing evil deeds (sinning against God and his sovereign law).
This verse summarizes the greater diagnosis of the human condition before God given to us in Scripture. We, no matter how innocent we think we may be, are sinners before God, against God, and against His law. Romans 3:10, “As it is written, “None is righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory (righteous standard of perfection, holiness, and purity) of God.” We, all of humanity due to our sin against God and His law, are condemned in our sin, under the judgment of God’s wrath, and eternally separated from His joy and presence with no hope, of our own doing, to change our fate. However, as seen in Colossians, God, in spite of our sin, provided a way for our sins to be forgiven and the broken relationship with Him to be “reconciled” by the blood of Christ. You see, Hebrews 9:22 states, “Indeed, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Because sin, our sin, fall’s short of God’s standard of righteousness. We cannot be permitted into his presence or know his joy in our sinful position. Therefore God, through Christ, saw to it, through the sacrificial death of his Son on the cross and the shedding of his blood on our behalf, to change our position from sinner to forgiven in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “For our sake (your sake) he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Christ) we (you) might become the righteousness (the standard of glory, perfection, holiness, and purity) of God.”
David Platt conveys this truth in this way, “The good news of Christ is that He has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women and has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the resurrection, so that everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever.”
Have you ever been redeemed? Have your sins been forgiven and have you been reconciled to God?
If your answer is “no,” and you would like to know more about how you can be redeemed, your sins be forgiven, and your relationship with God reconciled? See your small group leader, host home leader, and or student pastor to talk about what it means to be “redeemed” by the Redeemer. Come and see God as Redeemer.
If your answer is yes, and you have been redeemed; realize that is a precious gift. A gift given freely to you by God for his glory and your joy. You did not/do not deserve such a gift. Strive to know God deeply, obey God fully, make much of God faithfully, and enjoy God supremely.
Saturday Morning Small Group
Come and See God’s Faithfulness - Colossians 2:1-15
Have students read Colossians 2:1-15 silently.
1. Have someone recap the text.
2. Have everyone else highlight what stood out to them the most.
3. Read the text aloud.
Then ask the following questions:
1. Paul discusses being taken captive by plausible (reasonable) arguments. What would you say is a 'plausible argument' used against Christianity? How do we combat that?
2. Compare and contrast the difference in this passage for believers and non-believers.
3. What does Paul seem to be saying about being “rooted and grounded”? Would you describe anyone in your life as that? Yourself?
4. How has God written his truth on our hearts?
5. Jesus disarmed “rulers and authorities.” How? If they are disarmed, why do they still cause such problems for us?
Saturday Night Small Group
Come and See God’s Salvation - Hosea (Overview of Chapter 1-3)
1. Can anyone recall what the following names mean? Hosea, Jezreel, No Mercy, Not My People, Gomer
2. Why are the names in this story so important?
3. What is the problem Hosea faces?
4. Why has God asked Hosea to face this problem?
1. God allows Israel to run around and get exhausted.
2. What does He do after that? “I will allure her.”
3. God begins to pursue Israel. Why?
4. Had they done anything to deserve this?
5. “I will meet you in the valley of Achor...” Hosea 2:15b NIV. Can someone in your group remember when God met you in your “achor”? (The word means trouble...).
6. What does God do with the children he had named?
1. God sends Hosea to “Go again” and get Gomer...who has returned to prostitution. Why?
2. Hosea has to buy His wife back from prostitution. What does he use to buy her?
Read through John 3:16. Chad closed out his message with it. Do you see Gomer’s story in it?