TNS 1/26/23

Small Group Discussions [Scott Burrill]

  1. How does everyone feel about the idea of “friendship with God”? Is this a new concept? What stood out from tonight in the discussion or scriptures? Anything not make sense that they are still wrestling with?
  2. As you can, check in on a personal level: did anyone start their relationship with God tonight? Start their friendship with God tonight? Or realize they need to re-start their friendship with God?
    1. If your group is ready/willing, go right into a health check with them on where they are at in their relationship with God
  3. What keeps you from friendship with God? Or pulls you from your friendship with God?
  4. What does a healthy friendship with God really look like?
    1. I mean it has to be more than I check some boxes each day by praying before meals and bed and reading a chapter in my Bible …
    2. Not just rules, but relationship … so what does this really look like?
    3. Does Jesus go with you where you go?
  5. If y’all want to or as you have time: How are we feeling about the idea of obedience “earning” us friendship with God? Does your group need to, or want to, dive into the faith vs works discussion?
    1. If so, jump right into James 2:18-26 and see if this helps
    2. What does James say?
    3. Is “friendship” without deeds also dead?

 

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TNS 1/19/23

Small Group Discussions [Bret Smith]

Tonight, we are going to cover a tough, sensitive topic… “Calling Out a Friend.”

Most people don’t do well with confrontation or holding someone accountable for the sin in their life and falling away from Christ. We will try to tackle this topic using James 5:19-20 as the foundation of this truth.

We will cover from “Letting it Slide’ to “Taking Action” and closing with “How to Confront”. It’s not an easy subject to cover and I am assuming most of our students have never tackled anything like this in any depth.

The questions for tonight are pretty much open to which of these things your students want to talk about. I think it would be cool if, you as their Leader, could role-play this with your students.

  1. Role-play any topic. Set the stage and walk them through what this looks like and how you perceive it being done.
  2. Do we have friends we are comfortable sharing this type of accountability with?
  3. Have you ever called out a friend for any of the topics covered?
  4. Discuss with your small groups the correct way to accountability.

 

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TNS 1/12/23

Small Group Discussions [John Pedigo]

  1. What is a valuable gift you have received in the last year?
  2. What is a skill you have learned from a parent, friend or youtube? How have you used this skill to help others?
  3. Jonathan gave David his right to the throne. Have you ever given something to someone which held incredibly meaningful value, or was difficult to give?
  4. It is important to serve our friends faithfully. What is the best way we can serve our friends?
  5. How can you best honor God in maintaining healthy friendships (read Colossians 3:12-14)?

 

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TNS 1/5/23

Small Group Discussions [Josiah Delgado]

1. Have everyone in the group make a list of 5 of your closest friends. In what ways do these friends influence you? For the better or worse?

2. Since our friends directly impact us, how should go about making friends in the future?
a. Are there friendships right now that need to change because of the negative influence they have on you?
b. Are there friendships you should deepen/strengthen because of the good influence they have?

3. Being as honest as possible, how good of a friend do you think you are to those around you? In what ways can you become a better friend?

4. Do you reflect the life of Jesus in the way you pursue/care for your friends? Would others around consider you a follower of Christ? Why or why not?

 

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TNS 12/8/22

Small Group Discussions [Bo Edwards]

  1.  Do you ever engage in your faith on an “intellectual” level? If so, how?
  2. Do you feel as though knowing that we have real evidence for the authenticity of the gospels helps strengthen your faith? Why?
  3. Are there other aspects or areas of the Christian faith that cause you to doubt? Are there other aspects of Christianity you would like to see evidence for and/or explained?

 

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TNS 12/1/22

Small Group Discussions [Eric Dye]

This week I [Eric] will be covering 12 names of Jesus using pictures of ornaments. Each name will be on the screen with an explanation. The focus will be how we can use these names in our prayer time, enhancing worship in our prayers.

I will be giving each of the students a 1-page “Christmas Ornaments” handout of these names. They can fill in the blank and add additional notes if they want. I have included a copy of this handout in this email.

Question/discussion:

  • Were there any names where you haven’t considered in your time with God?  Did any surprise you?
  • Which of the names resonate strongest with you in relating to Jesus?  Why?
  • Does your prayer time currently include worship?  How does adding worship improve this time with God?

Exercise:
Take turns where each student verbalizes a short prayer using 2 of the names from this study. No pressure is intended, encourage them to try at least 1 and complement the effort. Remind them that prayer life can be improved with practice.

 

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TNS 11/17/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [Scott Burrill]

For the bible study section, I [Scott] wrote up two options. Chapter 9 is deep, it gets into predestination, and you may not want to do it or you may think they aren’t ready – Okay.

Chapter 12 & 13 is pretty straightforward, and is good to run through with your students on how to read it, study it, and apply passages of scripture. I broke it into three smaller sections and you can do 1, 2 or all 3 three of them as you see fit.

OPTION 1:

 

Romans 9

You could study this chapter for weeks in detail and still come up with new thoughts and concepts. For a single session with your group, I would recommend pointing towards this as your main idea:

Paul bumps right up into the idea of predestination in this passage. God, knowing in advance the heart of each person, elects certain people, hardens the hearts of some people, and has mercy on who he chooses to have mercy. Vs 22-24 ultimately points us to the idea that God exercises great patience, not immediately destroying those that will never accept him, in order that his glory be revealed to those that will. Deep theology, but this where this takes us.

I recommend doing verses 1-24 only. If your groups wants to keep going through the chapter, go for it. The rest of the chapter adds to the same ongoing discussion and provides more meat for the conversation, but you could have a good discussion using 1-24 only and it would be less overwhelming.

Read verses 1-24.

Spend 5-10 minutes or so making sure everyone understands the basic facts of what you read. Are there any words we need to define? Who are the jews and who are the gentiles? What is the current state when this letter was written for jews and for gentiles?

Background notes:

  • The early church is now made up of gentiles as well as jews who converted to Christianity based on their belief in Jesus (i.e. Paul)
  • Let them get into a discussion as it occurs around the Jews being God’s chosen people from the beginning and the covenant with God that is now being opened up to the gentiles.

Also worth noting is that the people really seemed to note that the jews that did not accept Jesus as their messiah are not saved. This might be easy for some, and it might be tough for some, but this is the meat of Paul’s passage here.

Once you get through background and definitions and facts, start digging into the passage to see what it means:

Take 5 verse sections and try and summarize them
…Or
Take 5 verse sections and ask students, what doesn’t make sense in this section?
…Or (you pick verses you think are complicated and ask them to explain them)

This option would look something like this:

  • Vs 6 – The implication is that people would think the God’s word had failed, but Paul says it hasn’t. Why would they think it had? (because God promised the Jews salvation and then they were not saved – my opinion, but just an opinion)
  • Vs 11 – you’ll need more than just this verse to answer it, but what argument is Paul making about “God’s purpose in election”?
    NOTE: I view this as a key part of this passage.
  • Vs 6-21 – ask your group to look through these verses and using specific verses describe how they represent God’s plan/intent for specific individuals or groups.
  • Vs 22-24 – ask the group to try and make sense of Paul’s description of how the ideas you see in verses 6-21 are played out and used by God.

When we study scripture, I’d recommend that we try and learn something about us, something about God, or something new about what God desires for us. In this passage, with this main concept, I think we are going after learning more about the character of God and his plan for people. Ask the group to try and explain something new they learned, or are still working through, about the character of God.

OPTION 2:

 

Romans 12/13

  • Option A: 12:3-8
  • Option B: 12:9-21
  • Option C: 13:1-7

You can do 1, 2 or all 3 of these sections with your group as you have time and attention span. I would encourage you to do them one at a time and follow the same structure going through them as this will give students a method/structure to do it on their own through the rest of the book.

  1. Read the section
  2. Remind everyone of the context (letter from Paul to both Jewish and Gentile Christians to a church that is not loved by either Rome or the Jews …etc.)
  3. Define any words that the group doesn’t know
  4. Look for specific phrases or verses that don’t make sense or could have multiple meanings and talk through them. (i.e – what does it mean to prophesy in accordance with your faith?)
  5. What was the original recipient of the letter intended to take away from reading this section?
  6. Does anything in this section challenge, change or deepen your understanding of God?
  7. What would that application look like in your life today?

Each section should end with some version of question 7 as we’re looking for the students to apply this passage to their life, or question 6 as we’re looking for students to reflect on who God is.

 

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TNS 11/10/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [Bret Smith]

We will be discussing Romans 8. This chapter is full of the Spirit, and I want to make sure the students understand the difference in “No Condemnation”, “Flesh”, “Mind, Body, and Spirit” and “God’s Everlasting Love”.

I will be concentrating on verses 1-11, a small snippet from verses 26-27, and closing with verses 31-39. It is a lot to take in and I am going to try and get some feedback from the students. If you want to use the questions provided, please feel free. If you would rather take your students down a different path that is fine also.

  • Where is the Spirit in your life?
    • Is he on a shelf, pulled off only when there are trials in your life, or is he the one leading you?
  • Feeding the Spirit is critical in a Christians life.
    • Identify the how to feed it and what to feed it with. Try to get your students to commit to more than Thursday and Sunday through devotionals, commentaries, or study plans.
  • The Spirit intercedes for us in our weakness (or during trials & tribulations) with groanings as mentioned in verses 26-27.
    • Has there been a time in your life when you felt this type of weakness and had no idea what to pray for?
  • God’s love for us is everlasting, as stated in verses 31-39. It also lists a number of things in verse 35 that could possibly separate us from God. Verse 38-39 gives us a comprehensive list of items that can’t separate us from the love of God.
    • Go through these items and talk about them. If they are struggling with any of this refer back to verse 31 and provide reassurance that if God is for us, who can be against us.

 

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SUNDAY 11/6/22

Table Discussions Info [Bo Edwards]:

  • The plan is to talk about how Jesus is our greatest teacher. I will open with a story about a teacher I had as a kid that I really liked, and how his class was different from any class I had ever seen.
  • Then I’ll talk about how Jesus is our greatest teacher; how we use pretty much everything about him to teach us things — his actions, the way he responded to things, and the things he said, namely parables.
  • I will then assign each group a parable, and they can take 15 minutes to come up with a way to act it out, similar to how Maddie told her story at the Clue event while Stephanie and Debbie acted it out.
  • After acting it out, I am going to ask them what they believe the lesson behind the parable itself is.

The parables I have chosen are as follows:

  • The Unforgiving servant  – Matthew 18:23-35
  • The Tenant Farmers – Mark 12:1-12
  • The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:29-37
  • The Friend at Midnight – Luke 11:5-13
  • The Rich Fool – Luke 12:13-21
  • The Invited Guests – Luke 14:7-14
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16:19-31
  • The Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14(if we need extra table) The Lost Sheep – Matthew 18:10-14

I want to close in on that fact that if we follow Jesus’ teachings, we should look different to the outside world, much like the teacher’s class I was in was very different.

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TNS 11/3/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [John Pedigo]

  1. What does it mean for you to LIVE for Christ? What does it mean to hear the word of the Lord?
  2. Read Romans 7:19 – Talk about a time you have felt stuck (in sin, a bad habit, a situation), even though you wanted to move forward with Jesus. If Jesus makes us whole, why do we still struggle with sin?
  3. How can you support others within your small group and this youth group in their struggle to be a new creation?
  4. What is something you can do right now to remind yourself and others that God has the final say in who you are through Christ? (pray, verbal reminders from others, scriptural reference, say positive attributes out loud)
  5. Challenge – for the next week – when you get up – look in the mirror and say this. “God – you made me to do incredible things through your son, Jesus. I surrender to your will and the Holy Spirit. Please guide me today and always, remind me that I am good enough. Remind me that you chose me. Remind me that I am loved. Amen.”
  6. Pray together with your group and for our student ministries. Pray for the strength to do the right things even in the most difficult situations. Pray for our eyes to be open to the immeasurable love God has for us.

 

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SUNDAY 10/30/22

Table Discussions [Bo Edwards]

This week will be about how Jesus understands us! How he can relate to us because he came down and spent a life as a human.

I have 8 different passages on something Jesus went through in life. And I will give each table one to read about and discuss. I will ask them something like

“What did Jesus go through here? What was the experience like for him? How do you think he felt as he went through it? How did Jesus respond?”

The 8 passages are as follows:

  • Isaiah 53:2-8 -prophecy about Jesus. Almost a summary of what he would go through
  • Matt 4:1-11 – Tempted
  • Matt 13:53-58 – rejected by own town
  • John 6:60-71 – disciples leave because of hard teaching
  • Luke 22:39-46 – anguish in the garden
  • Matt 26:47-56 – judas betrayal
  • Matt 26:69-74 – denied by friends
  • Matt 27:27-31 – beaten by soldiers

I will then call on each group and ask what they read about, what they discussed, etc.

 

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TNS 10/27/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [Josiah Delgado]

  1. Why should we not keep on sinning, if God’s grace is there for us?
  2. Romans 6:10 says “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives for God.” What are your thoughts on this verse after hearing the message? How should this encourage us as followers of Jesus?
  3. What are thoughts on being “slaves to righteousness?” Discuss the implications this has on our lives (make it personal)
  4. Are there areas in your life where you are letting sin “reign in your body?” Be honest with one another, remembering Jesus forgives.
  5. If anyone confesses or repents, pray for one another, then help each other make SPECIFIC and CLEAR goals to avoid that sin in our lives. Let the student mainly make the plan, but definitely help when needed.

 

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TNS 10/20/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [Scott Burrill]

Feel free to just talk through what did or didn’t stand out, or what questions your group has from the passage. Either verses 1-5 or throughout Romans chapter 5.

  1. Re-read Romans 5:1-5. Are there any words we should define or clarify the meaning of?
  2. Was your hand up or down for having had an easy life?
    1. Can you think of a time in your life when a trial has built character resulting in hope?
    2. Have trials in life your life resulted in things other than hope? What was the difference?
  3. Paul essentially says that trials are part of the Christian life. How would you explain if asked why trials are a part of life? (Don’t necessarily give them these ideas unless the question doesn’t make sense: but do they think God does it to test us, to grow us, because he is mad at us, because there is no God, because life is just stupid and hard and mean, because of sin, etc etc etc)
    1. Why do they think what they think? Where did they get their answer?
  4. If you want or have time, read 5:6-21 in preparation for next week. Does it make sense? What questions do they have? Can they look into those questions this week? Can they pre-read chapter 6 for next week?

Next week Josiah will be teaching through chapter 6 and it will start with the last two verses of chapter 5 which starts the idea at the beginning of 6 of whether more sin is good since it means more grace. Just an FYI so feel free to point your group towards chapter 6 in preparation for next week.

 

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TNS 10/13/22

Sermon Info & Small Group Discussion Questions [Bo Edwards]

Summary:
Being in right relationship with God is a gift He gave you. He did not give it to you because you are good. He gave it to you because HE is good.

Where in the Bible:
Mostly Romans 4, a little bit of Romans 3.

High Level Outline:

  • Being in right relationship with God is a gift
  • If it is a gift, how does faith fit in? Faith is the means in which we accept the gift, but not the cause
  • Our own works (the law) is also not the cause of the gift
  • Reiterate the gift is for EVERYONE

Special Notes:

At the end of the message, we are doing an altar call. I am going to have the worship team come up, and have you guys position yourselves around the room. I am going to ask them if they need prayer because either:

  • They want to accept the gift of being made righteous with God
  • They have accepted the gift, but recognize they have forgotten that it was a gift, and are not living with appropriate gratitude

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION:

If people in your small group went up to leaders in prayer, I would encourage conversation to flow from that. Like if they are willing to share what is going on and/or why they asked for prayer, I think that can pretty much carry the conversation time on its own. Please use the following for additional guidance if you need it. Or completely ignore it and tell me to pound sand. I don’t care either way 🙂

If somebody got saved in your group, be excited! Celebrate! There’s a party in heaven, why not have a bit of a party here?
Discuss it, have a little fun. I don’t know. Whatever that looks like for your group

I am a little worried about the whole “faith is the means, not the CAUSE” thing since I think it is kind of tricky to understand, so if need be, feel free to dive a little more into that.
In order to help them understand that, I am going to provide an illustration of someone else making them a meal. The other person did the work. The other person made the meal, bought the food, etc. The meal is a gift, but in order to accept the meal, the MEANS or the WAY in which they accept the gift, is they have to eat the meal. I hope that illustration works. If it doesn’t, well then I am sorry and good luck!

Before tonight, did you understand that being made right with God was a gift? Had you wrapped your head around it? If not, does it change anything for you?
Maybe how it changes their perspective, heart posture, actions.

If you have accepted the gift, do you feel you live with appropriate gratitude? If not, what actions can you take to fix that?
I encourage you to get as specific as possible. The more fuzzy they make it, the easier they can squirm out of it.

If you have not accepted the gift, what is holding you back?
If you feel this is better to dive into as a one on one thing, by all means, pull them aside after small group or even another time, invite them to lunch, whatever.

Some questions to help give a structure to the conversation…
Is it you simply don’t believe it? Do you struggle with feeling not good enough? Scared of what the commitment means? Something else?

 

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SUNDAY 10/9/22

Small Group Discussion Notes & Questions [Bo Edwards]

Hey leaders,
The “big” discussion time for this Sunday is going to be centered around “What is a biblical perspective on Jesus?” I will ask something like the following:

I would like to spend the next 5-10 minutes with you guys doing a little bit of a mini research project. What is the Biblical perspective of Jesus? What does the Bible tell us about Jesus? Who is he? What kind of authority does he have? What has he done? Find scripture to support your answers. Use your leaders as a resource.

I want them to actually be poring over their Bible finding the scripture that supports their answers so afterwards, when I call on one of them and a kid says “Jesus died on a cross”, I am going to say “great! read the verse that supports that”.

Please support them in any way you can. If they need ideas on who Jesus is/what he did, give them that. If they need help finding something, do that as well. I will give you leeway in how you do that. If you need to say “look at the end of Mark” great. If the kid needs you to spell it out for them and you need to say “Mark 15”, cool. I leave that up to you. If a kid says something and you are not sure where it is, by all means google it yourself so you can help them. No shame in that. I would need to do that as well in a lot of instances.

If anyone has any issues with this approach or even ideas on how to improve it, by all means let me know. Also, here are just a few things about Jesus with scripture references to help you guys if kids need ideas:

  • John 1:1-4, 14; Jesus is God, eternal
  • Luke 1:34-36; Born of virgin birth
  • Mark 14:61-62; Jesus claims to be the Messiah, even claims much more than that by responding “I am”
  • John 21:24-25; Performed many miracles
  • Mark 15; Jesus was crucified
  • John 20-21; Jesus rose again
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 Jesus died for our sins
  • Isaiah 53, Psalm 22; Jesus was prophesied about

 

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TNS 10/6/22

Small Group Discussion Questions [Eric Dye]

Leaders,
This week deals with everyone’s guilt of sin and as a result needing a Lord and Savior.  There may be a few of our students wanting to make a commitment.  Ask if anyone has made the decision.  Ask if anyone has a question about what a commitment means.

Digging deeper:

  • Romans 3:1-9 Paul uses common sense to defeat clever arguments
  • Lie … Doing wrong is ok if it produces good
  • Lie … Sin helps because it reveals God
  1. What should believers do to prevent being tricked by twisted logic?
  2. Can you think of a time where you used logic to justify what you wanted to do?
    Romans 3:9-20  Paul points out that EVERYONE in under the power of SIN, EVERYONE fails the test of righteousness before God
  3. Do you agree that everyone, including yourself sins and will be held accountable before God?
  4. since the Law shows us we are guilty, why is it described as beautiful?
    Romans 3:21  The free gift of righteousness is available to all through faith
  5. Have you acknowledge your need for a savior and accepted HIS gift of salvation by Faith?  What is more important, His faithfulness or your feelings?  Why does that matter?