This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
Much of our legal language calls floods, tornadoes and other disasters “acts of God.” If, as Jesus taught, collapsing towers or killings by foreign soldiers are not “acts of God,” what does cause them? What do you think Jesus would tell a grieving relative of someone killed in this type of tragedy? If God did cause events like destructive hurricanes or children’s deaths from disease or violence, wouldn’t that mean we are working against God’s purpose if we seek to prevent or relieve the victims’ suffering?
There have been (and are today) brave Christian martyrs, but most Christ-followers through the ages have not had to die for their faith. Yet Jesus calls us all to “die” to ways of living and thinking that do not fit with his life and example. How eager or reluctant are you to follow Jesus into changed thoughts and habits that show God’s glory to those around you? How can you and God make the most of each day of the rest of your life?
What should life in God’s Kingdom look like? The Pharisees and legal experts thought God despised “those people” who didn’t live right, so they ought to snub them too. But Jesus taught and acted as though God deeply loved all people. Did what you learned as a child about God or “church” agree more with the Pharisees, or with Jesus? How able are you to love and welcome today’s “tax collectors and sinners” (even if in some ways you’re one of them)?
Most of us can relate at some level to the disciples, wanting Jesus and others to acknowledge their value. Jesus taught a different focus for our natural ambition: “It was not that Jesus abolished ambition. Rather he recreated and sublimated ambition. For the ambition to rule he substituted the ambition to serve. For the ambition to have things done for us he substituted the ambition to do things for others.”* To what ends do you direct your ambition? If you need to redirect it, how can you do that to grow into a secure “servant” content to glorify God and serve others?
* William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark. The Daily Study Bible series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975, p. 223.
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