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.)
Psalm 95:7 echoed many other psalms (including the beloved Psalm 23) in saying we are sheep for whom God cares as a shepherd. Sheep are utterly dependent on their shepherd to keep them fed, watered and safe. Left to their own devices, they tend to be helpless to ensure their own survival. How grateful are you that in a big, complex universe you are one of God’s sheep, watched over with divine caring and love?
Article 5 of the United Methodist Articles of Religion, which date back to church founder John Wesley, says “The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation.” (To read article 5, or the whole document, click here.) That grew from Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:15. The Scriptures wouldn’t solve all historical, scientific or financial issues, but they would “lead to salvation.” What parts of the Bible’s story most powerfully led you to Christ’s gift of salvation?
Fasting, whether from food or some other valued activity, is a helpful spiritual practice. But most Israelites’ fasting only seemed to go skin-deep. Isaiah 58:3-4 noted sadly that the pious “fasters” kept abusing their workers and fighting each other. How do verses 6-7 speak to your heart and your life today? What is one step you can take this Lenten season to make your spiritual practices truly life-changing, as the prophet called Israel to do?
On the other hand, have you ever been in a situation where you felt you had to give reluctantly or under compulsion? What was that experience like? For what reasons would God desire that we give from free, grateful hearts without coercion or pressure? How does giving from the overflow of gratitude in your heart differ from giving under either social/peer pressure or a sense of fear?
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