DOLLARS & SENSE - Part 2/3

Community Group Conversation Starters
DOLLARS & SENSE – Part 2/3
Pastor Clark Frailey

November 12, 2017

BIG IDEA: Money is neutral. It’s what we do with money that matters.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 14:12

BACKGROUND:  Jesus spent more time talking about money than he did talking about heaven and hell. Either we manage our finances in line with God’s Word or our finances will cause problems in our lives. As you read through this lesson’s Scriptures about talents, think about the enormous amount of wealth the master is entrusting to his servants or managers. In our lives, everything we own is similarly on loan from God.  Just like the servants in this story, it is our responsibility to use our possessions wisely and when we do, God blesses us. In this discussion, we’ll look at what Jesus teaches us about how to do this.


CONVERSATION STARTERS:

1) ICE BREAKER:  Pastor Clark shared an embarrassing fear he had as a child. What's something you were afraid of as a kid? Why do you think it seemed so scary at the time? Did you face the fear? How did that change your perspective?

2) In Matthew 25:19-20, what objective does the master of the servants have? Whom does the servant in Matthew 25:24-25 blame for his behavior?

3) What are some current examples of people blaming other individuals or institutions for their own failures?

4) In verse 25, what reason did the third servant give for not investing the master’s money What keeps us from using our talents, investing our lives, or moving to financial freedom?

5) Pastor Clark quoted Bob Goff, "What we do with our love is where we are in our faith. We’re rivers, not reservoirs." How do you respond to this idea? Agree or disagree? Why?


APPLICATION: Read Hebrews 11:6

It is impossible for us to say that we fully trust God if we are not willing to be generous people and love others through doing good. If one of the clearest indicators of our faith is what we do with our love - how could you begin to fully trust God this week and express that kind of life-giving faith?

DOLLARS & SENSE - Part 1/3

Community Group Conversation Starters
DOLLARS & SENSE – Part 1/3
Pastor Clark Frailey

November 5, 2017

BIG IDEA: Money is neutral. It’s what we do with money that matters.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 16:11-13

BACKGROUND:  Jesus spent more time talking about money than he did talking about heaven and hell. Either we manage our finances in line with God’s Word or our finances will cause problems in our lives. As you read through this lesson’s Scriptures about talents, think about the enormous amount of wealth the master is entrusting to his servants or managers. In our lives, everything we own is similarly on loan from God.  Just like the servants in this story, it is our responsibility to use our possessions wisely and when we do, God blesses us. In this discussion, we’ll look at what Jesus teaches us about how to do this.


CONVERSATION STARTERS:

1) ICE BREAKER:  What's your favorite part of helping out others? Why does giving make us feel good? 

2) Who owned the wealth or property described in Matthew 25:14?

3) Thinking of this Bible verse as a parable, whom does the man going on a journey represent, and whom do the servants represent?

4)  Why is it hard to accept the concept that our possessions really belong to God?

5) According to Matthew 25:15, what process did the man use to decide how to allocate his money?

6) In this story, the servants all received different amounts but each servant received something. In what ways is this an analogy to our lives today if we consider that the servants in this story represent us?

APPLICATION: Read Luke 16:11-13.

None of us knows when we will be called by God to make an account to him for how we have used the talents he entrusted to us.  For some that accounting will come tonight or tomorrow, for others it will be years away.  When that time arrives for you, will you be hearing affirmation from God, be given a promotion and sharing in the celebration of heaven?  As you read Luke 16:11-13, ask yourself who you really serve.  There can only be one number one in our lives.  If God is not number one, what do you need to change?    

Money is a test of your trust.  It is a terrible master but a good servant.  Pray and ask God to take away any fear you may have regarding your stewardship of the finances he has entrusted into your care.  Ask Jesus to be your life manager and watch what he does.  
 

WAKING THE DEAD - Part 3/3

Community Group Conversation Starters
WAKING THE DEAD – Part 3/3
Pastor Clark Frailey

October 29, 2017

BIG IDEA: Life is too good not to love others!

SCRIPTURE: Revelation 3:16, John 13:34-35

BACKGROUND:  On Sunday Pastor Clark explored the idea of how the Old Covenant ended or was fulfilled in Jesus. The New Covenant (like a cell phone contract) is now in place and Jesus gave a new commandment through that (John 13).


CONVERSATION STARTERS:

1) ICE BREAKER:  Name a time you tried to "fake it" at work with energy, composure, or information when you didn't really have it altogether. 

2) Why do you think we so often get bogged down in going through the motions spiritually?

3) What is it about the lukewarm that would make God speak so strongly in Revelation 3?

3) Why do you think we humans prefer layers to simpler ideas and actions? Why would we not simply love each other instead of worrying about rules and complexity?

4) What about your life--can you name a time that you found it easier to do or not do something instead of loving others?

5) How can we as a group encourage one another to look for opportunities at work, home, neighborhood, or school to love others?

APPLICATION: We ended the message with a simple application: When you're not sure what to say or do, do what love requires of you. How might that be the most difficult thing we ever accomplish if we really lived that out? How might it shape our community?

WAKING THE DEAD - Part 1/3

Community Group Conversation Starters
WAKING THE DEAD – Part 1/3
Pastor Clark Frailey

October 15, 2017

BIG IDEA: Life is too good not to live.

SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 37:1-10, Mark 9:14-23

BACKGROUND:  Ezekiel 37 begins by simply revealing the apocalyptic vision that concludes Ezekiel's message on Israel's future restoration. Apocalyptic literature is not familiar to most people. This type of literature is symbolic visionary-prophetic, consisting of visions recorded exactly as they are seen by the author and explained through a divine interpreter.

The theological content is primarily eschatological, normally being composed during times of oppression. Apocalyptic literature has a simple twofold form: the setting of the vision, in which the recipient and the geographical location are identified, and the vision per se, with its divine interpretation. (Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): Old Testament Copyright 2004.)

On Sunday Pastor Clark likened the idea of God's people in utter, desolate hopelessness to how we too can feel dead and lifeless without hope in our struggles. Taking a page from Ezekiel's interaction with God we too can understand that our God is capable of anything. Read the story of Jesus and the father in Mark 9:14-23 for another angle on how trusting God is key to being filled with hope beyond the temporary stress of today.


CONVERSATION STARTERS:

1) ICE BREAKER:  Name of one bone in your body that you know the name of. You can't name the bone someone else has named. 

2) Why do you think Ezekiel answered as he did in verse 3?

3) What is the message of the vision of dry bones for Israel? What might the application be to our current day stress and struggles?

3) Why do you think God revealed this message through this visual means? Why not just tell Ezekiel about it?

4) What about your life--has God ever come through for you when it looked like things were hopeless?

5) How do we hang on to hope when the situation of our lives is like the valley of dry bones--hopeless?

APPLICATION: Is there anything you are facing - a difficult situation in your life right now that we could pray for you about? How can we do what Pastor Clark suggested at the end of the teaching and remind one another regularly that life is too good NOT to live?

GET IN THE GAME - Part 4/4

Community Group Conversation Starters
GET IN THE GAME – Part 4/4
Pastor Clark Frailey

October 8, 2017

BIG IDEA: We celebrate when those who were lost are found.

SCRIPTURE: Jesus: “I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)

BACKGROUND: When we’re spiritually lost, we lose our direction, God’s protection, our potential, our happiness, and our home in heaven – but we don’t lose our value! When we join Jesus' mission to seek and to save those who are lost - we are fulfilling our key purpose. This is why all this series we've been focusing on getting in the game - because it's that important!

Our investments. Our time. Our words. Are all gifts God can use to shape someone's journey back to His mercy, peace, and grace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

  1. Read Luke 19:10 above. What words mean the most to you? What is God telling you through those words? What does this verse say about how much you matter to God and the miracle of God’s mercy in Christ?

  2. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and worn out from carrying too much. Learn to trust and rest in me and you’ll recover your life.” Matthew 11:28

    According to Matthew 11:28 above, what are the advantages of relying on the miracle of God’s mercy in Christ? Share with your group a lost dream that you’ve shouldered on your own. How might learning to trust and rest in God’s mercy change that lost dream? How does this impact your outlook on God’s grace in salvation and in life?

  3. Read Luke 15:13-19 aloud in your group. Talk about the process the son went through to receive his father’s mercy. Identify the three stages of connecting with God’s mercy in the passage including how he became fed up with himself, owned up to his sin, and decided to change his life. How can you relate this to your life?

  4. You’ll find me when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else.” Jeremiah 29:13 (MES)

    Read the verse above from Jeremiah. God tells us in this verse that when we get serious about him, he will be waiting for us. Talk about when you have found God waiting for you once you believed that he exists and has the power to help you. 

CLOSING PRAYER: Suggested Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy in Christ. I know that when I’m spiritually “lost,” I lose my direction, your protection, my potential, my happiness, and my home in heaven. May I know the joy in celebrating the lost I am praying for as they come to be found in you. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Additional Resources:

Downs, Tim. Finding Common Ground. Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 9th 1999 by Moody Publishers

Hybels, Bill. Just Walk Across the Room. Hardcover, 221 pages
Published June 29th 2006 by Zondervan Publishing Company 

GET IN THE GAME - Part 3/4

Community Group Conversation Starters
GET IN THE GAME – Part 3/4
Pastor Clark Frailey

October 1, 2017

BIG IDEA: Commitment today creates the future you long for.

SCRIPTURE: “Tell people to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.  By doing this they'll be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven – it is the only safe investment for eternity!  And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.”   -1 Timothy 6:18-19 (LB)

BACKGROUND: First-century Christians changed the world. Not through preaching, teaching, or theology, but through their enormous generosity and by recognizing the humanity of those who lived on the margins of society. We can do the same. With the national economy in shambles, your light of generosity can shine brighter than ever before.
 

"If you don’t invest very much, then defeat doesn’t hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.”  -Coach Dick Vermeil


READ: 
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  
Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV) 


“Grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 (LB) 

“They gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford.  No one told them to do it.  They pleaded with us to let them share in this service for God's people.”  
2 Corinthians  8:3-4 (NCV)

 

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

  1. If time and money were no object, what would you do?
     
  2. What does it mean to be fully committed to a local church? What does it mean for our finances?
     
  3. Why do we hesitate to give to others even though we have more than we need?
     
  4. Read Luke 16:11. Talk about how you can afford to make investments in God's Kingdom. Speak to the sacrifice you are making to empower Coffee Creek Church to reach the unchurched, equip the Next Generation, build community, and serve the hurting.
     
  5. Pastor Clark taught that regular, systematic giving is what sets the stage for amazing things to happen at Coffee Creek through the 3 metaphorical "funds" God has in mind for our investments: The Treasury Fund, The Growth Fund, & The Service Fund. Which of these funds touches you more deeply than the others? Explain.
     
  6. Are you a Creeker yet? Pastor Clark said Creekers are defined by actions not by intentions. Are you fully on-board or still kicking the tires? How long have you been kicking the tires?

    Will you commit to give systematically and proportionately? Check out our online giving at coffeecreek.cc/give - it's safe, simple, and secure. About 85% of our church now gives online! Set it and forget it!

CLOSING PRAYER: Please pray for your group members to move from the sidelines to being fully in the game. Unlike the opening video's little footballer running in circles, there is no confusion as to how God instructs us to use our resources. We also know that we're better together than apart, so we encourage our attenders to help us create a movement where we can be used effectively for the Kingdom work right here at Coffee Creek!

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Additional Resources:

Alcorn, Randy. Money Posessions and Eternity. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publisher’s, Inc. , 2003.

Larry Burkett, Ron Blue. Wealth to Last ‐ Money Essentials for the Second Half of Life. Nashville: B & H Publishers, 2003.

Ingram, Chip. The Genius of Generosity ‐ Why God Prospers Generous People. Atlanta: Walk Through the Bible, 2002.

Rollyn H. Samp, J.D. The Final Tithe ‐ A Christian Approach to Estate Planning. Sioux Falls: Rushmore House Publishing, 2005.

GET IN THE GAME - Part 2/4

Community Group Conversation Starters
GET IN THE GAME – Part 2/4
Pastor Clark Frailey

September 24, 2017

BIG IDEA: Fundamentals begin with fun. 

BACKGROUND: After several years of no play, we may find it difficult to have fun. So we’ll need to begin with tiny steps. The first step is to convince ourselves that it’s okay to play. There are no commandments against play. In fact, Jesus invited children to be around him, and kids like people who are fun. 

"Always remember the first three letters of fundamentals.”
-Coach Tony Dungy

Read Proverbs 15:13/Ecclesiastes 8:15.

Scripture encourages us to explore the life God has given us. The unique creative talents. The friendships and people He has brought into our lives.

In her book Crazy Time, Abigail Trafford writes about the importance of not getting stuck between the past and the future. She devotes one chapter to the “Emergence of Self.” Trafford declares that as we move out of the pain, real life can sneak up on us. As we accept it, we “Bring to new life a survivor’s confidence and a tourist’s vision that the world offers many different experiences. It’s just a question of deciding what you want to do.”

God gives us choices, and even though we have many responsibilities, we can also ask ourselves, “What do I really want to do?” Maybe we can spend five minutes playing a game of solitaire. Tomorrow, 10 minutes strolling around a garden. On Sunday afternoon, get a manicure or go hunting, golfing, or play a videogame. And don’t feel guilty about it.

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

If you didn’t have to work, what would you like to do? 
What is keeping you from a piece of that dream? What is the first step to realizing that dream?

What creative gifts do you have? How about composing a song, writing a poem, or painting? Do you like to journal? Maybe you have gifts that you haven’t even discovered. What creative gifts would you like to pursue?

Who is your favorite author? Why? 
What is it about the author's writing that opens excitement, adventure, or intrigue to your mind?

Do you have debts that are keeping you from play? 
Have you considered Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial Ministries or some other type of financial counseling? What financial tips have you learned that you can share with the group? 

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Additional Resources:
At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon (Viking Penguin Group, 1996; ISBN 0-670-88225-9)

God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved, Sue Monk Kidd (Guideposts Associates, Inc., 1987; ISBN 0-06-064581-4) 

Searching for Hope, Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson, 2007; ISBN 1418516597)

Time for Joy: Daily Affirmations, Ruth Fishel (Health Communications, 1988; ISBN 0932194826)
 

GET IN THE GAME – Part 1/4

Community Group Conversation Starters
GET IN THE GAME – Part 1/4
Pastor Clark Frailey

September 17, 2017

BIG IDEA: Small good choices lead to great highlight reel moments.

BACKGROUND:
Courageous battles. Glorious victories. Narrow escapes. Unbridled sensuality. Flawed humanity. Treacherous betrayal. Stunning redemption. All the makings of a summer blockbuster. Add “ardent worship” to the mix and you have a story of biblical proportions. The story of King David.

But this second monarch of Israel sprouts from humble beginnings. David is just a shepherd boy, but the prophet Samuel is commanded by the Lord to anoint him. With David, we are reminded that “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). We are also given a picture of “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). 

He was not a man of perfection, but at the core of David had a passionate love for, and reliance upon, God: “David sang to the Lord … ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. … I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise…’” (2 Samuel 22:1–4). And, more important than an example of a devoted heart before God is that David, through his life and many songs, pointed to the coming Messiah Jesus: “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way … Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:11–12).

But it all began with a few small acts of trust. "But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it."  (1 Samuel 17:34-35)

David relied on training as a simple shepherd - a lowly position - to prepare himself for the huge moments that were coming in his life. Including the epic battle with the giant, Goliath. David knew God was equipping him to be more. To go further.

David had no clue what battles were coming, so he focused on serving in excellence and growing where he was planted.

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

- In what ways is God equipping you to be more? To go further?

- Pastor Clark shared this quote from Mother Teresa, "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." What small steps might you need to take this week in order to be ready when the big opportunities come your way?

- Do you worry often about your "highlight reels" instead of what small steps might lead to big moments?

- How can we pray that you will trust God in the small things? What's your next step?


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Additional Resources:
David, Charles Swindoll (Thomas Nelson, 1997; ISBN 0849913829)

Facing Your Giants: A David & Goliath Story for Everyday People, Max Lucado (W Publishing, 2006; ISBN 0849901812)

Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians, Reflections on the Life of David, Eugene H. Peterson (HarperSanFrancisco, 1998; ISBN 006066522X)

The Message: Psalms, Eugene H. Peterson (NavPress, 2004; ISBN 1576836746)

The Treasury of David: Spurgeon’s Classic Work on the Psalms, C. H. Spurgeon (Kregel, 2004; ISBN-10: 0825436834)
 

Welcome Community Group Leaders

Community Group Conversation Starters
GET IN THE GAME – Part 0
Pastor Clark Frailey

September 10, 2017


Welcome - this is just a test message to show you where the NEW Community Group Conversation Starters will be hosted each week. No more PDFs being emailed to you - now you can easily access our discussion guides IN the Coffee Creek App each week!

You can also access them anytime online on our website @ http://www.coffeecreek.cc/conversations