The Proverbs 31 Woman | Proverbs 31: 10-31

Sermon Description

Proverbs 31 presents us with an idealized portrait of the wisest woman who ever lived. But when we look at idyllic people, our hearts are prone to either pride or despair. Only Jesus is the ideal; the rest of us are growing and making progress as we increasingly rely on his grace.


Discussion Questions

  1. What misconceptions or misunderstandings have you had about Proverbs 31?

  2. How is this idealized portrait of the “virtuous woman” intended to inspire and instruct us, not demoralize us? How can we help one another guard against both pride and despair?

  3. Read Hebrews 10:11-18. What does vs. 14 mean when it says that we have been perfected, but are still being sanctified? How is this truth freeing and life-giving?

  4. Where is God currently showing you your weaknesses and imperfections? Rather than ignoring them or explaining them away, how can they be used to grow in his grace?


Prayer Points

  1. Pray that, in our efforts to pursue wisdom, we would not give place to pride or despair, but that we would increasingly fear the Lord and rely upon his grace.

  2. Pray for opportunities to show non-Christians in our lives that we are not perfect people, but that we follow a perfect Savior.


Wisdom and Words | Proverbs 18:20-21

When God speaks, it is an act of incredible power. As humans who are created in his likeness, our words also carry a great amount of power. People who truly know God will grow in wisdom in what they hear and what they speak.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Proverbs 18:21. Why do our words carry such power? Also, what does this verse not mean?

  2. Of the various types of harmful words, which one(s) do you struggle with the most? Why is this type of speech able to snare you easily?

  3. What does it mean that Jesus is the true Word of God? Why is this such incredibly good news for us?

  4. How can we help one another to use our words in a God-honoring way, and in a way that builds others up? How might we need to grow in boldness to confront sinful words in our Christian brothers and sisters?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would give us godly restraint in our speech, and that we would use our words to bring God’s grace and life into the world.

  2. Pray for opportunities to use our words to communicate the good news of Jesus with those who have yet to hear and believe.

The Weight of Wisdom | Ecclesiastes 1-12-18

God has hardwired us to search for knowledge and wisdom. But, as fallen creatures, we often search for that wisdom in places outside of God. As well, the more that we learn and understand, the heavier the weight of wisdom becomes. Only in Jesus can true wisdom for life be found.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Genesis 1 show that humans are hardwired for knowledge and wisdom? Why is this desire a good thing? Where does it go wrong?

  2. If Proverbs is more “optimistic,” why do we need a book like Ecclesiastes that seems so pessimistic? How is this God-breathed Scripture useful for us?

  3. Why is wisdom so heavy? Why does sorrow increase the more that we learn?

  4. Why do we need Jesus “over the sun” to find meaning in this life “under the sun”? How can we trust him to bear the weight of wisdom?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we as disciples would seek true wisdom and knowledge in Jesus. And pray that he would help us give the weight of wisdom to him.

  2. Pray that we would be faithful to share the gospel of Jesus with those in our world who are searching for knowledge, wisdom, and meaning from life.


Fear of Man | Proverbs 29:25

Sermon Description

The book of Proverbs repeatedly warns us against something called “the fear of man.” What is the fear of man, and how can we avoid it by fearing God? Guest preacher Dmitriy Spatarel from Resurrection Church Tacoma continues our series in Proverbs.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you struggle with the fear of man? Where does it show up most often in your life?

  2. What does trusting God in those moments of temptation with the 'fear of man' look like for you?

  3. How does the Gospel of Jesus Christ free you from the 'fear of man'?

  4. What does it mean to truly fear the Lord in the right way? How does the Bible portray the fear of the Lord?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would truly fear God, and not give place to the fear of man. Pray that in those moments where we are tempted to fear man God’s Spirit would remind us to fear the Lord and seek to please him.

  2. Pray for opportunities to get over our fear of man and share the gospel with those in our lives who don’t yet know his grace.

The Wisdom of Friendship | Proverbs 17:17

Sermon Description

Friendship is one of the most misunderstood and often-neglected virtues in our modern world. But Jesus calls us his friends, his close companions. In the Proverbs, we see much wisdom on what it means to have friendship with Christ and with each other.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think that friendship is so often misunderstood in our culture? What are the ways that our culture gets it right/wrong? How does the biblical picture of friendship stand in contrast?

  2. Why do true friendships always involved risk? How can we help one another to open our hearts and lives to be truly vulnerable in friendship with one another?

  3. Think about the continuum of acquaintance-companion-friend-family. How does the gospel continually move us further down the line into a place of committed closeness?

  4. How do our close, committed, and caring friendships showcase the gospel of Jesus to a world that is fragmented and isolated? How should our friendships be used to further our witness, not hinder it?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would grow us as people who practice true, biblical, committed, and loving friendships.

  2. Pray that God would heal us from pains that we’ve experienced in friendship.

  3. Pray that our friendships would serve as a gospel witness to a lost and broken world, a world that deeply longs to be loved and known.

The Nature of Wisdom | Proverbs 1:1-7

The book of Proverbs is a unique collection of pithy sayings, speeches, and poems. Its purpose is to help God’s people not just have heads full of information, but to be equipped for wisely navigating the many challenges of life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have any favorite proverbs? Why are they meaningful to you? How can we help one another think about them as truth, not necessarily as “promises”?

  2. Why is it so important to understand that wisdom is more than just “following the rules?” How does this mindset encourage trust in God and relationship?

  3. If Jesus is the wisdom of God, how is the gospel at the foundation of all true wisdom? What are some ways that the wisdom of the gospel differs from worldly wisdom?

  4. How does wise living help us live on mission with Jesus in the world?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would use our time in the Proverbs to grow us in wisdom, understanding, and insight. And pray that God would grow us in wise living.

  2. Pray that God would give us wisdom in sharing the gospel with a world that values a completely different approach to wisdom, knowledge, and living.

Praise Service Testimonies

In this special week we didn’t have a sermon, but rather heard from Pastor Shane Patrick and Stephanie Hansen. They’ve both been embattled in health issues and their presence with us is evidence of God’s grace. They share what their experiences have been, how they’ve struggled with the Lord, and how they’ve seen his grace in their difficult times.

It's Hard to Love Your Actual Neighbor | Leviticus 19:9-18

Virtually nobody will argue with the thought that Jesus wants us to love our neighbor. The questions we need to answer are things like “why don’t I love my neighbor?” or “what would it look like if I did love my neighbor?” or “how can I find the motivation to actually love my neighbor?”

Discussion Questions

  1. In your group, go around the circle and talk about how many of your actual neighbors you know by name. What barriers exist to developing real relationships?

  2. Where is your heart cold? Where do not love your neighbor due to pride, fear, or a false sense of identity?

  3. Think about the gospel in terms of Jesus being our true neighbor. How does this provide a right motivation for us to love our neighbors? If we lack this true motivation, how can our efforts to love our neighbors go awry?

  4. What practical steps do you need to take to truly love your neighbors? Your family? Your group?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray by name for those neighbors that you do know. Pray for God to open doors to get to know, love, and serve those in your immediate vicinity.

  2. Pray that we would represent God well as we share the abundant grace of Jesus with those in our neighborhoods who have yet to come to know him.

Things That Are Hard to Do | Q&R w/ Aaron and Shane

In this episode, Pastors Shane and Aaron give responses to questions that have come in through the course of the “Things That Are Hard to Do” series.

0:00 General introduction
2:49 Question from the sermon on race
11:38 Question from the sermon on accountability
19:54 Question from the sermon on sexuality
25:17 Question from the sermon on sexuality
40:12 Question from the sermon on singleness

It's Hard To Understand the End Times | Matthew 24:3-14

Sermon Description

Very few Christian doctrines are so controversial as the “end times.” But if God has given us these truths in his Word, then they must be for our good in some way. When it comes to understanding the end times, the most important thing is to remember that we are living in the grand story of God’s work in the world.

Discussion Questions

  1. What questions, fears, or apprehensions do you have around the subject of the end times? Where might these fears come from?

  2. What areas of end times study do interest you? Where might Jesus be leading you to pursue knowledge and wisdom in these areas? How might this help your faith?

  3. Why is the gospel inseparable from the subject of eschatology? How does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus directly tie in to the idea of where human history is headed?

  4. How can we help one another to persevere and develop “grit”? How can learning about the persecuted church around the world help us in this endeavor?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would keep the Kingdom of God in full view as we navigate our way through this world.

  2. Pray for persecuted Christians throughout the world. Pray that God would strengthen them, and pray for their persecutors to face justice.

  3. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with your friends and neighbors in light of the imminent return of Jesus.

It's Hard to Talk About Race | Ephesians 2:11-22

Sermon Description

The subject of race is prevalent in our culture, and people are looking everywhere for solutions to one of the oldest problems of the human condition: racism. In this sermon, Rabbi Matt shows us how racial reconciliation is at the very heart of what Jesus came to do through his life, death, and resurrection.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is our culture talking about race so much right now? Why do you think that so many people think that the Bible has nothing to say on the subject, when it is full of teaching on the subject?

  2. When we are “in Christ,” we don’t lose our ethnicity (or gender, per Ephesians 2), but we are woven into the fabric of the community of faith? Why is this such good news?

  3. How does the gospel of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection empower us to be able to have conversations about race?

  4. Where does God want you to repent of sin and grow in his grace? Is there racial animosity or indifference in your heart? Have you been afraid to talk, learn, or grow because you have forgotten the power of the gospel?


Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Jesus would rid our hearts of any shred of racial prejudice or animosity, and that he would fill us with a Christ-like love for all people.

  2. Pray that Jesus would use us to bring his light and healing to a world that is deeply divided by racial animosity.


It’s Hard to Think Biblically About Sexuality | 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

The Bible never shies away from the subject of sexuality. It celebrates sex as a good gift from a loving God, but also warns of the harm that comes when we misunderstand or misuse this precious gift. As Christians, we have come to know that we are not our own, we were bought with a price, so we are now free to follow Jesus and his will for our sexuality.


Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important for a Christian to have a gospel-formed vision of sexuality? Why would it be important for anyone to have a coherent idea of sexuality?

  2. Paul starts this section by laying out the gospel in such a way that it creates categories for righteousness, unrighteousness and redemption. Why is it important to have these categories? Hint: it helps us make sense of all the competing moral frameworks around us. What is good? What is broken? What will be redeemed?

  3. The first objection Paul deals with is an argument from desire. This argument essentially says, “if someone really wants to do something, why would we stop them? But we all have a category for a desire that we resist because we know it’s not good for us or because it doesn’t accomplish our greater goals. What are some examples of these kinds of desires in us, our kids and the people around us?

  4. The second argument is one about freedom and gets to the idea of identity. This argument says, “If I am fundamentally my own person, then I should be the one to decide my behavior.” The gospel tells us that “we are not our own but were bought with a price.” How does this change the way we see ourselves? What are the implications for sexual morality? What are some of the dangers of taking on anything (including sexuality) as your identity?


Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would be people who are deeply faithful to God’s will for sexuality, and who are deeply committed to practicing grace and love in all things.

  2. Pray for the grace to share the gospel with people who think the Bible’s teaching on sexuality is outdated or confusing.

It's Hard To Be Single (Or, Love Single People Well) | 1 Corinthians 7:32-38

Sermon Description

The experience of “singleness” is something that every person interacts with. While the Bible commends marriage as a good, God-ordained thing, it has some surprisingly positive things to say about singleness. Our Savior, the one who is “the bridegroom,” lived his earthly years as a single, celibate, young man, and yet he was the most fully human and complete person to ever live.

Discussion Questions

  1. How has your life been touched by the idea of “singleness?” Why do you think this topic is often neglected? 

  2. How does our cultural obsession with romantic relationships put an unbearable burden on marriage? How does the gospel help keep human marriage in its proper context?

  3. Read through 1 Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19:1-12. What do these passages say about the value of singleness, even sometimes over-and-above marriage? How do these passages run contrary to our cultural assumptions about romance and marriage?

  4. Whatever gift we currently have—singleness or marriage—how can we use it to help unbelievers see the shape and sufficiency of the gospel?

Prayer Points

  1. No matter your circumstances, pray for deep contentment and satisfaction in Jesus.

  2. Pray that God would use your marriage or your singleness to show people the power and goodness of the gospel.

Jesus, Peter, and John | John 21:15-25

In the concluding section of John’s gospel, the author focuses on Peter and what it looks like for him to follow Jesus that that he has seen the resurrected Christ. The comforts and challenges that Peter receives from Jesus are the same for us today.


Discussion Questions 

  1. What does this passage teach us about the nature of forgiveness and restoration? How can this interaction bring us comfort?

  2. Why do you think that authors/speakers such as Brené Brown are gaining so much popularity? What is it about the message of shame that people need to hear? How is Jesus our ultimate hope for dealing with shame?

  3. What does it mean for you to remain focused on your unique calling? Why is competitive comparison so dangerous? 

  4. How can we more deeply understand and appreciate the gospel so that we can love Jesus more? Why is “just try harder to love Jesus more” such bad advice?



Prayer Points

  1. Pray that your life would be marked by freedom from shame, love for Jesus, and devotion to following his ways.

  2. Pray that we would follow Jesus and fulfill the unique part of the mission that he has given to each of us individually.

Surprised by Jesus | John 21:1-14

Sermon Description

Doubting Thomas has long served as a negative example, but if we are honest—wouldn’t most of us be like him? In this passage, we learn how Jesus meets us in our doubts, and moves us beyond mere pragmatism into an experience of his supernatural grace.


Discussion Questions 

  1. Look at Acts 10:36 and Colossians 1:20. How is peace with God directly linked to the work of Christ on the cross?

  2. What types of doubts do you experience? Where do your doubts turn into unbelief? How does Jesus want to meet you even in your doubts?

  3. Where do you wrestle with bad pragmatism? How will the gospel always stretch us in our desire for absolute certainty?

  4. What is the role of evidence or proof in the Christian faith? What are the limits to this approach, particularly when it comes to evangelism?


Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Jesus would meet you in your doubts and pragmatism. Pray for a soft, believing heart that would trust Jesus even when you can’t understand everything.

  2. Pray for those in your life who have yet to “ believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Pray that they would believe and receive “life in his name.”

Doubting Thomas | John 20:24-31

Sermon Description

Doubting Thomas has long served as a negative example, but if we are honest—wouldn’t most of us be like him? In this passage, we learn how Jesus meets us in our doubts, and moves us beyond mere pragmatism into an experience of his supernatural grace.


Discussion Questions 

  1. Look at Acts 10:36 and Colossians 1:20. How is peace with God directly linked to the work of Christ on the cross?

  2. What types of doubts do you experience? Where do your doubts turn into unbelief? How does Jesus want to meet you even in your doubts?

  3. Where do you wrestle with bad pragmatism? How will the gospel always stretch us in our desire for absolute certainty?

  4. What is the role of evidence or proof in the Christian faith? What are the limits to this approach, particularly when it comes to evangelism?


Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Jesus would meet you in your doubts and pragmatism. Pray for a soft, believing heart that would trust Jesus even when you can’t understand everything.

  2. Pray for those in your life who have yet to “ believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Pray that they would believe and receive “life in his name.”

Who Is It You're Seeking? | John 20:1-18

Every human heart is searching for something—for someone. When we see the empty tomb, we learn that Jesus is what we are all seeking for.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did the disciples not yet understand that Jesus would rise from the dead? How did they miss this important idea?

  2. Why do you think John links the resurrection and the ascension in this section? Why is it important to avoid conflating the two?

  3. What, in your life, are you searching for? What drives you? How are those desires ultimately met in Jesus?

  4. How can we be more like Mary Magdalene and tell others that Jesus is no longer dead, but he has risen.

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that your longings would find their satisfaction in Jesus.

  2. Pray to be like Mary Magdalene, saying to all who will listen “I have seen the Lord.”

Death That Brings Life | John 19:31-42

Jesus’ death, the most tragic and heartbreaking thing to ever happen, is what brings about the incredible reality of eternal life.


Discussion Questions

  1. Share a time in your life where something good only came through something difficult. How does that situation point us toward what happened through Jesus’ death?

  2. What is the significance of blood and water flowing? Of the various explanations put forth, which one resonates most with you? Why?

  3. Where do you need to experience the cleansing effects of Jesus’ death?

  4. How does Jesus want to grow you to be more courageous? 


Prayer Points

  1. Ask Jesus to help you to truly find your life in him, not seeking life in other sources that leave you empty.

  2. Pray for courage like Nicodemus and Joseph, that you would be willing to be identified with Jesus no matter the cost.