Category: Essential Jesus Weekly

The Essential Jesus – Week 14 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for Week 14 of our Essential Jesus sermon series. 

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 14
April 18 – The Early Church and the Church Today 

  1. A Vision for the Church: Rev 1:1-20

John had a great vision here. What did you learn about God and Jesus in this passage? Does this change or enhance your idea of Jesus in any way?

  1. Unfaithful of Faithful? Revelation 2:1-11

The Lord has a special “word” for these two churches. How are they different? What does he urge on both? Would either of these be like your church?

  1. Hold On: Revelation 2:12-29

What does the Lord find commendable in these churches? What are his warnings to them? What does he urge them to do? What do you think he’d say to churches today?

  1. The Dead Church: Revelation 3:1-13

Jesus called the church at Sardis “dead.” Why do you think he said that? What makes a church really “dead” or “alive”? Can a “dead” church ever become “alive” again?

  1. Lukewarm for God: Revelation 3:14-22

What’s the Lord’s indictment against this church? Do you ever feel “lukewarm” toward God? How can a church (or person) become so deluded? How would you help it change?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. What do you normally think of when you think about the book of Revelation? Has your reading of Chapters 1-3 changed that in any way?
  2. If Jesus came to worship with your church, what do you think he would say? What messages might Jesus have for the churches in our country?
  3. Is it a good thing that the western church doesn’t face persecution? Is it harder/easier to remain faithful when congregants live in peace and prosperity?
  4. Do you think that Christians today have become too tolerant or too extreme? Why?
  5. How do you know if you are in a “dead” church? What should you do – stay and try to make it better or move on?
  6. Have you ever felt “lukewarm” in your relationship with God? Have you ever been in a church that felt that way? If so, what can you do to help your church “stay awake”?

 

And don’t forget:  Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, April 7, at 6:30 we’ll look at Jesus’ resurrection as described in the four gospels.

 

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The Essential Jesus – Week 13 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for Week 13 of our Essential Jesus sermon series. If you’ve already read all the Essential Jesus’ readings for last week (Week 12) you’re all set for this week. (The readings for this Week 13 include parts of last week’s readings.) 

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 13
April 11 – Jesus’ Post-Resurrection Appearances 

  1. Commissioning the Twelve: Matthew 28:11-20

These last four verses in Matthew’s gospel are often described as “The Great Commission.” How do you understand these verses?

  1. Walk to Emmaus: Luke 24:13-49

What does Luke’s story of Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell you about the resurrected Jesus? What would you have done if you were one of those on the road?

  1. Follow Me! John 20:19-31

Do you think Thomas is getting a bum deal? How would you have responded if you had been in his place?

  1. Breakfast by the Sea: John 21:1-25

What do you make of the conversation between Jesus and Peter after breakfast?

  1. Paul’s Story: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Why is the fact of Christ’s actual, literal resurrection so important? What in Paul’s account adds to the story told in the gospels?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. What was your reaction the first time you heard about the resurrection of Jesus? How has your understanding changed over the years?
  2. What is the importance of Jesus’ literal resurrection to your Christian faith? Do you think someone can be a Christian and not believe that Jesus was resurrected? Why or why not?
  3. The four sources all describe different post resurrection appearances of Jesus? Why?
  4. Do you have any lingering questions about the resurrection of Jesus? What are they and what answers does the Bible give to them?
  5. You’ve now read the last chapters of each of the four gospels. What do the endings in each tell you about what the author thought important?

 

And don’t forget:  Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, April 7, at 6:30 we’ll look at Jesus’ resurrection as described in the four gospels.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-13/

The Essential Jesus – Week 12 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for this week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — Since Easter is next Sunday, this week we’ll look at Jesus’ resurrection. 

We’ll be reading the resurrection account in all four gospels. Normally, we look at only one gospel story each year, so this will be a new one for me. As you read, you’ll notice that all the resurrection accounts include certain basics, but each one also includes additional facts unique to that writer. I used to be troubled by this, but now I find it really enhances the story.

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 12
April 4 – The Resurrection of Jesus

  1. Resurrection Thriller: Matthew 28:1-20

How do you think you would have reacted at the empty tomb? What unique aspects of Matthew’s resurrection story do you find compelling?

  1. A Short Story: Mark 16:1-20

The earliest and best manuscripts have Mark’s gospel ending after 16:8. Assuming that was intentional, why might the author want to end there? Why might later scribes want to add more?

  1. Walk to Emmaus: Luke 24:1-49

What does Luke’s story of Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell you about the resurrected Jesus? What would you have done if you were one of those on the road?

  1. Follow Me! John 20:1-21:25

How did each of the main characters in this passage react when they saw the risen Lord? How do you think you would have reacted? 

  1. Paul’s Story: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Why is the fact of Christ’s actual, literal resurrection so important? What in Paul’s account adds to the story told in the four gospels?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. What was your reaction the first time you heard about the resurrection of Jesus? How has your understanding changed over the years?
  2. What is the importance of Jesus’ literal resurrection to your Christian faith? Do you think someone can be a Christian and not believe that Jesus was resurrected? Why or why not?
  3. The five readings for this week all describe the resurrection a bit differently. How does that make you feel – more or less secure about the historicity of the event? Why?
  4. All four of the gospel accounts describe one or more women as the first witnesses to the resurrection. What might that tell you about the importance of women in the early church?
  5. Do you have any lingering questions about the resurrection of Jesus? What are they and what answers does the Bible give to them?
  6. You’ve now read the last chapters of each of the four gospels. What do the endings in each tell you about what the author thought important?

 

And don’t forget:  Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 31, at 6:30 we’ll look at the last hours of Jesus’ life.

 

And don’t forget:  Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 31, at 6:30 we’ll look at the last hours of Jesus’ life.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-12/

The Essential Jesus – Week 11 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for this week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — this week we’ll look at the events leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion. (And note, once again these are not exactly the same readings originally scheduled for this week.) 

This coming Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday (the Sunday which begins Holy Week). We’ll start with the celebration of Jesus entering into Jerusalem and move quickly to the events leading to his death

(As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 11
March 28 – Jesus’ Last Hours 

  1. A Good Start: Matthew 20:17-19; 21:1-11

The events described here happen just a few days before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. How could things have turned around so quickly for Jesus?

  1. The Final Meal: Matthew 26:14-46

Have you ever bragged like Peter only to have to eat your words later? How did you feel?

  1. Arrest and Trial: Matthew 26:47-27:3

Why does Jesus submit to this unjust arrest? What reasons do people you know have for rejecting Jesus today? What would you say to them? Why do you suppose Peter denied Jesus so vehemently and repeatedly? What pressures to deny Jesus do you face? How are you prepared for them?

  1. It’s All About You, Jesus: Luke 23:1-25

What was Pilate’s verdict on Jesus? Why do you think he gave in to Jesus’ enemies? How do you deal with pressures to do the wrong thing?

  1. Remember Me: Luke 23:26-56

How did a dying Jesus show his great love and kindness? Have you been able to forgive someone who abused you terribly in some way? How could you do it?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, it seems as if all the people supported him. Yet, that opposition was gone within just a few days. Why do you think that was?
  2. How do you understand what God does in The Lord’s Supper? Does the meal bring you closer to God? Does it bring you closer to others? Why or why not?
  3. Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend or associate? How did you react in that situation?
  4. Why do you suppose Peter denied Jesus so vehemently and repeatedly? What pressures to deny Jesus do you face? How are you prepared for them?
  5. Of the things that Luke reports Jesus saying on the cross, which do you find most moving? Why?
  6. What does Jesus’ crucifixion mean to you? Imagine a person who’s never heard of Jesus. How would you explain the crucifixion to that person in a way that he or she could understand?

 

And don’t forget:  Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 24, at 6:30 we’ll look at Jesus’ comments about his followers.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-11/

The Essential Jesus – Week 10 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for this week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — this week we’ll look at following Jesus. (And note, if you’ve been reading ahead, these are not exactly the same readings originally scheduled for this week.) We’ll look at what Jesus says about what it takes to be one of his disciples. 

The readings are all pretty short, so we hope to get to most of them next Sunday. (As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.) 

(As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 10
March 21 – Following Jesus 

  1. The Discipleship Journey: Luke 9:51-10:12

It sounds difficult to be a follower of Jesus. What have you found most difficult? How have you dealt with the difficulties?

  1. Get Serious: Mark 8:27-38

 None of us expects to die by crucifixion so what would it mean for you to “take up your cross”? How do you overcome pressures to be “ashamed” of Jesus?

  1. Soul Food: John 6:25-71

 In what way is Jesus “the bread of life” to you? How has he fed any hunger in you? What more do you need him to ”feed“ you?

  1. Serious Forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-35

How many times are we to forgive? Why is forgiving so vital? Have you ever had to forgive someone (or be forgiven) many times? 

  1. The Last Meal: Luke 22:7-34

How do you experience communion during worship? What do you think Jesus means when he says, “the leader is like one who serves”?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. Of all the things Jesus said (both in this section and elsewhere in the Gospels), which are the most difficult for you to understand? To obey? Why?
  2. Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone? What did you do that helped?
  3. What is a bigger priority for you – pursuing happiness or following Jesus? (Do you agree with the premise of the question – that the two are mutually exclusive? Why or why not?)
  4. How does the experience of communion tie in with your life of discipleship?
  5. Many of today’s readings include mountaintop experiences of great faith as well as really challenging situations. Think back on your own life of faith – have you experienced both the mountaintop and the valley? How do both types of experiences form your faith?

 

Remember:

Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 17, at 6:30 we’ll look at the prayers of Jesus.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-10/

The Essential Jesus – Week 9 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for this week of our Essential Jesus sermon series –this week we’ll look at Jesus’ prayers. Two of them deal with the Lord’s Prayer and the rest provide other instances of when Jesus’ prayed. The readings are all pretty short, so I hope to get to most of them next Sunday, but our primary focus will be on the versions of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels. (As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 9
March 14 – Jesus’ Prayers

  1. The Joy of Prayer: Luke 10:17-24

Jesus’ prayer was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit.” How joyful are your prayers? What could make them more so? What keeps them from being so?

  1. How to Pray: Luke 11:1-13

 What do you think Jesus is teaching us about prayer here? Do you pray with boldness and persistence? What do you need to bring to the Lord in prayer now?

  1. More How to Pray: Matthew 6:5-15

How does Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew’s gospel differ from that in Luke’s gospel? What do you think Jesus means when he speaks as if God’s forgiveness of our trespasses is dependent upon our forgiveness of others?

  1. A Defining Prayer: John 17:1-26

Jesus prayed for protection for his disciples and unity among his followers. Do your prayers reflect a similar concern for other Christians? If not, what can you do about it?

  1. Pray Hard: Mark 14:32-42

Prayer was sometimes hard work for Jesus—and for his disciples. When is prayer hard work for you? What makes it difficult for you to pray? 

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. How would you define prayer? Over the years, how has your prayer practice changed? What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about prayer?
  2. How do you pray today? When do you feel that your prayers are the most meaningful and effective? Why?
  3. For you, what are the most challenging and meaningful parts of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-5 and Matthew 6:9-13)
  4. Have you ever prayed for God’s help in a time when you were under great pressure? What happened? How has that experience changed you view of prayers? Of God? Of yourself?
  5. What are the biggest obstacles to praying for you? How can you overcome these?

 

Remember:

1. Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 10, at 6:30 we’ll look at Jesus’ healing miracles.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-9-2/

The Essential Jesus – Week 8 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for this week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — this week we’ll look at more miracles of Jesus. All of these miracles deal with healings of one sort or another. Except for the last one, the readings are all pretty short, so I hope to get to most or all of them next Sunday. (As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 8
March 7 – Healing Miracles of Jesus 

  1. Healing from a Distance: Luke 7:1-10

Why did Jesus commend the centurion’s faith? Here the faith of someone other than the sick person seems to be tied to the healing. What do you see as the connection?

  1. Band of Brothers: Luke 5:17-26

Jesus forgave the man’s sins before he healed him. What connection, if any, do you see between a person’s sin and their illness or disability? Is forgiveness always necessary?

  1. Scary Story? Mark 5:1-20

 Demon possession is often scoffed at today as “unscientific.” What do you think? Is it real? What does this parable tell you about Jesus’ power and authority?

  1. At His Feet: Mark 5:21-43

Jesus commends the faith of the woman and urges the men to “just believe.” What do you see as the connection between faith and being healed? Is faith always necessary?

  1. Resurrection Power: John 11:1-57

Why do you think Jesus took so long to go to Lazarus? What was the purpose of raising Lazarus? What do you think is the purpose of Jesus’ miracles today?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. Why do you think some people are skeptical about miraculous healings today? What’s your opinion? Why?
  2. Have you or someone close to you ever experienced what you would consider a miraculous healing? What happened?
  3. What’s you opinion about the possibility of demon possession today? Why?
  4. Why is it so significant that Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus from the dead? What did that signal to the religious leaders of that time? What does it mean for you?
  5. Have you ever prayed to God for yourself or someone you know to be healed and it didn’t happen? How has that affected your faith?

 

Remember: Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, March 3, we’ll look at Jesus’ miracles over nature.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-8/

The Essential Jesus – Week 7 Readings & Questions

Attached is the list of readings for week 7 of our Essential Jesus sermon series — this week we’ll look at Miracles of Jesus. The readings are all pretty short, so I plan on getting to all of them next Sunday. (As always, the readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 7
February 28 – Miracles of Jesus 

  1. New Wine: John 2:1-11

Why do you think Jesus did this as his first miracle? What was the result of this miracle? What impression do you think it made on the servants who saw it? 

  1. Fear Factor: Mark 4:35-41

How would you have answered Jesus’ question to the disciples (v. 40)? Has there ever been a “storm” in your life that you needed to trust Jesus to save you from?

  1. Miracle Meal: Matthew 14:13-21

What strikes you as most surprising about this miracle? What does it tell you about Jesus? Does Jesus “feed” you today? If so, how?

  1. Seeing and Believing: Matthew 14:22-33

What was the disciples’ reaction to this miracle? Why was Peter not able to walk on the water, too? What do you need courage to face or do?

  1. Serious Fruit: Matthew 21:18-22

What point do you think Jesus was making with this miracle? Is it really possible to have the kind of faith Jesus describes here? If so, have you seen it?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. How would you define a miracle? Do you think they are still possible today? Have you ever experienced one?
  2. Why do you think people are skeptical about miracles today? Do you think faith and science are compatible? How so?
  3. Is there anything about the life and ministry of Jesus that seems unbelievable to you? If so, what is it and why?
  4. Can you think of a time in your life when you were overwhelmed by fear? What happened and what helped you cope? Has faith in Jesus ever helped you at such times? How so?
  5. When have you ever taken a big step of faith? What happened and what did you learn from the experience?

 

Remember: Every Wednesday night we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, February 24, we’ll look at Jesus’ parables.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-7/

The Essential Jesus – Week 6 Readings & Questions

Attached you will find the list of readings for the sixth week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — More Parables of Jesus. The first three readings are from Matthew, and the last two readings from John. This week includes three of Pastor Dana’s favorites — the vineyard workers, the treasure in a field, and the goats and sheep. (The readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.) 

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 6
February 21 – More Parables of Jesus 

  1. It’s Like…: Matthew 13:1-58

These parables speak of receptive “soil” (hearts) and “weeds” that grow alongside good plants. What factors make for a person to have (or not have) a receptive heart? 

  1. The Generous Land Owner: Matt 20:1-16

Why were the early workers upset? What does this parable tell you about God? Do you feel God has been fair and generous with you? Why or why not?

  1. I Wanna Be Ready: Matthew 25:1-46

These parables refer to Jesus’ Second Coming. What do you think it means to be “ready”? What are some ways that you are or could be getting and keeping ready? 

  1. One Way: John 10:1-18

Note some characteristics of this “Good Shepherd” in My Bible Journal. Jesus says he is the “gate” for salvation. This is offensive to some people. What do you think?

  1. The Vineyard Church: John 15:1-17

This agricultural parable has an important message. What do you think it means to “remain” in Jesus? What kind of “fruit” do you think you are supposed to bear?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. What examples of the kingdom of heaven here on earth have you seen recently? When has God partnered with you to help bring in a piece of God’s kingdom? How did it make you feel?
  2. If salvation is really a gift from God, is there any need for good works? Why bother to be good if you can’t earn salvation?
  3. Do you think preaching and teaching about judgment should have a greater of lesser emphasis in churches today? Why?
  4. In what ways should a Christian bear fruit? Should all Christians bear the same kind and/or amount of fruit?
  5. What are the best examples of sacrificial love that you’ve seen in your life?

 

Remember:Every Wednesday night, except Wednesday February 17, we have a zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. On Wednesday, February 17, we’ll have an Ash Wednesday service in-person and online at 7 pm.

  1. Additional information and links to other resources is on our Cross of Glory website. Check it out at https://crossofglory.com/the-essential-jesus/

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The Essential Jesus – Week 5 Readings & Questions

Attached you will find the list of readings for the fifth week of our Essential Jesus sermon series — Some Parables of Jesus. We’ve got some pretty famous ones, including both the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Sons. Others are less well known, but still some good ones — one of my personal favorites is the Rich Fool. (The readings come with some questions to help you process what you’ve read.)

Remember, we will discuss the themes for each week’s readings in the sermon on the Sunday following our “homework.” That means we’ll tackle the attached readings next Sunday (February 14.) And then on the following Wednesday, our 6:30 zoom bible study will go into more detail and address any questions you may have. This Wednesday’s study (Wed, Feb 10) will look at the readings about Jesus’ sermons, which we talked about in today’s sermon.

Essential Jesus Readings – Week 5
February 14 – Some Parables of Jesus

  1.  Have Mercy! Luke 10:25-37

How would you summarize the point of this well-known parable? In this global community, what do you think it means to be a “neighbor”? Who is your neighbor?

  1. Rich Toward God: Luke 12:13-21

What positive and negative admonitions does Jesus give here? What do you think it means to be “rich toward God”? Would you say you are (or are becoming so)?

  1. Happy Meal: Luke 14:1-24

What keeps people you know from wanting to be part of the Kingdom of God? What excuses do they often give? How do you think that makes God feel?

  1. Sinners Welcome! Luke 15:1-32

What do you think it means to be “lost”? What do these parables tell you about the heart of God? To what extent do you share that heart?

  1. Uncommon Prayer: Luke 18:1-14

What keys to effective praying does Jesus offer here? Do you believe it’s really true that “prayer changes things”? What would you like your prayers to change?

Reflection Questions About These Readings:

  1. What examples of showing mercy have you seen or experienced lately? Some people think that showing mercy is a sign of weakness. Do you agree? Why or why not.
  2. What is your philosophy about money and possessions? It is really possible to be wealthy but not “possessed by your possessions”?
  3. How could you use the resources God has entrusted to you for maximum return according to God’s priorities?
  4. Was there ever a time in your life when you felt lost and away from God? What did it feel like? What happened – did you sort of make your way back, or did God find you? Or a little of both?
  5. How are you like the widow when you pray? How are you like the Pharisee? How are you like the tax collector?

Remember:

  1. Every Wednesday night, we have zoom bible study to look at the passages discussed in last Sunday’s sermon. This week we’ll discuss Week 4 readings about Jesus’ sermons.
  2. Additional information and links to other resources is on our Cross of Glory website. Check it out at https://crossofglory.com/the-essential-jesus.

Permanent link to this article: https://crossofglory.com/essential-5/

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