What have been some times when you realized that outward appearances can be deceiving?
Rev. Bob Smith was leery of “very spiritual people”. What do you think he meant by that?
Read Matthew 6:1-8, 1-18.
Why do you think Jesus was concerned about not making an outward show of our giving, prayers and fasting?
What do you think Jesus means by contrasting earthly and heavenly rewards in this text?
What makes people want to appear to be holy, like they have it all together?
Read Matthew 23:2-12.
What troubled Jesus about the teachers of the law and the pharisees?
What’s wrong with wanting to be honored and respected?
What does Jesus mean in verses 11-12?
What was wrong with Ananias and Sapphira did?
Why do you think God made such a profound example of them?
Why do our motives matter?
Why is it important to remember that our giving, prayers and fasting are not for show?
What makes it difficult not to brag about our gifts and ministries?
What does it mean to put our public images into the hands of God?
What makes it difficult not to do our own public relations?
Why are we willing to trade the praise of humans for the “well done good and faithful servant” from the Lord?
What is God saying to you?
What specific steps do you need to take to apply the truths of these texts?
What does Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart tell us about the human soul?
What ineffectual ways do human beings use to deal with the problems of guilt and shame?
Read 1 John 1:9.
What are the practical implications of this verse?
Why was what King David did so sinful?
What do you think motivated him at each step of his actions?
Read Psalm 51.
Why is God merciful?
Why are humans unable to cleanse ourselves from our sins?
Why do shame and guilt consume us?
No matter who we hurt, in what senses are all sins ultimately against God?
What does it mean that we are sinful at birth?
What steps has God taken to clean us from our sins and to blot our iniquities?
Look at verse 10.
How does God create a pure heart within us?
What are the characteristics of a steadfast spirit?
Look at verse 11.
Why was David concerned that God would cast him away from his presence?
How does the experience of grace impact our attitudes toward salvation?
Read Isaiah 1:18.
What speaks to you in this image?
Read Psalm 103:11-12?
What does text mean?
How do you feel about the completeness of God’s forgiveness?
What does the rebellious soldier account teach us about the power of grace?
In what senses are confession and grace connected?
Why do you think Governor Neff pardoned just one man?
What speaks to you most in Psalm 51?
Why is it helpful to live with a positive and hopeful outlook?
What is the difference be being positive and living in denial?
Read Jeremiah 11:18-20.
How did Jeremiah cope with the plots against him?
Read Jeremiah 12:1-6.
What were Jeremiah’s struggles?
When have you questioned God’s justice?
What was God’s response to Jeremiah in verses 5-6?
Why do you think God responded in this way?
Read Jeremiah 15:10-21.
What were Jeremiah’s struggles?
What did Jeremiah mean when he called God a “deceptive brook” and “failing spring”?
When might you have felt this way toward God?
How did God respond to Jeremiah?
When has God told you to put on your “big boy” or ‘big girl” pants?
Read Jeremiah 17:14-18.
Why did Jeremiah need to be healed?
How do you approach God for spiritual and emotional healing?
Read Jeremiah 18:18-23.
How do you deal with your anger toward those who have hurt you?
How intense was Jeremiah’s bitterness?
How does Jesus teaching on forgiveness contrast with Jeremiah’s cries for vengeance?
How would Jeremiah have benefitted by knowing Jesus?
Read Jeremiah 20:7-18.
How do you respond to Jeremiah’s charge that God deceived him?
Why was Jeremiah “stuck” with regard to his call to preach?
How do you explain Jeremiah’s mood swings?
How do you cope with your own mood swings?
How intense was Jeremiah’s despair?
What were some of Jeremiah’s main struggles in his “confessions”?
What are the benefits with being honest with ourselves and God?
What steps are you taking to be more honest and genuine in your prayer
How do you respond to Pastor Randy’s experience at Sunnyside cemetery?
How do you react when you feel really alone?
When have you felt especially close to the Lord?
Read Luke 24:13-35.
What do you think the two disciples on the way to Emmaus were feeling and thinking?
Why do you think the disciples did not recognize Jesus?
(Too preoccupied in their grief? Jesus looked and sounded different? They had spiritual blindness? Satan prevented it? Jesus wanted to reveal himself the right moment?....)
Since the Lord is always with us, how is it possible to miss his presence?
How did recognizing the Lord change these two disciples’ lives?
How are you encouraged by John 16:33?
Read Hebrews 13:5-6
How does this text affect you?
How does walking with awareness of the Lord’s presence transform our lives?
What steps can we take to me more aware of the Lord’s daily presence?
What is the Lord saying to you?