Month: June 2014

Questions for Community Group & Family Discussion (6/29)

UntitledWhen our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Earlier today, from the Gospel of Mark series, Jesus the Servant King, we looked at a few parables from Mark 4:21-34, that showed “The Certainty of Jesus’ Kingdom.” Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; and/or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Reflection Questions

  • Read the passage together…General thoughts and/or observations?
  • What is our responsibility with the truth?
  • What do the images of the seed growing and the mustard-seed growing into a mighty plant teach us about the nature of kingdom growth>

Application Questions

  • Where has God called you to be bolder in sowing the seeds of the Gospel?
  • How are you encouraged by the truth of the certainty of Jesus’ kingdom purposes?

Prayer

  • Pray for grace to see the kingdom of God come into the lives of individuals, as  they trust in Jesus for salvation. Pray for the Spirit’s work to run free and gracious in our midst. Pray for the kingdom to increase around the globe.
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What is the Condition of Your Heart?

indexI ended the sermon from Mark 4:1-20 (What is the Condition of Your Heart?) Sunday with this encouragement…

Fruitfulness is always possible. God’s grace is greater than any hardness, shallowness, or crowdedness of heart – there is no sin so big that his grace is not bigger still; there is no stubbornness that his love cannot overcome. Hard, barren soil can be made soft and fruitful! Shallow, poor soil can be made deep and rich! Crowded, weed-filled soil can be made open and clear! O that God would make us good soil – hearing the word, accepting it, and producing a crop of holiness and good deeds – to his glory and the increase of his kingdom!

Click to listen to What is the Condition of Your Heart, from the series, Jesus the Servant King.

Hashtags for Dummies!

imagesWe recently asked Robb Davidson who serves on our Communications Team for some help in understanding the hows and whys of using hashtags. He put together this very helpful summary for us at Mercy Hill; or should we say at #MercyHillWC! Thanks Robb.

Hashtags are a popular and growing tool used in today’s social media. At first glance, people have used them to extend some hilarious punch line to a post. But it goes much further than that. Within a few big dog social media companies (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…etc) hashtags are incredibly powerful. This can provide Mercy Hill three big things (among many others): the ability to organize, strengthening and growing a network, and increase the legitimacy of the content.

  • The Ability to Organize
    • What exactly is involved? The ability to create a simple online database collection of all posts, tweets, and images relating to a common topic. When using a unique but still recognizable hashtag, any group of people can contribute and discover the content.
    • How does this relate to Mercy Hill? By using/searching “#MercyHillWC”, all posts, tweets, and images can be discovered and organized without any extra work being done. (I could of sworn someone posted a quick excerpt from Craig’s amazing thought on Prayer…oh let’s just check the Mercy Hill hashtag)
  • Strengthening and Growing a Network
    • What exactly is involved? By creating a common tag to attach to posts online, we increase our relevancy and legitimacy in the community….and to google.
    • How does this relate to Mercy Hill? It’s no secret that a church body benefits from a strong bond within the church. We are also called to go OUT as believers to spread the Good Word. Our church is growing stronger within, and stretching out it’s arms to the community. This will help us with another avenue to reach newcomers to our church, or any church at all. (Oh wow look at all these posts from the service, awww Mayim looks SO cute….hey look they have River City coffee there!)
  • Increasing the legitimacy of the content
    • What exactly is involved? The Social Media organizes a great deal of content by recent posts, and repetition. Check out your news feed. The top of the page posts are either from minutes ago, or most likely something highly trending. To say in the least, there have been bands becoming household names who were powered by fans hashtagging their way up.
    • How does this relate to Mercy Hill? The more people are posting using the Mercy Hill hashtag, the more Mercy Hill will be in news feeds of friends. Not only in just the top of new feeds, but often enough to where it becomes more familiar to people.

So, Mercy Hill, let’s start wisely using our hashtag as another tool for getting the word out and keeping us connected in this social media savvy culture! #MercyHillWC.

Questions for Community Group & Family Discussion (6/22)

UntitledWhen our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Earlier today, from the Gospel of Mark series, Jesus the Servant King, we looked at the Parable of the Soils from Mark 4:1-20, the title of the sermon asked the essential question form the passage What’s the Condition of Your Heart?. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; and/or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • What’s the most thought provoking question anyone has asked you?

Reflection Questions

  • Read the passage together…General thoughts and/or observations?
  • Who is the sower in the parable? What is the seed being sown?
  • What are the four different soils that Jesus talks about?
  • What characterizes the condition of each of the hearts of the four types of listeners?

Application Questions

  • When you search your own heart, which “soil” are you?
  • What evidence is their of a “crop” in your life? What fruit of righteousness do you see?

Prayer

  • Pray for grace to see your own heart as God sees it. Pray for the courage to change where needed – grace for confession, repentance, and transformation.

How Will You Respond?

indexIn the midst of last Sunday’s sermon, How Will You Respond?, we were looking at how Jesus paints a portrait of a committed follower. In Mark 3:28-29, he makes this amazing statement of the sovereign, free grace that is available to all…”Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter…” and then in verse 29 throws out this phrase which has proved anxiety-producing in the hearts of Christians over the centuries, “…but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” We took a quick tangent to explore what he meant. This quote from L.W. Hortado was very helpful:

“The idea of an unforgivable sin has haunted the minds of sensitive people in all Christian centuries, but all such anxiety is misdirected. As the context makes plain, Jesus’ warning is against disregarding his message by calling it Satanic, a quite specific deed. A person doing such a thing would have no concern about Christ’s forgiveness for it. So, the very anxiety lest one may have done something that cuts one off from Christ’s forgiveness is, ironically, evidence that one believes Christ to be sent from God, and thus proof that one cannot have committed the sin warned against here.”

We receive that as a grace from God, and it tempers us in our own judgments on the state of other people’s hearts before God. It is a mercy, I believe, that only God knows the true condition of any person’s heart. We show grace therefore and seek to point people to Jesus, trusting the Holy Spirit to convict, redeem, and restore!

Click to listen to How Will You Respond? from the sermon series Jesus the Servant King from the Gospel of Mark.

Community Group & Family Discussion Questions for 6/15

UntitledWhen our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Earlier today, from the Gospel of Mark series, Jesus the Servant King, we looked at Mark 3:7-35, How Will You Respond?. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; and/or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • Give an example of a “fair weather” fan. Where is this true of you?

Reflection Questions

  • Read the passage together…General thoughts and/or observations?
  • What are the three different responses to Jesus that we see in this text? Discuss each: What characterizes them? What motivates them?
  • What is portrait that Jesus paints of a committed disciple? (vv.23-35)

Application Questions

  • How do you answer Jesus when he asks, “Who do you say I am?” What fruit do you see in your life that gives evidence that?
  • How does the process by which Jesus calls, prepares, and sends his disciples encourage you to faithfulness?

Prayer

  • Pray that God will strengthen us as a church to be committed disciples.
  • Pray that God will help us to speak hope into the lives of those who right now are fair weather fans or outright adversaries of Jesus.

Mercy Trumps Rule Keeping

indexThis week we journeyed through Mark 2:23-3:6 as Jesus revealed himself as “Lord even of the Sabbath”. He was confronting the religious leaders and the layers of rules that had built around the Sabbath that had transformed it from a day of blessing to a day of burden.

We ended with thinking about what Sabbath is to be for us, in the 21st century. It was C.H. Spurgeon who, talking about Sabbath, said:

“The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

What you do with Sabbath is ultimately, I believe, a matter of conscience. Most importantly we need to remember who is “Lord” of the Sabbath. Jesus is, and as such, he is the true source of the deep rest we need. I shared a few questions that ought to be helpful:

  • When do I slow down and remember Jesus as my Sabbath rest?
  • When do I take special time to reflect on God and to rejoice in him?
  • When do I receive the blessing of his command to rest so that my mind, body, and spirit can be refreshed by him?

Listen to the message from 6/8/2014: Mercy Trumps Rule Keeping from the series Jesus the Servant King.

Community Group & Family Discussion Questions for June 8, 2014

UntitledWhen our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Earlier today, from the Gospel of Mark series, Jesus the Servant King, we looked at Mark 2:23-3:6, Mercy Trumps Rule Keeping. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • Did you have something in your growing up days that was very cool but teasingly “off limits”? Explain.

Reflection Questions

  • Read the passage together…What is the key question asked by the Pharisees in the passage?
  • What does Jesus’ response, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” teach us about Jesus? Teach us about the Sabbath?

Application Questions

  • How do we keep the principle of Sabbath without becoming legalistic or layering on rules to a day that is meant to be a blessing?
  • When do you slow down and remember Jesus as your Sabbath rest? When do you take special time to reflect on God and to rejoice in him? When do you receive the blessing of his command to rest so that your mind, body, and spirit can be refreshed by him?

Prayer

  • Pray that God will lead you to rest in his sovereign grace and provision.