The Stranger on the way to the story of Everything

As our small groups begin a study of the book, “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” the weekly study questions are going to mostly focus on this book.  Each week I’ll try to adress some connections between the sermon and the book, but I want to reward all the good do-bee’s who are doing their homework, so I’m going to try and draw lots from the book.

To find a link which will allow you to download this book for free, or to watch or listen to the sermon, go to http://fellowshipholden.com.

I think I might begin the practice of emailing a thought, question, or interesting point from “The Stranger” every few days.  Whether you attend Fellowship or not, if you’re in a small group or not, if you send an email to jeffcampbell7@hotmail.com, or leave a comment to this post requesting it, I’ll add you to the email list.

“Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” is a really outstanding book.  It’s an exploration of the whole bible from the perspective of looking through the lense of what we know about Jesus.  It doesn’t dumb anything down, but it also doesn’t get it’s head lost in the clouds.  It’s particularly useful for filling in the gaps in the scriptural knowledge of long-time Christians or giving new Christians a powerful, big-picture overview.

At any rate, here’s the discussion questions for Fellowship Church’s small groups on February 8ths sermon and the first chapter of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus”

1.  Elijah experienced some things that many of us go through.  We look for God in the huge and so-called miraculous, but fail to see him in the quiet and every day.  Can you share any stories from your own life or others lives that illustrate this idea?  What are some ways that God is in the quiet and every day that are easy to miss?

2.  Another thing that we often do is feel sorry for ourselves because we think we’re the only one following God.  God often demonstrates that we are far from alone, despite our feelings.  How have you seen this dynamic played out?

3.  Marty described God as the ultimate friend.  The ultimate friend would sit with us through pain, would have our backs, and tell us the truth in love.  Chapter one of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” states the meanings and purpose of scripture.  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God sits with us through our pain?  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God is with us?  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God speaks the truth in love?

4.  Read Luke, chapter 24 outloud.  This scene is dramatized on pages 5 and 6 of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.”  What are some differences between the scriptural account and the one written by John Cross?  In this chapter of scripture, what are some ways that Jesus fits Marty’s description of the iddeal friend: some one who suffers with you, who provides for you, who protects you, and who speaks the truth in love?

5.  The beginning of the book states that it’s important to know how the whole of the bible works together.  How well would you say you know the bible as a whole?  What portions do you know the most about?  What portions do you know the least about?  Do you spend much energy working out how the whole bible fits together?  Is there any specific questions that you hope would be answered for you if you got a better understanding of how the whole bible fits together?

6.  Chapter 1 states that we ought to focus on the important themes of the bible.  Can you list 3 themes that you feel are the most important in the entire bible?

7.  Did you find anything surprising in chapter 1?  Did you disagree with anything in chapter 1?  What was the part that effected you the most or that you most agree with?

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Feb 1 discussion question

I think I’m going to post, a little later, about what an amazing service today was.    The discussion questions follow.

If you click this link it’ll take you to the portion of the Fellowship Church website dedicated to video feeds.  Once you get here, click the button on the top of the screen for services on demand, then click the “February 1” button. 

It’ll be so worth it.  The music and sermon were exceptional today.  And I think that Marty, Al, Steve, and Billy consistently do an outstanding job anyway, so I don’t bandy the term “exceptional” lightly.

1.  Marty stated that there are several reactions Christians have historically had to culture.  The truth is that most of us probably respond to different aspects of our own culture in all these ways.

What are some aspects of culture that you condemn?  What sorts of good has come from this condemnation?  What sorts of bad has resulted from this condemnation?

2.  What aspects of culture do you critique?  Do you commit what Marty called “The Academic Fallacy”… Do you sometimes act as if analyzing a thing means that you understand everything about a thing?

3.  What aspects of culture do you copy?  Is there anything that you simply put a Christian veneer on top of in order to fool yourself or others into thinking your doing something holy?

4.  What aspects of culture do you simply consume? 

5.  How can you move from condemnation, critiquing, copying, and consumption into redemption?  What does it look like to redeem culture?

6.  We can treat more than just culture this way.  In fact, we can treat people this way to.  We might be most tempted to do this with people who are not Christians.  Do you tend to condemn people?  Do you tend to critique people?  Do you simply copy them?  Consuming a person might be simply using them for whatever they can do for you with out considering there need for Christ.  Do you consume them?  How can you move from treating people this way to redeeming them?

7.  What does the word “redemption” mean to you?  How have you heard the word used in churches?  In what sense does God do the redeeming?  In what sense does He want us to do the redeeming?

8.  What do you think of the idea that Adam and Eve were meant to be stewards of the Earth?  What would the Earth look like today if we followed this expectation?  What do you think God thinks of your daily actions toward the environment?  (For example, how does God feel about how much you consume, recycle, etc.)

9.  Why do you suppose God wants to redeem the Earth through us?

10.  Have you followed Marty’s challenge to assess your consumption?  What conclusions do you come to when you do this?  What should you change?  How can you make these changes; what can the group do to support you in this.

Template #2: Good questions to ask about (almost) any nonfiction book

Last post, I shared a number of discussion questions that a small group might apply to any book or chapter of the bible.  Today, I’m going to share some template questions that can (more-or-less) be applied to other things a small group might wish to study or discuss.

Template #2: For a chapter of a Non-fiction book other than the bible

1.  What is the title of the chapter?  If there is no title, what brief phrase would you give the chapter as a title?  What do you think most people think of this topic?  What did you think of this topic before you read the chapter?  What did you think about this topic after you read the chapter?

2.  What was your favorite part of this chapter?  Why?  Do you have an example from your own life that demonstrates this principle?

3.  What parts of the chapter did you have trouble understanding with?  What parts of the chapter did you disagree with?  Why?

4.  How would you summarize the authors most important points in the chapter?

5.  Does the author use any verses from scripture to support his points?  Read the wider context (perhaps the whole chapter.) Do you gain any new insights into this idea?  Read it in a different translation or paraphrase.  What new things do you gather from this?  

6.  Is there any scripture that the author didn’t use that he might have to support this point?  Is there any scripture that might contradict this point?

7.  Overall, what did you think of this chapter?  Rate it on a scale of 1-10.  Defend your answer.

8.  Did the chapter make you aware of anything you should be doing differently in your life?  What specific steps are you going to take this week in changing your behavior, attitude, etc?  How can the group support you in this goal? 

9.  Is there any glaring part of this topic that you are still unsure about around this topic?  Can you suggest any good resources to anyone that might help them clarify this issue?