Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 3:10 – 4:5

November 12th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
1. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Reflect upon the implications of the phrase “And such were some of you.”

2. What emotions do you feel when you read what you once were (v.9-10), and what you now are (v.11b) becasue of God?

Discussion Questions:
1. How have you related to the book of Jonah so far? Who have you projected yourself to be in the story?

2. What are some things that we may subconsciously think limit God’s grace and mercy?

3. “Heaven have mercy on us all–Presbyterians and Pagans alike–for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick
-What does associating ourselves with Nineveh in this story mean to us?

4. Read Jonah 4:5. What are some consequences of Jonah’s feelings of superiority in the story?

5. In light of Jesus himself being “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12), how should we respond when this type of superiority wells up inside of us?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 3:5; Psalm 85

November 5th, 2017

Study/Personal Reflection Questions:
1. Pray through, and meditate on, the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). How would it look for God’s kingdom to come, and will to be done, in Stockton as it is in heaven?

Discussion Questions:
1. What comes to mind when you hear the word “revival”? What do you think has helped form your understanding of the word?

2. Tell about a time when you experienced, or heard of, gospel centered revival. What were some defining characteristics?

3. Read Psalm 85:11-12. If revival is from God and can’t be produced by men, then why should we even focus on the topic of historical revivals?

4. In light of God’s grace causing a citywide turn toward God in Nineveh (Jonah 3:5), how should we think about our prayers for our city?

5. Read Psalm 85:7-9. What would it mean for us to faithfully prepare for God to cause a revival in Stockton?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 3:5-10

October 29th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. Read v. 9-10. Did God change his mind? Do our actions sway God from doing things he intends to do?

2. When Martin Luther wrote, “…the entire life of believers [should] be one of repentance”, did he mean that we fall from a state of justified before God and we have to continually repent in order to maintain our justification? Explain why or why not.

Discussion Questions:
1. What comes to mind when you hear the words “faith” and “repentance”?

2. Read v.6. In what ways do the king’s actions (He got up, took off, put on, and sat down) apply to our Christian lives?

3. Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. What do you think about the difference between “godly grief” and “worldly grief”?

4. What influence does self-esteem have on our views of faith and repentance?

5. Read Philippians 2:5-11. In what ways do we as Christians find faith filled confidence to repent from this passage?

6. How do these truths impact our daily lives?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 3:1-5

October 22nd, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. Read Jonah 3:1-5 and John 8:10-11. Describe the similarity between the two passages. What is it that we are called to arise and step into?

2. Meditate on the ways the Gospel has overthrown your life, and what areas you might be holding back. Ask God for the faith to allow him to overthrow these areas as well.

Discussion Questions:
1. Think of a time when you were given a second (or third, or fourth) chance at something you should have done the first time. What about that opportunity made it memorable?

2. What does it mean to us that God uses men and women on at least their second chance to communicate his message?

3. Describe the mission field God has placed you in. Where do you see God giving you opportunity to share your faith?

4. Describe a time that you stepped out in faith to share the powerful message of the Gospel. In what ways was that difficult?

5. “God does forgive the past, but he does not erase it.” – Peter Scazzero
– In light of this, how should we think about our past?

6. What would it mean if we confidently stepped into God’s continual call for us to “Arise, go”?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 2:1-10

October 15th, 2017

As a group, pray through:
1. Jonah 2:2-9

Also, consider praying through one or more of these Psalms.
2. Psalm 51

3. Psalm 63

4. Psalm 23

5. Psalm 46:1-7

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 2:1-10

October 8th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers
1. Why is Ephesians 2:1-10 such a great companion passage for our passage in Jonah?

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. What about this passage stands out to you?

2. Tell about a time when you experienced God turning you back to himself while you were fleeing from him?

3. What does it mean to us that God’s grace gives us vision to see beyond our circumstances?

4. Read Jonah 2:8. As a group, recall the definition of the word “idol.”
-What influence does clinging to idols have in our lives?

5. On the other hand, in what ways does clinging to the one true God give us a hope that idolatry can’t?

6. Read Acts 16:23-25. How can we be exercising defiant faith in our lives?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 1:17-2:10

October 1st, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. Why is it important that we understand Jonah being swallowed up by a great fish to be an actual historical event rather than a myth?

Discussion Questions:
1. How has the theme of God’s relentless pursuit of his Church impacted you so far through our time in Jonah?

2. Read Romans 6:3-8. Reflecting on this passage, what does it mean to us that it is death to self that gives birth to new life in Christ?

3. Tell about a time when you experienced God “capturing” you in difficult circumstances. How did God use that to reveal himself to you more fully?

4. Read Jonah 2:9. What does it mean to you that salvation belongs to God?

5. The Apostle’s Creed states that Christ, “descended into hell”. What does that statement mean to you as a Christian?

6. Read Galatians 2:20. If this is true of you, how does it change the way you live your life?

Pastor Steve Patton – Jonah 1:7-16

September 24th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. In what ways does Jonah represent both Adam and Jesus in our passage?

Discussion Questions:
1. “… I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who mad the sea and the dry land.” (v.9) What about this statement from Jonah invokes awe and reverence in you?

2. Read Jonah 1:7 and Proverbs 16:33. What does it mean to you that God is sovereignly at work even in the throw of the dice?

3. “Often we think the solution to our problems is to dig in and row harder for land.” – Steve Patton
– What are the consequences of this mindset or activity?

4. Read v.15-16. If the mariners on the boat, “feared the LORD exceedingly” because of the calm that came from hurling Jonah into the sea, how should we respond to God in light of Christ’s sacrifice?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 1:4-6

September 17th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. Buddha’s last words were, “Strive without ceasing.” This seems similar to the Apostle Paul’s words to us in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” How are they, in fact, very different?

2. Describe the greater context surrounding each command.

Discussion Questions:
1. In the chaos of the storm, the sailors went reaching for whatever help they could find. How have you experienced this sort of desperate reaching for something outside of yourself in a time of need?

2. What does it mean to you that everyone practices a form of religion?

3. Read Romans 8:28. If this is true, and we are in Christ, what do we think about the crisis riddled stories that brought us to where we are now?

4. What happens when faith and self-reliance are working at the same time in your life?

5. Jesus’ final words from the cross were, “it is finished.” What does that mean to us?

6. Contrast Jesus’ final words with that of Buddha, “Strive without ceasing.” What about Jesus’ words give you confidence and assurance that Buddha’s cannot?

7. If it truly is finished, how does that enable us to live a life of obedience to God?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 1:1-4

September 3rd, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. What are some other passages in the Bible that contain the phrase, “But the LORD” or “But God”?

2. What does this phrase imply in each case?

Discussion Questions:
1. Think of a time (past or present) when God brought a great storm into your life. How did you respond to him in it?

2. How does it make you feel that v.4 begins with, “But the LORD”?

3. How does your view of the storm you described earlier change when you see that God has sent it with a purpose?

4. “These actions [storms] declare God’s tenacious commitment to reconciliation with humanity.” – James Bruckner
– What does it mean to us that the storm isn’t evidence of God’s hate or disdain, but evidence of his grace and mercy?

5. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. What is the result of viewing storms as God’s kindness toward us?

6. “Because of Jesus, the storm, which is often an object of judgement, has now become an object of grace.” – Christian Simas
– How do we respond to this statement?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 1:3

August 27th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. What is our only hope in life and death?

2. Is it possible to really flee from the presence of God? Why, or why not?

Discussion Questions:
1. Have you ever tried to flee from God’s presence? What caused you to do this?

2. In what way’s is God’s call on your life challenging?

3. Read Luke 6:27-28. In what ways would our lives look different if we lived out this command?

4. Read Psalm 139:7-12. In light of the fact that we cannot hide, or flee, from God’s presence, how then should we think about his call on our lives?

5. How does Ephesians 2:8-10 inform (or influence/shape) our approach to obedience?

6. Jonah heard the word of God and fled. How will we set out to live into the call of God on our lives this week?

Pastor Christian Simas – Jonah 1:1-2

August 20th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. Read through/reflect on the book of Ecclesiastes. How have you come to identify with the author’s thesis statement that “All is vanity”?

2. Read John 1:1-18. What does it mean that Jesus is the “Word” or the meaning of life?

Discussion Questions:
1. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
– What gives your life meaning?

2. Read Jonah 1:1. What does it mean to us that God is a speaking God?

3. What are some of the ways in which God speaks to us?

4. Read Matthew 28:18-20. In what ways does this passage give us confidence and power to fulfill the mission Jesus has clearly called us into?

5. Knowing the depths of our own sins, what does it mean to us that before we were sent by God we were pursued by God?

6. Read John 20:21. What does it look like for us to respond to this verse with our lives?

Pastor Christian Simas – Introduction to the book of Jonah

Scripture Readers – Deacon Lauren McDermott and Matt Eck

August 13th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use scripture to support your answers.
1. What are some Biblical examples of God’s grace going to extreme lengths to save?

Discussion Questions:
1. Aspects of the story of the Book of Jonah are familiar to most. What have you typically understood the story to be about?

2. Hearing Jonah read aloud, what aspects of the story are most striking/intriguing to you?

3. Tell about a time that you felt God’s grace was not able to accomplish God’s purposes (e.g., “if God only knew what I have done he wouldn’t forgive me”, or “that man is too evil to receive salvation”).

4. In what ways does God’s grace demand that you go further than you might like or find comfortable?

5. “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” – Jonathan Edwards
– If we were the evil Ninevites that God radically saved, how would that influence the love and mercy we show to others?