Pastor Christian Simas – Ephesians 4:1-16

August 6th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.
1. What are some of the spiritual gifts listed in Scripture?

2. How do you think God has gifted you to serve the Body at Reality Church of Stockton? Are you serving in a way that uses your gifts? If no, why not?

Discussion Questions:
1. What does it mean to you that every member of the Church is a minister and has gifts, graciously given by God, to fulfill that ministry?

2.”… I [Jesus] will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
– How does hearing Jesus’ promise to build his Church give you hope as a Christian?

3. What does it mean to us that the Church is unified by the Holy Spirit when it is united with Jesus through faith?

4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. In light of this passage, how should we think about how we use the way God has gifted us?

5. “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
– What influence will each of us speaking the truth in love to one another have on the whole Church?

6. Read 1 Corinthians 13:11. What are the consequences of staying in our childish form that Christ found us in?

7. “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” Martin Luther
– How is God stirring you to more deeply commit to him through your loving commitment to your neighbor?

Pastor Christian Simas – Acts 2:1-13

June 4th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
-Use Scripture to support your answers.

1. If all three persons of the Godhead are involved in salvation, what is the role of the person of the Holy Spirit?

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you have any hesitancies to discussing the Holy Spirit and his work? If so, why do you think that is?

2. In what ways do you find yourself trying to be a Christian? What are the consequences of this trying?

3. If God doesn’t make good people better but instead makes dead people alive, then how should we think about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

4. In what ways does the heart-regenerating work of the Holy Spirit influence our evangelism (mission-minded or sent-ness) as Christians?

5. If Pentecost has been accurately described as the reversal of Babel (Genesis 11), and the events at Babel brought division and confusion, then in what ways has Pentecost brought unity to God’s people?

6. Read Romans 8:11. If the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you how does that give you confidence for your life — past, present, and future?

Pastor Christian Simas – Hebrews 11:1-16

May 28th, 2017

Personal Reflection/Study Questions:
– Use Scripture to support your answers.

1. Describe the interplay between hope and faith as the Bible describes them. How are the two tied together?
– For reference, see Hebrews 11, Romans 4:13-25, & 8:18-30 among other places.

​Discussion Questions:
​1. Think of a faithful person. What is it about their actions or character that demonstrate their faith?

2. What does walking the path of faith as disciples of Jesus mean to us?

3. Read Hebrews 11:1. In what ways does God give us assurance and conviction of the things we hope for and cannot see?

4. What does it mean for us to acknowledge (Hebrews 11:13) that we are pilgrims in this world?

5. What does it mean to us to be present in the world, but not of the world?

6. Read Hebrews 11:10. What would the consequences be for our lives in this world if we lived it with eyes focused on our future home?

7. Read Revelation 21:1-4. Fully assured, close your time in prayer thanking God for our secured future with him.

Pastor Christian Simas – Habakkuk 2:2-4, Matthew 28:1-10

January 22nd, 2017

1. What is Vision as it pertains to the Church? How does it relate to the person and work of Jesus? Why is it important that we take a moment to focus on Vision (Habakkuk 2:2)?

2. Read the Mission/Vision of Reality Church of Stockton. What are we seeking? Where are we seeking to see it? How is it accomplished?

3. As a church, in 2015 we focused on spiritual and organizational health. In 2016, we focused on building and establishing. Now in 2017, we turn to focus on growth.
– What will it look like to pursue growth in maturity?
– What will it look like for us to be a more committed church?
– How can we pursue growth in outreach and discipleship?
– What does it mean for us to seek growth in diversity?
– In what ways can we grow in depth and width of community?

4. What does it mean that God has called us to himself, or in other words what has God called us to come and see (Matthew 28:1-10)? What are we going to go and tell? How do we expect to share the gospel this year (Habakkuk 2:4)?

5. The author of Hebrews tells us to lay aside every weight and sin that keeps us from running the race of the christian life with endurance. What sins are holding us back from running with endurance? What other weights are slowing us down?

6. Close together in prayer. Pray that God would mature his church this year. Pray that our depth of commitment to him would increase and therefore our depth of commitment to the local church would increase as well. Pray that this year would be marked by salvation in our city, for the glory of Christ’s name. Pray that we would continue to look like the church described in Revelation. And pray that our community would brilliantly proclaim the grace that has saved us.

Pastor Christian Simas

January 15th, 2017

1. As a group, define ‘Imago Dei.’ Why does it matter that men and women are intentionally created in the image of God? How does this give human life sanctity that the rest of creation does not have?

2. From our text, we see that mankind was created in God’s image and God called it “very good” (v.31). How was that good image broken? How has that image been restored? What does that mean for the life of a Christian both now and for the future?

3. Being made in God’s image ascribes meaning to mankind in many ways.
– What does the Imago Dei mean for the intrinsic dignity of all people (e.g., the unborn, men/women, other races, other religions, etc.)?
– How have we been given a common blessing in the Imago Dei?
– How does the Imago Dei give purpose to our lives?
– In what way does the Imago Dei determine our necessity for relationship with others?

4. How can we uphold the sanctity of human life in our personal lives? How have we failed to uphold this in the past? How can we influence the upholding of the Imago Dei in daily public life even when we feel like the power to create change is not in our hands?

Pastor Christian Simas

January 8th, 2017

1. What does it mean that we, the Church, have been chosen and intentionally pursued by God? In light of our sinfulness, describe how that pursuit demonstrates God’s covenant love and faithfulness toward us (see Hosea for reference).

2. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the Church is characterized in multiple ways. From our passage, what does being Christ’s Bride tell us about how he loves us? Remembering that elsewhere in Ephesians the Church is also called Christ’s Body (ch. 4) and his household or dwelling place (ch. 2), can we expect to be the Bride on our own? Why or why not?

3. How has God, once and for all, purchased his Bride and how have we entered into this new covenant relationship with him? What are some ways that we have viewed the Church in the past? Have we seen it as supplemental to our Christianity, vital, or somewhere in between? Why is that? How does Christ’s sacrifice for her bring perspective to that?

4. Jesus’ sacrifice for us, the Bride, was so that we could have life, and that life is found in the community of believers called the Church. What are some reasons we are reluctant to sacrifice for, and be involved in, the Church Jesus died for? How can we encourage one another to overcome these hesitancies?

1. The billion dollar self-help industry tells us that we as people, generally, value change. Apart from Christ, how do we strive to change ourselves? Why will this effort always fail to meet our expectations?

2. Verse 17 of our passage tells us that if we are found in Christ, the old has passed away and the new has come. What is this new nature? How did we come to have it (v. 21)? What does it mean to be a new creation both in the present and for the future?

3. Having been made a new creation, those who are in Christ now have a new, most foundational, identity. What is the foundational identity of a Christian? How does that foundation change our expectations for ourselves, and others, to accomplish our good aspirations (e.g., to be a better husband/wife, father/mother, brother/sister, friend)? Share some triumphs from living out of this identity, and failures from forgetting to.

4. As a part of our newness in Christ, we now have a new source from which we are able to live out of our new identity (See v.18a & Romans 8:13). What is this new source? How do we lay hold of this source? Share some examples of walking in this faith.

5. As new creatures in Christ, we are called His ambassadors, or official representatives, here (v. 18b-20). What is the new vision we are meant to carry out as Christ’s ambassadors? What does it mean to be ministers of reconciliation?

6. At this time of year, many of us have made good, godly, resolutions for the upcoming year. If you have done so, share your resolution with the group. How do you expect to be tempted to fall back into old ways? How, specifically, can we encourage you to live out of your identity as a son/daughter of God?

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20

1. What does the Great Commission have to do with election season in the United States 2,000 years later?

2. Why is Jesus’ title as ‘King’ not as controversial, or have as great of an impact, in 21st Century USA as it did in the 1st Century Mediterranean world? Why does the message about Jesus’ kingship “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6-8)?

3. Why is it important that Jesus is on the throne? What does it mean that God is sovereign? Why is it significant that Jesus applies this authority to himself (v.18)?

4. According to Scripture, where is the true citizenship of a Christian? In what way is that citizenship attained? How does this reality influence our lives as we live them as ambassadors to Christ in the nations?

5. What influence does Jesus call the Church to have in the nations (vv.19-20)? How is that influence different than what we often desire or see exercised in the world?

6. As citizens of Heaven, Christians are exiles everywhere else. What ways can we faithfully participate in the democracy that God has placed us in while still seeking the welfare of the nations we have been sent to?

7. Read Psalm 146 together. End your time giving glory, honor, and praise to the God who keeps faith and reigns forever!

"Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel." - Psalm 22:3

Pastor Christian Simas – Isaiah 41:8-10, 17-20

"But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off"; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.When the poor and needy seek water, there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys> I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it." Isaiah 41:8-10; 17-20.

1. Describe the spiritual condition of our city. What words and/or illustrations would scripture use to describe it?

2. In what ways has the spiritual condition of our city effected its practical condition? What are the signs of these spiritual realities that you’ve seen or experienced?

3. What sort of hope are we given in this portion of Isaiah?

4. Verses 17-18 tell that “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” What is this pointing us to?

5. What is Spiritual Renewal? Why do we need it? How do we experience it?