Discussion question

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Discussion question

Post by kkuriyama on Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:58 pm

Read through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Select an aspect of Jesus’ sermon that you have already put into practice. How has your experience demonstrated the wisdom of Jesus’ words?

A verse that really impacted me early on in my walk with Jesus(even pre-salvation), was Matt 6:6. It is amazing how Jesus hits the nail in the head with such few words. All religiosity breaks down with those words. It is a relationship He desires and people who do not desire that would not close the door. It is so practical yet profound and deeply impactful. People are forced to face God in an honest way.

My conversion is deeply tied those moments where I was challenged by Him to close my door and have honest conversations with him. His word resonates through time because it still is those times that I am strengthened and built up in my faith. He is not only rebuking us, he is also gently inviting us.


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Theo Prompt

Post by SHKelly on Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:23 am

Jesus’ teaching on worry and God’s provision is one that has meant a lot to me, especially recently. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus admonishes his hearers to not worry about this life, what they’ll eat or wear, because God will provide for them. He says to “consider the birds.” He notes that birds don’t plant fields or build barns, but they still survive because God personally cares for them, and aren’t we, mankind, made in God’s own image, much more valuable to him?

Jesus cuts through the fog that stress and “the cares of this world” precipitates by pointing to God’s creating and sustaining influence in the world. If God feeds the birds and clothes the weeds, why would he abandon us? This is not, of course, a guarantee that life will be without trying times, or that if we trust God that we won’t go without some things, but it is a truth that God cares for His creatures. When we recognize our place as Creation and let God be God in our lives we can trust his wisdom and provision.

We recently went through a period of not having a car. It wasn’t a life-and-death thing like going without food or clothes, but it was stressing. It made us dependent on others for transportation, we weren’t as helpful to the staff team, and it made everyday things like going to the grocery an hours-long affair. It was easy to get bogged down by the feeling of helplessness and confinement; we couldn’t do things when and how we wanted, we were on the schedule of the bus, or other people.

It was a humbling time, one that I think God used to shape us into more humble, dependent, reliant people. In our prayers for a car, we learned to sink into God as our provider and sustainer. It took the full two months of going without a car for us to finally come to the appropriate posture of reliance on God, whether he gave us a car or not.

I was initially of the posture of “God will give us a car and we should just pray and move on,” sort of a hands-off approach. Brittony was of the posture of “God will give us a car and we should do something and have him support us,” such as, take out a loan and believe he will provide. Through arguing and praying and stressing, we both conceded our positions, I warmed up to taking out a loan, and Brittony began living in the reality of not having one, not in the future of having one.

And then, the unexpected happened! Two days after we went to the bank, one day before our “decision deadline,” we got a call that someone wanted to give us a car outright. When we both worked through our pride, materialism, entitlement, and Phariseeism, God provide a car! If we had received it without the process, we wouldn’t have learned to truly rely on God.

God is a provider, but he doesn’t owe us anything. God is a provider, but he doesn’t just bless our foolish choices because we say “in Jesus’ name.” God is a provider and is all-wise in his timing and provision. We can trust him to take care of us, whether in material ways or spiritual. There is no need for fear or worry, because just like the birds, our needs will be met.


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DQ Response

Post by kellyrenelantz on Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:55 pm

This year I have really made fasting apart of my life - something I had never really done when I was in college. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus says not to make in known you are fasting in a way that makes it about you, not about God. I have read a lot about fasting this this past year and what it means.

Jesus tells us to do this when we fast, and I think it is very easy for believers to think fasting is a very optional thing. I have fasted with my resource team this year and we have seen God move in really amazing ways, showing the wisdom of what Jesus was saying and the importance of fasting.


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Re: Discussion question

Post by matthewostermeyer on Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:06 pm

I looked at Matthew 6:22-23. I have seen this play out well in my attempts to obey Christ in struggles with lust throughout my time as a follower. He warns us of placing our eyes or our desires on the things of this world. Many of us struggle with this time and time again to rid ourselves of the things that only provide temporary satisfaction and look to Him who will provide everlasting satisfaction. I have seen the wisdom of these verses in both the failures and successes of my life.

Jesus makes it very plain and simple. When we dwell and focus our desires on the good things of God that will be eternal in nature than we will be filled with light and goodness. However, when we dwell and focus our desires on the evil things of this world and our sinful and selfish desires then we become mastered by sin and fall away from God's plan for our lives.

I have seen this play out in my struggles with lust. Lust had complete control over my life in my early years of college. However, as I began to learn God's heart for it I desired to pull myself away from that evil. I wanted to be so transformed that those things did not dwell in my heart. Then I had someone teach me this passage and I realized the control my desires had over me if I did not cut them off. I began to literally take my eyes off of what was evil and caused lust such as pornography, sexual advertisements, woman walking around campus, inappropriate TV, twitter, instagram, etc. It opened my eyes to just how pervasive sexualized images of woman are in our culture and how deep the power of sin has penetrated the people of earth. But as I did this I re-focused my attention to the Word of God, prayer, friends, leading students, etc. And little by little I genuinely experienced the light that Jesus is talking about her filling me. I experienced real freedom in this matter.


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Re: Discussion question

Post by DaneMiles on Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:53 pm

I find myself often remembering Jesus' words and being encouraged, but unable to remember where in scripture it is located. More often than not, it's in the sermon on the mount.

There are two main parts of the sermon that have been incredibly influential in my own life. The first is the section on not worrying about your own life. I tend to over-analyze and even obsess over the future and what it looks like (where will I live, what will I do for a living, etc.). The examples Jesus uses of lilies and birds gives me a sense of his gentleness and care for us... Jesus seems as though he is taking effort to really show his genuine affection for his people.

The other aspect of the sermon is humility in giving and serving others. Even as a child, if I would put money in an offering plate I would be afraid that others would see me (which is, admittedly, probably not what Jesus was getting at in the sermon). Though I do not do it perfectly by any means, the aspect of serving in meekness and humility had been a convicting and guiding principle for me on my walk with Christ.


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Sermon on the Mount DQ

Post by lleeson on Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:20 pm

I chose that part of the Sermon on the Mount talking about adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). As I re-read the Sermon the Mount, I realize again and again how much I fall short. Yet, Jesus has brought me through in some areas and has shown me how to “hear these words and put them into practice” (Matthew 7:24), even in a small way so far. One way I’ve put this into practice in areas of my life is specifically verse 29 “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” God has shown me areas in my life that I put before Him and has shown me how it would be beneficial for me to cut them out (for a certain amount of time or forever) in order for me to see Him more clearly and be made more into His image. Things like social media, certain relationships, foods, music, etc. and while it has been hard in the beginning, God has gotten me through and has shown me how it can be better to not even have that possible stumbling block in my life when the life without it leads me to Him. I remember hearing this passage in church when I was younger and was so scared of it because I thought it was so intense and that I could never “gouge out my eye” or “cut off my hand”. On my own, I could not. Yet, since putting my faith in Jesus and knowing that He is the one strengthening me to do these things, I have seen Him do it and am just starting to understand the difference between trying to follow Jesus’s commands on our own compared to following His commands by abiding in Him and seeing Him work through us. I feel like the “wisdom” of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus commanding us to do these impossible things like cut things out of your life that cause you to sin, don’t be angry with anyone, don’t break your promises. They are impossible to do perfectly on our own, but Jesus fulfilled the law and could do all of this. So by trusting in Him and believing He can work in and through us, these commands can be done, in the process of being sanctified.


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Re: Discussion question

Post by Brittony on Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:53 pm

When reading Matthew chapters 5 through 7, the one teaching I’ve tried to put into practice more than the others, is Matt. 6:25-34 - Do not be anxious – it expresses a dependability on God, something I knew and thought I understood this passage deeply. Before the doing the CMIT program, I knew God as a provider but only at a superficial level. In the most stressful times of my life, especially during the CMIT, whether it was not having enough food or money or whatever, God showed up. But I would use these experiences of God’s provision to try to use them as a formula to get what I want when I want it. The dependence Matthew is talking about is so much deeper. He’s talking about a deeper love, a deeper provision that God wants to share with us. It’s only been recently that I’ve tried to become more dependent on the Lord. Speaking honestly with Him, holding back nothing in what I’m thinking and giving it all to Him. I have found more freedom, security, and joy in this than I did honestly ever before. I’m definitely not an expert on how to depend on God, but I have experienced that when I truly lean into Him in every stressful situation and really in every non-stressful situation. There’s a joy that wells up as well as a deeper understanding of the passage and an overall more content life.


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