Title: Wrestling with God
Series: Hearts On Fire – Focus Series 2
Text: Genesis 32:22-32

God is inviting us to wrestle with Him because He desires for us to have a deeper dependence on Him and to fulfill His purposes for us.

General Questions:

  1. Have you seen people wrestling before? Describe it, what can it tell us about the process of wrestling with God?

  2. Who is Jacob? What kind of person is he? What part does he play in God’s redemptive story shared in the Bible?

Perspective Questions:

  1. Before Jacob wrestled with God, he was anxious at the thought of Esau coming to meet him although he had made plans to stave off Esau’s attack (Gen 32:7-8, 13-21). His great need led him to pray (Gen 32:9-12), remembering God’s promises and goodness to him, and asking God to save him. This was where God wanted Jacob – uncertain, helpless, and vulnerable; so that Jacob would realise that relying on God was the only way out. When were the times when you felt like you had done everything you could but you were still afraid or uncertain, and you could only look to God for help? 

  2. It took many hours of wrestling and a broken hip to make Jacob yield to God (Gen 32:24-26). What would it take for us to trust God and submit to His purpose for our lives? God had to break Jacob’s hip – what would God have to “break” in us to make us realise that He is our only recourse and surrender to Him in trust?  

Application Questions:

  1. We “win” in our wrestle with God when we choose to “lose” by surrendering to God and letting His purpose control our lives. In our walk with God, how can we “lose” to Him more? What are some truths from the Bible we can remind ourselves with that would help us to surrender to God in trust? 

  2. Feeling fearful and vulnerable is no fun. However, recognising our fear and vulnerability may be necessary to recognising our need for God. Therefore, we should not neglect negative emotions, but deal with them. How can the LG be a place where people feel safe to confront their unpleasant feelings? 

  3. With a broken hip, Jacob limped into his calling as the father of Israel. Likewise, God might have to break us before He could use us for His purposes, so that we learn to always rely on Him. How can we deepen our dependence on God as we live out His purposes for our lives? 

Series: Paradox
Title: Gaining by Losing
Text: Matthew 16:24-27

Jesus’ challenge to His disciples to follow Him is as radical as it is paradoxical (Mt 16:24-27). When we are willing to lose our lives for Jesus’ sake, that’s when we gain true life. 

General Questions:

  1. In the preceding verses, Jesus rebukes Peter (v23, “Get behind me, Satan!”) when he told Jesus that Jesus should not have to suffer. Jesus told Peter that he did not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns (v23). How does this context help us to understand the sermon passage (v24-26)?

Perspective Questions:

  1. Some of us might feel uncomfortable upon listening to this sermon. What do you think causes that discomfort? What are some of the doubts and reservations you might have towards gaining by losing? Why? What does this reveal about our expectations and ideals of the Christian life?

  2. Not only did Jesus tell His disciples that He was going to suffer, be rejected and die, He told them that they would have to be prepared to go through a similar fate. While we may not face threats to our lives here in Singapore, there are still costs to following Jesus. What are some costs that we experience today? How do they affect us and why are they hard to bear? How can we be more prepared face up to them?

  3. The person who rejects God’s will and instead pursues his own will for his life ultimately loses every earthly good he is trying to protect. What earthly goods do you think you would seek to protect? How would this understanding change and shape the way you make decisions today?

  4. How does the promise of eternal rewards spur us to keep taking up our cross to follow Jesus?

Application Questions:

  1. What are some costly decisions (e.g. choosing the hard things, stepping into the void, being inconvenienced) you know you need to make to follow Jesus today? How can our LG support us in following through with these choices?