Psalm 1

Psalm 1 speaks of two paths, the path of righteousness & the path of wickedness. When we choose to live life according to God’s design we will see blessing and those blessings lead to joy both in this life and in the life to come, but the path of the wicked ultimately perish. We see in Psalm 1 that what we meditate on helps us choose which path we are on.

  1. Read Psalm 1 and make a list of what the "blessed" person does and what the "wicked" person does.
  2. Verse 1 says a blessed person will not take counsel from the wicked. What are some ways you could receive wicked counsel?
  3. How can someone avoid "walking in the counsel of the wicked?"
  4. Verse 2 tells us to meditate on the law of the Lord. Give an example of how someone might meditate on the Word of God "day and night".
  5. What do you meditate on most throughout your day. Do these things point you back to God?
  6. After reading the Psalm, are there any specific actions you feel you need to take regarding you relationship wit the Word of God?

The Art Of Neighboring - Motives Matter

  1. God has placed you where you live for a purpose. Have you taken time to look around your neighborhood and consider what God is doing in the lives of those around you?
  2. Read Mark 5:21-43. What does God say to us about creating margin and being available for our neighbors?
  3. Sometimes it's potentially awkward moments that keep us from engaging our neighbors. What potentially awkward moments keep you from knowing your neighbors?
  4. How can we be better at learning the art of engagement and being curious towards our neighbors?
  5. Are there distractions you've allowed in you day that keep you from having the margin to engage your neighbors?

The Art of Neighboring- The Call to Neighboring

  1. When you consider moving to a new area have you ever wondered what the stories are of the people in that neighborhood? 
  2. Pastor Nate said "Neighboring creates opportunities for us to connect our stories and our neighbors stories to God's story." What does it look like to make these connections?
  3. Read Luke 10:25-32. How do you answer the question in verse 29, who is my neighbor?
  4. Why do you think the two "good" men passed by the man who was attacked? 
  5. If we're honest with ourselves do we ever look for loopholes or reasons not to reach out to or help hurting neighbors?
  6. In verses 33-35 we read about a Samaritan, an outsider, who sees an opportunity to help rather than look for a loophole. Do you see opportunities to serve in your neighborhood?
  7. Jesus wraps up this story in verse 37 with the statement, "go and do likewise". Maybe we've heard this so often that we've abstracted who our neighbor is. But is it possible Jesus was referring to your literal neighbor?
  8. If you consider the neighbors God has placed around you, how many of them do you know the names of and how many do you know something deeper about their life? Many people know very little about their neighbors. Pray about ways you can take your neighbors from strangers to acquaintances to relationships. 

Friendship - Guest Speaker: Lee Stephenson

  1. Lee made the statement, "show me your friends and I'll show you your future", how does this statement relate to the verse in Proverbs 18:24?
  2. Studies say that the average person only has two friends. When you really think about it, how many close friends do you have?
  3. Who has the biggest influence on your life? Is that person's life one you want to model?
  4. Read 1 Samuel 23:15-18. For verse 16 the NIV says that Jonathan went to David and "helped him find strength in God". Do you have a "Jonathan" in your life, someone that can strengthen your faith during struggles? Are you a Jonathan for someone? Lee remind us that to have a friend we also have to be a friend.
  5. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-7. We can see that Nathan was willing to say the hard thing to David when it needed to be said. Do you have a Nathan in your life, someone who you allow to be raw and real with you?
  6. Being raw and/or real doesn't mean we get to be harsh. How can we love with the truth but also lead with truth?

Yes. No. Wait. - Prayer Changes Things

When you believe prayer changes things you pray like prayer changes things. Join us as we continue our series on Prayer entitled Yes. No. Wait. In this message we look at what it means to pray with boldness because prayer really does change things.

  1. We said that, prayer occurs when you hear from God and He hears from you and that is when prayer changes things, when have you heard from God in this way?

  2. Have ever prayed personal prayer in your life, meaning you said words to God either in your heart quietly or out loud? Describe one time that you have prayed that you remember clearly.

  3. Read James 4:1-3 together, what stands out to you from this section of scripture?

  4. When have you forgotten to pray about a circumstance in your life?

  5. Read Mark 11:22-24, what does Jesus mean in this passage and how does that apply to our lives?

  6. Do you pray with boldness because you believe that prayer changes things? If so when have you prayed this way?

  7. Where in your life do you need to be praying about your circumstances with boldness?

  8. Where in your life do you need to be praying for direction from God?

  9. As you think back through your life is there anywhere you feel like God hasn’t answered your prayer in the way you wanted him to? If so, what have you done with that, have you wrestled with God about that?

Yes. No. Wait. - Essentials Of Prayer

Today we are looking at the essential foundation Jesus gave to the disciples for their prayer life.  These two words changed the paradigm for everything in their lives including the way they prayed.  Seeing God as "Our Father" changes the way we approach God, it changes how we pray, and it changes how we respond to our Father's answers.  We are no longer renters in the kingdom of god but "Children of the Kingdom of God"!

  1. Do you identify with the way the Pharisees and Gentiles approached God in Prayer?  Do you find yourself having cold dutiful prayers.  How often is prayer a last resort in your life?
  2. How does approaching God as "Our Father" changed the way you approach God?
  3. Thinking about the story of Jonathan Hayes... He went from being a guest in the Lodge household to a son.  Are you a Renter in the Kingdom or a Child of the Kingdom?  Have you gone through this paradigm shift?
  4. Take some time to talk through how praying with the foundation of "Our Father" changes the way you praise, obey, request, confess, and ask for protection?
  5. How do you respond to God's answer's differently as a child of God?  Is your relationship defined by Dependency and Trust?  How does this change His yes, no, and waits?
  6. Spend some time praying over each other for God to change our perspective and deeply believe Him to be "Our Father".

Yes. No. Wait.

  1. What comes to your mind when you think of prayer?
  2. Do you ever wonder if prayer really works, or maybe if there is a specific way to pray?
  3. What is the point Jesus is making in Luke 11:5-13?
  4. Pastor Nate shared 3 surprises regarding prayer and with surprise # 1 he said everyone prays, even atheists, and most christians pray like an atheist. How do you feel when you hear this and how do we as christians keep from praying like an atheist?
  5. Surprise # 2- You have never experienced an unanswered prayer. Read Isaiah 65:24 Have you ever felt like your prayers go unanswered? 
  6. Surprise # 3- There is power in coming to God with clean hands. James 5:16, Luke 11:4, How do we come to God with clean hands?

40 Day Marriage Challenge - My Win vs Our Win

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.  - Proverbs 17:14

Here are a couple thoughts from this weeks message. As you read them discuss whether you've found these to be true in your relationships and what are some of the best ways to resolve them. 

  1. Anger based fights (conflict) are always about winning
  2. The problem: for someone to win, someone has to lose
  3. Every time you win, you lose a piece of your partner’s heart
  4. Winning is the quickest way to losing your relationship

Read Ephesians 4:22-27

  1. What if we were to say anger is not invited to our conflict? How would that change the dynamic our your relationships?
  2. Do you believe that any relationship can be healed, no matter how far gone it may seem? 
  3. Do you say the truth in love? v25
  4. How does the S.W.A.T acronym help us fight without anger?  
  • Schedule your next fight
  • Weapons (none allowed)
  • Avoid blame
  •  Treat with respect (1st Peter 3:7)

 

 

40 Day Marriage Challenge- Love and Respect

Read Ephesians 5:21-33 and be looking for you job description in marriage.  

 

  1. What do you see as your job description after reading this passage? 
  2. We know that men and women's are wired differently. Have you noticed that men and women notice different details for the same situation, like a babies name or how much an item is? How have you experienced this in your relationships?
  3. Women, when you see your job description in verse 24 do you agree or believe it brings harmony?
  4. Men, when we read about your job description in verse 25, do you see how your primary provision for your family is spiritual leadership? How has it looked in your life so far to lead in this way?
  5. How does the story in the book of Hosea provide an example of unrelenting forgiveness for us?
  6. Challenge for this week: ask your spouse how they feel most loved. 

40 Day Marriage Challenge: No Competing Just Completing

Welcome to week 2 of the 40 day marriage challenge! What we are doing together and the conversations we’re having have the potential to drastically move our relationships forward. The one that bothers you the most is probably the one that would benefit you the most. Let dig in and have a great conversation.

  1. What if marriage was never intended to make you happy? Is it possible that this mindset could actually set your marriage up for struggle?
  2. When you said you marriage vows... did you actually mean them... or were they based on expectations?
  3. If you're asking your spouse to fulfill your happiness aren't you asking them to do something only God can do? Maybe your perspective is contractual vs covenantal?
  4. God did not create marriage to make you happy. He created marriage to make you holy. What would happen if you stopped trying to fix your spouse and focused on making time together with God the main thing?
  5. Challenge #2: Starting this week, do daily devotions together as a couple
    Pray for each other, It's really hard to be mad at someone you're praying for.

40 Day Marriage Challenge: Compete vs. Complete

To start our marriage series we first must jump back to the beginning to understand where it all went wrong.

Read Genesis 3:16-19

  1. How have the curses declared by God impacted your life or marriage?
  2. How has the desire/rule curse in verse 16 affected you personally?
  3. How have the curses affected your relationship with God?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with the statement "competing love is conditional love"? 

Read Genesis 2:18-25

  1. Here we see God adding to Adam's life with a helper. How has (would) having a helper in your life make you more complete?
  2. Since we are made to help each other why do you believe we compete so much? 
  3. Question to consider:  

    What would a great husband do for his wife? What would a great wife do for her husband? What would a completer do?

1st Peter - Understanding Suffering

Read 1st Peter 4:12-19

  1. What do you think about when you hear the word suffering?
  2. Have you suffered or are you suffering now? Are you willing to share about your suffering?
  3. How do you think our suffering compares to the "fiery ordeal" Peter speaks about in verse 12?
  4. Do you expect suffering? How do you respond when something painful enter your life?
  5. How does verse 14 inform how we should understand suffering?
  6. Pray for each other in the group that are currently suffering as well as remembering those around the world that are siffering for their faith in Christ.

1st Peter 4:1-11 - A Community of Outsiders

“When you live your life fully dedicated to Jesus you will look different, you will be an outsider.”

  1. What does it mean to have a Living Hope as followers of Jesus?
  2. Peter argues that how we live in a broken world matters greatly for eternity and for today, why do you believe he does this and how should you live in light of that?
  3. Thinking back to the story of Cambodian Killing Fields, what would it look like for you to have a perspective on suffering that says, "God make my back stronger."
  4. How has your encounter with God changed you?
  5. What does it mean to be done with sin? Is that you, are you done with Sin? is it undesirable or does it draw you in? Does it have a hold in your life?
  6. Read Galatians 1:10, then share an example of where you have stood up for your convictions and chosen to honor God rather than man?
  7. In reading 1st Peter 4:1-11, how should that impact our thinking about the necessity of evangelism? 
  8. If you are currently suffering in some way, share how you are and prayer together with your group or family regarding that suffering.

1st Peter - Suffering As An Outsider

  1. Read 1st Peter 3:8-12, Do you find it hard to not grow an outer shell as you progress through life? If so how has God spoken with you to break it down?
  2. What are some ways you protect yourself from repaying evil with evil?
  3. Read 1st Peter 3:13-17, Have you experienced someone being curious about your faith because of how you've weathered the storms of life?
  4. Our 7 day challenge is to be ready to share the hope you have because of Jesus? What is your answer?
  5. Read 1st Peter 3:18-22, And now for some fun with a couple controversial topics. What do you think Peter is saying in verse 19 when he says Jesus made proclamation to "imprisoned spirits"?
  6. What do you think Peter means in verse 21 when he says "baptism... now saves you"?

1st Peter - Life Isn't Fair

Read 1st Peter 2:11-3:7

  1. We all know life isn't fair but as christians we are still called to live holy lives in spite of how we feel about our circumstances. What is one way in which you find yourself focused on your circumstances and not your savior?
  2. Do you have a ruler or governing authority in your life that you struggle with? Does this keep you from living fully for Christ or have you found a way to live for Him in spite of this situation?
  3. We may not think much about masters or slaves in our life but taking a cue from this passage we could see that as our job or someone or something that employs us or has financial control over us. Are you in a situation where you have to bear down under pressure for the sake of your faith in your job?
  4. How does chapter 3 verses 1-7 land with you personally? Does this passage offend you? What is a way that you believe this passage applies in your life?

1st Peter - From The Outside Looking In

  1. Read 1st Peter 2:1-12
  2. This passage ends with Peter calling us away from sin and in to the family of God, but often we forget who's we are. Do you ever wonder if you measure up for God?
  3. What makes you most insecure and what do you think that says about how you understand your identity in Christ?
  4. Pastor Nate said "Your identity determines you security". Do you believe you're secure in Christ?
  5. What do you think of when you see that you are part of a royal priesthood in verse 9?
  6. Again in verse 9 we are told that we are chosen by God. Do you find comfort in that fact?
  7. What would look different in your life if you truly had a Jesus-centered identity?

1st Peter - Living On The Outside, Keith Ferrin

  1. What do you think of when you hear the phrase “be holy because I am holy?” Is that even possible?
  2. What is one step/decision/habit you could take when it comes to being “internally-minded?”
  3. What is one step/decision/habit you could take when it comes to being “externally-minded?”
  4. What is one step/decision/habit you could take when it comes to being “eternally-minded?”
  5. What stood out to you as you simply heard the letter of 1 Peter?

1st Peter - Living Out Our Faith In A Foreign Land

The first Christ-followers lived in a time/place that was hostile to their faith. Peter (yes, that Peter) was a leader who wrote words of wisdom and encouragement to Christians in a foreign land.

Read 1st Peter 1:1-12

  1. As a christian do you feel like an outsider in a foreign land? If so why, and how long have you felt this way?
  2. Sometimes the circumstances in society or life can rise up and cause us to forget how big and good our God is. In those moments when we are so focused on our circumstances which of these do you find yourself most prone to?
    1. Challenges to your faith
    2. Your joy being stolen
    3. God's glory is eclipsed by circumstances
  3. In Christ we have an inheritance that is eternal and focusing on that is a way to help shift our perspective from our circumstances to our Living Hope in Jesus. Nate shared 3 ways that looking ahead enables this shift. Which one of these is God working with you on this week?
    1. Your faith being proven or improved
    2. Increased joy
    3. God revealing His glory to you in a new way
  4.  As christians we don't have to be influenced by this world but sometimes it is hard with what we put in front of ourselves. Which of these ways below would help you have a Living Hope this week?
    1. Changing time spent on news/social media vs prayer/scripture
    2. Finding a way to encourage someone
    3. Finding a way to serve someone
    4. Share your hope in Jesus with someone
       

Legacy - State of the Church

Inheritance is the STUFF we leave behind, Legacy is the IMPACT we leave behind. -Pastor Nate

Read 2 Corinthians 5:13-17

  1. As we reflect on 20 years of God's faithfulness to the work He's doing through us at Cascade, what has been the most impactful part of Cascade's ministry to you so far?
  2. How do you believe you have been a part of ministering to others during your time at Cascade?
  3. Pastor Nate had 4 points as he discussed what it mean to live because Jesus died for us. How do these points influence you and your next season of ministry at Cascade?
    1. We don't live for ourselves
    2. We live with abandon
    3. We are a new creation
    4. We are being changed 
  4. Let us focus on transformation and ask "God what is next me?"

 

Legacy - Live Generously

This week we look at some of the urban legends we hear for what it means to live generously. Maybe these urban legends are new to you or maybe you've heard these before.  Please spend some time discussing each one and see where you fit in. Maybe the Holy Spirit has something to say to you as you consider these urban legends. 

Have you heard these before? Do you believe them? What does scripture say about them?

  1. Urban Legend #1 “If I am generous with my TIME and MONEY I won’t have enough for myself.” see Acts 2:42-47

  2. Urban Legend #2
    “Once I get _________________ then I will be generous .” see David's Response in 2 Samuel 24:24

  3. Urban Legend #3
    “The church is just after my time and money” 

  4. Urban Legend #4
    “My generosity of time and resources should come out of my abundance.” see Acts 4:32-35