The Thanksliving series is intended to encourage thoughtful and challenging conversations based on the stories shared during the message. There will be no posted videos, discussion questions, or devotional guides for this series, as we encourage your LifeGroup to enjoy an extended time of discussion.
“I am” Week 7 // The True Vine
- The grapevine is mentioned as a symbol of Israel, where people had to connect to worship God. What significance do you see in Jesus calling himself “the true vine” in John 15:1? How does this relate to our connection with Him?
- What does it mean to “abide” in Jesus, as mentioned in John 15:4-7? How can we practically apply this concept in our daily lives?
- Read Galatians 5:22-23. God outlines the fruit always bears the character of the tree on which it grows. How does this concept apply to our lives as Christians, and how can we ensure that we bear good fruit?
- The notes discuss the idea of a “living person” behind the words of the Bible and how it impacts us. How does your understanding of Jesus as a living person affect your relationship with the Bible and your faith?
- The verses emphasize the idea of spending time with Jesus, starting the day with a song on your heart, and taking Jesus with you throughout your daily activities. What are some practical ways you do this, and how has it impacted your spiritual journey?
- If Jesus is the Vine, why is God the Gardener? What areas of your life have God pruned? What does pruning produce in our lives?
- Why do you think Jesus used the “I Am” metaphors to describe himself? How do these metaphors help us understand his identity?
“I am” Week 6 // The Resurrection and the Life
- Turn back to John 11 and divide the reading of verses 1 – 46 between two or three group members. Why did Jesus delay coming to Mary and Martha when He learned that His good friend, Lazarus was ill?
- Pastor Bob asked, “Has Jesus ever no-showed on you? You needed Him, prayed to Him, regularly…and nothing! Isn’t that what Martha is saying…if you had been here…but you weren’t…we wouldn’t be in this mess! God is good…all the time…but right now life is hard!” Have you experienced this? Share.
- What did Jesus communicate to Mary and Martha when He said, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life”?
- How did Mary and Martha respond to what resulted from Jesus’ command, “Lazarus! Come out of the tomb!” What did they learn from this experience?
- “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” What does this statement mean to you personally and how would you answer that question?
- How do you see Jesus? The way Mary and Martha saw Him at first, or do you see Him through eyes of faith because you’ve had the personal experience of His loving sovereignty in your life? Share how your perception of Jesus has evolved as your faith has grown.
- In John 11:25-26, “Jesus tells us that the resurrection is not an event but rather a person! And that person, Jesus is alive! Jesus tells us that all who are in Him will live even though they die. My body will die but my spirit will never die. Do you believe this?” How does knowing this truth impact your life?
“I am” Week 5 // The Way, the Truth, and the Life
- Read John 14:1-7. Look back to chapter 13 and then describe the significance of this particular time when Jesus shared these powerful words with His disciples. What truth was Jesus conveying, and why was there an urgent need for the disciples to understand His message?
- In John 14:1, Jesus says, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” How does believing in God and his Son Jesus give the disciples peace as they face the difficulty that is about to come upon them?
- When your heart is troubled, how do you keep the faith?
- In John 14:2, Jesus said that He is going to prepare a place for His followers. How does this give us certainty of our eternal, heavinly home?
- Read these passages from John: 7:33-34; 8:21; 13:33 & 36. Finally, read John 14:3. How does Jesus’s message about following Him change in this final verse?
- In John 14:6, Jesus said that He is the only way to Heaven. Does this seem unfair, or does it make Jesus seem narrow-minded? Share with your group about where you’ve encountered resistance to the idea that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
- Why do you think Jesus groups the words “way,” “truth,” and “life” together in this I Am statement? Consider these three adjectives through the following passages: 1 Timothy 2:3-6, John 1:1-2, Hebrews 10:19-23.
“I am” Week 4 // The Good Shepherd
- Read John 10:11-18. What are the characteristics of sheep that cause them to be in so much need of a good shepherd? How does that correlate with us and our need for Jesus, Our Good Shepherd?
- Pastor John shared this quote from Dr. Lynn Anderson in the sermon, “Think of it. Jesus left the comforts of heaven and came into our universe, our pasture, to smell like sheep! Jesus sweated like we do. He walked our pathways, braved our wolves, faced our temptations, and shared our struggles. The Holy One of Israel came in Jesus Christ to be our good shepherd.” What thoughts come to your mind as you read this.
- Pastor George shared about a sheep he had when he was a child named Snow Ball. What happened to that sheep? Has your Shepherd ever rescued you from a similar situation?
- Have 2 or 3 volunteers read sections of Psalm 139. What can we learn about our Great Shepherd from this psalm? What words or phrases in this Psalm express the security and comfort you have experienced because of the care of your Shepherd?
- How have you wandered in your life? How has the Great Shepherd restored you?
- What pictures of the Great Shepherd speak the most to you and why?
- How do you recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd? In what ways does He speak to you? Can you share something significant that He has communicated to you that made a great impact on your life?
- Verses 15-18 of John 10 express the great love Jesus had for us to fulfill the destiny God had for Him. Read these verses again, and then describe your feelings as you let these words soak in. How will you respond to this great, sacrificial love?
“I am” Week 3 // The Door
- Read John 10:1-10. What did Pastor Bob say in his sermon about what he witnessed in Israel concerning the gate and the shepherd’s role? What does this mean to you, personally?
- Why is the gate so important? Share some of the aspects of the gate you learned about from Pastor Bob’s sermon.
- Pastor Jordan talked about the gate being a type of filter. Explain what he meant by that. How has Jesus been a filter or gate for you, personally? Can you think of a specific example?
- What filters might someone attempt to use instead of Jesus? What kinds of results might occur?
- What keeps sheep safe? Is there anything you have put your security in other than Jesus? If so, what, and how did that work out?
- Who are those who do not enter the sheep pen by the gate? What do you think Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees in this illustration? How have you experienced this threat and how does Jesus protect you from it? How do you know the true nature and character of those who claim to be shepherds?
- How secure in your faith do you feel because Jesus is your gate? How does knowing Jesus is the door or gate help us live life to the full?
“I am” Week 2 // The Light of the World
- Read John 8:1-12. What story in the Bible does the “I Am the light of the world” statement follow? What is the connection between the two
- What does the Light of the World mean to you? How has God illuminated a time of darkness for you? Explain
- What is light’s effect on darkness? Share some examples of the contrast between the two and how you see God’s truths regarding light and darkness evident in our world.
- Read Genesis 1:3-4. What is significant about these verses in regard to our lesson today?
- Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Reflect on the importance of this.
- In the video, Pastor Bob said, “This is the only I Am statement Christ’s followers get to be.” Why do you think that this is significant and how will you embrace the importance of this I Am statement?
- “The light doesn’t start in me but I reflect His light.” In the video they talked about our role reflecting God’s light and how the reflection can grow dim. How can you get the light to reflect more brightly? Share your thoughts on this.
- “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Psalm 5:14-16 MSG) How are you shining for Jesus so that He gets the glory? Are there additional ways He is calling you to shine?
“I am” Week 1 // The Bread of Life
- In this passage, we see Jesus performing the miraculous feeding of the five thousand with just a few loaves and fish. What do you think this story reveals about Jesus’ compassion and ability to meet people’s needs? How has He provided in your life?
- Philip’s response to Jesus’ question about buying bread highlights the financial impossibility of feeding the large crowd. How often do we rely on our own limited resources or understanding when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges? Can you share a personal experience related to this?
- Andrew brings a young boy’s lunch to Jesus, which becomes the source of the miraculous multiplication of food. What does this detail teach us about the importance of offering what we have, no matter how small, to Jesus? How can we apply this principle in our lives?
- Jesus uses this seemingly ordinary, young boy to perform a miraculous task. What is something “ordinary” about you that God has used in an extraordinary way?
- After the feeding miracle, the people wanted to make Jesus king by force. What do you think they were seeking in Jesus as their king, and why did Jesus withdraw from them? How does this relate to our understanding of Jesus’ role and mission?
- Consider the themes of faith and trust in these stories, whether it’s the disciples’ initial fear on the water or the people’s faith in Jesus as a provider. How can we strengthen our own faith and trust in Jesus in our daily lives?
Part 4 // Jonah 4
- Read Jonah 4:1-4. What emotions was Jonah wrestling with? What was God’s response? Has God ever asked you the same question He asked Jonah? Explain.
- Read Jonah 4:5-9. In His compassion, what did the Lord provide for Jonah? What were Jonah’s feelings now and why? Was there ever a time in your life when you had similar feelings? What caused them?
- Read Jonah 4:10-11. How did God respond to Jonah’s emotional outburst?
- What was the reason God provided Jonah with the object lesson of the plant? In what way does it serve for a reminder to us? Have you ever had a similar attitude as Jonah had towards someone, causing you to cast judgement or withhold love from them? Explain.
- How can you identify true compassion? What qualities are evident? How have you experienced God’s pure compassion and how did it affect you?
- Contrast how Jesus responded in compassion to the people in Jerusalem in contrast to Jonah’s response to the people in Nineveh.
- Jonah ends abruptly, leaving us with questions. Was Jonah convicted of his selfishness? Would he now empathize with the people of Nineveh? What are your thoughts about the answers to those questions?
- What about you? Do you always respond with compassion when you witness injustice or sin? How can you better mirror Christ’s compassion and extend His love and mercy to those around you, no matter the differences? What elements and lessons from Jonah’s story do you most want to remember and apply to your life?