LIFE group guide: you ought to be teachers


NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Dec. 1). This guide will enable your follow-up of Bill Ehlig’s sermon this morning.

To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.


Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this particular sermon.

To remind us of the Lord’s expectation, and our consequent responsibility, to be teachers of others.


This Scripture forms the foundation of the sermon.

• … you ought to be teachers. (Hebrews 5.12)


These icebreaker questions are meant to help us all just start thinking, talking, and relating to the topic or texts. Discuss one.

1. What have you learned most from others: what to do or what not to do?

2. Who have been some of the influential teachers in your life. What did they teach you and how?

3. When do you learn best on your own and when do you learn best from others?


These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon.

1. With the aid of a reference Bible, locate texts elsewhere in the Bible that speak to the same thought addressed in Hebrews 5.12.

2. With the assistance of two quality commentaries, read up on the context of this verse we’re focused on (Hebrews 5.11-6.1).

3. How is one to reconcile Hebrews 5.12 with James 3.1?


These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. Who learns more from teaching: the teacher or the student? Explain.

2. If teaching helps stimulate spiritual development and growth, why do so many Christians flee from the thought of being teachers?

3. What are some of the most common excuses offered for not teaching?

4. What happens when we do not do what we teach? What happens when we do not teach what we do?

5.  How is it that teaching requires at least as much from the one listening/observing as it does from the one teaching? What are some essential qualities for a healthy, growing student? Why are these critical? What happens if these qualities of a good listener/follower aren’t present?


These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid you in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Identify some you see influentially teaching others and determine a way to express your appreciation.

2. Pray for one Bible class teacher and their students in your church each week. The next week, pray for another, etc.

3. Volunteer to serve as a Bible class teacher, as a substitute teachers, or a teacher’s helper, whether you have ever taught before or not. Do so not only for the rest and relief of those who currently teach, but for your own growth.

LIFE group guide: follow me


NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Oct. 6). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning from Matthew 8.18-22 (and related texts). This sermon is entitled “Follow Me” and is another installment in the Jesus: Master & Commander series.

To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

All Scripture texts reproduced below, unless otherwise noted, are from the CEB.


Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of the sermon series, or this particular sermon in a series.

To call our attention, and our conscience, to some of our Lord’s direct charges to us.


These texts are Scriptures directly related to the foundation and development of the sermon.

As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4.18-22)

Now when Jesus saw the crowd, he ordered his disciples to go over to the other side of the lake. A legal expert came and said to him, “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One has no place to lay his head.” Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8.18-22)

The Jewish opposition circled around him and asked, “How long will you test our patience? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, but you don’t believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you don’t believe because you don’t belong to my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10.24-30)

Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you can’t follow me now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I’ll give up my life for you.” Jesus replied, “Will you give up your life for me? I assure you that you will deny me three times before the rooster crows. (John 13.36-38)


These icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start thinking, talking, and relating to the topic or texts. Discuss one.

1. I find myself motivated to go along with someone, or something, if __________.

2. When told what to do, what tends to be your default reaction: comply, question, or challenge?


These questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Find and circle every form of the word “follow” in the four Scripture texts above.

2. In which text above does Jesus note his disciples’ following of him as answer to his enemies?

3. What are two huge hurdles Jesus calls out to following him in Matthew 8.18-22?


These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. What does Jesus mean when he says “follow” me? That is, what all does “follow” imply?

2. Instead of following Jesus, it’s tempting to merely __________ Jesus.

3. Many (most?) people settle for being associated with Jesus rather than following him? Why?

4. What’s the difference between a nominal Christian and a true follower of Jesus Christ?

5. When do you most clearly and consistently sense that you are “following” Jesus?

6. Engage this claim: if we all follow Jesus, we’ll all think and act alike. True? False? Explain.


These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid you in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Identify the excuses you use for not following Jesus in something you know to be his will.

2. Do something each day this week that’s easy for you in following Jesus, but don’t often do.

3. Do something daily that’s hard for you to follow Jesus in; something that takes you out of your comfort zone.

links: this went thru my mind


Anger, communication & relationships: What to Do When You’ve Made Someone Angry

“… this battle — intention vs. consequences — was the root cause of so much interpersonal discord. … it’s not the thought that counts or even the action that counts. That’s because the other person doesn’t experience your thought or your action. They experience the consequences of your action.”

Arrogance, learning, listening, tribes & understanding: Pastoral Traps: Tribal Arrogance

“The deeper and more entrenched I became in the tribe, the less time and desire I had learn from other tribes. … One of the great blunders of having tribal arrogance is missing out on the wisdom and skills of others. … I do not want to display tribal arrogance. I am grateful for my tribe. I am grateful for how much I have grown in my love for God because of my tribe. But I need to have the ears to hear from the voice of others.”

Baptism: Water of Division

“By the way, the best book ever, ever on baptism is by Everett Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church.”

Ministers & ministry: Eleven Things You Might Not Understand About Your Minister

“… here’s what your minister wishes you understood.”

Parenting, school & teaching: What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents

“Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list “issues with parents” as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges. So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?”

this went thru my mind


Bible, discovery, education & learning: Evangelicals & the Bible by Tim Gombis (parts 1, 2 & 3) [required reading]

“… about three weeks into every semester, a student would raise his or her hand and say, ‘I’ve never heard this stuff before.’

“I began to respond by saying, ‘you’re welcome!  You or your parents are paying me thousands of dollars to tell you things that you don’t know.  This is what we call “education” and it sounds like I’m doing my job.’”

“It began to dawn on me, however, that there was something about evangelical culture that was making these students assume that if something was unfamiliar, it was unbiblical. …

“What strikes me as odd is that the very thing I have come to associate with studying the Bible—the excitement of discovery—is the very thing that somehow frustrates the evangelicals I’ve been teaching.

“Like I said, I think this indicates that there’s something warped about how evangelicals regard the Bible. …

“… we please God when we are diligent students, which implies that we are always learning and that it’s okay (and normal) that there are things we don’t know!’ …

“My advice is to get to know the Bible over time—like, over decades. There aren’t five easy steps to Bible knowledge. I’ve told students in the past to measure their knowledge of the Bible in 5-year increments. And when I’ve said that, I could hear sighs of relief.

“Remember that the aim of getting to know Scripture is not to be equipped to get out there and have ‘impact.’

“The purpose of knowing the Bible is to develop Scripture-shaped minds so that we get to know and love God more faithfully, being transformed so that we love and serve others more creatively. The goal of Bible knowledge is the cultivation of virtue. And this is something that only happens over time.

“And the learning process itself transforms us, so we shouldn’t think that at some point we’ll be finished, “fully equipped” to get out there and put our knowledge to effective use.”

Bible & translation: Fifteen More Myths About Bible Translation by Daniel Wallace

“Perhaps the number one myth about Bible translation is that a word-for-word translation is the best kind.”

Certainty: The Lust for Certainty by Ben Witherington

“… we have to live on the basis of faith every day, not on the basis of some certainty or an ironclad guarantee.”

Churches: The 15 Largest Protestant Denominations in the United States

“The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches assembles various data on churches and denominations across North America. I recently gleaned the top 15 denominations by membership in the United States from their reports.”

Contentment: Five Steps to Peace in a Really Bad Situation

“… how can we get peace if we’re headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Phil. 4:4-9.”

Grief & words: Seven Questions Mourners Need to Ask Before Replying to Hurtful Statements

“…  the question of how to reply to hurtful statements is that each mourner must make up his or her own mind in each situation as to what would be the wisest method or statement to make. If you do decide to immediately reply to a painful statement from a well-intentioned, goodhearted, but ignorant comforter, you might want to consider the following questions first …”

Holy Week: 9 Things You Should Know About Holy Week

“Holy Week is the week before Easter, a period which includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Here’s what you should know about the days that commemorate the Passion of Christ.”

Internet, maturity, & social media: * Social Media Becoming Integral Part of Churches; * NT Wright on Blogging & Social Media [3 1/2 min. video]; * Shortcut for Blocking Games on Facebook; * The Internet: It’s Like Never Leaving Junior High [essential reading]

* “From websites to blogs, podcasts and Twitter, church leaders are embracing social media as a way to spread the word of God, to share information and to woo new members.”

* “I have one big worry about that, which is the isolationism of sitting in front of a screen. Even if there’s lots of other voices there. it’s only a screen.”

* “That’s all there is to it. If you get a notification from an app in your notifications menu that comes from an app you just don’t want to ever see again, a few clicks and you’ll never be bugged again. Nice.”

* “If life is just like high school, then the Internet might be an age group lower. Much of our digital world means never having to leave junior high school behind. … Janet Sternberg, a communications professor at Fordham University in New York who’s written a great deal about online civility, sees a reverse of a pattern created by television. If, as cultural critic Neil Postman asserted, TV ended childhood — the medium provided an impetus for young people to act older, which created hand-wringing about generations growing up too quickly — the Internet has done the opposite, she says. ‘The Internet and digital media have produced this “Peter Pan effect” where we never grow up, we’re perpetual children, we never have to be responsible for anything — we keep this juvenile mentality,’ she says.”

Note-taking: The Lost Art of Note-Taking by Michael Hyatt

“I don’t recall anyone ever teaching me how to take notes. I didn’t learn it in school—not even college. Nor did I learn it on the job. It was something I had to pick up on my own. Maybe this is why so few people bother to take notes during meetings or presentations. No one has ever told them why it is important or how to do it. In this episode, I do both.”

Same-sex marriage: If the Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, What Next?

“The biblical ideal of self-sacrificing, lifelong, heterosexual marriage is already countercultural. … If we have placed our trust in the God who does not change, we need not fear shifts in culture or law. … No plan A will skirt the issue that we are all sinners in need of a savior. We are on a level playing field with gays and lesbians who, in my experience, can detect condescension and hypocrisy a mile away.”

Television: 5 Reasons TV is Dead by Scott Elliott

“The mediums which we use to entertain ourselves or receive information come and go, but art is here to stay.”

The Bible mini-series: The Bible Series — Drama and Historical Context

“One of the aspects that I appreciate in the New Testament episodes of The Bible series is the attention paid to historical context. … This is not, of course, to suggest that attempts to provide historical context trump the drama.”

this went thru my mind


Bible, change, growth, learning & openmindedness: Afraid of the Bible by Dan Bouchelle [essential reading]

“Here is the stark reality: churches are resistant to open Bible study because we fear new insights from scripture. … What does this say? I think is says at least four things: 1. We over estimate our understanding of scripture and have largely closed off our ability to hear fresh wisdom from God through his primary means of communicating to us. … 2. We fail to understand the role of the Holy Spirit working upon a community as it encounters God in his Word. We can’t control the Spirit or explain him and we fear what we don’t understand and control. … 3. We are still modern thinkers who believe … Scripture may describe what God did once, but it won’t help us much with methods for what we should do. 4. Since we know we can’t reconcile seeing something new in scripture and discounting it, as we can easily do with human writers, it is just safer to avoid seeking to learn anything new from the Bible. Who wants to be responsible for making changes if we did learn better?”

Catholicism: * Would You Pray for the New Pope? by Mark Woodward; * Virtual Reality Sistine Chapel; * It Is Better To Have People Think You Are A Fool Than To Write A Blog And Remove All Doubt ; * 5 Things to Know About the New Pope

* “The historian Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. said that Anti-Catholicism is ‘the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people’ (Gibson, The Coming Catholic Church, HarperCollins 2004). That’s a very strong statement in the face of both our racial biases and our economic and political biases.”

* The inside of the Sistine Chapel in virtual reality.

* “… I do not want Roman Catholic readers to judge me by some of the hate filled, ignorant posts written by some of my non-Catholic counterparts.”

* “He’s the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.”

Church: Pope Francis Calls Out the Church

“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church. It’s true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that’s sick because it’s self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former.”

Communication, listening, relationships & words: Barriers to Conversation by Scott Elliott [required reading]

“Here are a few common barriers to conversation.”

Controlling: Are You in a Controlling Environment?

“Ask yourself: Do ideas determine systems? or Do systems control ideas?”

Just for fun: The Greatest Homes Made from Shipping Containers Around the World

“The relatively cheap shipping container is a good foundation for a strong, mobile, and post-apocalyptic home. In the last two decades, architects have been incorporating shipping containers into everything from schools to houses — for aesthetic reasons, but also out of economic necessity. Here are some of their most eye-catching creations.”

Logic, reasoning & thinking: How Not to Argue Like an Idiot … The 15 Most Common Logical Fallacies

“… I’ve used and heard plenty of bad reasoning from Christians. The following list is composed of some of the most common logical fallacies; I’ve chosen to limit it to only those I’ve actually heard in the last couple years.”

 ; * 5 Things to Know About the New Pope

this went thru my mind


Contentment, happiness & work: 5 Ways to Find Joy in a Job You Don’t Love

“… what do you do when you get stuck in a job you don’t love? … Is it possible to keep getting up day after day and actually have joy in your work?”

Kingdom: Video: James K.A. Smith on Imagining the Kingdom

“To see all six videos from James K.A. Smith, click on the links at the end of each video.”

Learning & teaching: Briefly Noted: “Is the Lecture Dead?”

“The lecture remains one of our most precious educational resources, and it ought not be sent to the pedagogical morgue on account of its most boring and tedious practitioners. May teachers everywhere, and especially professors of theology, lecture as if their hair were on fire. May they tell the Great Story passionately, personally, and reflectively, and in so doing inform, energize, and inspire their students.”

Parenting & prayer: Seven Things to Pray for Your Children

“1. That Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming. … 2. That they will respond in faith to Jesus’s faithful, persistent call. … 3. That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments. … 4. That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage. … 5. That their thoughts will be pure. … 6. That their hearts will be stirred to give generously to the Lord’s work. … 7. That when the time is right, they will GO!”

Time management: Beware: 10 Time Management Rules That You Are Breaking

“Break these 10 time management rules at your own risk.”

Wind: Wind Map [a live, interactive map of wind across the lower 48 states of the U.S.]

“Surface wind data comes from the National Digital Forecast Database. These are near-term forecasts, revised once per hour. So what you’re seeing is a living portrait.”

this went thru my mind


Diversity & unity: A Personal Appeal for Christian Unity in Diversity by Patrick Mitchel

“… Christian unity is to act on something that is already there, given by God. Believers are one, the challenge is to act in ways that reflect that unity (and not in ways that deny that unity).”

Forgiveness: Stories of Grace, Stories of Forgiveness: Frederick Douglass Affirms the Humanity of a Slaveholder [required reading]

“The stories of grace and forgiveness that Frederick Douglass models exhibit three biblical truths regarding the notion of forgiveness as it is put into practice.”

Learning: The Learning Virtues by David Brooks

“… Westerners tend to define learning cognitively while Asians tend to define it morally. Westerners tend to see learning as something people do in order to understand and master the external world. Asians tend to see learning as an arduous process they undertake in order to cultivate virtues inside the self.”

Mentoring: Is Spiritual Mentoring a Biblical Idea? by Lynn Anderson

“… spiritual mentors are extremely important in our spiritual development. And Biblical.”

The Bible miniseries: * “The Bible” on the History Channel: Not the Absolute Train Wreck I Thought it Would Be by Pete Enns; * The Bible Series: The Consultants’ Role by Mark Goodacre

“I’m not a big fan of seeing the Bible depicted in film. The biblical narratives have a lot holes in the storyline. To adapt the Bible to film, you have to invent dialogue, whole scenes, and compress other scenes to keep the story going. … having said that, watching the show didn’t leave me feeling defiled or quite as nauseous as I assumed it would. Actually, the most troubling part of the evening was the incessant commercials. God can’t seem to get around to putting a stop to hunger and war, but he has definitely taken the time of subcontracting out to a website the means by which you can find your perfect mate. But I digress.”

“One of the reason for scholarly types to be encouraged is that the executive producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, did hire a large group of academic consultants.”