He Did It Right!

27&28.December.2014

1 Chronicles 29:25
1 Kings 1:5-52
1 Kings 3:1-9
1 Kings 2:2-3


Quick Thoughts

This message introduces us to Solomon, King David’s son through Bathsheba who God said would be the son to build the Temple in Jerusalem. God had promised David, unconditionally, that through his lineage the Messiah of Israel would come and would establish a kingdom that would last forever. God’s greater plan of redemption through Christ is the background of the biblical history of David’s family. So, Solomon became king at age 20, and ruled for 40 years. As a young man, he did some things right, and a whole lotta things wrong. What did he get right? He cleaned up a rebellion against his father that had been brewing for a few years behind the scenes. He showed loyalty to God’s succession plan and promise. He was humble in his request to God as a young man entrusted with a massive responsibility. From this message, we see Solomon started out right. He wanted a “hearing heart” to serve the God of Israel.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. If you were given a rulership over a massive kingdom, at age 20, how would you respond?
  3. Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 3:6-9 is the prayer of a 20 year old young man. What do you learn from reading what he prayed?
  4. God made a unilateral, unconditional promise to David (known as the Davidic Covenant). Read 2 Samuel 7:10-16. What can we learn about God keeping promises, especially in this situation where David is an adulterer and murderer? What does this mean to you, about whether or not God will be faithful to his promises given to you?
  5. Solomon prayed for a “hearing heart”. Warren Wiersbe commented that, “True understanding comes from hearing what God has to say, and to the Old Testament Jew, ‘hearing’ meant ‘obeying’ God’s written Word.” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow springs of life.” How do you keep your heart? What consequences have you encountered when you did not keep your heart?
  6. If you prayed like Solomon did early in his life, what things would you pray for?

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Solomon's Upward Trajectory

28.December.2014

at the REO Town Venue

1 Kings 10:23-24
2 Chronicles 9:13-14
2 Samuel 7:12-16
1 Kings 1:5
1 Kings 1:52
1 Kings 3:5
1 Kings 3:6-14
Matthew 21:9


Quick Thoughts

King Solomon was an Old Testament King of Israel who reigned for 40 years after King David. During his reign, we see various times when his spiritual trajectory is healthy and moving upward, and other times when he is struggling to keep God at the center of his life.

During the early part of Solomon’s reign as king, he desired to honor God with his life and decisions. Solomon’s trajectory, or the direction of his spiritual life, moved upward because of his trust in God’s word, faithfulness where God established him, and humble heart before God.

Conversation

  1. What stuck out to you from this week’s sermon?
  2. What is your trajectory? Are you moving upward? Have you plateaued? Or are you tailing downward? How come?
  3. Do you have a growing trust in God’s Word? How do you foster growth in that area?
  4. Are you content with where God has you in your life? What could help you in this area?
  5. What does it look like to have a “humble heart?” How did Solomon demonstrate this?
  6. An upward trajectory comes from believing and standing firm in the Gospel. Would you say that is true of you? Why or why not?

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He Did It Wrong!

3&4.January.2015

at the Holt Venue

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Deuteronomy 17:16-20
1 Kings 10:26-28
1 Kings 9:15-26
1 Kings 11:1-3
Psalm 119:9-11


Quick Thoughts

Solomon started out as a young king, entrusted with a huge responsibility, really well. He prayed humbly, acted humbly, and took on the job of building the Temple for God as a challenge that went well. However, as his life progressed, he made so many mistakes, that later in life he wrote, “All is vanity and a striving after the wind, and there is nothing to be gained under the sun.” Where did he start to go off the rails? Why would he do that, given that God had blessed him with so much – not to mention that he had become the most influential person in the entire world? Solomon made assumptions that caused him to make decisions contrary to what God wanted. What were they? What can we learn about that for us today?

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Solomon’s issue wasn’t that God had not promised – but was that he did not apparently believe God’s promise. He felt he needed to help God out (maybe improve on God’s plan?) Give an example when you didn’t believe a promise from God – and tried to work it out on your own. Why did you do that?
  3. Read 1 Kings 10:26-28. Solomon assumed he needed to a huge army, even though God had told him he’d have peace during his entire reign. God even named Solomon a nickname that meant “son of peace”! Why didn’t Solomon trust God’s protection? What happens if you do that too?
  4. Read 1 Kings 11:1-3. Solomon assumed that he needed trade agreements with foreign nations surrounding Israel. So he married 700 wives to make alliances with these nations. Why didn’t Solomon trust in God’s power that God already had promised? What happens if you do that too?
  5. Read Deuteronomy 17:16-20. This is God’s instruction for every king of Israel. There is no record of Solomon ever doing this. There is no record of Solomon ever referring to God’s Word that he carried with him. What would it look like in your life, if you were to have God’s Word in your mind and on your heart?
  6. Solomon may have been like the guy who everybody made fun of behind his back, you know, the kid who was given everything – never had to work a day in his life. But disobedience became a trajectory in his life. Discuss how sin looks pleasurable at first. Discuss why it seems that some people “get away with it” – and how not to live that way.

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Solomon's Failure

4.January.2015

at the REO Town Venue

Mark 7:20-23
1 Kings 8:55-61
Deuteronomy 17:17
1 Kings 11:1-8
Proverbs 4:23, NIV


Quick Thoughts

King Solomon’s journey started with great promise and a bright future, but slowly he ended up in an irreversible downward spiral. How could such a wise, humble, and devoted person end up wrecking the trajectory of his faith and the well-being of the nation of Israel?

Solomon’s failure can be explained by his heart becoming apostate, which means he totally gave up on remaining true to God by walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.

Though this tragic change of heart set the king on course for shipwreck, modern audiences can learn from Solomon’s mistakes, glean insights into how God’s prevailing sovereignty and plan redemption trumps sin.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Consider the reality of Solomon’s life in 1 Kings 11:1-8 … How did Solomon fail to live out the vision he cast for Israel in 1 Kings 8:61?
  3. What does apostasy mean? How can apostasy play out in our beliefs and behaviors?
  4. Why does the human heart often seek out and put ultimately trust in created things like sex, power, and wealth instead of the God who created those things?
  5. Think of and discuss examples of what it might look like to have a heart characterized by being dependent on God AND in contrast a heart characterized by being independent from God.
  6. What description most accurately describes the trajectory your life?

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Pride & Greed

10 & 11.January.2015

at the Holt Venue

Warnings:

1 Chronicles 28:9
1 Kings 2:1-3
1 Kings 3:14
1 Kings 9:4-5

God’s blessing, in answer to his prayer:

1 Kings 3:12-13


Quick Thoughts

Solomon, later in life, wrote, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Yet he himself was warned by his father, and warned by two visitations from God Himself – to be careful lest he fall into those same sins. In fact Solomon used the blessings God gave him to fuel his own pride. He wanted to take the credit for what God had done in his life! When Solomon was young (only 20 years old) he prayed a very humble prayer. God answers this pray (1 Kings 3:12-13) and promises to give Solomon three blessings: wisdom, wealth and honor. But Solomon squanders the blessings on his own life, and abuses people to further his own selfish ways.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Solomon was given wisdom from God. In other words, it was not wisdom that he learned living his life over time, becoming more wise. It was gifted to him. You would think his wisdom would benefit the nation of Israel. But in his own greed and pride, he got so out of control in his building projects that he had to resort to forced labor. 1 Kings 5:13-14. Why do people in power exploit those under them? How do you respond in a Godly way, when you feel you are being exploited by another?
  3. It took Solomon 7 years to build the majestic Temple for the God and the nation of Israel in Jerusalem. But, get this, it took Solomon 13 years to build his own palace! And he had to do it with forced labor! Why do people build monuments to themselves? Are you content with who God made you to be, or, do you struggle pretending to make yourself into an image that you want others to see? (Think about that in your roles in life: do you create an “image” in your role at work? As a spouse? As a parent to other parents? To your friends?)
  4. Read Colossians 3:1-3. Do you see in this verse how God sees you, right now, today? This is who you really are. He sees you “in Christ”. If you are “in Christ” – what is true about how God sees you? List as many things as you can think of. Now, as you look at that list, are you content in who you really are? If so, you have learned the secret of living in your “position in Christ”. How should you respond to that truth?
  5. God was faithful to his promises to Solomon, in spite of Solomon taking pride and greed to all new levels. Why does God keep his promises to Solomon, when he selfishly abused God’s blessings to him? What does this say about God? Do you believe that God will be faithful to you, when you are faithless to Him? What do you think 2 Timothy 2:13 means?
  6. Respond to these quotes from William Newell in his Romans, Verse by Verse. (this relates to understanding your position in Christ):
  • “To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.”
  • “To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth.”
  • “To hope to be better, is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.”
  • “To be disappointed in yourself is to have believed in yourself.”
  • “The lack of God’s blessing comes from unbelief in who you are, and not from a failure of devotion to Him.”

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Pride

11.January.2015

at the REO Town Venue

I Kings 9:1-9
James 2:5


Quick Thoughts

Solomon had everything at his fingertips. He had his a place above everyone in kingdom, he had a purpose greater then anyone, he had a promise of prosperity from God himself, all he had to do was keep his eyes on God. Yet, even though everything was laid out in front of him, he failed in keeping God as “architect” of his life. He took over control and put aside what God had set up for him, and began using all he had been given for his own gain. In an effort to be something he was never meant to be, he turned his back on God … he fell to pride.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Solomon was given everything he needed to succeed in life, but ultimately from a God perspective he failed. From what you know about Solomon so far in this series, take some time and compare his “earthly” successes to his “eternal” mistakes.
  3. Read I Kings 9:1-9, when you contrast the two parts, God’s blessing and God’s warning, what sticks out to you the most?
  4. How much time do you think about how your walk with God affects others? Does it freak you out to think your obedience or lack of obedience may have a reach far greater then know?
  5. Read James 2:5, how awesome is it that we can be heirs to God’s kingdom? How humbling is it that Christ paid the price so all we have to do to receive it, is love Him?
  6. How does this study change how you are going to do life this week?
Consequence

17 & 18.January.2015

at the Holt Venue

1 Kings 11
Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
Ecclesiastes 2:17-23
Hebrews 12:5-11


Quick Thoughts

Solomon started out great as a 20 year old king. But, over time, he compromised more and more. His father, David, warned him. God warned him. As time wore on, he began to experience the consequences of his lifestyle of over-indulgence, abusing others, acting selfishly, and trying to create an image of himself to others rather than be content with who God made him to be. He faced despair, people who couldn’t stand him, and betrayal from his own staff. So God disciplined him. It’s shocking how low he goes.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Have you ever ignored the advice of your parents, or a friend, or a pastor, or a spouse – because you thought you could get away with it? How did that turn out for you?
  3. Read 1 Kings 11:1-4. What happened to Solomon’s heart, because he disobeyed God’s instructions for marriage, and instead took 700 wives for himself? Who are the false gods mentioned in 1 Kings 11:5-8? How did Israel worship these false gods? (human sacrifice, sexual immorality, incest, sorcery, infant sacrifice).How could Solomon fall this far? Do you think you could ever fall that far?
  4. What’s it like to feel despair? Why did Solomon say this: Ecclesiastes 1:13-18? Why didn’t Solomon listen to his warnings early in life?
  5. Forgiveness of our sins does not necessarily take away the consequences of our sins. (For instance, we can be forgiven by God forever for stealing from someone, but that doesn’t mean we not may face jail time in this life.) What’s the difference between punishment and correction (Hebrews 12:5-11)? Why do some people get mad at God for His attempt to correct them?
  6. In Solomon’s life, God’s correction came in several forms: a sense of despair and despondency, adversarial people, and betrayal of friends. Why is it easy to blame God when those things happen? List how to respond in a godly way to God’s correction.

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Navigating Life by Keeping the Word

18.January.2015

at the REO Town Venue

1 Kings 2:1-4
1 Kings 11:1-10
Isaiah 55:11
Psalm 119:9
John 14:15-18
Hebrews 12:5-10


Quick Thoughts

On his deathbed, King David gave profound instructions to his heir Solomon. If Solomon was going to successfully navigate through life, he had to unswervingly keep the word of God. Thoroughly keeping the word of God would have secured both Solomon’s trajectory and that of the monarchy he was about to inherit.

Though his failure to keep the word is tragic, Solomon’s story offers modern audiences timeless truth about the power of scripture and the overwhelming need for grace. When we understand what it means to keep the word and how we can keep the word, we are graciously empowered to navigate life.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. In a biblical sense, “keeping” calls to mind having custody, performing maintenance, or proactive observance. How does “keeping” the word of God differ from simply knowing about the word of God says? Offer examples.
  3. How are flawed people empowered to keep the word of God?
  4. What should people do when they fail to keep the word of God?
  5. “Discipline” has several different connotations; it can mean correction or training. Think of and share examples of how discipline has been a blessing in your life; how has training and correction helped you navigate your life?
  6. What are the dilemmas in your life that you are presently navigating through? How might keeping the word give you hope, peace, wisdom, and a more positive trajectory?
Despair

24 & 25.January.2015

at the Holt Venue

Ecclesiastes 3:11
Ecclesiastes 1:4-2:16
Ecclesiastes 12:1


Quick Thoughts

Early in life Solomon bought into three lies that charted his course for the rest of his days. As you read his life, you see what these are:

  1. The meaning of life can be found in the wisdom of the world.
  2. True fulfillment is found in the pursuit of significance.
  3. Happiness is found in material things and consuming more and more.

Later in life, Solomon finally saw through those lies. With the wisdom that God gave Solomon, we are left to wonder why it took so long for him to finally turn around. He had to face the pain of despair and living a life in the pursuit of emptiness to finally wake up. Solomon’s life is written like a documentary on our Western cultural values today.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Do you know people who live life like they’re on a treadmill of monotony? Read Ecclesiastes 1:4-11. What did Solomon learn about a life lived without God?
  3. How limited is human wisdom? How much do we really know, if we’re honest? Read Ecclesiastes 1:12-18. What does the phrase “life under the sun” mean? What did Solomon say about those who live as if this life is all there is?
  4. Why do people buy lottery tickets? What are they hoping all that money will give them? What do you think would be the outcome if you won the lottery? Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. What does Solomon say about the pursuit of significance?
  5. Read Ecclesiastes 2:12-16. What does Solomon say is the end result of this life, if it is lived only from a human perspective? Why is this true?
  6. Read Ecclesiastes 12:1. Have you ever talked to an older person, who regrets living a life that was not lived “remembering their Creator”? How are your choices today honoring to your Creator? Is what you are living for, worth Jesus dying for?

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All Is Vanity, So Fear God

25.January.2015

at the REO Town Venue

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 & 12-18
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Ecclesiastes 3:11
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 & 13-14
Matthew 16:26
Philippians 3:7-10


Quick Thoughts

The trajectory of Solomon’s apostasy and failure to keep the word led him away from God to a place where he sought to find ultimate satisfaction and meaning from temporary and created things instead of from God.

The book of Ecclesiastes is a message about the key to finding significance and meaning in life. After trying out seemingly everything to attain lasting satisfaction and true meaning in life, Solomon indicates that lasting significance can’t come from things that don’t last.

Solomon’s reflections, observations, and prescriptions help us see that life is short, the consequences of the fall and sin are real, and that the human condition is desperate without redemption & grace.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. What are the main ways that you see people trying to find significance and meaning in life?
  3. What does Solomon mean by saying, “all is vanity”?
  4. What vain pursuits are you chasing after, or at least tempted to chase after, instead of seeking significance and meaning in God?
Don't Waste Your Life

31.January & 1.February.2015

Ecclesiastes 5:10; 6:1-2
1 John 2:16-17
Ecclesiastes 8:16-18
Ecclesiastes 12:13


Quick Thoughts

As Solomon is nearing the end of his life, he wrote a journal we call Ecclesiastes. This is his reflection on his life, which he lived knowing that there was a God who would bring everything into judgment. Yet, he chose to live a life bringing glory to himself, using people, and experimenting with all the worldly and sexual vices available to him. God had gifted Solomon with divine wisdom, but he squandered that gift on his own selfishness. The book of Ecclesiastes shows the despair and despondency of a man who chose to sin greatly, and now near the end of his life, his writing shows deeply held regrets, who had wasted his life. His instruction to young people in the last chapter is lesson for all time.

Conversation

  1. What stuck with you from this week’s message?
  2. Check out Ecclesiastes 5:10-20. Why is it, that people love the “things of the world”? Why do people give their lives for acquiring the things of the world? Do you have desires for the things of the world that drive you to make unwise decisions? Have you known people who have wasted their lives on these pursuits and regretted it late in life?
  3. Check out Ecclesiastes 8:16-18. God gave Solomon more wisdom than any man has ever acquired or been given. Yet all that wisdom did not prevent Solomon from making huge mistakes. Why? Discuss why knowing the right things to do, does not prevent any person from selfish, worldly choices.
  4. What does Ecclesiastes 3:11 mean? What does the phrase “God has set eternity in the hearts of men” mean? How does that truth relate to the way you live?
  5. In chapters 8 and 9 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon wants people to remember that they are mortal. We have a beginning. We have an end. When you consider life and death – are you living in the confidence that you will be in eternity with Jesus?
  6. Solomon used the phrase “chasing after the wind” nine times in the book of Ecclesiastes. How is what you are living for, worth what Christ died for? If you had to change how you are living in light of eternity, and in light of the fact that there is a God who will bring all things into judgment – what changes would you make?

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