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Study Guides & Questions

Whether you are going over Sunday's message with a small group, or just want to review or dive deeper on your own or with your family, these questions and guides are here to help.

Mission Outreach Gathering - Zambia Team Report, November 27, 2022
Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8

1) Sunday was a Missions Outreach Gathering celebrating God’s work in Zambia. What
impacted you about the Zambia team presentations?
2) Have you had a mission experience where God challenged you? Tell that story…
3) What local “missional encounter” have you had when God worked in you or through you
here in Florence? Could be the ballfield, the grocery store, at work, at kids on mission, etc. Tell
that story…
4) Remaining time: Break up into smaller groups of 2-4 and share missional opportunities you
have and pray for faith and love to take the next step, and for open hearts to respond to God’s
love through us.
Bonus: Pray for folks for Advent - for many it’s merry and bright - for others stressful and dark.
Give space for people to share and to pray for those in the group who need support in this
season.

Love story: Song of Solomon 6:3-7:10, November 13, 2022

Questions

1) What was your main takeaway from the message?

2) What questions did you have from the message?

3) Song 6:3: Unity: What does it mean that two become one?

                Why does “divine unity” or covenant marriage matter?

4) Song 6:4-9: Honor: How does he honor her?

5) Song 7:1-7: Honor (continued):       

                > What does it say about their relationship that he notices her feet?

                > What does he notice about her waist and what does this indicate?

                > What does he notice about her neck and what does it mean?

                > How does his description of her eyes differ from 1:15 and 4:1?

                > V6 - how does the king summarize the aging queen’s beauty?

6) What did you take away from the love and respect discussion with Kim and Kevin Yokim?

7) Spouses - tell some good stories how your spouse does this!

Bonus: What’s your favorite love song and why?

Double bonus: Our last Song teaching is coming up this Sunday - please submit any questions (can be anonymous) at sandhurst.net/messages

 

Answers

3) They literally belong to each other. They share resources, gifts, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, even bodies. They love each other as themselves. See Eph 5:28-33).

4) He *sees* her, recognizes her, understands her, blesses her. Also, he rejects the offer of a royal harem (in the song - in the ideal!) and loves one woman.

5)            Feet: he knows ALL about her and loves all of her

                Waist: she is aging, prob had kids and putting on weight - still a beauty!

                Neck: tall, stately, upright, noble

                Eyes - before doves - innocent and energetic. Now pools - mystery and wonder

                Summary: beautiful, pleasing, delight - she ages sweetly to him

Love Story: Song of Solomon 4-5:1, October 30, 2022

1) What was your main takeaway from the message?

2) What questions did you have following the message?

3) Retell the story of the carrot and the horse - how does that apply to sex?

4) Adam mentioned 7 tools for life-giving sexuality - summarized in this statement: Sex is the private, mutual giving of sweet renewal (and the follow through of relational intimacy). Which part of this definition seems most abandoned today? Most important?

5) What foxes steal from our sexual union and joy?

6) What are some ways we can build relational intimacy?

 

Bonus: Q&A sessions are coming up - please submit your questions (can be anonymous) HERE

Missions Outreach with Chandan: Acts 19:1-10, October 23, 2022

Questions

1) What was your main takeaway from Sunday’s interview with Chandan?

2) In his conversion story, Chandan described scenes from 10 years old the insufficiency of Hinduism to cope with his mother’s death, as well as at 17 thinking the Jesus film was over at Christ’s death - to be shocked and amazed by his resurrection. What is the effect for us of living in a culture saturated with knowledge of the risen Christ?

3) Summarize these three verses into a single statement definition of missions outreach: John 20:21 / Matthew 28:18-20 / Acts 1:8.

4) What were the barriers to reaching Bihar, India (120 million people!) with the gospel and why was it a catch-22?

5) How did Chandan’s team overcome those barriers?

6) How is the Christian gospel truly good news for women like Manju in India?

7) Adam summarized the mission of God in the five words of Revelation 1:5 “I am making everything new.” How does Chandan’s mission fit this description?

8) The 10-year fruit of our partnership: 237 family business funded; expansion from 1 to 24 (of 36) states in India; 18,000 home churches; 200,000 baptized believers. Pause to celebrate the fruit of our partnership and thank God!

9) How can we apply these lessons and live on mission here?

Answers

2) Positively - most people have a frame of reference to understand the message. Negatively we can become desensitized to the awesomeness of not only having a risen Savior - but one who lives in us!

3) Missions outreach: God sending us / to make disciples / locally and globally.

4) Poverty and foreign funding (which created suspicion) - a catch-22 because they didn’t have funding to free up ministers for service, but they couldn’t take foreign funding since that created suspicion and divided the ministers from the people.

5) They created small family businesses for the ministers to work part-time, and create a “socio-economic identity” among their people, which opened the doors for the gospel. Thankfully, foreign funding for these businesses was ok - as that has been Sandhurst’s role in helping - along with prayer, and now, going.

6) In Hinduism, women are a lower class, but in Christianity, the “good news” of the gospel is that women are made equally in the image of God as men, that they are different in design, but equal in value before God and man. That God created Manju (and all women) for a purpose that is not dependent on their husbands or families - they are valuable simply as daughters of God.

7) Chandan’s church funding model includes many businesses that renew communities not only spiritually but economically and socially - such as the creation of schools, farms, fisheries, and construction. These pastors are living out on the ground what Jesus is doing overall - making all things new.

Love Story: Song of Solomon 3:1-11, October 16, 2022

Questions

1) What was your main takeaway from the message?

2) What questions did you have following the message?

3) The engagement is V1-5, we see: LONGING (V1-3 “searched”), COMMITMENT (V4 “found, held, brought to”) and PATIENCE (V5 “do not awaken”) - what is the value of each of these to the relationship?

4) Sex is a fire - is fire good or bad? 

5) The wedding is V6-11. In V7-8 we see community affirmation - why is this important?

6) Solomon’s mother crowns him in V11 - what is she saying with this gesture?

7) A summary of the wedding lesson: “Coming to the marriage with thoughtful intentionality of guards against the terrors of the night and royal treatment of his bride.” How does this look in our day?

8) How can we apply this passage today - whether single or married?

Bonus: Q&A sessions are coming up - please submit your questions (can be anonymous) at sandhurst.net/messages

 

Answers

4) Fire is wonderful - in its proper place; fire is destructive when it jumps its boundaries. A fire in the fireplace brings warmth, light and beauty - but outside the stones, it can burn down the house - or a life.

6) BTW - this crown is not gold but a victor’s wreath (like the Olympic games). She is offering her support, approval, even commissioning. She is sending him off to begin his own house, his own royal family, to “leave and cleave” to his wife. Important for parents to launch their kids into their own lives.

If you have any questions about this series, be sure to ask them here! 

Love Story: Song of Solomon 2:8-17, October 9, 2022

QUESTIONS:

Q1: Izzy began his message with 3 truths to keep in mind while studying the Song of Solomon.  Give an explanation of each of these 3 and an example of what it looks like to apply them.  

  1. We interpret scripture with scripture.  Inform the vague with the clear, test the abstract against the concrete.

  2. Song of Solomon is a relational book.  Process it relationally.

  3. We read the ideal not to awaken past shame but to stir up new transformation.

Q2: Read Song of Solomon 2:8-15.   What is happening in this scene? 

Q3:  Verses 10 and 13 have identical language, “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”  This couple is going someone together, there is a shared direction.  As disciples of Jesus, the direction of our life should align with the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the great commandment (Matthew 22:38-39).   If you are in a relationship or married, what is the shared direction or vision of your marriage?  Where are you going and how do you plan to get there?  If you are single, do you have a direction and plan that you could confidently invite someone into?  What is it?

Q4: In Song of Solomon 2:11-13 the man describes their relationship like springtime, painting the picture of new growth and life.  What do you do intentionally and consistently to foster continued growth in your relationships emotionally and spiritually? 

Q5: The gentle invitation to a space of safe vulnerability and openness is pictured in verse 14 through the image of a barricaded dove coaxed out of its hiding place.  Being vulnerable and open in relationships is hard.  What do you think makes it so hard?   Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-17.  In what ways does modeling the pure love found in this passage create a space of safe openness and vulnerability?

Q6: Read Song of Solomon 2:15.  What sort of gun do you fox hunt with?   You may not be a hunter, but learning how to hunt (identify), kill (work through), and clean (resolve) conflicts, frustrations, and pain points in your relationship will enable you to take the things that can threaten or harm your relationship and turn them into a source of nourishment to grow it.    Share some of the foxes that have been in your relationship, how have you worked through them?

Q7: For me, studying the love described in Song of Solomon can feel intimidating and unrelatable because of how different and idealistic it is compared to my experience.  Read 1 John 4:7-14 and Philippians 1:6.  How do these passages encourage us and give us hope as we seek to love well in our marriages and relationships? 

 

 

ANSWERS:

A1:

  1. Because Song of Solomon is largely symbolic poetry, we inform our understanding of it with clear passages of scripture on love and marriage like 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5, Genesis 1-3 etc.  

  2. Talk through these truths about relationship with spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or small group.   Iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17) and there is value in learning from each other how to love one another well.

  3. There is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1), we are new creations, the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).   It is important not to let ourselves slip into destructive guilt and shame rather than focusing on the work God wants to do in us now.  

A2: The man is coming to the women’s house to pick her up and take her somewhere.

A3: This will look a little different couple to couple and person to person.   For some couples it might be to encourage, support, and challenge each other to be Christ in their separate workplaces.   For some it might be how they intentionally disciple their kids and reach their neighbors.  It might be a focus on hospitality that unites them around the idea to make their home a place where people experience Jesus’ love and truth.  Etc.

 

A4: This is an open ended question that will largely depend on the couple.  Praying together, finding a hobby to learn together, doing a study together, regular date nights, texting throughout the day, travel etc.

 

A5: It can be hard to share when we have been hurt or are afraid of what the response might be from the other person.  Sharing our true selves means that who we really are might be questioned or even rejected by the other person.   It can be hard to create safe spaces for others to be vulnerable because if they aren’t ok it can feel like our fault, or like we have failed in loving them well.  It is easy to become defensive or argumentative.  These are just some of the challenges.  Yet the love of God cuts through these challenges.  It is patient and kind, isn’t irritable or resentful and doesn’t insist on it’s own way.  These characteristics of love cultivate a safe space to share.  And because love keeps no record of wrongs, rejoices in the truth, bears all things and hopes all things, even when we have been hurt by another or are afraid we can still be open and vulnerable when there is the genuine invitation to share and be open.

 

A6: Attached below in the Powerpoint is the list of common “foxes” and the comparison chart of good and bad conflict.  Take some time to identify what potential foxes are and share stories of how you have hunted them.  Discuss good vs bad conflict, add to the lists as a group!  

A7: The fact the source and motivation of our love comes from the perfect love of Jesus gives us comfort and encouragement.   We love because he first love, and that love that we worked in us he will continue to work to completion.  In our relationship with Him first, but also with our spouses, friends, family etc.

Love Story: Song of Solomon 2:1-7, October 2, 2022

QUESTIONS:

1) What was your main takeaway from Sunday’s message?

2) Chapter 1: Attraction! What attracts this couple to each other?

3) 2:1 - How and why did her view of herself change from 1:5-6?

                How can we apply this in our marriages?

4) 2:3 - How does she describe her man?

                > What is the principle at work in shade and fruit?

                > How does that look in real life? (Hint: can vary WIDELY!)

5) 2:5-6 - Back on the porch (young marrieds) - what effect does his tender, attentive “shade and fruit” care for her have on her?

6) Agree or disagree and why: “Romance must mature from an instinct to a discipline.” How does that work in life? (Hint: grill fire analogy…)

7) 2:7 - What does it mean to “not arouse or awaken love until it so desires?”

                Are we victims of our romantic feelings?

                Why is it important to discipline ourselves emotionally?

8) Adam mentioned seven ways that sex outside of marriage sabotages our lives - what stood out to you?

 

Bonus: Pastor Bob’s memorial service is Thursday at 2 at Sandhurst - does anyone have a Pastor Bob story to tell?

 

ANSWERS:

2) V3: His NAME - purified oil; V6 - she is DISCIPLINED / HARD-WORKING; V7: MORALITY / INTEGRITY; V9-10: she has developed her GIFTS; V11: he HONORS her and makes her BETTER; V14: he is SWEETNESS to her.

3) She went from seeing herself as “dark” to “a rose of Sharon” - she mirrored his elevated view of her. We should be encouraging to our spouse - focus on the good!

4) Shade and fruit. “Shade” is protection; fruit is nourishment, delight. This does NOT mean the man does everything for her - it DOES mean the husband takes ultimate responsibility for his wife’s good and flourishing. It can be applied in 1000 different ways…

5) She desires physical intimacy now that relational intimacy is secure.

8)  7 ways extra-marital sex brings harm not good:

1) reinforces a lie - experience without the substance

2) idolatry - gift without the giver

3) masks problems - lighter fluid - imitates love but not the real thing

4) dishonoring the other person: demands vulnerability w/o commitment

5) dishonors the other future spouse - complicating their garden

6) weakens sexual bond - broken and remade only so many times

7) Trains to GET rather than GIVE in physical intimacy (Hint: Song - That’s what I like about you…)

Bonus: www.sandhurst.net/messages

Love Story: Song of Solomon 1:5-17, Sept 25, 2022

QUESTIONS:

1) What was your main takeaway from Sunday’s message?

2) Agree or disagree and why: for singles looking to marry: “Become the person the person you’re looking for is looking for.” (Andy Stanley)

3) V5-6: What does the woman give up and what does she gain in these verses? How is this like or different from our culture? (NOTE: see 1 Samuel 16:7)

4) V7-8: Why does she arrange to connect with the man on the trail with the sheep - and what’s the lesson here for us? Tell a story - how did you meet your spouse?

5) V9-11: These verses show how the man notices the woman’s gifts and helps make her better. What are some examples of how we can do that today?

6) V15-17: Back on the porch - what does their tender language teach us about marriage? What is the significance of “cedars” and “firs” in V17?

7) How can we emulate the honor this couple has for each other, whether dating or married?

 

Bonus: What good resources do you recommend for romance and marriage? Anything from the website list of resources?

 

ANSWERS:

3) She gives up her looks - her fair skin (her “vineyard”) to work in the family vineyard in the sun. She reaps discipline and character and honor in the sight of the man.

4) She avoids being a prostitute and getting a man with her body, and rather “stays in her lane” to connect with a man in a good and godly way, in the course of the calling God has given her as a shepherdess.

5) Our relationship with our spouse should make them better. We should “bring to” our spouse rather than “take from.” Today - we can observe and understand our spouse - and make sure we are investing in their gifts - a next certificate or degree program? Lessons for their hobby? Etc….

6) Tender language - couples often forget their manners over time - not them! They remain tender, gentle, etc with each other. Our tongues should be “soft”. Cedars and firs - they built their relationship over time with solid materials - not thrown together and not haphazard.

 

Bonus: www.sandhurst.net/messages

Love Story: Song of Solomon 1:1-4, Sept 18, 2022

QUESTIONS:

1) What was your main takeaway from Sunday’s message?

2) Why do you think Christians study Song of Solomon so little?

3) What are some reasons to study it - or not?

4) What are some concerns and/or hopes you have for this study?

5) How does the book being a song impact our interpretation?

6) V1: How did Adam justify studying a book on relationships by Solomon?

7) V2-3: The couple is on the “back porch” reminiscing about early love - what attracted her to this man?

8) V3: What is the value of a name? 

9) What do you want your name to be? Think of 3-4 names you’d like to cultivate.

Bonus: What did Adam mean by “If the tomb is empty, anything can happen”?

 

ANSWERS:

2) Difficult poetry to understand; highly sensual; not sure how to handle it.

5) It is symbolic and metaphorical - requires digging to get meaning. Also - non-linear - it cuts back and forth from present to past.

6) No Biblical author lived up to the Word of God they penned. It is a matter of redemption and grace for any human (e.g. Moses, David, Paul) to write God’s Word! 

7) His name - like purified oil (some translations - perfume poured out). Lit “first press oil” used for lighting lamps in the tabernacle for worship

8) Your name is all you have. It is everything!

Bonus: No matter where you are in the journey of love, marriage and romance - God can redeem. He is not in the renovation business, but the resurrection business!