Weekly Reflection Questions
Each Week Pastor Brian offers a few questions for reflection based upon his sermon. You can find those questions here each week. We encourage you to ponder these questions as a family, with a friend, with your small group, or in your personal reflection time each week.
1) On Sunday we talked about how God’s love isn’t fair – it’s better than fair, because it is given to us whether or not we deserve it, and even though we could never earn it. What does it feel like to know that there’s nothing you can do to make God give up on you or love you less?
2) On Sunday we read a story Jesus told about workers who got paid for a full day of work even if they started working late in the day. Jesus says that God’s love looks like an employer who pays us more than we deserve. When has God’s love felt like more than you deserve? When has God’s presence in your life been an unexpected gift?
1) On Sunday, we talked about the difference between healthy planning for the future and unhealthy worry about things we can’t control. How can you learn to let go of worry over what you can’t control and learn to trust in God to be with you?
2) On Sunday, we talked about how, when Jesus tells us not to worry, he’s not talking about our feelings (which we often can’t control), but our actions (which we can control). What are some healthy actions you might take when you are overwhelmed by feelings of worry or anxiety?
3) On Sunday, we talked about how we are invited to choose between building our lives on worry and building our lives on Jesus. What does it mean to make Jesus our foundation even when the future seems uncertain?
1) On Sunday we kicked off our “Do Not Be Afraid” sermon series. The promise of Scripture is that we do not have to be afraid, because God is with us.
When have you felt God with you in your life? When have you faced a difficult time in your life and discovered that God was with you through it?
2) Bad things are going to happen in life, but the story of Jesus is a promise that “the worst thing is never the last thing, because after death comes resurrection.”
What does that promise mean to you?
1) On Sunday we talked about not judging others and the importance of learning to see people’s actions (even the actions that upset them) in the bigger context of God’s love for them.
2) On Sunday Pastor Brian reminded us that “the best critique of the bad is the practice of the better.”
How can you reject hate/judgment/evil by working for love/forgiveness/justice this week? How can you build up love in your life and in our world?
In Sunday’s scripture lesson, Jesus calls his followers to let go of our power and control and follow him into a risky faith.
What things do you need to let go of in order to follow Jesus?
2) In this week’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about how sometimes even the best habits or spiritual practices can become distorted and turn into tools we use to build walls between ourselves and God (or other people).
What practices in your life need a breath of fresh air so they can be refocused on God?
1) On Sunday, we told the story of Peter, who went from rock-solid to head-full-of-rocks in the blink of an eye.
Have you ever gone from “getting things right” to “getting things wrong” that quickly? Have you ever gone from having things all put together to falling apart at the seams? How did that feel?
2) On Sunday we talked about how Jesus is the foundation of our faith.
What does it mean for Jesus to be the foundation? How does who he is shape how you live?
1) On Sunday we talked about how Jesus redefines blessing by choosing to live in solidarity with the poor and the suffering.
What does it mean to you to know that Jesus has faced the worst this world can offer and nevertheless remained faithful?
2) During Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian said “in your lowest moment, Jesus is right there with you.”
How does that truth impact your life? How does it change how you see the world?
1) On Sunday in worship, Pastor Brian talked about doubt – how our faith is always mixed with doubt (and how it’s been that way since the earliest church).
What parts of life tend to make you doubt your faith? What parts of faith do you struggle to trust and instead find yourself doubting?
2) On Sunday we talked about how our doubt don’t stop Jesus from calling us to follow him (and to love others) and our doubts also don’t stop Jesus from loving us.
What does it mean to you to know that our doubts can’t stop God?
1) The book of Revelation promises that, in the end, chaos and death will be defeated and God will wipe every tear from every eye.
What forces of evil do you want God to destroy? What chaos or suffering in your life are you praying for God to drive away?
2) In Sunday’s sermon, we talked about how, because we know how the story ends (the future belongs to God and God wins!), we can have courage to join God and resist evil in the present tense.
What evils is God calling you to resist? How is God inviting you to get on the side of goodness and love?
1) In Sunday’s sermon, we talked about how the most powerful weapon in the fight against evil is the Word of God – God’s message of love for the whole universe.
How can God’s love help you resist evil this week?
2) Jesus is the Word of God made flesh – he’s God’s message to us in human form.
What does the life of Jesus say to you about who God is? About who we are? About how we are supposed to live?
1) In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about how Jesus has already won the battle against evil (through the cross and the resurrection).
How does this knowledge: that evil has been defeated and will one day be eliminated – change the way we live? Does it give you hope? Courage?
2) On Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about how the book of Revelation is an invitation to “join Jesus’s team” and resist evil whenever we see it.
What can you do today to “get on team Jesus” and stand up against evil, injustice, and hatred?
1) On Sunday, we talked about the disciples on the first Easter went from being overwhelmed with despair (because of the death of Jesus) to being overwhelmed by hope (because of the incredible news of new life). Do you ever feel overwhelmed with darkness or despair? How might the hope that God gives us in Jesus be something you need?
2) On Sunday, we talked about Easter as a promise (of new life) and a challenge (an invitation to join God’s team as God makes all things new). How are you trusting in the promise of Easter this week? How are you answering the challenge of Easter by sharing God’s love with others?
1) On Sunday, we talked about what it means to feel hopeless – as if our life has become a valley of dry bones. What makes you feel overwhelmed? What makes it hard for you to hold onto hope?
2) We also talked about how God promises to bring new life even when it seems impossible – how God offers hope even when things seem hopeless. What parts of your life need an injection of God’s hope? How do you need God to step into your darkness and bring you life?
3) How can you share the good news of God’s hope and love with others this week?
1) On Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about Jesus as “the Living Water” and “the feast God provides” – Jesus is the One who sustains us and nourishes us, especially during difficult seasons of life. Have you ever felt God sustaining your or nourishing you? What was that like?
2) Sunday’s Gospel lesson is a story about Jesus crossing social boundaries and tearing down cultural walls to share God’s love with someone who was considered a social outcast. How does it make you feel to know that God is willing to break through barriers in order to share love with you? What social barriers might God be calling you to cross in the name of love?
1) On Sunday, we talked about how our faith does not start with something we do – it starts with what God has done.
2) On Sunday, we talked about how God is always faithful to us – even when we are not faithful to God. How has God been faithful to you in your life? When has God shown up just when you needed it? Or when you felt like you least deserved it?
1) On Sunday we talked about the story of the Transfiguration as a gift Jesus gives to his disciples – a glimpse of God’s light to sustain them as they move towards the darkness of the cross. When have you seen a glimpse of God’s light? How does God give you hope or sustain you through difficult seasons?
2) Light is necessary for life but can also sometimes be overwhelming – or blinding. How is God like that? Have you ever been overwhelmed by God’s goodness/mercy/glory/love?
3) Jesus shows up in glory, but also in ordinary things (bread and cup, water, physical touch, and more). How has Jesus shown up in your life through things that, at first glance, seem ordinary?
1) On Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about how Jesus has come to tear down every wall that divides us. What walls are you praying for Jesus to tear down in our world?
2) On Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about what it means to be a church that is truly inclusive and welcomes everybody. Why do you think that inclusivity is an important part of how we live our faith together?
3) God’s love for us isn’t based on who we are or what we have done – it’s based upon who God is and what God has done in Jesus Christ. How does that make you feel?
1) In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about how young people (including children) are called by God to be leaders.
Can you think of a time when a child (or someone younger than you) has led you or taught you something?
2) What is something you can do to welcome children in your life? What is something our church can do to welcome and care for children as a church?
3) Take some time this week to pray for children and young people in your life, in our church, in our community, and in our world.
1) On Sunday, we talked about the importance of relationships – how they sustain us in life and help us grow in faith. What are some relationships that have been important in your life?
2) Because God wants to be in relationship with us, God chose to become one of us in Jesus Christ. What does the life of Jesus have to show us about how much God loves us?
3) Think of a time in your life when people showed up and cared for you. How did that feel? What did that teach you about love?
1) On Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about what it means to have a faith that is deep enough to last and real enough to impact our lives.
What elements of faith are most essential to you? When was a time when God sustained you through difficulty?
2) On Sunday, Pastor Brian reminded us that God loves us whether we are ready for it or not.
How does it make you feel that, no matter what you do, God will always love you and never abandon you?
1) This Sunday, Pastor Brian talked about how the story of Jesus is a unified whole – from birth to death and resurrection, Jesus shows us who God is (and how much God loves us).
What elements of the story of Jesus are particularly important for your understanding of who God is?
2) Pastor Brian talked about how the beginning and ending of the story of Jesus in the gospels are connected by shared themes (things like welcome for outsiders, God suffering for us, life and hope emerging from unexpected places). What connections do you see between various parts of the story of Jesus?
3) The story of Jesus is the story of God with us. What does it mean for you to know that God is with you always, no matter what?
1) On Sunday, Pastor Brian said that Christmas is a story about God intervening in our world.
How do you need God to intervene in your life?
2) Joseph trusted God, even when it put his life at risk.
What does it mean to trust God even in times of difficulty and to follow God even when it’s risky?
3) Joseph heard God speak and followed where God led.
How is God calling you to follow?
1) In this Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about Mary’s words in Luke 1 and how they remind us of why – and how much – we need Jesus.
What parts of your life feel particularly in need of God’s healing and transformation?
2) Pastor Brian said that Mary’s words in Luke 1 “help us to see the world as it really is” and teach us to pray for God to set all things right.
What things you see in our world that you are praying for God to fix? How can you join God in the world of bringing healing, justice, and hope?
them a child in their old age? How would you have felt?
2) Have you ever seen something happen that seemed impossible to you? Have you ever witnessed God work in ways that you didn’t understand?
3) What impossible-seeming things do you need to have happen in your life? What miracles are you praying for in this season?
1) During Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about how Jesus is the true king – the one who shows us what real power looks like.
How do you think it would change the world (and your life) if we learned to exercise power like Jesus does?
2) On Sunday, we talked about how an important part of getting ready to celebrate Christmas is remembering the man who the baby born in the manger grew up to be.
What does the life (and death) of Jesus say about the significance of the birth of Jesus?
3) On the cross, Jesus forgave the people who had put him to death. What can we learn from that act of radical love?
new.” What things in our world do you think need to be made new?
What things do you long for God to transform/recreate/renew?
2) In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian said “we are invited to live now as if God’s promised
future were already here.”
What can you do today to make your life reflect God’s kingdom of love, mercy, and justice?
1) In Sunday’s Old Testament lesson, the prophet Micaiah speaks the truth even though he knows it’s going to get him in trouble. What’s a hard truth that you are called to speak but you might be afraid to say? What’s a hard truth you need to hear but others might be afraid to tell you?
2) Pastor Brian said on Sunday that even when we fail to be faithful to God, God is still faithful to us. What does it mean to you that God is faithful to you even when you fail? How does God’s faithfulness make a difference in your life?
1) In this Sunday’s Old Testament reading, Shiphrah and Puah were ordered to do something awful, but the refused to do it – and instead put themselves at risk by resisting powerful forces of evil. What might God be calling you to do to resist evil and work for good?
2) Shiphrah and Puah lied to Pharoah in order to protect themselves (and the vulnerable people in their care). When might lies and deception be something holy God is calling us to do?
3) Throughout the Bible (and history), God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. What extraordinary things might God be calling you to do?
1) On Sunday, Pastor Brian described God as “a God of second chances.” How have you seen that in your life? When have you gotten a second chance that you probably didn’t deserve? How might you need a second chance or fresh start right now?
2) If God gives us second chances, what does that mean for how God wants us to treat others? How might we give others a chance for a fresh start?
3) Peter abandoned Jesus when he was in his hour of need – but Jesus loved him anyway. What does it mean that God loves us even when we fail?
1) Jesus describes God’s Kingdom as a valuable treasure, and he invites us to invest our whole lives in seeking God’s Kingdom. How are you investing your life in God’s way of love this week?
2) On Sunday, Pastor Brian described Jesus as “the pearl of great price” and “the one who paid the price so that we might experience the treasures of God’s love”? What does it mean for Jesus to be a valuable treasure? What does it mean that he pays the price for us even when we don’t invest our lives in his way of love?
1) What does it mean that God loves even the folks who we think are the absolute worst?
What does it say about Jesus that he welcomes even folks like Zacchaeus who have done awful things to their neighbors?
2) On Sunday, Pastor Brian said that when Jesus steps into our lives, it changes things. What things in your life is Jesus calling you to change?
3) After he meets Jesus, Zacchaeus gives away his wealth in order to invest in relationships. How can you invest in relationships this week?
1) On Sunday in worship, we read Luke 16:19-31. With which character do you most identify – with Lazarus or the rich man? How so?
2) During the sermon, Pastor Brian talked about how Jesus searches for all of us, no matter how lost we get. Have you ever felt lost or far from God? What was/is that like? What made/makes you feel lost? How do you think God is searching for you and seeking to bring you home?
1) Have you ever lost something that was important to you? How did that feel? If you found it later, what did it feel like to find it?
2) Do you ever feel lost? Why? How so?
3) In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian said that we are “God’s Kids” and that God will do whatever it takes to find us when we are lost. How does that make you feel? How might God be searching for you right now?
1) This Sunday Pastor Brian admitted that there are passages of the Bible that he’d sometimes rather avoid. What arepassages of the Bible that you wish you didn’t have to deal with?
2) In our Gospel passage this week, Jesus invites his followers to “count the cost” before joining him. What are some costs that come with following Jesus? What are some things Jesus calls you to do that you’d rather not do?
3) Jesus invites us to love others – even when it costs us everything. He also promises us that God loves us, even when we fail. How does that make you feel?
1) On Sunday, we talked about how some parts of our faith are essential – and how it’s worth holding onto them, no matter what. If you had to name one thing as the heart of Christian faith, what would it be?
2) On Sunday we talked about how faith isn’t about what we do to get closer to God – it’s about what God has done for us. How does it make you feel to know that God has given everything in order to reach out to you?
1) On Sunday, Haymarket Church celebrated our birthday – one year since we launched as an independent United Methodist Church. What is your favorite thing about Haymarket Church?
2) On Sunday we talked about the story of the Good Samaritan and said that Jesus invites us to see everyone as our neighbor – which means we are invited to love everyone, even the people who we find most distasteful. Who is God calling you to love this week?
3) Jesus is the ultimate Good Samaritan – he crosses the street to save us when we have fallen into life’s ditch. How has Jesus stepped into your life to heal you, care for you, and save you?
1) On Sunday we talked about how God is “building a bigger table” where all people are welcome. What could you do in your life to be more welcoming and hospitable?
2) Haymarket Church is committed to being a church that is welcoming to all people. What do you think it means to be a church that welcomes everyone?
3) When Jesus was rejected, he refused to respond with violence? He rejected revenge and chose the way of peace. How can you choose forgiveness over anger this week?
1) On Sunday we talked about how Jesus is in the business of overturning injustice. What injustices in our society do you pray for Jesus to overturn?
2) On Sunday Pastor Brian said “when Jesus shows up, love is set loose.” Where do you need God’s love to be set loose in your life?
3) Jesus only offer us forgiveness – he also promises us freedom from whatever holds us down. How do you need Jesus to set you free this week?
1) This Sunday Pastor Brian said that Christians “believe in order to live.” What Christian beliefs sustain you throughout your life?
2) We believe that God is Love, and that therefore we Christians are called to live our lives in love. What can you do to reflect God’s love this week?
3) God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a community of perfect love. What can our community/church do to become more loving and welcoming (so that we can reflect
God’s own love)?
1) On Sunday we talked about how working for justice is part of what it means to follow Jesus. What injustices do you see in our world that God is calling you to address?
2) Pastor Brian said that Jesus “refuses to be contained” by us. How do you think we
typically try to “contain” Jesus?
3) What’s one thing you can do this week to join what God is doing in the world?
) In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Brian talked about physical things we can do to encounter God (communion, serving others, spending time in important conversations, etc.).
What’s a thing you can do this week that could help you encounter God?
2) In Sunday’s Scripture, Jesus “was revealed to the disciples in the breaking of the bread.”
Have you ever had a moment when your eyes were suddenly opened to what God was doing?
3) On Sunday in worship we talked about Holy Communion. At Haymarket Church, we celebrate communion every Sunday. What’s your favorite thing about communion?
1) On Sunday in worship, we talked about God’s story, and how we have a role to play in it. What role do you think God wants you to play in God’s story?
2) How does seeing the Bible as one big story help you understand the Bible better? What questions do you have about the “7 Theological C’s” that Pastor Brian shared?
3) On Sunday, we talked about God’s story and how Jesus is the center of it. Is Jesus the center of the story of your life? And, if not, what can you do about it?