21 Questions

The Spiritual Life

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read Romans 12:1-2 in the New Testament. Paul, the author of the letter to the Roman Christians, knew that the thought processes and the values of Jesus-followers were different than those of the world around them. Therefore, Christians had to set their minds on Jesus intentionally. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, developed 21 questions for followers of Jesus to ask themselves and each other which would help set their minds on Christ. For the next three weeks each of us will be challenged by Wesley’s questions.

Question 1: Is Jesus real to me?

 

Tuesday—Read Acts 17:26-28 in the New Testament. Paul gently but clearly told the people of Athens that God could not be contained in images or concepts created by human beings. We don’t control or choreograph God. It is God who invites us to yield to him and trust him completely. John Wesley’s questions remind us to be humble and to remember that God is God, and we are not.

Questions 2 & 3: Am I enjoying prayer? Do I insist on doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

 

Wednesday—Read Psalm 139 in the Old Testament. This awesome song celebrates how deeply and fully God knows us and loves us. (If you’re having trouble feeling good about yourself, focus in particular on verses 13 and 14.) There’s nowhere we can go where God isn’t already
there. This love which is beyond all comprehension provides the foundation for thinking of ourselves, others, and the entire world differently.

Questions 4 & 5: Did the Bible live in me today? Did I disobey God in anything?

 

Thursday—Read I Corinthians 10:31 in the New Testament. Paul reminds us to glorify God in every part of our lives. For a follower of Jesus, there’s not a division between the elements of our lives that are “religious” and those that are not. Everything we do needs to point others to the Christ we serve. This includes what we do with however much money each of us earn and spend. Remember, the number of times the Bible records Jesus speaking about money is second only to him speaking about the Kingdom of God.

Question 6: Do I pray about the money I spend?

 

Friday—Read Psalm 119:105 in the Old Testament. Jesus is the living Word of God in human form. The Bible contains the Holy Spirit-driven witness to the Word. It is the sweeping story of God seeking and engaging human beings; leading up to Jesus and then immediately following his death and resurrection. The Word speaks through the Bible. We can never reach its limits. Followers of Jesus grow by spending time in the Bible every day. It’s like keeping a daily appointment with God.

Question 7: Do I give time for the Bible to speak to me every day?

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21 Questions

How Do We Define Greatness?

Study Guide

Monday—Read Genesis 1:26-27 in the Old Testament. As human beings we are made in the image of God. In part this means we have the ability to love and to be loved. This does not mean that we ARE God. God is the creator; we are the created. Pride indicates that we’re trying to take the throne which God alone should occupy. But being made in the image of God does mean that we have the God-designed capability to reflect God. We should not beat ourselves up or run ourselves down. To do that would be to harm something treasured by God.

WESLEYAN QUESTIONS 8 & 9: Am I proud? Am I defeated in any part of my life?

 

Tuesday—Read Matthew 11:28-30 in the New Testament. We all need rest. Too many of us are weary. Our bodies are tired from too much stress or too much sedentary inertia. Our minds are weary from too much worry, too much information, and too much pressure. Our emotions get fatigued, and eventually our spirits get drained. Jesus came to give us real, complete rest. What would it look like to fully rest in him?

QUESTION 10: Do I go to bed on time and get up on time?

 

Wednesday—Read I Corinthians 3:1-9 in the New Testament. Apparently the first century Christian Church in the Greek port city of Corinth was a hotbed of division. Among other things, people in the congregation complained and argued over who was the best leader in the movement of following Jesus. (Paul, Apollos, etc.) Paul wanted to point out that complaint and argument indicates a lack of focus on Jesus and the mission of making disciples. This also fails to exemplify the love Jesus demonstrates for all of us, which we are to give to others.

QUESTION 11: Do I grumble or complain constantly?

 

Thursday—Read Matthew 6:1-8 in the New Testament. Our job as followers of Jesus is not to impress others, or fall victims to practices and habits that revolve around promoting ourselves. Jesus also wants us to know that faith is not for show or for impressing others. Without intending it, we can become almost addicted to things, actions, and habits that keep us at the center of our own false universe.

QUESTION 12: Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?

 

Friday—Read Mark 10:35-45 in the New Testament. In the first century in the region of Galilee, it was a great high honor to be invited to sit at the right or left of a noted teacher. James and John were seeking this recognition. Like many cultures of the time, this was an honor/shame driven culture. To be the favored of a revered teacher was an honor; to be a servant or a slave was a shame. Jesus flipped the values of his time by saying that servanthood was in fact the pathway of honor. We are called to take the focus off of ourselves.

QUESTIONS 13 & 14: How do I spend my spare time? Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justified?

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21 Questions

The Greatest Of These Is…Love

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Luke 18:9-14 in the New Testament.    The Gospel writer Luke lived in a very hierarchical time. In the first century, those in highest command or authority carried the most weight, demanded the most attention, exercised the most power, and had the most status and notoriety.  The words of Jesus which Luke quoted called for a complete reversal of this.  He said that if you elevate yourself, God will bring you down.  If you humble yourself, God will life you up.

WESLEY’S QUESTIONS 15 & 16:  Do I thank God that I am not like others?  Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am?  In other words, am I a hypocrite?

 

Tuesday—Read again Matthew 7:1-5 in the New Testament.    Sometimes it seems that judging others comes as naturally as breathing.  No matter what we may claim is true, we can see the faults in someone else easier and more clearly than we see our own.  Jesus knew this and knows this about human nature. To claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior and to follow him, we have to choose to take a different course.

QUESTIONS 17 & 18:  Do I confidentially pass on to others what was told to me in confidence?  Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?

 

Wednesday—Read  Ephesians 4:29 in the New Testament.   When so much more benefit can come from building another person up, why do we yield so easily to tearing another person down?  Psychologists might say that when we feel bad about ourselves, the easy, cheap, and selfish remedy is to make someone else feel worse.  From a faith standpoint, it’s explained by Sin:  the fact that we’re created to love God and each other, but we choose to be our own gods instead.  Again, Christians must choose a different path.

QUESTION 19: Am I honest in all my actions and words, or do I exaggerate? 

 

Thursday—Read I Corinthians 13:4-13 in the New Testament.   Above all else, we are to be guided in all we say and do by love.  And this is not just any love:  not love that is focused on meeting only our needs, our pleasure, and our preferences.  It is the self-sacrificing love of Jesus.  As he loves us and gave himself up for us, so goes the standard by which we are to deal with others.  In this section of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he describes what that love looks like.

QUESTION 20: Is there anyone whom I fear, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard?

 

Friday—Read Matthew 28:19-20 in the New Testament.   Bottom line, as followers of Jesus, we are people on a mission.  The primary purpose of the Church, the Body of Christ, the hope of the world is to lead people to an active faith in Jesus Christ.  All of John Wesley’s questions for discipleship growth and accountability are to build Jesus-followers who bring other people into the arms of Jesus.

QUESTION 21:  When did I last speak to someone about my faith? 

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