Questions to help you dig deeper into the message for your small group or family devotions:
Spend some time discussing the following quote Pastor Michael read at the opening of his message (do you agree with what the authors are saying? Why? Why not?):
“Outsiders’ most common reaction to the faith: they think Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind, that Christianity in our society is not what it was meant to be… They admit they have a hard time actually seeing Jesus because of all the negative baggage that now surrounds Him.” One outsider from Mississippi made this blunt observation: “Christianity has become bloated with blind followers who would rather repeat slogans than actually feel true compassion and care. Christianity has become marketed and streamlined into a juggernaut of fear-mongering that has lost its own heart.” – UnChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… And Why It Matters (page 15) by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Why do you think there are so many people, outside the Church, who are critical of her when Jesus didn’t seem to have as many ‘outsiders’ critical of Him? What is the biggest difference?
What messages should the Church of Jesus today be known for? How do/should Matthew 4:17 and Mark 1:15 factor into our thinking?
The following statements were said of the people in Jeremiah’s times, which can be said about the people calling themselves ‘Christian’ today? Which can be said about you? “Religion was popular, but it wasn’t real.” “It seemed like there was revival, but there was no genuine response in the hearts of the people.” “They were going through the outward motions, but there was no inward emotion.” “They were going through the actions, but no authentic passion.” “There was ritual but not righteousness.” “There was religion but no relationship.”
Read Jeremiah 7:1-7. Discuss the things Jeremiah is communicating to the people that the Lord is wanting from His followers (there are approximately 7 things, although Pastor Michael didn’t get to all of them).
How does this message help us have vision for the new year?