Study Guide


A Better Way to Live - Study Guide

Posted by Sara Goetz on

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During the sermon series, A Better Way, we will explore what it means to see and do things as Jesus would. We approach every situation based on our own experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. We choose the way that seems best to us… the most comfortable or familiar way… the way someone we respect or admire would recommend… the "right" way. In the Gospels, however, we see Jesus approach life and its endless choices through a different lens... His lens. As our faith and trust increase, we find ourselves seeing things His way... a different way... a better way.

The study guide includes at least one warm-up question designed to help your group focus on the primary Scripture passage and its theological implications. The discussion section will jump into the meaning and impact of the scripture’s major points, often providing you with a link to view the passage in several different translations of the Bible. We’ll wrap things up with questions that explore how the passage applies to us today as followers of Jesus in a modern and chaotic world. For all questions, including the warm-up, feel free to ask all of them or just select several that work best for your group. If you need more info and ideas to help you lead your group, visit our sermon series resource page.

Please also encourage your group members to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide for individual reflection, prayer, and meditation on related Scripture selections throughout the week!


Brainstorm with your group members a list of things that are attached, tethered, or connected to one another. For example, a boat is tethered to a dock, a dog is connected to its owner by a leash, etc. 

Choose one or two examples from your list that strike you as powerful or impactful. Take a minute to visualize and describe those things. Think about what would happen if those things weren’t attached, tethered, or connected to each other. What would change?

Feel free to ask all of these questions or just select several that work best for your group.
(NOTE: There is no video for this week.)

Ask each group member to create a simple sketch or diagram of a vine and branches and then share their drawings with the group. (Hint: Feel free to search on the internet for illustrations or pictures of vines and branches.)

As you look at each other's sketches, take notice of the size of the branches versus the primary vine itself. Are they generally larger or smaller than each other? 

  • What is the relationship between the vine and its branches?
  • What does the vine do? What do the branches do? How are they different?
  • What would happen if the branches became disconnected from the vine?

Read John 15:1-8 together.

In this passage, Jesus and his disciples were participating in a very sacred, very important meal -- the Passover. Pastor Steve Madsen explained in his sermon this week that the teaching of Jesus in this context challenged the disciples' thinking about WHO the Vine is (Jesus, NOT Israel) and WHAT the Passover is about (Jesus death and resurrection, NOT Egypt or Moses). Jesus told His disciples that He is greater than the nation of Israel or any prophet who had come before Him. He told them what He was about to do was more important than anything that had previously been done.

In saying this, Jesus was challenging the very foundation of their identity. He was implying that to be aligned and connected with anything outside of Him would only offer insufficient strength and was a source of false confidence. In other words, Jesus was saying that if the source of our strength, confidence, or identity is coming from someplace other than Him, then we can’t be the people God has called us to be.

Consider that there are events, ideas, people, or aspects of your life that define you MORE than your relationship with Jesus does.

  • Take a minute to pray as a group and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to each of you if or where you are getting your confidence and strength from something other than Jesus. 
  • If you sensed the Spirit prompting you to realign or adjust your life in some way, share it with the group if you feel comfortable doing so. 

The realignment that Jesus is calling us to can only happen in one way. Re-read John 15:4-8.

  • How does Jesus explain this realignment happens?
  • Think about your journey with Jesus. What seasons of your life have you been able to abide in the way Jesus describes?
  • What did it take for you to abide?
  • Why is it so hard for us to lay down productivity and busyness? Why would we rather “do,” than to simply “be?”

Read Galatians 5:22-23

When we are realigned with Jesus and grow from the nutrients of His vine, one of the fruits we will bear is joy. Pastor Steve challenged us with these words: “Let’s stop waiting for our circumstances to improve before we can be fruitful again.”

  • How does abiding in Jesus help us to be filled with joy, regardless of our circumstances?
  • What does closely abiding with Jesus look like in your own life? What are some habits or activities that help you remain close to Jesus throughout your day?

Everyone has a next step with Jesus...What's yours?

Spend Time Alone with God

Daily Steps is a weekly devotional message designed as a companion to this sermon study guide. You will be guided as you spend time with God through personal reflection, Scripture readings, and prayer prompts. 


Get Your Worship On!

Do you love the worship music at Cornerstone? Then our new worship YouTube channel is for you! Enjoy all your favorites now featuring the worship teams from all of our campuses!

CF Worship Channel on YouTube


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