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A Better Way to Peace - Study Guide

Posted by Kim Stiver 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.

For each week of the study guide, your group will watch a brief video teaching that is designed to complement the corresponding sermon. 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!


WARM-UP

Have you taken up any new hobbies or tried doing any new activities in 2020? Talk about why you gave them a try and what you liked or didn’t like about them. Most importantly, share with the group how being involved with them made you feel. Did they improve your mood? Get your mind off problems? Help you feel more serene or at ease?

WATCH THE VIDEO for WEEK 3

Watch this week’s video teaching from Pastor Adrian Tsingaris, pastor of Cornerstone’s Walnut Creek campus. 

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Feel free to ask all of these questions or just select several that work best for your group.

In her sermon this week, Pastor Becky Fitch discussed the Biblical meaning of peace. While the original Hebrew word, shalom, can be translated in more than 70 different ways, she said the best way to describe it is “completeness and wholeness.” She went on to share the definition that pastor and author Tim Keller uses: “[Shalom] means complete reconciliation, a state of the fullest flourishing in every dimension – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual – because all relationships [with God, with others, with ourselves] are right, perfect, and filled with joy.” 

  • Think about the last time you came the closest to experiencing a shalom kind of peace in your life. What circumstances or relationships contributed to helping you feel a sense of peace so strong and complete that you were filled with joy as well? 

  • By contrast, what are some things that give you a temporary sense of peace when you’re afraid, stressed out, or frustrated? How long does the peaceful feeling usually last?

  • Read Colossians 1:19-21, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, and Ephesians 2:14-16.

  • Based on these passages, what is the relationship between peace and reconciliation? Do you think it’s possible to experience a shalom kind of peace without reconciliation with God? What about other people? Why or why not?

In the video you just watched, Pastor Adrian Tsingaris said that we most resemble Jesus when we are working toward peace. He went on to explain that there are three key things God wants us to do to experience peace: pray, petition, and give thanks. 

  • Read Philippians 4:6-9 together. 

  • Pastor Adrian said that Paul, the author of Philippians, is encouraging us to spend time listening to God before we bring Him our requests. How does listening before petitioning help us? What are some ways you’ve learned to hear God’s voice?

  • Paul also tells us to give thanks as a critical part of experiencing peace. How would you describe the relationship between gratitude and peace? Do you think one can exist without the other? Why or why not? 

  • Verses 8 and 9 of the passage you just read give us a fourth and fifth step to experiencing the complete peace of God. What are those steps? 

  • Have you ever tried “fixing your thoughts” only on the types of things that Paul describes in verse 8? In what ways do you think that your perspective, attitudes, and moods would change if you could truly think about only the things that meet the criteria in this verse? 

Now that we’ve reviewed what peace means according to the Bible and how we can experience it, let’s discuss what Jesus is calling us to do to make it more of a reality here on earth. Pastor Becky said that peacemaking is the defining trait of children of God — it is part of our identity. She said that when others see us, they should be able to see that we’re a part of the family of God by our continual pursuit to create real peace. 

  • Read Matthew 5:9 together in at least four different translations of the Bible, or just click the link to see four versions side by side.

  • In your own words, how would you describe the differences among peacemakers, peacekeepers, and peace takers? 

  • Pastor Becky said that peacekeepers are passive and prefer to avoid conflict at all costs. If this type of approach is effective at keeping people from fighting within a family or group, why might this cause more harm than good in the long run?

  • Peace takers are the opposite and often communicate truth in a way that creates conflict. What are some ways you can think of to speak the truth without fueling the flames of discord and tension?

  • Pastor Becky said that peacemakers “breathe a posture of grace,” and she referenced a story from John 8:1-11 as an example of what this concept looks like in action. Read that passage together. 

  • How did Jesus exhibit a posture of grace with the woman? 

  • Pastor Becky said, “Truth without love is harsh, but love without truth is compromised.” How did Jesus offer this woman a perfectly balanced combination of love and truth at the same time? 

  • What are some ways in which God is calling you to be more of a peacemaker in your home, your extended family, in your community, or online through social media? 

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
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. 

DAILY STEPS - A BETTER WAY - WEEK 3

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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