Be sure to encourage your group to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide — a resource to help spend one-on-one time with God throughout the week using daily readings from the Psalms.
Check out our sermon series resource page for additional information. If you need help with conducting your group meetings online, take a look at this guide.
In this section, your group will spend time catching up since your last meeting together.
This week, Diane Rutledge, helped us to broaden our understanding of what it means to praise God. She introduced us to three different kinds of praise and asked us to examine our propensity to praise God “based on results or outcomes,” or to have the posture “If this happens, then I will praise God.” This week, we invite you to examine your understanding of what it means to praise God and how it can be a continuous life source for every believer.
In the sermon, Diane said that the wisdom of the Psalms teaches us that praise is not something we do at the end of something or because of an outcome — it’s what we are called to do continuously throughout every process in life.
- Let’s begin by discussing the word “process.” How would you define it?
- When do we use the word “process” most often and in which context? (i.e. interview process, the grieving process, growth process)
- Do you have set processes that you use in your job, your chores, or your daily routine?
- What kind of spiritual, physical, or mental/emotional processes have you or someone you know experienced recently?
- What kinds of things do people need during a process? What kinds of things are helpful? What kind of support is needed along the way?
In this section, your group will dive into the themes and Scripture passages from this week’s sermon, and learn more about their meanings and relevance for us today.
Diane challenged us to move away from thinking of praise as a stand-alone activity to viewing it as something we incorporate seamlessly into our daily walk with God. She taught us that in the Psalms, the Hebrew word for “praise” is used in three different ways. As we dig deeper into each of these types of praise, consider why worshipping God in the middle of the process is important for those who put their trust in Him.
Barak Praise: To kneel in adoration, to honor
Read Psalm 28:6-7 together using at least one literal translation of the Bible (i.e. ESV, NIV) and one paraphrase (i.e. The Message, NLT).
During the sometimes-tiring process of spiritual maturity, Barak praise reminds us that when we surrender every aspect of our lives to God’s control and care, we find immeasurable renewal and strength. Diane said that Barak praise is important because one of the greatest hindrances for humans when it comes to a deeper connection with God is our desire for “self-sufficiency." It’s very easy for us to fall into the trap of living from day-to-day out of our own strength, abilities, and wisdom.
- When and why do people kneel? What kind of gesture/posture is kneeling? What does kneeling communicate?
- When someone is in a kneeling position, how would you imagine their voice, their tone, their expression? Would they be somber, passionate, excited, exuberant?
- Surrender is a humbling experience. It’s admitting that we aren’t able to do something, that we don’t know, or that we have nothing left to try. Have you ever surrendered anything to someone else? Have you ever surrendered anything to God? How is it different from surrendering to another person?
- Our emotions can be clues to what we hold too tightly or depend on for a sense of peace and stability. When do you find yourself stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? In those instances, what is it that you are expecting of yourself, others, or the situation that you can’t control or fulfill?
- “Surrender is a form of praise through which God renews our strength.” Where are you gripping too tightly? How can you kneel before God in adoration so that he can give you strength?
Towda Praise: Giving thanks to God for what He has done and what He will do.
Read Psalm 56 together. Diane said that when we’re standing on the middle ground between what God has promised, but not yet fulfilled, is when we’re most vulnerable to becoming discouraged and losing sight of His plan for us. She calls Towda praise, the “in the meantime” praise. When David wrote this Psalm, he was in hiding and on the run from a crazy king who wanted to kill him. He had seen God come through in the past, and now he had to trust God to come through in the future, despite seemingly impossible odds.
- Share a time when you felt stuck in the middle between the past and the not yet. How did God eventually come through for you? How did your faith grow by waiting patiently on the Lord?
- As you think about circumstances in your current season, in what ways are you waiting for God to move right now? What weighs heavy on your heart? What would you like to see happen?
- Read the following scripture passages together: Revelation 1:8, Exodus 3:14, Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8. What do these verses teach us about God’s relationship with time?
- How does God’s relationship with time impact your perspective on when and how you want things to work? In what ways is it hopeful to know that God is present and in control of every moment in the past, the ones happening now, and the ones yet to come?
Tehilla Praise: A hymn of spirit or a new song of praise. A response to the presence of God in us.
Read Psalm 22:1-5. Diane explained that the first verse of this Psalm is the most recognized because Jesus used the same words when He cried out during His crucifixion. The next 19 verses go on to describe someone abandoned by God and being treated brutally by humankind. It is both an account of David’s struggles, but also a prophecy of what Jesus would endure on the cross.
- Why do you think Jesus chose this specific verse from Scripture to cry out from the cross? What significance do you think it had for those witnessing His crucifixion and those who would later hear about it?
- God had promised David that he would sit on his throne forever. Since Jesus was a descendant of David, how did His arrival as the Messiah fulfill God’s promise to David?
Now read Psalm 25-31. The second half of this Psalm describes a dramatic shift from abandonment to praise and victory. Just as David suffered greatly and was restored to his throne, so Jesus would forever be exalted as the eternal King.
- How does the second half of Psalm 22 express Tehilla praise? In what ways does it reflect a new song? How does it describe the presence of God in our hearts?
- Verse 31 ends with “He has done it.” Discuss as a group what you think the Psalmist meant by that.
- Read Romans 8:31-39 (or the entire chapter if you have time!). What does it mean to you that we are more than conquerors? What does it mean to you that we cannot be separated from the love of God?
- Diane explained that “His victory is our victory.” Two weeks ago, Kevin Madsen taught us that God is good AND sovereign. What victory does GOD want in your life? Is that different from the victory you are seeking?
- In the coming week, what ways can you declare victory and walk in the promise of Romans 8?
In this section, your group will discuss how to apply what you’ve learned from the Scripture passages to real life.
There is no better application of this week’s teaching than to try out one — or all — of the forms of praise that Diane explained in the sermon. As you practice one or more of them, allow each person to express themselves in whatever way they feel comfortable.
Barak Praise — For those who are comfortable doing so, try kneeling in a posture of surrender with the palms of your hands open before you. As you approach God collectively, take turns simply offering up a word or two of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration.
Towda Praise — Revisit Psalm 56 once more. Ask each person in your group to pick one verse that speaks the most to him or her. Then take turns offering up a Towda praise back to God by sharing one or two words of gratitude to God for what He has done and what He will do in the future.
Tehilla Praise — Go around the group, allowing each person to offer up a prayer and praise to God for a specific victory Jesus has brought into their lives, or one that they are currently waiting on Him to deliver.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore the Psalms.
Have you checked out Daily Steps?
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 - PSALMS - WEEK 7
CF Beyond Sunday is LIVE this Monday!
Don't miss our LIVE stream on Monday night, June 1, at 7:30 pm! After each weekend sermon, our pastors and various church leaders will sit down for a 15-20 minute discussion around the weekend's sermon.
Mark your calendar, set your alarm, join us on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe!