June 16

Small Group Questions: Read Nehemiah 1:1-11 and Nehemiah 2:1-5.

1) Have you ever experienced an event that had a big impact a large number of people? Did things ever return to “normal?” If so, how long did it take?

2) Nehemiah lived hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem. Does his reaction to the news about Jerusalem surprise you? Why?

3) As Nehemiah prays to God about the situation in Jerusalem he acknowledges his part in Israel’s sin against God. When you pray, do you find it easy or difficult to confess your sin to God?

4) Compare Nehemiah’s prayer to the challenge Moses gives to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:9 and Deuteronomy 4:25-31. What similarities do you see?

5) What do you spend the most time praying about? Do you ever talk to God about his character or about the promises he has made? Have you ever prayed God’s promises back to him?

6) In chapter two, Nehemiah prays to God before he answers the king. Do you find it difficult to pray at work?

7) Take a moment as a group and identify a favourite scripture to use as a basis for prayer to God. Read a verse or two out loud and then say it back to God in your own words. Try a few different passages of scripture and then take a moment to debrief your experience. Was it helpful?

June 23

Nehemiah was a business man who felt a strong call from God to travel 2700 km. back to Jerusalem to embark on a building project of re-building a wall around Jerusalem. This was necessary, because over 100 years before the Babylonians had sacked the city, destroyed the temple and carried most of Israelite people off into captivity. Nehemiah chapters one to eight tells the amazing story of how in 440 BC the wall was rebuilt in the midst of amazing opposition. But as you know .. a building project is often a time when God does work in rebuilding people’s spiritual lives. Chapter 8 gives us 3 lessons about how to grow spiritually. Read Nehemiah 8

1) What was the last ‘building or renovation’ project you have been involved in .. was it a time of personal growth or not? Why?

2) Nehemiah 8:1-9 talks about how the congregation met to read the ‘Word of God’ — why was this such a profound experience? Can you share a time when ‘the Word of God’ touched your heart? What can we do to make our encounter with God’s Word more life giving and life changing? (II Peter 1:21)

3) It sounds like there was an emotional response as people read the scriptures. Why did they respond as they did? How would your group or Brentview be different if we allowed the ideas of scripture to increasingly touch our hearts? (an example Eph. 4:29-31)

4. Nehemiah 8:10 is a profound verse … ‘the joy of the Lord is my Strength’. As Nehemiah looked back over the amazing journey that led to the building of the Wall around Jerusalem .. he says this idea was key to his success. Can you unpack what this means??? Can you give suggestions for what ‘we can do’ so that joy is what carries us through the situations we face?

June 30