The Point: Jesus is the Vine who empowers us to live productive lives for God.
- Get Into the Study
- Study the Bible
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1. Begin by reading Question #1 (When have you felt like a hamster on a wheel?” PSG, p. 53) aloud. Then share the information from this news video produced by Harvard Business Review in January 2016:
For many years the amount of vacation days that Americans used remained fairly steady – from 1978 to 1996, Americans averaged using between 19 and 21 vacation days each year. But then something changed. Between 1996 and 2014, the number of vacation days dropped to 16 – Americans are now taking almost a week less of vacation days each year. In 2014, 42% of Americans did not take a single day of vacation. In addition to taking less vacation days, Americans are also working more hours per week. In 2006, Americans worked an average of 11 more hours each week than they did in the 1970s – which totals an extra 3 weeks per years of work. This increase in work affects the family too – 80% of children between 8 and 14 years old say they notice that their parents are stressed about work.
Say: The numbers in this study reveal that many Americans may feel like hamsters on a wheel at times, in regards to their jobs.
Call for volunteers to share their responses to Question #1.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
Donna McKinney has recently retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in Apex, North Carolina.
Study the Bible
Use the following activity with your study of John 15:1-3. If you have more than 8 group members, place them in smaller subgroups of 3-4 people each to discuss the following questions.
Arguably one of the most comforting tenets of the Christian life is that one gains great purpose when they receive Jesus. Consider the quote below from noted atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins:
Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.1 –Richard Dawkins
- Does this description sadden you? Why?
- If you chose to believe Dawkins today, how and how much would your life change?
- What evidence is there in the lives of the non-Christians you know that embody his theory?
- Do your beliefs as you practice them correlate with the existence of design (i.e., distinction of genders) and sin (definitive right and wrong) in your home, community and workplace?
- Who do you know personally who lives as Dawkins? How can you offer them hope in Christ this week?
Emily Jennings wrote this Leader Extra. Emily is wife to Brian and Mommy to her three sweet boys. She loves serving at FBC, Woodstock, Georgia, where her husband is Middle School Pastor. Find her on Twitter: @emilyejennings.
- What is your favorite fruit and why?
- What would the world be like without fruit?
- What are some things that give life meaning and purpose?
- What’s something you were born to do or accomplish?
- How would you describe your purpose in life?
- How do you typically answer the question, ‘What do you do?'”
- What does a vine symbolize?
- What does the word “pruning” bring to mind?
- How do we know if we are bearing fruit?
- How do we tend to react when we are “pruned?
- Why does God prune braches that don’t produce fruit?
- What does it mean to produce fruit for Jesus?
- How can we stay spiritually connected with Jesus?
- In what ways do we disconnect from the Vine?
- Why is remaining in Jesus so important?
- How does the prayer of an abiding believer differ from another’s prayer?
- How would you summarize the commands and promises contained in these verses?
- What steps you do take to “remain” in Jesus?
- What steps can you take to make prayer a higher priority in your life?
- How does Jesus glorify the Father?
- In what ways do you glorify God on a daily basis?
- How does bringing glory to God strengthen your purpose?
- What is the purpose of producing fruit?
- What is the difference between fruit and success?
- What does it mean to glorify God?
- Who have you seen bring glory to God through their lifestyle?
- How can we work together to produce fruit for God?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: