Mark 4: 35-41

  1. Brainstorm and list all the types of “storms” one might go through.  Circle 3 that you have gone through recently or are going through right now.







  1. Kent suggested it feels like there are 2 options when we’re in a storm—work (grab a bucket & keep bailing) or find advice on how to endure until it blows over. Another 2 options for followers of Christ could be:




  1. 3.      Why do you think Jesus is “taking a nap?” 





  1. Describe the “Sea of Galilee” and note why the storms were/are incredibly treacherous here.






  1. 5.      The disciples go to wake Jesus. Check these verses–Matthew 8:25, Mark 4:38, Luke 8:24) & note what the disciples responses were:




  1. a.      What do you think they were expecting from Him? 





  1. b.      How can you tell they did not get what they expected






  1. Kent said, “And He shows the incredibly violent, powerful, deadly hurricane of a storm, who is boss.”  What was so amazing in “nature’s” response to Jesus’ words





  1. Then Jesus moves from rebuking nature to rebuking the disciples.


A  What had the disciples just demonstrated they did NOT yet know about Jesus?




B  Which would frighten you more—the storm or Jesus?


C  “And it is terrifying—because none of it is in their control.  Just like the storms of life, and the God of the storm is not in our control.” (Kent)  What is it about life’s storms not being in our control that make them so terrifying?  Try to understand and explain why we have so much stress.





  1. Vs. 41:  The disciples went from fear of an uncontrollable, powerful storm, to fear of an uncontrollable, even more powerful God.  Can you share with the group a time when you really felt the awesome power of God in your life?






  1. Real faith in Jesus is two-fold:  looking back with gratefulness at what He has done and looking forward in faith believing Him for what He will still do.  Discuss how we sometimes forget both in the midst of our storms.






  1. How do you react to Jesus when He seems to be asleep in your life?





  1.  Jesus can be “terrifying” in His power, except for the fact that He loves each one of us.    Praise and thank Him!!

Prepared by Shirley Moon



Mark 4: 21-34


“In the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus begins His ministry with the proclamation, The Kingdom of God is near, but at least at first, He doesn’t give much explanation as to what that is about.

He appears to be bringing it, He is healing, and cleansing and casting out demons, and teaching and preaching, and feeding, and bringing hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless, He has sat with the rejected, all of that, but He hasn’t really started to explain what it is about until now in Chapter 4.”  (Kent)


Vs 21-25

  1. Discuss the analogy in the parable of “The Lamp”.



If the light of Christ is in you, are you a 20, 40, 60, 100 or 200 watt bulb?

If the light of Christ is in TrailAllianceChurch, are we a 20, 40, 60, 100 or 200 watt bulb?


  1. List some ways that one’s life could shine so other people how to find God and live for Him.






  1. Name some things that keep God’s light from shining through us.





  1. In vs. 24&25, Jesus keeps talking about “hearing”.  What is Jesus asking us to “understand” in these 2 verses?




What are we supposed to “measure”?




How does one grow in the knowledge of Jesus?  Discuss the answer:  “You have to give it away.”





  1. Read Vs. 26-29, The Parable of the Growing Seed.  List at least 3 lessons that seeds can teach.







  1. Read Vs. 30-34, The Parable of the Mustard Seed.  What does this parable teach about the Kingdom of God?



Note: People take issue with the fact that the mustard seed is not the “smallest seed”.  Jesus was “likely referring to the black mustard seed, which was the smallest seed that people in Israel planted.” (Quest Bible)


Read Ezekiel 17: 23-24  Kent said, “However, today, the picture of the tree growing and birds nesting in it, and all kinds of birds dwelling in it has some major significance to the story Jesus tells. The prophecy is all about restoration!  It is about provision.  It is about healing.”  Discuss




Kent then said “And what we see here is the importance of the Kingdom, the vast importance of what Jesus has come to do, and bring.  And it is bigger, I think, than we usually think.  Which really should come as no surprise – we are small. But it is a lot more than we think and it may surprise us.  Many of us here are interested in forgiveness, and love and mercy.  Others are interested in power for living, and inspiration and             spirituality.  But Jesus is making it clear that God’s salvation is a Kingdom, and this truth that God’s salvation is a Kingdom is bigger than you think.  You see the Kingdom is about more than just you. The Kingdom is about the world as well.  Meaning it isn’t just about restoring your relationship to God, it is about seeing every relationship that was broken by sin in the world being restored to God.  vii. It is about seeking justice, going for mercy. It is about providing for the poor. It is about protection, it is about education, it is about             caring for the lonely. This is all Kingdom stuff. And it starts with a seed, and you see the plant grows, and the nations nest in it, and they are protected, and provided for and healed.  To be a part of the Kingdom is to be a part of Kingdom work. It is about building houses in Mexico, storage facilities in Guatemala, orphanages in Ecuador, and also meeting people where they are at here, in this time, in             this place, in our community with the people we see face to face. This is what the Kingdom is about, it is about you having your soul saved and you living the abundant life, but it is also about the world and working with God in its renewal.




  1. Now re-read vs. 26-29.  What must we always keep in mind when we have a heart for God—His work of “restoration”?






8.  Jesus, Himself, became “ the smallest of seeds”, demonstrating to us that He can and will enable us to……



Prepared by Shirley Moon

Discuss in general the characteristics and differences between “fans or followers” of a special person or, as Kent did, of a sport such as hockey.  Could those characteristics be an analogy for “Christians”?


Read vs. 1-9:

How can we tell that Jesus is gaining fame?


Jesus taught by ____________________ (vs. 2).  Why would Jesus “teach” this way?

List the 4 types of soil a farmer could throw seed on.



If Jesus were speaking aloud to us today, what might he say instead of the words in verse 9?

Read vs. 11-12

Try to explain (maybe use some “study Bible notes”) what Jesus was trying to communicate in these 2 verses.  What is He saying about types of people who listen to his stories?



How are parables like a “spiritual hearing test”?  What blocks understanding?



Read vs. 13-20.

List the “interpretations” for the 4 types of “soil” or “hearts”.


Which soil might best describe your first response to the gospel message?


How does one become “the good soil”?



In your circle of acquaintances, which kind of “soil” do you most often see in the peoples’ hearts?



* Thanks again Shirley Moon!


Read vs. 20-22:

List  what people’s responses were to Jesus; what may they have thought about Him.

The crowd


His Family



Teachers of the law


Discuss the 4 options of who Jesus is/was.  Why are the first 3 not “logical”?









Can you think of any other “option”?


Read Vs. 23-27

Restate in your own words what Jesus was saying.  How is this a “logical” response to vs. 22?



Restate vs. 27 in your own words.  What point is Jesus making?



Read Vs. 28, 29 & 30

Who will be forgiven?

Does it sound like all mankind, every human being is forgiven?


So, whose sins cannot be forgiven?


What is your understanding of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?”



Who has committed such blasphemy (hint, vs. 30)



Jesus describes his true family.  Read Vs. 31-35

Why do you think Jesus’ family came to call Him?


What do you think of Jesus’ response?  What impact might it have had on Mary?  On His brothers?



What impact does it have on YOU?


* A special thanks to Shirley Moon for preparing these questions!  She is amazing!


Here is the passage:
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

(Mark 3:7-19 ESV)

1. How do you identify yourself? Beyond your name how would you finish the sentence “I am a …”
2. How much of your value and worth do you find wrapped up in that sentence?
3. When Jesus is renaming the disciples, He is calling their identity into being, He is calling out who they really are. How do you think Jesus would identify you?
4. How would a secure identity in Christ change your life?
5. Part of your discovering your identity is through serving – in what areas of service do you feel most alive in?
6. Another part of discovering your identity in Christ is through your community, in what tangible ways can you help each other discover your identity in Christ?
7. The third way to discover you identity is to spend time with Jesus. How can you encourage one another to do this very thing?

Here is the passage:
One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

(Mark 2:23-3:6 ESV)

Here are the discussion questions:

Mark 2:23-3:6
1. How do you understand the Sabbath?
2. What do you do to ensure you have a Sabbath rest as commanded in the 10 commandments?
3. How do you know if you are properly participating in the Sabbath? Can you see how this could be debated?
4. How had the Pharisees made this a self-righteous exercise?
5. In this passage the religious people and the irreligious people conspire together to kill Jesus – how does Jesus offend both the religious and irreligious at the same time?
6. Have your religious practices lead to self-righteousness?
7. One way of finding rest is to see that the job is finished. Our greatest stress point is that we aren’t finished proving our worth, our value, our acceptability. Jesus said, it is finished on the cross, meaning you are accepted. How does living in this reality make real rest possible for you?
8. Discuss how you can encourage one another to real rest in Jesus, by working the Gospel of Jesus deeper into your life, and accepting the truth that you are accepted.

If you rely on Jesus finished work, you know that God is satisfied with you.
You can be satisfied with life. Because the Lord of the Sabbath said it is finished, the religious can rest from religion forever, and the irreligious can rest from their self discovery, because the only way you can truly find yourself is if you find yourself in the One who created you and can finish what you can never finish.
Jesus is incredibly good news for you, and for me.

The New Fast

Mark 2:18-23
Here is the link:

Here are the discussion questions:
1) What is your understanding of a fast?
2) What do you believe the purpose of fasting is?
3) What was Jesus practice in fasting?
4) How can fasting become a religious duty, and is there a risk of fasting leading to moralism?
5) What was Jesus instruction on fasting in Matthew 6:16-18? How is this different than moralism?
6) The image of Jesus being the bridegroom conjures up all kinds of feelings. How do you feel, or what do you think when you think of Jesus as the bridegroom?
7) How does fasting help you to focus in, love and appreciate and find your full satisfaction in Jesus Christ?
8) What are things in your life that distract you from having Jesus as the central focal point of your life?
9) How would your life be different if Jesus was at the center of it all?
10) Fasting isn’t about giving up evil, which we are constantly at war with, it is also about giving up good things to focus on the best. What might you need to fast from in order to focus on Jesus?
11) How might you encourage each other as a group in fasting?