Pastor Bryan's Blog

Small Group Discussion Guide

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-Fasting-

ICEBREAKER:

(Before the group arrives, put out a plate of marshmallows or another favorite treat, with a sign saying: ‘For later’)

  • How did you feel about being shown a delicious treat but told to wait for it?
  • How would you respond to the Marshmallow Test today? (Substitute the marshmallow for something you find hard to resist.)

DISCUSSION:

1. Read Matthew 4:2-4; Matthew 6:16-18; Luke18:11-12; John 4:31-32

  • What do we learn about fasting from these Old Testament passages?
  • What do we learn from Jesus about fasting?
  • What is the relevance of fasting for Christians today?
  • What kinds of things do you skip meals for, and what insight does this give as to your appetites and priorities?
  • How might fasting (from either food or something else you struggle living without) be good for you?

2. Read Jonah 3:4-8; Psalm 35:13; Isaiah 58:3-7

  • What do we learn about fasting from these Old Testament passages?

3. Read I Corinthians 9:25; I Timothy 4:7

  • What is the role of training (discipline) in the life of a Christian?
  • In what area(s) do you need more discipline?

APPLICATION:

As a group, brainstorm as many “marshmallows” as you can think of (that is, areas that might get a hold of our lives, in which we should practice fasting). Some ideas to get you started would include... food, spending, noise, gossip, cell phones, social media (FaceBook, etc.) and work.

What is your marshmallow and how will you practice fasting around this particular area?

OPTIONAL HOMEWORK:

Two simple ideas for fasting:
  • Begin with a partial fast, by either temporarily changing your diet (e.g. no chocolate, no dessert) or regularly skipping a meal.
  • Choose one day of the week when you can skip lunch and go somewhere private to read and pray.
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