Men's Retreat 2019

Activities

Group Questions

Session 1a

  1. What is it about Christian hedonism that Piper says makes it both devastating and liberating? What is your initial response to it?
  2. Piper talked about his "struggle with motivation". What makes the issue of motivation a struggle for him? Can you relate?
  3. Why does Piper disagree with Immanuel Kant's ethic? Do you agree or disagree? Is there any truth in Kant's claim?

Session 1b

  1. Blaise Pascal said that all men seek happiness, even those who hang themselves. Do you agree? What exceptions if any?
  2. Piper said that the solution to our tendency to sin is not to kill all desire but to glut ourselves on God. How does this work?
  3. Christian hedonism maximizes its joy when it reaches out in love to meet needs of others. How might you as an individual reach out to bless and be blessed?

Session 2a

  1. Why are we to do everything in word and deed for God's glory?
  2. What are some examples in scripture of God pursing his own Glory? How is this a good thing for us?
  3. C.S. Lewis said that we delight to praise what we enjoy (such as good food, movies, music). Assuming he is right, why do you think this is the case?

Session 2b

  1. Piper says, "Joy in God is the essence of glorifying Him." Also, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Explain how this works?
  2. Piper said we should not measure love by how many problems he helps us avoid but by the grace given in them. How has God given you grace in a tough time?
  3. If God's love enables us to enjoy (and thus glorify) Him forever, how does this affect how we love others?

Session 3a

  1. C.S. Lewis said our problem with not desiring God is that we are too easily pleased with other things to pursue a greater joy. How have you seen this in your own life or others?
  2. Why do you think it is God's will that believers "rejoice in the Lord always"? How can that be possible?
  3. If Piper's statement that the essence of evil is forsaking joy in God to find elsewhere, what implications does this have on how we pursue holiness in this life?

Session 3b

  1. Think back to when you first came to know the Lord. What effect did that experience have on you emotionally?
  2. Do you consider yourself an emotional or passionate person? How do you feel about Piper's claim that obedience to God requires certain emotions?
  3. Romans 12:15 says "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." How can a person who doesn't typically experience much emotion still obey?

Session 4

  1. Were you ever offended because someone enjoyed doing something good for you? Why or why not? Flip the question: they didn't find pleasure helping you.
  2. How can your behavior become more loving toward someone you are in a difficult relationship with? How would this relate to your satisfaction in God?
  3. If loving others leads to increased joy in God, why do you think the Scriptures must repeatedly remind believers to love one another?

Solo Questions

Session 1

What was the most meaningful part of this lesson for you? Was there a sentence, concept or idea that really struck you? Why?

Read Matthew 6:1-18. What incentives does Jesus provide for the kind of giving, praying, and fasting he describes? Spend some time thinking about these incentives and praying that they would move you to obey God.

Make a list of 3 aspects of virtuous living that you do not always enjoy. Each day this week pray that God would enable you to delight in him and in these activities.

Session 2

What was the most meaningful part of this lesson for you? Was there a sentence, concept or idea that really struck you? Why?

Read Acts 17:24-25. According to this passage, for what is mankind dependent upon God? For what is God dependent upon mankind? Now compare these two. What effect should this comparison have on us?

What is it that makes God so glorious? That is, what is so great about him that he would be most enthralled with himself? List as many things that you can, ten at least, along with any related Bible passages you can think of. Pray through each one, giving thanks and praising God for what he has revealed of himself to you

Session 3

What was the most meaningful part of this lesson for you? Was there a sentence, concept or idea that really struck you? Why?

Read Jeremiah 2:12-13. What are the 2 evils God identifies in verse 13? Restate them in your own words. Why would he call them evil?

We all struggle with putting other joys in this life above God, and as Piper said, most of these are innocent idols. Examine your heart. What might be your biggest idol? Write it down along with some practical ideas for how you can replace the pleasure it gives you with pleasure in God.