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A Story for All Mankind
Sermon Discussion | Luke 3:23-38
Sean Keefe

You may refer to the sermon here.

Since this week’s sermon was all about names, take some time to discuss the names in your group. What does your name mean? Do you know why you were named that? If you could’ve picked your own name, what would it be and why?

Read 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

In light of the passage used in the sermon, why is this verse important to remember?

Duane said if he wants us to have one takeaway from this sermon it’s this: God knows your name. You matter to God.

Is it easy or hard for you to think you matter to God? Why?

I.  Who We Are
Since we’ve been born we’ve been “filling out our names” (i.e. developing into who we are, what we love, what defines us). Do you see any connection between the meaning of your name and what defines you as a person?

When the Scriptures talk about someone’s name they are talking about the WHOLE person, their character, attributes, talents, passions, etc. In other words, your name is what makes “you” you. If you had five words (or less) to define what makes “you” you, what would they be?

Would those closest to you come up with the same words? Why or why not?
What are some significant moments of your life that have helped to define who you are?

When God looks at us, He sees everything that we are, inside and out. This can be a scary thought, but we shouldn’t be afraid. Read Isaiah 43:1. What does God truly see when He looks at us? How might this affect the way we live and interact in the world?

II.  What We Come From
The passage we read in Luke not only highlights the importance of individuals but of family lines as well. What do you know about your family line and heritage?

How have you seen that influence your life?

We know from the Scriptures that both physical and spiritual traits can get passed from generation to generation. Have you seen generational traits passed down in your family?

We are unavoidably connected with our families and how we grew up. This is why it is so important to build families that know and love God. How have you seen the presence or absence of God in your families affect the outcome of their lives?

No matter how we or our parents were raised, our hope is that God loves and blesses the lives of those who turn to Him. He hears our cries and works to heal our wounds and brokenness. Have you seen God bring healing to a brokenness or wound in you or your family’s life?

Is there still a healing you are hoping and praying for?

How can we, as a community of believers, support the healing process in each other's lives?

III.  Where Our Hope Lies
Fear, guilt, and shame have been passed to the whole human family through our first parents, Adam and Eve. But Jesus, being born of a virgin and not having the hereditary sinfulness passed on to Him, lived a life of perfect righteousness on our behalf. By His death, His life of righteousness, His very name, is given to us. Where our hope truly lies is in Jesus’ name.

What words would you use to describe the name and character of Jesus?
Since Jesus’ name and righteousness are given to us, what meaning do those words now have for our lives?

In Revelation, we learn that everyone who has ever believed in Jesus’ name had their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before this world was ever created. Does knowing this cause a response in you? How would thinking about this truth change your perspective on anything in life?

Pray for One Another
Thank God for being a God who knows us deeply yet still loves us with all His heart.

Pray for our eyes to be opened to the life-changing truth that God calls us His own, and He knows us by name.

Pray for the healing of wounds and brokenness that has been passed generationally through our families.

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August 4-6

Pay for Women's Retreat or Pay in Installments!

The Resolved Women have made it a valuable tradition to retreat away once a year together. The purpose is to refresh, be rejuvenated by restorative truths from the Word and Jesus, and to connect with other women and their stories. During the retreats we listen to wise words from great speakers, talk life in small groups, spend time in prayer, share meals together, study God's word, and of course rest and relax. 

For the 2017 retreat we have found a perfect location an hour away from San Diego that sleeps up to 80 women! A deposit, later applied to the total cost, is needed to reserve the home but, at this time, it is more than the church can financially accommodate. We would like to reserve this spot as it is simply amazing and feels like the perfect fit: tons of room, our OWN spot, close to San Diego, and so many amenities!

The ASK: Use the below link to DONATE NOW towards the final cost of your spot on the retreat. Not only does it help support early fund collection, but it allows you to pay for the retreat in installments. Our goal is $2800.

Please list your name so we know where to allocate the donation.

If you would like to donate anonymously to the general fund to support costs and scholarships please feel free to do so.

Total per person cost : $160 (includes 2 nights, 5 meals)

Feel free to give in any amount to start to get us to our $2800 deposit goal.

Location information: http://ranchomagdalena-ca.com/

"The ranch provides boundless opportunities for recreation: from its solar heated salt water pool/spa/water slide, to its tennis, sand volleyball, bocce ball, trampoline, horseshoe pits, tetherball, shuffleboard and racquetball courts, to its grand indoor theater. We have meeting/social rooms for adults and those young at heart: including a pool table, table tennis, indoor shuffleboard, and more."

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Help Us Raise Money For A New Sign!
Pastor Duane Smets

The Resolved Church moved to our permanent facility in April of 2014. It used to be a warehouse that made wind turbines for efficient energy and needed a lot of work to be converted into a church. We had an extremely small budget to work with ($15K), but with a lot of willing hands and hearts and we made it work. Due to our small budget we only had a few hundred dollars to spend on a front sign. So a general contractor in our church bought the cheapest wood he could buy, built it, had his wife paint it and then about 10 of us worked together to mount the sign. It was quite a project and had a brilliant result.

We knew it wouldn’t last forever and this year under the battering of the most rain San Diego has experienced in years, our sign has now deteriorated to the point where it is barely functional as the first signal of welcome to our church. It is now sagging in the middle, the letters are washed out and the wood has begun to turn black in many places.

People regularly show up at our church because of walking or driving by and seeing our sign. It’s important that we have a quality marker on our building so that people can find us and hopefully enter into the life our community, worshipping and following Jesus along with us. This is a great way you can be a blessing to Jesus’ church and to those who might come to know him.

We’ve contacted a sign company and we can replace our front sign with a weather proof version made with lifetime warranted materials for $3000. The only catch is our church currently doesn’t have a surplus of money we can spend on a sign so we’re asking you to help! Would you consider donating some money to help us get a new sign? Help fund a new sign for The Resolved Church!

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Gabe Hagstrom

Click here to view the sermon.

Duane returned to the pulpit this week and we resumed our excursion through Luke. Heading into chapter 3, the author Luke suddenly jumps ahead 18 years in the story to bring us to a world with an adult John the Baptist and adult Jesus. Word is starting to spread about both of them, news of their lives and teaching is spreading.

Duane pointed out that news and stories are the bulk of our conversations as social humans. We love to hear and learn about goings on.

Where do you get most of your news? Which of your friends or family gives the most trustworthy reviews?

Luke takes us through a newsworthy encounter here in chapter 3. Read it together in your group.

Luke delivers the facts here. Though he also works to make sure that as we all read this story, we get a sense of how significant Jesus arrival is in the world. Duane wanted to look at the significance here from 3 angles:

I.   Historically Significant
II.  Spiritually Significant
III. Cosmologically Significant


Luke was a doctor and scholar. As we read through his account we’ll notice that Luke was meticulous and borderline pedantic as he documents Jesus life here on earth. He starts the chapter with very dry historical context and suddenly in the middle of verse 2 drop a phrase in that is significant to God’s people – “The Word of God Came to John the Baptist.” After 400 years of silence, God was again speaking to His people.

Why do you think John included so much dry historical dates and names?

“The Word of God came to…” is almost a catchphrase for his people. It’s a signifier that the story is continuing. Do we have any similar signifiers in our culture today? In our church?

400 years is a really long time for God to be silent. Only one other time had God been silent for so long – right before the amazing exodus and journey to the promised land.

Why do you think God was silent for so long? Have you ever felt like you were in a season where you couldn’t hear God? What brought you out of it? (OR what are you looking to hear from God about?)


John delivers God’s message of genuine repentance. Warning the people to bear fruit in their lives, not relying on words or being descendants of Abraham. He unpacks repentance for 3 specific groups:

The Crowd – Accumulating things for ourselves
Tax Collectors – Being greedy and wanting more
Soldiers – Abusing their position and being a bad steward

Which group do you most empathize with? Is there a connection between these groups?

When we’re in a genuine relationship with God we find out He’s the leader in generosity. He gives and gives in what is mostly a one-way relationship. The generosity is a stark contrast to the lives of the people listening to John.

What have you been thankful to God for this week? How have you, or do you plan to respond to God’s generosity to you?

John goes on to offer baptism, a public symbol of repentance to the people. Something we still practice in church today.

How did you decide to get baptized? (OR are you interested in getting baptized this Easter?)


After John baptizes Jesus, we see something incredible, an appearance by all 3 persons of God- Jesus in the flesh, the voice of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. An event that is earth-shattering enough that it alone would be worth talking about thousands of years later, and the reason for that event is to highlight Jesus and get our attention as He starts His work on earth.

How would people respond to an event like that happening in the world today? How would you react?

Luke captures this story showing Jesus stepping into our world, into space and time so that “All flesh would see the salvation of God” (vs 6). A salvation that makes us righteous because we can never do enough right things to make us right.

What element of the story so far has amazed you the most? Who can you share news of your amazement with?


Pray with your group that we’d have open doors to share this story, and how it’s been on our minds, amazing us and affecting us.

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SERMON DISCUSSION | 1 John 1:5-2:1
Pastor Ryan Buss

View the sermon here.

Read the passage. What strikes you as you read the passage? What is encouraging in this passage? What is challenging to you in your life as you read the passage?

I. Fellowship with One Another

Ryan taught us that one of the goals that John has as he is writing this letter to the church is to help the church relate well to one another. Authentic and honest relationship with each is what we long for. Why? What helps to contribute to having authentic relationships?

What inhibits authentic relationships?

Ryan observed that sin separates relationships and causes us to be spiritually blind to God and to one another. How have you experienced this in your life?

Ryan also observed that sin is born out of our desires being misdirected at the wrong things, namely the world and all that is in the world. What would it look like to have your desires directed to God? How would this change your relationships with others?

The antidote to walking in the darkness is to walk in the light. How do we do that? Why would this help to foster authentic and real relationships with one another?

II. Fellowship with God

The other goal of the letter that John is writing to the church is to help foster intimate relationship with God in truth. John eagerly desires that the eternal life that we have in Christ be lived out in this life as well, and that this kind of life is born out of a relationship with God. However, since sin separates and blinds, it causes a disruption in our intimacy with Christ. We need to learn how to stop sin as it buds in our hearts. How do we recognize when sin is budding in our hearts?

If confession was the habit that Ryan focused on for the first point, self-examination is the habit that he focused on for the second point. What kinds of attitude or mindset goes into cultivating a habit of self-examination? What is the purpose for self-examination?

Ryan shared three subtle sins that he struggles with and went into the heart behind each sin to help demonstrate how sin begins in the heart. The three were “ingratitude”, “impatience”, and “anxiety”. Do you struggle with those? What does that look like? What other subtle sins can you recognize being a source of temptation for you in your relationship with Christ and with others?

How do you know when you are being tempted in those ways? How would others know when you are acting out of those sins?

The goal of confession and self-examination is to foster healthy, authentic relationship with Christ and one another. Why would that be important for us as a church as we seek to engage all people this year?

III. Pray for each other!

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Our Ultimate Love
James K.A. Smith

Our ultimate love moves and motivates us because we are lured by this picture of human flourishing. Rather than being pushed by beliefs, we are pulled by a telos that we desire. It's not so much that we're intellectually convinced and then muster the willpower to pursue what we ought; rather, at a precognitive level, we are attracted to a vision of the good life that has been painted for us in stories and myths, images and icons. It is not primarily our minds that are captivated but rather our imaginations that are captured, and when our imagination is hooked, we're hooked (and sometimes our imaginations can be hooked by very different visions than what we're feeding into our minds). Those visions of the good life that capture our heart have thereby captured ourselves and begin to draw us toward them, however implicitly or tacitly. The goods and aspects of human flourishing painted by these alluring pictures of the good life begin to seep into the fiber of our (every day, non-cognitive) being and thus govern and shape our decision, actions, and habits. Thus we become certain a kinds of people; we begin to emulate, mimic, and mirror the particular vision that we desire. Attracted by it and moved toward it, we begin to live into this vision of the good life and start to look like citizens who inhabit the world that we picture as the good life. We become little microcosms of that envisioned world as we try to embody it in the here and now. So many of the penultimate decisions, actions, and paths we undertake are implicitly and ultimately aimed at trying to live out the vision of the good life that we love and thus want to pursue.


This is an excerpt from James K.A. Smith's Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation


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Sermon Discussion | 1 John 1:1-4
Gabe Hagstrom

You may view the sermon here.

With Duane taking a couple weeks to rest before heading deeper into the gospel of Luke, we are taking what will be one of many Ryan Buss led interludes this year into the 1st letter from John. Ryan gave us a little background on John; he’s a fisherman, brother, author of the Gospel of John and Revelation, and last man standing after all the other Apostles had died for their faith.

Ryan called particular attention to one particular moment of John’s life. In Acts 4:13 after Jesus had been crucified, Peter and John take up Jesus’ ministry and message. Though they were simple men, the religious leaders of the day were amazed at them and they could see that they had been with Jesus. When we spend a lot of time with someone we often will begin to take on their traits and remind people of that person, sometimes in a good way, other times a bad.

Has someone in your life ever began to copy vocabulary, habits, or mannerisms from another after spending a lot of time together?

This week Ryan is taking us through the greeting from John in his first letter. Let’s read through it:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. — 1 John 1:1-4



John gets right to it, telling his readers that he is writing to share life with them. And by life he means Jesus. John has referred to Jesus as life and eternal life many other times, most famously in John 1 (that Life was the Light of men).

Why do you think John uses “Life” as interchangeable for Jesus? What does it tell you about Jesus?

“We have heard, seen with our eyes, touched with our hands” is how John describes his knowledge of Life. Life as a tangible thing. He’s physically spent time with it in Jesus and he’d like to share about it. Life can seem really abstract as a concept and here John brings it down and grounds it in 3 senses: hearing, seeing, and touching.

Are you more of one who learns by hearing, seeing or doing? How is it important that John has experience with all of those with regards to Jesus?

Life is a binary situation, there is life and death and nothing else. We see here that there is no life apart from Jesus, and that by having a relationship with Jesus we have life. Life is relational. In John 17:3 he tells us “this is eternal life that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” Life is knowing God.

How is knowing God different than knowing of God, or knowing about God?

Life is meant for flourishing, for abundance. We feel it in our longings in this world for more, and visions that we have for what our lives could be.

What is your idea of a flourishing life? How does that impact what you do every day?

Ryan gave us a few different things that can influence what we believe is a flourishing life:

- How we grow up.
- What our culture tells us.
- Our relationships.
- Which of those do you believe has most influenced you for good? For bad?


John is sharing Jesus and eternal life with us so that our joy may be complete. In this world we can often lose sight of how Jesus works to bring us Joy. Ryan listed 10 ways:

1.  He provides perfectly for you
2.  He accepts you
3.  He makes you clean
4.  He places you in a family
5.  He comforts intimately
6.  He steadfastly walks with us through all of life
7.  He gives you purpose
8.  He heals you
9.  He delights in you
10. He turns your sorrow into joy

Which of those 10 bring you the most joy tonight? Why?

Joy is relational, we get it from people and receive it from people. It’s infectious and meant to be shared.

When was the last time you shared your joy with someone? Did it diminish it? or amplify it?

Joy is greater than happiness which is dependent on circumstance. Many unhappy people have been full of joy, even Jesus during what was most likely a very unhappy time right before to His crucifixion went ahead with it full of joy (Hebrews 2). Joy can even turn suffering into a gift.

How has suffering been a gift to you?


Pray that your group would share joy as they engage with San Diego, that we might all have flourishing eternal lives.

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Volunteer Opportunities
Dan Calvert

We’re looking for part-time office volunteers and event coordinator volunteers to help our Executive Pastor, Dan Calvert. If you would like to help in these roles, please contact Pastor Dan at dan@theresolved.com.

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A Story of a Child Prodigy
Sermon Discussion | Luke 2:41-52
Sean Keefe

Get Talking

Icebreaker: What was the last story (i.e. movie, book, TV series) that really captivated/gripped you? What was it about that story that drew you in?

Take some time to read through the passage again and re-familiarize yourselves with it. Were there any parts of the sermon that stood out to you more than others?

I. Formative Years

Duane asked, “If Jesus is God, why is He asking questions?” Duane’s answer was that Jesus is showing us what a perfect human should be. He is setting the example of teachability.

When you think of someone who is teachable, what character traits come to mind (i.e. curiosity? openness?)? What about someone who is unteachable (i.e. arrogant, a know-it-all)?

Duane said no one becomes a Christian nor matures in their Christian walk without being teachable.

Why is teachability such an essential part of the Christian life?

A few aspects of being teachable are:
- Asking questions
- Listening to answers
- Opening ourselves up to others asking us questions
- Answering those questions with sincerity and honesty

Which aspects are more of your strong suit? Which could use some work?

II. Fathers and The Father

This is the first passage in the Scripture where Jesus says something about himself, and it is significant: God is His true Father. And because of what Jesus has done for us, we have been adopted and God is now our Father, too.

Is the idea of God as a good Father a distant, un-relatable idea, or has fatherhood been represented well in your life?

Duane mentioned the idea of people having a “father hunger.” What do you think this means? What effects could this hunger have in our lives?

Why are fathers and the idea of fatherhood so important?

Jesus desires us to know the love of the Heavenly Father. This is what we’ve been invited to in the Gospel.

How might experiencing the love of God as our true Father effect us? The way we think? The way we live?

III. Fulfilling God’s Calling

Duane said Jesus is clearly portrayed as the hero of the story. He is the hero of all history.

Everyone in this story was amazed by Jesus, both those who listened to him and even His mother, Mary. When was the last time you were amazed by Jesus? What was it that led to that experience of being amazed?

Why do we struggle with staying amazed by Jesus and all He has done? How can we prepare our hearts to be more amazed?

God has given each of us different gifts and talents in order to engage others and show them how good and amazing Jesus truly is.

How are we doing with this calling?

In what ways can we use the gifts God has given us to point to Jesus?

Pray Together

Pray for open, teachable hearts.

Pray for a greater understanding and experience of the deep love the Father has for us.

Pray for the eyes of our hearts to be opened and captivated by Jesus.

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Pastor Duane Smets

At a recent THEO 101: Christian Beliefs class I taught, we had a discussion about San Diego's views of the word "gospel" and the word "Jesus." We came up with quite an interesting list. Here are some of the more interesting ones that were mentioned...

Gospel = Bad music made by Christians or people from the South.
Gospel = A euphemism for something unquestionably true, like "the iPhone is amazing."
Gospel = Something that weird people who hand out flyers are always trying to sell you.
Gospel = A book or message of the Bible about Jesus.

Jesus = A popular male name among our neighbors below the U.S. border.
Jesus = Something one yells, screams, or curses when they are upset.
Jesus = Who you get in tune with when you are Jammin' (smoking pot).
Jesus = The only hope for human salvation.

Knowing and understanding what the views are of our friends, neighbors, and city is important for us as Christians. Not so that we can start fights with people and tell them how wrong they are...but so we can properly address their concerns and hopefully shown them a Jesus and a gospel they have yet to actually hear of.

This is called "contextualization." Where we take the gospel of Jesus to all different kinds of contexts, and the way that we talk about him varies based upon what context that is. in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul calls us to be sensitive to the presuppositions of our hearers so that they might truly hear and receive the blessing of the gospel. Often people are turned off to Christianity, not because of the message, or even because they are not one day destined to embrace it, but often they are turned off by of the messenger. Sometimes we ourselves are the biggest barriers to the gospel for people because we do not first listen and learn how to contextualize the gospel in hopes that it will get the best possible hearing.

Ed Stetzer, a former pastor and church planter, now full-time missiologist, who is also on Board of Directors for Acts 29, was once interviewed by CNN asking the question, "Do Christians get on your nerves?" It is a very interesting interview, you can check it out HERE. From my perspective, it seems many of us as Christians have assumed we are living in a place that ought to conform to and understand Christians, when in reality we are truly living in a post-Christian, pagan, pluralistic culture. Rather than being upset about that, we need to accept it and figure out how to adapt and reach people with the gospel.

Another interesting study demonstrating how we may not be doing the gospel missionary work of adapting is a report based on statistical research titled, "Unchurched Americans Turned Off by Church, Open to Christians." You can read it HERE. Rather than fighting against our culture, it is my heart and desire that The Resolved Church would be a group of people who are constantly studying, loving, and learning the city of San Diego so that we can truly reach out to it and share the gospel of Jesus in words and ways which neither compromise the message nor unnecessarily complicate it.

Maybe you ask is contextualizing even Biblical? Besides the 1 Corinthians passage, I already mentioned above, think about Jesus himself, who came into our world, speaking the people's language of the day, wearing their clothes, and talking in parables that they understood. Think about Paul, who in Athens, took an alter used for diabolic worship as a positive illustration for the gospel. Think about foreign missionaries who for years have gone to other countries seeking a way to connect peoples of different tribes and tongues to the gospel. The difference is that now, here, in San Diego, our neighbor is a foreigner, whom we no longer can assume we know and understand. We must go on a mission for them. I pray you join me in that endeavor.

- Pastor Duane