1. In what ways do you feel “at home” in our culture? In what ways do you not?
  2. In what ways is our current culture the same as every other cultural moment in history? In what ways is it different?
  3. Has there ever been a generation of believers who felt totally at home in their culture? Why or why not?
  4. If a believer doesn’t feel out of place in the world (to some degree), what would that imply?
  5. How do you typically respond when your beliefs and norms are not shared by those around you? Anger? Withdrawing? Conforming? Rejoicing? Something else?
  6. What can you learn from other Christians who do not respond the same way as you?

  1. How would you define identity?
  2. How might our identity relate to our sense of stability and certainty in our daily lives?
  3. What types of circumstances tend to cloud your belief and confidence that you are part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)?
  4. How have you reminded yourself of your identity in Christ when you have felt shaken by circumstances?
  5. With an identity rooted in Christ, what does it look like, in practice, not to retreat from culture, nor assimilate into culture, nor try to overpower culture? Who have you seen do this well?
  6. Which of those errors (retreat, assimilate, overpower) do you most often fall into? What does falling into one of those errors reveal about where you might root your identity?

  1. How would you define lament, and what is your perspective on it or personal experience with it?
  2. Why do you think lament is such a prominent theme in Scripture?
  3. What do people lament while in exile, whether in Scripture or today?
  4. How is lament connected to faith and trust?
  5. What are some similarities or differences between Christian lament and worldly lament?
  6. Is it ever wrong for a Christian to lament? Why or why not?
  7. Are you ever reluctant to voice your complaints or frustration to God in prayer? Why or why not?
  8. What might it mean if you are a Christian and don’t particularly feel a need to lament your status as an exile in this world?
  9. What does it mean that those who sow in tears shall reap in joy (Ps. 126:5)? Why is this an important promise for believers?
  10. How does the cross of Christ become the ultimate anchor and resolution for our suffering, pain, or frustration while living in the midst of exile?

  1. Where do you feel tension between your loyalty to Christ and your life in the culture? How do you personally deal with that tension?
  2. Read Jeremiah 29:1-14. Make a list of the commands that you see in this passage. Which one(s) do you think were most difficult for the Israelites to obey? Why?
  3. Why do you think it was important for the Israelites to establish themselves and to settle down in Babylon? Why would God tell them to thrive in a nation whose people did not know or love God?
  4. God reminds His people in this passage that their situation of exile was due to His sovereign choice. In what sense is that fact actually good news? What are His good purposes for His people, even in hardship?
  5. What are some practical ideas and ways believers can seek the welfare of this community, this region, this state, or this nation?
  6. Who do you know personally who you feel does a good job of modeling in their own life what God was calling His people to do while living in exile?
  7. What practical barriers might have existed for the Israelites to carry out God’s commands in this passage in their Babylonian setting? What practical barriers exist for us today as believers to apply this passage in our current setting?
  8. How can we lament our status as exiles in this world while still embracing it at the same time?

  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages for sharing Christ in a cultural that respects Christianity versus a culture that does not?
  2. Compare times you’ve felt comfortable sharing your faith to times that you were uncomfortable. What made the difference?
  3. What have you learned about yourself and about God through sharing your faith?
  4. In what types of situations do you typically share your faith today?
  5. What is the biggest challenge to sharing your faith today?
  6. Who is one person on your heart who you know needs to hear about Jesus? Take time as a group to pray for them.

  1. Where do you see your peers, neighbors, and colleagues place their hope? Do you notice a difference between Christians and non-Christians?
  2. What “hopes” does your heart tend to gravitate toward? What do you find yourself daydreaming about when you aren’t busy? What is the “that” that you believe will fulfill you if you had it?
  3. How can we tell if we are placing our hope in things of this world versus simply enjoying them?
  4. Have you ever felt hopeless? What helped to bring you out of that season?
  5. Is placing hope in Christ more so natural or challenging for you? Why do you think that is? Does it vary with circumstances?
  6. Is hoping in the future new heavens and new earth just a form of escapism? Why or why not?