Understanding Part 3 - Understanding Culture

Text: 1 Corinthians 5:6-6:11

This last Sunday Pastor Chip shared about the dramatic changes that our culture has undergone in regards to morality, family, sexuality, and more. Most of the changes come back to two questions. 1. Is truth relative or absolute? 2. Is scripture culturally interpreted or is it the authority for our lives? Pastor Chip walked us through what has brought our culture to it's present condition and gave us action steps for how we can engage with it. 

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

What is a significant cultural change that you have experienced in your lifetime? (technology, communication, sexuality, marriage, etc...)

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders - The last study guide before the summer break starts will be published next week on May 30th. These sermon-based study guides will start again with the Fall launch in September. Have a wonderful summer!

 

  • Why do you think so much has changed in the last 50-70 years when it comes to morals, values, and sexuality?

Look at the graphic below. It shows the present symptoms, the past philosophical ideals, and the foundational question that will shape the future of our society. 

  • Which of the symptoms do you think is most damaging to our society? Why?
  • What philosophical or spiritual root problem is connected to that symptom?
  • What do you think is the one critical problem, both inside and outside the church, for our society?
    • Our view of Scripture

Read 1 Cor. 5:12-13

  • How would you define "judge"? What kind of "judging" is acceptable? How do you "judge" someone within the church?

Read James 5:19-20 and Matt. 18:15-17. 

  • How do these verses support or challenge your view of judging?
    • Leaders- ask the question below if you have extra time.
      • How can you explain judging to someone who quotes Matt. 7:1 as an explanation for why you "shouldn't" judge them?
        • Matt. 7:1- "Do not judge, or you too will be judged"

Read Matthew 5:6-16

    • This passage calls us to be Righteous, endure Persecution, and Do Good Deeds. 
    • What good deeds can you do this week that will guide people towards glorifying God?

    Live It Out:

    Pastor Chip gave us three action steps that we can take as we engage with our culture in a constructive way. Pick one of these three ideas below. share some specifics with the group about how you can live this out this week. 

    cs-book-tour-message-HD.020.jpg

    Prayer Time:

    Pray for our culture to come to know the saving power of Jesus' resurrection. Pray for God to show you places and even individual people whom you can impact for God. 

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    Planting Hope

    Text: Hebrews 11

    This last Sunday Pastor John shared a Mother's Day message focused on the importance of hope. Studying Hebrews 11 we looked at what we hope "for" and what we put our hope "in". Pastor John shared his own story of wrestling with hopelessness and also focused in on the life of Sarah from Hebrews 11. 

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    What are a few things in life that you are hoping for (ex. a promotion, someone to come to faith, a good marriage, etc...)?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    • Think of a vivid example of a hopeless situation (it doesn't need to be from your own life). Share it with the group.  

    Read Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-6, 16:1-5, and 17:1-4, 19

    • There is a significant amount of time that passes in between each of these passages. Think about Sari(Sarah) in this situation. God had promised to Sarah and Abraham that they would be the parents of a great nation. They had no kids during the first years of their marriage. Moreover, by the time they are both very old they still had no children. They have a promised from God that they will have many descendants, but they are well past child-bearing age. Discuss how difficult it must have been to wait for decades and see no progress forward in God fulfilling His promises to Sarah and Abraham. What did Sarah/Abraham try in order to hurry God's promise along? What impact did that have?
    • Have you had a situation in your life that required great patience and maybe tried your hope and trust in God?
      • How did that whole situation play out? What impact did this situation have on your hope and trust in God?
    • What can you do when what you've been hoping for seems hopeless? 

    Read Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12

    • Sarah hoped for children, and she placed her hope in God to fulfill His promises to her (occasionally taking the situation into her own hands) . At the beginning of the group time you mentioned some things you were hoping for. Who or what are you placing your hope in to bring those things to fruition? Explain what this looks like in your daily life. 
    • How do you place your hope in God?
      • By choosing to believe that: My God will prevail, even if it looks impossible and even if it isn't immediate.

    Live It Out:

    Read Lamentations 3:20-26.

    • What can you do on a daily basis to reaffirm/strengthen your hope in God regardless of the situation?

    Prayer Time:

    Thinking back to those hopeless situations you discussed, how can you pray for change in those hopeless situations? Pray also for God to reveal to you ways that you can be part of the solution (if appropriate). 

     

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    Understanding Part 2 - Understanding Islam

     

    Last week Fares Abraham examined ways to reach people for Christ. We looked at 2 Kings 6:1-7, as an example of how Elisha reached those in his circle for the greater glory of God.  

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Share how you were brought to church and came to accept Christ? If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, then how were you brought to this small group?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    Read the following out loud:

    6 One day the group of prophets came to Elisha and told him, “As you can see, this place where we meet with you is too small. 2 Let’s go down to the Jordan River, where there are plenty of logs. There we can build a new place for us to meet."

    “All right,” he told them, “go ahead.”

    3 “Please come with us,” someone suggested.

    “I will,” he said. 4 So he went with them.

    When they arrived at the Jordan, they began cutting down trees. 5 But as one of them was cutting a tree, his ax head fell into the river. “Oh, sir!” he cried. “It was a borrowed ax!”

    6 “Where did it fall?” the man of God asked. When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. Then the ax head floated to the surface. 7 “Grab it,” Elisha said. And the man reached out and grabbed it.

    2 Kings 6:1-7 (NLT)

    Question 1 – Consider 2 Kings 6:1-2. Why was the group of prophets going to the Jordan River?

    Question 2 – Elisha tells the prophets to go ahead, but someone in the group says, “Please come with us,” 2 Kings 6:3. Why do you think it’s significant that someone invited Elisha?  

    Question 3 – In life, how does God treat us similarly, waiting for our invitation to “come with us?”

    Question 4 – Do you think the prophets were equipped to handle the tasks at hand? While they may have been capable, it was probably not their common practice, since someone in the group had to borrow an ax. What do you think Elisha brought to the group beside skill?

    Question 5 – In 2 Kings 6:6, Elisha is called “man of God,” and yet, they were all prophets; Still, somehow Elisha stood out from the others. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, it says we are “Christ’s ambassadors.” As an ambassador for Christ, what can you bring to others and situations that the world cannot?

    Question 6 – When the ax was lost in the river, the man who borrowed the ax knew he could not replace it or recover it. Why?

    Question 7 – As with many portions of scripture in The Old Testament, the foreshadowing of Christ is revealed. How are we like the man who lost the ax in the Jordan River? It is important to also know that the Jordan River is symbolic for a place between spiritual and physical life and may help you in finding your answer.

    Question 8 – 2 Kings 6:1-7 is a lovely example of how a simple activity turned into an opportunity for God to be revealed. Have you ever seen God show up or redeem similar, unassuming, situations? 

    Live It Out:

    Do you have any current invitations to participate in seemingly mundane activities? Can you see from today’s scripture how they might be opportunities for God to do something miraculous through you, even if it’s just being an ambassador for Christ?

    Prayer Time:

    As Fares Abraham mentioned in his sermon, it’s important to ask God to grow beyond your limits. Ask God for supernatural power to be the man or woman of God in whatever circumstance He puts you in. And, finally, ask for God to show up when you go, on his behalf, as His Christ ambassador.

     

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    Understanding Part 1 - Understanding Racism

    Text: Luke 10:25-37

    Last week Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, NC, examined the difficult topic of racism. As he explored Luke 10:25-37, we saw how Jesus dealt with racism in his day. If you need to, re-read these verses to re-familiarize yourself with this section of scripture.

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    What does it mean to be racist? 

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    Small Group Leaders- For Your Consideration: There were some things Bishop Alexander explained about Jesus’ day that we may have not known: For example, in Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even to the “remotest part of the earth.”

    • Question 1 – When Jesus told the disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, what did he mean by it?
    • Question 2 – For Question 1, Jesus simply meant for the disciples to start where they were. They were already in Jerusalem, so he wanted them to begin witnessing immediately with those around them. As for referencing Judea, what was its significance?  
    • Question 3 – In referencing Judea, Jesus was sending the disciples to a people that regarded themselves as being spiritually superior to the disciples. What would have been the purpose of this assignment?
    • Question 4 – Samaria is the last specific location Jesus mentions when he tells his disciples to be his witnesses in Acts 1:8. What is the significance of mentioning Samaria?
    • Question 5 – The significance of Jesus directly mentioning Samaria is that he acknowledges the racial conflicts occurring in this area and the need to witness there. Read John 4:7-9. According to racial prejudices of the day, the Samaritan woman and Jesus knew that Jesus would be ceremonially unclean if he drank from her cup. When is the last time you overstepped a societal prejudice to reach out to someone who others might consider “unclean” or different?
    • In Luke 10:31-32, why did the priest and Levite avoid the “half dead” man? As Bishop Alexander mentioned in his sermon, if they thought he was dead, or about to die, they may have feared becoming ceremonially unclean. What might be some other reasons?
    • Question 7 – Bishop Alexander also said that, as Americans, we are sometimes okay being witnesses for Christ “to the remotest [parts] of the earth (Acts 1:8), but are less comfortable being witnesses with those near to us. Why do you think this is so?
    • Question 8 – When the Samaritan man got close to the “half dead” man, he realized that he was still alive. He also realized, intimately, what the man’s needs were. With this in mind, why was it important for him to get close to the man?

    Live It Out:

    Considering all this, are there any “half dead” people you tend to avoid? How can you intentionally get close to them, in order to be witnesses for Christ?

    Prayer Time:

    Don’t overlook the obvious, until we accept the invitation of eternal life with Jesus Christ and receive him into our hearts, we are all “half dead”—alive on earth, but on our way to eternal damnation. Only with Christ do we receive the promise of eternal life, and only with Christ do we have someone who loves us enough to get close to those who are unclean with sin.

    Considering this, pray for opportunities to get close to those who are “half dead.” Also, pray to be like Christ, who saw no divisive racial lines between he and the woman at the well.

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    "Do You Love Me More Than These?" - Part 6

    Text: John 21

    Pastor Chip finished our series "Jesus Unfiltered: Testify" this week by focusing on Jesus restoring Peter and removing his shame. We hope that as your small group talks through these questions you are able to unearth areas of your life where you have felt shame. Our prayer is that Jesus would bring you freedom and healing. Not only that, but that you would be able to be an instrument of freedom and healing for others.

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Who is the bravest person you know? Why? What one story encapsulates their bravery?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    Read Matthew 28:10, 1 Cor. 15:4-5, and John 21:1-6. Answer the question below.

    Peter got antsy while waiting for Jesus. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus had appeared personally and individually to Peter. Whatever happened in that conversation, Peter still felt shame over his denial of Christ. He got tired of waiting for Jesus and decided to go fishing. 

    • Pastor Chip in his sermon this weekend taught about how shame can be expressed in a lot of different ways. In what ways do people tend to hide when "shame" is not identified and dealt with?
      • Jesus often works to meet us in our place of hiding and shame to bring us into healing and restoration. 
      • For Peter, this outlet becomes a frustration all unto itself! Peter went fishing, and caught NOTHING! He's a professional fisherman, and no fish! How do you think Peter was feeling in this moment? 

    Read John 21:7-23 and answer the questions below.

    • Why is it significant that Jesus asked Peter the same question three times?
    • What is Jesus' response to Peter's answer? 
      • Why is this important? 
    • What about Jesus' approach to restoring Peter was most encouraging to you?

    • Jesus meets us where we are at. Jesus met Peter while he was fishing . Share about a time when Jesus met you in a place full of difficulty or shame and brought you healing (Leader- give your group a few minutes to process this question if needed).
    • Leaders- encourage your group to think quietly for a few minutes for personal reflection. Encourage people to share if they feel safe and feel ready. Make sure not to force anyone into sharing.
      • Ask this question- What are the areas of shame in your life that haunt you, that you can't seem to escape?

    Live It Out:

    Choose one person you can confide in and share the shame you feel.  If it's not someone in this group,  have your group hold you accountable to share with that person this week.

    Who could be encouraged by the process of healing and freedom that God has led you on? How can you share that with them this week?

    Prayer Time:

    Pray for the person on your right. Pray specifically that they would know and experience God's love and healing this week.

    If you have time, pray that Jesus would reveal to you areas in your life that you don't realize are causing you to respond with shame and hiding.

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    Stop Doubting and Believe - Part 5

    Text: John 20

    Happy Easter! This weekend Chip examined in John 20 the incredible reality about Jesus rising from the dead. We examined the first witness, the response of skeptics (his own disciples), and we were encouraged by their faith in response to the living Christ

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Share your favorite part of the resurrection story.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    Read John 20:10-18 and answer the question below.

    • Why was Mary Magdalene's testimony so significant given the culture that the Book of John was written in?

    Read Luke 7:18-28 and John 20:24-29 answer the questions below

    • You will have doubts about Jesus. If you haven't yet, they will come. What is important is how you respond when doubt happens.  What can you learn from these two passages about how to deal with doubt when it happens? 
    • How does Jesus' response to Thomas encourage you? How interested do you think God is in revealing Himself to you?

    • What does it mean to be an honest skeptic?
    • Look at the "Four Timeless Truths for Honest Skeptics" below. Which "hits home" the most with you? Why?
    Capture.PNG

    Live It Out:

    What action step can you take this week in helping lead someone closer to Christ?

    Prayer Time:

    Thank Jesus for taking the penalty of our sin and dying on the cross for us. 

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    What I Have Written, I Have Written - Part 4

    Text: John 19

    This week Chip examined John 19 and Jesus’ crucifixion. We remembered and focused on the high price that was paid for each of us by Jesus. We were encouraged towards thankfulness and action as we approach Easter. 

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Share with your group one way that God has been using you in the lives of others over the last few weeks.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    Read John 19 and answer the question below.

    Have each group member read a few verses at a time so each person gets an opportunity to participate

    • What part of John 19 most moved you? Why?

    Read Psalm 22:11-21 and answer the questions below

    • What similarities do you see between this psalm and the description of Jesus' crucifixion in John 19?
    • Is it significant to you that Psalms was written 1,000 years before these events happened? Why or why not? what proof might it give to the claims about Jesus being the Messiah?

    • What was it that convinced you that Jesus is the unique Savior of the world? Or, if you aren't a Christian yet, what questions do you still have about Jesus and His claims of being the unique Savior of the world? 
    • What are the implications for your family, friends, and co-workers if you know this truth and they do not?

    Live It Out:

    How could you share the incredible truth of John 19, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 with a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor this week?

    What encouragement/support do you need from this group to help make that happen? Go and live that out this week!

    Prayer Time:

    Read John 19:35.  

    Pray that your belief and convictions would be strengthened.

    Pray for each other in your group to have courage to share these truths with others.

    Pray for those you are connected with in your life that their hearts would be ready to respond to the truth about Jesus. 

     

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    For This I was Born - Part 3

    Text: John 18

    Last week Chip examined John 18 and Jesus’ assertion, “For this I have been born…to testify to the truth.” He also explored the common struggle of many Christians, regarding sharing our testimonies with others, and the ideas of courage and cowardice.

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    What does courage mean to you? What does it mean to be a coward? Allow each person to share.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

     

    Question 1 – What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? What compelled you to engage in such an act of bravery?

    Question 2 – On the far less comfortable side of the coin, what is something cowardly that you’ve done? This does not need to be soul-bearing, but in the scope of something that is shareable. (Perhaps as a child, you allowed someone else—a sibling or friend—to take the blame for something you did; You didn’t speak up for someone when you should have, etc.).

    Question 3 – What was the motivation for your response to Question 3? (Example: Fear, Pride, Greed, etc.).

    Question 4 – Read Hebrews 11:1-2. In this verse, Paul says that “the men of old gained approval.” It’s good to realize that “men of old” refers to the Saints in the Old Testament (Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Moses, Rahab, etc). Good and bad, valid and invalid, what are some ways current-day Christians strive to gain God’s approval?

    Question 5 – Take turns in your group reading through Hebrews 11:8-38. Consider some of the “men of old”—a list that contains women as well—and go around your group and discuss which ones stand out as the most courageous to each person. Answers will vary, based on individual definitions of courage.

    Question 6 – Considering the saint(s) you deemed most courageous, what would it take for you to behave in the same courageous manner?

    Question 7 – What is the most fearsome thing you face regarding your faith? How does it differ from the things the “men of old” faced?

    Live It Out:

    When we read about “men of old,” we tend to think that we could never attain such bravery, and because we don’t live in the same times, our acts of bravery tend not to be as perilous; however, we all face our own moments of decision—where the rubber meets the road, so-to-speak.

    With this in mind, what is your Goliath?

    Consider that before David killed Goliath, he said to the giant, “…the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47).

    How can this verse bolster you to be courageous enough to face your Goliath this week? Sharing with the group, what conscious effort are you committed to take in overcoming your Goliath?

    Prayer Time:

    Before you pray, read 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

    And, read Luke 12:4, “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.”

    Pray that each participant in the group accept the courage given to them by the greatness of God and the mightiness of the Holy Spirit. Also pray for contentment “with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when [we are] weak, then [I am] strong” 2 Corinthians 12:10.

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    The Time Is Now!- Part 2

    Text: John 17

     

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Share about a time when prayer had an amazing and supernatural effect on a situation you were in.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders- Please always make the effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember that the goal is that your group would have authentic and significant conversation about what God is doing in their lives. Don’t feel pressure to go in-depth on every question, or complete every question. 

    Read John 17:1-5 and answer the questions below

    • Why do you think Jesus prayed for Himself?
      • What did Jesus pray for?
        • Define glory.
    • How can your prayers be more focused on the glory of God? 

    Read John 17:6-19 and answer the question below

    • What two things did Jesus pray for His disciples? Who, in your life this week, needs you to pray that for them?

    Read John 17:20-26 and answer the questions below

    • What did Jesus mean when He prayed that we would be "one" even as He and the Father are one?
      • How is that working out in your life? Relationships? 
    • Why is unity and love so important to the Christian life? 

    Read Ephesians 1:15-19 and answer the question below

    • There are many powerful prayers in scripture. Read Paul's prayer for the Ephesians believers and share what you identified with most in his prayer. 

    Live It Out:

    Dedicate a set amount of time everyday this week (5 minutes, 25 minutes, etc...) to prayer. Spend time praying for yourself, your family, your church, and those around you. Find a place and time where you can escape all interruptions and focus solely on praying and communing with God. 

    Prayer Time:

    Pray for your “one”. Who is that one person that God is putting on your heart and mind to be praying for and inviting to Easter Services?

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    You Also Must Testify - Part 1

    Text: John 15:26-27, John 16

     

     

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Google the word "testify" and discuss its meaning and application for you in your family, work, and relationships.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders- Please always make the effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Also, as with every week, don’t feel pressure to go in-depth on every question, or complete every question. Don’t let the pressure of completing every question distract from what God might be doing in your group.

    1.      How does "testifying" about Jesus differ from "serving" Jesus? When and how are they the same?

    2.      As a group, read these excerpts from Martyr’s Oath. Which one of these resonates with the most? Why?

    a.      I stand with the Apostle Paul in stating that “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

    b.      I take a stand to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with my mind as I meditate upon His Word and His promises to me. 

    c.       I commit to love my family, orphans, widows, lepers, the wealthy and the poor the way that Christ loved the Church.

    d.      I surrender this body on earth to the perfect will of Jesus and should my blood be spilled may it bring forth a mighty harvest of souls.

    Read John 15:26-27 and answer the question below

    3.      How has the Holy Spirit “born witness” or “testified” about Jesus in your heart and life?

    Read John 16:7-13 and answer the questions below

    4.      The Holy Spirit lives inside of every believer 24/7/365.  How are you taking full advantage of the Holy Spirit’s constant presence in your life?

    5.      How have you seen the Holy Spirit work in your life (or the lives of others) in the ways described in this passage?

    Read John 16:33 and answer the question below

    6.      Share about the tribulations that you have recently faced. How has the truth that Jesus has overcome the world given you hope in these tribulations?

    Live It Out:

    Share one of your biggest challenges that hinders you from testifying about Jesus’ work of love and transformation?

    Prayer Time:

    Pray for opportunities to testify about Jesus.

    Pray for your “one”. Who is that one person that God is putting on your heart and mind to be praying for and inviting to Easter?

     

     

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    For The Bible - Part 5


    Introduction

    Jesus Loves Me has been a powerful series. Please join me in thanking God for working powerfully this last weekend as John concluded our series. God has given us stability in an unstable world. John's teaching from Sunday about "For The Bible Tells Me So" reveals to us that we can be unshaken in times of personal, cultural or spiritual upheaval. We found that we also can be fruitful and flourish amidst chaos or constant change. 

    GROUP CONNECTION: Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Share about a time when believing and obeying the bible saved you from a decision that would have had significant long-term consequences. 

     

    STUDY/DISCUSSION: Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders- Please always make the effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Also, as with every week, don't feel pressure to go in-depth on every question, or complete every question. Don't let the pressure of completing every question distract from what God might be doing in your group. 

    Read 2 Tim. 3:1-5a and answer the questions below

    • Look at all of the negative attributes described in vs. 1-4. What parallels between today and this passage do you see? 
    • What does "the last days" mean?
      • See Acts 2:17 and 1 John 2:18 for further insight.
      • "The last days" is often used in scripture to refer to the present day (when it was written) until the time that Jesus will return and make all things right. in our day today, we see many (if not all) of the warning signs that are described in this passage. we, just like the early church, are living in "the last days".  
      • In 2 Tim. 3:5 Timothy says, "avoid such people". He clearly think of himself as living in the last days if he (and his audience) can actively "avoid such people". 

    Read 2 Tim. 3:14-15 and answer the questions below

    • What does Vs. 15 say about the impact scripture can have on an individual?
    • John shared with us on Sunday that the same scriptures that led us to salvation will continue reshaping us and guiding us as we follow Christ. How have you found this to be true in your own life?

    Read 2 Tim. 3:16-17 and answer the questions below

    • Share with the group one way in the last month that scripture has taught, rebuked, corrected, or trained you. what impact did this have on your life over these last few weeks? 
    • The goal is that we might be "complete, equipped for every good work". share with your group how scripture has equipped you for good works in your life.
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    • John shared these 4 truths with us this weekend. Which one has been most true in your life recently?

     

     

     

    Live it out:

    Look at the list from 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and pick one area that is especially challenging for you right now in your life.

    Share ways that your group can help keep you accountable (be specific!). 

     

    Prayer time:

    Pray for each other and the area you each shared that is challenging for you. 

    Pray for a supernatural ability to submit your pride and turn control over to God and His repair manual. 

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    Me - Part 4

    TEXT: ROMANS 5:17, GENESIS 1:27, JEREMIAH 17:9, 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17


    This week John continued our series on Jesus loves me: Christian essentials for the head and the heart. He focused in on the personal this week; the "me". We were reminded that we are a glorious ruin being restored. There is glory and ruin in all of us. As Christ transforms our hearts and lives we find the "ruin" being restored to reflect the "glory".

    GROUP CONNECTION

    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Discuss your reaction to John sharing that the rusted out "car" (on the left) that is missing its engine and most of the body is worth more than 40k. What does this tell you about how worth and value is determined?

    Discuss your reaction to John sharing that the rusted out "car" (on the left) that is missing its engine and most of the body is worth more than 40k. What does this tell you about how worth and value is determined?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Read Rom. 5:15-17 and discuss the questions below.

    • Discuss the phrase "but the free gift is not like the trespass [Adam's sin]". How is Jesus' free gift different than Adam's sin and its impact?

    Read Rom. 5:18-21 and discuss the questions below.

    • Look at the phrase "so by one man's obedience the many will be made righteous". How would you explain (in less than 30 seconds) this phrase to a new believer?
      • Righteous means being in right standing with God. It could also be described as having the scales balanced in your favor.
      • Leaders- try something a bit corny (but impactful). Have your group members look to those on their right and left (if they are believers) and say, "You are righteous because of Christ".
    • Verse 19 and 21 say that you as a Christian, right now and for the rest of your life, are righteous. How do you believe this truth even when you do not feel that it is true?

    • Look at this graph that John shared with us in service. Discuss the six areas and how you personally have seen them in action.

    • Thinking about your own life, look at the "Ruin" column. Which one of these six areas is the most challenging for you right now? Share with the group how they can support and encourage as you tackle this area this week.

    Live It Out:

    Who do you know that needs to be healed by Jesus' free gift of grace? Think about ways this week and leading up to Easter that you, by your life, words and actions, can be encouraging to them to become a glorious ruin being restored by Christ.

    Prayer Time:

    Thank Christ for what He has done in you (righteous, eternal life, etc...).

    Pray for the person you thought of who needs to experience healing and restoration that can only come through salvation by believing in Jesus Christ.

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    Loves - Part 3

    Text: Romans 5:7-8

    Last week John examined the most important question we will ever answer: “Who do you believe Jesus is?” We went over the importance of believing in both the humanity and divinity of Jesus, and we also examined the ways we access the power of Jesus.

    This week John talked about how we can really know that Jesus loves us.

    GROUP CONNECTION
    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    What does love mean to you? Allow each person to share.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION
    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

     

    1. What are some ways you show love to those closest to you?
    2. Read Mark 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. By looking at scripture, how would you redefine the word, “love?”
    3. Do you truly love strangers the same way you love those who are dear to you? Read Matthew 5:43-47. What does the Bible say about this?
    4. Read John 15:13 and Romans 5:8. Jesus laid down his life for us, “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Some people are hard to love. Sometimes, if we’re honest with ourselves, we are hard to love. How do these verses demonstrate that loving someone else shouldn’t be about THEIR goodness or deserving qualities, but rather, about our own hearts?
    5. Read Zephaniah 3:17. For anyone who is a parent, or has affectionately cared for a child, you can read Zephaniah 3:17, and envision a doting parent checking in on their slumbering infant. One moment He is simply “in your midst,” the next minute, He is “[rejoicing] over you with gladness,” and the next, “he is [quieting] you by his love.” When you envision God as a doting parent over you, how does it alleviate any anxiety you might have in regards to pleasing Him, ideas of perfectionism, or striving?
    6. When Jesus was crucified, we tend to think the disciples were brave and knew exactly what was going to happen next, but they didn’t. In fact, they were scared for their own lives. While a couple headed out of town on the road to Emmaus to escape possible persecution, others like Peter, denied even knowing Jesus. That doesn’t sound like love, does it? And, even with the knowledge that Peter had denied him on three separate occasions, when Jesus saw Peter again, he merely asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me? (John 21:16a). In fact, because Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times, Jesus asks him three times, as if to negate Peter’s threefold denial.  
    7. In the sermon John Dickerson asked, “How can you really know if someone loves you?” With all that you’ve studied today, how can you really know that Jesus loves you?

    Application:

    Is there anything you are carrying that you think is too big for Jesus to forgive? Are there things about you that you think God could never love?

    This week, make a conscious effort to see God as He sees you. He is your Heavenly Father and he longs to have a relationship with you. Read Zephaniah 3:17 again and let it encourage you. Also, consider the following, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” (1 John 3:1a).

    Prayer Time:

    Pray that each participant deeply knows the love of God and fully receives it. Also, pray that as the group departs they will conduct themselves, throughout the week, as those in whom God “[rejoices] over with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17b).

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    Jesus - Part 2

    Text: Matthew 16:15

    Last week John discussed why getting Christianity right matters. Can you remember a few reasons? (It matters for society, our neighbors, our kids and grandkids, ourselves, when we face death and for eternity).

    This week John will help us examine the most important question we will ever answer: “Who do you believe Jesus is?”

    GROUP CONNECTION Target time: 5-10 minutes

    In two or three words, describe Jesus. Allow each person to share.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Small Group Leaders, please always make an effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

    Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

    1. In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” If Jesus were to ask you this, what would you say?
    2. What are some ways the world around you gets this answer wrong?
    3. Read the following verses to help you with this question: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Matthew 28:19 & 2 Corinthians 13:14. Considering the verses you just read, how would you explain the Trinity to someone else?
    4. Read Romans 10:9 & 2 John 1:7. Considering these verses, why is it imperative to believe in both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ?
    5. In the sermon, John mentioned accessing Jesus’s power. We don’t oftentimes think of ourselves as being able to access Jesus’s power, but in scripture we are introduced to a woman who, in her desperation to be healed of a long-term illness, “thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well”” (Mark 5:28). In touching Jesus’s cloak, Jesus felt the “power proceeding from Him” (Mark 5:30a). Even though Jesus was the source of the power, what does Jesus say actually made the woman well? Read verse Mark 5:34.
    6. How does knowing about this relationship between Jesus’s power and our faith affect your faith?

    Application:

    We are oftentimes like the father of the demon possessed boy in scripture who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9.24b). We believe, but we lack something deeper at the heart of our faith.

    As John asked in his sermon this week, what do you need to believe about Jesus to access his power? This question is not asking you to test Jesus, for it says in scripture, “And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12); Rather, this question asks what you need to understand more clearly about Jesus so that you may believe and have a deeper, more abounding faith and access to the divine Creator of the Universe.

    Consider this and commit to it this week.

    Prayer Time:

    Before praying, read Romans 10:8-9 aloud. Pray for each person to be committed to gaining better and deeper understanding of Jesus Christ this week, so that they may gain access to his holy, incomparable power.  

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    Does It Matter? - Part 1

    Text: Romans 1:16, Matthew 16;13-15

    Pastor John Dickerson launched a new series this last weekend that is all about good news! Each week he will be unpacking the core essentials of the Christian faith—those beliefs that bring power, joy and good news into our lives and our world. Each week we will be re-anchoring ourselves in what Jesus’ Good News is, and what it means for you and your loves ones today.   

    GROUP CONNECTION
    Target time: 5-10 minutes

    Thinking back over the last couple of weeks, what is something (or someone) that has been really encouraging to you personally?  

    STUDY/DISCUSSION
    Target time: 45-50 minutes

    Read Romans 1:1-16 and discuss the questions below.

    • How do you access the “power of God” described in Romans 1:16?

    Pastor John discussed the significance of the term “Post-Truth”. Oxford Dictionary chose it as the word that best summarizes 2016. They define the word this way: “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Instead of discussing an objective truth; we are often discussing individual ideas of truth, and people often take great offense if someone disagrees with their individual idea of truth.

    Read Romans 1:18-23 and discuss the question below.

    • How does this passage differ from the idea of “Post-Truth”?

    • Christians are still required to commit to objective, unchanging standards about Jesus (who he was/is, what he taught). What does someone absolutely need to believe in order to be a Christ follower?

      • Pastor John shared it this way"

        • “Jesus”- Fully man and fully God

        • “Loves”- Died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose again

        • Why? To provide a way to humanity to be re-connected to God.

        • “Me- this I know”- Humanity is a glorious ruin… made in the image of God, but marred by sin. Every single person can be made right to God, by believing in Jesus’ work on the cross.

        • “For the Bible tells me so”- Everything we do and believe will be based- not on our feeling or changing society- but on the unchanging Word of God.

    • Discuss how can you communicate these objective truths of Christianity in a way that will be heard and understood even by those who might completely disagree.

    • Does it matter if we get Christianity right? Why?

      • Pastor John stated that Christ’s message is the power to change our world and ourselves.

    • Think about each of the following areas that he mentioned in his sermon. Discuss the impact, that Christianity has had and will continue to have in each area.
      • It matters for our society

      • It matters for our neighbors

      • It matters for our kids and grandkids

      • It matters for you personally

      • It matters when we face death

      • It matters when for eternity

    Prayer Time:

    Pray for the courage and wisdom to communicate the truths of Christianity to those around you who desperately need to hear it.

    Live It Out:

    This series is the perfect time to invite someone to church with you. This series will answer many of the questions that they will have to ask in order to understand, believe in, and follow Jesus. Pray about who to invite. Take a bold step and invite a friend or co-worker to join you.

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    Messy Grace - Part 5 - Kaleb Kaltenbach

    TEXT: JOHN 8:1-11


    This week we had the great privilege of hearing Caleb Kaltenbach and his message on "messy grace". He shared with us how his parents divorced when he was young, then both pursued same-sex relationships, and what is was Like growing  up in that environment. Caleb as a high schoolstudent, attended a Christian  bible study with the sole goalof disproving  Christianity and dismantling the faith of those in the study.  God had other plans and he became a Christian. After becoming a pastor and serving  in various churches, his parents started  attending  the church where he was a pastor. Over time they both became Christians. Caleb taught about how Love is the tension of grace and truth, especially  as it pertained  to his parents.

    GROUP  CONNECTION

    TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

    Share about a time when you had wronged someone and they showed you incredible grace/ forgiveness. How did this situation impact your Life and your perspective on grace?

     

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

    Read John 8:1-11 and discuss the questions below.

    1.  Read Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22. What do these verses say about the consequences of adultery  for the Israelites? What inconsistency  is there between the Old Testament instructions and what we see the Pharisees doing in John 8? What do you think this shows about the intentions of the Pharisees?

    2.  Look at verse John 8:7 and discuss how Jesus not only escaped the trap the Pharisees tried to set, but caught them in their own sin.

    a.   Jesus forces them into a situation where if they were to cast a stone at the women they would be claiming  that their Lives were without sin (which is equal to calling  oneself God). The Pharisees knew the law about false claims of being God, so they dropped their stones one-by-one and left.

    3.  What did Jesus say to the woman? Why do you think  He says this?

    4.   In the statement in John 8:10, Jesus demonstrates love toward the woman. Love is the tension between grace and truth. How have you experienced Jesus showing you love while speaking grace and truth in your  own life?

    5.  Think  of a specific  person who needs you to show them  truth this week. Share about how you plan to communicate this to them. How willyou balance  that truth with grace?

    6.  Think  of a specific  person who needs you to show them  grace this week. Share about how you plan to communicate this to them. How willyou balance  that grace with truth?

    PRAYER TIME:

    Consider splitting up into pairs or smaller groups. Read John 1:14 and pray for those people in your life who need to be shown grace and truth. Pray for God's wisdom and courage in your approach.

    LIVE IT OUT:

    Caleb shared about embracing the difference between acceptance and approval. Think about a person you could show acceptance to this week without having to give your approvalin areas that conflict with your Christian beliefs.

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    Hope For Single Parents & Blended Families - Part 4

    TEXT: RUTH 1-4

    This week Chip taught very specifically to single-parent and blended families. He reminded  us that while all families have challenges for unity and peace in the family, these two groups have very specialchallenges. He called all of us as a church family to provide to them the kind of support  and wisdom that only a church family can.

    GROUP  CONNECTION TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

    Share about a time when you overcame a significant challenge  and it had really positive results. How did that accomplishment make you feel?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

    Quickly review the story of Ruth. Discuss the highlights for a couple minutes.

    1.  Think about Naomi's hardships and difficulties. How does she show wisdom throughout this story?

    a.   Naomi lived in a time when one's husband (or sons) was the primary indicator of your stability and success. She and her husband left during a famine. While in Moab, her husband died, both of her sons got married and then died. She became a widow, a single parent and then a grieving mother with non-Jewish daughter's-in-law. She returned to Bethlehem without resources or hope.

    b.  3 ways that Naomi responded wisely to the tragediesthat had befallen  her.

    i.   She returned to God and his people.

    ii.   She faced her pain and loss.

    iii.   She (and Ruth) follow God's word (2:20), not the world (3:10).

     

    2.  What was the result of her trust  and obedience to God's pathway for redemption?

    a.     Ruth was married to her kinsman redeemer, and Naomiwas restored her life and her family.

    Naomi received a grandchild, and Ruth became a part of the ancestral line of Jesus.

    Read Ruth 2:1-11 and discuss the question below

    3.   Ruth "happened" to find herself  in the field owned by Boaz, her kinsmen redeemer. God is sovereign and God is gracious to us.  Ruth responded with thankfulness to the kindness she was shown. Share an example of a time when God's sovereignty and grace impacted your life lor a situation you were in) in a profound  and unexpected way.

    Single parents are a growing percentage  of all families. Chip shared seven actions steps for single parents. Whether you are a single  parent or not, these are a wise approach to life.

    4.   Pick one of these seven that your family needs most right now. Share with the group why you picked that one.

    •    Make your relationship with Christ your #1 priority.

    •    Get connected with a strong, Godly, same-sex group for supportand accountability.

    •    Accept "this  season" of your life and set realistic expectations.

    •    Remember, God can "make up" for what you can't give your kids.

    •    Refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.

    •    Don't compromise your spiritualand moralstandards to "provide a father/mother" for your children.

    Chip also shared about how every family relationship is a system. When one relational component changes, there is a domino effect that changes the whole system.

    5.  Think about your family lor friendships). How has your family lor friendship)  system been affected  by a change in a relationship? What sort of lasting  impact did that have on your system? Did it get resolved?

    Read James 1:2-5 and discuss the question below

    6.  There is a difference between trials and temptation. God does not tempt us to sin IJames 1:13-15), but he does bring us through  trials to test and strengthen our faith. Also remember that people's free will leads to choices that negatively affect others. Whatever your trial is right now, how do you see God working as you persevere  through it?

    PRAYER TIME:

    Pray as a group for the single parents and blended families around you. Pray for them to trust God and to persevere.

    LIVE IT OUT:

    Do you know a single parent of blended family that could use your support?  What step this week will you take to help them?

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    Guest Speaker- Doug Fields - Part 3

    TEXT: HEB. 13:4, ECCL. 9:7,9, GEN. 2:24


    We had the great privilege of hearing from a guest speaker, Doug Fields, this weekend. He has over 30 years of youth ministry experience, has written over 60 books, and is passionate about helping  people build strong  marriages and impacting  the next generation.

    GROUP  CONNECTION

    TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

     

    Share with the group one of your favorite memories from your marriage.

    If you aren't  married, share with the group a great memory  about your parents'  marriage.

     

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

     

    This week Doug Fields focused in on the importance of advocating for marriage. Whether you are single, married, or divorced it is important to esteem marriage as highly valuable. He reminded  us that marriage is a gift from God that impacts the community and the world. He focused on the example of a backup singer that supports  the main singer. We as a church are the backup singers that are called to support  marriage.

    Read Hebrews 13:4a and discuss the question below.

    1.   What does it mean to honor your spouse?

    a.   Doug shared that the most consistent  and significant  predictor of happy marriages was whether  one's spouse expressed gratitude.

    2.   How can you express gratitude to your spouse on a daily basis?

    a.   1,440 minute  per day- 1 %of  that time is 15 minutes. Sitting knee to knee and eye-to­-eye honoring  your spouse and encouraging  each other

    3. We, as people of faith, believe that change can always happen. Regardless of where you are in your marriage, it can be changed and improved  through  the power of the Holy Spirit.  Share with the group a time when you have seen positive change happen in your life or in the lives of those around you.

    Read Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9a and discuss the question below.

    4.   Meaningless in this passage can be translated as fleeting.

    a.   Ex.- You need to enjoy [prioritize] your marriage because life is fleeting.

    b.   Marriage is a gift God gives us. What is one way you can focus on enjoying your marriage this week.


    5 benefits of dating your spouse are:

    •    Lines of communication are kept open

    •    Getting out of a rut in your relationship

    •    Demonstrates commitment to your spouse and your children

    •    Relieves stress

    •    Rediscover passion and sexual intimacy.

     

    5.  Share with your group which of these five benefits you think is most important for marriages in our cultures. Why?

     

    Read Gen.2:24 and discuss the questions below.

    Doug shared the importance of prioritizing marriage above parenting.

    6.  What benefits do you think will come from prioritizing your marriage above your parenting?

    7.  What steps are you taking now to make sure that you will have a strong marriage after your children grow up and leave home?

     

    PRAYER TIME:

    Pray as a group for those with marriages. Pray that your group will be of encouragement and support to the marriages they are connected with through family, work, and church.

    LIVE IT OUT:

    Doug shared that the quickest way to enjoy your marriage is to date each other. Plan a date with your spouse over this next week. Ask your group to keep you accountable  for making that date happen.

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    How To Grow A Strong Family - Part 2

    TEXT: DEUTERONOMY 6:1-12


    As we continue our series "Strong  Families In A Broken World"  Chip focuses on the "how"  this week. He walks us through  four questions that changed his life and his family on objective, priorities, schedule, and discipline. If we want to grow a strong family, we will need to address each of these.

    GROUP  CONNECTION

    TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

    If money and time were no object, what is a dream you've always had that you would check off of your bucket list? Share this with the group and why this is something  you've always wanted to accomplish.

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

    This week Chip is focusing on the practical side of "how" the prescription that God gives for strong families works. There are five commands in the following six verses in Deuteronomy  that give us practical action steps to take.

     

    Read Deut. 6:4 and discuss the question below.

    1.  Why is this doctrinal truth so important? Share an example  of a time when doctrinal truth kept you on the right  path.

    Read Deut. 6:5 and discuss the question below.

    2.  Why does God require total personal devotion from us?

    Leaders- Matthew  6:24 and Matthew 6:33 give great insight  into this question.

    Read Deut. 6:6 and discuss the question below.

    3.   Why is biblical knowledge so important to God's prescription for a Strong Family? What does it look like  for biblical knowledge to be in your head and in your heart?

    Read Deut. 6:7-9 and discuss the question below.

    4.   Systematic instruction and teachable moments  are two vital pathways for Christians  to grow and mature. Share with your group your personal experience with systematic  instruction and teachable moments. Why were they effective in shaping who you are today?


    Chip shared with us four questions that radically impacted his life, marriage, and family. Take a moment  to record  your answers:

    •    Objective- Who do you really  want to become?

    •     Priority- How badly do you want it?

    •    Schedule- Where does it show up on your calendar?

    •    Discipline- Are you willing to pay the price?

    5.   Share your objective with the group and what God has been doing in your life to prompt  you towards pursuing this objective in particular.

    6.   Based on your objective, share 2-3 key changes that you need to make in your schedule. Who can help you stay on track with this?

    PRAYER  TIME:

    Pray for the objective that God has placed in the hearts of each person in your group. Encourage each other to rely solely on God as He brings about these changes in their lives.

    LIVING IT OUT:

    Chip shared his example of trying a 1-week experiment (specifically, spending time with God every morning and not watching TV in the evening) which resulted in a chain reaction of grace in his life, marriage, and family.  As he was sharing, what did you sense that God was prompting you to try this week with your family? Will you trust Him and take that step of faith?

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    Read Instructions Carefully Before Attempting - Part 1

    TEXT: DEUTERONOMY 6:1-15


    We are starting a new series this week from Chip called Strong Families  in A Broken World. The theme of the sermon this week is to present  God's specific prescription to help you build a strong family. Chip wants you to know that whether  you are single, married, a single parent, a blended family, or recovering from the trauma of death or divorce, this series will help you discover and apply what we all long for so deeply in our hearts... a Strong Family.

    GROUP  CONNECTION

    TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

    Think about some friendships, families and marriages that you would describe as really healthy or strong. What are some of the qualities or habits that they have that you think contribute to their health?

    STUDY/DISCUSSION

    TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

    Chip reminds us that a doctor gives prescriptions for our benefit; to make us healthy. As we look to the Bible we see that God's prescription is a pathway for blessingand a strong family; but only if we take it.

    Read Deut. 6:1-9 and discuss the questions below.

    • Who is talked about in this passage? (God, sons, grandsons, etc..)
    • What are the instructions (commandments) in this passage? Take some time as a group and try to find as many action words as you can [keep, love, etc..).
    • What are some of the reasons/blessings listed in this passage for the Israelites
      • God is the only God
      • God desires to bless us
      • That is will go well with you in the land
      • Your days will be prolonged
      • God's instruction and direction for our benefit.
    • As Christians  living in 2017 without  a specific "Promised Land" promised  to us, how do these truths connect with our lives today?
      • We see the principle and the truth that the pathway to a life  filled  with goodness and God's blessing  [even in hardship/pain) comes from having Him as the center, motivating our actions and thoughts, for ourselves and our families.

    Chip shared with us six qualities that strong  families have:

    •  Commitment to family as a group

    •  Expresses great deal of appreciation

    •  Have positive communication skills

    •  Spend a lot of time together

    •  High degree of spiritual well-being

    •  Special ability to cope with stress and crisis

    • Which of these qualities resonates  with you most? Why?
    • Pick one of these six qualities and commit  to focusing on it over the coming weeks. Have your group share with each other the quality they picked and why.

    PRAYER TIME:

    I encourage you to break into groups of 2-4 people. Share with each other your biggest challenge or fear about building a strong family. Pray for these challenges/fears.

    LIVE IT OUT THIS WEEK:

    Take the next step and share the quality you are focusing on with someone outside of your small group.  Think about how this might encourage  them.

     

    Pray daily with your spouse/family this week.

     

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