Follow the Filling – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Where the Spirit leads…I will follow. This is our theme of the year at Faith Promise. We repeat it, but do we really live it?

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever seen something you want to change or incorporate into your life, but you know it’s going to take an all-in, wholly-involved commitment?

Introduction:
“Follow the Filling” is the Faith Promise theme of the year. Pastor says, “Where the Spirit leads.” And we say, “I will follow.” We have been repeating it all year, but in reality, are we living it? Do we listen to God when He is leading? Are we following what He asks us to do? What would our lives look like if wherever the Spirit lead, we actually followed? This could mean a fair bit of change in our lives.

At Movement, hundreds of students prayed for the strength to follow God wherever He would lead. They prayed for a supernatural change in their lives. But if we aren’t already close to God, following His lead can seem difficult. We must pursue God in order to be where God leads.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Exodus 33:15-16, Matthew 6:33 & 6:21, John 15:5-6, James 4:8, Revelation 21:1-4

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it take to be close to God? What does that mean?
  2. Are we pursuing closeness with God? If we seek God first, God promises to take care of us. Proximity brings passion. What are you passionate about?
  3. What gets in the way of our pursuit of God? Are we pursuing the right things?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Revelation 21:1-4 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.

What are some fears you have about putting God first? Are you pursuing proximity to something other than God?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: We saw this weekend how many students were impacted by Movement. It took hundreds of volunteers to make Movement successful. Faith Promise students and kids ministries both touch so many young lives every single week. Have you ever thought about volunteering in fpKIDS or fpStudents? One of our core values is We Serve Others. If you want to serve God, serve His children.

Engaging in Community: Did your group participate in Serve Day 2019? Promisors served at 74 Projects for over 3,200 Hours. Whether you served or not, you can still find something for your group to do in your community. Find a neighbor in need, clean up some trash at some local school or park grounds, take donuts to the ER nurses and doctors… there are so many ways to serve those around us. Make a plan to serve this fall.

Engaging the World: Faith Promise missionaries put God first by serving in locations far from home. Pray for the missionaries supported by your campus. Pick a missionary family from Faith Promise and reach out to them to show them your support. They love to hear from Promisors back home.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Faith Promise is full of Real People with Real Problems who know Real Love. How can you show those around you Real Love? Invite your friends, family, and co-workers to spend time with John Maxwell, renowned author, speaker, and coach. He will be sharing the Word at Faith Promise July 27-28 at our normal service times.


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

 

Intern Missionary to Jamaica shares her experience.

Last year when I graduated high school, I decided to go on a mission trip instead of a senior trip. When my Mom and I visited the missions spot at the FP Blount Campus, we found out about an opportunity to travel to and serve a deaf community in Jamaica.  Since sign language is important to both of us and has been used in our family for years, we began seeking God’s will and praying over it.  Thankfully, over time, God showed his favor on us, provided, and sent us to Jamaica in June of 2018.

During my time in Jamaica, I fell deeper in love with sign language, the deaf culture, and the deaf community.  God developed in me a heart for the Jamaican deaf and the country itself.  He taught me many things and I left with a desire to return the following year.  I went to college in the fall and began saving money, but I didn’t have any plans set in place.  When I heard someone mention an international internship God brought Dana to my mind; Dana is a short term missionary I met during my week in Jamaica.   She served alongside the Faith Promise Mission Team and she lived alongside the Jamaican Deaf and missionaries.  I took my desire to return to Jamaica as a Short Term Missionary (STM) to God and began praying about it.  I contacted Mr. Ben Beukema, a friend of mine who is also the president of CCCD’s (Christian Center for the Deaf) stateside office, and one of the missionaries Faith Promise supports.  He directed me to his wife, Mrs. Krista Beukema, who is also a missionary.  Mrs. Krista guided me through the application process and I obtained recommendation letters from core members of the Blount Campus.  God had his hand on it the whole time and I was granted permission from CCCD to become a STM/intern at their campus in Kingston, Jamaica during May and June of 2019.  Then, through a time of waiting and God teaching me, God provided me with the finances for my trip.  Not only did he provide me the $2,700 I thought I needed, but he provided me with an extra $600.  I used this money to cover unexpected expenses and, once in Jamaica, buy wheelbarrows and shovels for the deaf village.

The very first donation I received to cover these expenses was from Faith Promise Church.  The church made a significant contribution towards my mission trip.  It confirmed to me that it was God’s will for me to serve in Jamaica and live alongside the deaf community at the Kingston campus.  I am very grateful to those who helped make this possible.  Many people have believed in me and prayed for me.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for individuals within the church body at Faith Promise.  God has used you all in my life and I am sure he will continue working through you to encourage me, to teach me, and to remind me of his love for me.  Thank you for your impact.

While in Kingston, I lived on the campus of one of CCCD’s boarding schools. For the first couple of weeks I served as a teacher’s assistant.  This experience taught me important aspects of the teaching profession, which I will apply to my education major in college.  After a few weeks, my role changed to serving as a bridge between visiting mission teams and the campus, the children, the culture, sign language, etc.  However, the impact is not as much through the things I accomplished as it is through the relationships I made and cultivated.  I value the people I met and the lessons God continues to teach me through these relationships.  I want to tell you about two relationships of the relationships I made during my time in Jamaica.

When I went to Jamaica in 2018, I made several friends at the Jamaican Deaf Village.  Calva and I became friends early on during this mission trip.  He sat and had hour long conversations with me and taught me a lot of sign language.  He is a very good and patient teacher.  We were able to learn about one another and enjoy each other’s company.  Just about every evening, Calva, other deaf at Jamaica Village and our own team, would play card games and dominos.  When I got back to the states, Calva and I found each other on social media and have kept in touch all throughout this past year. We messaged each other several times a month and video chatted a few times as well.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to visit JDV for a week during my recent trip this summer.  When I arrived, Calva and I found each other and it was a happy reunion.  I am very thankful for the friendship Calva and I share and that we’re able to keep in touch.  Our contact with one another throughout the year keeps our friendship alive. It’s an amazing thing to see my friend after being a year apart.

On the Kingston campus, there are around 30 students attending the CCCD school. Their ages range from 6 to 20.  Throughout my time on campus, I did life with these students.  We ate, played games, went on field trips, learned, and talked together.  I got to know several of these kids.  My relationships with them varied in their depth and in their roles.  To some of them, I was their friend.  This was the case with a little boy named Martino.  Martino is a sweet boy around the age of 8.  He loves to play with cars and his friends.  He and two other young boys, Jamie and Nathaniel, are referred to as the three stooges or the three musketeers.  One of their chores was to take trash to the dumpster.  One day, when it was their turn to do their chores, all three of them loaded bags into wheel barrels and then raced them across campus to the dumpster. It was a very funny to watch. Throughout the whole thing, Martino held his nose a little in the air.  It’s one of his cute little quirks; he tilts his head back just a little like he’s trying to see over his nose.  I have no idea why he does it but it’s funny to watch when he does it while racing a wheel barrow.  There were many times when Martino would come sit beside me and lean up against me.  He has a kind heart and would give hugs while smiling great big.  He drew me pictures and colored coloring pages (all of which I’ve kept.)  I love him and our relationship continues to bring me joy.  I intend to write letters and keep in touch with him and several other students.

I could write about several more relationships I’ve made with children and adults alike.  They’re allspecial to me and I cherish them. I hope to continue and always remember these friendships.  Relationships are where memories are made and it’s where God moves.  It’s important not to underestimate the impact relationships make, on all of those involved.

I have found that God gives us a heart and a passion for a people, place, and/or language.  This certainly reigns true in my life.  God continues to open doors and invite me to walk through them.  I’m not sure what God has in store for me next. But I’m excited to see what he does next because I know it’s going to be incredible.  I ask you all to pray that he guides me and reminds me of his promises for my life.  I want to walk with him and I want to walk in his love.

There is a lot of value in mission trips, but we can also do missions work where we are right now.  Our jobs, the grocery store, the local shelters; everywhere around us is our mission field.  God can use even the simplest conversations we have with the people we encounter every day. I challenge you to start a conversation with a stranger or ask your waiter how you can pray for him.  God will use it to touch that person’s heart and show them his love; and he’ll do the same for you.

Thank you for loving me church and thank you for believing in God’s work in my life.  I appreciate you all.  Y’all stay blessed.

-Ally Rey Carpenter

 

We Put God First – Discussion Guide

Main Idea: 
Growing as a disciple is a complete surrender of every area of your life to Jesus.

Discussion Starter: 
What is the first thing you do when you wake up every morning?

Introduction: 
When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are to put every part of our lives under God’s control. God is willing to provide for our needs if we trust Him completely with all that we have. Beginning with salvation and throughout the rest of our lives, we have opportunities to let God solve our problems. When we depend on Him, we learn that He is there every time.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Matthew 6:25-33, Malachi 3:10-11

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Matthew 6:25-33. What do you worry about? What does Jesus promise to those who put God first?
  2. Read Malachi 3:10-11. Why were folks instructed to bring the whole tithe?  Who was the food for? How were the generous to be rewarded?
  3. In verse 11, what were these farmers promised? How has God both provided what you need and protected what you already have?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 6:25-33 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.

What are some fears you have about putting God first and giving generously? Pray Philippians 4:6-7 over each other.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor shared four levels of giving ranging from beginner to lavish giver. No matter where you are on the generosity journey, can you take the next step?

Engaging in Community: Did your group participate in Serve Day 2019? How did it go? Did you make any connections to people or ministries you could serve on a regular basis?

Engaging the World: Faith Promise missionaries put God first by serving in locations far from home. Pray for the missionaries supported by your campus.


Expand God’s Kingdom

What did you learn today that you can share with someone outside Faith Promise?


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

 

This was my third year on the mission trip to Monterrey , Mexico. This trip was a great experience, as always, for a number of reasons. First of which is that I got to meet  a lot of cool people that were very supportive and usually always had a good attitude. Whether they were interns or people that went through a mission trip, they were all super happy to be there helping out with anything they needed to help with. Moving on over to the kids that we got to see at the orphanage, I had a great time connecting and playing with them after I got done working. All of them were super grateful to see us and they always had smiles on their faces, which made me feel really good. It was a pleasure to see Alexa again, which is the little girl my mom and I sponsor.  Alexa always has fun playing with my mom and me while we are there. A couple of the amazing things I experienced were the lessons and cool new things I learned while I was there. I’ll only tell you a couple of things because there were so many. The most  important thing was that God is always with me wherever I go, even if it’s across the world. I also learned from a couple of the stories, that God can change your entire life from just one small decision, and it’s no fairy tale, it has happened to multiple people at the mission site. Lastly, I wanted to say that one of the things that stood out was the time I had with God.  The most special time I spent with God this week was at the extended worship.  Extended worship was a longer worship time with beautiful music and stations where you can express yourself and get rid of some negative things. God really touched my heart that night and it was special to me. Thank you for reading, God bless you.

written by Colby Mayberry

Come Here Often? Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: How present are you really when you are with God?

Discussion Starter: Can you think of a place or an event where you observed people all around but felt like no one was really there?  Maybe a class in school where everyone was daydreaming, napping or chit chatting instead of paying attention to the instructor?  A meeting at work where everyone was on their phone instead of taking part of the meeting?

Introduction: Are you living through the motions, just gleaning here and there, or are you really being transformed in your experiences at church and with God?  What instances in the Bible can you think of where God (via a prophet, disciple, or Jesus) discusses the maturation of our spiritual relationship and the importance of our church family during this process?


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Ezekiel 36:25-27, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 John 4:10-12

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does the passage from Ezekiel say that God is going to do for His people?
  2. How does this compare to experiences that Jesus talks about in the New Testament?
  3. Read 1 Peter 2:2 and Hebrews 5:12 What examples can you find of how we should be nourishing ourselves in the growth of our relationship with God? Put these verses into your own words.
  4. We learned last week that our church family is there to support us and help us grow (Hebrews 10:24-25). According to 1 John 4:10-12 what do we look like when we have a relationship with Christ?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ephesians 4:11-14 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section. 

Getting to know you: In the transformation process that we see described in our primary scripture, where are you personally?  Is it possible that you can go back and forth between the stages?

Getting to know them: What other passages of Scripture describe where you are or where you feel like the group is as whole?  Think about both your current condition and also goals for the future.

Getting to know Him: Why do you think God so desires for us to be part of a church, a small group, or a body of Christian support? As a team commit to one another to pray Psalms 51:10 every day this week over each other and yourselves.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Have you signed up for our Serve day?

Engaging in Community: Who are the people at work or in your neighborhood who you believe could benefit from having a church family to support them in their growth?  Our community Serve Day is coming up in July.  Invite them to join your small group as you serve.

Engaging the World: Pray for the Christian church groups who are being massacred for their faith.  This is not generally covered by the news; however, we know more than 40 of our brothers and sisters were killed in late April over Easter in Nigeria and many of them were children.  In June, 95 were killed in Mali.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Our verses from 1 John give us the directive to expand God’s Kingdom by showing His love–the same love that we receive even when it isn’t deserved.  Who can you demonstrate this type of love to in your community?


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

WOW! This trip was wave-walking. It was a God-given chance for me to get to go from the start. When I heard about this mission trip, it was from my cousin, who goes to Faith Promise and was about to embark on his first mission trip. He was inviting me to come along. I was excited, but quickly realized that with a lot going on that year, and the expense of the trip, I would have to pass. My family agreed with the decision, and although I was disappointed, I was glad to be using my money wisely. Then my family planned a big vacation the week I would have been gone. Later that year, I got a call from my cousin only two weeks before the trip was to begin. One of the families had to step out, and there was a spot open for me on the trip at half the price it usually was! The only problem was the vacation we had already planned. It seemed like I was being taunted by opportunities I couldn’t take. Then something happened at my household, an out-of-the-blue change of plans, and our trip got canceled. All of a sudden, the door was wide open. I was going to Mexico!

I didn’t know anyone one the team except my cousin and my Aunt, and so I got to spend the whole week getting to know people with the same passions as me, and with the same God as I follow. They were all amazing, and were always there to help me each step of the way; to steady me, and to pick me up when I fell. God used this time to give me the rest I needed. No, we weren’t physically resting – not even close! – but we were spending every day with Him, doing things for Him, and following Him, which was rejuvenating for my soul. I’d never felt so alive. We got to spend one whole day helping Back2Back fix roofs, power wash, paint, and mix concrete, while the mountains towered around us. Then for the rest of our time, we got to connect with the kids, making crafts and playing endless games of soccer. It was so neat to see God putting smiles on each kids face, and helping us connect with each kid, even though we spoke two different languages. God is so cool in that way that he gave us ways to connect without having to speak; that he gave us expressions and laughter, and creativity. During that week when I was out of contact with my family back home, I was in contact with the Lord every day, and He brought me closer to Himself so that I could see things through His eyes, and appreciate the values He sees that we sometimes miss. 

See, in our world, we do in a way speak a different language than those around us who are of the world. We can make small connections with them sometimes by sharing experiences, by laughing with them, or by simply listening even though we may have no clue what they’re saying or how to respond. We can lead by example. But why not go one step further? When we got to Mexico, even if we didn’t know Spanish, we began asking our leaders how to say this or that, or ask if they could tell a child something. We began to try harder to listen and remember how to say certain things. we began to try to learn about who they are, how they speak, and how to know them on a deeper level so that we could connect in a deeper way. It didn’t matter that we only knew how to say “hello”, we were excited about it! Why should we treat every day life any differently? Why should we not try to learn the language of those around us so that we can connect a little deeper, even if they laugh at our efforts? We could put a smile on someone’s face, make a day a little better, help someone take one more step, maybe even change a life. We could be the difference someone needs to come to Christ; if only we take the time, and make the effort. Our language is hard to learn, and difficult for the world to comprehend. So why don’t we reach out to the world instead of making the world come to us? Let’s do what Jesus would do, and learn their language, so that they can understand why we do what we do. Let’s explain ourselves, in their language. Why not? The return home was hard, in a way. There are so many distractions here that make us forget what we’re really here for. There are so many times when I just want to give up, to do what I want to do, to hang out with my friends instead of help someone I don’t really know that well. There are times when I wish I was in Heaven. But hey, no one said learning a language was easy. For most of us, its one of the most frustrating experiences ever. But we can’t give up. This is a call to arms. There’s lives to save out there, guys. Listen to others. Learn how to respond. Live out the faith. Be the difference for one.

 

Lottie Benson