Fifty Shades of They – Discussion Guide


Getting Started

Main Idea:
Who are THEY? Show me your friends and I will show you your future. Surrounding yourself with the wrong “they” can pull you down. But there can be immeasurable growth and success when you surround yourself with the right they.

Discussion Starter:
Who are the 5 people in your life who you go to when you have a problem?

Introduction:
God wants us to get the most out of every relationship we have. But this does not happen without intentionality. We have to actively surround ourselves with the right THEY.

Watch this short video with your group.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 14:7, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 2nd Timothy 2:22, Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 5:11

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you think back to your five friends that you would go to if you needed help, think now if there is anyone else who can be in your “circle of influence.” Who do you call at 2 AM when there is a problem? In other words, who is your “they”?
  2. Pastor Young spoke about relationships we can “walk to” (become more engaged in) and those we may need to “walk from” (become less engaged in). Read Proverbs 14:7 and 2 Timothy 2:22 as you think about those currently in your life and those you can intentionally place in your life.
  3. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. What does this mean about your current friendships or work relationships with nonbelievers? How are we to live in the world and share the gospel and yet still be “separate”?
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 5:11. Would this have any impact on your relationships with people who call themselves believers?
  5. Read Proverbs 27:19 and Proverbs 9:9. How can both of these verses be played out in your life?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes here.

Getting to know each other:  Read Proverbs 12:25 and Galatians 6:2. What anxieties can you share in order to lessen the weight on your heart?

Getting to know Him:  God’s heart is one that delights in opportunities for us to know Him better. How can your group prepare to know God in a deeper way? Consider putting together your Personal Spiritual Growth Plan that you can begin and share with your group January 1.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:   What gift has God given you that you can use to serve at Faith Promise?

Engaging in Community:  Does your group have plans to serve somewhere in your community before the end of the year? If not, consider serving at All Is Bright or Christmas Spectacular.

Engaging the World:  Moving into the Christmas season, there are many opportunities to pray for our Missionary partners. Most of our missionary families are away from their families. Pray for a peace this holiday season as they commit to God’s work around the world.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Expanding God’s Kingdom by pouring into the discipleship journey of others requires commitment and preparation. How can you prepare to help someone grow in their discipleship?


Leader’s Notes

The discussion starter and questions may be fun for some people, but extremely unpleasant and painful for others. But this can be an excellent opportunity for the leader of the group to lead.

The Bible predicted that narcissism would rise, and that even natural family relations would, for some people, be impossible (2 Timothy 3:2-4). Many people do not even have one person to turn to, and these questions can make it painfully apparent to them. If your group is full of genuine Christ-followers, then be prepared to emphasize that you can be called on in time of need.

Many people have horrendous, emotionally abusive family relationships, and feel that “the Christian thing to do” is to accept the abuse and be a doormat. As a leader, the only thing you might see is someone being very quiet and a little disengaged. You must be prepared to reach out to these people and make serious effort that might even be resisted at first.

The people who are truly sad and hurting are not usually very vocal about it. And they may be ashamed that they don’t have people, which causes them to withdraw even more. These questions might expose very sensitive areas for people, but that can be a great way to show the love of Christ, and for you and your group to build real relationships.

Remember, when the Bible talks about us being “the household of God” and “brothers and sisters in Christ,” this might form a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture in most minds that hear it. But increasingly, hearing about how ‘believers are a big family’ may not give some people warm fuzzy feelings. Their family may be full of conflict, emotional or physical abuse, addiction, or other troubles. Why should they believe that God’s family is different? We have to show them! As believers, we should be redefining what a family is.

So as leaders, we should be ready to look for and actually reach out to people who are hurting; they will not always speak up about their needs. They often think nobody cares. But you, and others in your group, might be in the perfect place to prove to them that God does, and that others do, too. But you may have to notice, and reach out.

Heart for the Harvest Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: To extend and expand requires us to be all in!

Discussion Starter: What would happen if you couldn’t use your cell phone for an entire day?

Introduction: This week, we saw three pictures of generosity; Hannah, the widow of Zarephath, and the widow’s mite.  In these pictures, one gave her first, another her last, and another her all.  What God really wants to know is if we are willing to give our all in worship of Him.

Watch this short video with your group.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 6:12-15, 2 Chronicles 7:1-5

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you fasted during this Heart for the Harvest, how did it impact your walk with God?  If you did not fast, consider fasting in the future.
  2. What is one area where you put God first?  What is one area where you don’t currently put Him first, but know you need to?
  3. Has there been a time when you gave God the last of something when you weren’t sure if there would be more?
  4. What’s your next step to a deeper level of commitment to God?
  5. This week drew to a close Heart for the Harvest 2019, what can you do to start preparing for 2020?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Mark 12:43 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes here.

Getting to know each other:  Read Proverbs 16:3  How can you encourage each other this week to commit to God’s plans?

Getting to know Him:  God’s heart is one that delights in opportunities to bless us and opportunities for us to bless others.  How can your group prepare to receive blessings and be available to bless others?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:  What gift has God given you that you can use to serve at Faith Promise?

Engaging in Community: Does your group have plans to serve somewhere in your community before the end of the year?  If not, consider serving at All Is Bright.

Engaging the World: Moving into the Christmas season, there are many opportunities to help with the God’s global work.  Consider how your group can be a part of that work.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Expanding God’s Kingdom by pouring into the discipleship journey of others requires commitment and preparation.  How can you prepare to help someone grow in their discipleship?

Heart for the Harvest Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
To extend and expand, it takes a foundation of faith and preparation. Faith Promise has an incredible foundation of faith, obedience, and sacrifice from so many “Davids” who came before.

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever done something that when you look back, you think, “How did I actually do this? WHY did I actually do this?” Or even better, “What was I thinking?” Discuss some crazy things you have tried that took extraordinary faith (and guts).

Introduction:
This week we are in our second week of Faith Promise’s annual Heart for the Harvest season. Pastor Chris cast a vision for how Faith Promise can reach real people with real problems and share the real love of Christ. Our offering on November 9-10 will be used to further this vision and expand God’s kingdom. You can look at the initiatives planned here.

Watch this short video with your group.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 22:11-16, Luke 4:18-19, 1 Chronicles 11:17-19

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to completely trust God?
  2. Read 1 Chronicles 22:11-16. God not only provides the material and workers, but also the discretion and understanding to build the temple. Why would David then say, “be strong and courageous”?
  3. Read 1 Chronicles 22:17-19. God asks the Israelites to devote their heart and soul to seeking the Lord first. What do you need to devote to Lord before you ask for provision? Where are you lacking trust for what God can do in your life?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Proverbs 3:5-6 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes here.

Getting to know each other:  We discuss trusting God completely in our guide. Why is that hard to do? What are we afraid to completely hand over to Him? Do we trust God so little today because we’ve trusted Him with so little in the past? How can we change that?

Getting to know Him:  One way to sacrifice to God is to give Him our time, our minds, and our hearts. Memorizing scripture requires a sacrifice of our time, but we reap abundant rewards in having God’s word always with us. This week memorize our theme verse for 2019, Luke 4:18-19.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:  Are you participating in our 21-Days of Fasting and Prayer? The fast began Monday October 21 and will end on our Heart for the Harvest offering weekend November 10. You can also view daily devotions during this 21-Days here.

Engaging in Community:  This week we prayed for provision. Are you able to be the answer to someone’s prayer? Do you know of a need for food, clothing, or money? Could your group work together to meet that need? Ask God to show you how to be His hands and feet in answering prayers for provision.

Engaging the World:  One of our 2020 initiatives for Heart for the Harvest is launching new campuses. Pray for the new campuses that will launch and the lives that will change because of God’s real love.


Expand God’s Kingdom

This weekend we prayed for provision. Tell others of what God has provided you and your family.

No Tricks, All Treats – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
The devil is real and aims to destroy God’s people, but God is greater and will win the final victory.

Discussion Starter:
Which Halloween candy do you prefer, chocolate or not? What is your least favorite?

Introduction:

This week, we dive into a topic many don’t like to discuss–spiritual warfare. The devil is a real person, and his mission is to destroy God’s people. This is his only way to get at God! We must “put on the full armor of God, so that [we] can take [a] stand against [his] schemes.” There is power in the name of Jesus, the One who defeated sin and death on the cross!

Watch this short video with your group.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Ephesians 6:10-18

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul begins this last section at the very end of his letter with “finally”. Up to this point, he has carefully established our place in Jesus and the basics of the Christian walk. When he wrote “finally” here, he is speaking in light of all he has previously said. Describe your glorious standing as a child of God, all that He has done for you, and what it means to you daily.
  2. According to verses 10-11, what 2 things must a believer do to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil”?
  3. What does it mean to “be strong in the Lord and in His strength”?
  4. This is God’s armor that He shares with us! Discuss each aspect of His armor He has graciously given to us. How does knowing you have access to God’s armor encourage you as you endure difficult times? See Romans 8:37.
  5. What do you learn about God and about Satan in this passage?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ephesians 6:10-18 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore how Christ followers are to depend on the strength of God and the protection of spiritual armor, in order to stand against the attacks of spiritual enemies.


Embrace Others

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

Getting to know you: Paul reminds us that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” How does this truth affect the way you think about a struggle or conflict you may have in your family, relationships, or in the workplace? How will you apply this passage and use the tools (armor) God has provided us?

Getting to know them: We have access to God’s Spirit and His strength–not ours–to face hardships in life. Discuss ways you can encourage each other with this truth. Pray for specific struggles your group members may be facing. Allow God to work by the power of His Spirit, and pray for members to be protected by truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God!

Getting to know Him: When facing attack, meditate on Ephesians 6:12, that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” and pray for the person through whom the attack is coming. Challenge each other to memorize 1 John 4:4, “because the One[Jesus] who is in you is greater than the one[the devil] who is in the world.”


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor Zac challenged us that Heart for the Harvest (“H4H”) is coming up in two weekends. This is not a time to kick back, sit, or stand still. It is a time to stand firm and advance! As a congregation, we are praying and fasting for God to move in our hearts towards generosity. It is a time to connect with God and disconnect from the world! “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” -Ephesians 6:18. Your financial gifts through our annual Heart for the Harvest Offering are key in our effort to launch new campuses, see exponential growth, and produce changed lives.

Engaging in Community/Engaging the World: It is through our generosity at FP that we are able to support local groups such as Emerald Youth. Emerald Youth Foundation is a Christian, urban youth and community ministry in Knoxville, TN serving over 2,300 young people annually. Your group could pray about finding ways to spend some time together volunteering. Emerald has a variety of ways in which you can get involved. Check out the information in this link to learn more. https://www.emeraldyouth.org/getinvolved


Expand God’s Kingdom

Our mission at Faith Promise is this: “We exist to help real people with real problems find real love.” The very task of reaching out to the lost places us in the sights of the enemy. Because we are seeking to reach nonbelievers and sharing with them about the real love and hope found only in Jesus Christ, we are offensively engaging the enemy’s territory—we can expect that the enemy will fight back. We needn’t fear, however. We can rely on the Power of the Spirit and God’s armor to go into battle knowing Satan is already defeated! How will you pray for God to empower our church as we face spiritual warfare so that we can shine as much light on the name of Jesus Christ? “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1Corinthians 16:13-14)


Leader’s Notes

1. Answers will vary. If discussion is quiet, ask for how God has blessed your members’ lives. Feel free to emphasize that their lives to come are the ones that are filled with overwhelming amazing blessings (like Hebrews 13:14 talks about), even if their lives right now are a lot more like Stephen in Acts 7:59.

2. Be strong in the Lord and in His strength; put on the full armor of God. Both are essential!

3. His strength works in us as we rely on it and step out to do the work He has called us to do. It is not realized unless we take action! It is also not realized when we take action in our own strength. Satan’s schemes against us come to nothing when we stand against them in the power of God.

And conversely, if we do not put on the whole armor of God, then we have at least one ‘weak point.’ And that can be very troublesome. Because there are instances of people in the Bible not really understanding spiritual warfare, and then suffering because they fall into sin. (E.g. Acts 19:15 — which happened at Ephesus).Trying to engage in warfare casually is a really, really bad idea. Consider ‘warfare’-related verses like 1st Timothy 1:18-19.

4. Answers may vary. Don’t be afraid to look up a little bit about Roman military equipment before leading a discussion on this passage. For instance, did you know that Roman tower shields were designed with hooks on the corners? Also, those shields were bucklers, which were strapped and buckled onto the arms of the soldiers using them (much like a belt), so they couldn’t drop them. This way, even if a soldier were injured, the shield wall could remain in tact, and a soldier could remain standing because of those by his side—and the entire column of soldiers could still advance. Of course, it would be a different story if everyone were injured. This is a very rich study that is made amazing if you get to look into the historical facts surrounding the equipment Paul mentions—and that which he leaves out!

5. In the Christian life we WILL battle the spiritual forces of wickedness, these demonic forces that are under Satan’s authority. Although we are assured victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ’s return. God provides us supernatural power with the Holy Spirit as well as his surrounding armor to do battle- “to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

Heart for the Harvest Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Extending God’s Hand and Heart, and expanding God’s Kingdom requires a foundation of faith and preparation.

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever built something? A house? A dog house? A massive birthday cake with many layers? How did your preparation affect the outcome of your project?

Introduction:
This week we begin our annual Heart for the Harvest season. Pastor Chris cast a vision for how Faith Promise can reach real people with real problems and share the real love of Christ. Our offering on November 9-10 will be used to further this vision and expand God’s kingdom. You can look at the initiatives planned here. Before we begin, let’s lay a foundation.

Watch this short video with your group.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 22:1-5, Luke 6:46-49

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to “extend God’s Hand?”
  2. Read 1 Chronicles 22:1-5. David would not see the temple built, and yet he made “ample preparations.” What ample preparations are you making for the next generation? Financial preparations? Educational preparations? Spiritual preparations?
  3. Read Luke 6:46-49. This week Pastor spoke about laying a foundation. According to these verses, how do we know if we have a solid foundation? 
  4. Are you weathering any storms? How is your foundation of faith? 

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Luke 6:46-49 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes here.

Getting to know each other:  
We discussed facing storms and testing our foundation. We have all faced situations where we could have been better prepared. Think about solidifying or repairing your foundation. How can you help each other to remain committed to prayer, Bible reading, and attending church and group?

Getting to know Him:  
One way to cement our foundation is to keep God’s word in our minds and in our hearts. This week, commit to memorize 1 Corinthians 3:11:
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:  Are you participating in our 21-Days of Fasting and Prayer? The fast begins Monday October 21 and will end on our Heart for the Harvest offering weekend November 10. You can also view daily devotions during this 21-Days here.

Engaging in Community:  Next weekend (October 26-27) is our No Tricks, All Treats weekend at every campus. Invite friends with kids to join in the fun!

Engaging the World:  One of our 2020 initiatives for Heart for the Harvest is launching new campuses. Pray for the new campuses that will launch and the lives that will change because of God’s real love.


Expand God’s Kingdom

This weekend we prayed for prodigals and relationships. Did God bring someone to your heart and mind? Reach out and connect with them this week.


Leader’s Notes

  1. We are man and not God, so we do NOT control God’s Hand. However, God offers His free gift of salvation to ALL (see Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23). “Extending God’s Hand” is telling and showing others about God’s love and His free gift of salvation.

Jamaica Mission Trip Day 8 – October 12, 2019

Day 8 – Travel Day – Katy Creasman

We woke up around 5:30am to pack our suitcases onto the bus and eat breakfast.  Some of the residents of JVD woke up to tell us bye.  To me, that was a sign of the relationships that were built over the week.  To wake up on a Saturday that early was amazing for us as a team to see.  We did a final prayer with the team including the lady, Vern, who cooked for us all week and her assistant and the security guard, Donovan.  We loaded the bus and traveled the 2 hours to the Kingston airport.  Checking-in and going through security was surprising easy and we had enough time to get some more food before getting on the flight to Atlanta.  Once in Atlanta, we went through customs again with no issues.  We did almost have an issue from Atlanta to Knoxville as our plane was overbooked but everyone got on the plane and we safely made it to Knoxville where our families were there to greet us.

Some of the team words/inside jokes of the week were:

Bucko, Vehicular Trumpets, Jamaican Justin (Adam Montgomery)