Empty Spaces Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
God wants to fill our empty spaces of fear and insecurity with purpose and potential.

Discussion Starter:
There are targets or goals in all areas of life from sports and health to school and work. Share about a time you tried to hit a target. Were you successful?

Introduction:

Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):


This is our final week of Empty Spaces. We know that God has designed each of us for a purpose, but we also know that as Paul cautions in Romans 12:2, we are tempted to conform to this world rather than God’s purpose for us. This week Pastor shared about aiming and shooting for the mark of our full God-given potential.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Discussion Questions:
1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. Have you experienced this feeling of weariness in your earthly body? What hope do you find in these verses?

2. Read verses 6-10. What is our target, and why are we aiming at it?

3. Once we know what to aim for and why we are shooting, we need to work on how to get closer to the bullseye. If you are currently following a Bible reading plan, share with your group how this regular reading has given you better “sight” of the target.

4. Do you have a spiritual growth plan, or have you used one in the past? Share with your group how this plan has helped you to shoot closer to the mark. If you don’t have a plan, share with your group one thing you think a growth plan would change in your life.

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

Share with your dyad or triad about your spiritual growth plan. Do you need to make one? Do you need to share your plan with an accountability partner? Do you have one and want to share how God is using this tool for growth in your life? Make a pact for each person in your dyad or triad to have a growth plan by next meeting.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Make a plan to improve your sight of the target: read your Bible! You can join the Faith Promise plan here. Don’t worry about starting at the very beginning-just jump in with today’s reading.

Engaging in Community: Do you know anyone affected by Hurricane Florence? Can you offer food or shelter to someone you know who has been displaced?

Engaging the World: This week Pastor shared about our partnership with The Timothy Initiative in India. Pray for those affected by the monsoons.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Next week we begin a new series called Revival. You don’t want to miss it! Who can you bring?


Leader’s Notes

1. This question has the potential to for people to open up and share if they are depressed. Please allow the Spirit to lead and give people time to share. If you feel that a group member needs help outside of group you can refer them to our counselors at Faith Promise.

2. Our goal is to please God, because we will be rewarded (or not) for what we have accomplished during our time on earth.

4. Strongly encourage group members to develop a spiritual growth plan if they do not have one. Here are some resources for creating a spiritual growth plan from Pastor Chris’s first book: growth plan worksheets. For a shorter plan see this: one page spiritual growth plan.

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.

Empty Spaces Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Walking with God in your weaknesses will lead to walking in His strength.

Discussion Starter:
We face the challenge of filling spaces in different settings almost daily. Think back to a time you needed to fill empty space in a gift box. What was the most creative way you filled that empty space?

Introduction:
Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):

Even after we begin a relationship with Christ we still have weaknesses, make mistakes, and struggle with things we struggled with before we met God. Why does it feel like there is empty space between us and God? It might not be a bad thing. God can fill this empty space with His strength.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Romans 8:26-27

Discussion Questions:
1. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9. God says His power is perfected in our weakness. Have you found this to be true in your life? Discuss why God can work better when we are weak.

2. Too often we try to fill the empty space with activities, self-help, or false strength. Discuss why this makes it difficult for God to work in our lives.

3. Read Romans 8:26-27. What do you feel is meant here by the Spirit interceding for us in prayer with unspoken groanings?

4. Do you feel that God can still hear and understand your prayers even when you don’t use words, just groans and expressions of feeling from the heart? Have you ever prayed like that? Can you share an example?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Romans 8:26-30 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 burdens you most? Share your heart with your dyad or triad, and then spend some time in silent prayer allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede for you.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Next Steps is now every week. Encourage others, especially those new to Faith Promise to check out this incredible experience and learn how to take their next step in their walk with God, and as part of Faith Promise.

Engaging in Community: What are some empty spaces in your community? Is there a neighbor who has an empty nest and could use company? Is there a neighbor who could use some help with their yard work? Could you lend an ear or a hand and then share this message and help them learn how God can fill the empty spaces?

Engaging the World: Each day this week pick one country or people group and spend some intense time in prayer for them. Pray from your heart; listen for God to prompt you through the Holy Spirit in how to pray for them.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Who do you know who needs to hear this message? Can you share with them this week? Can you invite them to attend at your campus next week?


Leader’s Notes

1. Empty spaces give God room to work. We need to rely on God’s strength when we are weak.
2. If we are not praying and communing with God, then when we have successes we may be filled with pride (believing that our own effort brought success), and when we have difficulties we may believe that there is no hope (because in truth we cannot do it on our own). God fills the void, not our efforts.

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 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.

 

Empty Spaces Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: This week we begin a new series “Empty Spaces,” where we will be encouraged and challenged to turn to God to fill the empty spaces of fear and insecurity with potential and purpose.

Discussion Starter: Would you want the power to read people’s thoughts?  Why or why not?

Introduction: 

Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):

If we are not deliberate in our thoughts, our mind will be filled, by default, with the world around us.  In order to harmonize our minds with God’s will and word, we have to pursue purposeful focus.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Romans 12:2 and Proverbs 4:20-27

Discussion Questions:
1. What thoughts do you dwell on that seem to crowd out God’s purpose for you?

2. This week, have you allowed yourself to quiet the world around you and spend time thinking about God and the people He has placed in your life?  If not, be intentional now, put it on your calendar, schedule some time this week to read God’s Word and meditate on what He wants to tell you.

3. How can you avoid letting Jesus become “just another thing” that fills your life?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 2 Corinthians 10:5 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

How can your Embrace group, which focuses on a shared interest, put that focus through the lens of exploring God?  Discuss how you can avoid allowing that shared interest to take focus away from God but rather enhance your relationship with Him.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: If you are not currently serving anywhere at FP, pray that God will draw your thoughts to an area to begin.  If you are currently serving, pray that God will focus your thoughts on how to best serve.

Engaging in Community:  When your thoughts focus on areas or groups in your community, how can you and your group carry the light and love of God to those places and people?

Engaging the World: As a group, be deliberate about how you will serve God’s world and how your thoughts will be deliberately focused on serving as well.


Expand God’s Kingdom

This week, spend time thinking about someone God would have you walk along side in their spiritual growth.  If you are already doing that, talk with them about something you can both be focusing your thoughts on to grow.


Leader’s Notes

1. Common thoughts will probably be things like finances, job security, kids’ activity schedules, etc.  Encourage your people focus on new roads of guidance  and new rivers of provision God will provide.

2. If you have people in your group who have managed to carve out at least one time this week to meditate on God, encourage them to make that a daily routine.  For those that have not done this at all, recommend getting their phones out and setting a reminder some time during the week.  You could also have people pair off and remind each other or follow up during the week to see if they have been able to do set time aside.

3.  In his book “Not a Fan”, Kyle Idleman says, “Fans mistake knowledge OF Jesus for intimacy WITH Jesus.”  Stress the difference between having a relationship with Jesus as opposed to simply knowing things about Jesus.

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.

New things beginning THIS weekend!

Get ready for a fresh filling, Promisors!

God is on the move, and At the Movies was only the beginning. We hosted many new families, achieved new attendance records, and most importantly, witnessed more than one hundred salvations and baptisms across our campuses in August!

This weekend, we step into the Empty Spaces of fear and insecurity in our lives to discover how to fill those spaces with potential and purpose.

Also starting this weekend, we’re launching our all-new Next Steps. This is a four-week experience to help you move forward in your walk with Christ, and it is available at every campus.

Sign up here, or show-up at 11:30 am at your campus (Pellissippi campus has an additional offering on Saturdays at 6:15 pm), and see for yourself!

Get In and Get On God’s New Rivers and Roads for this next season at Faith Promise, and be a part of something new and something supernatural.

Love you, and see you this weekend!

Pastor

At the Movies: The Greatest Showman – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
God’s real love is everything you want and everything you need.

Discussion Starter:
Name a “want” you have right now, and name a “need.”

Introduction:

Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):

This weekend, we explored how the world divides itself into an “IN” ring, where those inside enjoy privilege and fortune, and an “OUT” ring, where it is clear that those inside “don’t belong.”

We need a new ring, the third ring of this 3-ring circus, filled with real love where there is true celebration of God’s creation in all its brokenness and beauty. We need to return to the Creator who made us, to the Father who loves us, and to a Savior who longs to walk with us in the way we’ve always wanted. He alone is the Greatest Showman, because His forgiveness, mercy, and sacrifice is all we will ever need, and it is on offer to all who call on His name!


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-27, Matthew 11:25-30

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Genesis 1:26-27. God spent the first 5 1/2 days creating the universe, planet, heavens, vegetation, and living creatures in preparation for His final creation: humanity. To whom was God referring when He used the pronouns “Us” and “Our”?

2. Discuss what it means to be created in the image of God. How does this differ from the rest of creation? How does this perspective impact your view of God? How does it impact your view of yourself?

3. Read Matthew 11:25-26. Jesus encountered the “IN” crowd, many of which were “intellectuals” that stubbornly did not believe in Him or were indifferent. He shares in these verses true wisdom. What was hidden from the “IN” crowd? What kind of people made up the “OUT” crowd? Why is this important?

4. Read Matthew 11:28-30. Who did Jesus have in mind when He extended this invitation? What kinds of burdens are people carrying today?

5. How does this invitation speak to you? In what ways are you weary or burdened?

6. Is there someone in your life who needs the true inner rest found in Jesus? How will you pray for them? How will you ask God for the wisdom and courage to speak to them and share where true relief from life’s burdens can be found?

7. What does Jesus say we must do to find rest?

8. In Jesus’ day, the Jews were yoked to an unbearable system of laws. It was a heavy load, and they were bruised by it, but remember, Jesus was a carpenter! He could fashion a yoke that fit perfectly so that the animals yoked together would share the burden and not be hurt. How does Jesus’ yoke work in the life of a Christ follower?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 11:25-30 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

This week, our focus was on real love being everything you want and everything you need. In small groups of 2 or 3, discuss and encourage one another on how you can share with others where true satisfaction and real love in life is found–only in Jesus Christ.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:
Pray as a group to explore ways you can show the real love of Jesus Christ as you serve our church family.

Engaging in Community and the World:
We learned this week about the the 3 ring circus: the “IN” crowd and the “OUT” crowd the world has defined, and the new ring of life in Christ to which all are welcome. In Jesus Christ, believers are accepted, forgiven, and fully and perfectly loved. Consider how you as a group could help local or international organizations embrace the privilege of reaching out and showing the love of Christ to others. Who is God calling your group to bring into His ring?


Expand God’s Kingdom

In Jesus’ call for the weary and burdened to come to Him, under His yoke, He is offering true freedom. Christ followers know true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ, never in self-rule or self-sufficiency. We are freed from trying to be what we can never be. We are free to fulfill the plan God has perfectly ordained for each of us, and to live in forgiveness and restoration of His grace. He longs to bring us out of the dark so that we can be filled with hope, joy, freedom and purpose. With whom will you share this truth this week?


Leader’s Notes

1. The Trinity, the mystery of 3 persons in 1. Although this is not fully and clearly revealed until the New Testament, the Hebrew noun used here is plural, and the verb used for “create” is singular. For additional support, Deuteronomy 6:4 includes both plural and singular nouns: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” The “Lord” (Yahweh) here is singular, and “God” (Elohim) is plural.
2. We are God’s highest creation, made in God’s image, which means every person is made a personal, moral, spiritual, responsible being with a capacity no animal has, and that is to worship, love and serve God. Knowing the Creator of the universe, the Almighty desires to have a relationship with us is overwhelming and amazing. See Psalm 8:4.
3. God revealed the truth of the gospel to the “infants,” those with childlike faith. These were people who were not impressive according to the world’s standards. They were not intellectuals; they did not hold high positions or qualifications. Salvation does NOT belong to the strong or to those who think they can earn it. It is all of grace. Knowledge of God comes ONLY through the Son for those who believe and come to Him. Through the weak, God’s saving gospel would extend to the world.
4. Jesus extends His invitation to ALL who are weary and burdened. Answers will vary, but may include: People are burdened with guilt over their sin. Satan relentlessly accuses God’s people, in an effort to cause confusion over the vast nature of God’s grace and love. People are also weary from working at religion in an effort to please God and gain His approval.
5. Answers will vary.
6. Answers will vary.
7. Yoke ourselves to Him and learn from Him.
8. We can trust that Jesus has created a perfectly-fitting yoke for each of our lives and for our uniquely ordained purpose. We do not carry the load alone; we were made to be yoked together with Jesus, who shoulders our burdens. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-11; John 7:37; Philippians 4:13.

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.

 

At the Movies: Jumanji – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Surviving the jungle is only possible together and with His help.

Discussion Starter:
What is your favorite board game? When you play a new game, do you read all of the instructions first, or do you dive right in and figure it out as you go?

Introduction:

Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):

For your next study, consider starting with Week 1 of “I Am Faith Promise!

Or sign-up to go through the new Next Steps together as a group!


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:31, John 14:18, 27

Discussion Questions:

1.  Alan and Sara begin their game of Jumanji without thoroughly reading all the directions. Have you ever felt like you were handed the game of life without knowing all the rules? How does God’s Word function as a guide in your life?

2. Alan became trapped in the game because Sara didn’t take her turn. Just like in the game of Jumanji, in the game of life we benefit from other people playing the game with us. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. How have you experienced this verse in your life and within your group?

3. Judy and Peter request Alan’s help to finish the game of Jumanji, because he knows his way around the jungle. As Christians, we have God the Father who created our jungle, God the Son who experienced our jungle as a human, and God the Holy Spirit who guides us through the jungle today. Read Acts 2:1-4. What do you notice about the believers who received the Holy Spirit? How have you experienced the Holy Spirit in your life?

4. Read Acts 4:31. Again, notice that the believers were not alone. How has the Holy Spirit given you boldness? If you do not feel bold, pray as a group that God would fill you all to speak the Word of God with boldness in your own lives and in the lives of others.

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Acts 2 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage. If you are pressed for time, focus on verses 1-4, and 42-47.


Embrace Others

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

In Jumanji, Alan was alone in the jungle for 26 years, Sara felt isolated, and Judy and Peter were orphaned. Which character do you identify with the most? Why?

Read John 14:18 and 27. Pray for God’s peace and comfort for each other.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Is your group serving at Faith Promise? Some groups are serving all together in a single ministry, while other groups are composed of members serving a variety of different ministries. Have those in your group who are serving share what they love about their current ministry.

Engaging in Community: Schedule a prayer walk with your group. Find time to walk around your neighborhood or a local school campus and pray for the people who live, learn, and work there.

Engaging the World: Pray for our Faith Promise missionaries serving far from home. To learn about those from Faith Promise serving around the world you can download our 2017 Missions Magazine and view the “Adopt a Missionary” article.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Next week is our final week of At the Movies, featuring “The Greatest Showman.” Invite some friends to watch the movie this week and then come next weekend to see how we connect faith and film to share God’s real love.


Leader’s Notes

2. Use this question to brag on your group members! Call them out and praise them for building each other up. We can all use encouragement and praise for what we are doing right.

3. Points of note: the believers were gathered together; ALL of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.

ALL Faith Promise groups 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.