The Walking Debt Week 3 – Discussion Questions


WE NEED YOU!

The groups ministry is seeking additional writers to write discussion questions which parallel the weekend message. If you would like to serve in this ministry please contact Dustin Scott at DustinS@faithpromise.org.

MAIN POINT:

Tithing is a Biblical principle that only 20% follow.

ICEBREAKER:

Share about a time in your life when you sacrificed something (time, money, or talent) in the present to gain something in the future. Was it worth it?

INTRODUCTION:

The concept of tithing (giving back to God the first 10% of all of our income) can be seen throughout scripture, from Cain and Abel in Genesis to Jesus’ words on tithing in Matthew 23:23. Although there are numerous scriptures regarding money and tithing, statistically only 20% of Christians tithe. There is a disconnect between the truth we read in God’s word and the generosity (or lack of generosity) in our lives. Pastor Chris preached that his belief is that there are 2 main reasons that 80% don’t tithe: lack of faith and fear.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

1. When did you first hear about tithing? Did you grow up in a traditional church and it was something that was always done, or was tithing a brand new concept when you became a Christian?

Read Leviticus 27:30

2. This verse claims that the tithe is holy. Have you ever thought about your tithe as being holy (sacred, set apart for God)?

3. Do you know where your money is going? Do you have a budget? If someone else manages the money in your house, do you know if your family is tithing?

Read Malachi 3:10

4. Pastor Chris shared that there are two marks of a covenant people: tithing and Sabbath. Why do you think these two things are so difficult to follow?

5. One of Satan’s greatest weapons is fear. What do you fear about giving?

6. Is a lack of faith in God’s provision (“if I give then maybe I won’t have enough”) causing you to withhold your tithe? Does the promise in Malachi 3:10 give you strength?

7. Can anyone share a story of how God provided during a past time of need?

8. What will it cost you to obey God financially? What might you have to sacrifice?

LEADER NOTES

Leaders this discussion is not meant to induce guilt. Everyone starts somewhere, and our goal is for everyone to be growing closer to God and following Biblical principles in their own lives.

If members of your group need help budgeting or getting out of debt or managing money, please encourage them to attend the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Classes begin March 22. You can register for the class by clicking here.

The Walking Debt Week 2 – Discussion Questions

Second Test Post

MAIN POINT:

Christ followers must manage their money with heavenly wisdom so that we serve God, and money serves us.

ICEBREAKER:

Debt is a topic that most people donʼt want to talk about. Why do you think this is?

INTRODUCTION:

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (‭3 John‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬ NASB)
Pastor reminded us that he and our church want more for us than they want from us so that we can walk in total financial freedom. For those of us who think the church only wants our money, we may actually be blinded and in bondage! When people are in bondage they rarely see it. If this is the case, we need revelation; we need to master our money! We need to follow Pastor’s ancient wisdom, “If you can’t afford it, you can’t buy it.” Practically speaking, we must value and apply self-control, sacrifice and planning in our lives to achieve financial freedom. Remember, “You can wander into debt but not out of it!”God wants us to be free from debt, so that we can follow Him wholeheartedly.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Proverbs 22:7.

1. Does this mean we should never borrow?

2. When is it okay to borrow?

3. When does a loan cause us to be enslaved to the lender?

Read Matthew 6:21.

4. Explain this. Where does your heart lie? If it is distracted by earthly things, how may your group pray for you as you refocus your commitment to His Kingdom?

Read Matthew 6:24.

5. So many people spend time seeking pleasure, possessions and people’s admiration rather than the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This can only lead to the desire for more. Who is your Master? Who truly owns you? Do you need to ask God to change your focus in life?

6. When did you last rely on Christ and His power to release you from the pull of material things and need for security?

Read Proverbs 13:7.

7. Can appearances be deceiving?

8. Why are people driven to appear rich?

9. Why do some people pretend to be poor? Do you think this is necessarily a good thing?

Read Proverbs 25:28.

10. Explain how city walls were both restrictive to and the chief form of safety for its inhabitants. How can you apply self-control in an effort to achieve financial freedom in your life? What practical steps can you take right now?

Read Hebrews 12:2.

11. How can you apply this verse in an effort to sacrifice financially to achieve financial freedom in your life? What practical step can you take right now?

Read Luke 14:28.

12. How can you apply this verse to achieving financial freedom through proper planning in your life? What practical step can take right now?

LEADER NOTES

1. Not necessarily.
2. When you can afford it, when you are living within your means.
3. Enslaved to some degree when you have loans, but seriously enslaved when you are spending more than you earn.
4. Jesus made it clear that having the wrong treasure leads to our hearts being in the wrong place. What we treasure the most controls us, whether we admit it or not. If possessions or money become too important to us, we must reestablish control or get rid of items. Jesus calls for a decision that allows us to live contently with whatever we have because we have chosen eternal values over temporary, earthly treasures.
5-6. Jesus says we can only have one master. We live in a materialistic society where people serve money. Their desire for money and what can be bought far outweighs the commitment to God and spiritual matters. Don’t fall into the materialistic trap, because “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭10‬ NASB).
7. Yes
8. Pride, ambition
9. Possibly because they are humble; however, this may arise in a heart overwhelmed with covetousness. They be living this way so as to not cause others to envy them or encourage friends to borrow from them. Both appearences are inaccurate and not genuine.
10. City walls restricted inhabitants movements, but without them, they would have been vulnerable to attack. Self-control limits us, but it is necessary. An out-of-control life is open to all sorts of enemy attack. Self-control is a wall for defense and protection.
11. We must give up whatever endangers our relationship with God. To live effectively without the entanglements of debt, we must keep our eyes on Jesus.
12. We can wander into debt, but we cannot wander out of it! We must execute a good plan in order to achieve financial freedom and serve our God wholeheartedly. Recall Dave Ramsey’s plan that Pastor reviewed.

The Walking Debt Week 1 – Discussion Questions

The Walking Debt - FINAL

MAIN POINT:

Don’t let yourself get into bondage to debt as a result of mismanaging your money.

ICEBREAKER:

Have you ever thought, “If only I had the money to ______, I’d be satisfied?” Did you get what you wanted? Were you satisfied?

INTRODUCTION:

One of the devil’s best tools to manipulate us is money. We have within us an insatiable desire to acquire. The average 21-year-old is $21,000 in debt. How to handle money is the number one problem in most marriages. This friction fractures families. One in ten verses in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) speaks about money. Money is mentioned five times more often than prayer in scripture. Surprisingly, poor people give 4.3% of what they have, while the rich only give 2.8%. The majority of Christians—80%–refuse to tithe. Basically, we have a heart problem; we cannot serve two gods. We must choose between God and money. When we are faithful with a little, God gives us more. There is a Biblical foundation of money management. The Word talks about making money, giving, saving, and investing.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Romans 12:2.
1. What does “…transformed by the renewing of you mind…” mean? We are to be transformed and different from the world. What does the world say about money? Can we ever have enough?

Read Psalm 62:10.
2. What warning about money does the psalmist give? Why should we not depend on wealth?

Read I Timothy 6:17.
3. Where should the rich put their hope? Why?

Read I Timothy 6:10.
4. What happened to some people who were eager for money? Has money or seeking more money ever lead you away from God?

Read Ecclesiastes 5:10.
5. What happened to many people who have money?

Read Matthew 6:24.
6. Why can no one serve two masters?

Read Romans 13:8.
7. What one debt is a Christian allowed to have?

8. Why do you think Jesus emphasized how we are to use money more often than He did prayer?

9. Why is it so hard for us to manage money?

10. Why are we so much more willing to tip 20% to a hair stylist or waiter than we are to tithe 10% to God?

11. Why do you think that only 20% of Christians tithe?

LEADER NOTES

Answers not listed are explicit in verses.
1. be changed from inside out
2. Wealth is temporary and uncertain-banks fail, stock markets crash, etc. God teaches that he is to be first in our lives. If we trust in wealth rather than in God then we are giving money a higher value in our lives than God.
8. devil’s best tool for manipulation
9. insatiable desire to acquire (“grass greener”,” If only I had _____“)
11. They think their treasure is their security; they don’t think they ever have enough money; they are not willing to change their lifestyle.

We Can’t Stay Here Week 3 – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

If we are comfortable where we are, we do not rely on God. We must be desperate for and dependent on Him.

ICEBREAKER:

It’s winter, and it’s cold! What do you find comforting this time of year?

INTRODUCTION:

“Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence.” (Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest) Pastor Chris recapped our vision, the Decade of Dreams, to reach 10,000 and to “make it hard to go to hell” from East Tennessee. We are actually ahead of schedule! BUT, when we think we can, we often rely on ourselves instead of on God! This is evident in many churches today. It is human nature to default to our comfort zone- to move away from desperation and dependence on God. Faith Promise has been taking steps of faith for 20 years. We are adding services, and we are adding campuses. This is going to necessitate people switching service times, call more saints to use their gifts, and require more people to serve. In effect, it will take people out of their comfort zones.

Pastor questioned us if we knew where most people spend their time…focusing on their PROBLEMS! We can never solve them, but we desire to walk in victory. How? Get involved with something bigger than our problems. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Cor 4:17. So, where do we go in the next 20 years?

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Matthew 28:18-20

1. True or False? These verses are known as the Great Suggestion.

2. Who has authority over heaven and earth?

3. Whose authority commands us to share the Gospel and make disciples for the Kingdom?

4. Were the disciples limited as to where they could share the gospel? Where were the disciples told to go to share the gospel?

5. This command is still in effect today. Jesus’ disciples are to go and make other disciples! We must know the facts of the gospel to believe and become a member of God’s redeemed family. (Romans 10:14-15). Share with your group where you can share the gospel. Is there someone the Lord has placed on your heart, especially?

6. Is this commission optional? Why or why not?

7. Jesus’ presence can comfort us when we are too timid or scared to share the Good News. How is Jesus with us?

8. Explain what it means when one is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?

Read John 16:33.

9. Should we expect trouble in this world? How does this verse comfort you?

10. Are you ready to commit and get into the game- to fix your eyes on a higher, grander and more glorious vision?

LEADER NOTES

1. False. It is the Great Commission.

2. God gave Jesus authority over heaven and earth.

3. On the basis of Christ’s authority, He told his disciples to make more disciples as they preached, baptized and taught. With the same authority, Jesus still commands us to tell others the good news and make them disciples for the kingdom.

4. These were Christ’s last words before he left the disciples. In previous missions, when Jesus sent his disciples, they were told to go only to the Jews. However from now on, their mission would be worldwide. Jesus is Lord of the entire earth, and he died for the sins of all people from all nations. We are to go and make disciples of all nations.

5. Remind your group of how Pastor Chris challenged us that FP will be going where few want to go- not into the suburbs but into additional surrounding counties including Grainger County. There are 1+ million people in these areas, and 90% of them are unchurched.

6. Not optional! Make your life count; join the vision! God’s vision.

7. Remember, Jesus was with the disciples physically until he ascended into heaven. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent, and Jesus was present with them Spiritually. The Holy Spirit would be Jesus’ presence that would never leave them (John 14:26). Jesus continues to be with us today through his Spirit.

8. Baptism unites a believer with Jesus Christ in his or her death to sin and resurrection to new life. Baptism symbolizes submission to Christ, a willingness to live God’s way, and identification with God’s covenant people. In baptism, the Holy Spirit seals the believer forever with God’s name. Baptism with water is a sign that identifies the person publicly with Jesus Christ.

9. As Christians, we should expect continuing tension with an unbelieving world. The world does not understand Christ, His gospel or His people. However, we can expect our relationship with Christ to produce peace and comfort because we are His.

We Can’t Stay Here Week 2 – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

We can’t stay here!

ICEBREAKER:

Celebration of our past leads us to anticipation of our future. What do you celebrate in your past? What are you looking forward to in the future?

INTRODUCTION:

When things are comfortable and life is going well it is tempting to sit back, relax, rest and stop moving forward. This applies in all areas of our lives, whether it be fitness or career or our church life. Faith Promise has been growing and going strong for 20 years this month. It would be easy to say “We’ve arrived! We don’t need to do anything more.” But, as Pastor shared this week, “We can’t stay here!” If we stop moving forward we will miss out on seeing gifts that Faith Promisers have to share, we will miss out on reaching our full potential, and we will miss out on pointing our friends and family to Jesus. One way to keep moving forward is to make sure that we are all serving the body of Christ. If we are to keep growing, we must have servants in childcare, group leaders, youth leaders, tech team, worship ministry and many other areas.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

1. Pastor shared that he was asked by a reported “What does Faith Promise provide its members?” When you attend church do you expect benefits?

2. Do you think that you are more of a consumer or a servant at church?

Read John 2:1-10

3. According to the story, who was aware that a miracle had taken place?

4. What are the benefits of being a servant? Are you serving in some way at Faith Promise?

5. What miracles have you seen at Faith Promise?

Read Genesis 28:10-17

6. Where was Jacob when God met him?

7. Are you in a time of transition currently, or can you share about a time of transition in the past? What is difficult about transition?

Read Genesis 28:18-21

8. Using Jacob’s example what can we do in times of transition?

LEADER NOTES

1. Pastor answered the reporter that Faith Promise provides a place for members to lay down their lives for Jesus. The point is that we are called to be servants and not consumers at church.

2. This question is not meant to induce guilt if people are not serving. It is meant for people to assess where they are and where they want to be in the future.

3. According to verse 9 the servants knew where the wine had come from, but the head waiter, the bridegroom and the guests did not.

4. A servant gets to see the fruit of their labor. When we serve and God moves, we get to be a part of that process. Use this question as a jumping off point in talking about serving opportunities. If people are not serving why not? If people are serving, what do they like about the ministry they do?

5. Make sure God gets the glory! Praise God for what he has done!

6. Jacob was in between Beersheba and Haran. He was in transition between living at home with his parents and Esau (who wanted to kill him) and living with his Uncle Laban.

8. For many people the unknown of what lies ahead is what makes transition difficult/scary. Jacob did not know the details of all that lay ahead, but he knew his God and what God had promised. He trusted God. During times of transition we can lean on what we do know-God!

We Can’t Stay Here Week 1 – Discussion Questions

20th Anniversary Series 720x480

Happy 20th Anniversary Faith Promise! Our post this week was written by one of the original founders of Faith Promise, Deckie Conley.

MAIN POINT:

Two things have marked the people of Faith Promise for 20 years: sacrifice and faith.

ICEBREAKER:

Put yourself in this position: There is controversy in your home church. People with whom you’ve grown up are saying you need to stay here; that you’ve grown up in this church; and ask, “How can you abandon us?” At the same time people whom you’ve known only a few years but with whom you share a kindred spirit and are strong believers tell you about an exciting opportunity to be a part of a new church. They don’t pressure but say that you’re welcome to come. How do you make such a decision?

INTRODUCTION:

This week Faith Promise is celebrating her 20th anniversary. On that first Sunday in February of 1995, 324 believers met at the Garden Plaza Hotel to begin a new adventure with God. That meeting was awesome. People floated in, so excited and on a high from the Holy Spirit. We had no idea where we would meet the next week. God gave us one step at a time. For a year-and-a-half we had a pastor-of-the-week. And something rarely heard of, we grew in membership and giving, even without a regular pastor. FP’s beginning was truly ordained. Our foundation was sacrifice and faith. We gave of our resources—both time and money. Everyone, every single member, was involved. The church as a whole studied Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Church. As one of the founders this was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my Christian life. During the subsequent years, we moved four times. We knew that God had called us out, individually. There was no pressure put on anyone. The message was simply that if you feel the Holy Spirit leading, then you are welcome to join us. We also had been told before February and then the same words were told to all who came, “We don’t have pew-sitters; all who come will work.“ We stepped out in faith and continued to follow God, one step at a time.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Malachi 3:16
(1) How were the founders of Faith Promise honoring God?

Read Hebrews 11:6
(2) What 2 things must anyone who comes to God believe?

Genesis 12:1
(3) Did God tell Abram exactly where he was going? What did Abram and the Founders have in common?

Genesis 12:5
(4) Was the fact that Abram arrived safely to Canaan a big “whoop-de-do”?

Hebrews 12:2
(5) What does it mean to “fix our eyes on Jesus”?

The Message version of Hebrews 12:2 says “… he never lost sight of where he was headed…”
(6) How do these words relate to Faith Promise 20 years ago? How do we continue the journey and not lose sight of where we are headed?

(7) What did Jesus endure to be able to sit at the right hand of God?

(8) What has been and still is the focus of our church?

LEADER NOTES

(1) By following the Holy Spirit to form a new church.
(2) God exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
(3) No. Neither knew exactly where they were going.
(4) No. Abram had faith that God would do what He said He would do. Do we also have this faith?
(5) Keep away from anything that distracts us from His Purpose. Here is where the sacrifice comes in. What do we have to sacrifice in order to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus?
(6) They focused on bringing more people and telling all about Jesus.
(7) Endured the Cross. This is a good jumping off point for a presentation of the plan of salvation if you have non-believers.
(8) Following God’s will.

PLAN OF SALAVATION (Leader – go over these verses before time so that as the Holy Spirit leads, you’ll be familiar.)
1. Romans 3:23
2. Romans 6:23
3. Romans 5:8
4. Ephesians 2:8-9
5. Romans 10:9-10
6. Romans 10:13
7. Romans 10:17
8. John 3:3
9. Romans 6:3-4