Easter Explosion – Discussion Questions

Easter 2015-SQUARE

MAIN POINT:

A strong burden of the heart overcomes fear. Having a burden for the lost and unchurched will produce a boldness that will enable us to overcome the fear of inviting others to experience God. Remember God’s family is open to everyone!

ICEBREAKER:

Each of us can recall wanting something so much that we were willing to do whatever it took to obtain it. Tell about a time when there was something you really desired and the sacrifices you made to acquire it.

INTRODUCTION:

We live in a world full of lost and dying people. They are on their way to Hell and eternal separation from God. We must stop thinking Heaven and God are for only a select few. Our hearts should become so burdened for others that we are willing to do whatever it takes, short of sinning, to bring them into God’s family. Things such as fear of rejection, or being inconvenienced must not stop us. Satan’s number one weapon is our fear. A burden that is so strong that it produces boldness will overcome this fear. Don’t let fear of a lost relationship deter you from sharing with others, it’s better to risk being separated from a friend on earth than for the friend to spend eternity away from God.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read John 4:35.
1) Notice that the time of harvest is still four months away, yet the fields are white NOW. If we lift up our eyes and look we will see. Why don’t we see the fields are ripe for harvest?
2) It’s easy to become comfortable and complacent with our little cliques. God wants everyone to experience His love. Think of ways to avoid falling into this rut.
3) Pastor Chris made the statement that we are war with Hell for lost souls. What does this mean to you? How do we fight back?
4) What does it look like to invade our schools, work, and play for Christ?

Read Romans 9:2-3.
5) Do you think Paul was burdened for lost souls? To what extent?
6) What do we know from Paul’s writings in the New Testament that he was willing to endure to reach others with the good news of Jesus?
7) Discuss ways in which our own burden for others can drive us to be bold.

Read Luke 14:16-24.
8) We see that the ones originally invited to the banquet made excuses not to attend. Their excuses were flimsy at best. We should expect similar excuses as well when inviting others to church or a life with Jesus. List some of the excuses that might be encountered. List ways to overcome these excuses.
9) After the first invitees refused the invitation, to whom did the banquet host send his servant out to invite?
10) Discuss the types of people we encounter each day that are overlooked or avoided. Now brainstorm on ways to reach out to them.

LEADER NOTES

It’s easy to become comfortable with our own kind, failing to see there are others that are in the same condition of needing Christ just as we were before someone reached out in love to us. We have to develop a burden for others, we must pray for them, love them, and invite them. We might also need to actually bring them. We have to develop a burden for others that will drive us to make sure no one we know or encounter goes to Hell. Paul had this type of burden and endured beatings, prison, shipwrecks, and snake bites among other things just to go to where the people with spiritual and physical needs were living. The people the master sent the servant out to invite in the latter part of Luke 4:16-24 were the very outcasts, misfits, and rejects of the world that society avoided. They felt these people didn’t matter. We encounter the exact same type of people today and we need to pray that God opens our eyes to see these lost and hurting souls in the same way He does.

The Walking Debt Week 4 – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

God wants us to prioritize the resources He gives us and be willing to live by the Bible’s teachings about saving and investing.

ICEBREAKER:

Tell the group how you learned to set up a budget. If you do not have a budget, what is the biggest value you see in setting up a budget after hearing the last few messages?

INTRODUCTION:

Seventy-two per cent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. There are three critical categories to save for: first, emergencies. Save up to build an emergency fund. Secondly, save for purchases, like furniture, Christmas, cars, and vacation. Thirdly, invest for future needs, such as kids’ college and retirement. In order to save for future times, we must embrace sacrifice today. Say “no” to self now for a better life later. We need to prioritize our dollars so that our money can work for us. A formula to follow for investing is money+time+consistency=wealth. Scripture encourages us to be savers and investors, not just consumers. However, don’t invest in anything you do not understand. Be careful that you find a knowledgeable mentor. Don’t put all your investments in one basket. Don’t try to get rich quick. We have become accustomed to instant gratification. Instead, be a marathon investor. In other words, plan to invest consistently over time. God’s Word has financially sound principles for those who want to be free from money’s bondage. To get started, make a budget and take a class, like Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” To register for this class at Faith Promise, click here.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Proverbs 6:6-8.
1. What can we learn from the ant?

Read Prov. 21:20.
2. A foolish man uses up all his resources as soon as he can. What does the wise man do?

II Thessalonians 3:10.
3. What is Paul’s harsh advice?

Read Matthew 25:14-30 or have someone paraphrase the parable of the talents.
4. How does God expect us to handle the resources He gives us?

Read Prov. 24:3-4.
5. This verse demonstrates the value of wisdom. How can Christian gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom regarding money?

Read Ecclesiastes 11:2 (also see introduction).
6. What old saying is 
Ecclesiastes akin to?

Read I Timothy 6:9.
7. Is money the downfall or is it greed? What happens when we try to get rich quick?

Read Prov. 13:11.
8. How does this verse advise money handling? Is this sound advice for today?

9. Why is it so hard to wait to buy something you really want instead of just using credit?

10. Do you have a better lifestyle than your parents?

11. See introduction. Explain how the formula for wise investing works.

LEADER NOTES

1. The ant gathers and prepares for the future.
2. A wise man stores away for future needs.
3. If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. Note that Paul is not advocating turning a blind eye to those who are unable to work-see 1 Timothy 5 for his instruction on caring for widows.
4. He expects us to be wise; to save and make investments.
5. Find a mentor. Take classes. Live by a budget.
6. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Diversify your investments.
7. Get rich quick schemes do not work.
8. Gather little by little and with integrity and money will grow. This is still wise advice today.
9. & 10. Opinion
11. money+time=consistency=wealth. If a person routinely puts aside/invests even a small amount every payday, eventually that money becomes a large sum.

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.