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

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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

Small Things, Big Difference Week 3 – Discussion Questions

Would you like to make a Big Difference at Faith Promise this year? Our discussion questions team is currently seeking writers! If you would like to write discussion questions please contact Dustin Scott at DustinS@faithpromise.org.

MAIN POINT:

Taking control of our thoughts is the first step in guiding our words, actions, habits, and destiny to the path that God has set out for us.

ICEBREAKER:

Share a favorite memory from your childhood.

INTRODUCTION:

This week Pastor Chris preached about Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” Our thoughts have enormous impact on our words, actions, habits, and therefore our destiny. Let’s discuss ways in which we can direct our thoughts in a more positive way. Remember, by making small changes, we can make a big difference!

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

1. How do you feel about having “divinely powerful” weapons of warfare against the enemy?

2. How do we take captive every thought?

3. What are some lies you have told yourself? I can’t lose weight? I can’t improve my marriage?

4. Who is the “father of lies” according to John 8:44?

Instead of lies, we must soak ourselves in the truth.

Read Philippians 4:8-9

5. How do we know what is true, noble and right?

6. Paul says in in verse 9 that he has taught the Philippians what to do. Who has taught you? Do you have a mentor in the faith?

Read Romans 12:2

7. We are to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds.” How do we renew our minds?

8. Pastor spoke of “changing the inputs” in our minds to change our thoughts. Are there some “inputs” that you could change that would help you to grow your faith?

LEADER NOTES

2. Discuss staying connected with God through daily Bible reading and quiet time and also staying accountable to a prayer partner or to the group.

3. Use this time to encourage and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Help to destroy and tear down lies that may be holding group members back from being who they are meant to be.

5. Scripture. Encourage participation in the daily Bible reading plan. You may also discuss how God has given us the Holy Spirit and we feel convicted when we sin.

7. God renews our minds, but we help the process by practicing spiritual disciplines such as studying the scriptures, prayer, and fasting.

8. Think about your entertainment. Use the resources you have available to grow spiritually. Faith Promise offers podcasts of the sermons, and there are Christian music radio stations and Christian bookstores. These “inputs” may help you to keep your thoughts captive in Christ.

Small Things, Big Difference Week 2 – Discussion Questions

Would you like to make a Big Difference at Faith Promise this year? Our discussion questions team is currently seeking writers! If you would like to write discussion questions please contact Dustin Scott at DustinS@faithpromise.org.

MAIN POINT:

Real progress happens when we take persistent small steps.

ICEBREAKER:

What thing do you have on your “to do” list that you need to tackle soon? Is it that junk drawer in your kitchen? Cleaning the garage? Going through your closet?

INTRODUCTION:

This is the time of year we all hear about New Year’s Resolutions. People commonly resolve to do big things and make big plans. Too often, we end up being burned out and fail at our attempt. We start off hopeful for success but end up feeling helpless or that it’s just not worth the effort. This can cause shame and the feeling that we are not strong enough or tough enough for this world. Guess what? We are neither strong nor tough, but we serve a God who is. His Spirit indwells us believers, and He is able to empower, equip and enable us.

The enemy wants you to be discouraged. He wants you to look at other people’s highlight reels and be intimidated. He wants you to conclude that there is no hope for you. If there’s no hope in the future, there’s no power in the present. The truth is success happens slowly, with small, sometimes imperceptible steps. These small things that no one sees can lead to big results that everyone admires and desires. We learned about John Wooden teaching his players how to properly put on their socks and tie their shoes. He believed that success must be built on a solid foundation. He is quoted as saying, “It’s the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

All of this ties us into our FP Bible verse for 2015: “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green”(‭Psalms‬ ‭92‬:‭12-14‬ NASB). Like the slow growth of the saplings whose finished products are the majestic palms and cedars, we must name our goal, persist in the small and mundane, and faithfully pursue the miraculous, “with the confidence of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NASB)

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Zechariah 4:6.

1. How did God encourage Zerubbabel through His prophet?

2. How does this verse along with Phillipians 4:13 and 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9 encourage you?

Read Zechariah 4:7
3. What did God promise to do to the mountains that Zerubbabel faced? What were the “mountains” in Zerubbabel’s life?

4. What was the significance of the capstone in this verse?

5. Can you share with the group the “mountains” you are facing in your life? What could serve as a capstone or a positive daily reminder for you?

Read Zechariah 4:9

6. How does the knowledge of being empowered with the Lord’s Holy Spirit change the way you can approach the work ahead of you?

Read Zechariah 4:10
7. How can you approach things differently as to not despise the small stuff? What practical steps can you take? See Phillipians 3:13 and ‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4‬:‭15‬.

Pastor emphasized that thoughts determine our words, words determine our actions, actions determine our habits, and habits determine our destiny. One encouraging word can keep you going. Our Spiritual Homework this week is to come up with one word on which to focus. The word for our church this year is “planted”. Ask God to give you your word. Pray over this word, meditate on it and apply it to 2015. By the end of the year, people around you will wonder, “What happened to you?” Remember, real progress happens when we take persistent small steps, empowered by His Spirit.

Small Things, Big Difference Week 1 – Discussion Questions

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MAIN POINT:

You are how you schedule your time.

ICEBREAKER:

Think of the people with whom you have a relationship—your close friends, your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your children, your co-workers. How would your day look if one of them scheduled your time?

INTRODUCTION:

Two items that you carry around most of the time can tell us more about you than even your friends know—your calendar and your checkbook/debit card. The checkbook is a separate lesson. For this study we are focusing on your daily planner.

Most people start their day with some kind of caffeine—coffee, tea or cola. Some read a newspaper, some watch a news program, others catch headlines on their computer screen. Would your day be different if you spent that same amount of time reading the Bible? If you want to be healthier, you know you should exercise. But if you only spend 45 minutes one day per week, how much healthier will you be? For exercise to be beneficial, you need to spend at least 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

Similarly, you cannot be who God wants you to be if you only read scripture on Sunday morning in church. In order to understand what God wants you to do, you must read His word daily. For most days, you schedule appointments, lunch dates and car pools. You may set aside time to make phone calls that are necessary to keep up communication. Likewise, if you expect to hear God give answers to your prayers or to tell you which decisions to make, you must schedule time to read His word and listen for His voice. The key is spending time with God daily and consistently. You need to schedule who you want to become.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Proverbs 8:34-35.
1. How often should you listen to God?

Read Luke 9:23
2. When should you follow Jesus?
3. What would your schedule look like if God were in control of your time? How would it change?

Read Matthew 6:11
4. How often do you eat food? If you are participating in the Faith Promise 21 day fast, how has changing your food schedule affected your prayer life? Remember, fasting without prayer is just dieting!
5. God’s word can also be considered our “daily bread.” Are you eating your daily bread of God’s word? There are many Bible reading plans available to break the task down into manageable chunks. Faith Promise is currently following a plan to read the entire Bible in a year. You can find the plan and read online here.

Read 2 Timothy 2:15
6. What are two reasons to read the Bible daily?

Read Psalm 119:11
7. How can the Bible help your daily life? Can you share an example of a time when you applied scripture to your life and it benefitted you?

Read Luke 4:16
8. What habit was part of each week of Jesus’s life? Are you attending worship services faithfully?

Read Ephesians 5:15-16
9. What does God instruct you to do with your time? How can we put this into practice?
10. Is your schedule working for you?
11. Pastor Chris shared how he now views setting his schedule as a “holy endeavor.” How much do you involve the Holy Spirit in your schedule? Do you pray about or ask God for wisdom in how to spend your time?

This week Pastor challenged us to take the “15 minute Chair Challenge.” If you do not already have a quiet time or devotional time, this challenge is for you! All you need is a chair, a Bible, and 15 minutes. Spend the time reading God’s word, praying, and listening for God’s voice. Do this for at least 2 weeks. The keys are to do this daily and consistently.

Planted – Discussion Questions

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MAIN POINT:

According to our theme verses this year Psalm 92:12-14 in order to flourish we must be planted in the house of the Lord.

ICEBREAKER:

Have you ever had great success or failure in trying to grow a plant? What did that teach you?

INTRODUCTION:

It’s the new year, a time of new beginnings and second chances. As we begin the year, please participate in our church wide fast and prayer beginning Monday January 5th, and join us in our one year Bible reading plan. You can pick up a devotional for the 21 day fast at your FP location or download a digital copy here. This week Pastor preached on the importance of being planted in the house of the Lord. One of our core values is gathering for God (see Hebrews 10:25). We do this during the weekend worship services as well as in small groups which meet regularly. Gathering for God is essential to being rooted in the house of the Lord. Please continue to be faithful in attendance both on the weekends and at small group meetings. These gatherings will greatly enhance your spiritual growth and help you to reach your full potential!

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read our theme verses for this year Psalm 92:12-14.

By definition, flourish means “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” In our case, and according to our theme verse, that environment is the house of the Lord.

1. What do you think flourishing would look like in your life? What areas would you like to flourish (spiritual growth, work, relationships)? Be specific in thinking about what flourishing would look like in particular areas of your life.

2. How does being planted in the house of God affect our growth?

3. What are some reasons you have had in the past for not attending church? For not reading scripture? For failing to maintain relationships? How can the group hold each other accountable?

4. Are there things we can do as a group to help each other develop deeper roots? For example, would it help if we made plans to attend the same service each weekend and sit together as a group? Or should we check in with each other to see if we are keeping up with the Bible reading plan?

LEADER NOTES

As the new year begins, you might consider doing a “Group Housekeeping” meeting. Here are some questions you might consider.

What are the goals for the group this year?

What do you want to study?

Does every member have a spiritual growth plan?
You can find worksheets for creating a growth plan on Pastor Chris’s blog here.

Are group members on track to be part of the Faith Promise Core?

How are things working logistically for your group? Is your time/place/childcare situation still on track for your group’s goals?

1. Encourage each group member to share at least on area of their life that they would like to see flourishing and what that flourishing would look like. Choose accountability partners or have whole group work on building each other up and holding each other accountable for staying rooted and flourishing. Pray for one another specifically for the goals that members share.

2. Being planted (regularly attending worship, regular Bible study, quiet time and prayer) helps us discern what God’s plan for our life is and helps us to line up our plans with His.

3. Be sensitive and not condemning as you work through these questions. The point is not to cast blame or make people feel guilty. The point is to help them understand where things might have gone off track before and help them to stay on track this year!

4. Encourage members to develop a spiritual growth plan (see above for a link to Pastor Chris’s blog with worksheets). Also make a plan to reassess and check in with the group through the year (perhaps once a month or quarterly) and see if people are keeping up with their plan or if they need help.