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

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.