500 Reasons Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:  
Don’t let moments of invitation become memories of silence.

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever been helped by a good Samaritan? Share your story.

Introduction:
This week Pastor Chris preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Dr. Martin Luther King mentioned this parable in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the day before he was assassinated. Dr. King said this about the road between Jerusalem and Jericho:

That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked — the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Do we stop to help others and tell them about Jesus? Who are you bringing to Easter at Faith Promise?


Encounter God

Primary Scripture:  Luke 10:25-37

Discussion Questions:
1. When we see someone hurting we can respond in many different ways. We may feel they deserve what they got because of the choices they made. We may feel afraid that we could also be hurt if we get too close. We may feel like being a hero and try to save them. What is your response when you observe someone hurting or in trouble? Does your response differ depending on your relationship to the hurting person?

2. The innkeeper had to have faith that the Samaritan would return and repay him. Do we have faith that God will provide? Share a story of how God has provided for your needs.

3. What is Jesus’ command at the end of this parable? How can we obey this command today?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Luke 10:25-37 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

Have you had any “moments of invitation” this week? Have there been opportunities to share your faith? Did you take those opportunities? Why or why not?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:  Easter is coming and there will be many extra services at Faith Promise. Can you sign up to serve at one of these services?

Engaging in Community:  Visit the Faith Promise local missions page at https://faithpromise.org/love-local and find a ministry that your group can do together.

Engaging the World:  Visit the Faith Promise missions page and look at the upcoming mission trip opportunities. Are you interested in going on a mission trip? Can you support someone else financially so that they can go? Pray for the teams serving on these trips.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Who are you bringing to Easter at Faith Promise? Pray as a group for opportunity to invite and to share God’s love with those around you.


Leader’s Notes

For the full text and audio recording of Dr. King’s speech see http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm

2. See Philippians 4:19.
3. “Go and do the same.” That is, show mercy.

ALL groups at Faith Promise should participate in ALL 4 characteristics of a disciple of Christ (encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, and expanding God’s Kingdom). However, each individual group may be primarily focused on one of these “Es” for a season, or for the life of that particular group. Below is an explanation of each type of group.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

 

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500 Reasons Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
We are all easily blinded by the world, our culture, our fears, and many other things. As Christians, we are called to boldly step out and share God’s light to all those living blindly in darkness.

Discussion Starter:
Think back on when you first heard about the love of God. How did
people share their story with you?

Introduction:
Take a moment to ponder: What is your current sense of urgency in sharing the gospel? Jesus went out into the world and found sinners. He relentlessly sought out the worst of the worst and did not condemn. Instead, He shared God’s love and transformed the way people believed. He trained His disciples to do the same–to put God’s mission about everything without fear of ridicule. What could we all do to increase our level of urgency?


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: John 9, Acts 13:47, Matthew 5: 14-16, 1 John 1:7-9, Matthew 6:33

Discussion Questions:
1. In story about the blind man (John 9), what was the assumption that the community and even the disciples made?

2. What similar fears might we have about ministering to some people today?

3. What other fears or assumption do we have about sinners and types of sins that may prevent us from being God’s light?

4. According to the verses Acts 13:47, Matthew 5:14-16, and 1 John1:7-9, how does God instruct us to act?

5. Pastor also brings up that life gets in the way of sharing God’s light. What does God say in Matthew 6:33? What are some ways we can prioritize God while living a busy life?

6. What is your level of urgency now? In light of our discussion, what can we do differently at home, with our family, and at work to fulfill God’s mission and to stop living blindly?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read John 9 (if you want to focus on a shorter passage, emphasize verses 1-16) and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

If you haven’t already, fill out your spiritual growth plan and really focus on how many people you are going to share the Gospel with this year. Come up with a number of people who you will invite to church on Easter Sunday.

Break into dyads or triads and discuss ways that you have shared or seen others share the Gospel.

What are some ways that you prioritize God now or ways that you can focus on God this coming week?

Who in your small group can you call midway through the week and see how things are going?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Are there areas or ministries at Faith Promise that you have been curious about getting involved with? Take a step this week.  Contact the person in charge of those ministries and try a trial run of serving in that area.

Engaging in Community: What are definite ways to influence our sphere and share God? How can you show God more at work and in your community?

Engaging the World: Consider supporting Faith Promise missionaries financially or through prayer.


Expand God’s Kingdom

What is your biggest take-away from the discussion this week? With whom can you share what you have learned?


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should participate in ALL 4 characteristics of a disciple of Christ (encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, and expanding God’s Kingdom). However, each individual group may be primarily focused on one of these “Es” for a season, or for the life of that particular group. Below is an explanation of each type of group.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

This is Group Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Groups offer community and provide challenge for growth.

Discussion Starter:
Do you sometimes wonder how a person with no money to spare can contribute to God’s kingdom?  Can you think of an example when someone showed you God’s love apart from financial help?

Introduction:
One of our core values at Faith Promise is, “We grow together.” Groups provide this opportunity to grow together, from age 2 to 102. A disconnected light bulb is useless and fragile. It cannot reach its full potential until it is screwed into a socket and turned on. Once we are saved, God’s Holy Spirit flows throughout our bodies and minds. As we study the Word individually and within a group, we grow toward our full potential. Encounter groups help us grow together through the study of God’s Word and prayer. In order to provide this place of growth, Faith Promise is launching Expand groups. Expand groups are followers of Christ, disciples who follow Jesus and lead others to do the same. They focus on rapid development of new group leaders to provide more groups for more disciples.  Expand groups are where leaders grow.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: 1 John 4:11-21

Discussion Questions:
1. How do you obey the command to “love one another”? Consider how you love people in different areas of your life–at home, at work, at school, at places you volunteer, at group, etc. Share ideas about how you can show God’s real love to real people with real problems.

2. How do you “abide in God”? What is one way this group can encourage you in your spiritual growth journey?

3. Verse 18 says “There is no fear in love…” Have you ever been in a relationship based on fear? Have you ever been tempted to use fear as a tool in your relationships?

4. Verse 20 says if we hate our brother then we cannot love God. Have you ever noticed prejudice within yourself? Confess this sin to God and ask Him to give you a love for all people He has created.

5. Give an example of how our groups reflect our core value to grow together. In what kind of group does FP grow most of its leaders? Could you see yourself being a part of an Expand group?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 1 John 4:7-21 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 special interest or talent enrich other believers and strengthen their faith and yours?


Engage the World Around Us

Bible study encourages us to seek mission opportunities. What can your group do as a mission project?


Expand God’s Kingdom

What did you learn today that you can share with someone outside Faith Promise?


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should participate in ALL 4 characteristics of a disciple of Christ (encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, and expanding God’s Kingdom). However, each individual group may be primarily focused on one of these “Es” for a season, or for the life of that particular group. Below is an explanation of each type of group.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

This is Group Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Main Idea:
There are 4 characteristics of being a disciple of Jesus: encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, expanding God’s Kingdom.

Discussion Starter:
What is the most exciting/interesting part of following Jesus?

Introduction:
Faith Promise Groups exist to help real people with real problems find real love. Groups help disciples of Christ to realize God’s love through encountering God in His Word, embracing others, engaging the world around them, and expanding God’s Kingdom.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: John 4:7-42

Discussion Questions:
1. How did the woman at the well feel excluded from her society? Describe a time when you felt like you didn’t belong.

2. How did Jesus cross cultural and conventional barriers in this story from John 4? Describe a time when you felt like you did belong.

3. Have you ever been around someone who was undeniably changed by Jesus? Has anyone ever thought that about you?

4. Read Matthew 25:34-40. God’s Kingdom goes beyond our culture. What are some cultural or conventional barriers that Jesus calls us to cross?

5. Discuss a time when the Holy Spirit led you to speak to someone about Jesus?

6. What is the biggest obstacle to you leading others to follow Jesus?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read John 4:7-42 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

Read Romans 15:5-6.

How can you use your common interests with others to raise one voice that glorifies God?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: This week contact a fpStaff, fpVolunteer, or a missionary from your campus and ask if they have a personal need that you can meet, or if they know of a need in the community.

Engaging in Community: Pray that God will show you a new way to engage the people in your community, then go do it. For example, take a roll of quarters to a local laundromat and help out.

Engaging the World: Pray that God will direct you to a national or international non-profit or para-church organization where you can show the real love of Jesus.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Read Romans 14:19.

Discuss how you can build up someone else.


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should participate in ALL 4 characteristics of a disciple of Christ (encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, and expanding God’s Kingdom). However, each individual group may be primarily focused on one of these “Es” for a season, or for the life of that particular group. Below is an explanation of each type of group.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

This is Group Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Real people with real problems seeking real love: this is group!

Discussion Starter:
We love to tell others about things we discover that excite us. Share with the group about something new you discovered or a group you joined that excited you and motivated you to tell others.

Introduction:
We can be blinded by believing that our own problems are bigger than other people and their needs. If we continue in this blindness, we will miss out on what God is doing in the lives of those around us. We must open our eyes and see the real people and real problems around us. As we encounter real people with real problems seeking real love, we grow together. God calls each of us not just to follow Jesus, but to lead others to do the same.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What does Jesus do first BEFORE He commissions the disciples to “GO!”?

2. Why do you think Jesus insists on informing His disciples of His authority and power before giving them their marching orders?

3. Jesus tells them to make disciples, “teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” Basically, the disciples are to do life with their own disciples just as Jesus did with them. What would this have looked like in the first century? How about today?

4. Jesus states, “…and remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Why would he add this statement to the end of His commission?

5. When we don’t grow together, we grow apart. Discuss why this happens.

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 28:16-20 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the Great Commission.


Embrace Others

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

Read 1 John 3:16-20. We can embrace others through real love relationships. This is love in action. We cannot ignore those in need and claim to have God’s love in our hearts. Discuss how being together in group helps grow this love.


Engage the World Around Us

Read Matthew 25:31-46. We engage the world by meeting the immediate needs we see in those we encounter. As a group discuss what some of these needs are and ways to meet them.

Engaging at Faith Promise:
Pray for the staff and the missionaries listed for your campus. Send a note of encouragement to a staff member, group member, or missionary this week. Let them know they are not in this alone.

Engaging in Community:
Prayerfully consider where your group can encounter people with physical and spiritual needs. Plan how to show real love by ways you can meet these needs.

Engaging the World:
In order to engage the world, we must encounter people and interact with them. Intentionally go somewhere new this week or take a different route and pray God will lead you to those needing His love.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Pray together for opportunities for disciples to make disciples that make more disciples.


Leader’s Notes

1. He states He has been given ALL authority in heaven and on earth.
2. This shows they will be doing this through Jesus’ power and authority and not their own.
4. Jesus knew they would face trials and persecution in their efforts. They might easily become discouraged and think of giving up. He wanted them to know they would not be going alone.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Battle of the Pastors II – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Time in the game is short; Jesus gives us the ball and asks us to run with it.

Discussion Starter:
What would you do if you knew you only had a week to live?

Introduction:
This weekend we enjoyed the rematch between Pastor Chris and Pastor Zac as they rallied us to understand the importance of keeping the end of the game and the scoreboard in mind as we share the good news of Jesus Christ. As believers, we have been given the best gift ever, the gift of salvation. We want to share this gift with others! We are on the winning team! Jesus, under the pressure of the sin of the world, delivered us with a perfect winning pass. All He asks us to do is take the ball and run with it—to share the gospel and bear good fruit for the kingdom. We need to put the “GO” back in GOspel!


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: John 15:1-15, John 14:15, Matthew 28:18-20

Discussion Questions:

1. Read John 15:15. According to this passage, what is a believer’s relationship to Jesus? What does that mean to you as you consider the tasks the Lord gives to us?

2. Read John 15:1-8. Jesus used the picture of the vine to impress upon His disciples His identity as well as help them understand what it means to be united to Him. What does this passage teach you about the life of a Christ follower? How does it help or challenge you?

3. What does it mean to “remain in Christ”?

4. In what areas of your life are you bearing fruit? Where are you lacking? See also John 15:16.

5. Read John 14:15 and Matthew 28:18-20. With these verses in mind, is sharing the gospel optional for a believer? What fears will you ask God to help you overcome so that you may obey Him? Is your fear of rejection greater than your fear of the Lord?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read John 15:1-17 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the believer’s relationship to Jesus.


Embrace Others

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

This week, our focus was on how Christ’s victory on the cross made it possible for His faithful followers to receive the gift of salvation. In small groups of 2 or 3 discuss how being a recipient of this indescribable gift motivates and encourages you to share this message of hope with others—to take the ball and run with it. How can you guard against taking this gift for granted?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:  Prayerfully explore ways your group can collectively reach out and serve our sponsored missions either on a trip or locally. See https://faithpromise.org/missions or https://faithpromise.org/love-local.

Engaging in Community:  Discuss how your group can take God’s message of grace into places filled with despair. Where has God strategically placed you to share the Bible’s truth?

Engaging the World:  Pray as a group that the news of Jesus will penetrate even the darkest places in our world. Pray especially for our Faith Promise missionaries. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” See Romans 10:15 and Isaiah 52:7.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Will you ask God for the strength and courage to overcome any obstacle to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? This is our highest calling!


Leader’s Notes

1. We are His friends.
2. The believer can do nothing apart from Jesus, our sustainer. We are ”in Christ”. We have a living connection to Him and other believers. We are to remain in Him to bear much fruit.
3. To “remain in Christ” means to live by Him, lean on Him, listen to Him, follow Him, depend on Him, think His thoughts, etc.
4. Answers may vary.
5. Answers may vary.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.