Easter 2018 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
God didn’t create faith to cower behind closed doors.

Discussion Starter:
Do you have a funny or strange talent?

Introduction:
How we respond to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the most important question we can pursue.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: John 10:9-11, Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 10:38-42, Ephesians 2:8-10

Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss a time when you felt like an outcast. Discuss a time when you felt like you belonged.

2. Read Matthew 18:12-14. How has God pursued you?

3. Read Luke 10:38-42. Describe a time when something did not go the way you had hoped even though you felt like you were “doing everything right.” Have you tried to build your own doorway to God with good deeds?

4. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. How can you find freedom in this scripture?

5. How have you responded to Jesus in the past? How do you encounter and respond to him daily?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, pick a Gospel (Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18) and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the story of the first Easter morning.


Embrace Others

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

Read Luke 5:17-20. What obstacles can you remove for those in your life so they can make their way to Jesus?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: At an FP service this week, reach out to someone you have never met, introduce yourself, and (without being intrusive) ask if they have a need you can help meet.

Engaging in Community: As you engage your community as the hands and feet of God, discuss how you can express the Gospel while you do it.

Engaging the World: Pray that the Gospel of Jesus will be brought to every corner of the world and seek God for how you can be a part of it.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Read James 5:19-20. How can you work together to pursue and bring back to God those you know have wandered from Him? How can you work together to help prevent your friends and family from wandering from God?


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.

500 Reasons Week 4 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

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

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever attempted to plant tomato plants or a flower bed? Share about how you prepared the soil before placing the plants into the ground.

Introduction:
God is doing something new in the lives of Promisors. God is pouring urgency and uncovering brokenness as He softens the hearts of Promisors for the real people with real problems in their lives who need real love. Jesus discussed the state of our hearts when telling parables. Parables are stories that relate kingdom (eternal) truths in a form ordinary people could understand.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: Mark 4:1-20

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Mark 4:1-9. We notice that many variables contributed to the non-production and growth of the seeds sown. The most important aspect was the condition of the soil. How do we make our soil (hearts) more fertile?

2. Jesus says in verse 9, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Discuss what you think is meant by this phrase.

3. Read Mark 4:10-20. Seeds not producing can be blamed on several things such as the sower, the seeds, the birds, the thorns, or the scorching sun. Discuss what each of these represent.

4. If we are not sharing, inviting, or bringing people to church, we have a soil problem: our hearts are too hard. If we never sow, we will never reap. Discuss the following question. If you’re not leading people to find and follow Jesus, are you following Christ at all?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, Mark 4:1-20 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

Share with the group ways to plant seeds everywhere you go this week. Pray for God to soften your heart and give you an urgency to see the people with real problems who need real love.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:   Discuss ways to make this weekend’s Easter Services more inviting to first time guests.

Engaging in Community:   Use the Easter invitation cards to inform others about this coming weekend’s Easter services. Be creative in how you hand them out.

Engaging the World:   Pray about those you will share your faith with. Send a card, email, or make a call to them.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Pray for God to soften your heart for the people who need you to plant seeds in their lives. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to those with real problems needing real love. Be willing to be used as a sower in their lives.


Leader’s Notes

2. Try reading verse 9 in a different translation like the NET and read the footnotes. This phrase is also found in Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9 and 43, Mark 4:23, Luke 8:8, and Luke 14:35.

3. The sower is someone who shares God’s Word (that’s you!), the seed is God’s Word (that’s your Bible!), the birds are Satan’s distractions, the thorns are busyness and the worries of this world, the sun is meant to help a plant grow, but it scorches plants that have shallow roots (we must be firmly rooted in our relationship with Christ).

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.

500 Reasons Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:

Christ-followers are called to bring people (God’s treasures), bury them at the feet of Jesus, and believe He will forgive and heal.

Discussion Starter:

What would you do if you discovered a priceless treasure chest buried in the sand?

Introduction:

This weekend, we continued to look at the 500 Reasons to bring our family, our friends, and the people all around us to Easter 2018. In the teaching, we learned that as Christ-followers, we are to treasure what God treasures most- people. The natural thing to do when you discover treasure is to bring it close and then bury it.

This was illustrated perfectly in the story of the paralytic whose faithful friends carried him some distance, tore open the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching and lowered him down to the feet of Jesus, where he received forgiveness and healing.

We were reminded that we too are to bring friends and lower them to the feet of Jesus. We can only do this when our own hands and heart are free to do the work. We need to drop anything and everything that we may be holding on to too tightly and ask God to tear open the roof of our heart and reveal anything that might be between Him and us.Who are you bringing and burying and believing for God to forgive and heal and transform before our very eyes this Easter?


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: Mark 2:1-12

Discussion Questions:
1. For what did the friends of the paralytic ask Jesus? Whose faith did Jesus acknowledge in this healing? How does this encourage you?

2. What did Jesus say to the paralytic? Have you personally accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, as the ONLY One who can forgive us for our sins? 

3. Who has God laid on your heart who needs spiritual healing? Will you share with them the good news found only in Christ? Will you invite and bring them to Easter 2018?

4. What did the paralyzed man do that proved Jesus has the authority to forgive sins?

5. What did the teachers of the law refer to Jesus as, and of what did they accuse Him? Discuss how the teachers of the law missed the mark and missed the true identity of Jesus.

6. How has God amazed you this week, and how have you praised Him? (see v. 12)

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Mark 2:1-12 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the Believer’s relationship to Jesus.


Embrace Others

This week, our focus is on how Christ-followers must treasure what God treasures- people! When we find a treasure, we bring it close and bury it. We are to hold people close and lay them down at the feet of Jesus, where they can receive what we need most- forgiveness and reconciliation. In small groups of 2 or 3, discuss how the gift of forgiveness motivates and encourages you to share this message of hope with others- to bring them to Jesus. Share with one another who God is placing on your heart this weekend to bring to Easter 2018.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Pray as a group to explore ways you can serve and fill the many extra volunteer spots for Easter 2018 weekend.

Engaging in Community: Like the paralytic’s friends, discuss how you as a group can identify a need in the community and move into compassionate action. Visit https://faithpromise.org/love-local to review several opportunities to serve together. 

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 missionaries who daily carry the needy up to rooftops and lower them to the feet of Jesus! If you have not checked out our digital missions magazine, take a look at: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/faithpromise.org/docs/mission-magazine-2017.pdf to see what FP is up to around the world and how you can pray specially for our missionaries. 


Expanding God’s Kingdom

Will you ask God for the strength, courage and vision to overcome any obstacle to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? This is our highest calling! Nothing stood in the way of the paralytics friends! Invite and bring those God places on your heart to Easter 2018.


 Leader’s Notes

  1. Trick question! the friends did not ask for anything! They simply placed their friend at the feet of Jesus and trusted Him to act. The paralytic’s friends’ faith; our faith and love for our friends matter! The Lord longs to hear our prayer and honor our faith, all in His perfect timing and according to His perfect plan.
  2. Son, your sins are forgiven.
  3. answers may vary
  4. stood up and walked
  5. “fellow”, blasphemy
  6. They thought that maybe God had given Jesus the authority to heal another man, but only God had the power to forgive sins. That is why they accused Jesus of blasphemy when He declared the paralytic’s sins forgiven. The teachers missed that God Incarnate was in their midst! Jesus is able to heal the physical (the visible) and the spiritual (the invisible). Faith in Jesus can result in complete healing, not always here on earth but ultimately in heaven. 

– 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.

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.