Come Here Often? Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: 
The Church is constantly coming together and serving each other.

Discussion Starter: 
What is your favorite part of Faith Promise?

Introduction: 
This week, we continued to look at the importance of assembling together as a church. Many are opting to skip attending church because values are shifting. Too many of us allow other people to tell us who Jesus is and what Jesus does and who the Church is and what the Church does. The truth is Jesus builds the Church out of people. We must constantly come together and serve each other. What gathering of people makes a bigger and better impact than this? What meeting means more to your personal and spiritual growth than this? What gathering is more life giving than this? What group knows you and loves you more than this?


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Matthew 16:13-19

Discussion Questions:

    1. Read Matthew 16:13-16. Jesus pulled His disciples aside and asked them who people thought He was. They answered Him with the common view of what people thought in the day. Who did they think Jesus was? Do you know all the people referred to in verse 14? If not, use a concordance and find out who they were.
    2. Next, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was. How did Peter answer? Why do you think Peter answered this way? Was it because he had studied the scriptures and saw the miraculous evidence, or was it also a personal decision?
    3. Who do you say Jesus is, and how has this affected your life?
    4. Read Matthew 16:17. According to Jesus’ response, who was behind Peter’s confession? Read these verses and discuss their meaning in light of Peter’s confession: John 1:13, 1 Corinthians 2:8-14, 1 Corinthians 12:3.
    5. Read Matthew 16:18-19 with Ephesians 2:20. Like Peter, everyone who proclaims Christ’s deity is included in the universal Church of Jesus Christ. How well do you know Jesus? How well are you proclaiming His name? What holds you back from talking about Him to others you meet when you are not within the four walls of Faith Promise?
    6. What does the “gates of Hades” refer to here? Read John 11:25-26 for more help to explain Jesus’ response.

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 16:13-19 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore how Christ followers are to confess Him as their Lord and Savior and the privilege we have to share the Gospel. We have a story to tell to the nations!


Embrace Others

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

Getting to know you: Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was in Matthew 16:15; who do you say Jesus is, and why does it matter? Do you proclaim who He is when you are away from church and your group? How can you encourage each other to share the truth about Jesus Christ to this hurting and dying world?

Getting to know them: In groups of 2 or 3, discuss ways you can encourage each other this week to share the gospel. Some possibilities include determining what you should say when you want to tell others about Him. It is as easy as sharing who God is, how sin separates us from Him, the truth about Jesus and His saving work on the cross, and the response each one must give to these truths.   

Getting to know Him: Choose a verse to memorize this week for encouragement. Consider Peter’s confession of who Jesus is in Matthew 16:16. Meditate on this truth that we all must live by. Every person who has ever lived and will ever live on this earth will have to answer this question of who Jesus is. Our response determines our destiny, and this should motivate us to share the truth with all we meet. We have the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and we must share them!


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor challenged us to see our attendance at church as critical to being a part of what God is building. We are having a SERVE day on July 13th; how will your group prayerfully prepare to be involved in this church-wide day of service? See https://faithpromise.org/events/serve-day-2019 for more information.

Engaging in Community/Engaging the World: Pastor shared this week the story of the struggling Italian town of Geza and how God placed the burden on a local man, Pastor Iozza to find a way to save the town that he loved so much. He prayed fervently and heard God said to him – “If you want this town to grow, you need to help the people grow.” The message that community growth is proportionate to the growth of individuals is powerful! In response, Pastor Iozza connected with our partner EQUIP, and as a result, three conferences have been held and the transformation is becoming a reality. Over 300 Salt & Light facilitators have been trained, and plans are underway to train more. How can your small group make a difference in our community by helping individuals grow spiritually so they can reach their full potential in God? 


Expand God’s Kingdom

We are warned in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 that there will come a time when people no longer want to hear the truth and they will surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. There are people out there today who will tell the people that all roads lead to heaven. We as Christ followers are called to share THE truth, and the only way to know the truth is to know God’s Word. How will you as a group rededicate yourselves to prioritizing the study of His Word and the sharing of His Word? Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! Do you believe this? Will you proclaim it?


Leader’s Notes

  1. John the Baptist (raised from the dead), Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets (see Dt. 18:18). 
  2. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Both! The Pharisees and teachers of the law also knew the Scriptures, but their hearts were hard.
  3. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! It changes everything! (Answers will vary)
  4. God supernaturally revealed the truth to Peter, who responded in faith. Because of Jesus, we can become children of God. God’s Holy Spirit in us reveals His truth that Jesus is Lord.
  5. Answers will vary.
  6. Death- Death cannot stop Jesus. Our last breath on earth ushers us into His presence for eternity. When the gospel is known, the person is loosed from their sins (forgiven), but if the gospel is rejected, the sinner remains bound for judgment. Our response to Jesus determines our destiny. 

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

 

Monterrey Mexico Back to Back Mission Trip

Perfect Imperfections

Many years ago my sister volunteered at a senior center.  My sister has always loved to put on make-up and do nails and she used this talent to make elderly feel good about themselves.  If you know me you know this is not my gifting. Yet, I would do whatever I must to have Mayra smile. Mayra is the girl my family and I started to sponsor last year. She somehow found her way to creep into our hearts. So, when one of the first things Mayra showed me when we arrived to Mexico was a new make-up kit her teacher gave her for her birthday I knew that the nail polish my small group was able to help provide would go to good use. Mayra loves to feel beautiful!

This was our 5th year going to an orphanage in Monterrey.  We used to give manicures and pedicures to the Care Givers, but they appreciated the prayers more.  So we stopped.  However, I knew from some letters and from the make-up kit she showed me Mayra would like her nails painted.  So, on the second day I got to hang out with Mayra I painted her nails.  All the things I have learned over the years about the importance of physical touch came flooding back.  I held her hands and gave a very imperfect manicure.  However, then I was able to put sparkles on top. Sparkles make everything amazing. Then Mayra asked me to pick a color.  She wanted to paint my nails too.  This was a huge bonding moment, from what I have learned from TCC (trauma competent care) training  that it is great  for orphans to show a sign of giving and compassion.  I think it was the most beautiful manicure I have ever had.  But then, just to add to all the love she had shown me, she looked for Daisy (my daughter) and did her nails too.

I considered giving her the nail polish and she did ask for it, but then another young lady sat down, Carmen.  Carmen is the only care giver I have seen every year I have gone to Mexico.  Her twin sons were the first children Randy (my son) ever read to in Spanish. Carmen also takes care of a boy that is my husband’s buddy when we go.  So, when she sat at the table with us to do her own nails I thought she might appreciate a little gift herself.  What mom of 8 boys ages 6-12 couldn’t use a little nail polish?

This blog might not be neat and tidy, but my heart swells as I write it.  It is so hard to put into words the love I received and felt free to give.  No judgement, no competition, no impressing one another….just pure love.  Love is in the imperfections and love is perfect.

By: Robin Kercher (Edited by: Daisy Kercher)

Come Here Often? Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: The church is not a building; it is people who trust in Christ.  However, like a building, things start to fall apart when they are not connected to each other and do not support each other.

Discussion Starter: When you grew up, how did you define “church?”

Introduction: When mother birds want their children to learn to fly, they often start by being a good example, and chucking themselves out of the nest and spreading their wings.  They swoop and come back to the nest, over and over. If the little bird doesn’t at least try, then the mother bird starts putting lots of sharp sticks in the nest until the little bird is so uncomfortable that it would rather jump out of the nest than stay in it.  All this works out for the little bird’s benefit, though, because it learns to fly. Can you think of a time that God let your life become very uncomfortable so that you would have to trust in him to handle the situation? Share with the group a time that you can think of – it doesn’t have to be profound.

Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Hebrews 10:23-25, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:20-22, 1 Peter 2:5

Discussion Questions:

  1. In Hebrews 10:24, the text says we should “consider one another” (or ‘observe’ one another) so we can know how to provoke each other to love and good works.  Share with the group a time that you got provoked to either love or good works. Don’t be afraid to get specific. Everyone is different, and people may know someone a lot like you in another part of their lives.  What you share could help someone a lot.
  2. When other people shared their answers to question 1, were you surprised?  Did everyone get provoked by the kind of thing you thought would provoke them?
  3. A little further down in Hebrews 10:25, the text says that believers should be even more active in our care for each other “as you see the day approaching.”  This is definitely talking about “the day of the Lord” that is referenced all over the Bible. How does Jesus future return make you feel?  Does it make you feel more comfortable, or fearful?  What does thinking about Jesus’ return make you want to do, if anything?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 2 Corinthians 6:16 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.

Embrace Others

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

Getting to know you: The Bible says, in 1 Peter 2:5, that believers are each like bricks that make up the spiritual house that God inhabits.  Who relies on you? On whom do you rely?  Do people in your group actually rely on each other or just make small talk once a week?  And…what is it like for other people when you put pressure on others?

Getting to know them: How have you needed support lately? If everyone goes around and shares that first, you can answer another important question: How can you support at least one other person here?

Getting to know God: Why would God want us to have such an interconnection with other believers?  Why would He bother making us go through that step? What happens when we are physically alone, like believers in some parts of the world?

Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: As you probably noticed from your group’s discussion, there are a lot of ways to provoke people to love and good works.  Try to find at least one person in your group that you can provoke to at least a little bit more love this week before you leave – and let them do the same to you.  (It can be more than one, of course!)

Engaging in Community and the World:  Are there any other believers in your community?  It doesn’t matter where (or if) they go to a building on Sundays.  Talk with them. Try to see if anything you learned from your discussion might be used to provoke them at all (in a good way!).

Engaging in the World: What would you do if everyone in your group, and everyone in your community was properly “provoked?”  What would you do to reach the world? Maybe this is the time to try something new.

Expand God’s Kingdom

What is the best realization you’ve had about God lately? It can be anything at all — just something that makes you say “Wow He really is amazing.”  Can you think of how to share that one thought with someone, whether a fellow believer or not? Maybe a believer could use your realization as an encouragement, or maybe God can use that thought to nudge an unbeliever who is far away from him just a little bit closer.

Leader’s Notes

Discussion Question #3:

Paul talked about Christ’s love comforting him, and in that sense, he was comforted.  But he also talked about how terrified he was of that coming day. (Hebrews 10:31, 2 Corinthians 5:11.)  He knows that God will judge His people, and it will be rough going. But he knows that in the end he will be saved.  So there should be some level of tension in this question.

If your group is all smiles and nods and “Oh I just feel great about it,” ask about why Paul was so afraid of it. And if your group is a bit distraught because they are all-too-aware of God’s promise to discipline his own kids (like Hebrews 12:6 discusses), remind them how God will never leave them nor forsake those who call on Him, either.

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Set the Table Week 6 – Discussion Guide

 

 

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Set the table for a Spirit-filled legacy in your family.

Discussion Starter:
Does anyone know a good “dad joke?” Here are a couple to get you started: “How does Moses make his coffee? He brews it.” “What do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common? They have the same middle name.”

Introduction:
It is God’s plan for dad to lead the home. Even where the ideal is not available (no dad in the picture), God has placed spiritual fathers in the church to be sacrificial leaders. Fathers are called to lead with courage and vulnerability, strength and kindness, patience and resolve, dedication and grace. None of this can be done without a relationship with God.

Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:18, 2 Samuel 23:11-12,

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 12:2. What is the an area in your life or household where you are being conformed to this world? How can you allow God to renew your mind to change that area?
  2. If you died today, what is the spiritual legacy you think you would leave?
  3. What are some examples of godly fatherhood you have seen or experienced? If you haven’t really seen any, how are you comforted by God as the ultimate, Holy Father?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Psalm 68:5 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.

Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section. You may want to separate by gender.

Pastor pointed out that “the enemy always wants you in a weakened position.” What are some potentially weak positions for you? How can you avoid them or have other believers shoulder-to-shoulder with you to strengthen your position?

This week pastor said we “must win the battle within, before we can win the battle without.”  Share some of your internal struggles. How can each person in the group help fight those battles?

Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: FP Kids and Students are great places to serve as spiritual parents. Consider serving in one of these areas. Or, encourage someone else to take their next step and become a leader in one of these areas. Young adults and adults can also benefit from having solid spiritual fathers in the church. These are usually less formal roles, but consider how you can be a part of (or encourage someone else) to be a spiritual leader to a young adult or adult in our church.

Engaging in Community and the World:  Read Psalm 82:3 There are numerous organizations both locally and globally that assist orphans. How can  your group can be a part of bringing God’s justice to the weak?

Expand God’s Kingdom

Being a spiritual father or mother to those who do not have a spiritual leader is an amazing opportunity to expand God’s kingdom. Has God called you to be a spiritual parent in some way? If so, seek out those opportunities. If not, how can you support those who are called to that work?

Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Kenya Mission trip Day 5

Today our team divided into 3 seperate groups…here is an update from each group:

GROUP ONE

One of the best things we do on a 410 Bridge trip is to spend a day in the life with a family from the community. Today we got to spend a day in the life with the family of Warutere. Warutere is 84 years old, and he had 11 children.

We were greeted by his granddaughter, Irene as we arrived at the neighborhood, and she led us to her homestead where we met her mother, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already working in the small cooking shed beside their home, boiling water so that she could make us all coffee. When she found out that we didn’t all drink coffee, she quickly went back and warned some milk to make tea also. That is the kind of welcome we get everywhere we have gone in Kenya. Each place where you enter, they welcome you with a smile and the phrase “Karibu”, which means welcome. They always want you to feel like you are home.The cooking shed had a custom built cooking area in one side, and the other side was a storage for plates, cups, and wood for the fire. Kind of like their pantry.We took a walk out to the fields to meet the grandfather, Warutere. Warutere was taking the sheep out to graze for the morning. After they were all tied up, we all headed back to the house.Back at the house, we continued to prepare lunch for the day. We cut up some carrots, onions, garlic, and peppers to add to the beans that were already cooking. We also cut up some pumpkin and zest of a lemon for the Chapati bread we were preparing.

While the rest of the team went and toured the neighboring farmland, I stayed back and continued to make the Chapati bread with Irene. We kneaded the dough, made with mashed pumpkin, lemon zest, all purpose flour, and a little sugar, then added a little oil and left it to rest while we went back to work on the stew.The beans for the stew had been cooking and were now soft enough, so we put some oil in a pan, added the onions and garlic, and finally the carrots. When that had cooked a while, we added the beans to the mix and covered it to let it cook. We were told this stew was something they only made for special occasions, such as weddings.

In the meantime, the Pumpkin Chapati bread was ready to cook. It is rolled out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick, then placed on a very hot pan. Once a side has been lightly cooked, some oil is spread on it and then it is cooked some more until it is done on each side. It seemed like we were making a lot, so I asked her if it could be saved for later. The look I got from her is hard to describe. It was a little like what you would expect if you told somebody we should save the hot Krispy Kreme donuts to eat later, and when she gave me a taste of the first one, I understood why. She assured me we would eat them all, but maybe we could save some to take with us when we left. When I asked, she told me it was her favorite food.The rest of the team was back by then, so we each took turns rolling out the dough. Finally, with the bread done and the stew finished, we stopped to have lunch. The stew and bread was served with fresh avocadoes that they got from a tree in their yard. Irene never stopped serving us, and didn’t finally sit down to eat with us until we had almost finished.Once we finished lunch, we went for a walk and Irene and her grandfather showed us around and pointed out the many different crops and plants they had on the property. We saw corn, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, cabbage, and an aloe vera plant. There was also a clearing where many tea tree plants were located.Eventually we arrived at the home of Irene’ s aunt, who was also named Irene.I don’t know that you will ever see a greater smile than this one. This is the look of a grandfather holding his five month old granddaughter who is named after his wife who passed away, Tamal.We stayed there for a long time, talking about Kenya and asking lots of questions. We played with Tamal, and laughed with our new Kenyan friends.After we left Irene’s aunt’s house, we headed back and brought the cow in to water before taking it to a new area to graze. Then we sat down for another cup of coffee and tea before having to say goodbye.Before we left, we gathered the family together to thank them for treating us so well, and to pray over them and their house before we left. I don’t think there was anything more they could have done to make us feel more at home, and we learned so much about them during our time there. Family is very important to them, and they love each other deeply. But more important than that, when you are in their home, they extend that same love to you, and for that time that you are with them, you feel like you are family as well. That is a lesson I hope we never forget.

GROUP TWO

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GROUP THREE

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Kenya Mission Trip Day 4

A People Carrying the Hope & Joy of the Lord

What a day in Irigithathi, Kenya. Today we worked at the school, repairing one of the classrooms, and we had the privilege of sitting in on one of 410 Bridge’s Business classes with some students in the community. Today would be seen by many as a “work” day. It was a work day, as so much work was done on our hearts through the people of Kenya.

We arrived at the school and were given a brief introduction of what was expected of us while repairing one of the classrooms. The #1 rule was not to work all day, which was odd because that is what we thought we were there for. The expectation was to work a little, and then go play with the kids or go hangout with some of the leaders. The heart of the Kenyan people is so pure, never focusing on what has to be done and always leading with the hope and joy given through connecting with people.

Following the work at the school we got to sit in on a Business Startup Training class that 410 Bridge provides through one of their 5 pillars of a community’s development. This Class is focused around the spiritual, economic, and social approaches to business. The greatest moment in the class was when people began to share the breakthrough they have experienced when they put God 1st and take hold of seeking knowledge and the resources around them to pursue success. There were stories of people getting off of the streets, begging, and coming together to be a blessing to their community through investing in what they already have. The hope and joy of the Lord that these people embody was so inspiring to us.

My heart is fully captured by the Kenyan people. The way that they trust God, the way that they love people, and the way that they care for not the success of themselves but the success of their people. From our view they don’t have much, but from their overflow of hope and joy they show that they have everything they need in the Lord’s provision and timing. I have been filled up way more than I could ever pour out to the Kenyan people. Each one of them have been preparing for us, I believe before we started or even thought about preparing for them. The Kenyan people are passionate and purposed, truly believing and living in Romans 15:13.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

– Brittany (Brooks) Pollard