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.

Time

Every year we run into this issue. Seems like half the island moves their clocks forward, and half doesn’t. Another reminder of one of our differences. In America, we look at time as a precious commodity, our schedules are so packed with activities that we often can’t get it all done. In Haiti, time is something you cannot run out of. There is always tomorrow.

So yesterday morning we started our day waiting an extra hour for breakfast to get ready because the clocks at the hotel had not moved forward. We were worried we would be late for church, but apparently the church had not moved their clocks, either.

We got to go to children’s church this trip, a first for us. Lots more interactive, and they were able to translate it for us. We even got to do our Good Samaritan skit again. We did Bible drills, where we called out a verse and the children raced to see who could find it in their Bible first. I played, too, and lost a lot. I like to say it was because I was using a Kreyol Bible, but the truth is they would have probably beat me with an English Bible.

One of the advantages to the time issue is some extra free time. It usually gets filled with relaxing, and sometimes dancing with the locals by the pool.

In the afternoon, more time issues. When we showed up for our afternoon activity, there was nobody there. Turns out this time we were late because this group had moved their clocks forward and we had assumed they would not.

While we were waiting, we visited a couple of houses. The team was very impacted by one family whose home was still damaged from the hurricane and who could only send one of their five children to school. They said despite their circumstances that they knew God was with them because they were still alive after the storm, and that they would rather have Jesus than silver and gold. We prayed over them, and it was very emotional for the family and the team as well.

Since our activity that was planned did not work out, we went to a presentation that was being given to some young adults about entrepreneurship. After, we got to introduce ourselves and ask each other questions.

Before heading back to the hotel for the night, we took a walk down a local road to the home of our Haitian team leader, Wislaire. One of the big differences in our past trips to Port-au-Prince and our trips to La Croix is the freedom to immerse ourselves in the culture.

– Dave Breaux, Mission Trip Leader

Day in the Life

Yesterday morning we did our “day in the life” activity. For my group, we visited the home of one of the leadership council members, Chery Yolande.

While there, we did chores around the house, including doing the laundry by hand. We also got to eat some of the sweet potatoes that we had picked the day before.

Then we sat on the porch talking to her son, who spoke excellent English. He had completed University to be an agricultural engineer, and had spent time in Minnesota for training. He talked to us about that, and how he and his friends had set up an organization to take advantage of that time in America. Whenever one or more of them is in the states, they send back money that is used to send kids in Haiti to school.

We asked about the house across the street, so they went over and asked the owners if we could look around. They gave us a tour, and then gave us all a piece of cake.

In the afternoon, we went to a new locality that we had never visited before, Ka Rekillem.

After we sang some songs with them, we told the story of the Good Samaritan, and several of the team members acted out the story.

Then we went to a nearby field and played games with the parachutes we had brought.

After we finished playing with the children, we visited several houses and prayed with the people who loved there. Many had the same request, that we pray that their family stay close to God.

– Dave Breaux, Mission Trip Leader

Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday we travelled to La Croix. A 5.5 hour bus ride that took up most of our day. Then we got settled into our rooms at the Villa Mimosa Hotel.

After, we met with the leadership council. Each of them welcomed us, told us not to be afraid, that we were home. And having been here with teams five times before, I know that they mean it.

We left the meeting and walked to the field behind the church. If you have followed my blog before, this is the field that we planted plantains in a couple of years ago that was destroyed by the hurricane. Last year we were encouraged to see they had taken advantage of the trees being gone and planted corn. Now, the path to the field is filled with new growth.

The field itself is now planted with sweet potatoes. We dug up a few as we walked through the field.

After, we stopped by Gelee beach and tried some coconut water.

Today will be our first full day in La Croix. We are heading out now to spend the day with a family, helping them with all of their chores, and preparing a Haitian meal.

– Dave Breaux, Mission Trip Leader

Familiar Sites and Sounds

Our team sat down for their first meal in Haiti. The smell of Haitian cooking is a powerful memory trigger for me. Fried plantains always makes me happy.

Today was mostly a travel day. We will stay overnight in Port-au-Prince, then get up early in the morning and head west to La Croix.

Pray that the team rests well tonight, and that we arrive in the village tomorrow full of energy and ready to experience what God has planned for us.’

– Dave Breaux, Mission Trip Leader

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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