We Put God First – Discussion Guide

Main Idea: 
Growing as a disciple is a complete surrender of every area of your life to Jesus.

Discussion Starter: 
What is the first thing you do when you wake up every morning?

Introduction: 
When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are to put every part of our lives under God’s control. God is willing to provide for our needs if we trust Him completely with all that we have. Beginning with salvation and throughout the rest of our lives, we have opportunities to let God solve our problems. When we depend on Him, we learn that He is there every time.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Matthew 6:25-33, Malachi 3:10-11

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Matthew 6:25-33. What do you worry about? What does Jesus promise to those who put God first?
  2. Read Malachi 3:10-11. Why were folks instructed to bring the whole tithe?  Who was the food for? How were the generous to be rewarded?
  3. In verse 11, what were these farmers promised? How has God both provided what you need and protected what you already have?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 6:25-33 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

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

What are some fears you have about putting God first and giving generously? Pray Philippians 4:6-7 over each other.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor shared four levels of giving ranging from beginner to lavish giver. No matter where you are on the generosity journey, can you take the next step?

Engaging in Community: Did your group participate in Serve Day 2019? How did it go? Did you make any connections to people or ministries you could serve on a regular basis?

Engaging the World: Faith Promise missionaries put God first by serving in locations far from home. Pray for the missionaries supported by your campus.


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 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.

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

 

This was my third year on the mission trip to Monterrey , Mexico. This trip was a great experience, as always, for a number of reasons. First of which is that I got to meet  a lot of cool people that were very supportive and usually always had a good attitude. Whether they were interns or people that went through a mission trip, they were all super happy to be there helping out with anything they needed to help with. Moving on over to the kids that we got to see at the orphanage, I had a great time connecting and playing with them after I got done working. All of them were super grateful to see us and they always had smiles on their faces, which made me feel really good. It was a pleasure to see Alexa again, which is the little girl my mom and I sponsor.  Alexa always has fun playing with my mom and me while we are there. A couple of the amazing things I experienced were the lessons and cool new things I learned while I was there. I’ll only tell you a couple of things because there were so many. The most  important thing was that God is always with me wherever I go, even if it’s across the world. I also learned from a couple of the stories, that God can change your entire life from just one small decision, and it’s no fairy tale, it has happened to multiple people at the mission site. Lastly, I wanted to say that one of the things that stood out was the time I had with God.  The most special time I spent with God this week was at the extended worship.  Extended worship was a longer worship time with beautiful music and stations where you can express yourself and get rid of some negative things. God really touched my heart that night and it was special to me. Thank you for reading, God bless you.

written by Colby Mayberry

Come Here Often? Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: How present are you really when you are with God?

Discussion Starter: Can you think of a place or an event where you observed people all around but felt like no one was really there?  Maybe a class in school where everyone was daydreaming, napping or chit chatting instead of paying attention to the instructor?  A meeting at work where everyone was on their phone instead of taking part of the meeting?

Introduction: Are you living through the motions, just gleaning here and there, or are you really being transformed in your experiences at church and with God?  What instances in the Bible can you think of where God (via a prophet, disciple, or Jesus) discusses the maturation of our spiritual relationship and the importance of our church family during this process?


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Ezekiel 36:25-27, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 John 4:10-12

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does the passage from Ezekiel say that God is going to do for His people?
  2. How does this compare to experiences that Jesus talks about in the New Testament?
  3. Read 1 Peter 2:2 and Hebrews 5:12 What examples can you find of how we should be nourishing ourselves in the growth of our relationship with God? Put these verses into your own words.
  4. We learned last week that our church family is there to support us and help us grow (Hebrews 10:24-25). According to 1 John 4:10-12 what do we look like when we have a relationship with Christ?

Discovery Bible Method:

For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ephesians 4:11-14 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: In the transformation process that we see described in our primary scripture, where are you personally?  Is it possible that you can go back and forth between the stages?

Getting to know them: What other passages of Scripture describe where you are or where you feel like the group is as whole?  Think about both your current condition and also goals for the future.

Getting to know Him: Why do you think God so desires for us to be part of a church, a small group, or a body of Christian support? As a team commit to one another to pray Psalms 51:10 every day this week over each other and yourselves.


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Have you signed up for our Serve day?

Engaging in Community: Who are the people at work or in your neighborhood who you believe could benefit from having a church family to support them in their growth?  Our community Serve Day is coming up in July.  Invite them to join your small group as you serve.

Engaging the World: Pray for the Christian church groups who are being massacred for their faith.  This is not generally covered by the news; however, we know more than 40 of our brothers and sisters were killed in late April over Easter in Nigeria and many of them were children.  In June, 95 were killed in Mali.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Our verses from 1 John give us the directive to expand God’s Kingdom by showing His love–the same love that we receive even when it isn’t deserved.  Who can you demonstrate this type of love to in your community?


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.

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

WOW! This trip was wave-walking. It was a God-given chance for me to get to go from the start. When I heard about this mission trip, it was from my cousin, who goes to Faith Promise and was about to embark on his first mission trip. He was inviting me to come along. I was excited, but quickly realized that with a lot going on that year, and the expense of the trip, I would have to pass. My family agreed with the decision, and although I was disappointed, I was glad to be using my money wisely. Then my family planned a big vacation the week I would have been gone. Later that year, I got a call from my cousin only two weeks before the trip was to begin. One of the families had to step out, and there was a spot open for me on the trip at half the price it usually was! The only problem was the vacation we had already planned. It seemed like I was being taunted by opportunities I couldn’t take. Then something happened at my household, an out-of-the-blue change of plans, and our trip got canceled. All of a sudden, the door was wide open. I was going to Mexico!

I didn’t know anyone one the team except my cousin and my Aunt, and so I got to spend the whole week getting to know people with the same passions as me, and with the same God as I follow. They were all amazing, and were always there to help me each step of the way; to steady me, and to pick me up when I fell. God used this time to give me the rest I needed. No, we weren’t physically resting – not even close! – but we were spending every day with Him, doing things for Him, and following Him, which was rejuvenating for my soul. I’d never felt so alive. We got to spend one whole day helping Back2Back fix roofs, power wash, paint, and mix concrete, while the mountains towered around us. Then for the rest of our time, we got to connect with the kids, making crafts and playing endless games of soccer. It was so neat to see God putting smiles on each kids face, and helping us connect with each kid, even though we spoke two different languages. God is so cool in that way that he gave us ways to connect without having to speak; that he gave us expressions and laughter, and creativity. During that week when I was out of contact with my family back home, I was in contact with the Lord every day, and He brought me closer to Himself so that I could see things through His eyes, and appreciate the values He sees that we sometimes miss. 

See, in our world, we do in a way speak a different language than those around us who are of the world. We can make small connections with them sometimes by sharing experiences, by laughing with them, or by simply listening even though we may have no clue what they’re saying or how to respond. We can lead by example. But why not go one step further? When we got to Mexico, even if we didn’t know Spanish, we began asking our leaders how to say this or that, or ask if they could tell a child something. We began to try harder to listen and remember how to say certain things. we began to try to learn about who they are, how they speak, and how to know them on a deeper level so that we could connect in a deeper way. It didn’t matter that we only knew how to say “hello”, we were excited about it! Why should we treat every day life any differently? Why should we not try to learn the language of those around us so that we can connect a little deeper, even if they laugh at our efforts? We could put a smile on someone’s face, make a day a little better, help someone take one more step, maybe even change a life. We could be the difference someone needs to come to Christ; if only we take the time, and make the effort. Our language is hard to learn, and difficult for the world to comprehend. So why don’t we reach out to the world instead of making the world come to us? Let’s do what Jesus would do, and learn their language, so that they can understand why we do what we do. Let’s explain ourselves, in their language. Why not? The return home was hard, in a way. There are so many distractions here that make us forget what we’re really here for. There are so many times when I just want to give up, to do what I want to do, to hang out with my friends instead of help someone I don’t really know that well. There are times when I wish I was in Heaven. But hey, no one said learning a language was easy. For most of us, its one of the most frustrating experiences ever. But we can’t give up. This is a call to arms. There’s lives to save out there, guys. Listen to others. Learn how to respond. Live out the faith. Be the difference for one.

 

Lottie Benson

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)