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.

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.

Digging New Wells – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:

We as Promisors need to prepare the way for another movement of God now and for the next generation.

Discussion Starter:

With the beginning of summer right around the corner and all this talk of digging, share if you have plans to get out in your yard or even if you have plans to dig through and clean up your “stuff”!

Introduction:
In this week’s stand-alone message, Pastor challenged us to prepare the way for another movement of God, a revival! We desperately need this now and for the next generation. It is our responsibility to impart to the next generation truth and to teach them how to praise and worship God! We need to resurrect spiritual practices the enemy has tried to obscure such as: praise and worship, sacrifice, faith, valuing life and people, winning the lost, valuing marriage and family, studying His inerrant Word, trusting in His power and delivery, having a reverent fear of Him, prayer and fasting, and true repentance. We are to put God first in our lives, giving Him our best and our first not our last and our leftovers.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures:  Genesis 26:12-25, Proverbs 5:15, Proverbs 13:22a, Genesis 22:5, Acts 1:8, Luke 4:18-19

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Genesis 26:12-17 Isaac’s Philistine neighbors envied his wealth and tried to get him to leave their land by stopping up his wells, which were necessary in that area to succeed in the land. What is necessary for a Christian to “succeed” in this world? What is your definition of success?
  2. How does culture and the enemy “muddy your waters” and attempt to lure you away from God?
  3. How will you depend on God and His promised victory regardless of your circumstances?
  4. Read Genesis 26:18-25 Isaac continued to face conflict from his Philistine enemy as they followed him and confiscated his wells. Finally, he finally found peace and God’s blessing and named it Rehoboth (room). As Pastor taught us this week, the church is looking for something new; when what we really need is to dig again the old wells of spiritual practices that believers have depended on from the beginning.  Discuss these “old wells” that we need to re-open.
  5. God blessed Isaac and his patient, persistent faith. This is spiritually true for believers today.  In John 4:14, Christ promises to give those who place their faith in Him a well of living water that no one can obstruct.  Who has God placed in your life to share the refreshing truth about Him?  Will you boldly step out in faith as God directs you?
  6. What holds you back from sharing openly the truth about Jesus Christ?  How can your group pray for you as you ask for courage and opportunities to share?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Genesis 26:25 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: Revival starts first with ourselves; only then can it spread to those around us and then outward to the lost. From the various “wells” Pastor talked about, which spiritual practice will you resurrect or breathe new life into to start your own personal revival?

Getting to know them: In groups of 2 or 3, discuss ways you can encourage each other this week to grow spiritually. Some possibilities include setting aside a personal quiet time, scripture memorization, or journaling your reflections from daily Bible reading.

Getting to know Him: Choose a verse to memorize this week for encouragement. Consider Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 23:3, or Psalm 40:3. Touch base throughout the week, lift each other up in prayer and “encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:25)


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: As Pastor has challenged us and motivated us to prepare for God to move in our hearts and in our church, will you as a group pray for each Promisor to have laser-focus on God, to hear His still small voice and to seek Him as we anticipate a Revival like none other? How can your group support this movement as we re-dig the wells of our Spiritual fathers and let the Living Water flow?

Engaging in Community/Engaging the World: Christ promises to give those who place their faith in Him a well of living water that no one can obstruct. We learned this week of Lina, who was on the brink of selling her 14-year-old daughter out of desperation and hunger, but the Lord provided a basket of food, thanks to the generosity of believers. How will you, in the power of the Holy Spirit, demonstrate that the body of Christ values the life and dignity of all people? Will you take that step and give back to God a portion from which He has given you to offer hope to this hungry and hurting world?


Expand God’s Kingdom

A pastor once said, “Revival is not the discovery of some new truth. It’s the rediscovery of the grand old truth of God’s power in and through the Cross.”  How will you rediscover these old but powerful truths and share them with this hurting and dying world? We must feel the urgency to pass this on to the next generation! Revival starts first with ourselves. Only then can it spread to those around us and then outward to the lost. Pray together as a group for revival to start within and for its ripple effect to touch those around you and spread to the far-reaches to save the lost.


Leader’s Notes

  1. Answers will vary but may include: putting God first and staying close to Him, studying His Word, and applying its truth, prayer, claiming His promises, surrounding yourself with other believers. Success is not in our advantages or possessions, but in contentment with God and wholehearted devotion to Him.
  2. Answers will vary.
  3. Answers will vary.
  4. The Word of God, prayer, praise and worship, faith, the power of the Spirit, sacrifice, and service.
  5. Answers will vary.

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.

Shadow of a Doubt Week 4 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea: When we give like God gives, we become united in purpose, experience gladness, sincerity of heart, and find true community.

Discussion Starter: What is the most special gift you have ever been given?

Introduction: In the last week of Shadow of a Doubt, we discuss generosity.  As followers of Jesus, we are called to give generously because of God’s generosity.  However, many of us have doubts about giving our time, talents, and treasure.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:37, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:41-47, Jeremiah 29:11

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has God been generous to you?
  2. What is the hardest area for you to be generous?  Time, talent, or treasure?
  3. What area do you think the enemy uses the most to keep you from being generous?
  4. How would it look to people outside the church if your group, your campus, and Faith Promise (as a whole) actually lived and acted like our brothers and sisters did in Acts 2?
  5. What is one area where you and your group can be generous this week?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Acts 2:44 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 is one way God can use the shared interest of your small group to be generous to other believers and those outside the church?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Read Acts 2:44 How can you and your group work to have “everything in common”?

Engaging in Community: Read Acts 2:45 Does God really mean for us to give to “anyone who has need”?  Find people in your community who have needs and meet them.  If you don’t know of anyone, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you and provide an opportunity.

Engaging the World: This week’s ministry partner is The Timothy Initiative.  Visit https://www.ttionline.org/give/ where just $300 can plant a church.  Make a plan to see if your group can combine resources to give to TTI and plant a church.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Being generous with your time and talents are two of the biggest components for expanding God’s kingdom.  God has gifted you with ability and availability to raise up other believers.  If you are not currently using your time and talents for this purpose, who can you be generous with to expand God’s kingdom?


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.

Shadow of a Doubt Week 1 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Did God really mean to love others, to serve others, to suffer like Him, and be as generous as Him? This week begins a new series on spiritual warfare, Shadow of Doubt, where Pastor Chris invites us to engage in the battle.

Discussion Starter:

What does God really mean when He calls us to LOVE those around us?  Does He really mean everyoneWHO is everyone?  Bring specific people to mind that God is calling you to love as you read through the rest of the guide.

Introduction:

Jesus is love. When He came to this world, He embodied everything that love is. We mocked Him, betrayed Him, turned away from Him, but even so, He gave His life for us. That is love.  Jesus gives us a “new command” to love others as He has loved us.  We are called show love to everyone because we are fully loved and everyone is created in God’s image.  Through that calling, others will see Jesus in us and know we are a disciple of His.

But this is the last thing that the enemy wants from us. His goal is to turn our hearts cold towards God and each other. He knows that if we choose not to walk in Christ’s love then we will not follow God and obey His command to love and serve others.  Satan knows that if we do not understand what God means when He tells us to love others, that our trust and love for others withers and dies.  This is why he works diligently and subtly to incite and encourage the erosion of our trust and love in one another.

Christian love is the force most threatening to Satan’s kingdom and therefore what he seeks most to disarm and destroy.  One of the greatest acts of spiritual warfare in which we can engage, one of the greatest blows we can deal Satan, is pursuing love of others around us, regardless of their actions or words.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: John 13:34-35, Ephesians 6:10-12

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read John 13:34-35. God is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt in His command to us.  Love others as He has loved us.  Then others know we are a disciple (follower) of Jesus Christ.  How do we love others?  As we approach Valentine’s Day, how does the world’s definition of love differ from God’s definition? What does loving those around you look like daily? Weekly?
  2. Read Ephesians 6:10-13. As Christians, we are in a spiritual battle of some sort on a daily basis. Our spiritual battles and warfare are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But we can learn how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.  What are spiritual battles that we face? Who are we in a spiritual battle with – those around us or Satan?  What does is look like if you accept you are not battling someone or something but Satan?  Can you think of past situations where you now realize you were not battling a specific person, but that Satan was using that person to engage in spiritual warfare?  If you look at difficult situations you might be facing right now, how does praying for the people involved change how you relate to them?
  3. Read Ephesians 6:14-18 What is the armor of God? How can each piece of armor help us battle the different types of spiritual warfare we face? How does the armor of God equate to showing love to others? How do we battle evil forces around us while showing love to the people in our lives?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ephesians 6:10-18 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: Do you have a spiritual battle going on right now? Has Satan attacked you using those you love, so that he can steal your joy and trust? Pray for eyes to see others as God sees them and to love others as God loves them.  Let the Holy Spirit fill you so that you may love as God loves.

Getting to know them: Think about your coworkers, your family, and your friends. Is there anyone you can love more? Who is the Holy Spirit directing you to show love to? What does this love look like in action?

Getting to know Him: Ephesians 6:14-18 lists our armor with which God supplies us for spiritual battle.  Do you use these every day?  Which ones do you need to learn to utilize a little more?  How can we be better about Ephesians 6:18?  Who can we be praying for (and not battling)?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Have you invited anyone new to your group? Personal invitation is a wonderful way to love those around you and make someone feel welcome to join a group.  Invite someone today!

Engaging in Community: Many schools around us closed this week due to illness.  Faith Promise has partner schools for every campus that needs your help.  Their supplies of tissues, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer have depleted.  Consider purchasing some supplies and taking it to a school.  For a list of Faith Promise partner schools, email lisac@faithpromise.org.

Engaging the World: Do you know that each Faith Promise campus sponsors a missionary? Find out who your Faith Promise missionary is, and commit to pray for that family.  Send them notes of prayer and encouragement through our missions office.


Expand God’s Kingdom

Showing love to others may lead people to ask, “Why are you so nice to me?”  Take this opportunity to explain that God calls Christ-followers to love everyone, not judge or condemn.


Leader’s Notes

  1. See John 13:34-35. We are known to be disciples of Jesus Christ through our love for others.  What else are marks of a disciple? Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.  Are you focusing on these as a group or individual?
    – 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.
  2. See Ephesians 6:10-18 Spiritual warfare is frightening for some people to accept. How can we help them understand what spiritual warfare is and how to battle it? Once we accept that we are engaged in battle with Satan and not those around us, it is easier to love “difficult” people.  And once we accept that God is always fighting with us and for us (and, spoiler alert, has already WON the battle), we can strap on our armor of God and stand firm.