Real People, Real Problems, Real Love Week 2 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
This weekend Pastor Chris challenged us to abide in the vine and remain wrapped up and wrapped in His love. He encouraged Promisors to consider how much God gave through His Son Jesus Christ with how much we are willing to give to others.

Discussion Starter:
Share a recent struggle you experienced and who God used to help you through it. Even knowing how important a role others play in our lives and how God can use them, why is it still so hard to become involved in the problems of people around us?

Introduction:
This week we will discuss how being real people, people of authentic faith, requires we step into the real problems of the world and the people all around us through the giving of ourselves through God’s sustaining power and grace.


Encounter God

Primary Scriptures:  John 15:1-17

Discussion Questions:
1. In verses 1-2, what is the difference between being a cut off vine and one which is being pruned? How does being cut off affect our desire and capacity to give?

2. In verse 5, Jesus tells us we are the branches and can bear much fruit by remaining in Him. How have you experienced this? Share this experience.

3. When Jesus tells us in verse 13 to lay down our lives for friends, what is He really saying? How can we sacrifice for people in our everyday lives?

4. Pastor Chris listed three expenses of loving people: time, tears, and trouble. Which of these is hardest for you? Why? How do you handle it?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read John 15:1-17 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore how to be authentic in our relationships and our faith.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads during this time.

Getting together better:
In your dyad or triad commit to connect with each other this week through a common interest or shared hobby. Commit to pray for each other or with each other about a specific real problem this week.

Getting to know Him better together:
Use the above opportunity to challenge and encourage one another with what was discussed in group this week and share any stories of progress or “God at work” (perhaps look up other Scripture that tell us how to “remain” in Him).

 


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:
Choose a fpStaff member or fpVolunteer leader to encourage in their ministry as an act of service and thanks.

Engaging in Community:
Commit to connect and serve the community in solving a real problem (this does not have to be elaborate, choose something simple – i.e. buy the teachers at a local public school donuts for breakfast, etc.) this week or month.

Engaging the World:
Begin now to consider how you and your group, dyad, or triad will sponsor a Compassion International child (for more details, check out https://cts.compassion.com/events/807)


Expand God’s Kingdom

In your dyad or triad discuss the possibilities of leading or hosting your own Group. What are some obstacles in your path? Pray for God to remove those and begin to ask Him to show what is your next step towards making room for more people to find God’s real love through the loving community of an fpGroup.


Leader’s Notes

For the Discussion Starter, be careful that the discussion does not descend into gossip. We can share negative experiences and learn from them without sharing names.

Be familiar with John 15:1-17 or watch the message online again prior to group.

E-Groups
– 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.

Do groups really matter?

As a pastor in the Groups Ministry, my job often involves convincing people that groups are essential.  And convincing leaders that groups are worth giving their lives for, while waiting for Christ’s return.

But.  Do I believe groups matter?

As a closet-introvert, I prefer solace.  Selfishly, I would never choose to be in a group of people and freely give of myself.  This is obviously not a healthy perspective, but honesty is seldom a healthy dose of reality.  However, my group seems to want to know who I really am and be known in return.

For that, I am grateful.

Without them, an xBox, golf clubs, and a MacBook would be my platonic friends.  An xBox cannot challenge me to become a better husband (a better Jedi perhaps).  Golf clubs do not answer my phone call at 11pm when I must push a car onto a trailer (in the middle of no where).  And a MacBook never needs my encouragement during a difficult time.

Without a group, I could continue practicing my selfish ways uninhibited.  I could shield this practice with smoke screens like, “I’m too busy” or  “I had a bad experience” or “I can study the bible on my own.”  All of which are true for me.

I missed group last night because I was working late.  To my surprise, when I finally did arrive home (~10pm) cars littered my driveway and cul de sac.  My group was still at my house.  Waiting on me.  You know what?  After 3 years together, I would have done the same thing.

What’s happening to me?

Group, community, sharing life, or whatever you want to call it, has changed me.  Without my knowledge and without my permission, others’ needs have become more important than my own.  Their pain, is now my pain. And their victories are mine to celebrate.  And I would wager (were wagering allowed within the unspoken, yet well-codified rules of things pastors are not supposed to do) that I am not the only one.

Have groups (small, cell, life, interest, or on-line) actually made a difference in your life?  Are groups worth the trouble? time? transparency?

If no, why not?  If so, why?  One random commenter will receive a $10 gift card of their choice.

6 billion people.  6 billion stories.  This is just one of those stories.  People.  Life is better together.

Family Life: Parents, We Need Community

(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)

Recently, I had the opportunity to lead the final session of an interest group at Faith Promise Church focused on the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. We had a great discussion about each of the five family values and how our parenting will be impacted as we intentionally incorporate these values in the raising of our children. The information and wisdom gleaned from this outstanding book will benefit all those who participated. However, this is not the only benefit to this small group experience. I believe the community experienced by these parents, from other parents will be of equal or perhaps greater benefit.

Parents, we need community. Raising our children is a blessing and in many ways wonderful. It can also be extremely challenging. Wise parents seek community. Parents, we need regular intentional time with other trusted parents. Even better if some are in the same season of parenting and some have “survived” that season. Over time in community, as trust increases and vulnerabilities are shared, amazing benefits are realized.

As Christ followers we need to have close, trusted relationships with other parents committed to raising their children in a Christ-centered home. One of the truths from community relationships is the reality that other parents also have struggles and have experienced similar challenges. This simple fact is comforting and encouraging when you are sure you have somehow failed as a parent. During dark times your community group will be by your side.

Parents, if you are not currently in a community group I encourage you to contact Jennifer Patrick in the Faith Promise Groups office today to be given information about potential groups. Parenting can be tough. Don’t do it alone.

Are you in a community group?