Unashamed (Week 3) - My Shame Name

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

The truth of who we are in Jesus removes our toxic shame and gives us courage to be honest with God, ourselves, and each other.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

I am enough to belong.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

When people put shame on us they push us away from them; to be shamed is to be rejected. Toxic shame creates a deep sense that I am unloved and unaccepted because of something I’ve done, something done to me, or something associated with me. We are all broken, yet we are pursued by King Jesus; at Jesus’ table, our sin is covered and our shame is gone.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

What does it mean that I belong because I believe, not because I behave? Talk about a time when it took courage to believe that you are accepted and loved by Jesus apart from your performance.

Respond to the statement: Justified means it’s just as if I have never sinned.

Why is it hard for people to accept that Jesus accepts us as we are? That He wants to restore what sin and shame have destroyed?

Read Romans 10:11 How would you explain to someone that because you believe in Jesus, you will never be put to shame?

End your time in prayer; asking God to help you understand the freedom that is yours.

Other Scriptures to Read:

  • Joel 2:25
  • Romans 2:4
  • Romans 10:12-13
  • Revelation 3:20

Unashamed (Week 2) - Shame On Me

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

The truth of who we are in Jesus removes our toxic shame and gives us courage to be honest with God, ourselves, and each other.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

I am enough.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Healthy shame is the result of realizing we are not God and we are limited. It understands that we have boundaries regarding who we are and what we do. Toxic shame is one of Satan’s major destructive forces to distort and destroy our identity in Jesus. Toxic shame causes my inner voice to challenge me in areas that I don’t like and feel that I don’t measure up in. Toxic shame makes us hide these areas from others and from God. Toxic shame creates a deep sense that I am unloved and unaccepted because of something I’ve done, something done to me, or something associated with me. It makes me feel and even believe that I am worthless and alone. It leads us to think that there are prerequisites to be worthy and loved. In other words, the particular area that Satan uses against me can lead me to think that I will never measure up in that particular area. God challenges toxic shame. Trusting in God’s truth that “I am enough” is the beginning of being set free from my toxic shame.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Where have you gone to hide from something or someone? Why were you hiding? Did hiding work?

What were the circumstances of the last time you felt unloved or unaccepted? What about the last time you felt worthless or alone?

Read Genesis 3:1-13. How was toxic shame involved in this story of Adam and Eve? What was the part that Satan played? What about Eve? What about Adam? What about God?

If we have toxic shame because of something we’ve done, something done to us, or something associated with us, we very well may try to hide it from others. What value is there in getting to the point of sharing what we are dealing with? Can you share what you may be dealing with now?

Read Ephesians 1:4-7. What is the prerequisite for God choosing us? How can that lead to our knowing that “I am enough”?

Other Scriptures to Read:

·      Ephesians 1:4-7

·      Luke 8:43-48

·      James 4:7

·      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Unashamed (Week 1) - The Power of Shame

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

The truth of who we are in Jesus removes our shame and gives us courage to be honest with God, ourselves, and each other.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

We all carry shame. Shame can be healthy, as well as unhealthy or toxic. Healthy shame comes as a result of realizing that we are not God and therefore we are limited. It reminds us that we are not perfect and that we can’t know it all or do it all. Healthy shame also reminds us that we need relationships. It happens when we feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Toxic shame is not only a main consequence of our fall as shared in the story of Adam and Eve, it is also one of Satan’s major destructive forces used against human lives. Toxic shame causes us to deny our own limitations. It pushes us to hide our weakness from others. The more we hide our toxic shame, the more it controls us. Toxic shame drives us to shame others and it penetrates and corrodes our identity in Jesus, driving us to hide from God. To deal with toxic shame requires us to trust in Jesus who removes our shame, giving us the courage to be honest with God, ourselves, and each other. Those who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. Jesus wants us to be free from the shame associated with my hurts, hang-ups, and destructive habits.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a story from your life of “healthy” shame. Explain some of the results of healthy shame. Where does healthy shame lead us? Is God the Holy Spirit always involved in healthy shame? Why or why not?

Share a story from your life where “toxic” shame was manifest. Does Satan always use the same shame on humans? Why or why not?

How can toxic shame control us as we try and hide it from others?

How does toxic shame penetrate and corrode our identity in Jesus? How does it drive us to hide from God?

Psalm 25:2 states “I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame.” Explain the relationship between trusting God and avoiding toxic shame.

So many people have hurts, hang-ups, and destructive habits. How can Jesus free you from any that you have?

Other Scriptures to Read:

·      2 Corinthians 11:3

·      John 10:10

·      1 Peter 5:8-9

·      Ephesians 6:11-16

Small Steps. Big Difference (Week 4) - Help Out

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Consistent, small steps often make the big difference.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

If I want to be like Jesus, I need to think like Jesus.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Our character is the result of our attitudes. Our thoughts—our pattern of thinking, our mindset—create our attitudes. I am what I repeatedly do and think. Thoughts lead to actions. Actions lead to habits. Repeatedly doing things leads to the development of our character. When Jesus entered the world, even though He was the Son of God, He came to serve and to sacrifice His life as punishment for our sins. Jesus didn’t leverage His position to serve His preference as the Son of God. Instead, Jesus leveraged His position to serve people. We also have the same choice as Jesus. We also can choose to be served or we can choose to serve others. In order to serve like Jesus, I have to think about others first. When I am more like Jesus, when I become like Jesus, I am blessed, and I will be a blessing.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share some of the habits that you have – either positive or negative. How did they develop in your life? Can you change habits? If you have established a new positive habit in place of a negative one, how did you do it?

Why would you want to have the character of Jesus? How can that even happen? Why is it appropriate for us to seek to become like Jesus?

Jesus modeled serving others in many ways, one of which was washing His disciple’s feet. What are ways we can serve others? Whom should we serve? Who is the most difficult person in your life to serve?

How can we affect our thought life? Do thoughts really create our attitudes? Thinking about a difficult person in your life, what is your current attitude? What are ways you can change your attitude?

How can helping others affect our attitude toward others? How are attitudes and actions related?

Read Philippians 2:5-6. How can you have the same mindset of Jesus?

Other Scriptures to Read:

1 Peter 4:1-2

1 John 2:6

Romans 12:1-2

1 Corinthians 11:1

Small Steps. Big Difference (Week 3) - Group Up

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Consistent, small steps often make the big difference.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

The fulfilling life God intends for me is found in community with other Jesus followers.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Scripture is consistent is sharing the importance of being in community, which is a group of Jesus followers who intentionally meet in the name of Jesus. By being in community we can live the full life the way that God desires. Jesus actually modeled living life in community by choosing to live life with the twelve disciples. As Jesus followers meet together the most important member of the group is Jesus. We are like the first believers and can and should experience teaching, building relationships, eating, praying, celebrating the stories of God working in them, helping others, and sharing Jesus. Community happens in both the small group and the larger gathering. The first believers embraced the same mission as Westside of loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus. We therefore carry on a 2,000-year-old mission. Being in consistent community is a small step that is critical for the life God wants for all of us.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a story about your nuclear family when you were growing up. Why or why not would you consider your growing up family to be functional or dysfunctional?

How can a group address everything that occurred with the first believers living in community (teaching, building relationships, eating, praying, celebrating the stories of God working in them, helping others, and sharing Jesus)? How would you include everything in a monthly rhythm of life together?

What are the most challenging things that can / should be done in a group? Why?

Explain why celebrating stories of God working and you taking next steps are important.

What was the biggest obstacle for you to join a group? What are the most effective ways for people to successfully join a group?

How can God grow the number of groups?

Other Scriptures to Read:

John 13:34-35

Acts 5:42

Galatians 6:1-2

1 John 4:11-13

Small Steps. Big Difference (Week 2) - Faith

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Consistent, small steps often make the big difference.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

Jesus becomes alive in me when I read and apply scripture.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

When it comes to having a relationship with God, faith is required. In fact, according to Hebrews 11:6, it is impossible to have a relationship with God without faith. Faith develops when people hear the message of Jesus. The message of Jesus is found in scripture. The words of Scripture are the actual words of God and are powerful, having a direct effect through the Holy Spirit. In fact, Scripture can judge our thoughts and attitudes. When followers of Jesus read and apply scripture, Jesus becomes alive within us. The teaching concludes in a practical way by sharing the SOAP method of reading and applying scripture. We first read Scripture, then we have Observation of what was being said, we then seek Application in our lives, and then we conclude with Prayer.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Define faith in your own words. Share a story from your life where you felt that you or someone else had faith.

Read Hebrews 11:6. Explain the verse in your own words. What does it mean to earnestly seek God? What type of rewards come to those who “earnestly seek” God?

Based on Romans 10:17 faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus, share how you received the message. Do you know people in your life that have never heard, or understood, the message? How can they hear?

Do you have a favorite scripture verse? If so, what is it? Why is it important to you? How has God used that verse to impact your life?

Explain the importance of applying scripture in our lives. How can applying scripture build our faith?

What is your plan for taking small steps to increase the impact of scripture in your life?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Psalm 119:105

Psalm 119:11

2 Timothy 3:16-17

James 1:22

Small Steps. Big Difference (Week 1) - Devoted

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Series BIG IDEA:

Consistent, small steps often make the big difference.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

By first giving my money to Jesus, I direct my devotion to Him.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

We are all devoted to something. What we are devoted to determines our direction. If we change the devotion of our lives, we can change the direction of our lives. Our devotion makes a difference in the lives of others and is not something that can be divided. In order to change our devotion, we have to leave what we have been clinging to. We can tell what we are devoted to by looking at where we give. Giving directs our devotion. Giving first to Jesus is a discipline of His disciples, changes the attitude and character of His disciples, and is a difference maker in changing lives for the kingdom of God.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

When you hear the words, “spiritual fitness” what comes to mind? How can someone know if they are spiritually fit?

Is devotion an emotion or something else? How can you tell what you are devoted to?

For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

Respond to the statement: My giving directs my devotion. How could changing your devotion change your direction?

How can giving change attitudes and character?

Consider closing your time together by asking God to strengthen your devotion to Him.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Matthew 6:21-24

2 Corinthians 11:3

1 Timothy 6:10

Revelation 2:4-5

New Year's Eve - Vision Sunday

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TEACHING BIG IDEA:

God will do immeasurably more with a life fully surrendered to Him.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching challenges all who are associated with Westside Family Church to embrace a vision of where God can lead this body of believers. God’s story is always bigger than our own. Since there is a desire in all of us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, our next step of faith is to better understand what God’s bigger story is for us. In Ephesians 3 we learn that God can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Our part is to allow God’s power to work within us by asking God for that power and by fully surrendering our lives to God. As generations of the church continue to follow Jesus in this way, God is glorified. God can do immeasurable things in His church and through His church when His church allows God to empower His body. For our part, Westside Family Church embraces a vision of influencing 10,000 people with the mission of Loving Jesus, Becoming Like Jesus, and Sharing Jesus in the next 10 years. As a focus for 2018 Westside Family Church sees 500 people sharing their story of taking a next step in a group or growth track. We are not responsible for the size or the measure of our cups; however, our responsibility is to allow God to fill our cups and then empty our cups to influence others.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a story from your past of being part of a group. How did being part of something bigger make you feel? What are your thoughts about “all of us desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves”?

What do you think God’s vision for the world is? Where is history going? Does God have a part for you in His vision for the world? Do you desire to be a part of God’s plan? Why or why not?

What are ways that we limit God and what He can do through us? How is God glorified when we are fully surrendered to Him?

What does it mean to not be responsible for the measure of our cups? What are we responsible for?

What are examples of stories that might be shared in 2018 as part of the Westside Family Church vision of seeing 500 people sharing their story of taking a next step in a group or growth track? Are you open to being one of the 500?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Matthew 28:18-20

Acts 1:8

Acts 16:9

John 3:16-17

Christmas Eve - Lovable

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TEACHING BIG IDEA:

Jesus showed up in the world to let us know that God loves us.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching begins by addressing what true love is. True love shows up in pain when we cannot give anything in return. True love also shows up to serve those who are in need and doesn’t have expectations. Those who receive true love will understand that they are lovable.  So many times we try to determine love based on a performance of those we want to love us. We can go through an almost adolescent “they love me, they love me not” process. We can even do that with God, basing our thoughts on what we think God should be doing for us. Christmas shows us something about true love from God. Jesus showed up. He shows up in our pain. He shows up to serve us. He therefore demonstrates true love and shows us that we are lovable. This type of love is like a gift to be received. When we receive the love of Jesus, we receive life and life to the fullest, even in the midst of pain and need.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a story from your past where you had a young adolescent teenage type love – a “they love me, they love me not” type of love.

What are ways that you have based your understanding on God’s love for you with how the events of your day have gone? How about with how your relationships are going? What about with how your job or money issues are going?

Why doesn’t God immediately fix our pain? Why doesn’t God satisfy all our needs? What about our wants?

Explain how the birth of Jesus demonstrates God’s love.

Why is it important to receive love? Explain how love can be seen as a gift. How can understanding love as a gift allow us to see that we are lovable? How can we receive God’s love and really know it?

How can receiving God’s love and understanding that He loves us, allow us to love others? What are ways that we can demonstrate God’s love to our family? Our friends? Our co-workers? Our acquaintances?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Romans 5:8

John 3:16

Galatians 2:20

1 John 4:9-11

Not a Storybook Christmas (Week 3) - Sadness

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Jesus comes into the pain of my story to bring me hope, peace, and joy, because He loves me.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

Jesus came to be my source of joy.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This week’s message focuses on joy as God wants us to understand it.  Hope is the confidence of our salvation; peace is the comfort in our salvation; joy is the anticipation of the fulfillment of our salvation.  Joy is the evidence of Jesus in us. It is not the absence of sadness, but the power of hope alive in our trials. Joy isn’t an emotion to be felt, but a gift to be received, as we trust in Jesus.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Where do people look, besides Jesus, to find their joy?  How do you distinguish joy from happiness?

Respond to the statement by C. S. Lewis—Joy is the opposite of hopelessness.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

How would you explain to someone that though you have not seen Jesus, you love Him?

Can you recall a time when you experienced the calm assurance of God’s presence during your sorrow?

Read Romans 15:13. What is your part in this verse?  Who does the rest?  What is the result?  Why would it be important for people who love Jesus to know this?

End your time in prayer asking God to help to know the joy of His salvation.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Nehemiah 8:10

Psalm 145:7

John 15:11

Galatians 5:22-23

Not a Storybook Christmas (Week 2) - Distress

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Jesus comes into the pain of my story to bring me hope, peace, and joy, because He loves me.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

Jesus came so I can have peace with God and experience the peace of God in whatever I go through.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Our Christmas experiences sometimes don’t match the storybook Christmases that are promoted through movies. The reality of the story of the Bible is that God created all things good. Everything existed in harmony and wholeness with God and each other. Initially there was peace because God was present with His creation, but the sin of Adam and Eve disrupted humanity’s peace with God and disconnected mankind from God. Jesus came to restore our peace with God and restore mankind back into a relationship with God. Individuals can have peace WITH God by trusting Jesus as Savior, thus restoring people to the place just-as-if they had never sinned. Furthermore, individuals can have the peace OF God by trusting Jesus as Lord and giving people confidence to embrace their pain and experience God’s peace in whatever they go through.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Explain any situations in your life that challenge you. What are struggles with your job? … with your family? … with your health? … with your finances?

Share a location that is peaceful to you. Why does it bring thoughts of peace to you?

Why do you think that the experience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was peaceful? Explain why the sin of Adam and Eve separated mankind from God. Explain how sin continues to disrupt our relationship with God.

How can trusting Jesus as your Savior lead to peace WITH God? How can this restore you to a right relationship with God, just-as-if you had never sinned? What is it that Jesus did on the cross?

How can trusting Jesus as your Lord lead to the peace OF God? How can this lead to confidence to go through the circumstances of life, even the pain and struggles? How did Jesus demonstrate His Lordship?

How is your salvation best understood as Jesus being your Savior AND Lord?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Colossians 3:15

Galatians 5:22-23

1 Peter 5:7

Romans 12:18

Not a Storybook Christmas (Week 1) - Hopeless

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

Jesus comes into the pain of my story to bring me hope, joy, and peace, because He loves me.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

I can have hope in my pain because I am certain that God is with me.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

The season of Christmas often reminds us of our own pain and uncertainty, which can destroy hope, joy, and peace. Our actual experiences often don’t align with our ideas of what a storybook Christmas is. Jesus understands our pain and uncertainty because he was born into humanity and directly experienced the pain and uncertainty of being human. God came as Jesus to be one of us so He could be with us. As a result there is hope, even in pain, because we can be certain that God is with us. Embracing “God with me” means we have hope that God’s grace will sustain us, that God’s life defeats all death, and that God understands my reality. Truly, “God with me” is hope for me.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share and briefly describe one of your favorite Christmas movies. Describe your idea of a “storybook” Christmas. How has your experience of past Christmases aligned (or not) with these storybook ideas?

What is your pain? What are current uncertainties in your life? How can the Christmas season contribute to pain and uncertainty?

How can God really understand our pain and uncertainty? What is the evidence that God understands?

How can you know that God is with you? Explain how knowing that God is with you can give you hope in areas of your life that you have experienced pain and uncertainly.

How can having confidence that God is with me give me hope that God’s grace will sustain me? … that God’s life defeats all death? … that God understands my reality?

Who can you share this hope with? Begin with Prayer; Listen to their pain and uncertainty; Eat with them; Serve them; and Share your Jesus Story with them. BLESS them! Share a name and pray for them now.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Matthew 28:19-20 (with a focus on the last line)

John 14:15-17

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

1 Peter 1:3-6

This Is What We Do (Week 5) - Impacting Our Community & World for Good

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are a gathering on Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus with people far from God.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We will impact our community and world for good by being good news as we BLESS others.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Westside Family Church embraces the values of glorifying Jesus, reaching spiritual and physical orphans, making disciples, building strong families, and impacting our community and world for good. The final value of impacting our world and community for good will happen naturally if we are doing the first four. Jesus taught his disciples to be “salt” and “light.” We are salt that preserves and light that shows the way. We can be good news to others as we BLESS others by beginning with prayer, listening, eating, serving, and sharing our Jesus story. The church serves Jesus when is serves others.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

What values do you have in your life? In your family? In your work? Where you play?

Explain how the first four Westside Family Church values naturally lead to the final value of impacting our community and world for good.

Salt preserves. How are we to be salt in our relationship with others? Light shines. How is being a light an illustration of how we impact our world?

What part of the BLESS strategy (Beginning with prayer, Listening, Eating, Serving, and sharing your Jesus Story) is the most important? Why or why not? What is the most challenging? How do listening, eating, and serving give a “gospel touch” to others that set up the good news of your Jesus story?

What people group is the most difficult for you to serve? Why is it hard for you to serve this group? Read Matthew 25:35-40. How is serving this challenging group serving Jesus?

How does embracing biblical generosity a way to impact others? What are examples of being generous? Explain the importance of being generous with the local church.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Matthew 25:34-40

Romans 12:13

Hebrews 10:24-25

Matthew 24:14

This Is What We Do (Week 4) - Building Strong Families

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are a gathering on Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus with people far from God.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

My highest calling and greatest opportunity to make an impact for Christ is within my family.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Westside Family Church embraces the values of glorifying Jesus, reaching spiritual and physical orphans, making disciples, building strong families, and impacting our community and world for good.  Our value of building strong families is reflected in our middle name of Westside Family Church. We believe that strong families are built, requiring individuals to leave their family of origin. Strong families also require love and respect, obedience and honor, and self-control. God has created our family of origin as well as the family of God. While we partner with parents, we build eternal families by seeing spiritual orphans become a member of God’s family. Truly, family is at the core of the Kingdom and to heal our society we must build strong families.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share about your family of origin. What were the challenges? What were the blessings? What type of legacy or heritage did your receive?

Read Genesis 2:18-25. What can you learn about family from reading this passage? Why did God establish the family?  How is the husband and wife relationship primary? What is the place of parents?

How is Westside Family Church a family? How have you embraced this idea? Is there anything keeping you from going “all in” with being a part of the Westside Family Church family?

How is your family, both your physical family and your spiritual family, your greatest opportunity for making an impact for Christ?

How can building strong families “heal our society”?

Explain the temporary challenges of being in a family, while focusing on the eternal nature of families. How is God a family, within Himself?

Other Scriptures to Read:

1 Timothy 5:8

Ephesians 6:4

Exodus 20:12

Galatians 4:4

This Is What We Do (Week 3) - Making Disciples

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are a gathering on Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus with people far from God.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We are becoming the disciples we lead others to be.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Being a disciple of Jesus starts with letting go of the control of our lives and deciding to follow Jesus; it means following the teachings of Jesus found in the Bible. A disciple’s life is characterized by love and is lived in grace while doing good works. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we make disciples of others; beginning with telling what we have seen and heard about Jesus. The power to be a witness for Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit. As we do this, we join Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

What might hinder someone from choosing to follow Jesus’ words: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” Matthew 16:24 (NIV). What does it mean to ‘deny’ ourselves? Take up our cross? How have these words changed your life?

Why is it essential to know what Jesus’ teachings are? How do you recognize false teachings?

Respond to the statement: A disciples’ life is characterized by love.

Why is the Holy Spirit important in the life of Jesus’ followers? Can someone be a disciple without the power of the Holy Spirit? What would you attempt for God’s glory if you knew the Holy Spirit would enable you to do it?

What does this mean to you: To make disciples, we must be disciples.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Luke 18:29-30

James 1:25

John 16:13

Galatians 5:22-23

Ephesians 2:10

This Is What We Do (Week 2) - Reaching Physical & Spiritual Orphans

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are a gathering on Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus with people far from God.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We are reaching spiritual and physical orphans with the good news of Jesus.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

The message of Jesus’ kingdom is the gospel, which means “Good News”. This good news is for both spiritual orphans and for physical orphans. The good news of Jesus’ kingdom is that through His perfect life, death, and resurrection, Jesus is restoring and renewing all who trust in Him and follow Him. This is good news for those who see their brokenness in a world broken by sin. The curse of sin has left us all spiritual orphans. God’s heart is for orphans—He wants us all in His family. We enter His family when we trust in and follow Jesus.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a first-hand story of someone you know in your family or a friend’s family who was adopted.

How familiar are you with the idea of being a ‘spiritual orphan’? When did you first hear about God’s desire to adopt you into His family through Jesus?

How has the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done for you continually transformed you? What would you say is the biggest difference Jesus has made in your life?

How would you explain to someone what it means to be good news to the people where you live, work, and play?

Read Romans 8:38-39. What does this truth mean to you? What might it mean to a physical orphan? How frequently would you say that you lose sight of these words in your daily life? Share practical ways that might be helpful for you to keep this truth anchored in your mind.

What does it mean to BE the gospel? … to LIVE the gospel? … to TELL the gospel?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Luke 4:17-22

Romans 8:15

Romans 8:23

James 1:26-27

This Is What We Do (Week 1) - Glorifying Jesus

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are a gathering on Jesus’ mission to expand His kingdom by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus with people far from God.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We are glorifying Jesus by living on Jesus’ mission.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

Jesus established the church as a gathering of people to bring His kingdom to earth. It was based on the faith statement that Jesus is the Son of the living God sent to restore the relationship between God and man. Jesus’ kingdom is made up of all those who follow Him. His mission is to expand His kingdom. We join His mission by loving Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and sharing Jesus. We glorify Jesus by loving Jesus and living for Jesus, by becoming like Jesus and loving each other, and sharing Jesus and loving the world. Committing to live on mission with Jesus glorifies Jesus. Central to what the church does is glorifying Jesus.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share a story of how you “fell in love” with someone. What was the attraction? Explain how the person you loved responded and how that response was important or not. What is something that has happened in your life that you were extremely excited about? How did you share with others about what happened?

Explain what the church is. In what ways do people think of it as a building? OR as a gathering of people?

Read Romans 5:8. In light of all of us being sinners, how could God love us?

Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Explain in your own words how you earn and receive the grace and love of God? How do you response to receiving God’s grace? How do we live for Jesus? How does this glorify Jesus?

Explain why we should want to become like Jesus. How does the Holy Spirit help us become like Jesus? What are ways that we love each other? How does becoming like Jesus & loving each other glorify Jesus?

What are ways you can share Jesus with those who are far from God? Where are people that we can share Jesus with? How do you respond when someone doesn’t respond to you sharing about Jesus? How should you respond? How does sharing Jesus with others glorify Jesus?

Other Scriptures to Read:

1 Peter 4:11

1 Corinthians 10:31

John 15:8

Mark 9:2-3

Exodus (Week 4) - Love

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are delivered to discover the only true God in Whom we can trust.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

God’s love for the Israelites leads us to understand our need for the fullness of love found in Jesus.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

The stories from Exodus and the Old Testament show us truth regarding the character of God. God reveals his love for the Israelites by providing bread to eat, by healing them with a bronze snake, and by comforting them through his presence in the pillar of smoke and fire. These expressions of God’s love foreshadow the fullness of God’s love through Jesus. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus heals through his death on the cross. Jesus comforts through giving His Holy Spirit. While God continues to provide, heal, and comfort people in miraculous and ordinary ways, God provides permanent provision, healing, and comfort through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Share stories from your life of when you were hungry, of when you needed healing, or of when you needed comfort. Share how those situations were resolved.

The Israelites grumbled when they felt like things were falling apart or not going their way. Explain how grumbling about a situation contributes (or doesn’t) to finding a solution.

Read Isaiah 53:3-7. How do prophecies work? Are there still prophecies? How did Jesus fulfill this prophecy by Isaiah? How is what is shared by Isaiah a demonstration of God’s love?

How does God provide, heal, and comfort people who are even far from Him? How does He do that with those who are following Jesus? What are the differences, if any?

What are ways that show you are trusting that Jesus provides for you?  What are ways that you can embrace the healing of Jesus when healing of illness or injury doesn’t happen in the way you really wanted?

Share how the Holy Spirit has provided comfort to you.

Other Scriptures to Read:

Romans 5:8

Galatians 2:20

1 John 4:7-8

Deuteronomy 7:9

Exodus (Week 3) - Good & Faithful

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SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are delivered to discover the only true God in Whom we can trust.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

God will do what He says, and what God does is best.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

What we learn about God in Scripture is true about Him today because He never changes. We need to see God as good before we can trust in Him. God led the Israelites to dead ends so they would trust Him with the impossible; to dry holes so they would trust Him with disappointment; to deserts so they would trust Him with dissatisfaction; and detours so that they would trust Him when life doesn’t go as planned. In the same ways we are called to embrace God’s goodness and trust Him in all circumstances. We are challenged to examine ourselves … will we trust that God receiving glory in our lives, by itself, is good?

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Read Hebrews 13:8. What does it mean to you that Jesus never changes? What does it mean that when we see Jesus, we see God?

What experiences have you had in your life with dead ends, dry holes, deserts, and detours? Explain how those experiences challenged your trust in God.

Have there been times when it has felt as if God had become distant? What do you think changed?

How would you explain to someone that we ‘trust by obeying’ God? What has it been like to trust that God will give you what you need, not necessarily what you want?

Read Romans 8:28. When have you seen these words lived out around you? What makes it difficult to believe the promise of this verse?

What does it mean to you for God to receive glory in your life? How does God receiving glory relate to the dead ends, dry holes, deserts, and detours in your life? Explain how it is good that God allows challenges in our lives?

Other Scriptures to Read:

James 1:17

Isaiah 55:8-11

Philippians 1:6

Romans 3:3

Exodus (Week 2) - Merciful & Just

SERIES BIG IDEA:

We are delivered to discover the only true God in Whom we can trust.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

In a merciful act of justice against evil, Jesus has taken the punishment for the sins of all who trust in Him and follow Him.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching tackles the significant issue of evil in our world, addressing why God allows bad things to happen. The Ten Commandments allow mankind to become aware of what sin is and that sin is the evidence of evil. God reveals that punishment results when sin occurs. Sin results ultimately in death and happens when we don’t submit to God’s authority and supremacy. While God is just by punishing sin, He is merciful by patiently waiting for people to trust in Him. God’s justice means he must punish all sin, even our own. When Jesus first came, He satisfied the requirement for punishment of sin for all who trust Him and follow Him. Jesus will come again to judge the evil of all who don’t trust in Him.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

What current events demonstrate that there is evil in the world? On a more personal level, what are ways that people demonstrate that they don’t submit to God’s authority and supremacy?

What things does God allow that could lead people to question His goodness? Why doesn’t God just eliminate evil? What would you do with evil if you were God for a day? What are the implications of God simply preventing evil from occurring?

How does God deal with evil in a merciful way? How does God deal with you in a merciful way? What are areas that we struggle with regarding how God deals with evil?

Jesus is coming again to judge evil. How should we then live and relate to others?

How can I trust that Jesus will one day deal justly with all evil?

How can I trust that Jesus justly took the punishment for my sins and that He gives me His righteousness?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Ecclesiastes 3:17

2 Peter 3:3-13

Romans 12:19

Hebrews 4:16