13 Jan Discussion Guide: Great Faith Week 2
One of the things we value within community is fun. In the midst of all the pressures life throws at us, it is our ability to laugh, play and celebrate together that reminds us we serve a good, loving, and resurrected Lord who stands above it all. So, we want to take the first few minutes of our time together to play, have fun, and celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus.
Today’s Ice Breaker: Mix & Mingle
Mix & Mingle is a group game designed to help us get to know one another a little better and maybe discover some things we do, or don’t have in common with others in this group.
How to Play:
Everyone will gather in the center of the room.
The game leader will call out a choice to the group, pointing to opposite sides of the room for each option. For example, the first choice could be “inside vs outside”. When the game leader says “inside” they would point to the left side of the room, when they say “outside” they would point to the right side of the room.
Each of the players then walks to the side of the room which they prefer. For example, if I like “outside” more than “inside” then I would go to the right.
- Nature vs City
- Casual vs Dress-up
- Performing vs Spectating
- Mighty Fine vs Whataburger
- Rudy’s vs Salt Lick
- Payday vs Snickers
- Coke vs Pepsi
- Justice League vs Avengers
- Mustang vs Camero
- Apple vs Banana
- Odds vs Evens
- Mac vs PC
- Football vs Fútbol
- Milk Chocolate vs Dark Chocolate
- Dancing vs Singing
- Meat vs Vegetables
- Summer vs Winter
We are continuing our new series entitled Great Faith. We will be joining thousands of Believers in nearly 60 different countries within our Every Nation Church Family in preaching, praying and fasting as we seek to discover what great faith is and why having faith even matters in the first place. That word, ‘faith‘ can mean a lot of things to a lot of people based on upbringing, church experience, and personal struggles. But, what does the Bible mean when it uses the word faith? And why was Jesus continually amazed by either the presence or lack thereof, when it came to faith in people’s lives? Let’s find out together.
What does faith mean to you?
“When you start to wonder whether you can trust someone or not, that is when you already know you don’t.”
Why is trust such a difficult thing to give to someone?
Have you ever been faced with an impossible situation? If so, what were/are some of the thoughts that ran/run through your mind?
If God has delivered you from that situation, how did that impact your faith in Him? Why?
If God has not delivered you from that situation yet, how has that impacted your faith in Him? Why?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
How does faith release the power of the Gospel in our lives?
How does the Gospel release the power of faith in our lives?
When it comes to faith (trusting Jesus) and the Gospel we have a two-sided coin in a sense. Since the Gospel is a gift from God and not something we can earn faith is required for a person to receive that gift. We have to trust that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to purchase the forgiveness of our sins. We have to trust that our own righteousness, our own religious activity, is not a requirement for God’s grace. We have to trust that God loves us despite our failures and idolatry. We have to trust that Jesus really did die and really did rise from the dead. Faith/Trust is what opens our hearts to the Gospel and what releases the power of the Gospel to regenerate our hearts into our lives.
On the flip-side, when we understand the Gospel and we see God’s unconditional and unmerited love for us then our hearts are overwhelmed with a sense of belonging and a sense of security in the arms of God, and that sense of belonging and security serves to increase our trust in who God is. You see, the more we see and understand His love for us the more we will trust Him. And, the more we trust Him the more we will see His love for us. Love and trust are like complimentary, centripetal forces that come together to continually draw us into the center of God’s heart.
Faith brings us into the heart of the Gospel and the heart of the Gospel (God’s love for us) serves to continually increase our ability and desire to trust in God’s heart for us.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”
What do you think James means by saying, “Faith, if it does not have works is dead?”
If we truly trust Jesus in every area of our lives how would that effect:
- How we treat our spouse, children, friends, family…?
- How we treat our enemies or people we don’t tend to want to be around?
- How we view/spend our money?
- How we view/spend our time?
Why would truly trusting Jesus and His love for us impact the motivation of our hearts towards those things?
Truly trusting Jesus changes the way we treat others, manage our money and our time, and even view ourselves because it gives us a different motivation from which to live. Apart from Christ, our hearts are constantly seeking approval, acceptance, love and significance int his world. Something in the core of our DNA longs to be loved, to be told that we belong. The reason that need exists is because we have been formed in the image of a Triune God, a God who is a loving community in-and-of Himself. Therefore, the very essence of what it means to be human is the need to belong to someone who loves us. If we do not know or possess, the unconditional love of Christ then we will seek to prove our worthiness to be loved by obtaining more power, more money, or by becoming more physically desirable. And, when we feel someone has robbed us of that worthiness, either by something they have said or something they have done, then we will either seek to hurt them in return in an attempt to get them to pay us back what they have taken, or we will conform to whatever standard we feel they will see as worthy of love.
But, when we understand and possess the unconditional and unending love of Christ and we truly believe that the King of the Universe, the most worthy Being in existence, has deemed us worthy of love then the opinion of every other person pails in comparison. Which means you don’t need the approval or acceptance of anyone else because you already have those things in the unchanging and unending person of Christ. When you don’t need those things from others then you become free to love them unconditionally, to treat them with kindness and truth and righteousness without expecting anything in return. This changes the way we respond to people. It changes the way we spend or manage our money. It changes the way we spend our time. It does so because love, rather than the need to be loved, is at the core of our decision making.
Are you facing an impossible circumstance now that we can all gather around and pray for together?