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A Place to Belong - Sept 23 & 24

A PLACE TO BELONG

YOU WERE CREATED FOR RELATIONSHIPS

THREE THING YOU BELONG TO

1)    I BELONG TO GOD

2)    I BELONG IN GOD’S FAMILY

3)    I BELONG TO A PURPOSE

I) LOVING RELATIONSHIPS ARE WHAT MATTERS MOST IN LIFE

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

II) LIFE WORKS BEST WHEN WE ARE IN THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NKJV

THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS MAKE LIFE

·      MORE REWARDING

·      MORE FULFILLING

·      MORE SUCCESSFUL

III) EVERYONE NEEDS FRIENDS TO THEIR DESTINY

“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 NIV

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 NKJV

THREE THING YOU BELONG TO

1)    I BELONG TO GOD

 “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:11 NLT

2)    I BELONG IN GOD’S FAMILY

“You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God.” Ephesians 2:19b CEV

“God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalms 68:6 NLT

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalms 92:13 NKJV

3)    I BELONG TO A PURPOSE

“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which   God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.”  Ephesians 2:10 NCV

IV) IT TAKES COURAGE TO BELONG

 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV


CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK…

1.     Take a moment to get to know one another, especially if you have new group members. What brought you to Capital Christian or this small group? Why do you keep coming?

2.     What do you think about when you hear the word “belong” or “belonging”? Share an experience (positive or negative) you’ve had related to belonging.

3.     How can you be a better friend to the destinies of the others in your group?

4.     What purpose came to your mind when Pastor Dave taught that you belong to a purpose?

5.     How can you be stepping out in courage to belong to God, God’s family and your purpose?

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Leading with the Heart - Sept 17

BRAVEHEART WEEKEND

Forged to Lead: Leading with the Heart

Pastor Ryan Nunez

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:21-26

Jesus is teaching BEYOND BEHAVIOR to the HEART CONDITION.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

So what do we do with ANGER?

1. DEFINE IT.

What was the primary cause? HURT, FRUSTRATION, FEAR

2. DEFUSE IT.

He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! Mark 3:5
 

3. DELIVER IT TO GOD.

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11

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Lead the Way to Reconciliation - Sept 16

Lead the Way into Reconciliation

Pastor Trisha Ferguson

“He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”” Numbers 11:11-15 (NIV)

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Reconcile

            Re-“go back, do over”

            Con-“argument, position” (noun)

Why do we go first?

Because the moment you receive forgiveness, you are called to forgive.

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.  Ephesians 2:1-13 (MSG)

Because we have been designed

We are HIS workmanship, which means HIS reputation is in our work. 

For Peace

How do we do it?

Ask the questions:

  • Where am I hurting?
  • What am I afraid of?

“You can hang with someone as long as there is a chance for you to affect them, but if they start in infect you, you have to move on.” 

Confront with a humble spirit

Be openhanded with the outcome

 

 

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Ambassadors of Reconciliation - Sept 9 & 10

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,” 2 Corinthians 5:18 NKJV

RECONCILIATION IS A PRIORITY WITH GOD

“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV

IF YOU’RE HESITANT TO RECONCILE, WORK THROUGH THESE STEPS:

1)    RECONCILIATION STARTS WITH FORGIVENESS

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NKJV

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:10 NKJV

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26 NKJV

2)    PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE MISTREATED YOU

“Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:28 NKJV

3)    BE HONEST WITH THE MOTIVES OF YOUR HEART

“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 NKJV

 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”  James 3:14-17 NKJV

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” James 4:1 NLT

 “Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:21-24 NIV

4)    BE WILLING TO ADMIT ANY PART YOU MAY HAVE HAD IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:3-5 NIV

5)    BE HONEST WITH YOUR OFFENDER AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO REBUILD TRUST

“Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance,” Matthew 3:8 NKJV

“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:16 NKJV

 

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK...  

  1. Reconciliation starts with forgiveness. What areas are easy for you to give forgiveness and why? What areas are hard for you to give forgiveness and why?
  2. Have you ever prayed for someone who mistreated you? What happened as a result of your prayers? 
  3. Share about a time when you weren’t proud of the motives your heart. How did things play out and what did you learn from that experience? 
  4. Read Matthew 7:3-5. How does taking responsibility for yourself first allow you to be an ambassador of reconciliation that sees clearly?
  5. Consider sharing with the group how they can be praying for you this week as you bring reconciliation and rebuilt trust to relationships in your life.

 

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Ambassadors of Reconciliation - Sept 2 & 3

Ambassadors of Reconciliation

HEAVEN WILL BE FILLED WITH DIVERSITY

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 NIV

OUR GOAL ISN’T DIVERSITY           

OUR GOAL IS RECONCILIATION

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galatians 3:28-29 NIV

AS AMBASSADORS WE ARE DIVERSE BECAUSE OF OUR RECONCILIATION

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 NKJV

· PREJUDICE AND RACISM ISN'T A SKIN PROBLEM IT’S A SIN PROBLEM.

“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer”. 2 Corinthians 5:16 NKJV

· WE COME INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST NOT TO ADD INJUSTICES BUT TO HELP STOP THE INJUSTICES.

“When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied. “I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, “What does my Lord want to say to His servant?”” Joshua 5:13-14 HCSB

TO BE AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION WE MUST BE INTENTIONAL TO STEP OUTSIDE OF OUR OWN PEOPLE GROUP

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NKJV

“but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”” Luke 4:43 NKJV

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 NLT


CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK...

  1. Last week we learned about sharing the burdens of others and how God wants to create a new heart in you. Share with the group what God is showing you in these areas since you last met.
  2. In 2 Corinthians 5 we learn that Jesus died for all and that no one is regarded to according to the flesh (meaning physical or worldly perspective). How does knowing you are made a new creation in Christ change your perspective of God’s love for you? Your perspective of yourself? How does this change how you understand God’s perspective and love for others?
  3. Spoken values are what you claim your values to be. Core values are what comes out of you when you are under pressure. Often these turn out to be very different. How would having a heart of reconciliation transform the way you relate and grow your relationships with others when conflict rises?
  4. What is one way you can be intentional to step outside your people group this week?

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Ambassadors of Reconciliation - Aug 26 & 27

AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION

GOD WANTS US TO BE AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

“WE WILL HAVE TO REPENT IN THIS GENERATION NOT MERELY FOR HATEFUL WORDS OF BAD PEOPLE… BUT FOR THE APPALLING SILENCE OF GOOD PEOPLE.”  Martin Luther King Jr. 

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on. “You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:13-16 NCV

· RACISM AND PREJUDICE ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM IT IS A SIN PROBLEM

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 NKJV

· RACISM AND PREJUDICE IS A PROBLEM OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” Luke 18:9-14 NKJV

HOW CAN I BECOME AND AMBASSADOR OF RECONCILIATION?

1)    BECOME A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 NKJV

 

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 NKJV

2)    ASK GOD TO EXAMINE YOUR HEART

“O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms 139:21-24 NLT

3)     CARRY ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NKJV

“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26 NKJV

4)    TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN WOUNDED BY INJUSTICE ALLOW GOD TO REDEEM IT FOR GOOD

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NKJV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK...

 

  1. Discuss why it’s important for each one of us to be an ambassador of reconciliation.
  2. How have you seen self-righteousness and pride impact your own life?
  3. The first step in becoming an ambassador of reconciliation is becoming a new creation in Christ. What is your part to play in your reconciliation with God?
  4. How can you share in the burdens (strain or difficulty) of others?
  5. Share one way you can be open to letting God create a new heart in you. (i.e. practicing vulnerability with others, being aware and sensitive to other‘s struggles)

 

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Unmasked - Aug 19 & 20

Unmasked

Pastor Scot Anderson

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

"Don't try to be somebody else, become who you were destined to be." - Scot Anderson


CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK...

  1. The purpose of a mask is to cover something. As humans we cover the things we don’t like about ourselves. How can you begin to identify the things about yourself that you are covering?
  2. You are God’s handiwork; you have special gifts and abilities. How God created you also reflects who He is. What is your favorite quality of God? Share with the group how you also have that quality.
  3. What is something God has called you to do? How can you connect that calling to a quality you love about yourself?
  4. When you love yourself you take better care of yourself. What is one way can you can practice self-love this week?
  5. We are priceless to God. He sacrificed His son Jesus to die for our sin. There is nothing that can happen to us or that we can do to change that. How does knowing God’s love for you is unconditional help you love yourself and others?

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To Hell and Back (A Love Story) - August 12 & 13

To Hell and Back (A Love Story)

Pastor Rick & Shelley Long

4 types of suffering we faced:

·      Natural forces.

“… for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” Matthew 5:45 (MSG)

·      Hateful people.

“Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. 2 You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people. But you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want because you do not ask God.” James 4:1-2 (ICB)

·      Satan’s attacks.

“Control yourselves and be careful! The devil is your enemy. And he goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. Refuse to give in to the devil. Stand strong in your faith. You know that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are having the same sufferings you have.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ICB)

·      Selfish decisions.

”We must not be proud. We must not make trouble with each other. And we must not be jealous of each other.” Galatians 5:26 (ICB)

God’s path back to love:

“If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall.  Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (GNB)

1.    Pursue humility more than knowledge.

“If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (GNB)

“Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves.  And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.  Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death his death on the cross.  For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.  And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11 (GNB)

2.    Look at how common my problems really are.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” 1 Corinthians 10:13a (ESV)

“I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)

3.    Acknowledge God’s promise to limit the intensity of my problems.

“He will not let you be tempted more than you can stand.” 1 Corinthians 10:13b (ICB)

“Trust the Lord with all your heart. Don’t depend on your own understanding.  Remember the Lord in everything you do. And he will give you success.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ICB)

4.    Never forget God has a way out.

“But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation.” 1 Corinthians 10:13c (ICB)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (ICB)


CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How did your action step (small step of faith) go last week? What did you learn about God through it? If you didn’t follow through, why not?
  2. What does humility mean to you? How can you personally grow in your humility?  
  3. How does knowing your problems are more common than you think help you overcome them? Share an example.  
  4. God promises to never let your problems be more than you can handle with His help. Looking back, how have you seen God give you a way out when things looked bad?
  5. What are you going through right now that you are trusting in God’s promises that He will help you get through it? Share how the rest of the group can partner with you in prayer.1. 

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"I AM _______." - August 5 & 6

JEHOVAH–RAPHA.  THE LORD OUR HEALER.

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” Psalm 103:2-3 NIV

“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”” Exodus 15:22-26 NKJV

HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN BITTER WHEN THINGS DIDN’T GO YOUR WAY?

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 NLT

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matthew 12:34b-35 NKJV

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NKJV

THE PROBLEM: GOD PROMISES TO BE OUR HEALER, BUT WE OFTEN EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN A CERTAIN WAY.

·      NAAMAN: 2 KINGS 5:1-19

“But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’”” 2 Kings 5:11 NKJV

·      LAZARUS: JOHN 11:1-43

“Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”” John 11:22 NKJV

·       THE SICK MAN

“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”” John 5:6-7 NKJV

HOW CAN I GET TO KNOW GOD AS MY HEALER BETTER?

1)    BUILD A TREASURE OF GOD’S HEALING NATURE IN YOUR HEART

“So, faith comes from listening, but it’s listening by means of Christ’s message.” Romans 10:17 CEB

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV

“This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”” Matthew 8:17 NLT

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” Hebrews 4:2 NKJV

2)    CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S PROMISES

“Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.” Hebrews 10:23 CEB

“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”” Mark 11:22-23 NKJV

“God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did…” Romans 4:17b NKJV

3)    STEP OUT AND ACT ON YOUR FAITH

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17  NIV

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:22 NIV

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:13-16 NKJV

EIGHT WAYS GOD HEALS IN SCRIPTURE

  • PRAYER OF FAITH. James 5:13-16
  • BELIEVERS LAYING ON OF HANDS. Mark 16:18
  • ANOINTING WITH OIL. James 5:13-16
  • PRAISE AND WORSHIP. 1 Samuel 16:23
  • REJOICING. Proverbs 17:22
  • COMMUNION AND REPENTANCE. 1 Corinthians 11:28-30
  • SPECIAL MIRACLES. Acts 16:11-12
  • GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Share an example of when things didn’t go your way. What was your response?
  2. How can you relate to Naaman, Lazarus or the sick man? Share how you identify with that character and story and what you learned.
  3. What is one practical way you can “build a treasure of God’s healing nature in your heart” this week?
  4. What is one way you can begin to “confess your faith in God’s promises” and make it a habit?
  5. The Bible clearly teaches us that faith and actions go together. What is an action (small step of faith) you want to take this week that will draw you closer to knowing God as your healer? This week pray for the other people in your group and their commitments to add action to their faith as they grow closer to God.

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"I AM ______." - July 29 & 30

"I AM _____." GETTING TO KNOW GOD

JEHOVAH–SHAMMAH. THE LORD IS PRESENT.

“... and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezekiel 48:35b NKJV

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’” Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

HOW CAN I KNOW FOR SURE GOD IS WITH ME?

· HIS PROMISE

“… And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b  NLT

“For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”” Hebrews 13:5b-6 NKJV

· HIS PRESENCE

 “Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”” Exodus 33:12-15 NIV

“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”” Exodus 33:18-23 NKJV

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I DON’T SENSE GOD IS NEAR? 

1)    WALK BY FAITH AND BELIEVE GOD’S PROMISE

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV

2) LOOK FOR GOD IN THE HARD PLACES

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”” Genesis 28:15-22 NKJV

3) PRACTICE GOD’S PRESENCE

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 NKJV

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” Romans 8:16 NKJV

4) SOMETIMES GOD IS PRESENT BUT SEEMS DISTANT BECAUSE WE ARE IN A TEST

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you…” 1 Peter 4:12 NKJV

“The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Genesis 39:2 NKJV

“Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Genesis 39:20-21 NKJV

5) SOMETIMES GOD IS PRESENT BUT SEEMS DISTANT BECAUSE WE GRIEVE HIS SPIRIT

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 NIV


SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1.    God promises that He will always be with you. How can you acknowledge His presence as you begin your small group gathering?

2.    How can you look for God in the hard places? How does this help you?

3.    In Exodus 33:12-15 God calls Moses to lead His people. In his insecurity, Moses asks who will go with him and God reassures Moses that He will be by Moses’ side. How can you relate to Moses?

4.    How does knowing God as Jehovah-Shammah help you step out in faith?

5.    If you haven’t already, would you like to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and be the leader of your life? Or would you like to recommit your life to Jesus? Pray this simple prayer:

      “Dear God, Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for me. I ask that you forgive me of my past and mistakes. I invite you to come into my life and lead me from this day forward. I want to receive the free gift of salvation and incredible life that you have for me. Surround me with people who will encourage me and point me to you. Thank you for always being with me no matter what. Amen.”

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