Week 7 - The Cross

WHO IS THIS MAN?
WEEK 7 DISCUSSION GUIDE "THE CROSS"

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This week we continued in the “Who Is This Man” series, looking to answer the question, who is Jesus? We reflected on what was central to the mission of Jesus, the cross. On the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins. He took the judgement for our sins on Himself.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Sin separates us from God, it brings death and destruction.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 3:24-25
...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith...

Through his death on the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins and made a way for us to come back into right relationship with God. When we put our trust in Jesus, have faith in him, we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Where there was once separation there is now connection through Jesus.

DISCUSS

What do you think it means to have faith in Jesus?

Think about someone you know who is living their life with faith in Jesus. What stands out to you that is different because of their faith?

How does your life look different because of faith in Jesus?

Through Jesus death on the cross we are given forgiveness of sins when we have faith in Him. Have you fully accepted the forgiveness that Jesus offers?

Is there an area in your life or in your past that Jesus has forgiven but you have not forgiven yourself?

As Jesus forgave us we are called to forgive others. Is there someone in your life that you need to extend forgiveness to?

What is one step that you can take this week to move towards forgiveness of yourself and others?

We have spent the last seven weeks looking at the life of Jesus to answer the question, who is Jesus? What is your answer to this question? Has this changed during the course of this series?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would reflect on the price Jesus paid to free us from the power of sin and death. That we would seek and accept the forgiveness that Jesus freely gives. Pray that the Holy Spirit would bring to mind any areas of unforgiveness in our hearts and that with His help we would move towards forgiveness.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would be encouraged by the love of Christ to show his love to others. That we would be known by the way we love and forgive as Christ loves and forgives us. Pray that what breaks the heart of Jesus would break our hearts and would move us to action.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for all FCC global partners worldwide as they work to identify children and adults at risk for human trafficking. Ask God to strengthen, encourage and embolden our global partners in the work they do loving, educating and restoring both mental and physical aspects of dignity to each child. May peace, hope and forgiveness be planted in the hearts of those victimized and pray that they would be led to someday share in that same message of the hope of Jesus to others. *Worldwide, there are 40 million slaves today with women and girls comprising 75%. Pray that we as consumers are nudged to think about what we are purchasing and not inadvertently adding to labor trafficking worldwide.

Week 6 - Dinner

WHO IS THIS MAN?
WEEK 6 DISCUSSION GUIDE "DINNER"

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This week we continued in the “Who Is This Man” series seeking to answer the question, who is Jesus? We looked at the last supper, which was the last meal Jesus would share with his disciples. There, Jesus would redefine the elements of the Passover meal and point to a new covenant based on love.

The Passover meal was a time when the people of Israel would reflect back to and reenact parts of the Exodus, which was God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Each part of the meal was eaten in a specific order and had a symbolic meaning.

Unleavened bread was served as it pointed back to when the newly freed slaves fled Egypt. They did not have time to wait for bread to rise. This bread, known as the bread of affliction, was a reminder of the suffering their ancestors endured in Egypt.

We are told in Mark 14:22 that while they were eating Jesus took the bread and after giving thanks broke it and giving it to his disciples said, “Take it; this is my body.” In breaking the bread, Jesus points forward to when his body will be broken for many. The new Exodus, Jesus death and resurrection would bring freedom from sin and death.

Mark 14:23-25
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they alldrank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he saidto them. Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

This cup, taken as part of the Passover meal was the cup of redemption. It signified the price paid to move from slavery to freedom, the blood of the goat. Here Jesus points to a new covenant, where his blood will be shed as the ransom, the price paid, for freedom from sin and death. When we take the elements of unleavened bread and juice with communion today, we remember how Jesus paid for our sins with his death on the cross.

This new covenant Jesus pointed to at the Passover meal will be based on love, on loving him, knowing him and abiding in him. As we abide in him, this enables us to love one another.

John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must loveone another”

DISCUSS

Gathering for the Passover meal held great significance in Jewish life and culture. Share with your group about a meal that is an important part of your family tradition.

Has someone ever given you something that they treasured, that was a sacrifice for them to give up? How did that make you feel?

Tell about a time when you sacrificed something, time, money, or preference for someone. Was this difficult for you?

We may sacrifice time, money or personal preference for others, but Christ gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice, for us. How does knowing the magnitude of his sacrifice help you understand his love for you?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must loveone another” (John 13:34). What does it look like to live this out in your life? In what ways does this challenge you?

Tell about a time someone showed you the love of Christ through their actions.

Brainstorm with your group ways that you can show the love of Christ to someone this week.

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would reflect on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us. That this would move usto action, to love others as Christ loves us.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would live grounded in the love of Christ. That people in our community and the world would come to know Christ’s love by the way we love them.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray and thank Jesus for the faithfulness of our global partners, Mid India Christian. They will begin breaking ground soon for the first BOYS Mercy Home in Damoh, India, which is a program and full-time facility for vulnerable children in need of support, care and education. Please pray that Jesus will supply more partners and donors to come alongside them to complete the building process so more boys can come to be educated in a safe, loving environment. Pray for Mid India as they continue to reach out to those who have yet to hear about the good news and love of Jesus.

Week 5 - Temple

WHO IS THIS MAN?

WEEK 5 DISCUSSION GUIDE

"TEMPLE"

 

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This week we continued the, “Who Is This Man” series looking to answer the question, who is Jesus?  We looked at the interweaving of two stories, which taken together give clarity to both. Those stories are Jesus’ cursing of a fruitless fig tree and his action in clearing the temple courts.

 

We are told in Mark 11:11 that Jesus went to the temple courts, but because it was late he left with the Twelve. He had something to do there, but would wait until the next day when it would be seen.

 

The next day, on the way back to the temple, Jesus sees a fig tree that does not bear fruit and curses it. Jesus said, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again” (Mark. 11:14.)

 

Mark 11:15-17

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of money changers and the benches of those selling doves and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.  Aas he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

 

The outer court of the temple was the only place the Gentiles could go to seek God. While this should have been a place of worship and prayer it had turned into a place of commerce and profit for religious leaders.  

 

Mark 11:18

The Chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

 

In this act of clearing the temple courts Jesus crossed both the Roman and Jewish leaders. A week after clearing the temple courts he will die on the cross.

 

When Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem they come across the fig tree once again and see that it was “withered from the roots” (Mark 11:21).

 

The fig tree serves as an illustration, which points to the fruitlessness of the nation of Israel and the temple.  The fact that it withered after Jesus cursed it, foreshadows the judgement on Israel and the temple that would later be destroyed, just as Jesus predicted.  

 

Jesus did not come restore the temple, what was once the center of faith, worship and the sacrificial system.  He came to replace it.  Connection with God would no longer happen through a place, the temple, but through a person, Jesus. When you place your life into Jesus and are baptized his spirit comes to live in you.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is the power and presence of God.

 

DISCUSS

 

What do you think the people’s reactions would have been to Jesus overturning the tables in the temple?

What injustice do you see in the world that you think should move us to action? What would that look like?

 

Have you ever experienced this type of “holy dissatisfaction”?  What was the source and did it move you to act?

 

As believers in Jesus we have the Holy Spirit, the power and presence of God inside us. How does living in this reality make you feel?

 

Tell about a time when you sensed the guidance of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit empowering you to do what you could not do alone.

 

Does knowing that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit make you want to cleanse any area of the temple?  What would this look like?

 

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

 

Pray that what breaks the heart of Jesus, would break our hearts and move us to act in love. Pray that we would be mindful that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

 

PRAY FOR FCC

 

Pray for decisions to be made to follow Jesus. Pray for people to surrender to Jesus as their Lord and savior and be obedient in baptism.  

 

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

 

Pray for FCC global partners, IberoAmerican Ministries, and the work they do in Chile. Pray for about 100 young people in their Chilean churches who've committed to following Jesus' call to share His message of hope and love with people groups who've never been introduced to Jesus. Pray for their training process, the boldness and courage to follow through, and for God's love and peace to clearly be seen through these Chilean believers.

Week 4 - Servant

WHO IS THIS MAN?

WEEK 4 DISCUSSION GUIDE

"SERVANT"

 

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This week we continued our “Who Is This Man” series looking at the Gospel of Mark, Mark’s account of the life of Jesus, to answer the question, who is Jesus?  We covered Mark chapters 8-10 where the focus is on Jesus reeducating the apostles about the mission of the Messiah and the nature of true discipleship.  In Mark 8:29 Jesus asks the apostles, “Who do you think I am?” Peter rightly responds confessing that Jesus is the Messiah.  It becomes clear however in Peter’s response to Jesus when he predicts his suffering, death and resurrection that he still fails to understand what it means to be the Messiah.  He rebukes Jesus. Suffering and dying does not at all fit with his picture of the Messiah.  

 

Peter, like others, envisioned a political, geographical kingdom where Jesus, as king, would overthrow Rome.  A kingdom based on power and wealth.  Even those closest to him still did not comprehend the nature and mission of Jesus and the values of living in the kingdom of God, with God in charge of their lives. This is highlighted multiple times in this portion of Mark.  

 

Mark 9:33 

They came to Capernaum.  When he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the road they had argued about who was the greatest.

 

Jesus, for the second time, has just told them he will suffer, die and resurrect and they are arguing about who will be the greatest in the kingdom.  

 

In Mark 10:33-34 Jesus tells them for a third time that he will suffer, die and resurrect. Immediately after hearing this James and John ask for an elevated position in the kingdom. “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”  

 

Mark 10:42-45

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.”

 

Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

 

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

Jesus explains that the way of the world, the way of power and status, will not be so with us.  He defines greatness in a whole new way.  In the kingdom of God, joy and greatness is found in serving, humility, giving and sacrifice.

 

DISCUSS

 

Have you ever had to submit to someone in a position of authority that lorded it over you? Talk about that experience.

 

In contrast, have you worked for someone who influenced by kindness and love rather than power and authority? How did this make you feel?

 

Tell about a time you found joy in serving.

 

This week Scott asked us to have a conversation about two questions.  Please take some time to discuss these in your group.

 

How do you define greatness?

 

What has that pursuit of greatness gotten you?

 

Tell about a time in your life when your definition of greatness shifted.  How did this change your life?

 

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

 

Pray that we would not strive for greatness by seeking power, wealth and authority. That instead we would seek to live in humility with a focus on serving others.

 

PRAY FOR FCC

 

Pray that as a church we would reflect the love of Christ in the way we serve others.  That we would not live by the standards and values of the world but instead would live surrendered to God, reflecting the character and conduct of Christ.

 

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

 

Take a moment to thank God for the successful launch of 23 new churches in people groups throughout India that are completely new to hearing about Jesus. Pray for our FCC global partners, MidIndia Christian Mission, as they seek to plant a total of 50 churches by 2020. Pray for these new followers of Jesus to remain bold and encouraged in their faith, sharing the hope of Jesus with their friends and families.

Week 3 - Signs

WHO IS THIS MAN?
WEEK 3 DISCUSSION GUIDE "SIGNS"

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This week we continued in the “Who Is This Man” series reflecting on the gospel of Mark as we pursued the answer to the question, who is Jesus? We were reminded that living in the kingdom of God, with God in charge of our lives, has forgiveness at its foundation.

Jesus went out of his way to call those who were considered the least of these in society to follow him. This was a movement for all, not just for some.

Mark 2:16
...”Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

He was criticized by the religious leaders for hanging out with and inviting tax collectors and sinners to follow him.

Mark 2:17
On hearing this, Jesus said to them. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus was inviting those who knew they were sick into his movement. They were in need of forgiveness and grace and were seeking it. This also points to those, such as the religious leaders, who thought they were fine and did not need forgiveness. They looked righteous in their own eyes and others on the outside but only God knew their hearts and their true need for forgiveness.

At the core of the Jesus movement is acknowledgment that we are broken and in need of a savior. This is something the religious leaders failed to recognize.

DISCUSS

When we look at Facebook or Instagram we see what appear to be perfect people with perfect marriages and kids that always obey their parents. We know this is not the case. Why do you think there is a tendency in our society to put on a front when we are all clearly broken people?

Have you ever known someone who appeared to “have it all together” with the “perfect life”, and then later opened up to share their brokenness with you? How did this make you feel?

In this week's message, Scott pointed out that being part of the Jesus movement begins with acknowledging that we are broken. Why do you think this is a necessary?

Do you sometimes feel like you are trying to look like you have it all together on the outside but are feeling broken on the inside?

When we share our brokenness with others it helps us to connect with them in an authentic way and bring healing. What do you think we can do as a faith community to help others feel safe to share their brokenness?

Share about a time you took your brokenness to Jesus and received healing.

Is there an area of your life that feels broken that you have not yet taken to Jesus? Pray about how you can surrender this to him this week.

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would acknowledge our brokenness and need for a savior, that we would surrender all areas of our lives to the healing work of Jesus.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would have opportunities to share stories of how Jesus has healed us in our brokenness. Pray that as we fully surrender to Jesus and live in the kingdom of God, with God in charge, that our lives would reflect the love of Christ.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for Shemah Tours, an FCC affiliated partner, in Southeast Asia who are working with Muslim people groups who have less than 1% population committed to following Jesus. Praise God for a few men and women who've started studying Jesus through the New Testament. Pray for their faith to grow and for the courage to share their newfound hope and joy with their families and friends.

Week 2 - Easier

WHO IS THIS MAN?: WEEK 2

DISCUSSION GUIDE

 

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This week we continued our "Who Is This Man?" series by looking at an account that Mark shares about Jesus healing a paralyzed man.

 

Mark 2:3-12

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The paralyzed man's friends brought him to Jesus expecting a miracle. Jesus didn’t give them what they were expecting. They went with the very rational mindset that his biggest problem was immobility. They didn’t take him to see Jesus for spiritual restoration, instead they took him for physical healing. Jesus addressed something that this man had in common with all people, the man's sin. Jesus revealed to everyone that what we perceive as our biggest problem is not necessarily our biggest problem. The biggest problem of humanity is one that we all share. We all sin. And sin is a destructive force that brings death.

 DISCUSS

 

Just for fun. What is the worst gift you've ever received? Why didn't you want it?

 

On a more serious note - Have you ever gone to someone looking for a specific kind of help, only to be offered something that you weren't looking for? Was this experience positive, or frustrating?

 

We tend to believe that we have a pretty good grip on our own problems. If somebody tries to reframe the reality of our problems for us, we usually don't appreciate it. These men took their friend to Jesus, who essentially told them, "I'm not going to deal with his paralysis. I'm going to deal with his sin.” How would you have reacted to Jesus in this situation?

 

Have you ever had a moment when you realized that your biggest perceived problem was not really your biggest problem?

 

Presently, what do you perceive to be your biggest problem?

 

Do you think God would agree with you? Do you think He sees this as your biggest problem?

 

Sin leads only to death and destruction. But through His death, Jesus has saved us from the power of sin. How does understanding this reframe the way you think about life's biggest problems?

 

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will have eyes that are open to God's reality. Pray that what is important to God will be important to us; that we will see sin as a bigger issue than our earthly wants and needs. And pray that we will know and appreciate the incredible blessing of God's grace and salvation.

 

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we will be a church that reflects Jesus' grace and forgiveness, while recognizing the truth of what sin is, and what it does.

 

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for Middle Eastern and North African Refugee individuals and families who live here in Orange County that are receiving assistance through FCC local partner, Voice of Refugees. Pray for the removal of obstacles refugees face as they rebuild their lives. Praise God for many who've come to follow Jesus. Pray for those who've come to follow Jesus that they would have boldness and courage to share the hope Jesus brings with their friends and family.

Week 1 - King

WHO IS THIS MAN?: WEEK 1 DISCUSSION GUIDE

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This week we started a new series called, "Who Is This Man?" We are focusing on who Jesus really is and what he is all about. This week's focus was about the fact that Jesus came to us as a servant and as a King. Jesus loves us and serves us. He even laid down His life for us. He also requires us to give him authority over our lives. In the first century, his followers were comfortable with the idea of Jesus as King. They wanted a Savior and Liberator. However, they were not as comfortable with the idea of Jesus as a servant either. Jesus' disciples reprimanded Him for attempting to wash their feet as a slave would. They tried to chase children away from Jesus, and they sought positions of glory and authority instead of positions of servanthood.

Today, however, people most commonly have the opposite perspective. We like to think of Jesus as a servant. We can try to emulate the way He loves and serves others. We like the gentle image of a Savior who gives us his everything. The image of Jesus that we tend to struggle with is Jesus as King. If Jesus is our King then we have to submit to Him and His authority. To follow Jesus as a servant, we simply need to love and serve others. To follow Jesus as King, we must surrender control of our own lives and our own choices. We give His teachings authority over our lives. In a culture that values independence, freedom and autonomy, the idea of submitting to Jesus' as King can be difficult.

DISCUSS

Share a story about when you were younger and had a hard time with authority.

Have you ever had a person under your authority who struggled with the idea of being accountable to you?

Does your present job, education, or life phase require you to surrender to another person's authority? Is this difficult for you? If so, why?

Is there a person in your life to whom you gladly surrender authority?

What does it take to submit to someone else's authority? What does it require of you? What does it require of the other person?

Do you gravitate more toward the image of Jesus as Servant or Jesus as King?

Do you struggle with the idea of Jesus having authority over your life? If so, what would it take to get you to a point where you are willing to submit to their authority of Jesus as King?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will grow to be people who allow Jesus to have authority over our lives. Pray that he will truly be our King.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that as a church we will honor Jesus as our King. Pray for the leadership of FCC and their wisdom in leading us to follow Jesus as a church.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for FCC's global partners, the "B" Family, in India. Praise God for the work that they are doing among an unreached Muslim people group, who do not know Jesus. Pray that our global partners' school and business will continue to be successful tools in helping to build relationships with the community and open more hearts to the hope and love Jesus offers.

Week 4 - The One

HOT MESS: WEEK 4

DISCUSSION GUIDE

 

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This week Scott wrapped up our Hot Mess series by talking about dating and romantic relationships. Although this does not directly address the stage of life that all of us are in, the relational principals are universal, and can apply to marriage, family, friendships, and other close relationships in our lives.

 

Scott talked about the fact that most people who date, fall into one of two categories. They are either looking for someone who will fulfill them right now, or they are looking for the "right one." "Right Now" daters are consumer daters. They are looking for another person to give them what they desire. They are constantly trying to extract something from the person that they are dating. "Right One" daters are also consumers. They are looking for the person who will complete them. They are looking for "Mr. or Mrs. Right." They buy into the myth that once they find the right person, life will be perfect.

 

Healthy relationships are not using people for our short term needs. They are not about finding the right person. They are about being the right person. They are about striving to love like Jesus, and growing and maturing for the benefit of others. 

 

Look up and read 1 Corinthians 13:4-11

 

DISCUSS

Just for fun, tell us about your most disastrous dating relationship or "crush" story. 

 

Although our main topic has to do with romantic relationships, most of the following questions fit the context of any relationship in our lives. Keep that in mind, and don't hesitate to discuss these questions in different relational scenarios.

 

Have you ever been in a relationship with somebody who was looking to you for something that you could not provide?

 

Have you ever looked to another person for the kind of fulfillment and completeness that can only be found in Jesus?

 

Have you spent most of your life believing that successful romantic relationships are about "finding the right person," or about two people just making it work?

 

There is a myth that when a person finds "the right one," then everything will be perfect. Where does this myth come from? What effect does it have on the way we approach relationships?

 

In his message Scott asked, "Are you the person that you are looking for?" He pointed out that successful relationships happen when we try to BE the right one; not when we try to FIND the right one. What efforts have you made in your life, to be the kind of person who can have healthy relationships?

 

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that in all of our relationships, we will strive to "be the right one" for the people in our lives.

 

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we will apply this same idea as a church. Pray that we will be the kind of church that Jesus needs us to be for the sake of those we are trying to reach.

 

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for FCC global partners, IberoAmerican Ministries, in the Middle East as they come alongside a refugee community of 125 people. IAM has been able to empower some of these men and women to start micro-businesses; pray that these businesses flourish, for peace and stability in these families' new homes, for hope as they rebuild their lives, and for ultimately each family to know and receive the love Jesus offers.

 

Week 3 - Gratitude

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This was week three of Hot Mess and we listened to a message series about our closest relationships. Our guest speaker was Todd Clark, and he talked about the idea of gratitude and how crucial the expression of gratitude is to our loved ones.

Todd shared the story of Jesus healing the ten men with leprosy.

Luke 17:11-19

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Often we use this passage to talk about being grateful. We think of the nine men who didn’t return as ungrateful. But Todd pointed out that they were most likely very grateful for what Jesus had done. Their lives were drastically changed for the better. The man who returned to thank Jesus didn't necessarily feel more gratitude than the others. What set him apart is that he took the time to express his gratitude. 

As a society, we can be much like the nine others. We may feel gratitude toward others and just assume that they know how we feel. If we fail to express our gratitude, then how will people know that it actually exists?

DISCUSS

Tell us about a time when you felt underappreciated.

Why do you think we are so bad at expressing appreciation toward others?

 Tell us about a person in your life who you feel gratitude for, who may not even know it.

 What keeps you from telling others when you are thankful for them or for something they have done?

Brainstorm some ideas about how you can creatively express gratitude toward people in your life.

 Share the names of two people who are not in this group, that you will express gratitude toward this week.

 Go around the room, and have everyone share one thing they are grateful for about the person on their right and the person on their left. 

 PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will make an effort to express gratitude to the people in our lives. Pray that this will not just be a short-term focus, but a direction in which we grow and mature.

 PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that as a church we will be a place where people recognize our gratitude, and that this will be a source of encouragement for others.

 PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for FCC global partners, Lifeline Christian Mission, in Haiti. Pray for the people of Haiti and their government as they work to find a peaceful resolution to the unemployment crises and high gas prices. Pray for Lifeline and the church at large in Haiti to be an encouraging voice of hope and love, pointing people to Jesus.

Week 2 - Let's Talk About Sex

GROUP LEADER'S NOTE

This week's message was about sex. This can be a difficult thing to discuss in a group setting. We have groups that are comprised of married couples, singles, all men, all women, younger people, older people, etc. Because of your specific group dynamic, you may need to tailor the conversation a bit. If the following questions don’t dig deep enough for your group, then don’t hesitate to add questions that will take you deeper. If your group is new, it may not be ready for this discussion, and you may want to just hang out this time. Use your own discretion.

 READ / DISCUSS

Scott pointed out that in the culture that the Bible was written in, the Roman world had a view of sex that was much like ours today. What are some things that our culture gets wrong about sex? What are the effects of these errant ways of thinking?

 Sex is more than a physical thing. It is also spiritual. This is why divorce, and break-ups of sexual relationships are so difficult. Jesus draws a connection between outward physical acts, and our inner being…

 Matthew 5:27-28

You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Why does our society compartmentalize inward thoughts away from outward actions?

Why does Jesus insist that the two are insuperable?

 The bottom line is that no matter what we have done or thought about doing, God's grace is bigger than our sin. Read John 8:1-11.

How does Jesus address the woman's accusers?

How does Jesus address the woman?

What does this teach us about how we should deal with sexual sin in other people's lives?

What does this teach us about handling sexual sin in our own lives?

 PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will be people who embrace God's model for all of relationships in our lives. Pray specifically for those who deal with sexual guilt, addictions, dysfunctions, and paste experiences that hinder the health of our intimate relationships.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that FCC will be a place where people can experience the grace of Jesus in spite of their failings. Pray that we will show grace and love and hope to people who need a new beginning.

 PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for FCC Global Partners Nilda Cruz and Deaf Ministries International, in the Philippines as they meet the needs of marginalized people groups, communicate God's love, and empower the people they serve to be leaders and influential voices, sharing the hope of Jesus, in their own communities.

Week 1 - The Foundation of Healthy Relationships

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This week we began a new series called Hot Mess. This series is all about what God wants for us in our relationships. 

Ephesians 5:1 tells us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In the following verses Paul goes on to unpack what mutual submission looks like. He describes how wives are to submit to husbands, how husbands are to submit to wives, how children submit to parents, how parents submit to children, and how slaves and masters (employees and employers) are to submit to one another. This kind of submission is not about one person assuming power over the other. It is not about who is dominant and who is dominated. It is about the voluntary act of putting another person’s needs ahead of your own. We are to do this out of reverence for Christ. The person we choose to submit to most likely does not deserve this treatment. We do this because this is what Jesus did for us. He set aside His own life, suffered and died for us while we were still sinners.

 DISCUSS

What is the healthiest relationship you currently have? Why do consider it to be healthy?

 Have you ever had a relationship that was strained by selfishness? What did you learn from that experience?

 While we need to selflessly lean into hurting or broken relationships, we also need to end or limit relationships with toxic people. How do you tell the difference between a relationship that is suffering, and a relationship with a toxic person?

 Tell us about a time when someone set aside their own interests and submitted to yours.

 What is it about the idea of submitting to others that is most difficult for you?

 Is there a relationship in your life that you have been pulling away from, and you need to start leaning into?

 PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray for our relationships, especially those that are suffering. Pray that we will take to heart what it means to submit to one another, to set aside selfishness, and to put the need of others ahead of our own.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that as a church we will be an example to our community of what good relationships look like. Pray for the health of our relationships.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for FCC global partners, MidIndia Christian Mission, as they come alongside 15 new followers of Jesus who were baptized earlier this week. They are from the Bhil people group, a mostly unreached people group in India, where no one knows about Jesus. Pray for encouragement and a strong community of like-minded followers to help empower and support them in reaching more of their own people with the good news of Jesus.

Week 4 - Broken & Burned

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This week Scott wrapped up our Reset series by talking about the story of Nehemiah from the Old Testament. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to find that the remnant of Israel was living in the ruins of their defeat. He gathered them up, moved them to action, and rebuilt the city’s walls. 

While Nehemiah was overseeing reconstruction of Jerusalem’s wall, there were men who tried to frustrate his efforts. Nehemiah’s enemies were driven by their own fear and jealousy. They were afraid of what the Israelites might do if they rebuilt their city. They were jealous that a great work was being done without their influence, involvement or permission. Read Nehemiah 6:1-9, and note how Nehemiah responds to their tactics.

 

Nehemiah 6:1-9

When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”

But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”  Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written:

“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king  and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

DISCUSS

Have you experienced a time in your life when you became content to live in the ruins of your failure, with no hope of things getting any better?

What tactics did Nehemiah’s enemies use to try to discourage him?

 

What was Nehemiah’s response when they tried to draw him away from his work?

 

What was Nehemiah’s response when they lied about him?

 

Scott said that any time we attempt to do something great, there will be some form of opposition. Have you ever had somebody oppose something you were trying to accomplish?

 

Have you ever allowed others to lure you away from what is important?

 

Nehemiah directly calls out his enemies’ lies. Is this something that we typically do today?

 

Do you presently face any form of opposition? What keeps you from living your best and following Jesus to the best of your ability? What needs to be done to deal with these oppositions?

 

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will have faith and boldness to confront the things that keep us from doing what God wants us to do.

 

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that as a church we will identify and deal with any barriers that hinder us from doing great things. Pray that we will focus on the work that God has given us, and that we will not be distracted by any enemy’s tactics. 

 

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Praise God for the amazing impact of last week's FCC India Team as they returned home from their trip with FCC global partners, Mid-India Christian Mission. Pray for the 700 distinct people groups in our global partner's state alone who've never heard the name of Jesus before. Pray for more pastors and missionaries to be raised up and equipped to take the good news of Jesus to these groups.

Week 3 - Oh Look, A Bird

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As we continued our Reset series this week, Scott talked about things that distract us from living in the moment, and seeing what God may be trying to do in our lives. Scott shared three stories of people who didn’t stop and see Jesus, even though he was right in front of their faces. Take a few minutes to read the following passages.


John 20:1-14

Luke 24:13-32

Luke 10:38-42


The fact that Mary missed seeing Jesus at the tomb seems to be rooted in her disbelief. When the two disciples on the road missed seeing Jesus, it looks like it is rooted in their sorrow and defeat. When Martha misses seeing Jesus, it is because she is distracted by housework. In all three cases, people who followed and loved Jesus were prevented from being able to see him. If we love Jesus, but fail to see him working our our lives, then we are most likely distracted by something.


DISCUSS

We just looked at three passages about people who missed seeing Jesus. Which one do you identify with the most?


Tell us about one of the greatest or fondest moments that you can remember in your own life?


What made that moment so great?


Have you aver had an experience that may have been a great moment if you had not been preoccupied with, or distracted by something?


Are there people, places, or things in your life that you would like to be able to enjoy more?


What keeps you from enjoying these things as much as you would like?


What distracts you the most?


What are some simple and feasible things you can do to minimize the distractions in your life, and live in the moment?



PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we will each be able to slow down and live in the moment for our own sakes, and for the benefit of those around us.


PRAY FOR THE CHURCH

Pray that we will be a church of people who look different from the rat-race of the world. Pray that people will see that we are not too busy or distracted to follow Jesus and love others.


PRAY FOR THE WORLD

Spend a moment praising God for the 103 youth in Chile who’ve been mobilized by FCC global partners, Ibero American Ministries, to do short term missions in 2019/20. Pray that our global partners are able to successfully equip and launch all of these commitments to serve cross culturally and for their impact to bring many to know and follow Jesus.

Week 2 - Old Vs. New

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As we continued through our Reset series, Scott talked about the transfiguration. This event is detailed in Mark 9:1-8. Take a minute to read it.

Scott pointed out that Peter’s response was to default to his old religious practices. He wanted to build an altar or something commemorating Moses and Elijah. God did not even acknowledge Peter’s statement, but told him to listen to Jesus. 

We can be like Peter in the way we live out our faith. Instead of looking and listening in wonder, we think conventionally about what we have always known, and how we have always operated. We all experience a gravity that pulls us toward what we know. We can become fonder of the comforts and familiarities of the past than of the excitement and potential of the future. We can become more passionate about people who are like us, than we are about the people God wants us to reach.

 

DISCUSS

What is an object that you no longer have, but brings back fond memories for you?

 

Why did you have to let go of that thing?

 

We have a tendency to romanticize the past. Do you have memories in your life that are probably sweeter than the reality once was?

 

When Peter witnessed the transfiguration, he immediately defaulted to the mode of religion that he was familiar with. Are there things in your life that you immediately default to?

 

In Mark 2, Jesus says not to put new wine into old wineskins. He did something new, and what he was doing could not be contained by the practices of the past. How can past practices become detrimental to forward momentum?

 

Peter Drucker said, “If you want something new, you have to let go of something old.” Have you had an experience where this rang true in your life?

 

Is there something new that you want for your life or the lives of those you love?

 

What will this new thing require you to let go of?

 

PRAY

Pray that we will let go of any old things that prevent God from doing new things in our lives. Pray that we will actively seek out new things that God would like to do in us and through us. 

Week 1 - Building Momentum

RESET: WEEK 1 DISCUSSION GUIDE

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We all have momentum in our lives, leading us toward something. If you think about your decisions, habits, and routines, they are leading you somewhere, even if there is no plan or intention behind your actions. This weekend, Scott talked about how some of us have positive momentum that is leading us in good directions, while others have momentum that is not leading us to great places.

Changing this momentum requires two things: a catalyst, and a progression. Change doesn’t just begin without a catalyst. There must be an event, a decision, a crisis, or a circumstance that drives us toward change. But this catalyst alone is not enough. There must also be a progression of actions that follow. These actions must be planned and intentional.

DISCUSS

Just for fun, do you have any stories about failed new year’s resolutions? Where is the current momentum of your life leading you?

How do you feel about new year’s resolutions? Do you make them? How good are you at keeping them?

Did you make any new year’s resolutions this year? If so, what are they? What is one thing that you would like to change in your life?

What was the catalyst that prompted this change?

What is the progression of necessary steps you will need to make if you want to see this change become a reality in your life? Take a minute to list them out. Share them with your group.

If time allows, give one another input and advice about additional action items, and how to stick to the action items they have listed.

PRAY

Pray that we will follow through with our plans. Pray that with God’s help, we will be able to see real life changes that go beyond new year’s resolutions.

Week 3 - Shepherds

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DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? SHEPHERDS
WEEK 3: DISCUSSION GUIDE

This week Scott talked about the shepherds in the Christmas story. These were uncivilized country folk. They were not accepted, included, or trusted by the rest of society. In spite of this, God chose them to be the first recipients of the greatest birth announcement of all time. The outcasts became the guests of honor. The nobodies became the VIPs.

This is at the heart of what Christmas is all about. You matter to God. He doesn’t care about if you are on the inside, outside, upside, or downside. With Jesus there is no longer an in crown or an out crowd. Everybody is loved and accepted and invited to participate in what He is doing.

Scott contrasted this idea to the Roman way of life that serves as a backdrop for this story. In the ancient world that Jesus was born into, you had to be a free Roman citizen to be on the inside.
Today we can still feel like outsiders at times. And sadly, as Christ followers, we can often make others feel like outsiders.

DISCUSS

Tell us about a time when you felt like an outsider. It could be an instance when you weren’t invited, felt excluded, or just didn’t feel like you fit in.

What is your emotional response when you feel like you are on the outside?

Do you think that we do anything at church; intentionally or unintentionally, that can make visitors feel like outsiders? If so, can you think of an example?

Is there a place in your life where you presently feel like an outsider?

Is there someone in your life who may feel like an outsider? What can you do to make that person feel included?

PRAY

Thank God for the fact that Jesus includes everyone of us. Pray that we will understand that we matter to God and that to Him we are insiders, no matter how we may feel. Pray that we will reach out to marginalized people, and those who need to know that they matter to God. Pray that as a church, and as individuals, outsiders will matter to us.

Week 2 - Herod

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DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE HEROD
WEEK 2: DISCUSSION GUIDE

This week Scott talked about King Herod. Herod is traditionally viewed as the “bad guy” of the Christmas story, and for good reason. He unsuccessfully attempted to kill Jesus, and, in the process murdered an unknown number of innocent children. Herod is not a man with whom we typically want to associate ourselves. However, we all have one thing in common with Herod. We all have a deep-seated desire to protect what is ours. We all have our own “kingdoms” that are compiled of our possessions, our relationships, our goals, and our lifestyles. And as we follow Jesus, at some point we understand that He is a threat to our kingdoms. If he is in charge of our lives, we may not be able to have what we want, or do what we want. His lordship over our lives threatens our desire to decide what is best for ourselves.

DISCUSS

Tell us about a time when something precious to you was threatened. What was your gut reaction? What did you end up doing about it?

How does following Jesus threaten the status quo of your life?

What Biblical commands or teachings are most threatening to your own lifestyle and preferences?

Is there one area of your “kingdom” that you need to work on surrendering to God? What is an action you can take to begin to surrender this thing?

PRAY

Pray that we will be honest with ourselves, when we are protective of our own little “kingdoms”. Pray that as we grow in maturity, there will be nothing in our lives that is not surrendered to God.

Week 1 - DOUBT

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE DOUBT
WEEK 1: DISCUSSION GUIDE

This week Scott kicked off our Christmas series by talking about Joseph. Joseph was faithful to God, and obedient in taking Mary as his wife, but his obedience began with a struggle. He struggled to believe Mary. He struggled to trust what God was doing. In the end, we see that Joseph was a man of faith. Faith isn’t about blindly believing. We see a lot of people “of faith” throughout the Bible, who also struggle with God. In our current Christian culture, struggling with questions, or having doubts are often judged as being a sign of faithlessness.

Joseph was never judged for his struggles. Within the church, people often conceal their struggles and doubts. We can think that it is weak to doubt. We can feel like it is embarrassing to have questions.

DISCUSS

Just for fun...
Tell us about your favorite Christmas tradition.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were afraid to ask questions?

Do you often deal with doubt?

What are the things that can cause you to have doubts and struggles with God?

When you have doubts and struggles, do they make you feel like you are not faithful, or spiritual?

Struggles and doubts are not a sign of faithlessness. To the contrary, they are things that great leaders in the Bible endured as well. Knowing this, do you need to allow yourself to struggle with some things?

What do you need from other people when you are working through struggles and doubts?

How can you be there for others who are working through these kinds of things?

PRAY

Pray that we will be honest with each other, with God, and with ourselves when it comes to the struggles and doubts that we face. Pray that we will not pretend that these things don’t exist, but that we will learn to face them head-on.

Week 3 - Love

WEEK 3 DISCUSSION GUIDE

This was our final week of Be Rich. On week one, FCC stepped up to the challenge to be rich with our resources by raising $81,000 to give to organizations who are doing great work in our community. Last week we stepped up to the challenge to be rich with our time by serving others. This week’s challenge is a bit more personal. The challenge is for each of us, individually, to be rich in love by doing something selfless, loving and kind for another person.

Our hope is that these things will not just be a one-time occurrence, but become a lifestyle of richness in generosity, in good deeds, and in love. Be rich is about having a generous spirit that looks for opportunities to love others in our everyday lives.
When talking about love, Scott used the example of your first youthful crush. Whether it was internal or external, you pursued that crush in some way. You made efforts to be around that person, or you daydreamed about them. In some way you nurtured and pursued your feelings toward that person. Love is the same way. When we pursue it, we find ourselves experiencing it. If we want to feel love for others, we must pursue it. We must be intentional about it. We must work for it.

DISCUSS

Tell us about your first crush. Who was it, and how did you nurture your feelings toward that person, or pursue them?

How does real love differ from a crush?

This week’s challenge was to perform an act of love for somebody. Have you done this already? If so, tell us about it. If not, who is someone in your life who could use an act of love? What can you do for them?

PRAY

Pray that we will love the way that Jesus loves us. Pray that the “Be Rich” series will not be a season of isolated incidents, but the beginning of a new way of living as we are rich toward others in generosity, in service, and in love.

Week 2 - Serve

WEEK 2 DISCUSSION GUIDE

This was week two of our Be Rich series. Last week we stepped up as a church and together we gave $81,000 to local non-profit organizations. This week Jericho Rhoten talked about how we can be rich with our time. At the heart of sincere service, lie sincere motives. The Bible shows us that our motives matter to God.

Philippians 2:3-7

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant, being made in human likeness.

People have all kinds of motives for serving. Humble service is about truly valuing the person you’re are serving above yourself, and above your own effort and recognition.

DISCUSS

Have you ever had somebody help you in a way that left you wondering about his or her motives?

Have you ever helped someone out of false motives? What are the things that motivate you to help others? According to the above verse, what motivated Jesus? What are some ways that you like to serve?

What are some kinds of service that you are not so interested in?

How can you keep your own motives in check?

PRAY

Pray that we will have hearts that are motivated by the things that motivate Jesus. Pray that we will learn to serve selflessly out of love for God and others.