Week 5 - Hope

ALL THINGS NEW

WEEK 5 DISCUSSION GUIDE "HOPE"

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This week we concluded our “All Things New” series reflecting on how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus affects our future. We talked about hope, the hope that we have in the return of Jesus, and how that should affect the way we live today.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-16

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Paul writes to a church in Thessalonica, to encourage them, that all who are in Christ will share in His victory over death. This is a community that was suffering, Paul points them to hope, to have hope in the future return of Christ where all who are in Christ will experience victory and life.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the

light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

The date and time of Jesus’ return is unknown. It will come suddenly. We should not fear the return of Jesus because we are not in darkness. Here Paul uses dark/night and light/day to signify opposing realities. Sin brought darkness into the world, but Jesus came to bring people back into the light. To walk in sin is to live in the darkness, but to be in Christ is to live in the light. As followers of Jesus, we have been forgiven for living in the darkness, but we can’t stay there. We should live lives that honor God, living in the light.

1 Thessalonians 5:8

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.


Because we are in Christ we have the hope of salvation, God’s saving work in our lives. In Christ we live with faith and love. When we live in a relationship with Jesus we will experience growing faith and increasing love. Trust in God, believing He is who he says he is, and loving others the way God loves us.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

DISCUSS

Think about someone you know who is living their life in the light. What characteristics have you seen in them that reflect walking in the light?

How is your life different as a result of living in the light?

Share about an event or season in your life where you have seen your faith in Christ grow.

How does your life look different because of your hope in Christ?

Is there someone in your life who encourages you? How have they impacted your life?

Think about someone you can encourage this week. Brainstorm ideas with your group of how you can encourage someone this week.

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that the hope we have in Christ would impact the way we live, that we would live every day in a way that honors God.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that through an intimate relationship with Christ we would experience growing faith and increasing love. Pray that this would be reflected in the way we love others as Jesus loves us.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Please pray for all those serving Jesus in the missionary field, in all countries, especially to those closed to the message of the good news. Praise Jesus for their hearts of service. Pray against the enemy of fear and discouragement that comes to try and steal their joy. Pray that God would strengthen our global field workers. Let us lift them up as God continues to fill them, and as we stay committed to prayer.

Week 4 - Forgiveness

ALL THINGS NEW

WEEK 4 DISCUSSION GUIDE "FORGIVENESS"

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This week we continued in our “All Things New” series reflecting on how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus makes things new. We talked about forgiveness, that forgiveness is not the final result, it is the first step.

If we have relationships, forgiveness will be part of our daily lives. Relationships are messy, not only will we need to ask for forgiveness we will also need to extend forgiveness to others. But this is not the final step. We sometimes have an old view of forgiveness, we think of forgiveness as the end result. In this series we are talking about all things new, something that Jesus made new is forgiveness.

Isaiah 53:4-6 gives a glimpse of God’s plan for something new. “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. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The old way to ask for forgiveness was to offer a sacrificed animal to God. But the animal that was sacrificed remained dead. For God to restore humanity the sacrifice would have to be different. With Jesus death on the cross came a new way to receive forgiveness. With his resurrection came restoration. Through Jesus death and resurrection God extends forgiveness and restoration. Once again, we can be in right relationship with God.

Forgiveness is not the last step, it is the first step towards restoration. Not only is God restoring us to Him, He’s giving us the opportunity to be restored to one another.

There are some cases where restoration may not be possible. Forgiveness is the first step towards restoration; however, restoration is for those relationships that bring health. If you have been in a relationship that causes harm, your response should be to offerforgiveness,tofreeyourselffromthepainyouhaveexperienced. Youarenot required to restore the relationship, to bring them back into your life. Instead restoration is with God, in releasing your pain and hurt to him to receive restoration and healing.

DISCUSS

What do you think the differences are between forgiveness and restoration?


Share about a time when you extended forgiveness to someone. Was there also restoration in this relationship? What did that look like?

Does reflecting on the forgiveness God has freely offered you impact your desire to forgive others and move towards restoration?

What would forgiveness and restoration look like in your life? Who do you need to be restored to today?

What is one step that you can take this week to move towards restoration in this relationship?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray for God to bring to mind those relationships where we need to extend forgiveness and move towards reconciliation. Pray that we would take action this week to move towards restoration in a broken relationship.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would seek to forgive others as Christ freely forgave us, that we would not stop with forgiveness, instead we would move towards restoration in our relationships.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Please pray for more hearts to be opened to the gospel in Southern Chile with the Mapuche people group. This indigenous group has suffered persecution and an annihilation of their heritage and culture by the Chilean government. They have had their land stolen, which has forced them to move to cities to survive. Pray that this new church plant by our global partners, Ibero American ministries, will grow strong as more Mapuche hear about God’s love for them. Pray that God will nudge hearts at FCCHB to join the team as we join the Mapuche in October to begin building the church.

Week 3 - The End

ALL THINGS NEW
WEEK 3 DISCUSSION GUIDE "THE END"

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This week we continued our “All things New” series and looked at the end of the world through the book of Revelation. This is a letter written by the Apostle John to seven churches during a time of widespread Christian persecution. All other apostles had been killed.

After a failed attempt to kill John by throwing him into boiling oil, he was exiled to a remote island, Patmos. There he penned this letter about a vision he had, a glimpse into heaven, while on the island. It was written in Apocalyptic style and born out of oppression with the intent to inspire hope. This style of literature uses images of fantasy to describe reality. It is cryptic and symbolic.

In the beginning of John’s vision, the throne room of heaven is revealed. God has a plan to deal with pain and suffering written on a scroll. The scroll is sealed and it looks like no one can open it until... “I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See,the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open thescroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing atthe center of the throne...” (Revelation 5:4-6).

Triumphant, Jesus is the one who can carry out God’s plan. The Bible is not crystal clear about the specifics of the end of the world, even Jesus when asked says not to worry about the details. Revelation is not a timeline meant for interpretation, instead it is a poem intended to inspire hope. In the face of pain and suffering, God is working to overcome evil.

When Jesus returns, his victory over evil is complete. He puts an end to death, pain and suffering. We learn that it is not really the end, rather a brand-new beginning.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth hadpassed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for herhusband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place isnow among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:1-5).

DISCUSS

What comes to mind when you think of the end of the world?

Has there been a time in your life when you hoped Jesus would return that day so you would not have to continue in your current circumstances? What did that look like?

How have you seen Jesus walk with you through difficult circumstances, pain and suffering?

Revelation reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus, he is making everything new, bringing a new beginning.

Tell about a time you found hope in a new beginning.

What has this looked like as a follower of Jesus? How have you seen a new beginning, new life and restoration as a follower of Christ?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would have hope, even in the midst of difficult seasons, as we reflect on the new life and restoring work of Christ.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would share the hope of Christ with our community. Pray that our stories of faith and new life in Christ will encourage others to seek Him.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Pray for our global partners in Southern India who operate the Common Ground International School, where they educate toddlers through 7th grade students, in addition to operating an IT business to share the Good News of Jesus. Pray for their ministry, for strong attendance to continue. Pray for God to open the doors for purchasing additional land for their ministry to grow and serve children with special needs and their families. Pray for new employees needed in the IT business.

India is listed as one of the top ten most difficult places to be a Christian. Pray God will make a way; changing laws and regulations to combat the pressure being put on foreigners with work visas, especially Christians.

Week 2 - Heaven & Hell

ALL THINGS NEW
WEEK 2 DISCUSSION GUIDE "HEAVEN & HELL"

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This week we continued in our “All things New” series and looked at what the Bible says about heaven and hell.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Heaven, or the heavens, is a part of God’s creation. In the beginning there was shalom, peace, between heaven and earth. After the rebellion of God’s creation, this peace and unity was fractured. With this came separation between God and people. Jesus came to restore the unity between heaven and earth and with God and people.

The afterlife is a developing concept in the Bible. Ancient Israelites believed that when a person died they went to Sheol, the place of silence. This is not like our concept of heaven or hell, not a place of reward or punishment, rather a place of gloom where all souls went when the body died.

Understanding of the afterlife changed in the later part of the Old Testament with the arrival of prophets, messengers of God, when they talked about a new idea. “But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise – let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy – your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead” (Isaiah 26:19).

With the idea of resurrection also came the understanding that it will be two sided. All will not go to one place. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

The Old Testament ends with the introduction of these concepts. In New Testament times, 400 years later, most believed that when people died they would go to one of two places. One would be paradise and the other a place of suffering.

When Jesus talked about God’s final judgement he used Gehenna as a picture of where everything is going. Gehenna was a place of fire, death and suffering. All of God’screation is dying and hell is where everything is headed. But Jesus showed up to offer a new way.

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me willlive, even though they die;”

When Jesus died and rose from the dead he conquered the power of sin and death. No longer would our future be death and despair, instead Jesus offers life.

Both heaven and hell exist right now on the earth. As part of a dying creation we will experience some kind of hell, pain and suffering. In Jesus we can begin to experience some of heaven now. Joy, peace and love, life the way God intended it.

Heaven and hell are not just a reality after we die, it’s how we live now. We can chooseto live as part of the world, a dying creation, or as part of the kingdom of God, with God in charge of our lives. Where we choose to live now is where we will live forever.

DISCUSS

How has your concept of heaven changed over time?

Describe a time in your life that felt like heaven.

Has there been a time in your life that felt like hell? What did this look like?

In Revelation 21:1 we are told “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...”

Describe what you think the new heaven and earth will be like. What do you think our relationships will look like there?

How does knowing that we can experience some of heaven now when we live in the kingdom of God, with God in charge of our lives, affect how you live your life?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would experience eternal life in Christ that begins now and lasts forever. That we would point others to Christ by the way we love.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that our guests would get a glimpse of heaven at FCC by the way they are welcomed and loved. That we would love others as Christ loves us.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Please pray for one of the six churches in Ecuador planted by our global partner Ibero American Ministries in the city of El Eden. The church is planted within a rural community that in the best of times faces challenges in social, economic and health care needs. They have faced devastation from flooding in the region. This has made it difficult to get food, clean water and basic supplies. Many crops have been destroyed and the rivers have loosed the venomous snake population that are normally contained within its boundaries. Please pray for Pastor Gustavo, his wife Fanny and their three

children as they minister to their neighbors in this season of need and share the love and compassion of Jesus.

Week 1 - Under

ALL THINGS NEW
WEEK 1 DISCUSSION GUIDE "UNDER"

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This week we started a new series titled “All things New.” We began by looking at what Jesus came to do and how that affects the future.

Colossians 1:19-20
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Jesus came as the fullness of God, God in the flesh. Through Jesus, God would reconcile all things. This reconciliation is not just for humanity, but all of God’s creation. Beforesin entered the world, there was order and peace in creation. When sin entered theworld through the rebellion of God’s creation it brought chaos, death and decay.

Ephesians 1:8-10
...With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his willaccording to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment- to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Through Jesus, God is reconciling all things to Him and bringing unity to all things under Christ.

Jesus brought hope to a dying creation. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossedover from death to life.” (Jn. 5:24). Whoever believes in Jesus, surrenders their life to Him, is saved. Jesus came to bring salvation.

Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Salvation is both a moment and a continual process. There is a moment when we cross over from death to life and then a process through which we choose to follow Jesus daily and surrender to Him. As we live surrendered to Christ, we are continually transformed to reflect His image.

DISCUSS

What does it mean to be saved?

Think about someone you know who has been a follower of Jesus for a long time. How have you seen them change to reflect the image of Christ more over time?

Think about your own faith journey with Jesus. How have you seen Jesus’ saving work as a continual process in your life?

Have there been times in your life when daily surrender to Jesus has been easier, or more difficult? What has made the difference?

Does knowing that Jesus’ saving work in our lives is a continual process help you to bemore understanding of those who are new to the church?

As a church how can we create the best possible environment for those who are seeking to know Jesus to feel welcomed and loved?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would daily surrender our lives to Jesus. That we would have a vibrant faith in Christ that would be reflected in the way we love others.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would create the best possible environment for those who are seeking Jesus to feel welcomed and loved. That we would be a light to those in our community, pointing them to Christ.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

Our global partners in Southeast Asia, Shemah Tours, welcome short-term teams from all over the world. We have been invited to come reach out in friendship to share thelove and good news of Jesus to a group of people unaware of God’s love. Pray that God will strengthen our partners as they continue to reach out to others as well as for those who have received the good news of Jesus. Pray for their vision to see locally led churches grow and multiply as people hear and receive the message of love, hope and grace. Pray that God will continue to open ears to hear and hearts to accept Jesus in a community that is 99% Muslim.

Easter

WHO IS THIS MAN?
WEEK 8 DISCUSSION GUIDE "EASTER"

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This week we continued in our “Who Is This Man” series, pursuing an answer to the question, who is Jesus? We picked up in the gospel of Mark after Jesus was crucified.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Roman officials for Jesus body so he could give him a proper burial.

Mark 15:45-46
So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

A group of ladies went back to put spices in the tomb, early in the morning on the first day of the week. On the way there they wondered how they would roll back the stone that sealed the tomb. When they arrived they found that the stone had been rolled away.

Mark 16:5-7
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on theright side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed.” He said. “You are looking forJesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter...

The women are told to go tell Jesus closest friends about the resurrection. Mentioned specifically here is Peter, who on three separate occasions had denied even knowing Jesus. He desperately needed to hear this news. We are told in Mark 16:8 that at first the women did not tell anyone because they were afraid.

When we look at the gospel of John, his eyewitness account of the life of Jesus, we discover that the women eventually did go and tell the disciples. John shares that upon hearing the news, he and Peter raced to the tomb. After looking inside the empty tomb,John tells us that “he saw and believed.”

Jesus appeared to many after his resurrection. Once to more than five hundred people at the same time. However, even after seeing the resurrected Jesus many did not think His movement would continue. Many of his closest followers, including John and Peter went back to the job they had before they met Jesus, which was fishing.

While they were fishing Jesus showed up to restore and give a new purpose to Peter. He asked Peter three times if he loved Him, once for each time Peter had denied Him.

He also asked Peter to feed His sheep. Jesus extends forgiveness to Peter and gives him new hope and purpose. Jesus offers that same forgiveness, hope and purpose to us today. Through Jesus death and resurrection, we have hope of a new life in Christ.

DISCUSS

How do you think you would have reacted if you were one of the first followers of Jesus to discover the empty tomb?

Has someone ever told you something that you did not believe at the time but later found out was true? How did this make you feel?

After His death, the early followers of Jesus did not anticipate a resurrection but rather were stricken with despair for the loss of Jesus and the hope that he was the Messiah. Despair would turn to joy after Jesus resurrection and appearance to many.

Tell about a time in your life when what was once a season of sadness turned to joy.

Share with your group about a time when you found hope in Jesus as He walked with you through a difficult season.

Is there an area in your life where you have lost hope? Pray about this with your group.

Through Jesus death and resurrection, we have hope of a new life, a new future. How is your life different because of the resurrection of Jesus?

PRAY FOR YOUR GROUP

Pray that we would live new lives with hope in Christ. Even when we walk through difficult seasons we would not lose hope. Pray that we would reflect on the resurrection of Christ and the hope of new life.

PRAY FOR FCC

Pray that we would reflect the character and conduct of Christ in the way we live and love others. That people would see the hope that we have in Him and would want to know more about Jesus.

PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS

The deaf are often a forgotten group who are isolated from society. They are sometimes unable to hear the gospel message of Jesus in their own language and do not receive an education or employment. Deaf Ministries International reaches out to those marginalized by society all over the world. This summer our high school student ministry will be visiting their school in the Philippines. We ask for prayer specifically for the ministries in the Philippines in Davao, Ligao and Visayas. We pray for God’scontinued mercy and grace for their organic farms, rice mill, piggeries and papaya plantation. These not only assist in creating sustainability for housing and education for

the students, but also provide for vocational training for the deaf in farming and animal husbandry. These avenues of business also provide jobs for the deaf community.

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

READ

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

READ

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.