FAITH – INDICATED BY A LIFE THAT GROWS – 11:00
We are a community of faith. Our identity is more than a location at 873 Little Neck Road. Many people claim to be peoples of faith. Hebrews 11:1, faith is the assurance (confidence) of things hoped for and the conviction (assurance) of things not seen. Biblical faith becomes the result of someone believing in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9, we are saved by grace through faith. Acts 16:31, believe on the name of Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
- How do you describe faith to someone who does not have faith in Jesus?
- I’ve heard it said that faith is believing in something that you know isn’t true. How would you respond to this definition?
- Name some way that your faith has made a difference in your life, perhaps during a time of struggle or when you were crushed by an unusual burden.
- Tell us about the time that you came to faith in Jesus. Who is ready to tell their story?
Faith connects the brokenness of life with the reality of God’s transforming power. Hebrews 11 is full of such men and women of faith. They experienced God and their journey was transformed by faith. Faith takes brokenness and transforms, changes, and grows the person of faith.
- In what ways were you broken prior to coming to faith in Christ? How has Jesus made a difference in your life? Who do you know who needs to be mended in their relationship to God and to the Christian community?
- How does the word “journey” bring to mind the continual growth needed in this life?
- Since all living things grow, what conclusions might we make for those who choose not to grow in their faith?
- Since faith is a journey, look over your life to recall the times where God guided toward something, and your obedience made a world of difference.
Luke 17:5, Lord, increase our faith. 1 Timothy 4:15, be diligent in matters of faith so others will see your growth. Ephesians 2:21, it is God’s intent that his people grow in faith, increasing in spirituality. The church is not a building and program, this is far from reality. Church is a people of faith. We are bound together with or without a structure or a program. We are supposed to grow and represent Christ and his kingdom in the world around us.
- Which of Ken’s statements spoke the loudest to you?
- The church is not a building or a program, it is a people of faith.
- We are bound to one another with or without church programs.
- We are supposed to grow and represent Christ and his kingdom all around us.
- Which do you find most difficult to embrace?
- What church programming has significantly impacted your spiritual growth? Why was this activity more effective to you than others?
The Reality of the Whole (three values this truth expresses). Our Fitbit culture, the device tracks many habits, but the device does make it happen, you must have the desire already for it to benefit you. The whole is fitted for growth. There may be programs that allow for growth but if I don’t see the value in it and utilize these opportunities, it will do me little good. I must value the fact of growth in my own life.
- How did Ken’s Fitbit illustration speak to you? (organized church programs are of little good if there is no desire for growth)
- Name some reasons that people sitting on the sidelines don’t sense a desire to grow in their faith.
- How does “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” often feel like leading people connected to the church?
- What excuses used to keep you trapped in spiritual complacency?
The church is a spiritual house (a living organism more than an organization). 1 Peter 2:5, living stones being fitted together forming a spiritual house. Part of a larger living entity. Jesus is the fulfillment of what the temple used to do, offer sacrifices. Hebrews 13:5, Romans 12:1, Philippians 4:19.
- In what ways is a spiritual house living and growing?
- Ken talked about Jesus removing the need for the temple. How do you understand this reality, and how might you explain it to others?
- In what ways do you see yourself as a living sacrifice? What prevents you from being “all in?”
You are a living stone in the spiritual house. Ephesians 2:22, you also being built up, fitted together, emphatic in Greek, meaning to pause and reflect.
- How does the imagery of the church as a building bring clarity to your understanding of the church?
- How can those who are growing in Christ assist those in our community who do not yet sense the urgency toward spiritual growth?
As a living stone, God’s will is that your life would help build up the church. Each stone builds up the house. You have a role and a part. You are vital. Imagine a jigsaw puzzle with two pieces missing. You can see the picture, but it is incomplete. God is not satisfied with only some of his children growing and being fitted together.
- Since we are each a living stone in this spiritual building, how does this fact amplify the reality of spiritual giftedness in the community?
- In what ways is the illustration of the jigsaw puzzle a great picture of a “good enough” church? Why do we tend to slip into complacency? Why do some people we tend to believe that “good enough” is acceptable to God?
The Reality of “fitted together for growth” (two expressions of growth).
- Personal growth. The tense of the verse indicates passive action, by God’s activity you grow, not your own activity. Am I farther down the road of grow than before? Is God working in my life? No one buys a new car to just keep in in the driveway to sit in. The church is meant to move, not be static. The church is not meant to be comfortable. I am a part of the church by participation. What a blessing it is to see others grow in their faith.
- How does the fact that Ken mentioned the verb here (being fitted together) is passive (action that is done to us) free you from a lot of self-effort?
- In what ways did the new car illustration bring clarity to your understanding spiritual growth in your life?
- Ken mentioned that the church is not meant to be comfortable. Is there anything wrong with being comfortable? Is he talking about “air conditioning and padded seats” comfortable or something different?
- In what ways does “being satisfied” prevent us for moving toward the lost, our guests, our mission, experimenting with new ministries, or even increasing the quality of what we do? What would happen if ALL our people asked this question every week, “How can we make it better?”
- Missional growth. We are “becoming growth,” missional growth, proclamation of the gospel around the world.
- Ken mention missional growth was continual movement that is growing and expanding. In what areas are you expanding your involvement in the kingdom work of Christ?
- In what ways do we lose focus on God’s bigger picture in favor of a limited view like tunnel vision.
The Reality of a Holy Temple (two applications of this identity). As a whole, we are fitted together, to become a holy temple.
- Privilege. Back in the day, temples were gathering places for devotion to certain gods. The location was the special place. Now, we are the location, that special place, what a special privilege.
- Ken talked about the Roman temples being special place, the focus was on the location of the structure. Describe the awesomeness of each believer being that special location as the residence of God.
- As the temple of the Holy Spirit, how is inaction or disobedience the only way for us not to be involved in God’s mission for the church.
- Responsibility. Jesus fulfilled every function of the temple, he said, “it is finished.” This demonstrates God’s mission in the world to reconcile the world to himself. This announcement is now our responsibility.
- How can you describe M3 to someone else? Do you yet have a grasp on what that means?
- Describe your responsibility in pointing people to Jesus. What are some ways that you can point people to Jesus?
If all of this is true, then the church is not a program for people to watch, but a gathering of people to worship.
Ministry is for everyone, it is the identity of the church, not just for the clergy. “How many people are on your staff?” “Several hundred” because the church is all of us. Value is always placed on people, not programs and buildings.
- Are you at the place where you understand that every member is a minister? What about every member is a missionary?
- Which of Ken’s three statements is toughest for you?
- The church is not a program to watch but a gathering for worship.
- Ministry identity is for the congregation and not just the clergy.
- Value is always placed on people, not the buildings or programs.
- What is the difference between a community living inwardly versus a community living outwardly? Why is reaching our so scary for a congregation?
The Ordination of Emily Gilliam and Bob Bademian – 8:30
(Feel free to overlook this section and skip to the 11:00 notes/questions below)
Cultural dynamics in answering a phone call. Ways to answer God’s call, Zachariah, prove who you are, Moses, you have the wrong guy, Gideon, I am the least, Isaiah, here am I send me.
Os Guinness, “We focus on the call but need to remember the caller, the one who bids us to go forth for him.” We must know that one thing to which God has called us.
If you are weak in the call, overwhelmed, discouraged, then hold tight. How can we be faithful to the call? We are all called, not just for these two today. 2 Peter 1:3
Power, divine power, God’s power, we don’t do this in our strength, explosive power, supernatural and overwhelming, recognize our power-less, remember the caller, transferring work of Jesus, Mark 5:30, woman who touched him, power left him, Romans 1:16, the power of the gospel.
Provision, he does not guide where he will not provide, he does not give surplus, but gives what we need when we need it, everything is provided, all things, life and godliness is one thought, not compartmentalized, living for a godly purpose, living the life, in my workplace, family, God will provide, untainted by man’s limitations,
Purpose, this points us back to God, to magnify his glory, called by his own glory and excellence, demonstrates God’s character, 1 Timothy 3:8-11, dignity represents character, God’s character, reflecting that character, a good reputation is how we reflect his character,