Three times a month we meet in our small groups to practice the teachings of Jesus together. We believe that with the encouragement and consistency of other believers, and with the help of God's Spirit, we can go after Jesus' teachings and really live them out as His followers. It is a life- long process, and it can not happen without grace, but we believe that God's desire is for each of us to become more like Jesus as we follow Him.
"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
-2 Corinthians 3:18
Ice Breaker Question: Was there ever a time that you exaggerated your past achievements or ability in something and got caught?
Intro: There are many well known sayings about what we say and how we live. “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” “Well done is better than well said.” “Practice what you preach.” “Actions speak louder than words.”
Q. Why are there so many of these sayings? Why is this such a widespread issue?
Read: 1 Timothy 4:16
Q. What does it look like in real life to “watch your life and doctrine closely?”
Q. What does it mean to “persevere” in this context?
Q. What is the significance of salvation for the hearers?
Practice: God’s plan for faith is for it to affect the way that people live, not just what they say they believe. Are you aware of any disconnects between your values and your life? Spend a bit of time this week “watching your life and doctrine closely.” What will you do if you find a discrepancy?
Ice Breaker Question: Can you share about a time you had the greatest of intentions to do something, but somehow didn’t manage to follow through?
Intro: There are lots of things that can stand in the way of us accomplishing things in our lives. We can run out of money, things take more time that we anticipated, or maybe we lose our drive to finish. We can also be hindered in our spiritual ambitions.
Read: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. We’re going to focus on v20-23.
Q. What kinds of things might Jesus be talking about when He says “Trouble and Persecution”?
Q. Why do the things from v22 “choke” the Word in our lives?
Q. Can people change their hearts, or, in this case, what kind of soil they are?
Practice: It is admirable to have spiritual goals, but it is important for us to persevere through to “bearing fruit” like Jesus said in v23. Do you have a spiritual goal that you have not achieved yet? Spend some time reflecting on the challenges of accomplishing that goal. Are they more like the rocks or the thorns from this parable? What will you do about those challenges?
Ice Breaker Question: How do you go about prioritizing your day?
Intro: Prioritizing things is just a part of life. There are a multitude of things that we could spend our time, energy, and resources on, but not all of them are equally important or rewarding.
Read: John 15:15-16
Q.There is a lot going on in this passage, but we’re going to focus on just one part. Why do you think Jesus specifies fruit that “will last” opposed to just bearing fruit?
Read: Matthew 6:19-21
Q: Jesus talks about a similar idea here, except that He uses the phrase “treasures in heaven” instead of “fruit that will last.” What would these “undestroyable” treasures be?
Q: What does it look like in real life to prioritize “treasures in heaven” and “fruit that will last?”
Q: What is the relevance of the heart connection to our treasure?
Practice: In this coming week, when you are prioritizing your time, give thought to “bearing fruit that with last” and “storing up treasures in heaven”. Are those factors in your prioritization? What would that look like specifically in your life?
Ice Breaker Question: How many sources of influence do you come in contact with in a given day? Name a few.
Intro: With all of the people and things that can influence us every day, it is a relief to know that God is also trying to influence us! What does that look like? Let’s read together in Galatians 5.
Read: Galatians 5:21-25
Q: How does the Spirit produce this fruit in our lives?
Q: What does it look like to keep in step with the Spirit, or in other words, to listen to his influence?
Q: What is the significance of “fruit of the Spirit” singular, instead of “fruits of the Spirit?"
Practice: It may not always be obvious, but God is always trying in influence us, specifically to bear spiritual fruit. Are there some voices that you need to turn down to better hear God? Maybe that means reducing or eliminating some media in your life (movies, music, social media, etc). What will it look like for you to keep in step with the Spirit this week?
Reach out in your community this week. Make plans as a group to serve.