Blessed to be a Blessing

Big Idea: God has radically blessed us in the Gospel. This transforms us to live lives of generosity in giving back to Him, His church, people and purposes.

Read and reflect on these Scriptures:

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 12.1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 8.1-9 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 6.19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also....

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

Questions For Discussion: 

1. How do we see the beauty and majesty of Jesus in these passages?
2. The centerpiece of the Christian faith is the fact that God gave His Son for us (John 3.16), how does this act of radical generosity shape our discipleship to Jesus? 
3. Who is someone in your life that has lived this theme (Blessed to Be A Blessing) out? How did it impact you or others? 
4. What has giving to the Lord and to people looked like in your life? 
5. What might it look like to experience more of the value that "We are blessed to be a blessing" in your life? What fruit would this bear in your life and in our world? 

Response

Here is one way that Zach recommended would help us practice this.

Practice: Prioritized Giving - Committing to give a consistent percentage of your income to the Lord through the local church is a practice disciples have implemented for thousands of years as a way to put hands and feet to this value - some call it tithing (giving 10%). We encourage you to look at where you are today in your giving, and to pray about what a next step might be for you.

For Discussion:

1. Which of these practices have been a part of your discipleship to Jesus? 

2. After taking some time to pray, how do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to respond in regards to what we have talked about today? 

We Are Better Together

Big Idea: In the Gospel we have been brought into the family of Jesus. We are better together.

Read and reflect on these Scriptures:

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 133 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!...For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

New Testament Reading: Ephesians 2.11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Gospel Reading: John 17.20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Questions For Discussion: 

1. What are these passages saying in your own words? 
2. How do we see the beauty and majesty of Jesus in these passages?
3. Recent reports have identified loneliness as one of the most deadly conditions in our world. Why is the fact that the Gospel brings us together, and makes us better together meaningful? 
4. Have you had a meaningful experience being a part of a church community in the past? 
 

Response

Here are three practices that Zach recommended to help us practice this.

Practice 1: Lifegroup - Committing to consistent Christian community where you can know and be known, encourage and be encouraged, serve and be served is a powerfully transformative practice.

Practice 2: Gifting Assessments- Jesus has given spiritual gifts to his disciples. Giftings assessments help us recognize those gifts in order to be of service to others. We recommend Strengths Finder, Enneagram or this online gifting assessment to help you learn your strengths for the purpose of building up others.

Practice 3: Read Passion and Purpose by Jimmy Siebert to get a view of the history of our church family and what it looks like when people take this idea of we are better together with intentionality.

For Discussion:

1. Which of these practices have been a part of your discipleship to Jesus? 

2. After taking some time to pray, how do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to respond in regards to what we have talked about today? 

His Gospel Heals

Big Idea: The Gospel is the power of God for our salvation, restoration and healing.

Read and reflect on these Scriptures:

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 53.4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

New Testament Reading: Romans 1.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 9.35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Questions For Discussion: 

1. How do we see the beauty and majesty of Jesus in these passages?
2. What do these passage teach us about life?
3. How have you experienced Jesus and the Gospel as a source of healing in your life? 
4. What might it look like to experience more of the healing power of the Gospel in your life?

Response

Here are three practices that Zach recommended to help us practice this.

Practice 1: Confession of Sin- When we regularly practice confession of sin, this practice releases the healing power of the Gospel in our lives. 

Practice 2: Healing prayer- God heals us from both emotional wounds and physical sickness through prayer. If you need healing from emotional wounds, we recommend receiving prayer ministry. You can ask one of our staff pastors to connect you with someone gifted in this regard if that is a next step for you. 

Practice 3: Relation Repair- we release more of the healing power of the Gospel in our lives as we seek forgiveness from those whom we have sinned against, and as we practice forgiveness toward those who have sinned against us. 

For Discussion:

1. Which of these practices have been a part of your discipleship to Jesus? 

2. After taking some time to pray, how do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to respond in regards to what we have talked about today?