Week 8 | Beloved

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Ephesians 5:1-2 - "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

In this week's conversation we covered:
     • Prayer request - make sure to ask before sharing
     • Vision casting these next few weeks
     • Importance of coaching and attending your huddle
     • Facing disappointment as a leader

As well, we discussed the questions for this week and how to best guide your group to focusing on their own heart and life.


Week 7 | Forgiven

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"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:31-32

This week we had Jake Veliz back with us to discuss the topic of Forgiven. We also had a discussion on Spiritual Warfare. If you missed the notes from last week you can get review them HERE.


Week 6 | Renewed

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"assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." - Ephesians 4:21-24

We got to hear from Nick on how God has been using the Faith Steps in his life. We also hit on this coming week's discussion and answered a few questions at the 25-minute mark.


Leader Development: Spiritual Warfare

"The enemy’s flaming darts and God’s great commission make spiritual warfare unavoidable, and spiritual pacifism suicidal." - John Piper

My desire in this is to not cause fear or to overemphasize spiritual battles but to bring an awareness to the realities we face as followers of Christ, as disciple-makers and leaders in the church. The opposite which can occur, as well, is an underemphasis or ignorance of the enemies attacks which can become deadly to you and others. So my heart in this is to bring awareness and help provide guidance. In addition, these notes are brief on the topic. My focus is on how to battle well. I initially intended this to be a brief teaching during our morning meeting followed by a dialog among leaders. We were unable to do that this week, but next week I hope to have the discussion. There are links below as well for additional articles and teachings.

So to begin we must first acknowledge - there is an enemy and there is a war. (Eph 2:1-3, 6:10-12, 2 Cor 2:11, 11:14, Luke 22:28-32, 1 Pet 5:8)

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:12

But how do we battle well: 
1. First, we must acknowledge the elements that are not of God in order to identify what is truth and what is a lie. Things like; confusion, doubt, fear ungodly desires are not of the Spirit but of the enemy. These could be within us or seen within those we are close to.

2. Second, know your enemy. Satan's names in Scripture; destroyer, deceiver, father of lies, accuser, tempter, lawless, thief. He does not make good people bad, he makes flawed people worse He aggravates what is already within with lies. 

His top two names are tempter and accuser. In temptation, Satan tries to get us to think highly of God's love but low of his holiness. In accusation, he tries to get us to think too low of ourselves. He hides God's love and plays up God's holiness - resulting in us living in shame and condemnation.

How Satan accuses us:
• By getting us to look more at our sin than our Savior.
• By causing us to obsess over past sins - primarily sins that caused damage which cannot be undone.
• By making Christians think sufferings or trials are punishment and that God is distant.
• By making us think that inner struggles and feelings, like despair or depression, are struggles Christians shouldn't have or no one else has. This usually results in us isolating ourselves from the body.

3. Thirdly, in how we can battle well - is to stand firm in the Lord. To stand firm in His power, His truth. As Nick mentioned today, something as simple as recalling to ourselves the topics of each sermon in this series, we can remind ourselves and other believers of our reality in Jesus. He is our victory! (1 Cor 15:57). Lean into the Lord and his provisions; the Word, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and community. 

The truth is Satan is a joy thief and his end is near but we have the full armor of God to protect us as we battle against his schemes and devices. The truth is you are loved by God Almighty and you are not alone! Again, next week I plan on discussing this more in our Saturday meeting. If you have questions or are struggling please don't hesitate to contact your coach, myself or those in your DG.

Additional articles on this topic:
https://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-warfare.html
https://www.desiringgod.org/labs/arm-yourself-to-battle-satan
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-engage-in-spiritual-warfare
 


Week 5 | Gifted

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"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ," - Ephesians 4:11–12

Our Gatherings

It was another great discussion today on how to pursuing others in love and with heart focus. We also talked about the importance of assessing your own personal energy levels as leaders - the importance of resting with God to be refueled and realigned for the ministry God has called you to.

 

Resources

In our meeting today we talked about the importance of remaining heart focused on our discussions and why it is important to follow up with people. Use this one sheet as a reminder and tool as you lead. File: Open-ended Questions PDF

 

Spiritual Gift Assessment

This week we are covering the truth about spiritual gifts and how God has given each of us varying gifts to build up the body. If you or those in your group would like to take the gifts assessment test you can do that by going to rchurch.family/spiritualgiftstest 


Week 4 | Unified

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"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:1–3

In this week's conversation we covered:
        •  Encouraging co-discipleship
        • Setting goals for your group
        • This week's discussion questions

Vision Casting Purpose & Commitment

For those of you that haven't gone over this yet, this week might be a good opportunity to share our purpose and commitment form with the group. You can find a summary of this in your workbooks right before the contents page or you can download a PDF copy of the full sheet HERE. This is especially important for those of you with new groups or several new people.


Week 3 | Reconciled

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"For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility" - Ephesians 2:14

In this week's conversation we covered:
        • Why we are focused on prayer this session
        • Studying your people/ How notetaking can benefit you
        • How to handle counseling situations
        • Things to be cautious of in this week's discussion

 

Kids Lesson

Click HERE to download the latest discipleship curriculum for the kids of your group. This can be used for your gatherings and will help provide structure for their time together.

 

Did You Know

Here are some significant statistics provided by Lifeway Research that help emphasize the importance of our ministry. 

  • 66% of regular group attendees read their Bible regularly versus 33% among non-group members.

  • 74% of regular group attendees think about biblical truths throughout the day versus 45% non-group attendees
  • 64% of regular group attendees pray for their church and/or church leaders regularly. Only 30% of non-group attendees do
  • 79% of group attendees confess sins to God and ask forgiveness versus 54% of non-group attendees
  • 73% of regular group attendees serve others versus 42% of non-group attendees

I share this all with you as an encouragement. As the research shows, the more that people are actively involved in a group the greater their spiritual growth will be. It helps to identify for us that group involvement and discipleship directly correlate. As well, what a blessing it is to be on the front lines of helping people live for Jesus.

You may not always see that benefits firsthand, but know that what you do matters. Thank you for serving, giving and loving Jesus' people well.


Week 2 | Graced

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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…" - Ephesians 1:3

Week Two | Adopted

Our Gatherings
Throughout this series, our gatherings will remain structured but will have a slower pace. Our three primary areas of focus are; 

  • Praying together: Using the TACOS prayer model

    • Click HERE for a PDF outline
    • Click HERE to rewatch the apprenticeship video 
  • Loving accountability: Walking out Faith Steps
  • Slowing down: Establishing healthy rhythms

Our goal is to help our church grow in the discipleship value of Truth. To grow in prayer with the Father and studying God's word.

Weekly Liturgy
Here is what the liturgy will look like for each week:

  • 30 min - social/ mealtime
  • In Subgroups
    • 15 min - TACOS Prayer
    • 20 min - Debrief/ Follow up
  • In Larger Group
    • 15 min - Vision Cast + Recap video
    • 30 min - Discussion

Again, all with the intention of slowing things down yet maintaining a structure that will help encourage co-discipleship and healthy cultures within our gatherings.

For the debrief time, follow up and discuss each person's Faith Step and how the group can help one another be faithful to what God is calling them to. This is an opportunity for people to receive loving accountability and a time for you to ask follow up questions. Encourage your group members to connect with each other throughout the week.

For the larger group discussions, ensure the group stays on course and help them to pursue one another's hearts. The goal isn't to get to each question, but to identify where people might be believing a lie, not trusting the Lord or just need to be reassured that God loves them.


Week 1 | Adopted

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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…" - Ephesians 1:3


Week One | Adopted

Our Gatherings
Throughout this series, our gatherings will remain structured but will have a slower pace. Our three primary areas of focus are; 

  • Praying together: Using the TACOS prayer model

    • Click HERE for a PDF outline
    • Click HERE to rewatch the apprenticeship video 
  • Loving accountability: Walking out Faith Steps
  • Slowing down: Establishing healthy rhythms

Our goal is to help our church grow in the discipleship value of Truth. To grow in prayer with the Father and studying God's word.

Weekly Liturgy

Here is what the liturgy will look like for each week:

  • 30 min - social/ mealtime
  • In Subgroups
    • 15 min - TACOS Prayer
    • 20 min - Debrief/ Follow up
  • In Larger Group
    • 15 min - Vision Cast + Recap video
    • 30 min - Discussion

Again, all with the intention of slowing things down yet maintaining a structure that will help encourage co-discipleship and healthy cultures within our gatherings.

For the debrief time, follow up and discuss each person's Faith Step and how the group can help one another be faithful to what God is calling them to. This is an opportunity for people to receive loving accountability and a time for you to ask follow up questions. Encourage your group members to connect with each other throughout the week.

For the larger group discussions, ensure the group stays on course and help them to pursue one another's hearts. The goal isn't to get to each question, but to identify where people might be believing a lie, not trusting the Lord or just need to be reassured that God loves them.


Week One | Workbook