Next Steps

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

As Pastor Chad reminded us on Sunday, Advent is NOT Christmas but the journey to Christmas. It is the preparation for the arrival of Jesus, the knowledge that our present circumstances are not where the story ends, there is an eternal hope waiting for us at the final destination!


One thing that is constantly attempting to destroy our hope is anxiety. Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18.1% of the population every year? That is almost 1 in every 5 people suffering with a clinical diagnosis, not to mention the immeasurable more who experience general feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about an imminent event or uncertain outcome. Anxiety is a very real threat attempting to steal the hope we have in Jesus. 


Thankfully, in addition to medication for those suffering from clinical anxiety disorders, we have also been given many spiritual tools to navigate these struggles in the day to day circumstances we face. Take note of these three simple yet powerful ways we can combat our feelings of anxiety!


  1. Take a walk with and toward hope. Let walking slow down your pace and enjoy the change of scenery and stimulation.
  2. Proclaim God's attributes to deliver hope into your heart. Remind yourself of who God is and what He has promised to do! 
  3. Examine the anxiety you feel with God and hope will follow. Why do you feel the way you do? What is the fear or lie behind your anxiety? Identify it and ask God to speak truth into your heart.


We have also been gifted community to give us hope in the midst of feeling hopeless. Lean on one another, be a beacon of hope to your community and remember to reach out to someone you trust and ask for prayer when you are feeling as though you are defeated. This is another wonderful tool God has given us, each other!


There is an awesome sermon outline and a thorough small group guide on our online bulletin. Click here for insight on leading your group members and community to finding the true meaning of hope in their lives!


Journeying together,

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

This past weekend we finished up our sermon series, Map Makers. This final sermon encompassed all of the nine traits of what it looks like to be a wholly devoted follower for us to emulate. 


Pastor Chad organized these nine traits into three phases, ME, US and THEM. In the first phase (ME) we have realized our brokenness and have committed to being a follower of Jesus and living our lives as a worshipper. In the second phase (US) we begin seeing the people around us differently and should desire to show them abundant grace, truth and love.


As we move through these first two phases we enter into the next level of becoming a wholly devoted follower of Jesus, (THEM). We are called out of the holy community we have been given to serve the greater world around us. To do this well we MUST be people defined by GIVING, SERVING, and WITNESSING.


So how are you giving to those around you with a generous heart?


How are you serving the least of these?


Who are you witnessing to each day? 


Pray about where you are in this journey to becoming a wholly devoted follower. Continue pushing yourself on the trail that leads to Him and find a higher perspective than you have ever seen before. 


Sermon Summary Video: Click here. 

Sermon Outline: Click here. 

 

Journeying together,

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

For three weeks we are discussing what it looks like to be a wholly devoted follower of Jesus. The first three markings reflect our heart as we begin to understand better the destitution God has saved us from and give Him the glory for this. We (1) admit our brokenness and need of Jesus, we (2) commit to being a follower of His word and we (3) worship Him with our lives.


After that we begin a transition from our moment of salvation into a process of sanctification. Our transformation begins to overflow from internal work into external work as we move from freeing ourselves to freeing other people. This includes three more markings which are (4) giving others grace, (5) telling truths, and becoming (6) people lovers.


Many Christians become stagnant after salvation, basking in their own freedom and happiness. What would it look like if the church today was filled with people who overwhelmed this world with God's ceaseless grace, truth and love?

Get together with your community and discuss what it would require to take your commitment to follow Jesus the next step further.


Sermon Notes: Click here.

Summary Video: Click here.


Discussion Questions: 

1. Who do you know that gives grace, tells truth and loves people really well? Give an example of what you see them do that reflects Jesus.

2. Remember your moment of salvation when you realized your own personal need for Jesus. What was that like? Share with someone.

3. Consider how you can give grace, tell truth and love people better. What is one thing you can practice in order to improve this outward reflection of your inward salvation?

 

Journeying together

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

As we talked about on Sunday, worshippers are a mark of a wholly devoted follower of Jesus. True worship understands the destitution that we cannot escape on our own and the life-changing grace that Christ offers us as a free gift. 


The kind of worship God really cares about is not just on Sundays, but includes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. When you think about how your week is going, would you say you have used all of the days this week to honor God and give Him glory? Where do you see room for improvement?

If from the moment you wake to the time you go to sleep at night, your day is filled with opportunities to worship, how do you want to approach your time differently?


Confess to Jesus where you feel you are falling short. Accept His never ending grace and ask Him for the wisdom on how to do better!


Sermon Summary Video: Click here.

Sermon Notes: Click here.


Sermon Discussion Questions: 

1. Why do you think you have trouble including time with God in every day of the week, instead of just on Sundays? 

2. What can you do differently from now on to approach each day with a heart of worship?

3. What can the church as a whole do better to live as an example of daily worship to the world around us?

 

Journeying together,

Emily


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohsc2i3i9Ss

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

Have you ever experienced a time when you became lost while walking along a trail out in the woods? Maybe the trail was longer than you expected or you took a wrong turn, but either way you are beginning to feel anxious. Put yourself there in that moment. You can't see anything over the tall trees and there is no one else in sight. You ate the granola bar you packed thirty minutes ago, and you are running out of water. 


Becoming panicked, you are frantically looking for the next sign or trail blaze to show you that you are going in the right direction. You try to calm yourself down by breathing deeply and telling yourself not to assume the worst. What are some other thoughts racing through your head? Have you quickened your pace? What exactly are you feeling?


Suddenly you see a sign!! You might feel instantaneous relief when it signifies that you are continuing down the correct path, or you may feel confusion when you see it directing you further in the direction of the dense trees. Maybe you feel disappointment that you aren't at all where you thought you were. These trail markers are extremely important to the journey and hold a great influence over the hikers trying to find their way down the path.  


If Christians are meant to be like "trail blazes" pointing the way for others to follow, what do you think people feel when they see you? What does your countenance put off? Do they feel comfort, or angst? Do they feel safety or uncertainty? Clarity or confusion? Take some time to pray with the Lord and make an honest assessment of the blaze you represent to others who are lost on the trail. Ask the Lord to shape you into showing less of you and more of His holy character.


Sermon Notes: Click here.

Sermon Summary Video: Click here.


Discussion Questions: 

1. Why does God give us the Great Commandment, before the Great Commission? Why is the order important?

2. If we are called to be like "trail blazers", where do you think your blaze is pointing to according to what you spend the majority of your time and resources on?

3. In the acronym B.L.E.S.S. (begin with prayer, listen, eat with others, serve, and stories) which is the hardest for you to do? What can you change to do this practice better?

4. Which of the three trailheads (family, community, nations) is the hardest for you to bless? Why do you think that is?

 

Journeying together,

Emily

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Am I Being Changed Into Christ’s Image?

Unless I am born again, I cannot enter heaven.

Born again? What does that mean, Lord? Did that kind of thing ever really happen to me? Was I ever cast into the pangs of new birth? And did those pangs of new birth continue until Christ Jesus was formed in me?

Are old things done away, so that all things have become new?

Is the old person, the old lusts, the old way of speaking, totally abandoned? Have they been left behind? Are my principles made new? My goals? My life? Amen.

- Isaac Ambrose


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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

Grace is such a hard concept isn't it? 


Although we don't do anything to deserve rescue and salvation, although we can't do anything to earn it, God pardons us. He looks at our transgressions, and with all of the power and authority to punish us, He instead chooses to wash away our debt and give us another try. 


So what will you do with your second chance? Will you keep it locked up, protected and unused?


Will you tuck it away in the back of your closet to be forgotten, collecting dust over the years?


Or will you choose to bring it out into the light? Sharing it joyfully with each person who passes you throughout the day?


We have each been given a second chance, but it is up to us to decide how to use it. Let's continue seeking a high view of God and how He intends for us to use all that He has given us. You have been given a re-do, use it!


Sermon Summary video: Click here.

Sermon Notes: Click here.


Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is discipleship a command for all of us, and not just our church leaders?
  2. What is something God has gifted you with that would bring His light to the people around you?
  3. What is one way you can use this gift over the next week to share HIs love with someone?

 

Journeying together,

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Discussion Questions

What does surrendering to Christ' authority mean to you? Is it a posture, a practice, a commitment?


There are many misconceptions regarding this "surrender to Christ" and what exactly it looks like.  Some people believe surrendering is that single point in time when making the decision to follow Him. Others may believe it is the moment of baptism, and still others regard what they do daily with their time or money, as choosing to live a life that is surrendered to God's will. In truth, all of the above is needed, to live a life that is fully surrendered and obedient.


Surrendering to Christ isn't achieved in a moment, rather it is a daily decision that we must make over and over again. It is a posture that we must build up over time, something that takes continuous practice, and a radical, daily commitment. 


So what do you think your posture looks like to the people around you? Your practices? Your commitments?

Lean into your trusted community and explain how you want to better surrender yourself to the ultimate authority of Christ. Help one another and encourage your aspirations of living a fully surrendered life. Together we will find a higher view of Jesus' authority!


Sermon Notes: Click here.


Sermon Summary Video: Click here.


Discussion Questions: 

1. Do you tend to make decisions on your own or do you invite His Spirit in to lead and direct you? 

2. God asks for our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength. Have you given him all of these or just one? Or maybe just parts of some? What do you keep back for yourself? Discuss with your community.

3. How can you fully surrender these parts of you (heart, mind, soul, strength) to God daily?


Journeying together,

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Questions

One of my favorite quotes from Pastor Chad's sermon on Sunday was this -- "life is not about comfort, but about the congruence of living with the Holy Spirit."


How truly beautiful and haunting this phrase is! It is so easy to forget this fact and to get caught up in the fast-paced, consumeristic and materialistic culture of today. We have to be intentional every day to choose simplicity, stillness, and quality over the multitude of noises, opportunities and distractions we face each day.


However, when we work hard to maintain a life that is of quality and not quantity, we will find it so much easier to walk away from all of the extra "stuff" when Jesus calls us to. Rather than to be caught in surprise and discouragement as the rich young ruler was in the gospel of Luke, chapter 18, we can start making choices right NOW that will help us keep our eyes on Christ and His heart for the people around us.


Let us work to seek God's narrative, (rather than our own), for our lives and let us seek a high view of His righteousness together!


Sermon Recap Video


Sermon Discussion Questions:

1. Every day, we buy a narrative, stories that affect our heart and mind and thoughts that eventually affect our very soul. What is the narrative that you believe about yourself and your purpose right now?

2. When God appeared to Abraham, calling him to follow him, Abraham fell on his face. This showed an act of submission within his heart and mind. Is this the posture of your life right now? If not, describe what the posture of your heart might look like as a physical posture.

3. What is something you can do to intentionally create a posture of submission and worship in your life right now to be more congruent with the Holy Spirit?


Journeying together to a higher perspective,

Emily

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Sermon Recap and Small Group Questions

It is amazing to me how all of the pieces of this series are dependent upon one another. In order to have a high view of others and love them the way Christ commissions us too, we MUST FIRST have a high view of ourselves. How else could we love the people around us if we haven't first figured out how to love ourselves? And how do we learn to love ourselves? By seeking a high view of God and understanding more the depth of His unfailing love for us and trustworthy character. You can't really love others well, until you have deepened your view of God and yourself first. It all flows from Him! Summary Video: See Below.


Sermon Recap


Discussion Questions: 

1. "Hearing" from God can be a tricky concept. Discuss some ways you believe God speaks to your heart.

2. Have you tried to love others, without first seeking to love God and yourself? Describe how that went? How could it have gone differently if your attempt to love had been filled by the Holy Spirit?

3. What can you do to seek a higher perspective of God? Of yourself? 

4. What is one comfort you believe God is asking you to let go of? Why do you think that is?

 

Have a wonderful week!

Emily


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