Leaders Community Group Study Guide For the week of April 11, 2021
The Compassion Journey
Leaders: Consider doing this as a CG social together!
This free event connects visitors to some of the realities faced by children growing up in extreme poverty. Step into a new culture, see life from a different perspective and participate in thought-provoking conversations with the rest of your group during this audio-guided journey through a series of interactive exhibits. REGISTER NOW
Night of Gathering
Sunday evening, April 25, join us for a time of worship, a message from guest speaker Cecilia Anyango Nyamwandha of Compassion International, and more. Come and enjoy the fellowship, along with refreshments! Register at stfchurch.com/events to reserve a spot for yourself and a friend!
1. Circle what you trust. X what you don’t:
Parachute Airplane Food truck food Elevator Bungee cord
Tap water Treats from a neighbor Birds flying overhead
2. What part of the teaching did you find challenging to your thinking or living?
1. This week we heard our faith must be much more than just a belief or understanding of God, it must be an action. As we look at the life of Jesus and watch the calls he made to the crowds following him, we get a better understanding of what faith in action looks like. Read through the following passage and answer the questions below.
Matthew 16:24-25 New International Version (NIV) 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender. After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing, He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:24-25). Although the call is tough, the reward is matchless.
- In one or two sentences, how would you sum this verse up in your own words?
- How might this verse play out in a person’s life?
- What keeps you from doing this?
- Can you think of any times you’ve done this well?
2. We learned this week that real faith is what we do (it’s our being). Share a time in your life that you had to act out your faith even when you had doubts.
TAKING IT HOME
- When you have doubts in your faith, what have you found helpful?
- Going to the Bible
- Talking with my pastor
- Sharing with friends
- Going ahead “on faith”
- Spending time alone with God
- Being encouraged by the faith of others
Many people struggle with their faith at different times in their lives. Some of the most committed and godly leaders have struggled with doubts, just like everyone else. The very essence of faith is to believe in that which we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). As physical beings, we tend to put faith in what we experience with our senses. Spiritual realities are not tangible and must be experienced outside our senses. So, when that which is tangible and visible seems overwhelming, doubts can shroud that which is invisible.
The first aspect to consider is the object of faith. The word faith has become popular in recent years, but the popular meaning is not necessarily the same as the biblical meaning. The term has become synonymous with any religious or irreligious adherence, regardless of whether there is foundational truth upon which to base such adherence. In other words, someone could claim “faith” in dandelions for spiritual healing, and that claim would be considered equally viable to the Christians’ claim that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. So, when struggling with “faith,” it is vital to define the object and reasonableness of that faith. All faith claims are not equal. Before we can be secure in our faith, we must answer the question: my faith is in what?
Many hold to the idea of having faith in faith. Faith itself is seen as the object, rather than God Himself. The biblical purpose for faith is to bring us into the presence of God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” We can only find Him when we come to Him through faith in His Son (John 14:6). Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” God does not bless half-hearted attempts to know Him. He desires that we pursue Him with passion, the same way He pursues us (1 John 4:19)
2. If 2020 has taught us anything about faith, it is that fake faith isn’t enough. What mustard seed size faith problem can the group pray for you this week? (Little faith + Big GOD = Huge Results)