Part 1: The Church - Called Out | 09/20/20
1. Read 1 Peter 2:9. If the word church means 'called out', what are we called to do?
2. Read Matthew 16:16-18. Who calls us out?
a) Who is responsible for the church?
b) Who decides what the church should be doing?
c) What is our only responsibility as part of His church?
3. Reflect on what the priests in the Old Testament were and did. What does it mean to be called to be a priesthood?
4. Read Romans 12:1-2. What does it mean for you to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God? What would that look like in your daily life?
5. Consider the sacrifices we're called to offer in Hebrews 13:15-16. How can you praise God openly, do good, and share your resources with others?
6. How can you be an ambassador for God and share God's call to salvation with others?
a) Who is someone you are - or could be - sharing Jesus with right now. Pray as a group (as a church!) for them.
Part 2: The Church - Called His | 09/27/20
1. “The church doesn’t have a mission, the Mission has a church.” What does this phrase mean? What are the implications for the church and for you personally?
2. How does the way we identify ourself affect what we do in our lives? Give examples.
4. Read Romans 6:22. What does serving God require of you? How does that challenge the way you see your rights to choose what to do with your life?
5. Read Galatians 4:4-7. How would you describe your current intimacy with God? Your sense of security in your relationship and acceptance with God?
6. Philippians 3:20 says we are foreigners in the world. In what ways do you feel like an outsider here? Should we feel comfortable here? Why/why not?
7. Read Ephesians 5:25-27. What does it look like to be preparing now to meet Jesus as your bridegroom one day? What are you doing to make sure you can present yourself to Him as a holy bride?
8. What's the difference between being defined by God rather than by our actions and beliefs? What should you do if you feel passionately about something that you know is not in line with God’s Kingdom values?
Part 3: The Church - Called Apart | 10/04/20
1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:2. Why is being “called apart” about being different in our character, not just an external “Christian lifestyle”?
2. Read 2 Timothy 2:19-20. Why is it important that we make an effort to live by God’s standards?
3. Read Philippians 3:7-8. How have your values changed since you gave your life to Christ? In what ways do you feel the conflict between your values as a Christian and the values of others around you?
4. Why is it hard for people to accept the reality that God’s standards are the ultimate moral standard, versus the truth being subjective?
5. Read 1 Peter 1:16. How does this affect the way you speak/treat people/work/make life goals?
6. Why do church traditions or personal preferences often become mistaken for God’s standards? Why is it a problem?
7. God spoke to East Park this year and gave us this vision: “Move forward firm in your faith, willing to pay the price, for I am your shield and reward.” Think about how this applies to you. Share, then take time to pray for our church together.
Part 4: The Church - Called to Serve | 10/11/20
1. Spiritual Gifts are not ordinary abilities, they allow us to do things that are extraordinary - beyond our normal ability or capacity. Share an experience you’ve had of serving with your spiritual gifts. (Ref: Read Romans 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12 8-10, 24, Eph 4:11-12.)
2. Read Rom 12:1. What difference does it make to the way you serve when you’re motivated by a deep love and gratitude for God? What happens if you’re not serving with this motivation?
4. “Love is the measuring stick, not our giftedness.” Do you agree/disagree? Why?
7. What things do you leave to others (e.g staff/church leadership), that are actually “your job”?
8. “Everyone at East Park relies on me, and East Park can’t do what it’s supposed to do if there’s a problem with me.” Share what the practical implications of this statement are for you personally right now.
Part 5: The Church - Called to Mission | 10/18/20
1. Read John 17:18. How would you describe God’s mission in the world?
a) How does it change your perspective to think of it as “God’s” mission, not ours?
2. Discuss the idea of God not being “manageable” or “predictable”. What are the implications for us in terms of the timing, the way we do the work, and the outcomes we expect from it?
3. Jesus participated in God’s mission by loving God and others. How could you make space for others in your daily/weekly schedule?
a) Is there room in your day for you to respond when you see God working in people’s lives? Explain.
4. Read Luke 23:24. Jesus’ compassion extended to the moment of his death. How do you show God’s compassion to others?
5. What keeps you “stuck” from reaching out to others?
6. Discuss how others have brought the presence of God into your life. Now think about ways your group could reach out in similar ways to others this week and pray for those individuals together.
Part 6: The Church - Called to Make Disciples | 10/25/20
1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. "God’s primary expectation of you as a Christ follower is to make disciples." What’s your response to this statement?
2. How can we know we're having a Kingdom impact as a church?
a) What priorities will we have if we are working towards making disciples, not just getting numbers?
b) What might distract a church from having these priorities?
3. Explain what a disciple of Jesus is in your own words. How is it different from a) going to church? b) knowing about God? c) having a faith that you keep 'personal'?
a) Share who helped you become a Christ-follower, and what they did that impacted your faith most.
5. What's the difference between being 'program focused' versus 'relationship focused' when it comes to making disciples?
a) How can you make more space in your life and schedule for relationships with the unchurched?
6. What's the difference between people getting saved and making disciples?
7. True disciples make disciples. How you are trying to do this in your life.
a) Pray for each of the people who are open to Jesus and who you are actively sharing your faith with.
Part 7: The Church - Called to Change | 11/01/20
1. Change is necessary and constant. Share how a change in your life has been difficult but good.
2. What things have you noticed in yourself and our society during CoVid that need to change? What has God been teaching you about this over this time? What’s going well and why?
3. Read Romans 8:1. How can we condemn ourselves and stunt our own growth?
a) What is the godly response to our awareness of sin/bad habits?
4. How can God’s grace be misunderstood so we let ourselves “off the hook” for personal growth?
5. How is God’s transformation different to self-help, or self-restraint? What makes the difference?
6. Read Philippians 2:12-13. God tells us we need to take personal responsibility for our growth. How can we develop a renewed heart that hears Gods invitation/challenge to grow?
a) What could you do to reflect on your spiritual health?
b) List specific steps you need to put in place to prioritize your growth in God this week.
Part 8: The Church - Called to Community | 11/08/20
1. Read Matthew 12:46-50. Jesus is not rejecting the traditional family but rather challenging the strict genealogy of the term family and making it inclusive of all fellow believers. How does your “family” reflect this truth?
a) Is there a way where your life needs to change because of this?
3. Read Acts 2:42-47. What has your experience been with the large gathering or small gathering? Do you consider either gathering to be optional? Why or why not?
a) What's the value of the large church gathering?
b) What's the value of the small group gathering?
4. If you are a part of a Life Group is there a way that you can help serve the group?
a) Are you willing to be vulnerable and share your heart and thoughts with your group?
b) Is there someone from your neighborhood or workplace that you can invite to join the group?
5. If you're not part of a Life Group can you think of 4 to 6 other people that you would like to start doing life with? Do you have friends or neighbors that you would like to invite to the group?
a) Reach out to Chuck and ask how he can help you get a group started.
Part 9: The Church - Called to Give | 11/15/20
1. Read John 7:37-39. What does it mean to let “streams of living water” run out of us?
2. How can we be “life-givers” or “life-robbers” with our: a) finances, b) relationships, c) attitude to our church?
3. Think about your social media presence. Is it streams of living water flowing out of you or an overflow of your sinful nature/the culture of the world? Why?
4. CoVid has changed our lives but how has it affected your faith?
Part 10: The Church - Called to Unity | 11/22/20
1. What are the unique opportunities the Pandemic has given the church? To you?
2. Jesus asked us to make disciples of all nations, and to be one as He and the Father are one. We can make a difference in God’s Kingdom if we are united. So what keeps us from being united?
a) Why do we give these things more priority than keeping the unity of the church?
3. Read Ephesians 4:3-6. Consider the word “keep” and what it means in this context - what difference would it make if that word was “create” or “ build”?
a) How do we lose unity?
4. Read Colossians 3:13-15. How do the following contribute to keeping unity: forgiveness (and recognizing I am also a sinner); love (self-sacrificial like Jesus); Peace (surrendering and trusting in Gods control)?
5. What would you say to someone who is a Christian but does not want to be part of a church community?
6. What would you say to a friend who is drifting away from church because of: a) bad relationships, b) assumptions, c) they see nothing in it for them.
7. How does your attitude to keeping the unity of the church change when you think of it as a choice to do what pleases and benefits God, not you?