The Fight | Truth and Righteousness

As believers, we must know and be absolutely committed to truth if we're going to stand against Satan because he is a liar and deceiver. So, truth is essential in the fight, but it must be backed up by righteous living. If we're living in sin, there's a chink/crack in our armor and Satan will exploit it. 

This Week's Action Step: 

Identify the area(s) of your life where you feel the most vulnerable to Satan's attack (what does Satan use most often to "hook" you).  

Tell a trusted friend the truth about that this week so that they can pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable in that area.

 

Small Group

Small Group Questions:

1.  Satan is a liar and a deceiver.  Can you think of a way (or some ways) Satan has lied to, or deceived you in the past that you’d be willing to share?  If not, maybe you can give an example of how you’ve seen Satan lie to and deceive someone you know.  

2.  When Paul says that we need to “put on the belt of Truth” he’s essentially saying that we must know and be committed to truth if we’re going to stand against Satan.  How can we do that?  What can we do practically to know and be committed to truth in our lives?

3.  Read Eph. 4:27.  What are some ways that we end up “giving the devil opportunity” in our lives?

4.  Read Romans 12:1-2 and Eph. 4:22-24.  In these passages Paul seems to make a connection between transformation (right living) and a renewed mind.  If that’s the case, what can we do to renew our minds so that we can walk in righteousness?  

5.  Part of the action step this week was to identify the area, or areas, of your life where you feel most vulnerable to Satan’s attack.  Once you’ve done that, what boundaries can you put in place in that area as a safeguard against Satan’s attack?  What other things can you implement in your life to help you “walk in righteousness?”

 

Songs from Today

The Lion And The Lamb by Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson, and Leeland Mooring

The War Is Over by James K. Manley

God With Us by Jim Bryson, Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Mike Scheuchzer, and Robby Shaffer

I Will Exalt by Amanda Falk

Yes And Amen by Anthony Brown, Chris McClarney, and Nate Moore

The Fight | Identifying the Enemy

Paul says that the Christian life is a struggle, or a battle, or a fight. So, if we're going to fight, we need to know who we're fighting. We must start by identifying the enemy. Our enemy is not people, it's Satan.

 

This Week's Action Step: 

Read through Eph. 1:3-14 and underline/highlight all of the specific things Christ has done for us. When you're feeling attacked by the enemy, read over the underlined/highlighted statements and be reminded of your position in Christ.

 

Small Group

Small Group Questions:

1.  Right or wrong, what are some popular beliefs about Satan and demons (maybe from pop-culture, movies, books, etc…)?

2.  Have you ever felt attacked by Satan in some way?  If so, how?  In what way?

3.  Read I John 5:4-5 & 19.  What are some ways Satan operates through the “systems of this world” to temp, attack, and hinder believers?

4.  Read Eph. 6:10.  What does it mean to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might?  How do we do that?

5.  I mentioned that many Christians wrongly war/battle/fight against people.  Why is it so hard to remember that people, or particular groups of people, are not our enemy?  What can we do to stay focused on the real enemy… Satan?

6.  Read Eph. 1:13-14.  How does knowing the truth, that Christ has already won the ultimate victory over Satan through his death and resurrection, help us in our spiritual fight?

Songs from Today

You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook

This Is Amazing Grace by Josh Farro, Jeremy Riddle, and Phil Wickham

Heroes by Amanda Cook, Jason Ingram, and Paul Mabury

My Heart Is Overwhelmed by Dylan Thomas

What A Beautiful Name by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood

 

 

Following | Serve

Humility and service are at the very core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. You'll never completely be the person Jesus wants you to be without being humble. Humility that leads to service was the WAY of Jesus. It's what he taught, what he demonstrated, It's who he was. That's why service is such an important part of being a faithful disciple. 

 

This Week's Action Step: 

Go out of your way this week to humbly serve someone in an unexpected way.

 

Small Group

Small Group Questions:

  • 1.  Can you think of a time when someone went out of their way to humbly serve you in a completely unexpected way?  What did they do for you and how did you respond?

    2.  Have you ever gone out of your way to humbly serve someone else in a completely unexpected way?  What did you do for them and how did they respond?

    3.  One of my points this week was that we don’t serve God because he’s needy, but that serving allows us to participate in what God is already doing.  Can you recall a time when you truly felt like God used you (or allowed you to participate) in something bigger that He was doing in someone’s life?  Why do you think God does that?  Why does He choose to use us?  Wouldn’t it be more efficient if He just did it without us?

    4.  Another point this week was that serving is an indicator that we’re becoming more like Jesus… who we should be following.  So, if that’s true, what does the opposite tell us?  If there’s not a regular habit or pattern of serving in our lives, what might that be an indication of?  

    5.  My final point this week was that serving is part of our sanctification (spiritual growth).  How so?  How does regular patterns or habits of service help us grow spiritually?  Maybe you can even give an example from your own life.

Following | Give

Radical giving and sharing is part of discipleship. Consumerism and individualism are powerful forces that make it hard. What do we do?

 

This Week's Action Step: 

1. Find a financial accountability partner.

2. Start regularly giving

3. Join a small group

 

Small Group

Small Group Questions:

  • When you read Acts 4:32-35, what things jump out to you about the way they treated their money and possessions?
  • Do you think that kind of radical giving and sharing is possible today?
  • Related to consumerism, we said it’s a kind of religion that teaches us that our lives are incomplete, obsolete, and boring unless we’re constantly buying new things and that it’s goal is to create dissatisfaction in our lives.
    • How have you experience our culture pushing “the organized creation of dissatisfaction” in your life?
    • How do you combat that? How do you learn to be satisfied with what you have?
  • If everything that exists is, technically, God’s, why do we have such a hard time giving?
  • Discuss this quote: “If our goods are not available to the community when it is clearly right and good, then they are stolen goods.”
  • How might understanding that the church is our family help us treat our possessions more communally and less privately?
  • Do you have people in your life who are holding you accountable financially?
    • Our financial life should not be more private than our sex life.
  • What’s one small, specific step you can take to make giving a regular part of your life?

Following | Worship

Corporate worship is something God designed and planned for his people to practice regularly. However, by the time of Jesus worship had become something it was not intended to be. Jesus actually got really angry with some worshippers. Understanding why Jesus got so angry could help our worship when we gather as the church. 

 

This Week's Action Step: 

Build a healthy rhythm of worship into your life by making a commitment to be at church 3 to 4 times per month this year. 

 

Small Group

Small Group Questions:

1.  Why is corporate worship important for followers of Jesus?

2.  What do you most enjoy/look forward to about corporate worship here at the Vista?

3.  What are some things we can do to make sure we’re ready (our hearts are prepared) for worship?  How can we make sure our worship is reverent?

4.  Read John 2:13-17.  Jesus got really angry.  Take a moment and discuss righteous indignation.  When is it okay to be angry and what are appropriate ways to express that anger?

5.  Read John 4:23-24.  What does it mean to worship “in spirit and in truth?”  What is the danger if one of those two things are missing in our worship?