Leverage: Treasure

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

1 Chronicles 18-20 describes many victories that God gave to Israel’s army, led by David. Instead of building his faith in God, these victories seem to have given David a confidence in himself, his armies, and his possessions. In 1 Chronicles 21:1-6, he calls for a census to be made of Israel. Aaron shared on Sunday that David was putting his trust in his treasure, his possessions, not in God.

SCRIPTURE

1Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. 2So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.” 3But Joab replied, “May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” 4The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. 5Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah. 6But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. 1 Chronicles 21:1-6

GROUP QUESTIONS

If your house was burning down, what three things (not people or pets) would you save, and why?

What do you think when you first read the words, “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David…”? Could David say, “The devil made me do it”?

There are a number of censuses listed in the Old Testament (Numbers 1:1-3, Numbers 3:14-15, Numbers 4:21-22, 46-48, 2 Chronicles 2:17-18, Ezra 2). Some are ordered by God, and none get the reaction that happens when David takes the census in 1 Chronicles 21:1-6. Read the passage; why do you think it was wrong of David to take a census?

What do the following passages say about those who trust in possessions?

  • Proverbs 11:28
  • Luke 12:16-21
  • 1 Timothy 6:17-19

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says you cannot serve two masters – God and mammon (money) (Matthew 6:19-24). God looks at your finances – what you spend money on and how you give – as a barometer of the condition of your heart. What are some ways you try to serve both God and money? What does this say about the condition of your heart?

Read Psalm 50:9-12 and Deuteronomy 8:18. Does knowing that God is the owner of everything you have, and that He is the one who has given you everything you have, affect what you do with your money? Why or why not?

APPLICATION

Plan to attend An Evening with Dave Ramsey on Thursday, November 9, 6:30PM-8:30PM in Fellowship’s Youth Room. Hear Dave Ramsey speak in a pre-recorded teaching about how to achieve financial peace, and learn how to leverage your treasure for the glory of God.

Consider participating in the nine-week Financial Peace University class will begin on Thursday, January 18.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read 1 Chronicles 21:7-17. What was the result of David’s decision to take a census? How many men died because of David’s sin (1 Chronicles 21:14)?

What was David’s response (1 Chronicles 21:17)? What does this show about his heart?

Read 1 Chronicles 21:18-30. Why do you think David would not allow Ornan to give him the threshing floor? What application does that have for your worship?

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Leverage: Talents/Gifts

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

In 2015, Christian artist Jeremy Camp released the song, Same Power, which states, “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake lives in us, lives in us. The same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm a raging sea lives in us, lives in us…” The song is based on Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” As a Christ-follower, the power of the Holy Spirit lives in you. You have also been given a gift (or gifts) from the Spirit to use in the Kingdom of God. What do you do with every good gift God has given to you?

SCRIPTURE

1Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-6

GROUP QUESTIONS

What would be the ultimate (material) gift you could receive?

Discuss with your group how you would define “spiritual gifts”.

The concept of a gift from the Spirit begins in the Old Testament. Read Exodus 31:1-6. This is the first time that someone is described as being filled with the Spirit. What gifts does God give to Bezalel? Do you find any to be surprising? If so, which ones?

What was God’s purpose in gifting Bezalel (and Oholiab)? (See also Exodus 36:1.)

The spiritual gifts are described in Romans 12:1-8, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:1-16 (you will read these passages later). The word used for “gifts” is from the Greek word charis, usually translated as “grace” (and IS translated “grace” in Ephesians 4). What does this add to your understanding of spiritual gifts?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:7, Ephesians 4:12, and 1 Peter 4:10. Why did God give the church spiritual gifts?

God distributes a great variety of gifts as He sees fit. He gifted Moses to lead a nation, and Bezalel and Oholiab with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill in craftsmanship to build the Tabernacle. Their responsibility was to use those gifts to do what God asked them to do. How can you use your gift(s) to build the Kingdom of God?

APPLICATION

Aaron stated on Sunday that you have all you need to do what God has planned for you to do. You have been employed with a job and enabled with power to do it…so what’s next?

Between now and Tuesday (October 24), visit http://www.fellowshipcleveland.com to take two assessments – StrengthsFinder and a Spiritual Gifts test – to discover who it is that God made you to be. Click on the “assessments” button in the top left-hand corner on Fellowship’s home page.

NOTE: There is a $15 fee for the StrengthsFinder assessment. If you take the strengths assessment, please plan to attend a seminar on Thursday, October 26, 7pm in the Youth Room (Room 126). StrengthsFinder Coach/Fellowship member Joan Nosal will lead the seminar.

If you already know your gifts, how are you using them? Are there some gifts that you have been given but have neglected to use? How can you begin to use them?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read the following verses, and note the specific gifts found in each passage:

  • Romans 12:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 12
  • Ephesians 4:1-16

What gifts do the passages have in common? What gifts are unique to the passage? There is much debate over whether these lists are complete or whether there are more gifts. Which position do you think is most defensible biblical, and why?

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 lists some challenges faced by believers in regards to the spiritual gifts. What are they? Have you see this happen? How can you guard against this?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13. 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most well-known chapters in the Bible, used in both Christian and non-Christian weddings. Though the principles in ‘The Love Chapter’ certainly apply to marriage, Paul wrote it to follow his teaching on spiritual gifts. Re-read 1 Corinthians 13 in light of this, and ask the Spirit to give you insight into how to use your spiritual gift(s) in love.

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Leverage: Time

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

In The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkein), Frodo and Gandalf discuss the burden of bearing the ‘one ring’: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Every day contains 24 hours=1,440 minutes=86,400 seconds…what do you do with the good gift of time that God has given to you? Will you invest it in the eternal?

SCRIPTURE

1So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. 2The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. 1 Samuel 7:1-2

GROUP QUESTIONS

What are the top three things in your life that are time-wasters?

Read 1 Samuel 7:1-2. Eleazar was consecrated (set apart, dedicated, sanctified) to guard (keep, protect) the ark. He did this for 20+ years. How would you feel doing the same thing for 20+ years?

Read Psalm 90:12 and Ephesians 5:15-16. What do these passages encourage? What do you think this means?

In Expositions of Holy Scripture, Alexander Maclaren states that, “Redeeming the time does not merely mean making the most of moments, but means laying hold of, and understanding the special significance of, life as a whole, and of each succeeding instant of it as the season for some specific duty.” How does this statement change/enhance your answer to the previous question?

Read Matthew 6:33 and 2 Corinthians 8:5. What comes first?

First means in our hearts and priorities, but the Bible also has many references to seeking God first in the morning. Read these passages aloud: Psalm 5:3, Psalm 59:16, Psalm 88:13, Mark 1:35. Do you believe it is necessary to start your day with God? Why or why not?

In Tyranny of the Urgent, Charles Hummel wrote that “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” How do you live a life governed by God’s priorities (seeking HIM first) rather than life’s demands?

APPLICATION

Seek God FIRST. Set a standing appointment with Him and stick with it. Read Scripture, pray, and worship.

Consider joining a Fellowship Team and impacting someone for eternity. Visit our SERVE page at www.fellowshipcleveland.com/serve.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Luke 10:38-42. Which sister do you empathize with most: action-oriented Martha or contemplative Mary? Why?

Martha was doing nothing wrong–she was serving others. So why did Jesus rebuke her?

What does Jesus say about Mary’s choice in Luke 10:42?

The word “part” (meris) in Luke 10:42 can also be translated “portion”. Read Numbers 18:8-29 and Lamentation 3:23-24. What insight do these verses give you into WHO the “good part” is, and how we should view our time with Him?

It is interesting that the Luke and Numbers passages both reference food – Martha was preparing a meal for her guests, and God was giving the Levites instructions on what offerings were allowed to be eaten and which were holy. Read Psalm 34:8. How do you taste and see that the Lord is good? (See Psalm 34:1-7, Psalm 119:103, Hebrews 6:5, and 1 Peter 2:3.)

Jesus said that Mary had chosen the “one thing”. David also spoke of “one thing” in Psalm 27:4. What is your “one thing”?

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Leverage: Influence

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

At Fellowship we believe that church is a participation sport. As part of the family of God, you have the choice to sit on the sidelines and watch other people use the gifts God has given to them, or you can get off the bench and use what you’ve got to actively participate in the game. What do you do with every good gift God has given to you (James 1:17)?

SCRIPTURE

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 (NASB)

7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” 8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9Now, Lord God, let Your promise to my father David be confirmed, for You have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of Yours?” 11God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern My people over whom I have made you king, 12therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12

GROUP QUESTIONS

If God told you to ask Him for anything, and He would give it to you, what would be your request? How do you think you are supposed to answer this question? How do you really want to answer this question?

Read the following verses, and discuss the main point of these passages:

  • Psalm 24:1
  • Psalm 50:9-12
  • Haggai 2:8
  • Colossians 1:16
  • Job 1:21
  • 1 Timothy 6:7

Aaron read Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God…. God created everything, and everything belongs to Him. You came into the world with nothing and will bring nothing with you when you leave. So why is it so easy to forget that everything, including the shirt you wear, belongs to God?

Read Genesis 2:15. As Aaron mentioned on Sunday, the meaning of the word cultivate (NASB) or work (NIV) is to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve (Strong’s Concordance). Does the added definition of serve change how you view your purpose (in your home, community, workplace, church)?

Read 2 Chronicles 1:7-12. Has there been a specific instance in your life when you have asked God for influence as you entered a situation – meeting, job interview, family crisis, hospital visit? How did God answer?

APPLICATION

This week, consider why God has placed you where He has placed you, and begin to map out your sphere of influence (similar to what Aaron did on Sunday for Ginny). In the upcoming Sundays, we will get very specific about how you can use your influence for the glory of God.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge to govern God’s people. He requested this because he recognized that the people and the position he held were both given to him by God. Read the following Scripture verses and fill out the chart below:

 

PASSAGE

 

 CHARACTER

 

POSITION/INFLUENCE

 

OUTCOME

 

1 Chronicles 28:1-7

1 Kings 6:1, 38

 

 

Nehemiah 1:1-2:9

Nehemiah 6:15

 

 

John 19:10-16

 

 

Acts 10:1-11:18

 

What do you learn about how these Bible characters used their position/influence?

God has strategically positioned you exactly where you are, in your specific family, in your specific job, in your specific relationships, with your specific friends and colleagues and neighbors, to serve as an influence for the glory of God. Will you choose to leverage your influence for the glory of God? If so, list below some specific action steps you will take:

 

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ALL IN #3 – All In Together

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Though Ephesians 1:1-22 was divided into three parts for our ALL IN series, when Paul wrote this passage it was one long run-on sentence. The “therefore” in verse 11 refers back to all 10 verses that came before it: You were dead, but God, who is rich in mercy, made you alive with Christ and raised you up with Christ to show the incomparable riches of His grace. You are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works! Therefore…

SCRIPTURE
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22

GROUP QUESTIONS

Discuss an experience you had when you tried to be a part of a new community (neighborhood, school, church, work).

Read Ephesians 2:11-22. Why do you think Paul wants his audience (and you) to remember their former identity?

Paul describes two groups – the uncircumcised (Gentiles) and the circumcised (Jews). Judging by the tone of this passage, what do you think the relationship between these two groups was like?

Read Ephesians 2:13-16, Romans 2:28-29, and Colossians 2:11-13. How did Christ remove the barriers between Gentiles and Jews?

Do you see any barriers that exist at Fellowship? Are there those who are excluded because they are different? Have you withheld unity from a fellow believer? If so, what needs to take place to restore unity in Christ?

What are some of the word pictures used to describe the new unification of Gentiles and Jews in Ephesians 2:19-22? How do these images emphasize the unity believers have?

APPLICATION

Read Ephesians 2:14 and Romans 12:18. What barriers in your heart need to be broken down in order to “live at peace with all men”? List action steps you can take, with the help of the Spirit, to bring peace to a broken relationship.

Text ALLIN2GETHER to 797979 to receive a text a day for the next six days with a verse to encourage you as part of the Church.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Genesis 17:1-14. Why was circumcision important to the Jew? What did it represent?

Read the following passages: Deuteronomy 10:12-16, Deuteronomy 30:1-10, Jeremiah 9:25-26, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 2:25-29, Galatians 5:2-6. If physical circumcision was a sign of Israel’s covenant with God, what is “circumcision of the heart”?

List the five things you are to remember in Ephesians 2:12. Which of these realities seem most harsh to you?

Read Ephesians 6:19-22. List below the things you now have in Christ that you did not have when you were “far away”:

Read the following passages: Ephesians 4:32, Philippians 2:3-5, James 5:9, and 1 John 3:23. Since other believers are “joined together” (Ephesians 2:21) with you, how should you treat them?

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