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Lesson: The Steps of Conquest

Icebreaker

What is your favorite take-out near you?

Prayer

Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may trust in Your promises!

Key Scripture

“In my distress, I called to the Lord and he answered me” (Psalm 120:1 ESV).

The Big Idea

We are in an unusual situation during this health crisis. We should wrap ourselves in God’s promises the way that man in Pastor Larry’s story wrapped the rope around him as he dangled from the blimp. The Lord said that in times of trouble, He would keep us from plague and protect us under His wing. During those times, you don’t hold on to peace–peace holds on to you!

The pilgrims going up to Jerusalem three times a year passed through dangers and difficulties on the way. They developed songs that reminded them of the faithfulness of God in adversity. Let’s look at several of these confessions from the Psalms.

Discussion

Have you had doubts or concerns during this time, or have you gone about your business as normal? Share with the group.

The Steps of Conquest

The Lord is my keeper (Psalm 121). “The Lord is your keeper… . The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (vv. 5, 7 ESV).

Discussion

Share a difficulty that the Lord has brought you through.

The Lord is my peace (Psalm 122). “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” (v. 6 ESV).

Discussion

What is your key to remaining in the Lord’s peace? Share with the group.

The Lord is on my side (Psalm 124). “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side …” (v. 1 ESV, emphasis added). “Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper” (v. 7 NASB).

Discussion

When you think of your soul finding Christ, do you ever think of yourself as a bird escaping the snare of the fowler? Why is this a good description of salvation?

Application

Like the pilgrims on a dangerous journey, we too must sing and confess these protective promises.

Action Point

Jesus is the Passover Lamb. His blood must be sprinkled over the door of your heart for protection against the deadly plague. Plead the blood of Jesus over your life today, just as the Israelites put the blood over the doorpost.

Trust Him. Receive Him. Confess His lordship over your life, your family, your future. Wrap yourself in the promises of God and “swing free”!

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.
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Lesson: Building Your Capacity

Icebreaker

What is your favorite thing about daylight saving time?

Prayer

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth!

Key Scripture

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-4 ESV).

The Big Idea

Until you increase your capacity, you can never increase your impact. It is going to take more than you have right now to see your dreams fulfilled.

Carol Dweck teaches the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. Alternatively, in a growth mindset, people have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience.

Statements:

Fixed: I’ve tried to change and it didn’t work. People can’t change. They are who they are. I’ll always be this way. I was born this way.

Growth: I can learn new things. I can do hard things. If I put the work in, I can change. My potential is limitless.

Discussion

In which philosophy do you see yourself primarily: fixed or growth? Share with the group.

Expand your spiritual capacity - You are limited in your impact without expanding your spiritual capacity.

Limited spiritual capacity:

Apathy - Have you lost your passion? Busyness - What is taking up all your time? Five minutes in God’s Word and God’s presence will change your morning and prepare you for your day. Self-absorption - Have you taken back the throne?

Expanding spiritual capacity:

Stepping out - As you pour into others, the Holy Spirit gives you more.

Discussion

We all need to stretch spiritually. In which area of your spiritual life do you most need change to take place? Share with the group.

Expand your thinking capacity - You are limited in your assignment without expanding your thinking capacity.

Limited thinking capacity:

Surrounded by the same people Not reading regularly Endless media engagement

Expanding thinking capacity:

Learn outside your comfort zone. Dialogue with people outside your circle. Remember: Small minds never produce big impact!

Discussion

When was the last time you read a book or watched a podcast to learn something new or improve your skills? What was it, and how did it help you?

Expand your physical capacity - You are limited in your energy without expanding your physical capacity. Don’t say, “I’m too old, too tired, too busy,” etc.

Discussion

Many have given up on physical development. What exercise or sport could you consider in your current season of life? Share with the group.

Discussion

In which of the three areas discussed above do you need extra oil? What can you do daily that will help you expand your capacity in that area?

Application

We have to keep growing in these areas to reach our potential. Stretch and grow.

Action Point

Take action this week. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier for devotions. Put your gym bag in your vehicle and do a workout at some point during the day. You’re not too old, too tired, or too busy. Hear different viewpoints and reflect on who is speaking into your life.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

Lesson: Built for Impact

Icebreaker

How did you find Bethany?

Prayer

Lord, in Your presence, I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy!

Key Scripture

Matthew 16:13–18 ESV: 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The Big Idea

Expansion is God’s heart. “Fill the earth,” He told Adam. “Go into all the world,” Jesus commanded. God is building a kingdom.

You and I must be open to our church being a transformational influence in the cities of our state. Let’s look at aspects of how Jesus instructed the church to influence culture and the world.

Discussion

What do you think our church’s impact has been over the years, both locally and internationally?

We must commit to being a salty church.

Jesus spoke of the qualities of salt, emphasizing that salt changes the environment. If we are to be salt, then we cannot be satisfied with passivity, but we must pray for boldness as the early church did.

Blending with culture doesn’t produce the health or growth Jesus envisions. Remember, Jesus said salt that has lost its saltiness is worthless: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13 ESV). We should reevaluate our saltiness.

Discussion

Are you willing to be an agent of change? How would you rate your salt factor? What could you do to increase your “saltiness”?

We must commit to being a sacrificial church.

Sacrifice is when you give something valuable to someone or something that you deem more valuable. Think about the Livingston Parish campus: they set up and tore down for six years as they built their congregation. What a sacrifice!

Jesus admonished believers to count the cost of following Him, comparing it to a life-and-death military endeavor.

Discussion

Many people are casual attenders instead of sacrificial believers. Share a time when God challenged you to sacrifice. What was the result, both for you and for others?

We must commit to being a shining church.

We need to “salt” the world of politics and education. Sports and media need our influence. The business world needs us. So do healthcare and the family.

Discussion

As a church, we have touched our local area for many years. What do you envision Bethany doing in New Orleans? Have you ever thought of our church being like yeast and permeating our society? What is your role in it?

Application

Jesus described the gospel as an agent that takes over, like yeast. The church should be influencing culture. As believers, you and I cannot be afraid or passive.

Action Point

Reevaluate your saltiness. Pray for boldness, and be willing to live sacrificially.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

Resources

Freedom Curriculum

Lessons

“God wants you confident & free.”
—--Jonathan Stockstill "Jesus Our Deliverer"