One: Understand God (Clarifying our goals is important and our goal ought to be God)
Questions to consider:
Two: Seek God
Questions to consider:
Three: Building faith in God
Questions to consider:
Four: Confession, repentance, and good fruit
Questions to consider:
Five: Prayer, meditation, reflection, self-evaluation
Questions to consider:
Questions to consider:
Seven: Help others - making disciples
Questions to consider:
We ought to be patient with the process and focus on progress instead of perfection.
Coming to spiritual understanding of the truth often times is the result of learning how a life on self-knowledge is spiritually insufficient.
Leadership is key to each small group. The group often develops at the pace of the leader. Conversations often goes where the leader takes it or lets it. We ought to focus discussions more on increasing toward God instead of decreasing sin. If our focus is on sin we can lose sight of God.
God will bless us as we grow in God's character. Yet we must surrender our selfish ideas, desires, and beliefs while building new knowledge and experience around God's ideas and beliefs. As we attach our heart, mind, and soul with God's precepts, methods, attributes, and character they will form us to be more with God.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
We are called to Grow
2 Corinthians 10:15 Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand,
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Colossians 1:10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are called to Learn
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
1 Thessalonians 4:4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,
1 Timothy 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of
Titus 3:14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
To learn and grow we must Practice
Matthew 5:19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
Luke 6:47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.
Luke 6:49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Luke 8:21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Walk in my statutes
2 Peter 1 5-11 Fruitful Growth in the Faith
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:16-25 Walking in the Spirit
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Spiritual readiness (click on links for more information)
Humility to submit to and serve God daily and to shape our lives around God's character
Willing to follow new instructions and take new action even when it does not fit our life and understanding
Truth about own sinful character, desires, temptations, and misguided beliefs
We truthfully, humbly and willingly give our mind, heart, soul, and strength toward God's character in all that we do and God's character transforms us.
Defensiveness comes in the form of faultfinding, argument, resentment, pride, and fear. All of which God opposes. Humility and meekness are our solutions toward God's truth.
Path for Change (click on links for more information)
1. We acknowledge that our way needs to be changed and are ready to submit to God’s way to let God create change within us. We improve our understanding of Godly character as we follow examples of it from the bible.
2. We seek continually to understand more clearly how to implement Godly character into our daily lives putting into practice new thoughts and actions reflecting more toward it.
3. We put into practice God reliance, trusting in God’s characteristics as solutions, centering our hearts and minds toward such daily goals. We seek out opportunities each day to experience and connect others with God through spiritual action.
4. We examine ourselves and confess resentment, fear, selfishness and dishonesty reducing our slavery to sin while striving toward God’s goal; love and peace.
5. We make restitution for harm done to increase peace inwardly and with others.
6. We meditate with God each day bringing to our minds and hearts God's commands and desires. We reflect how we can better do God’s will. We listen for spiritual guidance and pray for direction.
7. Having put into practice this new path and a new Daily Development Activity, we can seek out others who are willing and ready to experience change and have a desire to grow with God. We teach each other through spiritual discussions. We speak truthfully with encouraging words, sincerity, and gentle rebuke.
First we must be willing to seek God and let God change us. If we are unwilling for our hearts and minds to be change, not much can happen. Once we are willing and have opened our minds to be changed we begin to seek a deeper understanding of God’s will, purpose, path, and character. We learn by doing reading it, hearing from others experience, and by doing it.
We learn by reading the bible getting to understand a direction of God’s character and come up with some goals to move more in that direction. For example, God is truth. We examine ourselves to find error in our thoughts, words, and even our nonverbal responses to find deception or lies. Then we see how we can change it to be more truthful. Truth is one of the requirements for change so it ought to be a good starting point. If we cannot learn to be honest, we will have great difficulty in seeing truthfully God’s other character traits and the lies we follow.
We learn by listening to other’s experiences. We practice God’s character by honestly applying our hearts and minds sincerely to one another for the benefit of God’s spirit within us. Compassion, mercy, forgiveness, justice, truth, generosity, love, and peace thrive in groups while often times illuminating the sin within us, pride, selfishness, dishonesty, fear, and resentment. Coming together we can examine ourselves, not each other, and practice God’s character with gentleness, willingness, and humility. Groups are an excellent way to be changed as long as we continue to be willing for seek God’s changing grace.
We learn by doing. We can read about confession and repentance daily, but it is not until we do it that we can really see and identify with the grace in it. God’s grace of humility is powerful and necessary for out spirit and soul. Committing to the group and humbling ourselves to serve the group in some capacity over time develops us spiritually. All the steps ought to be practiced regularly. Life requires continued care and so does our spirit life. We humbly come to God each day for spiritual healing, direction, and understanding. We surrender our minds, hearts, and attitudes to serve God as we would an employer. God has become our guiding authority over our decisions. We ought to ensure our choices shape more and more toward God’s character. Progress, not perfection. We can evaluate our progress and find gratitude in the small steps we take to improve toward God’s character. As Jesus said to God, “not My will, but yours be done.
”Becoming a Mentor - we can only take someone as far as we have gone...
There is a story attributed to Gahndi regarding being able to help others with behavior, obsession, and addiction.
A woman came to Gandhi asking him to help her son stop eating sugar. Gandhi says come back in a month. The mother was not too happy about Gandhi telling her to come back in 30 days, but she wanted his help and did as he asked. When she came back she brought her son and Gandhi helped him. Puzzled, the woman asked Gandhi why she had to wait a month at which he replied, "I was still eating sugar."
A person who drinks alcohol often times is not the best person to help someone stop drinking.
A person who lies often times is not the best person to help someone stop lying.
A person who procrastinates often times is not the best person to motivate others.
To disciple someone with empathy, compassion, and sincere understanding, we must be doing it ourselves...
Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
John 3:33 God is truthful
Psalm 86:15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Psalm 37:31 The law of their God is in their hearts.
John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not a God of disorder but of peace
2 Thessalonians 1:6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you
James 5:11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
Psalm 103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
Philippians 4:9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 11:22-23 "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again."
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.