When knowledge replaces trust, we will never get to love.
Genesis 2:8-9, Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3:4-7, 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, John 8:31-32
- The truth is more than facts and information. It is a force that demands submission.
- Obedience to truth purifies the soul.
- Everybody has been disappointed by what they believed.
- Believing something deeply has no bearing on the truth of it.
- Truth is simply the state of what is real.
- Wisdom begins with God’s perspective.
- You can’t give or get enough information to build a relationship.
- Knowing as you ought isn’t a matter of mere facts. It’s a matter of trust.
- Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.
- Scoffing is where skepticism meets arrogance.
- To authentically pursue truth, you must hold out the possibility that you might be wrong.
- A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain.
- When you hear the word “truth” what comes to mind? How would you define truth? Who gets to determine was is true?
- What drives our desire for knowledge and truth? What are some positive, as well as negative, motivations for seeking out truth?
- What is the connection between truth and trust? What role do our emotions play when we encounter truth?
- Read Genesis 2:8-9 and Genesis 2:15-17. What two trees were planted in the middle of the Garden of Eden? What was God protecting Adam from by prohibiting him from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? In the midst of the prohibition, what freedom still existed?
- Read Genesis 3:4-7. How did the enemy cause Adam and Eve to question God and His character? How was trust broken? What made gaining wisdom desirable to them?
- Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-3. What does Paul (the author of 1 Corinthians) mean when he says that knowledge “puff up” while love “build up”? Why is humility required when one pursues truth?
- Read John 8:31-32. What is it about truth that sets people free? Why don’t many of us experience this type of freedom?
- Wisdom begins with God’s perspective. Think of a situation you are having a hard time understanding. How can you see things from God’s perspective and how would this view alter your attitude and actions?
- Believing something deeply has no bearing on the truth of it. What power do our emotions have in clouding our judgement? Can you think of a time when your emotions caused you to ignore or deny wisdom?
- To authentically pursue truth, you must hold out the possibility that you might be wrong. Where do you need to display humility in your pursuit of the truth? What is causing you to be a scoffer in this situation?
Results aren’t just WHAT we accomplish, but rather the WAY we accomplish it.
Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 3:14-4:1, Matthew 25:14-30
- Immeasurably more starts with His power at work within you.
- As believers, we carry the integrity of His image and the influence of His love.
- Our expression can be someone else’s encounter.
- Start with love. Love compels. Love fills.
- Live in the reality that it is better to give than to receive.
- Influence has a responsibility.
- Do the small things really, really well.
- Making disciples is what happens outside the church “as we go.”
- We connect when we are known. This is where influence finds its root.
- God wants to do something in you before He wants to do something through you.
- Influence begins within and moves outward.
- Be a person who wants the best for others.
- Influence has a responsibility. What responsibility do we have for the influence we’ve been given?
- Who was the first person to call out strengths or leadership abilities in you? How did they do it? In what ways did they believe in you before you believed in yourself?
- What is the danger as a leader in solely focusing on the results and ignoring the way in which those results were accomplished?
- Read Matthew 28:18-20. As believers, why should we be reminded that as we go about our day-to-day life we carry the integrity of His image and the influence of His love? How does this perspective elevate the calling we’ve received?
- Read Ephesians 3:14-4:1. What does it mean that God is able to do “immeasurably more” through us than we might ask or think?
- Read Matthew 25:14-30. What did Jesus want His disciples, as well as us, to learn about stewardship and influence from the Parable of the Talents?
- How has your concept of influence changed or been confirmed as a result of the As You Go series? How can you put into practice what you’ve learned?
- Where are you more focused on what people accomplish rather than who they are becoming? Why are results winning over relationships?
- Think about the people you lead and who are in your sphere of influence. What could the people you lead become? Who needs to hear that you believe in them?
When we extend ourselves, we offer ourselves to another.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, Colossians 4:5-6, Numbers 6:24-27
- Blessing is the act of our soul extending toward another in love.
- The freedom to trust requires a foundation of love.
- The focus shifts from trust to being a person who is trustworthy.
- “As you go” leadership is a way of thinking about influence without having to be someone else or somewhere else.
- Sometimes a right response is better than a right answer.
- To love someone is to see another person as part of yourself.
- Don’t allow your talent to outpace your character.
- Live your life with an eye on God’s purpose.
- Discipleship is training myself and others to be trained by Christ.
- It is not about us, but it requires all of us to show up with our whole heart.
- Character is what keeps your drive in check.
- What if the idea of influence was ensuring people felt loved?
- What compels you to respond to a need or an injustice and help another individual?
- Why is empathy required for true leadership to occur? How does one see another person as part of themselves?
- What’s the danger in allowing your talent to outpace your character? What are some signs when this is occurring in your own life?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 and 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1. How should the way we live compel others to imitate us while understanding more of who Christ is?
- Read Colossians 4:5-6. What does it mean to “make the most of every opportunity”? How does this speak to “as you go” leadership? Why is a right response sometimes better than a right answer?
- Read Numbers 6:24-27. In what ways did Christ set an example of leadership fueled by love? Why are the blessings we experience always for the benefit of another person and Christ’s love to be seen?
- Find your REV score. How would you rate your drive on a scale of 1 (indifference) to 10 (love)? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Find your REFLECTION score. How would you rate your desire on who is seen through your actions and words on a scale of 1 (my image) and 10 (God’s image)? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Are there places where you are enabling your talent to outpace your character?
- Where do you need to bring your whole heart to an issue or situation that has grabbed your attention? What would it look like to have empathy for those that are in need?
Don’t try to gain influence you don’t have until you leverage the influence you do.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, Ephesians 3:20-4:2
- People long to trust, but we default to hesitate and withhold.
- Leadership is the actions we take to leverage our influence.
- Influence is the capacity to move people based on trust.
- Decreasing the distance requires increasing the trust.
- Influence is more about who they become rather than what they get done.
- Love is looking out for the good of another.
- When we hesitate (due to a lack of trust) we start to calculate.
- Everything we do needs to bring His image to bear on the world around us.
- You don’t find your purpose by obsessing about it, but by orienting your life around other people.
- At some point, our lack of leadership becomes bad stewardship.
- Everyday leadership begins today. Don’t get bogged down by what you should’ve done in the past, focus on what you can do today to make a difference.
- Would you say you are a people pleaser? How does your answer influence your words, actions and what you do with the influence you’ve been given?
- How do you suffer from destination thinking when it comes to your leadership capacity? What does it mean to be paralyzed by your purpose?
- What is the difference between leadership and influence?
- Why is trust the most valuable commodity we have in our relationships and our ability to influence others?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-24. In terms of our influence, what is more important: who the person becomes or what gets accomplished?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1. Why is it important to do a motive check when we are caring for and leading others?
- Read Ephesians 3:20-4:2. Where do the attention and recognition go when your leadership is driven by being a people pleaser?
- Why do you want to have influence over another person (fear, insecurity, love, power, recognition, humility)? What are some indicators that shed light on your true motivation for leading others?
- Where has trust been eroded or damaged in your relationships? How has this breach influenced your connection point with this individual and the influence you have with them?
- What would your life look like if you oriented it around loving other people?
- Would you say you are being a good steward with the influence you’ve been given? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
When people follow you, where do they end up?
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, Ephesians 3:20-4:2, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Acts 17:24-28
- Everyone has influence.
- Everybody is leading somebody somewhere.
- The weight of His image is seen in us today. The weight of His image is seen in them tomorrow.
- Understanding the significance of the small things is something we underestimate.
- Big things are just a pile of little things done really well.
- Do what you can where you are.
- During the normal course of your day, pay attention.
- God doesn’t need us to do big things for Him.
- Jesus is the only thing that changes everything.
- It’s impossible to lead from a distance.
- How we see the world, and our part in it, determines our willingness to take action.
- How do you define influence? What are some images and emotions that come to mind when you hear this word?
- Do you believe you have influence? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Describe a small thing someone did for you that made a big impact. Why did this small action or word have a profound impact in your life?
- How does obedience and action in the small things prepare us to step into big opportunities when they present themselves?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1. What matters more: what we do or why we do it? What should people see through our actions and words?
- Read Ephesians 3:20-4:2. What does it mean to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received”?
- Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. How does this passage speak to leadership and influence being something that happens “as you go”?
- Read Acts 17:24-28. What perspective shift does this passage provide for the person who says they want to do “big things” for God?
- Over the years, how have you wrestled with seeing yourself as a leader and a person who can make an impact?
- Everybody is leading somebody somewhere. When people follow you, where do they end up?
- Reflect on your own life and fill in the blank: Imitate me as I _______________. If people were to imitate your leadership, what would be the picture we would see?
- What is a small thing you’ve neglected or overlooked? How can you step into this situation with the influence you’ve been given?
Sometimes God says, “Hang on” so that we can learn to “hold on.”
Psalm 40:1-5, Psalm 46:10, Romans 5:1-5
- God uses waiting for spiritual formation. By waiting God is teaching us to trust His provision.
- We must shift our heart and mind from waiting to worship. We do this by taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it onto God.
- No one loves to wait. Why? Because waiting for something you really want is hard.
- The act of waiting is a spiritual discipline.
- We will miss out on so much of what God is doing in our lives if we’re always trying to “hurry things up.”
- When God hits the pause button, He is saying, “Pay attention…I have you here for a reason.”
- Instead of trying to speed things up and get us unstuck, God is wanting to do something deep inside our heart that shapes and forms our character.
- Even in the midst of the waiting, God is doing something.
- God is trying to shape and form us into complete dependence on Him.
“God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.” -Mark Batterson
- On a scale of 1 (completely impatient) to 10 (no problem with waiting), how would you rate your typical response to waiting and displaying patience? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Read the quote from Mark Batterson. Do you agree with this quote. Why or why not? How does your answer influence your willingness to be patient and faithful during times of waiting and not understanding God’s direction?
- Describe a time when you encountered a time of waiting. How did you react to your circumstances initially? Over time, how did God shape and transform your character? In what ways did your perspective of God change by going through these circumstances?
- What is the difference between a delay and waiting?
- Read Psalm 40:1-2. What do we need to trust in and remind ourselves of when we find ourselves waiting?
- Read Psalm 40:3-5. How did David turn his waiting into worship? Where did David turn his attention towards?
- Read Psalm 46:10. How can the act of patiently waiting serve as a spiritual discipline?
- Read Romans 5:1-5. Why is hope and character transformation only found if we are willing to preserve during difficult times?
- When we are impatient, we are unwilling to let go of certain things (pride, fear, control, etc.)? What are you currently holding on to and why are you gripping to these things for pseudo security?
- Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait? How would a perspective shift alter your response to these circumstances?
- One way we can turn our waiting into worship is by shifting our perspective off of ourselves and on to others. Who around you is in need of encouragement, support or help? How can you respond to this need?
Do what you can with what you have where you are.
2 Peter 1:1-10, Exodus 4:1-17, 2 Timothy 1:6-14, Micah 6:8
- Shift your lens towards your strengths.
- We err on the side of comfort rather than erring on the side of action.
- The culture of comparison is rising up in our generation.
- Christians have become very good at telling the world what their convictions are, but doing nothing about them.
- Be observant around you, keep your lens in front of you, and respond to a need.
- We are so scared to make a mistake that we do nothing. We fail to realize that in doing nothing we’ve made a mistake.
- You’ve been given everything you need to be a light in this world.
- Lay down your insecurities, lay down your fear of failure, lay down your fear of making mistakes, and work out what is already in you.
- Stop overcomplicating everything and take your first step.
- Christ meets us where we are so we can in turn meet others where they are.
- What insight did you gain from taking the spiritual gifts assessment? What were your greatest strengths? What results surprised you the most?
- What do you tend to focus on: your strengths or your weaknesses? Why does your attention tend to drift in this direction? What does it look like to shift your lens towards your strengths?
- What lies do fear, insecurity, and comparison want us to believe in? How does fear bring the focus off of others and onto ourselves?
- Read Exodus 4:1-17. What was preventing Moses from living “outside the box” and taking a step of faith? When it came to the situation at hand, what was Moses focusing on? How did God respond to Moses’s protests?
- Read 2 Peter 1:1-10. God has given you everything you need to go out and be a light to this world. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Read 2 Timothy 1:6-14. According to this passage, what spirit has God placed within us? How should this influence the way we respond to fear?
- Read Micah 6:8. How do we overcomplicate God’s will for our lives? What is God asking each one of us to do?
- What tends to be the excuses you use to explain your fears or justify your inactivity? What truth needs to replace these fears?
- Go back to the spiritual gifts survey. How are you currently using your greatest strength? What is one weakness (low score) that you need to work on and exercise more?
- What are the needs around you? What is one step you can take to further use this gift to make an impact and serve others?
The first step in getting outside your box is understanding what’s in it.
Acts 2:37-47, Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 4:10
- God is capable of doing things in and through us that are beyond our capabilities.
- If we live life with a consumer mindset, we’ll also view church as just another big box store – a place to shop for the fulfillment of our consumer-oriented, spiritual desires.
- The church was birthed, in part, to be active in the world around us.
- By learning from Jesus, the church was meant to think outside the box.
- Beyond our walls is a world in need and the needs are great.
- In order to be yourself, you must know yourself. Knowing yourself begins with knowing the ONE who created you.
- God is currently on a mission. His mission is to redeem the earth. God has written you into the same mission.
- In the places where there is the greatest tension lies the places God can do His best work in us.
- How does one know when they are just going through the motions with their faith?
- What are some warning signs that point to a church body being stuck in a rut spiritually and having a consumer mindset? What happens to the community when this occurs?
- In terms of your faith, what comes to mind when you are urged to live “outside the box”? What are some ways one can display this mindset?
- Read Acts 2:37-47. In what ways did the early church live “outside the box”? How did their lifestyle cause others to take notice and respond to what they were seeing?
- Read Matthew 28:18-20 and Matthew 5:13-16. What mission has Christ given the church? How is this mission accomplished? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Read 1 Peter 4:10. Why is it critical that we understand what’s inside our box and the gifts we’ve been given?
- Where are you letting comfort, convenience and routine win in your faith journey? Why are these qualities prevailing in your life?
- In order to be yourself, you must know yourself. How aware are you of the gifts and talents God has given you? What are you doing with the gifts you’ve been given?
- Where have you felt an urge to step out of your comfort zone and serve others? What would it look like to live “outside the box” in this area?
We are free from trying to change our past when we understand His promise to redeem it.
2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:4-5, James 5:16, John 4:1-42
- Our past can infiltrate our present and influence our future.
- Past experiences can get in the way of what God intended: change.
- We hide from our past because of shame, judgment, and disappointment.
- For God to transform our character He must have access to “all of us”, including our past and our future.
- We must learn from our past…not be defined by it.
- If we allow our past experiences to define our future, our future will look no different than our past.
- We must review our past experiences looking for God’s presence instead of using it to build a case for not moving forward.
- God uses us as instruments in the lives of others. God chooses us despite our past.
- God can take any brokenness and turn it into a perfect picture of His love.
- God can take any brokenness and turn it into a perfect picture of His love. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do? How does your answer influence what you do with your own brokenness?
- Over the years, how have you lived your life in the rear view mirror? In what ways has your past influenced your present and future?
- What does it mean that God redeems our past? What do we get wrong when it comes to understanding redemption?
- Read John 4:1-42. What can we learn about God’s heart and concern for our past by the way Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman? Why do you believe God choose this woman to make a difference in her own community?
- Read James 5:16. What role does community play in helping to heal and process our brokenness and the scars of the past?
- Read Ephesians 2:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. What happens to our identity, as well as our past, when we encounter and accept Christ’s love? What freedom does Christ provide in dealing with the scars of our past?
- What scars of the past still sting and are holding you back from walking in freedom? What makes them so painful? How have you allowed these scars to define you?
- What would it look like for God to free you from your past?
- How can your past empower God’s story and give other people hope? How can you turn your scars into stories of hope and redemption?
God’s plan for your life is peace, rest, and joy.
1 John 4:14-18, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 118:6, Luke 12:4-7, John 14:25-27, Romans 8:14-17
- We hold on to what we feel is comfortable, not realizing that what we’re grasping onto is fear.
- Self-examination doesn’t stop at the first layer. We must dig deeper to uncover what drives our fear.
- Trusting God involves encountering uncomfortable situations.
- We struggle with fear because we don’t necessarily believe God is God.
- Real belief is when our knowledge turns into action.
- Fear causes us to isolate, take control, and protect ourselves.
- Fear paralyses us while caution moves us…it just moves with caution.
- We get to choose between trusting God with our fears or having our life run by them.
- When we choose fear, we make a decision that we are safer relying on our own understanding and abilities than trusting God.
- Fear is the belief that God does not exist. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- What is the difference between fear and caution in terms of movement and taking steps of faith?
- What does choosing comfort and convenience have in common with holding on to our fears?
- Describe a time where you second guessed what God was doing in your life. What made you doubt His heart and presence?
- Read 1 John 4:14-18. What does it mean to “acknowledge God”? How should our acknowledgement lead to reliance on Him? Why can’t fear exist where love is present?
- Read Isaiah 41:10 and Psalm 118:6. When we fear, what does that say about our belief in God’s presence and protection? How does God’s presence enable us to face any situation with security, courage, and hope?
- Read Luke 12:4-7. How does fear causes us to lose sight of our value in God’s eyes?
- Read John 14:25-27 and Romans 8:14-17. What enables us to have peace in this world? What role does the Holy Spirit play in addressing our fears?
- What are the small fears that keep you from stepping into God’s purpose for your life?
- In what situations do you find yourself fighting for control or isolating yourself from God and others? How is fear or anxiety driving this reaction to your circumstances?
- God always leads us to places where faith is required. What is your next right step of faith? What is one action you know you need to take but fear is preventing you from doing so?