Your friends will determine the direction and quality of your life.
Proverbs 13:20, Ephesians 1:3-6, Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose your friends wisely.” -David Buettner
“The more we study engagement, we see time and time again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them. This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.” –Moran Cerf
“Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” –Booker T. Washington
- We are acceptance magnets.
- Acceptance paves the way to influence.
- Determine the direction of the influence.
- It is better to be alone that surrounded by those of negative influence.
- Godly wisdom loses its potency and power when it’s not put into practice.
- What pieces of wisdom did your parents give you that went “in one ear and out the other”? Why did you ignore their words? How did failing to listen to their advice lead to regret?
- Fill in the blank: ____________________ will determine the direction and quality of your life. What makes you answer in the way that you do? Over time how has your answer changed or stayed the same?
- We are acceptance magnets. How did this truth play out in your life growing up? Why do we naturally gravitate towards those that accept us? Do you believe the pull of the acceptance magnets lessens, grows stronger or stays the same as we get older?
- Read Proverbs 13:20. On Sunday, Brett Eddy made the case that our friends determine the direction and quality of our life. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Why is it easy for this wisdom found in Proverbs to go “in one ear and out the other”?
- Read Ephesians 1:3-6. How does knowing we are fully accepted and loved by Christ impact the drive to seek acceptance in our relationships with others?
- Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Proverbs 27:17. Why is a supportive community needed if we want to reflect Christ’s heart in our lives?
- Read the quotes from David Buettner, Booker T. Washington, and Moran Cerf. How are your relationships and friendships shaping the person you are becoming?
- Determine the direction of the influence. Are there relationships that are having a negative impact on your life, your integrity, and your pursuit of Christ? What needs to change with these relationships?
- Determine the direction of the influence. Are there relationships that are having a positive impact on your life, your integrity, and your pursuit of Christ? How can you further develop these connection points?
- If acceptance paves the way to influence, who needs to know that you accept them and are rooting for them? How can taking this posture deepen the influence you have with this individual?
If the truth doesn’t compel you to love, you haven’t driven it far enough down to be free.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3, Mark 12:29-31, 2 Timothy 2:15
- Everything finds its meaning and purpose within the context of its relationship to God.
- God’s truth provides a foundation that is strong enough to support the weight of our desires.
- Freeing truth compels us to love.
- Jesus defined truth in the context of a relationship and as an expression of love.
- Knowledge might mess up what we think about what we are thinking.
- Truth isn’t given to make us correct, but rather to make us free.
- Whoever loves is known by God and it is this knowing that serves as the source for which we love others.
- Our hearts must be awaken to love. Our minds are useful to that end.
- Truth is always found in the context of a relationship instead of a principle or an issue.
- We can use freedom up and end up enslaved.
“Our ceaseless craving for more, though it can kill us when unredeemed, may be a hint of the joy we are made for when the soul finds its center in God.” –John Ortberg
- Read the quote from John Ortberg. How do we twist truth to fit our agenda, feed our cravings and fulfill our selfish desires?
- What are some truths you’ve attempted to establish that you hoped would bring you closer towards freedom (ex. If I get married, I’ll be happy. If I’d had more money, I’d feel more secure. If we can all agree on this issue, we will find peace)? How did these “truths” fall shot of your desires?
- God’s truth provides a foundation that is strong enough to support the weight of your desires. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-3. What is the difference between a knowledge that puffs up and a knowledge that compels one to love others?
- Read Mark 12:29-31. What implications are there to Jesus framing the greatest commandment question in a relational way? What connection does a relationship have with truth? How does loving God impact our ability to love others?
- Read 2 Timothy 2:15. How does one know if they are “correctly handling the word of truth”?
- As you look back on these past four weeks, how has your approach to truth changed? What was the greatest insight you gained from this series? Why did this insight stick out to you?
- Lust, envy, anger, comparison, jealousy, indifference, complacency, etc. Where do you need to dig deeper into the truth to expose the state of your heart?
- How can you utilize your mind to awaken your heart to love when it comes to this issue?
A world without truth isn’t wrong; it’s insane.
Matthew 21:23-27, Psalm 51:6, John 17:17, Psalm 119:160, Proverbs 18:21
- Knowledge is designed to connect our souls to the truth.
- Language is designed to express our souls desire for freedom.
- Language is given as a way to understand and articulate truth.
- Information connects knowledge to truth.
- In the absence of truth, we create a reality that is governed by our will.
- The truth establishes the essence of reality and provides a foundation that will support the weight of our desires.
- The truth is that we were made for life with God and life for God.
- We were created in the image of God’s compelling beauty and greatness and were made to display that beauty and greatness in everything we do.
- If we can want wrong things and think wrong things, then we can’t depend on our wants and beliefs to lead us to freedom.
- Your words have the power to create realities.
- We often use information to buttress our beliefs – not to discern truth.
“Seek not to understand that you may believe, but seek to believe that you may understand.” -St. Augustine
- Read the quote from St. Augustine. What are the differences between the two mindsets spoken about in this quote?
- What happens to our culture when truth is absent?
- What is the danger in using our wants and beliefs to be the sole guide in determining truth and pursuing freedom?
- Read Matthew 21:23-27. What was the religious leader’s motivation for this encounter with Jesus? How concerned were they about genuinely understanding truth? Why were they careful with their words?
- Read Psalm 51:6, John 17:17, Psalm 119:160. How does the truth of our identity in Christ provide a firm foundation for us to walk on? Why did Jesus pray that we would be sanctified in His truth?
- Read Proverbs 18:21. In what ways do our words hold power in shaping our reality, perspective and understanding of truth?
- What false realities are you speaking into existence through your words? Why are you given these words power to shape your perspective?
- What issues are you gathering information about to buttress your own beliefs rather than seeking understanding and encountering truth? What does the Gospel do to this issue?
- Where are you attempting to conceal or avoid the truth? Why are you reacting to your situation in this way? What would it look like to mine for truth regarding these circumstances?
Truth is discovered by faith.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3, John 8:31-32, Psalm 119:18, Ephesians 1:18, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 86:11
- Knowing truth is only developed by experiencing truth.
- Living wisely requires clean sight.
- We typically search for information to free us from faith and create a certainty we can control, navigate and solve.
- The Scriptures are not given as evidence of faith, but rather serve as a calling to faith.
- Our trustful obedience avails us to being known by God.
- We think we find freedom by holding on. Yet, freedom is only found when we let go and trust.
- The first step in finding the truth is coming to the truth.
- The opposite of faith isn’t doubt, but certainty.
- You can have all the answers yet still not be free.
- You love God by making Him the first person you come to when you can’t figure things out on your own.
- How can our heart’s posture affect our understanding? How does the attitude we hold influence what we see and trust?
- What is the opposite of faith: doubt or certainty? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- You can have all the answers yet still not be free. How have you seen this statement lived out in your own life as well as those around you? If our freedom isn’t found in having all the answers, where is it located?
- What is a truth you doubted at first, but eventually learned it was true through having faith and experiencing it?
- Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-3. Is it possible to know things, but not understand them fully? What does the author mean when he says, “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know?”
- Read John 8:31-32. How does our obedience avail or open us to being known by God? In what ways does obedience speak to our trust in Him?
- Read Psalm 119:18 and Ephesians 1:18. What does it mean for the “eyes of our heart to be opened”? How does our sight, and what we see, influence our heart and understanding of truth?
- Read Psalm 25:5 and Psalm 86:11. How do these Scriptures speak to truth being something revealed to us when we’re willing to obey and take steps of faith?
- We think we find freedom by holding on. Yet, freedom is only found when we let go and trust. What do you find yourself holding on to hoping you’ll find freedom? Why are you hesitant to loosen your grip? What would it look like to let go and trust?
- Living wisely requires clean sight. Where is your perspective and vision currently cloudy or distorted?
- Truth is revealed one step of faith at a time. What has God been revealing to you about His character and your heart lately? What are you learning through your steps of obedience?
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?