Week 1 I Am God s Masterpiece

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1 Week 1 I Am God s Masterpiece When our identity is firmly rooted in Christ we become a new person. Finding our identity in Christ is a life-long process, a constant stripping off the old and putting on the new. This series will be an encouragement for everyone to begin to see themselves, others, and the church through the lens of Jesus, as God s masterpiece. God gives us our identity. We do not earn it. Our identity is God s gift that no one can take away from us. 1. Icebreaker. Answers will vary. 2. This question may stir emotions for some people. Choose your path wisely and listen well. 3. This question should encourage people to know that God has chosen them and that they are unconditionally loved. If people indicate they feel left out, don t try to correct them. Hopefully, by the end of the discussion, they will feel included. Give them time to process their emotions. 4. Remember, all answers are accepted here. If it seems incredibly strange and you don t know how to respond, you can always say, How interesting. 5. For some, this may seem sacrilegious or awkward. It s ok to recognize that awkwardness. If nobody answers, ask them what word they would use to describe God if daddy doesn t resonate. 6. Don t worry if you aren t a world religion expert here. Most people knowledgeable on this topic would recognize that Christianity is unique. While there are many similarities, one aspect that sets Christianity apart is God s grace shown to us through Jesus. God came to reestablish a relationship with us. 7. Use this application question to affirm one another and help each other build a positive identity. 8. Answers will vary. 9. Answers will vary. 10. Again, this is an application question. If you need others, please see the Next Step Guide. Legacy Christian Church 1

2 Week 2 I Am a Member of God s Family The Cross of Jesus encourages us to find our identity first in and through Him. Then it empowers us to leverage the person He created us to be for the good of this world. 1. Icebreaker. If group members need guidance, ask, Do you organize by color, type, purpose? 2. Answers will vary. 3. Possible answers might include race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability/disability status, age, etc 4. Answers will vary. 5. This news is good news! It means that we can all find our way back to God and be reconciled with him. It should excite and encourage us. On the other hand, there are some people that, if we re totally honest, we don t want to find their way back to God. That s how the Jewish people at the time would have felt, and that s how many still feel today. Whether they are murderers, child abusers, or some other group of people, there are some who we may not want to have equal access to God. 6. Answers will vary. 7. Possible answers include: gays, the homeless, Republicans/Democrats, immigrants, the elderly, people of other races, the disabled, etc 8. Try to pull out specific examples. Use follow-up questions: Can you give me an example? So what might that look like? We brought up the homeless in Question 6. How might seeing them through the eyes of love cause us to treat them differently? 9. Answers will vary. Legacy Christian Church 2

3 Week 3 I Am a Work In Progress Dallas Willard writes, Grace is not opposed to effort, but to earning Paul writes in Philippians to work out our salvation, but he isn t telling us to earn it, but rather, to live it out. This week is about being a work in progress. Give yourself grace on the journey 1. This question is designed to not intimidate. This may offer a good opportunity to solicit input from someone who does not often speak up. 2. We ultimately have a responsibility to be faithful to God and to each other. To love God and love people. There are lots of answers here. The goal is to drive them toward seeing how the Christian life does have a lot of things to work out. However, we don t want to confuse this with earning salvation. Refer to the message Big Idea. 3. Most people will not want to talk about a specific sin or shortcoming. This is a more general question. We all have a sinful nature, and we all mess up. 4. Some people may be hesitant to shine a light on their own good works. To spark discussion, you may wish to point out a good thing that you know someone in the group has done that would reflect positively to others. 5. We want to lead everyone to the knowledge that, while we should strive to do good works in gratitude for the love that God freely gives to us, even the most devout struggle with sin. God is always waiting for us to return to him. His grace is new each morning. (Lamentations 3:23) 6. Sometimes the relationship doesn t mend, but usually peace washes over the forgiver. 7. We want group members to realize that good works are pleasing to God, but they do not earn us a place in Heaven. Only faith in Jesus qualifies us as Christ followers and gets us a ticket to Heaven. Our good works should flow out of gratitude of the love and mercy gives freely to us. 8. BE SURE TO INCLUDE THIS QUESTON IN YOUR DISCUSSION. The notion that, although we should work to do good, yet cannot earn salvation may be a revelation to some in the group. This is central to this week s Big Idea and is central to the gospel. Make sure that the group members know that they should strive to live a good life, but it is faith in Jesus that earns us a place on God s team. Legacy Christian Church 3

4 Week 4 I Am Gifted Each of us has been equipped by God with certain gifts. Our gift is to be leveraged for the sake of the good; our gift is not a stand-alone gift, but is to be joined with the gifts of others to form something beautiful. We are not a singular masterpiece, but rather a masterpiece inside a larger masterpiece God is forming. LEADER NOTE: As we talk about our spiritual gifts, be careful not to create a new identity around gifts, but reaffirm our identity as Christ followers. Our gifts may change throughout our lives as God equips us to fulfill his mission. Please be careful not to refer to people as Apostles, or Prophets, or Evangelists, etc Rather, refer to them as people who have the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, etc Also, recognize that even though we may have identified these gifts, we have to develop them! Just because we may have a certain gift, it does not give us license to force it upon others. When we humbly seek God to grow in our gifting, He will use us according to His glory. 1. Icebreaker. Answers will vary. 2. Allow for people to share their thoughts. 3. Point to the fact that we need the Holy Spirit s power here. If we are left to do things in our own strength apart from God, things get messy very quickly 4. Answers will vary. 5. Use this as a great opportunity to have an ICNU moment with the others in your group. Really affirm each other! 6. Perhaps you have heard the phrase: God doesn t call the equipped. He equips those whom he calls. Remind people that, if God calls us to serve, He will supply the gifts we need to accomplish the task when we humbly seek Him. 7. Answers will vary. Legacy Christian Church 4

5 Week 5 I Am Strong We are strong because of the power of God. It is Him who fights for us, and the fight is not against one another but against evil. We are our strongest when we realize the fight is not against my brother or sister, but against evil, and we are strongest when we allow God s power to fight for us and through us. 1. Icebreaker. This question is intended to get people to see that sometimes we get mad and we don t really know why. 2. Maybe you were late to work because your alarm clock didn t go off, then you hit every red light en route, as though there was a force preventing you from getting to work on time. 3. Be aware this could get off topic quickly. Try to keep people talking about how they feel about dark forces or spiritual warfare in their own life 4. People needing a drink or having to go to the bathroom in the middle of church service. You are distracted if you have to go, or you get distracted by the person who gets up. You may not like the style of a preacher and tune them out even though they may be teaching a truth you need to hear. When we are tempted, we will begin to justify. For example, we will say, I ve been eating good all week, I deserve a banana split every now and then. 5. Be prepared if someone is currently going through a tough conflict with someone. Possibly a divorce or someone who was recently fired or overlooked at work. Try to help group members connect to the idea that Satan is throwing fuel on the fire by provoking them to react in anger by targeting our vulnerablilities. 6. This is intended to be fun and rhetorical, but will reinforce that Paul means what he says: we should stand, as difficult as that may be. 7. You may get pulled into problem solving for people. Try to keep people on task by identifying what their tendency is and the feelings associated with not fighting. The idea of standing firm is counterintuitive. People will want to resolve the tension. Use the next question to redirect the solution back to your group members. 8. Answers will vary. Legacy Christian Church 5

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