At the University of Kentucky

TWELVE CONVERSATIONS

CSF core group resources 2014-15

FALL 2014

WEEK 1 – THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
WEEK 2 – THE MOSAIC COVENANT
WEEK 3 – THE DAVIDIC COVENANT
WEEK 4 – THE NEW COVENANT
WEEK 5 – FALLEN
WEEK 6 – UNFAITHFUL
WEEK 7 – REMADE
WEEK 8 – KINGDOM OF DEATH
WEEK 10 – ONE MISSION

SPRING 2014

WEEK 1: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

REVISITING CORE GROUPS
Day 1: PICTURE 1 – THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

WEEK 2: KNOWING GOD: HOLY LOVE

DAY 1: PICTURE 2 – GOD’S LOVE
DAY 3: DAVID PLATT ON GOD’S HOLY LOVE
DAY 6: THE GLORY OF THE LORD
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WEEK 3: KNOWING GOD: SACRIFICIAL LOVE

DAY 4: ASLAN’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE
DAY 6: THE STORY OF JIM ELLIOT

WEEK 4: KNOWING GOD: PERFECTING LOVE

DAY 6: THE ORDER OF SALVATION

WEEK 5: OBEYING GOD: GOD MADE SEX GOOD

DAY 1: PICTURE 3 – OBEYING GOD
DAY 2: SEXUALITY AND SPIRITUALITY – PODCAST 1
DAY 5: SEXUALITY AND DISCIPLESHIP – PODCAST 2

WEEK 6: OBEYING GOD: WE MADE SEX GOD

DAY 1: SEXUAL BOUNDARIES – FOR GIRLS
DAY 1: SEXUAL BOUNDARIES – FOR GUYS
DAY 2: SEXUALITY AND SATISFACTION – PODCAST 3
DAY 2: DEALING WITH PORNOGRAPHY – FOR GIRLS
DAY 2: DEALING WITH PORNOGRAPHY – FOR GUYS
DAY 2: RESOURCES FOR PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION

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DAY 3: DATING NON-CHRISTIANS

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DAY 4: SEXUALITY AND WISDOM – PODCAST 4
DAY 5: BODY IMAGE – FOR GIRLS
DAY 5: BODY IMAGE – FOR GUYS
DAY 6: SEXUAL ADDICTION AND TEMPTATION

WEEK 7: OBEYING GOD: THE DARKER SIDE OF SEX

DAY 1: UNEARTHED
DAY 1: SEXUALITY AND REGRET
DAY 4: ABORTION
DAY 6: HOW TO DATE WELL

WEEK 8: LOVING GOD: THROUGH SCRIPTURE

DAY 1: PICTURE 4 – LOVING GOD
DAY 1: MEDITATING ON GOD’S WORD
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DAY 3: TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE BIBLE
DAY 5: WHY MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE
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DAY 5: SCRIPTURE MEMORIZATION APPS
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WEEK 10: LOVING GOD: THROUGH WORSHIP

DAY 2: WORSHIP
DAY 6: PRAYER OF PRAISE
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FALL 2013

WEEK 1: JESUS IS... OUR KING

QUOTES
…the gospel is not about choosing to follow advice, it’s about being called to follow a King. Not just someone with the power and authority to tell you what needs to be done—but someone with the power and authority to do what needs to be done and then offer it to you as good news.Tim Keller, King's Cross

 

“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan, a man?” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.” C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

LANGUAGE LESSON

Christos was a Greek word meaning “an anointed royal figure”. It comes from Psalm 2 where the king of Israel is “anointed” with oil by the high priest.

SERMONS
BOOKS
ARTICLES

“WORK AND PRAYER” by C. S. Lewis from God and the Dock
The reality behind prayer is that we are speaking to the King of the entire universe. Everything is at his disposal. Nothing is beyond his power or rule. But, still some prayers are not answered. This excerpt helps us to understand how it is that God is fully in control of all things and yet not all prayers are “answered”.

“JESUS’ OTHER ROLE” by Nick Price from Relevant Magazine
The article talks importance of Christ as Lord and Christ as Savior, and how the two should add up to our realization of Christ as King.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
Judah, your brothers will praise you;
__ your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
__ your father’s sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
__ you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
__ like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
__ nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
__ and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
He will tether his donkey to a vine,
__ his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
__ his robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes will be darker than wine,
__ his teeth whiter than milk.GENESIS 49:8-12, First prophecy of the Kingship

 

Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’2 SAMUEL 7:5-16, The Davidic Covenant, a promise for kings

 

Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming,seated on a donkey’s colt.JOHN 12:15, The King come riding a donkey

 

  • PSALM 2 – The coronation Psalm for a King
  • PSALM 110 – The King is enthroned

WEEK 2: JESUS IS... OUR SHEPHERD

QUOTES

With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?  Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

 

God is more concerned about who you are rather than where you are and what you’re doing.Mike Breaux, Southland Christian Church

SERMONS
BOOKS
ARTICLES
ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.EZEKIEL 34:6-12

 

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.JOHN 10:3-4

 

I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.JOHN 10:14-16

 

Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.PSALM 23:1-6

 

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.ISAIAH 40:11

WEEK 3: JESUS IS... THE (ONLY) WAY

QUOTES
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

 

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven.* To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.

*That is, they will not concede to the idea that they need to forgiveness.C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

 

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked from the inside.C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

 

It’s not a question of God ‘sending’ us to Hell. In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be Hell unless it is nipped in the bud. The matter is serious: let us put ourselves in His hands at once – this very day, this hour.C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock
SERMONS

“HOCKEY STICK, SOME WHITEOUT, AND A BRITA FILTER”
Jon Weece of Southland Christian Church on reconciling our understanding of God as a loving Father and the reality of a hell that exists and waits to overtake those that don’t submit to God’s grace.

“GOD VS. YOUTUBE”
Dan Hamel responding with a really nice analogy to claims that because there are so many religious beliefs it is arrogant of Christianity to claim its beliefs to be “the truth.”

BOOKS

Often our culture asserts that no religion can be claim absolute truth, that all are equally valid or that each religion sees just a part of some greater spiritual truth. Here is Tim Keller’s insight into why this claim doesn’t hold up from THE REASON FOR GOD:

Sometimes this point is illustrated with the story of the blind men and the elephant. Several blind men were walking along and came upon an elephant that allowed them to touch and feel it. “This creature is long and flexible like a snake” said the first blind man, holding the elephant’s trunk. “Not at all—it is thick and round like a tree trunk,” said the second blind man, feeling the elephant’s leg. “No, it is large and flat,” said the third blind man, touching the elephant’s side. Each blind man could feel only part of the elephant—none could envision the entire elephant. In the same way, it is argued, the religions of the world each have a grasp on part of the truth about spiritual reality, but none can see the whole elephant or claim to have a comprehensive vision of the truth.

This illustration backfires on its users. The story is told from the point of view of someone who is not blind. How could you know that each blind man only sees part of the elephant unless you claim to be able to see the whole elephant?

There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to [all others]… We have to ask: “What is the [absolute] vantage ground from which you claim to be able to relativize all the absolute claims these different scriptures make?”

How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have?Tim Keller, The Reason for God

ARTICLES

THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST by Peter Kreeft
This article by apologist Peter Kreeft not only succinctly argues for the divinity of Christ–for his claim as “the way”– but also examines the common responses to these apologetic arguments.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.ROMANS 1:18-20

 

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”ROMANS 10:9-15

 

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.1 TIMOTHY 2:3-4

WEEK 4: JESUS IS... THE (ONLY) LIFE

QUOTES
He was born in fury and he lived in lightening. Tom came headlong into life. He was giant in joy and enthusiasms. He didn’t discover the world and its people, he created them. When he read his father’s books, he was the first. He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day. His mind plunged like a colt in a happy pasture, and when later the world put up fences he plunged against the wire, and when the final stockade surrounded him, he plunged right through it and out. He was capable of giant joy.John Steinbeck, East of Eden

 

The Witch knew the Deep Magic. But if she could have looked a little further back… she would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

 

Even the tiny foretaste of heaven that we can all have here on earth by surrendering to God is as much more joyful than the greatest ecstasy sex can give, just as being with your beloved is more joyful than being with her picture.Peter Kreeft

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m living a meaningless life. I know I’m one of the luckiest dudes in America right now. I have a great house, my parents don’t have to work. I’ve got money, man. I’m famous…I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it is like a God-sized hole. If I knew how, I’d fill it and I’d be on my way.Shia LaBeouf

 

Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.Tom Brady
BOOKS
ARTICLES
SONGS

WEEK 5: WE ARE... HIS ADOPTED CHILDREN

QUOTES
The Son of God became Man to enable men to become the sons of God.C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

He wants us to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with our stumbles.C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

 

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
SERMONS

“BASIS OF PRAYER, OUR FATHER” by Tim Keller
Tim Keller talks about how the way we understand our relationship to God is reflected in the way we approach Him in prayer. We can approach God as if he is a business partner, as the other end of some kind of exchange, or as a Father. And the key to approaching God the way Christ models for us is to understand ourselves as adopted children of God.

“JOYFUL PRIVILEGE” by Jon Weece
In this message we hear Jon rap Eminem and Run DMC and talk about how it’s a privilege to be a child of God and we’ve done nothing to earn it or deserve it. We are reminded that it only makes sense, and that it’s pleasing to God, for us to respond to with joy to His outstretched hand.

ARTICLES

“THE ACID TEST OF BEING A CHRISTIAN” by Tim Keller
Tim Keller doesn’t explicitly spell it out, but in this article he is breaking down the key components of our identity in God that we’re studying this week: 1) We are adopted. Keller focuses on the reality that we do nothing to gain or deserve God’s attention or affection but that he only reaches out to us. 2) We are His children. Keller talks about the way we ought to respond to our Father–with childlike wonder at the miracle of His gracious love.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law,faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.PHILIPPIANS 3:1-11

 

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.GALATIANS 4:4-7

 

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.GALATIANS 3:26-28

 

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.ROMANS 8:23

WEEK 6: WE ARE... HIS BODY

QUOTES
There are two ways in which the human machine goes wrong. One is when human individuals drift apart from one another, or else collide with one another and do one another damage, by cheating or bullying. The other is when things go wrong inside the individual-when the different parts of him (his different faculties and desires and so on) either drift apart or interfere with one another. You can get the idea plain if you think of us as a fleet of ships sailing in formation. The voyage will be a success only, in the first place, if the ships do not collide and get in one another’s way; and, secondly, if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order. As a matter of fact, you cannot have either of these two things without the other. If the ships keep on having collisions they will not remain seaworthy very long. On the other hand, if their steering gears are out of order they will not be able to avoid collisions. Or, if you like, think of humanity as a band playing a tune. To get a good result, you need two things. Each player’s individual instrument must be in tune and also each must come in at the right moment so as to combine with all the others.C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

Christian communities, all of them, are communities-in-progress, baptized sinners in various stages of development in the life of love.Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in 10,000 Places

 

Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. You might say that when two Christians are following Christ together there is not twice as much Christianity as when they are apart, but sixteen times as much.C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

Getting saved is easy; becoming a community is difficult–damnably difficult.Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in 10,000 Places

 

In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community, which allows unemployed members to exist within it, will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable.Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

 

If you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body…every addition to that body enables it to do more. If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who along can help them. Cutting off a man’s fingers would be a odd way of getting him to do more work.C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
SERMONS

“STUMBLING ALONG” by Andy Stanley, North Point Community Church
Here, Andy Stanley focuses on the importance of community. While there will always be rough spots in our lives, placing ourselves in close community with other believers ensures that we will have others to support, encourage, and remind us of our identity in Christ when life gets bumpy.

“USE YOUR YOU-NIQUENESS” by Jon Weece, Southland Christian Church
In this message, Jon expands upon the idea of the Church as the body of Christ, urging each of us to realize that: 1) we have a place in the body that it is significant and adds to the Church’s reflection of Christ, and 2) while we are important to the body, we are dependent on the rest of the body to live in the fullness that Christ has planned for us.

“COMMUNITY” by Ben Stuart, Breakaway Ministries
“The idea of a ‘Lone Christian’ is ridiculous!” Today, in a time where it is popular to say things like “I love God, but the Church is just a bunch of hypocrites” or “I have a personal relationship with God, I don’t need anyone else to help me know Him,” this message reminds us of the importance of a community of believers.

ARTICLES

“BEING PART OF THE BODY” by Relevant Magazine
This article reminds us of our value as members of the body of Christ and of the damage we can do if we do not fully take on our role in the body.

“WE, THOUGH MANY, ARE ONE BODY IN CHRIST” by John Piper
Piper writes in this article of the importance of both unity in the body and individuality in its members, reminding us that coming together into small groups is the best way to facilitate and appreciate both of these necessary qualities. (We can hopefully skim over the outrageously obvious “application” of the importance of “racial and ethnic diversity”–I hope none of us are in such a deplorable state that we need this reminder.)

VIDEO

Watch this spoken word, “WHY I HATE RELIGION BUT LOVE JESUS”

In what ways is this perspective right? In what ways is it incomplete, or wrong? How can we follow Jesus within the larger community without becoming Pharisaical?

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.MATTHEW 16:17-20

 

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.ACTS 20:28

 

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.1 CORINTHIANS 10:31-33

 

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.EPHESIANS 1:22-23

 

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.COLOSSIANS 1:17-20

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.COLOSSIANS 3:14-16

 

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.EPHESIANS 2:19-22

 

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-26

WEEK 7: WE ARE... HIS FORGIVEN SAINTS

QUOTES
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

 

Everywhere I turned were helpful household hints on loving one’s enemies, on turning the other cheek, and on how doing that makes you look in a whole new direction. There were admonitions about the self-destructiveness of not forgiving people, and reminders that this usually doesn’t hurt other people so much as it hurts you. In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

 

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Who else is there to say “Father, forgive them” but Christians who know how to pray that prayer with Jesus? However important justice is — and it is important — forgiveness is more important. The Christian at prayer, even as Jesus at prayer, is not first of all an impersonal agent of justice but a personal conveyor of forgiveness and a witness to the resurrection. Such forgiveness is not soft sentimentality. It is hard-edged gospel. Such forgiveness is not a moral shrug of the shoulders. It is a white-hot flame of resurrection love forged in the furnace of the cross. Assuming that the criminal crucified next to Jesus was receiving a just death sentence (he said as much himself), the sentence was not revoked in Jesus’ prayer. The criminal died for his crime. But forgiveness trumped justice. It always does.Eugene Peterson, Tell It Slant
SERMONS

“FORGIVENESS” by Jon Weece, Southland Christian Church
A message on the power of forgiveness–the power and magnitude of God’s forgiveness and its power to change your life and your relationships when you extend it freely in response.

“NOTHING BUT…” by Andy Stanley, Northpoint Community Church
We all have things in our pasts that haunt us. We have sin. It only takes a word, a picture, or a name to bring it all back. We know we can do better from this point forward, but how are we supposed to fix the past? We can say we’re sorry. We can ask for forgiveness. But some of the things we’ve done hang over our lives like a cloud. What can wash away our sins? Andy answers that question in this message, reminding us that it is nothing but our Savior.

ARTICLES

“ON FORGIVENESS” by C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
An excellent article on the necessity of our forgiving others if we are to be forgiven. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, Lewis brings to light the difference in attitude between asking our Father to forgive us and asking Him to excuse us and reminds us that we need not go through the work of justifying ourselves (through works or in our own minds) if we just truly and simply believe in the forgiveness of sins. A must read.

“SERVING EACH OTHER THROUGH FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION” by Tim Keller
This is a longer article about forgiveness, how it can overcome the pain and brokenness that plague our relationships, and how forgiving one another is the ultimate way to serve each other.

VIDEO

“JESUS IS LOVING BARABAS” by Judah Smith
This spoken-word-type piece from Judah Smith (author of Jesus Is…) focuses on how Christ bears the burden of our sin for us: the necessity of the sacrifice of Christ for our forgiveness.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.MATTHEW 6:11-15

 

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.GALATIANS 6:1-2

 

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.EPHESIANS 4:31-32

 

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’

But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’LUKE 23:39-43

WEEK 8: OUR MISSION IS... TO BRING THE KINGDOM

“CHRISTIAN FAITH IN THE ANCIENT WORLD” LECTURE

Before doing anything else, check out this Lecture mentioned in the first thoughts of section 8.

QUOTES
God’s Kingdom is present in its beginnings, but still future in its fullness.Tim Keller

 

You can’t lay down any pattern for God. There are many different ways of bringing people into his Kingdom, even some ways that I especially dislike! I have therefore learned to be cautious in my judgment. But we can block it in many ways. As Christians we are tempted to make unnecessary concessions to those outside the faith. We give in too much. Now, I don’t mean that we should run the risk of making a nuisance of ourselves by witnessing at improper times, but there comes a time when we must show that we disagree. We must show our Christian colors, if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent or concede everything away.C. S. Lewis, when asked 'How can we foster the encounter of people with Jesus Christ?'

 

I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.Bob Goff, Love Does
SERMONS

“EVANGELISM” by Jon Weece, Southland Christian Church
Sharing Christ with your roommates, your parents, or anyone at all can seem like a very intimidating conversation to have. Jon suggests here, though, that we’ve overcomplicated this conversation. “Evangelism” is just telling our friends about our friendship with Jesus. It’s just telling the people we meet about how meeting Christ has changed us.

“JESUS AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD” by N. T. Wright
In order to bring the Kingdom the Christ has promised and has established for us, we must understand what the Kingdom is and how it is deeply rooted in the compassion of Christ.

ARTICLES

“KINGDOM CENTERED PRAYER” by Tim Keller
In the Lord’s prayer, Christ set us an example when he prayed “Thy Kingdom Come.” In this article, Keller breaks down what he calls kingdom centered prayer: how prayer that is communal and is focused on wanting to see God more clearly–to see His glory and to see the edification of the church–will set our hearts in a place where we can bring the kingdom.

“REIMAGINING HEAVEN” by Jeff Cook, Relevant Magazine
This article reminds us that our common conceptions about Heaven pale in comparison to the reality of God’s plan for His Kingdom.

BOOKS
SONG

“AWAKEN ME” by Jesus Culture

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.MATTHEW 6:10

 

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.LUKE 17:20-21

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

COLOSSIANS 3:12-17

 

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’

But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’LUKE 23:39-43

WEEK 9: OUR MISSION IS... TO MAKE DISCIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES

QUOTES
We are far removed from the days when one’s baptism could be said to be the most momentous event — and perhaps the most dramatic, terrifying, and joyous experience — of one’s life. …For most of the Christians of the earliest centuries, baptism was altogether of a more radical nature.  It was understood as nothing less than a total transformation of the person who submitted to it; and as a ritual event, it was certainly understood as being far more than a mere dramaturgical allegory of one’s choice of religious association.  To become a Christian was to renounce a very great deal of what one had known and been to that point, in order to be joined to a new reality, the demands of which were absolute; it was to depart from one world, with an irrevocable finality, and to enter another.David Bentley Hart, Atheism's Debt to Christianity
ARTICLES

“THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP” by Tim Keller
In this essay, Keller walks through what it means to be a disciple: set Christ as your priority; find a new identity in Him; live in mercy; extend that mercy to everyone.

“MAKING DISCIPLES JESUS’ WAY: A FEW AT A TIME” by Greg Ogden
Disciples are supposed to multiply, yet we often do not. In this short essay, Ogden suggests that the key to multiplication is that disciples are made in small groups. He discusses how this not only produces more disciples but also makes the process of discipling more realistic and less burdensome.

VIDEOS

“WHY WE MUST BE DISCIPLES FIRST” by David Platt
In this brief, five-minute video, Platt talks about how to make disciples we must first take our responsibility to be a disciple seriously, and if take our responsibility to be a disciple seriously we will naturally be compelled to make disciples.

“DO YOU RECOGNIZE THE FRUIT OF DISCIPLESHIP” by Rodrick Gilbert
Super short, two-minute video about the fruit of discipleship and how we don’t have to have “arrived” before we can make disciples–all centered around a nice mango metaphor.

BOOKS
ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Immediately they left their nets and followed him.MATTHEW 4:18-20

 

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.1 CORINTHIANS 9:22-23

 

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.JOHN 17:14-21

 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.JOHN 15:1-17

WEEK 10: OUR MISSION IS... TO CARE FOR THE LEAST OF THESE

QUOTES
Jesus never says to the poor ‘Come find the church,’ but he says to those of us in the church, ‘Go into the world and find the poor, hungry, homeless, and imprisoned’–Jesus in His disguises.Tony Campolo

 

If you ask most people what Christians believe, they can tell you, ‘Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that Jesus rose from the dead.’ But if you ask the average person how Christians live, they are struck silent. We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way. And doctrine is not very attractive, even if it’s true. Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.Shane Claiborne
ARTICLES

“WHAT IS BIBLICAL JUSTICE” by Tim Keller
In this article Keller explains how the biblical idea of “justice” does not stop at punishing those who do wrong–it centers around extending hope to those whom are denied it, to those who are marginalized by society but, scripturally, embraced and loved by Christ.

SERMONS

“GENEROUSLY EXTEND HOPE TO THE POOR” by Jon Weece
One of Southland’s four “core expressions” is that the church will “generously extend hope to the poor.” In this message, Jon unpacks how the poor vary from the homeless to the hopeless and how our response is to always be the same: to extend hope and embrace them in love.

“HOPE FOR THE POOR” by Tim Keller
Tim Keller reminds us that the Church is not about either spreading the truth or extending compassion and service. The Church is only fully realized if these two are linked–if we are actively serving the “least of these” in order to extend the hope and establish the order of the Kingdom that Christ has proclaimed.

BOOKS
ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE
And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.ISAIAH 58:10

 

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.PSALM 140:12

 

However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.DEUTERONOMY 15:4-5

 

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.ACTS 4:33-35

 

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”LUKE 14:12-14
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