What upcoming event are you looking forward to, such as something fun on your calendar?

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1 Living while waiting April 15-21, 2018 Icebreaker What upcoming event are you looking forward to, such as something fun on your calendar? Prayer Thank You, Jesus, for coming back for us so that we can be with You. Key Scripture Philippians 3:20 (NLT, emphasis added): But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. The Big Idea What are you anticipating with great expectation? Christmas? Your vacation? Becoming an empty nester? Like an expectant bride before her wedding, we are living in the in between, longing for the day of celebration when Jesus comes for His own. Jesus used this wedding analogy to underscore the significance of the waiting period prior to His coming back to earth from heaven. The Philippians, like many people today, were fascinated by the topic of the Lord s return, but just like today, their culture provided many opportunities to live sinfully. Believers, in any time period, must learn how to live in the in between as they wait for the Lord s return. They can do this by following the principles of holiness, hope, and harvest. Discussion Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? Explain your answer to the group. Live in holiness. Holiness means being set apart. We can make the definition much more practical by understanding that holiness pertains to three main ideas: What we allow in. What we allow to stay in. What we allow ourselves to do. Discussion What in your life has the ability to distract you from walking in holiness?

2 Live in hope. Because of hope, we realize that our redeemed loved ones are with the Lord, so we do not grieve like those who do not understand this biblical reality. We also have hope that one day we will see Christ face-to-face. We hope for our new glorified bodies that we will enjoy forever with the Lord. D ISCUSSION Have you ever had the enemy try to steal your hope and make you focus on temporal circumstances? Share your experience with the group. Live in harvest. We should live in harvest, because we are the only people who can reach this lost generation. We do not exist just to fatten ourselves spiritually, but rather to bring others into the family of God. Jesus said, Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest (John 4:35 NLT). D ISCUSSION Are you using your lifetime on earth to accomplish harvest? What type of change do you need to make in your life in order to impact more people for the kingdom of God? Application The Philippians lived shadily and the Thessalonians were lazy. Let s personally receive these admonitions to them while we live in the in between. Action Point Live holy or set apart. Stay hopeful because there is so much to look forward to. Bring someone to church this week. For you, the Leader Instruct group members to do the following: Pray for and touch base with another member before next week. Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you. Encourage someone this week, and read your Bible and pray daily. Encourage the group to participate in the outreaches. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!

3 What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray with their children and spouse daily. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

4 Finish Strong April 22-28, 2018 Icebreaker Have you ever tried to grow something in a garden? What was it, and were you successful? Prayer Thank You, Jesus, for redeeming lives. Key Scripture 2 Timothy 2:1 6 NLT: Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. The Big Idea Sometimes we start out strong with a diet or exercise regimen, but things soon begin to get in the way and we find ourselves getting off track. Life is just so daily, as the saying goes. What must we do to finish our race as Christian men and women? Let s look at what the apostle Paul recommended to Timothy, a young leader he was raising up. Have you ever started a diet or exercise program that did not last very long? What caused you to give up on it? Share with the group. Soldiers don t get distracted. In our culture, we are more connected than ever, but also more distracted. We have so many things, including all our devices, that compete for our attention. Getting off mission, therefore, can happen quite easily. Forgetting God s purpose for our lives can happen to anybody. What do you find distracting to growing in your walk with Christ? Share with the group. Athletes must not get disqualified.

5 A second tactic of the enemy is to get us to step out of bounds, so to speak, and be disqualified. We have all known people or public figures who have had to resign because of breaking the rules. Hopefully, you can look back through the seasons of your life and see consistency. If you have failed in the past, start a new chapter through the grace promised in 2 Timothy 2:1. Remember, we all need others that we can draw strength from. Your cell group can be that for you. Name some things that can disqualify a Christian leader. Which do you think is the most dangerous, and why? Farmers can t get discouraged. Farmers understand difficulty and hardship. They sow patiently, wait expectantly for rain and proper environmental conditions, and finally, if all goes well, they reap in due time. Can you imagine their discouragement if things don t go as planned? Have you ever gone through a discouragement that almost did you in? How did you make it through? Share with the group. Application Make a plan this week to limit distractions and foster the enjoyment of the farmer s fruit. Maybe that enjoyment can be found through pursuing God s presence or building godly friendships. Action Point Remember, one of the tools the devil will use against you is discouragement. Find strength in church and friends. For you, the Leader Instruct group members to do the following: Pray for and touch base with another member before next week. Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you. Encourage someone this week, and read your Bible and pray daily. Encourage the group to participate in the outreaches. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!

6 What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray with their children and spouse daily. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

7 . PRINT LESSON Cultures of the Gospel April 29-May 5, 2018 Icebreaker What is the first movie you remember going to see? How old were you? Prayer Thank You, Father, for the good news. Let me be a bringer of the gospel. Key Scripture 2 Timothy 4:5 NLT: But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. The Big Idea We are not called to be judges; we were left on earth to be witnesses. Witnesses tell others what they have seen. The best sermon is the story of what happened to you; that is the story people want to hear. Christians become like family to one another as a result of their salvation experience. They become like family and develop deep ties, even closer than the ties of blood family. Following Jesus should take us down the road of discipleship. That means we learn Christ s ways and imitate Him. People will then see fruit in our lives because we have been transformed. The culture of evangelism You will receive power; you will be My witnesses, Jesus told His followers. Are you growing in your relationship with God? Are you growing closer to the Holy Spirit? Share with the group. The culture of discipleship

8 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and as disciples, they also prayed. They all met together and were constantly united in prayer (Acts 1:14 NLT). Prayer shows humility because it gets God involved. Disciples also grow up in maturity, welcoming empowerment. The apostles laid hands on the early believers, and they assumed roles of leadership. Disciples develop relationships. All the believers were united in heart and mind. Get involved and stay involved with your church and small group. You will have friends and will not regret your investment of time and effort. Do you get involved in the corporate prayer events you have in your church? If no, what is keeping you from doing so? Have you told someone your story? If so, what happened? If not, what is keeping you from taking this step? Application Make a plan this week to share your story. Ask in prayer for someone to share it with, and when the conversation opens up to tell your story, share it joyfully. Action Point The cultures of the gospel transform us into empowered disciples who have a deeper- thanfamily relationship. God breathes on churches that walk out this culture. For you, the Leader Instruct group members to do the following: Pray for and touch base with another member before next week. Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you. Encourage someone this week, and read your Bible and pray daily. Encourage the group to participate in the outreaches. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others! What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray with their children and spouse daily. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

9 Benefits Package May 6-May 12, 2018 Icebreaker What is the most over-the-top amenity you have experienced in your travels? Prayer Thank You, Father, for crowning our lives with loving-kindness! Key Scripture Psalm 103:1 5 NIV: Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle s. The Big Idea When you get your first job with benefits, you know that you have arrived! Of course, some jobs have better benefits than others. In fact, employers offer the most attractive packages to keep their employees from leaving and going elsewhere. Let s consider the benefits package that comes with the redemptive work of the cross. When we carefully examine the Lord s benefits, we will never want to return to Egypt. What happened in your life when you began to realize the benefits of being born again into God s family? He forgives all your sins forgiveness. God is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. On the cross, Jesus said, It is finished, referring to the fact that the cross paid for mankind s sin debt. Never let the enemy bring condemnation in your life. God forgives all sins. Nothing is too big for Him. Has the enemy ever used your past against you, as if you had not been forgiven of your sins? Share with the group. He redeems your life from the pit deliverance.

10 God is Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner. He is our victory. This represents His delivering us from bondage. God rescued us from the pit of religion and insecurity, as well as from many other kinds of bondages. As Psalm 18:16 NLT says, He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. We have all been delivered from bondages. Share a testimony of personal deliverance with the group. He heals all your diseases healing. God is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer. The centurion soldier said, If You just speak the word, I know my servant will be healed (see Matthew 8:8). God still heals today. First Peter 2:24 (NASB, emphasis added) tells us, He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. When you ask for forgiveness, you don t doubt God s ability or decision to forgive you and cleanse you. Why then doubt that God would want to heal you? When did you realize that healing is real? What healings have you witnessed? Application The benefits of forgiveness bring peace. The deliverance from bondage brings freedom. The healing of disease was bought and paid for by the cross. Action Point Make a plan this week to start your day with thanksgiving for all the benefits of salvation. PRINT LESSON For you, the Leader Instruct group members to do the following: Pray for and touch base with another member before next week. Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you. Encourage someone this week, and read your Bible and pray daily. Encourage the group to participate in the outreaches. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!

11 What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray with their children and spouse daily. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

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