“The Adventure of Surrender”

“The Adventure of Surrender” was written by long time friend of Renew, Marilyn Anderes. Many of our supporters will remember Marilyn’s column in Good News Magazine. This book teaches the reader how to let go and let God – in a word Surrender – through the words of Jesus found in John 15. See Jesus’ teaching on abiding in the vine in a new light; learn the key to a fruitful life; and deepen your knowledge of the fruit of the Spirit.

This book may be ordered by contacting Renew Network.

Ascending the Mountain – 30 Day Devotional Challenge

Ascending the Mountain – 30 Day Devotional Challenge by Rev. Madeline Carrasco Henners

Get ready for a journey of excitement, surrender, and learning to hear God’s voice. This devotional challenge includes exercises, Scripture, journal space, and teachings from amazing sons and daughters of God. Learn to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and deepen your relationship with Him. Teachings are included from: James & Michal Ann Goll, Rolland & Heidi Baker, Brother Lawrence, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, John Wesley, Leif Hetland, A. W. Tozer, C. S. Lewis and more!

This resource may be purchased on Amazon Books or by contacting Renew Network. It is perfect for individual or group study.

Madeline Henners is a pastor in La Grange, Texas. She serves on the Renew Network Steering Committee and is the secretary for the Wesleyan Covenant Network.

Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story

About the Author

Jessica LaGrone is Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary and an acclaimed pastor, teacher, author, and speaker who enjoys leading retreats and events at churches throughout the United States. She is the author of many Bible studies including Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story, and Broken and Blessed: How God Changed the World Through One Imperfect Family. She and her husband, Jim, have two young children.

 

Are We Really Better Together?

Reverends Rob Renfroe and Walter Fenton give an evangelical perspective on the division in the UMC in their book, “Are We Really Better Together?” This book gives the most comprehensive yet succinct understanding of the issues that divide the UMC. This book tackles why we are divided over the authority of Scripture, the biblical understanding of human sexuality, the meaning of mission, and the division over the best way forward. This book is a great resource for starting or continuing a conversation in your local church about the crisis in the United Methodist Church.

Encounter series by Carolyn Moore

About the Author

Carolyn Moore, an evangelist, church planter and disciple-maker, is the founding pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Augusta, Georgia. She is an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and received a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.

 

EncountrJesus_Book_Front_CVR_1024x1024

‘Encounter Jesus’ looks like a devotional book. Those who begin this eight-week study, however, will find that it’s anything but.  Instead, it is an active journey of discovery, one that asks participants to, among other things, journal, sing, gather stones and create a timeline.  The purpose of the study and video series, say creators Carolyn Moore and Kris Key, is simple.

‘To lead students into an authentic encounter with Jesus,’ Moore explained. ‘To help them see the difference between ‘a’ Jesus — any version of Him that is convenient, comfortable or culturally correct — and ‘the’ Jesus — the radically loving, transforming, redeeming Messiah of the New Testament.’

‘By practical activities, people can witness Jesus in their everyday lives,’ Key added. ‘The study is to help grow people in their faith and realize that Jesus is the only One they need no matter what they face in life.’

Moore, founding pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church, and Key, women’s minister at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church — both in Augusta, Georgia — had already worked together on several projects. At Key’s request, Moore had even led a women’s retreat that Trinity puts on annually. So when Seedbed, Asbury’s publishing project, asked Moore to produce a Bible-study series, she knew Key was the perfect person to help.

‘I wasn’t so sure I wanted to produce the workbook to accompany the videos — at least not alone. That’s how Kris became involved,’ Moore explained. ‘She and I were already friends and colleagues, and I knew she was gifted at leading studies and even writing her own material, so I asked if she’d help with the production of the workbook. Her contribution of research and her fresh perspective gives the overall study a depth and breadth it could never have had if I’d tried to go it alone.’

Moore had already been mulling the subject matter, which came to her after she and her congregation provided meals to a low-income apartment complex in Augusta. After the meal and a worship service, they offered an invitation to receive Christ and about 10 people stood up, including a man named Leroy. Afterwards, the two spoke.

‘Leroy said to me, ‘I stood up tonight because I realized something. I realized I know a Jesus, but I don’t know the Jesus. And that changes everything,’ Moore said. ‘Leroy’s comment changed me. I began to think about the difference between ‘a’ Jesus and ‘the’ Jesus. And later that year, I preached a series of messages on that theme, using only the red letters (the words in the Bible actually spoken by Jesus) to talk about this Jesus who calls us to follow Him.’

‘Encounter Jesus,’ just as Jesus’ call to follow Him, asks for a commitment. Key says that even students who complete only a small portion of the weekly activities will experience a deeper relationship with Jesus. Moore adds, though, that it is meant to be an active endeavor rather than a passive study.

‘It’s the difference between a study and an encounter,’ she explained. ‘A study is about the information. We can control how close we get to it, and how much we allow it to change us. We can learn about Jesus and still keep Him at arm’s length. An encounter, on the other hand, requires us to interact with Jesus himself, to dialogue with Him, to learn from Him in ways that leave us changed. To skip the interactive exercises is to risk missing the encounter.’

Ordering Information:

On Line: Seedbed.com
email: store@seedbed.com
or phone 615 442-8582
mailing address:Seedbed Resources
204 North Lexington Ave.
Wilmore, KY 40390

The DVD is $39.95 and the workbook is $16.95.

 

 

EncountertheSpirit_Front_CVR_SM

Ask Christians today how they best connect with God and they’ll likely talk about their relationship with Jesus or their experience of a heavenly Father who loves and cares for them. Ask them to focus on how they connect with God and they may shake their heads in wonder.

The Holy Spirit is our connection to the heart of the Father. And yet, too many Christians have missed out on the richness, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit. Too many of us have no idea the Holy Spirit loves us and desires to draw us into the heart of God. After all, it is the Holy Spirit Himself who empowers us to encounter God.

The Holy Spirit is our inheritance as followers of Jesus. To access the power and fullness of this gift, however, is a choice. What if you could tap into that power? What if you could walk in confidence and pray with authority? Wouldn’t you like to know how to hear the voice of God and how to read the Bible so it becomes a Living Word for you? Wouldn’t you benefit from a deeper, more intimate connection with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Encounter the Spirit is a seven-week small group guidebook aimed at helping you discover the treasure of a deep relationship with God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you ready to encounter the Spirit?

Preview the first week of Encounter the Spirit.

Ordering Information:

On Line: Seedbed.com
email: store@seedbed.com
or phone 615 442-8582
mailing address:Seedbed Resources
204 North Lexington Ave.
Wilmore, KY 40390

*Church leaders interested in a free preview copy for possible congregational use can email micah.smith(at)seedbed.com.

 

 

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up – Lesson Four

Will  the Real Jesus Please Stand UP by Kris Key

Lesson 4 of a 4 part series

Note: This Bible study is formatted for small group discussion. If using study individually, we suggest you journal your answers.

 

As we continue with “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” we have to ask ourselves: If Jesus is all and in all and we have chosen to live for Him, then will we stand up for Jesus? Will we be bold and confident in who we are in Christ that no matter the imposters around us, we will stand for the TRUTH? Will you surrender everything to be fully committed to Jesus Christ?

As we focus on our final scripture continue to pray for the Power of the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts and minds that we would be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

 

Read 1Corinthians 15: 1-2 and 15: 56-58.

Paul believes that all those who believe in Christ should live their lives in such a way that is honoring to the Lord. Whether by word or deed we proclaim our values to others by the choices we make. Paul concludes his letter to the church in Corinth with repeating when he first preached the Gospel to them and they believed. Paul is reminding them to come back to the TRUTH and to refocus on Jesus who gave His life that we might stand firm in our understanding of life eternal through Jesus death and resurrection.

Their life of faith should be one in which they stand firm in and not lose focus or grow weary doing so.

In verse two there is a confidence that the God who began a good work will surely bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

Discussion Questions:

 What must we do to stand firm? As Christians? As a church?

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How does this encourage you in your faith journey?

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Do you ever feel as though your commitment to the Gospel is pointless or powerless?

What helps you refocus?

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God has claimed us as His and we are made in His image. Even when we are unlovable, God continues to love us and offer us grace.

The story of Jesus never grows old as it impacts generation upon generation and we see our own stories weaved through the tapestry of God’s redeeming love.

God’s grace is available for all as we begin a life of faith and God changes us from the inside out if we allow Him!

Share or journal an experience where the story of Jesus impacted your life.

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Read ICorinthians 15: 56-58.

We come to the question once again – “Will you stand up for Jesus?”

For nothing we do is in vain because of what Jesus did for us.

Throughout chapter 15 – Paul gives testimony of the evidence of the death and resurrection of Jesus through the scriptures and eyewitnesses. It is sin that brought about our demise and deemed us powerless, with what appeared Satan winning. Sin brings death and the sting of death! But God defeated Satan once and for all in the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was victorious over death therefore we have nothing to fear in death.

Romans 5:12, 6:23, 7:7-20 (also see Hebrews 2: 14-15)

When we can’t keep the law we have the gift of forgiveness through the cross of Jesus. Sin no longer has any hold on those who believe and allow the Holy Spirit to reign in their lives.

God gave us laws to live by, however we often cannot live up to God’s laws and that is why we desperately need a Savior!

 

Discussion Questions:

Where are you trying to live by the law rather than in the freedom of grace and mercy?

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How are you claiming the promise of the victory we have in Jesus?

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The command is given for all to stand firm, let nothing move you. In what ways are you or have you obeyed this command?

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We as dearly loved people of God must be intentional each and every day to follow God’s agenda in spreading the Gospel, making disciples and bearing fruit that will last.  We must renew that same spirit of complete surrender, determination, faithfulness, steadfastness, consistency and perseverance – no matter what we face or the cost.

We cannot afford to give up but instead with the passion Paul displays to be immovable in our stand for Christ.

 

Discussion Questions:

What has been distracting or blinding you from remaining immovable and faithful?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How can you stand firm and stand up for Jesus in your sphere of influence?

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How can keeping your focus on Jesus instead of circumstances help you stand firm? (Hebrews 12: 1-3)

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Will you allow the Real Jesus in you to stand up and stand firm by the power of the Holy Spirit?

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Thanks be to God that we can stand up on the solid rock of Jesus because we have victory in Him.

 

Action steps –

What has God’s Word revealed about your kingdom perspective?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What changes need to happen in your life to stand up for Jesus?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

As we conclude this 4 part series Bible study and reflect on the first lesson, do you remember the TV show “To Tell the Truth”? After spending time in the Word of God where would you find yourself if you were a contestant on the show? Would you represent the imposters or would the judges be able to identify you as the likeness of the “real” Jesus?

Journal your responses and date it to hold yourself accountable.

Close your time in prayer. Ask the Lord to direct your steps by the power of the Holy Spirit to stand up for Him.

 

Will The Real Jesus Please Stand UP – Lesson Three

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up by Rev. Kris Key

Lesson 3 of a 4 part series

Note: This Bible study is formatted for small group discussion. If using study individually, we suggest you journal your answers.

Our scripture focus for this lesson is from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. He is writing his letter from prison in Rome around A.D. 60 to a small village on a trade route in central Asia-Minor (present day Turkey). We know from Luke’s writings in Acts (Acts 19:10) that the Word of the Lord went out to this area from Ephesus as Paul preached in the synagogue speaking boldly about the kingdom of God. The church in Colosse was under attack as false teaching began to penetrate the hearts and minds of those within the church. Paul wants the Christian believers to remember the TRUTH and how to live a life with Christ that will bear fruit for the kingdom of God. As we dig further into the scripture we must make the decision for ourselves whether Christ is completely adequate. Is Jesus enough or have we fallen prey to the deception of the lies of the world and our old sinful nature?

 

Read Colossians 3:1-17

Focusing our attention on the first 4 verses we notice Chapter 3 begins with a “therefore” (NASB), “since then” (NIV) which should cause us to ask what is it there for? What is the connection and why is this important? The previous chapter has given its readers the complete knowledge of the fullness of Christ so that all Christians may have the “full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2: 2-3)

We have received Christ as Lord, so we must continue to live in Him and for Him. In Chapter 3 Paul tells us how we can do just that. “Therefore” this is how we as Christians need to live our lives and reflect the person of Christ.

What are the commands given to obey?

Where is our focus for daily living?

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We are told to set out hearts and our minds on things above.  Setting our hearts and minds on things about means concentrating on those things that are eternal and not temporary.

Stop right now and make two lists. One labeled things eternal and the other temporary.

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Discussion Questions:

Where is your daily focus?

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How can your heart and mind be renewed and transformed?

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If we have died to self then the temporary or worldly things would not be our focus. Why? Because we find our security and assurance in Christ. This is our promise to claim with new life hidden in Christ. When Christ is alive in me, no darkness, no lies, can exist. Dark and light cannot occupy the same space so must make the choice to focus on the things above.

 

Reread Colossians 3:1-10

Discussion Questions:

What dark places need to be put to death in your life? (old habits, old practices)

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Where have I sought to please man (the world) instead of the Lord?

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How will you begin to “rid yourself of all such things” and try new practices with Jesus? How will you allow the renewing of your heart and mind to take over your daily life?

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See Philippians 4:8-9 for more practical ways of focusing on Christ.  Journal what you discover.

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Jesus Christ is in everything and is the only thing that really matters.

 

Christ alone!

The popular modern hymn “In Christ Alone” conveys the power of the Gospel written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend. This hymn embraces the uniqueness and power of Christ in a world filled with false teaching, imposters and an unbelieving generation. This song tells the gospel story as it aims to strengthen the Christian believer to let Christ be your all in all This song focuses on the Word of God to renew and transform hearts and minds to further the Kingdom of God.

Listen to this modern hymn and be encouraged.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjR_A2pGPrY

 

If Christ is all and is in all how do you claim this promise on a daily basis?

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How can we as the Body of Christ demonstrate the love of Jesus that no one is better than another because Christ died for all? List some ways you can personally make a difference in your sphere of influence:

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Reread Colossians 3: 12-17

As we focus on these scriptures Paul gives us practical steps to take to live for the Lord every day. Notice that we are called to live as holy and loved people of God. We all have the choice to choose who and what we will imitate!

Our attitudes, our words and actions all make a difference as we strive to reflect Jesus.

List the attitudes and practical ways Paul gives us to live a holy life in Christ:

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We are all called to live a life worthy of the Gospel and to bear fruit that will last. For we represent Jesus at all times as Christians.

 

Discussion Questions:

What decisions must you make in order to be clothed with the characteristics of Christ?

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How can you seek to live a peace filled life and promote peace in your sphere of influence?

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How are you bringing honor and glory to God in all that you do?

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Action steps 

What has God’s Word revealed about your kingdom perspective?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

What changes need to happen in your life to stand up for Jesus?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Journal your responses and date it to hold yourself accountable.

Close your time in prayer. Ask the Lord to direct your steps by the power of the Holy Spirit to stand up for Him.

 

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up – Lesson Two

Lesson 2 of a 4 part series Bible study

Note: This Bible study is formatted for small group discussion. If using study individually, we suggest you journal your answers.

 

As we continue to seek the truth of who the Real Jesus is, we begin to recognize some unique characteristics of this Real Jesus. The Word of God reveals the TRUTH as we begin to discover who Jesus is.

The Pharisees have been on a mission to trap Jesus. Jesus was teaching to the ever present crowds as he leaves Capernaum and crosses over Judea. All along, the Pharisees are testing Him by asking questions and pointing out when Jesus was teaching and performing acts, with no official authority in their eyes. Jesus continues however to speak truth and teach His disciples as He makes His way up to Jerusalem. Jesus wants His disciples to understand the hope and assurance that “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). Jesus wants them to trust in who He is and His Kingdom. As he journeys to Jerusalem Jesus has much to teach as His followers have much to learn. We begin with Jesus telling His disciples the “first will be last and the last first” (Mark 10:31).

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

 

Read Mark 10:32-34 aloud as a group.

Here we witness Jesus making his way to Jerusalem. The scriptures are clear that Jesus is leading the way. The disciples are astonished while followers are afraid. There would have been many along the way who joined the disciples making their way to Jerusalem for Passover week. The crowd mixed in emotions and purpose as they journey to celebrate the sacrificial Passover lamb for the sins of the people of God.

All going are going to Jerusalem but only one will be betrayed and condemned to death. Jesus for the third time shares with His disciples what they will encounter. Two times before Jesus had shared what was going to happen to Him. (See Mark 8:31, 9:30-31)

What do you notice about this third time He shares? (For further study see Psalm 22:6-8, Isaiah 50:6, 52:13 and 53:12)

 

Discussion Questions:

Do you allow Jesus to be your leader when afraid to follow or astonished at what you hear?

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How are you “going” with Jesus?  As His disciple or follower?  What’s the difference?

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Read Mark 10:35-40

If this Jesus is the Real Jesus then He can do whatever we ask? Right?

The astonishment of two of the disciples create a perspective of Jesus’ Kingdom in which they will receive glory due to being with the “Messiah”. However their definition of the Messiah is a kingdom much different than what Jesus has been teaching.

Was Jesus just a Blessing Giver to them? James and John had just heard what would happen and yet they have no idea of the reality of this new value system Jesus has given them. Instead they turn to worldly thrones and desires for prestige and power.

In ancient royal courts, the seat at someone’s right was reserved as the position of honor and the left hand seat was for an intimate friend.

These two disciples have the wrong idea of Jesus’ kingdom as they ask for positions in Jesus’ court.

Here are James and John who witnessed the transfiguration (Mark 9: 2-9) and were in Jesus’ inner circle. They understood that Jesus would have a kingdom and be glorified, however they did not understand that Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. (Luke 17: 20-21)

 

Discussion Questions:

How has the world’s lies or imposters of the truth affected your perspective of who the Real Jesus is?

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How has your perspective affected your prayer life?

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What would it take for you to be more like Jesus and ask the question Jesus asks?

“What do you want “me” to do for you Jesus?”

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In verse 38, Jesus tells James and John they have no idea what they are asking. How disheartening this must be for Jesus. He knows His time is limited with them and yet they still don’t understand that in this new kingdom they must be willing to suffer a great cost.

The verb tense in the Greek of verse 39 indicates an event that has not yet happened. The “cup” to which Jesus referred to was the same “cup” mentioned in His prayer in Gethsemane (see Mark 14:36). Jesus knows the depth of suffering He must face and asks His disciples if they are ready to suffer for the sake of the Kingdom.

James and John can’t know the full picture of what is to come as Jesus knows. However we have the promise that we can ask the Lord for anything knowing God will do what is best for us even if the answer to our prayer is “no”.

 

Discussion Questions:

How are your present sufferings bringing glory to God?

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How are you trusting the Lord and remaining faithful when you don’t fully understand?

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Share an experience where you allowed God’s authority to be your authority?

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Read Mark 10:41-45

The other 10 disciples become upset when they hear what James and John request of Jesus.

What emotions and attitudes do you witness within the group?

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Jesus seeks to pull His disciples together when the unity is attacked. Here we see demonstrated another characteristic they are to follow in this new value system of the Real Jesus. Jesus understands how quickly the destructive attitudes and emotions of jealousy, prestige, pride and power could damage the trust and peace of the team of disciples. He doesn’t wait but immediately calls them together and simply seeks to unite them.

Jesus give them a command to obey that the attitude of lording authority and demanding submission would not be so with them! God’s Kingdom was within them and His Kingdom consisted of those who were servants of all. Once again Jesus overturns the value structure they know. Jesus lets them know humility is the highest virtue and that a real leader has a servant’s heart. It wasn’t about position or power but how they could glorify God.

It is the Real Jesus who stands up!

 

Discussion Questions:

How have you allowed your differences with others to destroy the team or family?

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Recall a situation or experience where you allowed the Lord to call you together with someone who you had differences with.

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Share where you witnessed servant leadership.

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How are you different because of Christ in you?

How is it “not so with you”?

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Jesus is our perfect example of a servant leader. He gently but firmly guided His disciples and He commanded them to be obedient. In John 17:21 Jesus prays for us to be complete in unity that His followers would be “one’ brought together to serve Him. To stand for the TRUTH.

Forever Jesus came to serve. Jesus took the form of a servant and paid the ultimate price by dying on a cross for our sins to give us eternal life.

Are we claiming this promise and are we willing to be a servant for all?

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How do you recognize the “Real Jesus”?

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Are you willing to ask Jesus what you can do for Him? Will you humble yourself no matter the cost to stand for the TRUTH?

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Action Steps

What has God’s Word revealed about your kingdom perspective?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

What changes need to happen in your life to stand up for Jesus?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Journal your responses and date it to hold yourself accountable.

Close your time in prayer. Ask the Lord to direct your steps by the power of the Holy Spirit to stand up for Him.

 

Will the REAL JESUS Please Stand Up? Intro and Lesson One

Will the REAL JESUS Please Stand Up?  By Kris Key

Group Facilitators Overview

This Bible study is formatted to encourage participants to focus on the scriptures and encourage them to deepen their relationship with the Lord.  Group facilitators do no need to be experts in the scriptures to be effective leaders. But. They must have a willing heart and commit to preparing for the group times.  Below are some suggestions that will help facilitate your group study:

1. Remember to prepare ahead of time.  Look up all scripture references.  You may want to write them out.

2. Begin and end your group gathering on time.

3. Your first meeting should be an introduction to the study and getting to know all group participants.  You may want to ask for volunteers to read aloud the introduction to Part One a few paragraphs at a time.  Watch the video as a group if possible.

4. Each lesson should begin and close with prayer.

5. Create an environment where all participants feel safe to be able to share.

6. Encourage honest and open discussion as you work through the scriptures.

7. A possible suggestion for those sensitive questions would be to break your group up in twos or threes so participants will feel freer to share their personal experiences.

8. Make sure everyone has all the study materials needed before your next group gathering.

Lesson One:  

Introduction:

Between 1956-1968, CBS broadcasted an American television panel show called To Tell the Truth. It was one of five game shows to air at least a new episode in at least six consecutive decades. One of those five shows is still being aired today. Can you guess it? Jeopardy!

So as you read this you may feel nostalgic or you may feel intrigued because you have never heard of this before!

To Tell the Truth caught my attention because of the last question that was always asked for each episode. That question was, “Will the real (person’s name) please stand up?” The show features a panel of four celebrities who object is the correct identification of the one contestant who has an unusual occupation or experience. The contestants are comprised of two imposters who pretend to be the central character, along with the real contestant. The game usually begins by the three contestants introducing themselves all saying the same name of the central character. The announcer will ask each one, “What is your name, please?”

The celebrity panelists then question the three contestants for a given time period. The imposters are allowed to lie but the central character is sworn to “tell the truth.” After the questioning, the panel attempts to identify which of the three contestants it the “REAL Person.” Once each member of the panel places their decision on who they believe is the central character or the real person, the announcer or host asks, “Will the real (person’s name) please stand up?” The real person, the central character, then stands!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSXGDwFD5WE&list=PLA2CEACC6F3E14B5D

There was always such anticipation of who the “real person” was! Who was telling the truth and who had been lying the whole time?  The challenge also was whether you could discern the right person yourself as you watched and listened.

How many times in our faith journeys are we confronted with knowing who the “Real Jesus” is? How often do you hear from more than one voice, and are unsure of the Real “I am,” the Real Jesus? In the midst of life, when decisions are before us, struggles are overwhelming, and you are unsure what direction to take, it would be great to just say, “Will the REAL JESUS please stand up!”

We will be looking at four different scripture passages to help us discover who Jesus is, how can we know for sure, and who we can stand up to when faced with lies or persecution and speak the TRUTH.

Who do “you” say Jesus really is?

The rumors must be rampant as Jesus and His disciples are making their journey through the region performing many miracles. Who wouldn’t be talking about the dead and blind being healed? In Mark 8:22-26 Jesus restores the sight of a blind man, he opens his eyes and he could see clearly. In Mark 7:31-37 Jesus opens the ears of a deaf man and enables him to speak clearly. People are overwhelmed and amazed and are talking about it. Jesus even feeds the large crowd that has gathered, with only seven loaves of bread. The disciples have witnessed these wonders. They have been among the people and have listened to what people are saying about who Jesus is. Jesus wants to know what his disciples have been hearing, what people have been saying about him, as they travel on to the village of Caeserea Philippi. This is a very pagan area where many worship pagan gods. (If you have a Bible atlas, locate the area Jesus and His disciples have journeyed.)

Jesus is right there with His disciples and He asks them, “Who do people say I am?”

Read Mark 8:27-30 at home and aloud as a group.

Discussion Questions:

Are the disciples listening and following Jesus or what others say about Him?

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What does Jesus want His disciples to understand?

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For digging deeper: Matthew 16: 13 – 20 and Luke 9: 18-27

Even though they are telling Him what people are saying – that He is a prophet, they don’t see Jesus as the true God, the Messiah. Their eyes are not open spiritually, their ears are not fully open – even though He has been with them.

Discussion Questions:

When am I listening more to the voices around me that distract me rather than the voice of God in my midst?

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When have I let the common, everyday viewpoint blind me spiritually from the wonder and majesty of God’s perspective?

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Jesus asks His disciples and He asks you and me…  “Who do you say I am?”  The moment of Truth where we all must answer this question!

It is not enough to know what others think – we must answer the question for ourselves. Here we witness Peter answering the questions when the other disciples are silent. Peter in his boldness declares Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One.

“Christ from Greek and “Messiah” from Hebrew both mean “Anointed One.”

In Psalm 2:2 David talks about the King who God would provide to sit on the throne forever. So Peter is saying the promised King and Deliverer. But Peter and all the disciples and others had a different king in mind. The King they had in mind would take over the Roman empire and give them a new kind of freedom from the bondage they felt from the empire.

 

Read Isaiah 50: 4-9  aloud.  In this passage, we are challenged to stand up when faced with lies or persecution and speak the TRUTH, for God will defend you.

Discussion Questions: 

What is the promise in these scriptures and do you live your life like you believe it?

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How do others around you know who Jesus is through you?

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Read 1 Corinthians 16:13. How does this encourage you to stand up for the Real Jesus?

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Read Again Mark 8:30 In this passage there is a sharp warning from Jesus to the disciples not to tell anyone what they know.

Probably because the disciples still did not fully understand the true “King” and “Kingdom” that Jesus represented. Their ideas of a Deliverer were incomplete. Jesus still had much to teach them.

 

Discussion Questions:

How will I obey and trust God for the bigger picture even when I don’t completely understand what He is doing in my life?

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Action Steps

How will you respond to what the Lord has revealed to you in His Word?

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What changes need to happen in your life to stand up for Jesus?

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Journal your responses and date it to hold yourself accountable.  Close your time in prayer. Ask the Lord to direct your steps and give you the courage and boldness you need.