1 WHAT IS SUCCESS?
The Fourth of July in a California beach city meant hundreds of celebrating
visitors. By the next morning, trash always littered the streets. Evan
decided that it would be great for his group to serve the town by picking up
trash. Then other groups in his church heard the idea and decided to join in.
On the fifth of July, almost a hundred people were out on the beach and wandering
through town, picking up and bagging trash. They had a great day serving
together. It wasn't the most glorious job, but the community had a need
and God's servants responded.
From that day on, the city felt that Evan's church really cared. The city
began to go to that church for a variety of needs and asked the church to host
special events. All of this was possible because when there was a need, people
CONNECTING WITH GOD'S FAMILY 20 min.
Service is often unglamorous, like picking up trash that others
have left. For some of us, our natural reaction is that such jobs are
beneath us. For others of us, no act of service is beneath us because
we've acquired Jesus' servant heart. In each session of this study,
you're going to look at a different aspect of a servant heart. You'll
begin with a servant's attitude toward success and importance.
1. In a sentence or two, describe someone you think is successful.
What makes that person successful in your eyes? (Please don't
tell a long story here or you'll cut into your Bible study time.)
2. Whether your group is brand new or ongoing, it's always important
to reflect on and review your values together. On pages
74-75 is a sample agreement with the values we've found most
useful in sustaining healthy, balanced groups. We recommend
that you choose one or two values-ones you haven't previously
focused on or have room to grow in-to emphasize during
this study. Choose ones that will take your group to the
next stage of intimacy and spiritual health.
A great one for this study would be shared ownership.
Make it your goal to find a way for each group member to serve
the group in some way: hosting, bringing refreshments, planning
a group service project, leading the worship, calling members
who miss a meeting, and so on. Pages 77-79 contain some
ideas, as does session 3.
We also recommend that you rotate host homes on a regular
basis and let the hosts lead the meeting. This helps to
develop every member's ability to shepherd a few people in a
safe environment. Even Jesus gave others the opportunity to
serve alongside him (Mark 6:30-44). Session 2 will explain
how to set up a rotating schedule.
GROWING TO BE LIKE CHRIST 25 min.
Our culture places a high value on individual success and personal
fulfillment. Success is often measured in money-the more
money you make, the more successful you are. Business, politics,
professions, and sports are good routes to success. You can be successful
as an artist if you make enough money at it. Success is also
measured in fame-how many people know about you and what
Another strand of our culture says it's not enough to make
money-you also need to feel personally fulfilled in what you do.
Being truly successful is getting rich and feeling fulfilled at the same
We also have standards for judging the success of parents (raise
smart, moral Christian kids who go on to have successful careers
and families) and churches (grow larger congregations, buildings,
and budgets). A society is successful if crime and war don't threaten
it, and if the standard of living (measured in money) is growing.
Jesus' disciples had ideas about success too, and they thought
following Jesus would lead there. But Jesus had his own ideas.
3. Read Mark 10:35-45. On page 18, read the study note for "sit
at your right . left." What was James and John's picture of
4. How did politically successful people typically behave, according
to Jesus (verse 42)?
5. How is this like or unlike the way successful people usually act
6. In what ways is Jesus' route to greatness different (verses 43-45)?
7. What would it look like for you to pursue that route to greatness?
8. What costs would that involve? Think about your career, your
family relationships, your time and money.
What would be the benefits?
FOR DEEPER STUDY
How are God's values and the world's values in conflict, according
to Luke 16:13-15? How do you think a person can tell if he or she
is serving money rather than God?
Why do you think humility is so important to God (Luke 14:11;
Why did Jesus oppose the human tendency to put spiritual leaders
on pedestals (Matthew 23:1-12)?
What attitudes did Paul urge slaves to have in Ephesians 6:5-8?
How did Paul tell masters to behave in Ephesians 6:9? Why did Paul
urge Philemon to free his slave Onesimus in Philemon 8-19? Why
do you suppose Paul didn't tell all masters to free their slaves? How
do you think Paul's words to masters and slaves are relevant in
DEVELOPING YOUR GIFTS FOR SERVICE 25 min.
Jesus emphasizes humility and sacrifice. Humility doesn't mean
thinking badly of yourself; it means thinking of yourself less and
others more. Sacrifice means taking action that costs you something
for the sake of others.
Humility makes no sense unless you believe a good God is taking
care of your needs. Likewise, sacrifice makes sense only if the
goal outweighs the cost.
9. In what ways do you expect others to serve you? Think broadly:
restaurant workers, store clerks, family members, work colleagues,
office janitors, others.
10. How do you typically treat these persons who serve you? In
what ways do you "lord it over them" (Mark 10:42)? In what
ways do you show respect for them?
11. In what current situation could you treat someone else with
12. Humility and sacrifice become natural as you learn to see life
through Jesus' eyes. On page 16 offers are several options that
will help you to see through his eyes. If you're new in your faith,
feel free to select one of the simpler options. If you've been
walking with God for some time, we encourage you to stretch