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Sharing Christ

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Overview

Sharing Christ Together gives students the tools and attitudes they need to share the love of Christ with friends, family, and the world. Six sessions help kids understand how Jesus interacted with people, why evangelism is important, and how to make evangelism a part of everyday life with Jesus.

Details

  • SKU: 9780310866763
  • SKU10: 0310866766
  • Title: Sharing Christ
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Release Date: Jan 05, 2010
  • Pages: 112
  • Category: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
  • Subject: Biblical Studies - Bible Study Guides
NOTE: Related content on this page may not be applicable to all formats of this product.

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

SESSION 1 THE FATHER'S HEART

In the middle of a frenzied school year, a small group of women gathered week after week to grow in Christ. Marci told the group that her sister-in-law, Meg, was struggling with cancer. None of the other women knew Meg.

Marci's heart was broken over Meg. Meg had never pursued any type of relationship with God, and Marci feared her eternal destiny was hopeless. Also, the cancer was immobilizing her life.

As Marci talked about Meg, the group began to see Meg with the heart of God. Many of the women visited Meg in the hospital, read to her, and prayed for her. One woman made a poster filled with inspirational thoughts to encourage her. Another told Meg Christ loved her and died for her. Weeks passed, and Meg was released from the hospital. She decided to attend Marci's group because of the love she had received from women she didn't even know. Each week Meg learned more about who Jesus was and why he died on the cross for her.

Meg's cancer has resurfaced. Although she hasn't committed her life to Christ, she continues to learn about his love for her. "For the first time in my life," she says, "I want to see more of who Christ is and why he came, because when these women cared for me in the hospital, I saw that something in their life was different from mine. I saw a commitment to me beyond anything I had seen before."

Amazing things happen when we let ourselves feel the Father's heart for others, especially when we respond as a group.

CONNECTING WITH GOD'S FAMILY 15 min.

1. Think of one person in your life who doesn't know Christ. Briefly describe your relationship with him or her. (Close? Friendly but distant? Chilly?)

2. Whether your group is brand new or ongoing, it's always important to reflect on and review your values together. On pages 76-77 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.

For this study, we suggest you focus on spiritual health. Spiritual health means living all five biblical purposes of the church in your group. We've found that fellowship and Bible study are easy elements to establish in groups, but service and outreach are much harder. Yet healthy groups do all of these things! So for the next six weeks, we hope you'll emphasizedoing things that reflect God's heart for unbelievers.

GROWING TO BE LIKE CHRIST 30-40 min.

As with everything else in the Christian life, God wants evangelism to well up from within us because our hearts are taking on the character of Jesus. Just as compassion for the lost compelled Jesus, the same concern ought to compel us. God doesn't want pressured performance. He wants inner transformation that affects our thoughts, feelings, and automatic behaviors toward others.

Disciples who share their faith just because of a pep talk or nagging guilt will lose interest when progress takes time and obstacles emerge. In training his disciples, Jesus focused on their hearts so they would spend the rest of their lives spreading their faith despite intense opposition. He told stories that provoked them to understand his Father's heart. When people asked Jesus why he did something, he often told a story that explained, in effect, "I do this because this is what my Father cares about."

3. Read Luke 15:1-10. What situation prompts Jesus to tell the stories about the lost sheep and coin?

4. How do the stories explain Jesus' behavior in this situation?

5. What impression of God's heart (thoughts, passions, priorities, character) do you get from the two stories in Luke 15:1-10?

6. Read Luke 15:11-32. How would you describe the younger son's feelings and beliefs about his father at the beginning of this story?

7. What are the older son's feelings and beliefs about his father?

8. In 15:11-32, what impression do you get of the father's heart from the way he deals with: his younger son's departure?

his younger son's return?

his older son's response?

9. These three stories are about the hearts of Jesus and the Father. Why do you suppose they are so passionate about the lost, the runaways, the sinners?

10. How do you view the lost people in your life? Is your heart similar to the Father's heart or different?

11. What hinders you from seeing people with God's heart?

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Read Jeremiah 50:6-7 and Ezekiel 34:11-31. What was God's attitude toward the lost sheep of Israel? What would it look like for you to live with that attitude toward the lost?

Read Matthew 9:9-13. Why did Jesus invest his limited time with immoral people? What would happen if you did that? What would your Christian friends think? How would it affect you and your family?

Read Galatians 2:11-21. Like Jesus, Peter and Paul were criticized by fellow Jews for eating with "sinners." How did Peter handle the criticism? How did Paul? How would you handle such criticism?

SHARING YOUR LIFE MISSION EVERY DAY 10 min.

We have found that time alone with God is essential for developing a heart for the lost and sustaining it through life's ups and downs. The Bible is full of ideas about how to pray for ourselves and our friends (see Colossians 4:2-6 for example). In prayer we can tell God our fears, frustrations, and dreams, and listen for his encouragement.

For the next six weeks, we hope you'll make it your goal to cultivate your heart for the lost through personal prayer and Bible reading. Below are several ways to choose from.

12. Prayer will stretch your heart. Who are the lost sheep and wandering sons and daughters in your life? Think of family members, neighbors, work associates, your friends, your kids' friends and their families, and service providers (such as store clerks or your hairdresser). The "Circles of Life" diagram on page 16 will help you think of people in various areas of your life. Prayerfully write down at least three or four names in the circles. Here are two options for prayer during this study:

Commit to praying for these people throughout this study, both with your group and on your own. Also, ask God to show you his heart toward them. Write notes in your calendar to remind you to pray.

For a deeper experience, fast and pray for someone on your prayer list. If you've never fasted before, skip one meal and spend at least twenty minutes in prayer during that time. Allow your hunger to remind you how hungry the lost son felt before he left his pig-keeping job and went home to his father (Luke 15:16-17). Ask God to increase your spiritual hunger, and the hunger of the person for whom you're praying.

(Continues.)

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