Parable recommended!


Our world these days is so hectic, so complex. Where do we turn for wisdom and guidance in navigating the ins and outs of life? There are many voices to listen to and many examples to follow, but we really need look no further than the Author of Life, Jesus. He taught and lived a way of life that was purposeful and pleasing to God. These six sessions will show you the value and the nature of a life of discipleship, as modeled by Jesus. Experiencing Christ Together helps your group explore the five biblical purposes that make up a high-impact Christian life fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism, and worship. Jesus perfectly lived out God s purposes for his life, and he taught his followers how to do the same. As you walk in the footsteps of those first disciples by listening to and watching Jesus through these studies, you and your group will be transformed. One small group leader put it this way: The Experiencing Christ Together series has motivated me more than any other Bible study that I have ever been to. This Bible study gets to the heart of the matter my character in Christ and that has created action on my part. "


  • SKU: 9780310249856
  • UPC: 025986249854
  • SKU10: 0310249856
  • Title: Growing in Christ
  • Series: Experiencing Christ Together Experiencing Christ Together
  • Qty Remaining Online: 2
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Date Published: Mar 2005
  • Pages: 128
  • Weight lbs: 0.39
  • Dimensions: 9.18" L x 6.30" W x 0.36" H
  • Features: Price on Product
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Subject: Christian Ministry - Discipleship

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One


Karen and Cindy both have families and full-time jobs. With people and tasks constantly demanding attention, the two women could easily ignore their spiritual lives other than church attendance. But Karen and Cindy are committed to helping each other grow in Christlikeness. So for six years they've met weekly-in person or on the phone-to talk frankly about their lives and to pray. Each week brings reasons why they don't have time: the drive is so long; they're tired after a busy day; there are errands to run and laundry to wash. But each week when they finish praying, they're grateful they made the time. Their partnership is costly, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

For example, Karen has chosen Ephesians 4:29 as the prayer focus for her relationship with her stepdaughters, so she and Cindy are asking God to give her words that build up and impart grace to her girls. Both women are convinced that they are more loving, joyful, and faith-filled than they would be if they weren't making their spiritual partnership a priority.

Much has been written about the cost of discipleship, the price of pursuing spiritual growth. It's important for you to count the cost, but it's just as important to know the value of what you get in return. In this session you'll look at the value of what Christ offers you and decide how much you think it's worth.


Christ loves you just the way you are. Spiritual growth won't earn you any more of his love. But Christ also has a vision for who you can become: more peaceful as you trust him in stressful circumstances, more loving toward the difficult people in your life, more able to overcome your bad habits. Question 1 invites you to think about the person you are now: a package of strengths and weaknesses. Don't be embarrassed to say something good about yourself!

1. What is one thing you like about who you are today? What is one thing about yourself you'd like to change?

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.

For new groups: You may want to focus on encouraging each other's growth. If you don't already have spiritual partners, this is a great time to start. You'll learn more about spiritual partners in session 2.

For existing groups: We recommend that you rotate host homes on a regular basis and let the hosts lead the meeting. We've come to realize that healthy groups rotate leadership. 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 3 will explain how to set up a rotating schedule.


To be a disciple of Jesus is to let the Holy Spirit train and transform us to do life as he did. We are learning to live in a realm Jesus called "the kingdom of heaven"-the realm where everyone lives as God intended.

Of course, God will welcome us after we die based on our faith in his Son even if we rarely pray and never crack the cover of our Bibles. If that's the case, we might ask, then why bother learning to live the way Jesus would have us live? It certainly isn't the path of least resistance.

The cost of discipleship is high. But Jesus offers a vision for thevalue of discipleship. He knows we will never stay on the path unless we are passionate about the destination. We need a vision of who we can become, of what life in God's kingdom can be like.

3. Read Matthew 13:44. How is God's kingdom like a treasure?

4. On page 20, read the study note on "the kingdom of heaven." What, if anything, surprises you about this information?

5. The man in Jesus' story pays an enormous cost to get the treasure. If God's gift of salvation is free, why does Jesus portray God's kingdom as costly?

6. The man in the story feels joy, even though he pays a huge price. Why should we be thrilled if we have to sell everything to get God's kingdom?

7. What are the benefits of living in a kingdom where things are done God's way rather than our way?

8. Life in God's kingdom today is available only to Jesus' disciples. Read Luke 9:23-27. According to this passage:

What are the costs of discipleship? (You may want to consult this passage in the Study Notes.)

What are the costs of non-discipleship?

9. What costs of following Jesus have been hardest for you to pay?

10. Do you tend to be more troubled by the costs of following Jesus or more joyful about the benefits? Why do you think that is the case?

11. On the next page are some possible steps you could take to let Jesus become your "personal trainer." Which of them are you willing to take for the next six weeks?

Prayer. Set aside some time to pray about letting Jesus train you in how to live. You might try just five minutes a day when you get up in the morning or when you arrive at work. You could pray, "Jesus, train me to live today. Train me to think your thoughts. Train me to do what you would do." Then review your day with him. You may find it helpful to write your prayer in a notebook or on the Reflections page near the end of this chapter.

Bible Reading. On pages 87-88 is a plan for reading through the gospel of John in thirty days. We recommend that you jot down your thoughts on the Reflections page or in a journal.

Meditation. If you've done a lot of Bible study before, try meditation as a way of internalizing God's Word more deeply. Several alternative verses for meditation are suggested on the Reflections page. Copy the verse onto a card, and tape it somewhere in your line of sight, such as your car's dashboard or the kitchen table. Think about it when you sit at red lights, or while you're eating a meal. What is God saying to you, here and now, through these words? On the Reflections page, write a prayer to God about this passage.


Read Romans 8:5-6; 14:17. How much is a kingdom of life, peace, righteousness, and joy worth to you?



Also in "Experiencing Christ Together Experiencing Christ Together" Series

Connecting in Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Surrendering to Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Sharing Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Serving Like Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99

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