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Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities

(Paperback - 2005)
$8.99 - Online Price

Overview

There are no discount character stores. Courage. Discipline. Confidence. Patience. Endurance. Contentment. They re qualities that can take a lifetime to acquire. Qualities money can t buy. But here s good news: God says you can have them all In Character, you will discover how firmly God is committed to forming noble qualities within you. He wants your character to deepen even more than you do and He has the power to do something about it If you re ready to journey toward the kind of character you ve always admired, here is a path of radical, God-empowered change and growth and a transformed, more Christlike you. Interactions a powerful and challenging tool for building deep relationships between you and your group members, and you and God. Interactions is far more than another group Bible study. It's a cutting-edge series designed to help small group participants develop into fully devoted followers of Christ."

Details

  • SKU: 9780310266020
  • UPC: 025986266028
  • SKU10: 0310266025
  • Title: Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities
  • Series: Interactions Small Group
  • Qty Remaining Online: 13
  • Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
  • Date Published: Jul 2005
  • Pages: 79
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 0.26
  • Dimensions: 9.00" L x 6.18" W x 0.22" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Illustrated
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Theometrics | Mainline;
  • Category: BIBLICAL STUDIES
  • Subject: Christian Life - General

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

Session 1

Courage

THE BIG PICTURE

My dad fought in World War II, so I grew up listening to war stories. His stories about human courage in the face of fear and struggle had a magnetic effect on me-I could not pull away from his side when he told them.

My father was sort of an eccentric person. He once bought a sailboat in Ireland and sailed it across the Atlantic Ocean, enduring a five-day hurricane and facing many other challenges on the open sea. Before he set sail he collected and read a small library of books on sailing, so he had some idea what he was in for. But it was still a trip to be remembered for a lifetime.

Over the years I think I have read every book my dad collected in anticipation of that journey. He had books about ocean crossings, shipping disasters, the sinking of the Titanic, and all sorts of other ocean adventures. Whenever I would get to the part where the ship was going down and there weren't enough life jackets, my heart would start to race and my throat would get dry. When some guy said bravely, "Take my life jacket," committing himself to the cold, shark-infested waters of the ocean, something happened inside of me. Every time I read an account of someone saying, "Take my seat in the life boat. I'll go down," my breath would get short and my pulse would start to race. This was real-life courage!

The truth is, anytime I hear about someone demonstrating courage rather than cowardliness, something happens inside of me. I find myself saying, "That's what I want to be like. I wish I had more of that in my life. I don't want my life debilitated by fear. I don't want to live life paralyzed by worry. I don't want to compromise my convictions. I don't want to quit when I face difficult challenges. I don't want to be a coward. I want to be a person of courage!"

A WIDE ANGLE VIEW

1 Describe an act of courage you have witnessed.

What are some of the ordinary, day-to-day acts of courage that people perform without ever being noticed?

A BIBLICAL PORTRAIT

Read 2 Timothy 1:7-12

2 The apostle Paul exhibits a spirit of courage and deep commitment in this passage. What seems to drive or motivate him to remain courageous?

How does the example of Paul challenge or move you to want to be more courageous?

3 This passage says God does not put a spirit of "timidity" or cowardice in His followers. Illustrate what you think a spirit of timidity looks like in one of these areas:

In a marriage

In a friendship

In the marketplace

In raising children

SHARPENING THE FOCUS

Read Snapshot "Spiritual Courage"

SPIRITUAL COURAGE

I want to dissect the concept of courage into smaller pieces so we can really get a look at it. We need to examine how courage relates to different dimensions of our lives. First, I want to focus on spiritual courage. You see, we don't often think of courage in spiritual terms. But we have all heard the well-worn expression, "Christianity is for weak people." Some people think Christianity is for cowards and crutch-users.

I've always been fascinated by this accusation because I have found the exact opposite to be true. I marvel at the incredible amount of courage it takes to even become a Christian. Following Christ demands the best we have. It calls for more than we can give. Living as a fully devoted follower of Christ takes courage on a daily basis for the rest of our lives!

4 Respond to this statement: Christianity is for cowards; it is a crutch for the weak!

How did you exercise courage when you first became a follower of Christ?

5 How does living as a fully devoted follower of Christ demand courage from you in one of the following areas:

In your workplace Where you live

In your friendships with seekers

In your family

Read Snapshot "Moral Courage"

MORAL COURAGE

Have you ever thought about how much moral courage it takes to operate ethically and honestly in the marketplace? Too often we lack the courage to admit the truth. We want to please customers so we say, "The shipment will be there Monday," even though we know it won't be there until Wednesday.

Christians are also called to be courageous morally when it comes to financial matters. Each year, as we pay income tax, we see who is courageous and who is a coward. We either demonstrate moral courage by reporting all our income, or we cave in and have to admit to being moral cowards.

And how about staying sexually pure in a sex-crazed culture? It seems to me that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand by your convictions even when everyone else says you are hopelessly idealistic, old-fashioned, and a little bit strange.

6 What does moral courage look like in one of these areas:

When it comes time to do your taxes

When sexual temptation lurks at the door

When you have given into a temptation and been caught

When you are tempted to bend the truth to avoid conflict

7 How and where in your life are you being pressured to cave in morally and not exercise courage? Explain.

What support can your small group members offer you to help you live with courage in this area of your life?

Read Snapshot "Relational Courage"

RELATIONAL COURAGE

When people ask me, "What does it take to build a meaningful marriage?" I am sure to say, "A good marriage is made up of varying ingredients, but one thing I know for sure is that it takes courage." For a relationship to flourish in a marriage, there must be intimacy. And it takes an enormous amount of courage to become vulnerable and self-disclosing. A coward can't say, "This is who I am. I'm not proud of it, but this is who I am."

This same depth of courage is mandatory for authentic relationships between friends, between parents and children, or between colleagues at work. Courage is always an essential element in an authentic relationship.

8 How have you seen courage build a healthy relationship?

Describe a time you saw cowardice undermine and destroy a relationship.

9 What is one relationship you need to strengthen by exercising more courage?

What is one thing you will do to courageously strengthen this relationship?

PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE PICTURE

Facing Your Fears

Growing in courage has something to do with facing crippling fears. We tend to think that courageous people were born without fear. In actuality, courageous people are ordinary people like you and me who began, at some point, to face their fears rather than retreat from them. Courageous people have learned that facing fear usually diffuses it, while running from fear tends to intensify it.

My dad knew this principle, and he often challenged me to face my fears. I remember being out on his sailboat on a day when there were huge waves on Lake Michigan. We were coming in between two cement piers and the waves were tossing us one way and the other when my dad said, "I've got to go down below. You take over the helm, Billy."

I knew exactly what my dad was doing. He was waiting until I was terrified out of my mind, and then letting me face my fears. One minute the boat would be heading right toward the cement barrier. I'd crank the wheel over, and then the wave would pitch the boat over to the other side.

Eventually I managed to get safely past the piers. I can still remember being so frightened that I was physically shaking, at which point my dad came back up from below deck and said, "Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?" And sure enough, the next time it was a bit easier. I'm not recommending everyone put their kid at the helm of a boat in rough waters, but you can see the principle at work, can't you? Often facing our fears is the only way to overcome them and develop courage in a specific area of life.

Take time in the coming week to identify one specific area in which you are dealing with fear. What can you do to intentionally face this fear straight on and begin to overcome it and develop courage in your life? You may want to have a member of your small group or a close Christian friend pray for you and walk with you through this courage-building adventure.

Scripture Memory

Take time in the coming week to memorize this passage and reflect deeply on its call to grow in courage:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

(Continues.)

Reviews

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Jesus: Seeing Him More Clearly [Paperback] (Jul 2005) $7.99
Prayer: Opening Your Heart to God [Paperback] (Jul 2005) $7.99
Marriage: Building Real Intimacy [Paperback] (Jul 2005) $7.99
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