Session 3 – Finding Peace in God

FINDING PEACE IN GOD

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on
Matthew 11:28-30
1 Peter 5:7

Read/Watch:

  1. Mind, Characters and Personality
  2. Anxiety Hacks
  3. Coping with Stress and Anxiety

 

Anxiety is often being described as overwhelming emotions of fear over something that the person do not have full knowledge of or control on. In the world we are living today, being anxious is something that all we go through occasionally. But for some people, anxiety simply doesn’t go away.
As a Christian how should we respond to anxiety?

 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

In your group, share how you have dealt with any temptation since the last time you have discussed it together in your group.

 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Luke 10:38-42. What was Jesus’ main message in this passage? Share some of the modern cares of today that distract us from Jesus.

2. Read Matthew 6:25-27. If you notice, Jesus asked us to take note of many simple things around us that is often being neglected. Why do we often overlook such simple blessing in our life?

3. In 1 John 4:16-18, what promise of God can we claim from this passage in relationship with our fear?

 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. What are your current fears? Share with the group why you have these fears and how do you deal with them.

2. In our modern world today, too often like Martha, we tend to get anxious over too many things. There is this tendency to think that no matter what we do, it will never be good enough. Such thoughts often lead us to anxiety and restlessness. As a Christian, what kind of lifestyle and worldview should we embrace to help reduce our personal anxiety and fear? Share.

3. Often, anxiety is associated with overestimating the threat of the future. How should we see the future as a Christian, knowing that God knows what lies ahead of us while at the same time not neglecting to plan well for ourselves?

4. Create a list of gratitude listing all the blessings that God had given you every day. From now on, in every daily prayer that you do, add one of these blessings as part of your thanksgiving prayer to thank God for his blessing for you.

 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. Pray that we can surrender everything in our life including our fears and anxieties to God.
2. Ask the Lord for wisdom in handling all situation of life while continuing to trust him during times of uncertainties.
3. Pray for someone that you know who is facing a lot of anxiety and ask if by God’s grace you can be of any sort of help to them.

 

LEADER’S TIP

1. One of the most common anxieties among many people is the fear of people’s opinion. Help your group members to develop a non-judgemental atmosphere in the group. Encourage each person to share.
 
2. What a person with anxiety usually need is a sense of comfort and assurance. Help them to find the assurance from the word of God and faith in Jesus. However, faith in Jesus does not come from just simply don’t get worried. Therefore, avoid judgemental comments such as “why you need to worry, just believe in Jesus” or “What kind of Christian are you that you are worried for such things” For the people that are anxious, whatever that they are worried about are extremely real in their perspective. Trying to change their worldview with such comments will result in discouragement, instead of hope and comfort. Acknowledge the anxiety, while at the same time allow them to know that in Jesus such worry can be carried away by Him.
3. There is a danger in confusing the idea of having faith in God with recklessness. Wise, calculated risk assessment is always necessary for all circumstances despite having faith in God. In your group, it is important to emphasize the importance of both approaches to life. A healthy disciple should practice wise risk assessment and continual faith in God despite their fear.

 

**Additional Resources
1. Understanding Panic
2. How to Cope with Anxiety

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Session 4 – When You Feel Down

WHEN YOU FEEL DOWN

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on: 
Revelation 21:4
Psalm 147:3

Read:

In the reality of the world today, not every event is bright and beautiful. Often, to the contrary, we often face situations that make us feel sad, disappointed, and discouraged. For some others, the world seems to be only about darkness and negativity and it seems that there is nothing good that can come out of the world we are living in.
However, as a Christian, how should we respond to sadness?
Is it biblical for us to express these emotions or are we expected to “rejoice in the LORD always” Philippians 4:4?

 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Among your group members, share some of the gratitude which you had written down on your gratitude list from the last session meeting.
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Psalm 42 and identify the struggle that the psalmist had. What are some of the feelings that the writer had expressed in the text? What does this psalm teach us about acknowledging sadness?

2. Read John 11:28-37 especially verse 34 and 35. Why did Jesus cry? How does this verse help us to embrace grieving and sadness as part of our Christian journey?

3. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 and notice that the passage does not ignore the fact that there is a time for weeping. How do we know the appropriate time for laughter and sadness?

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Showing grief is a natural process for every human being. Even Jesus, who is God, shared moments of sadness with the people around Him. Too often we, as Christians, refuse to accept our grief, let alone let someone else grief. After learning the lesson today, what new approach should we take in dealing with grief?

2. There are many people in the church who may have been grieving in silence. Sometimes it may be because they are unsure if the church is willing to accept them when they are grieving. What do you think we, as a church, need to do to help people who are grieving in silence while remaining respectful toward each individual’s privacy?

3. What are some of the bible verses that had helped you find peace and comfort in the time of sadness? Share with your group members.

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Ask God to show you how to know that He cares for you especially in times of sadness and discouragement.
  2. Ask God to open your eyes to see those who are looking for comfort in your church and to give you wisdom on helping them.
  3. Express your gratitude to God for all the blessings that you have received to remind you of His blessings.

 

LEADER’S TIP

  1. Grieving is a natural process of coping that everyone will have to go through. However, if a person find that they are not able to get out of the cycle, they may require professional help. If you are not trained in counselling/psychotherapy, you can identify anyone in your group that seems to show a prolonged sense of despair. Continue to comfort them but at the same time advise them to seek medical/psychological assistance as needed. If such help is not directly available in your church, you may want to notify your pastor to help you find help.
  2. Excessive happiness and optimism is not a sign of being healthy disciples either. It may be a sign of another form of mental disorder known as mania. Therefore, the approach towards grieving is not so much extra happiness but rather acceptance, comfort and prayer.
  3. Group support is very important in helping people cope with loss and grief. However, some people prefer to grieve privately. We should provide this space for them as well. In the situation where you find your group members expressing the need to grieve in private, allow them to have such time while continuing to give them the assurance that you as a group will always be a phone call away when they need your support. Send them an encouraging text once in a while to let them know that you and your discipleship group care for them.

**Additional Resources


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Session 5 – Understanding Anger

UNDERSTANDING ANGER

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on:
James 1:19-20
Proverbs 29:11

Read/Watch:

 

What is Anger?

Anger can be described as our antagonistic response towards someone or something that you feel had treated you wrongly. By itself, anger is not necessarily an unhealthy emotion. However, we are rarely educated on giving a healthy response towards anger even as a Christian.
 
For many, the natural coping response towards anger will be to internalise it either through harbouring some form of resentment or self-blame. For others, they cope by making others angry to express the anger they want them to know. However, in doing so, they ended up making others feel hurt.
 
Some others will “rationalise” their anger and try to “make sense” of it by finding a ‘reason’ to justify their anger. Such rationalisation comes in different forms. For example, some people develop some form of belief that they are the most righteous one and that is why they were treated wrongly. Some others do the opposite by thinking that they must be so bad that they deserve to be treated wrongly.

 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

1. Based on the previous lesson, share with your group members ways on how you can handle grief and sadness.

2. Did you manage to identify anyone who may have been grieving in silence among the people in your church? If yes, what did you do for them?

 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Genesis 4:1- 11. What was the problem here that led Cain to commit the sin to his brother? What lesson about anger can we learn from this story of Cain and Abel?

2. In Matthew 5:21-26, what advice did Jesus give to all who are facing conflicts with themselves and their neighbour?

3. Read John 2:13-16. Apparently, Jesus showed some form of hostility. What is the difference between what Cain did with what Jesus did?

 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. What is so dangerous about anger? Can a Christian be angry? Is there such a thing as “holy anger”? Discuss it with your group.

2. Anger is often described as our hostile response towards the circumstances around us. Share with your group members on some of the anger that you are struggling with and pray together for God to help you resolve the anger.

3. One of the most toxic forms of expressing anger is being passive-aggressive. There are many ways for us to be passive-aggressive. Share a Christian approach on conflict resolution that is opposite of being passive-aggressive or direct hostility/outburst.

4. Discuss with your group, what Christian approach do you need to take if people are angry at you?

 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. Pray that God will help you to identify any form of anger that you may be harbouring towards something or someone in life.
 
2. Pray that with God, you will be able to let go of any anger that you may be holding on to and embrace the grace of God in dealing with people and life circumstances.
3. Finally, that God will grant your church the ability to handle anger in a Christlike manner, including applying the Biblical concept of conflict resolution as it is written in Matthew 18.

 

LEADER’S TIP

1. Many people may not be aware that they are harbouring anger. They may not understand how anger is manifested, or they are in denial of such anger. Some may build up defences to protect themselves from acknowledging the anger. If some of the members start to show some resistance during sharing, give them room to share in their own way including refusing to share anything.

2. For others, sharing about anger may lead to a blame game where they blame everything but themselves. There is a famous saying in the counselling field that goes this way, “It takes two hands to clap, it takes one hand to slap” which means that everyone contributes to the problem. We need to take responsibility for the things that we are responsible for and not only blaming everything on others.

3. Forgiveness does not always lead to immediate reconciliation. For some, after they have dealt with their anger, it will take them a period of time to accept the people that have hurt them. We should differentiate the two and not expect everyone to reconcile with the people they have the disagreement with immediately after they have let go of their anger.


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Session 6 – Power of Family of Origin

POWER OF FAMILY OF ORIGIN

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on
Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Read:

What is a family of origin?

Whether you realise it or not, the influence of our family goes on for a lifetime both for good and bad. Most of our learning experiences, especially when it comes to social behaviour, are learned through our family of origin.

We may not fully realise the extent of the influence of our family upon us and often time we may even deny it. Perhaps because we do not want to accept that none of our family is perfect. For others, there is this sense of betrayal when we must admit that our parents are not perfect in showing us all the examples we want to learn in life.

However, accepting the defect of our family of origin may be the gate of redemption for us to grow as a disciple of Jesus. Today, we will explore this important lesson of the family of origin and learn how to grow better without jeopardizing our own spirituality.

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Share with your group members how you dealt with anger after having discussed it in the previous lesson.
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Genesis 12:10-13, Genesis 20:1-2 and compare it with Genesis 26: 6-9. What pattern do you see in these three passages? Where do you think Isaac got the idea to do what he did in the story?

2. Read Genesis 27: 33-37 and compare it with Genesis 37: 31-33. What pattern do you notice between Jacob and his children? What important lesson can you learn about family influences on us?

3. Read Luke 2:52. What examples from Jesus can we learn on how we to develop our character despite the brokenness around us?

 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Despite being a Christian, we are not spared from past broken relationships with people including our own family members. Share with your group members what are some of the brokenness that you noticed that you carry over from your family of origin. E.g. Unhealthy pattern of dealing with conflict, overprotective behaviour, lack of certain loving behaviour, increased anxiety, etc.

2. Sometimes our family/trusted friends/people had done certain things that hurt us, and we still carry on with the pain and anger in us. Discuss with your group members what are some steps we should take as a Christian and disciples of Jesus to confront these pain and hurts, and to make some form of closure with these people who had hurt us?

3. Despite our imperfections, what kind of work with God do we need to do in order for us to ensure we can end the cycle of defective family pattern in us, to ensure our future generation do not repeat the same brokenness we have been through?

4. Share with your group, some of the good examples that you have learned from your family of origin that you think had helped you to be a better disciple of Jesus.

 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. Pray for your family. Each one of us may have different experiences and memories of our family of origin. For the things that had become a blessing to you, thank God for all those blessings. But for things that may have hurt you and left emotional scars, pray that God will help you find healing in Him.
 
2. Ask the Lord to show you if there are things from your family of origin that you need to change for you to be a better disciple of Jesus.
 
3. Pray that your Church can be the “second family” for all who will join especially for those who had been through difficult times in their experience with their family of origin.

 

LEADER’S TIP

1. Sharing about our family can be difficult for many. There is a saying “don’t wash your dirty linen in public” and this statement often relates to embarrassing family matters. Maintain a good sense of confidentiality among all the group members while at the same time allow them to conclude that such sharing is important for spiritual growth.

2. Nobody will have identical family experience with someone else. Each family dynamic is unique with some general principles that are applicable to most. Make your best attempt to not dwell on too many impractical details that may distract the whole session to trying to find the “best” family examples to be followed by all.

3. At the end of the session, emphasize the fact that in the original plan of God, the family was meant to be the “little heaven on earth”. However, because of sin, all families will go through some brokenness in one way or the other. It is in God’s divine wisdom that He wants to restore this family into what He had planned at the beginning of the Creation.

**Additional Resources
Lessons from the Longest Study on Human Development
What Makes a Good Life?


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Session 7 – Relationship Matters

RELATIONSHIP MATTERS

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on 
 
 

Read/Watch:

 
 
There is a famous saying, “no man is an island” that simply means, we cannot live without another human being. Ever since creation, it is God’s will that we shall have a “companion” (Gen 2:20-21)
 
However, in the sinful world of today, not all relationships are healthy and often they can become a destructive force towards our self. In this session, we will learn together on social relationship with one another. 
 
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

As you reflect on the role of family of origin in the previous lesson, what steps must we take with God in dealing with it? 
Share your insight/s. 
 
 
 
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. What important lesson can we learn from this passage about the importance of a healthy relationship? 
 
2. There are plenty of verses in the bible that speaks about the danger of mingling with the wrong crowd, verses such as:
 
As Adventists, we are told to “come out of Babylon” (Rev 18:4). However, in the life example of Jesus, He showed us the example of accepting everyone and mingling with “sinners”. What Biblical balance should we strike in accepting all the examples above as truth while not swinging to any of the extremes – on one end to become an exclusivist and not interested in mingling with those who are different from us, and the other end of having no moral boundaries with anyone in life?
 
3. Read Proverbs 12:26. How can we be honest with our friends while remaining a gentle loving person to them? What are our duties as a Christian in terms of our social relationship with others? 
 
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Evaluate your close relationships with the people around you – your marriage (if you are already married), your family, your friendship, etc. Examine each relationship and ask these questions:
 
a. Have these relationships influenced you in growing to a healthier self or destructive self? 
 
b. What are the strengths and growth that you have gained from these relationships? 
 
c. If you find some of the relationships have led you to an unhealthier self; or you are currently in a toxic, abusive relationship, what are some of the steps you need to take to fix it? 
 
2. If you are aware of anyone who is currently in an unhealthy/toxic relationship, what is our duty as a Christian in such a situation? 
 
3. What can you do as a Christian in providing a significant influence on the people around you in terms of healthier emotions, lifestyle and attitude? Discuss some practical applications that you can start doing after learning about this lesson. Put it in your devotional as a reminder. 
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. Pray that you can be a source of Christian influence to the people around you.
 
2. If you are aware of anyone who is currently in a toxic relationship, place them in your prayer (you need not mention a specific name, but rather just a general description eg.my friend, my classmates, etc) that God may provide them with a solution for it. 
 
3. Pray that your church can be a loving community where a healthier culture of relationship will be nurtured and developed. 
 
 

LEADER’S TIP

1. Interpersonal relationships can be complex. As a leader, avoid trying to provide a solution to all circumstances presented in the discussion. Rather, in the situation where a solution may not be available, admit that you may not have the full resources, but you strongly suggest them to consider seeking help from professionals. 
 
2. Share biblical examples of how relationships can have a strong influence on someone’s life. Stories such as Samson or King Ahab highlighted the evidence on how a bad life partner may lead to one’s destruction. Balance it with stories like Esther or Ruth. However, emphasize the fact that there is no perfect human relationship. But often, despite brokenness, God can use them for His glory. 
 
3. The practical goal of this session is not for everyone to “fix” their relationships but rather to be aware and understand that their interpersonal relationships influence their discipleship pathway. Help your group to have this perspective in mind as they explore the topic together. 
 
 
 

**Additional Resources


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Session 8 – Embracing Grace of God Through Hope and Gratitude

EMBRACING GRACE OF GOD THROUGH HOPE AND GRATITUDE

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on:
Isaiah 40:31

Read/Watch:

We have come to the last part of our term in developing a healthier self as part of our discipleship pathway. In this lesson, we will explore transformation in God. One of the most important parts of this transformation is the spirit of gratitude towards God. Our gratitude is our expression of acknowledging what He had done for us. Such an attitude, is not only an expression of faith, but it is also an expression of love towards the One who loves us very much.

Accountability (10 Minutes)

In our previous lesson, we discuss the effect of a healthy and unhealthy relationship with our self. Between the previous lesson and this one, share any insight that God had shown you to build a better relationship with other people.
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Read Luke 5:1-11. What experience did Peter encounter with Jesus that transformed his life?

2. Read Luke 22: 54-62. Despite his initial transformation with Jesus, Peter still needed to continue to grow in Jesus. What kind of spiritual lesson can we learn from this passage about spiritual growth?

3. Read Acts 9:1-19. What important elements did you notice in the conversion process of Saul?

 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Spiritual growth cannot happen without emotional growth. We must dare to confront our deepest fear, our pride, our anger, even our past pain for Jesus to be able to transform us completely. In other words, growth in Jesus demands us to dare to face our defective self and embrace God’s saving grace.
Share with your group what are some of your personal life challenges that you want Jesus to change you right now. It can be some form of addiction or resentment you still carry about someone, or perhaps an unteachable attitude that needs to be removed from your life.

2. Despite our best efforts, our humanity will continue to fail us if we only depend on our own strength alone. Create a prayer cycle with your group members and continue to pray for one another for the growth and change that you want your group to find in following Jesus.

3. Challenge yourself to make a commitment to be a helper for someone else to grow from their own emotional and spiritual challenges after this session.

4. Share with your group members, any Bible verse or Ellen White quotations that had helped you in putting hope in God or encouragement to be more grateful of all the blessings you had received in life.

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. Pray that God can use all the lessons you have been through together to help everyone grow to be a better Christian daily.

2. Pray that God will help all members of the group to encourage one another in our spiritual growth.

3. Pray for strength and hope in God and by His grace, the process of change will continue to happen in everyone’s life.

LEADER’S TIP

1. Receiving false hope is often worse than embracing full reality. We need to encourage our members to embrace the hope from God but be careful of trying to promise something that the Bible did not say, nor God spoke to you directly. But rather, allow each member to know that in God they can find comfort and strength.

2. There is a saying: “trying to see positivity in everything is a form of denial”. As we have learned in the previous lesson about grieving, we need not try to rationalise all circumstances in life to be positive. Be careful of some members (or ourselves) trying to create the impression of finding something positive in some life challenges.

3. At the end of this lesson, take a bit of your time to review the entire lesson together and remind everyone that: “sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome.”76The Acts of the Apostles, 560 Growth is usually a painful and difficult process of transformation that is not always straight forward. However, what matters is that the process continues to happen even though it might look insignificant at times. Encourage all group members to continue to pray for each other in their growth process.

**Additional Resources


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Session 1 – Ministry: Saved to Serve

MINISTRY: SAVED TO SERVE

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on 2 Tim 1:9
 
Read/Watch:
 

We Serve God Because We are Saved by Him

We were saved to serve God. The Bible says, “It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan” (2 Timothy 1:9a TLB).  
 
God redeemed us so we could do his “holy work” for the glory and mission of His church. We are not saved by service but we are saved for service. 
 
We are created to make a difference with our lives. Not to be mere consumers but created to add to life on earth. We were created and saved to serve God. God redeemed us so that we could participate in His work. It is through serving in a ministry that we discover our significance and meaning of our lives. (Rom12:5)
 
God has a special design plan for everyone.  In His Kingdom, every Christian has a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfil. This gives the Christian life great significance and value. Jesus paid with his own life to purchase our salvation and the Bible reminds us, “God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God” (1 Corinthians 6:20 CEV).
 
We don’t serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty but out of joy and deep gratitude for what he’s done for us. We owe him our lives. The apostle John taught that our loving service to others shows that we are truly saved. He said, “Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life” (1 John 3:14 CEV).  
 
If we have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and we’re only concerned about our needs, we should question whether Christ is really in our life.
 
A saved heart is one that wants to serve.
 

What is the definition of ministry?

It comes from the Greek word “diakonos” which means “to serve” and “to minister.”  
Ministry is using whatever God has given me to serve Him and the needs of others.  
 

Total Member Involvement

Everyone can do something to hasten the coming of Jesus!
“We have no time to lose. Every moment is golden and altogether too precious to be devoted merely to self-serving.  “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their effort with those of ministers and church officers.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 116
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
Share a moment in your life when you knew God was real.
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study 2 Tim 1:9-14.
From the verses above, what are the key teaching points on why we are saved for service? Share and discuss.
 
Share two key quotations that God is using the author (Ellen White) to speak to you.
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Many members are holding back from accepting God’s call to serve Him in the church. Share some reasons why.
 
2. How did you start serving in ministry? Did you meet any obstacles? What joy have you experienced so far? Describe your experience.
 
3. If you have not served in any ministry before, share your reasons. List out ministries that may interest you. 
 
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

1. To serve out of gratitude for Jesus’ love in us
2. To appreciate God’s love for me more and more each day
3. To have a heart for ministry and reaching the lost
 
 
LEADER’S TIP
 
It’s crucial that leaders help members at the beginning of Term 2 in this Discipleship Pathway to begin engaging in AT LEAST one ministry in the local church.  If a member is not aware of what area to serve, bring the member to meet the pastor or ministry leader and “try-out” if it fits the person’s gifting and abilities.  
 
Some ministries in the local church are not about spiritual-gifting or natural abilities, it’s about a serving attitude, for example, washing dishes or stacking chairs or helping to serve the lunch. Whatever the member’s background, every member must find a way to serve the church meaningfully.
 
Pray:
  1. For the advancement of the Gospel in hard-to-reach areas of the world
  2. For fortitude on behalf of workers who are currently serving.
  3. That God will show you how you can work in His vineyard.
  4. For and Support Adventist Mission and indigenous workers in unentered areas.
Here are other ways members can be involved:
  • Support HOPE SINGAPORE so their work can continue over the airwaves.
  • Participate in local and institutional health outreach events, such as Pay It Forward, etc.
  • Get involved in a cell/care group, or church outreach event.
  • Help with these ministries in your local church: Children, Youth, Young Adults, Pathfinder, Culinary, Sabbath School, Worship, Community Service projects, etc.
  • Volunteer with evangelistic events, Revelation Seminars or Prophecy Seminars, bible study groups, etc.
  • Befriend new members and nurture them.
 
**Additional Resources
  1. TMI resources
  2. Essential Keys to Members’ Involvement 

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Session 2 – Commitment in Ministry

COMMITMENT IN MINISTRY

~Empowered by the Holy Spirit~

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42-47
 
Read:
 
Watch:
 

What happens when the Holy Spirit convicts a believer?

The clearest example is found in Acts 1:8 where the entire church is mobilized for ministry and mission.  
Acts 2 gives a preview of what happens to the Christian church when every member’s life is truly transformed by the Spirit of God and the church grows and multiplies.  
And the Holy Spirit seals our commitment to God for the advancement of God’s mission on earth.
 

What then is Christian commitment?

Commitment can be defined as the decision to do what needs to be done, whatever the cost— a definition that characterizes countless heroes throughout history.
Christian commitment, however, can best be defined by starting with God’s examples.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  God decided to save a lost world. The cost was the cruel, despicable death of His only Son. What made this commitment Christian? Because it was inspired by love, the love defined by Jesus. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ ” (John 15:13).
 

How does this apply to the followers of Jesus?

Jesus asked Peter three times in John 21 “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter replied three times “Yes, Lord, you know I love you…” Three times Jesus said to Peter, “feed my lambs” once and twice “feed my sheep.” Then he told Peter the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then Jesus said to him ‘Follow me’ ” (John 21:15–19).
Following Jesus, or feeding His lambs and His sheep—this was Peter’s mission. And love inspired him to fulfil it. While Peter didn’t quite understand the mission when he first became a disciple, he grew in love and became one of the founders of the Christian church—a commitment that, in the end, cost him his life.  Therefore, spiritual commitment reflects a personal depth of faith and is manifested in both attitudes and behaviours.
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
Tell about a time you felt “all-in” for God.
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. As you study Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:41-48, share your discoveries of the characteristics of the early church that is the model for us today.
 
2. As you read the Acts of Apostles chapter 5 on the gift of the Spirit, share with the group two key points you have learnt from the chapter that God had spoken to you.
 
3. Study 2 Timothy 1:14. What precious truth did the Holy Spirit entrust to you? Share your insights. 
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. What is keeping the Holy Spirit from doing His work in your life? Share with the group.
 
2. Explore how you can partner with the Holy Spirit to do more in your ministry in your local church.
 
3. Share two most significant areas in your life that you need to change with the help of the Holy Spirit.
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. To allow the Holy Spirit to guide and lead in my ministry
  2. To partner the Holy Spirit in my ministry
  3. To let the Holy Spirit guide and change me from the inside out
 
LEADER’S TIP
The work of the Holy Spirit is often confused or have little emphasis on the lives of every Adventist.  
As a group, discuss the works of the Holy Spirit that will seal our commitment to Jesus, and not solely based on our personal will, power or determination.
Encourage each member to recognize that the Holy Spirit will grant them different spiritual gifts, abilities, experiences, guidance, wisdom and goodness. All these gifts have one purpose – it is for the glory of God.  
Encourage the disciple to serve in his/her local church and emphasize that being involved in the life of the church is not an option but comes from a heartfelt compassion that is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Help the disciple to understand more about the works and roles of the Holy Spirit to help him to be a better disciple for Jesus.
 
 
**Additional Resources

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Session 3 – Servanthood Attitudes

SERVANTHOOD ATTITUDES

~ In Love We Serve ~

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Philippians 2:2-9 & John 13:14-17
 
Read/Watch:
 
 

Attitudes count more than achievements.

Servanthood requires a mental shift and a change in our attitudes. God is always more interested in WHY we do something than in what we do.
 
First – Self-denial is the core of servanthood. The quality of self-forgetfulness is truly essential in developing a servanthood mentality. Real servants focus on others, not themselves. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. When we stop focusing on our needs, we become aware of the needs around us. Unfortunately, a lot of our service today in our churches and societies are often self-serving. We serve to get others to like us, to be admired, or to achieve our own goals. That is manipulation, not ministry. All the time we are really thinking about ourselves and how noble and wonderful we are. Some even use service as a bargaining tool with God, “God, if I do this for you, you will do this for me.”
 
Real servants don’t try to use God for their purposes. They let God use them for His purposes. 
 
Second – Real servants think like stewards, not like owners.  They remember God owns it all. In the Bible, a steward was a servant entrusted to manage an estate. It is not his, it’s God. The one thing required of such servants is that they should be faithful to their master. How are you handling the resources God has entrusted to you?
 
Money has the greatest potential to replace God in your life. More people are sidetracked from serving by materialism than anything else. When Jesus is your Master, money serves you, but if money is your master, you become its slave. Wealth is certainly not a sin, but failing to use it for Gods glory is.  It is said there are two types of builders – Kingdom Builders vs Wealth Builders. Both are gifted at making a business grow, making deals or sales, and making a profit.  Wealth Builders continue to amass wealth for themselves no matter how much they make. Kingdom Builders change the rules of the game. They still try to make as much money as they can but they do it in order to give it away. They use the wealth to fund God’s church and its mission in the world.
 
Third – Real servants think about their own responsibilities, not what other servants are doing. They do not compare, criticise, or compete with other servants or ministries. They are too busy doing the work God has given them.  Competition between God’s servants is illogical for many reasons: we are all on the same team, our goal is to make God look good, not ourselves. We have been given different assignments, and we are all uniquely shaped.
 
Paul said, We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. Each of us is an original.  There’s no place for petty jealousy between servants. When you’re busy serving, you don’t have time to be critical. Any time spent criticizing others is time that could have been spent ministering.   If you serve like Jesus, you can expect to be criticized. The disciples criticized one of the most beautiful acts of love shown to Jesus. Mary took the most valuable thing she owned, expensive perfume, and poured it over Jesus. Her lavish service was called “a waste” by the disciples, but Jesus called it “significant,” and that’s all that mattered. Your service for Christ is never wasted, regardless of what others say.
 
Fourth – Real servants base their identity in Christ.  They remember they are unconditionally loved and accepted by grace, so they don’t have to prove their worth when they are threatened by lowly jobs. Most of us are too insecure to be servants. We are afraid our weaknesses and insecurities will be uncovered so we hide them with layers of protective pride and pretensions.
One of the most profound examples of serving from a secure self-image is Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Washing feet was the equivalent of being a shoeshine boy, a job devoid of status. If you’re going to be a servant you must settle your identity in Christ. Only secure people can serve. The more insecure you are, the more you’ll want people to serve you, and the more you’ll need their approval.
 
On the other hand, when you base your worth and identity on your relationship with Christ, you are freed from the expectation of others. You are freed to serve.
 
Finally, real servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. They enjoy helping people, meeting needs, and doing ministry. They “serve the Lord with gladness.”
Why do we serve with gladness? Because we love the Lord, We are grateful for His grace, we know serving is the highest use of life, and God has promised a reward. Jesus promised the Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me. Imagine what could happen if just 10% of all Christians in the world got serious about their role of being a real servant. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people?
 
Albert Schweitzer said, “The only really happy people are those have learned how to serve.”
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
If you could start any ministry, what would it be and who would it serve?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study Philippians 2:2-9. What are the characteristics of a servant leader as modelled by Jesus?  Share your insights.
 
2. In 1 Timothy 4: 6-15, the apostle Paul directed Timothy to train himself to be godly so that he can be equipped to serve.  Highlight a few essential qualities from this passage that are needed of a Christian servant. 
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. How have you shown your love for God by loving others this week? If you haven’t, share your reason/s why?
 
2. Is there anyone you find hard to love? Why? 
 
3. What are the areas of growth in your life that will improve your Christian service as a kingdom builder?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and lead in my ministry.
  2. Have a servant attitude, a willingness to give all of ourselves as a servant of Jesus.
  3. Be committed to serving others as if we are serving Jesus.
  4. For the Holy Spirit to change my heart and help me love others more. 
 
LEADER’S TIP
  • Emphasize we are saved by the grace of God so that we might serve the world for Jesus.
  • Point out that there are many people in the church who served the Lord for various motives and purposes and often they are self-serving.  
  • Every disciple who is a servant-leader of Jesus must allow the Holy Spirit to calibrate their hearts and minds to be Christ-like so that the kingdom of God can be built up.  
  • Challenge members to highlight some of the faulty rationale and reasons for some who are not serving, perhaps including those within the group. 
 
 
**Additional Resources

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Session 4 – Shaped to Serve

SHAPED TO SERVE

~ The Body of Christ ~

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11-13
 

Read/Watch:

 
 

Spiritual Gifts

God has given each believer a spiritual gift to use for His glory. He wants us to be involved with His work. God is so gracious that by His Holy Spirit He freely distributes gifts to all who are saved. He not only wants us to know our spiritual gifts, but He expects us to grow in them each day.
 
Ephesians 4:7 “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
 
Also in 1 Corinthians 12:7, it says “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Then in verse 11 it states “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
So it is clear that each Christian has a spiritual gift for the common good of the church. 
 

Why do we have spiritual gifts at all?

In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
 
Here He is sharing with us a primary purpose of the gifts of the Spirit: to give the church power in order to preach Christ to the entire world. 
 
Second, the apostle Paul says another purpose of the gifts is to equip the church for “building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). He also reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that, “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.” Therefore, our goal should be to establish, build, and uplift the church with our gifts.
 
If you are a Christian and are not serving in some way, the church as a whole suffers. The church is called the “body of Christ” for a reason. We are connected by our faith in Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Being members of the body, we need to work together.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12, it says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” And in verse 14, “For the body is not one member, but many.” 
 
Each of us is a specific body part. In verse 26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”  Paul affirms the importance of each member and their contribution to the body of Christ. 
 
God wants to use you! 
He has chosen you for the purpose of doing great things for Him. 
In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God already has plans for you. He wants you to listen to His calling and make yourself available to serve. Not only that, He expects you to use the gifts as a faithful steward to build up the kingdom of God.
 
S – Spiritual Gifts – What has God supernaturally gifted me to do? 
H – Heart – What do I have passion for and love to do? 
A – Abilities – What natural talents and skills do I have? 
P – Personality – Where does my personality best suit me to serve? 
E – Experiences – What spiritual experiences have I had? What painful experiences have I had? What educational experiences have I had? What ministry experiences have I had? 
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
Share about a prayer that God answered.
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. As you study I Corinthians 12, what are the functions and purpose of spiritual gifts bestowed upon God’s people? Share your insights.
 
2. Investigate Romans 12:4-5 and Ephesians 4:11-13.
Share your insights and how the body of Christ has many parts but we all belong to one body build up the kingdom of God (Church)?  Is there a tension between unity verses diversity?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. In what way can you see yourself passionately serving others and loving it? Do you know your spiritual gifting? How are you using it?
 
2. Do you feel that you are giving your all in fulfilling the call from God to serve His church? If not, what is holding you back?
 
3. How can you seek constructive feedback to improve your ministry and service to build up God’s church?  
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. To discover my SHAPE for ministry and do it passionately.
  2. Submission.
  3. To embrace God’s call to ministry.
 
 
LEADERS’ TIP
Help members to discover their spiritual gifts in a more wholistic function using the SHAPE profile.  It is the combination of the heart’s attitude, the personality’s trait of that person,  the natural abilities and talents God has blessed the individual and the cumulated life experiences and exposure the person has accumulated that makes him use-able to build up the kingdom of God.  
In the different seasons of a Christian’s life and the needs of the church, God’s Spirit will give gifts in accordance with His design and plan.  We are to be faithful recipients of these gifts to be used, not for our glory, but for the glory of God.
 
 
**Additional Resources
  1. Spiritual Gifts
  2. Spiritual Gift Assessment
  3. Sabbath School- Spiritual Gifts

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