Session 5 – The Advent Mission

THE ADVENT MISSION

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Revelation 14:6-12.
 

Read/Watch:

 
 

THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH ORGANIZES WITH THE INTENT TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL

The Advent movement, together with many pioneers of the church, identified itself not so much as a denomination, but as a group of people called out to warn the earth of the soon coming of Jesus. They also recognized their primary mission to share the everlasting gospel around the globe. Ellen White was bestowed by God this prophetic gift to guide His church to fulfil the great commission.  The pioneers were inspired by Christ’s final command to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19, 20). And these Adventists recognized the need to organize the church for mission. This would enable them to share these enlightening biblical truths more effectively, showing more people how they can find freedom, healing and hope in Jesus Christ.
 
When the Seventh-day Adventist church was officially organized in 1863, this newly organized denomination united under the purpose to share how a deeper understanding of Scripture not only prepares us for eternity with Christ but for living more abundant lives in the here and now. As the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church spread across the United States, the early church leaders knew this Advent Message of the Three Angels should be shared around the world as well. They would not let themselves become complacent in their “comfort zones,” thus, they began serious talks about mission work. James and Ellen White, along with Joseph Bates, an Adventist preacher, urged the development of a plan for missions that included a focus on medical work to help meet the needs of people around the world. 
 
How did the mission  get started?
The first Adventist missionary was J.N. Andrews. He was selected to go to England and Switzerland in 1874 to assist Adventist church leaders there. He eventually established the Adventist printing press in Basel, Switzerland. Ellen White also travelled to Switzerland, as well as South Africa, South America, the South Pacific, and Australia. The Advent Message spread rapidly as missionaries worked closely with publishing houses and gathered teams to canvas different areas and distribute literature. Several of these areas began writing to the General Conference to request for more missionaries! 
 
Eventually, the Church also organized regional administrative offices, such as divisions, unions, and conferences, to oversee various operations in education, publishing, health and mission work more efficiently.   Today the Adventist Church continues to grow globally, maintaining its focus on health and wellness, community development and mission work, publishing, and education. 
 
What is our message?
With the urgency to share the gospel around the globe to warn the world of the devil’s deceptions, the Three Angels’ Messages, which defines the primary trajection of the Advent faith, are the final messages of warning to the world. These messages ensure that everyone has a chance to choose between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Earth—Satan’s kingdom. When the messages have reached everyone, the time of probation will close and Christ will return to free His people.  In reality, it is one message-proclaimed in mid-heaven by three messengers.  It points ultimately to a final confrontation and showdown between God and Satan.  It is with this framework that the Adventist pioneers begin to sharpen their mission endeavours to share and warn the world of the impending drama.
 
As one Adventist scholar sums up, “So here we see in the three angels’ messages all the pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist faith – the everlasting gospel, the pre-advent judgment, the Sabbath, the law of God, the faith of Jesus, and the condition of mankind in death. Through all of these messages, and through all of the pillars as well, are two threads. The one, a warning against self-worship, against trying to save oneself in any way; and the other, an invitation to worship God, to enter into the deeper life of fellowship and communion with Him. 
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What is the best way to show a stranger the love of Christ?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. As you study Revelation 14:6-12, what are the warnings to the world that propel Adventist movement to share this message urgently? Share your thoughts.
 
2. Based on Mark 1:17 and the great commission in Matt 28:19, what are your spiritual insights pertaining to the question “is witnessing a spiritual gift and the job of the pastors or of only a few “gifted” lay people or a duty of every believer?”
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. How can you be personally active in giving the angels’ messages to the world and thus help fulfil the mission of the SDA church?
 
2. Within your home, workplace or school, what are some possible actions that you can start taking to begin your witnessing and sharing of Jesus and the Advent faith with them?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Pray for the SDA church worldwide to be able to fulfil its mission as a “prophetic movement”.
  2. Pray that God will give you a heart and love for the lost.
  3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken your spiritual desire to live a godly life.
 

LEADER’S TIP

Share the following the benefits involved in the mission and outreach of the church:
1. The joy of seeing souls saved. “In order to enter into His joy-the joy of seeing souls redeemed by His sacrifice-we must participate in His labor for their redemption” DOA 142.
 
2. Development of spirituality and devotion.  “Those who are most actively employed in doing with interested fidelity their work to win souls to Jesus Christ, are the best developed in spirituality and devotion” Evangelism, 356.
 
3. Increased knowledge of the truth. “The more one tried to explain the word of God to others, with a love or souls, the plainer it becomes to himself. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our powers, the more knowledge and power we shall have.” Christ Object Lesson, p.354.
 
4. Strength to Resist Evil. “Strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service.”
 
5. Development of Christ-like character. In order for us to develop a character like Christ’s, we must share in His work.” Desire of Ages, 142.
 
6. Fitness for heaven. “Those who reject privilege of fellowship with Christ in service, reject the only training that impacts a fitness for participation with Him in glory.” Education, 264.
 
**Additional Resources

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Session 6 – Labourers Send Forth

LABOURERS SEND FORTH

~ With a Mission ~

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Acts 20:24; Matthew 28:19-20
 

Read/Watch:

 

Your Mission

God is at work in the world, and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission. Jesus said, “In the same way that You gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world” (John 17:18, Msg).  God wants you to have both a ministry in the body of Christ and a mission in the world. 
 
Simply put, your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers.  The English word ‘mission’ comes from the Latin word – “sending.” Being a Christian includes being sent into the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21, NIV).  
 
Your life mission is both shared and specific. One part of it is a responsibility you share with every other Christian, and the other part is an assignment that is unique to you.
Jesus clearly understood his life mission on earth. At age 12 he said, “I must be about my Father’s business,” and 21 years later, dying on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” Like bookends, these two statements frame a well-lived, mission-driven life.  The mission Jesus had while on earth is now our mission because we are the body of Christ. What he did in his physical body, we are to continue as his spiritual body, the church. 
 

What is that mission?

Introducing people to God! The Bible says, “Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also” (2 Corinthians 5:18, TEV).
Your mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission on earth. As his followers, we are to continue what Jesus started. Your mission is so significant that Jesus repeated it five times, in five different ways, in five different books of the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).
 
In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you” (Matthew 28:19-20, CEV). This commission was given to every follower of Jesus, not to pastors and missionaries alone. This is your commission from Jesus, and it is not optional. To ignore it would be disobedience.
 
You may have been unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers who live around you. The Bible says, “You must warn them so they may live. If you don’t speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they will die in their sin. But I will hold you responsible for their death” (Ezekiel 3:18, NCV). You are the only Christian some people will ever know, and your mission is to share Jesus with them.  
 
One problem long-term Christians have is that they forget how hopeless it felt to be without Christ. We must remember that no matter how contented or successful people appear to be, without Christ they are hopelessly lost and headed for eternal separation from God. Everybody needs Jesus.
 
Your mission has eternal significance. It will impact the eternal destiny of other people, so it’s more important than any job, achievement or goal you will reach during your life on earth. The consequences of your mission will last forever; the consequences of your job will not. Nothing else you do will ever matter as much as helping people establish an eternal relationship with God.   This is why we must be urgent about our mission. Jesus said, “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end” (John 9:4, NLT).  We will have all of eternity to celebrate with those we have brought to Jesus, but we only have our life in which to reach them.
 
God wants you to share the good news where you are. As a student, mother, preschool teacher, salesman or manager or whatever you do, you should continually look for people God places in your path with whom you can share the gospel. Your mission gives your life meaning. 
 
If you fail to fulfil your God-given mission on earth, you will have wasted the life God gave you. There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity. Start looking around at your personal mission field and pray, “God, who have you put in my life for me to tell about Jesus?”
 
If you will commit to fulfilling your mission in life no matter what it costs, you will experience the blessing of God in ways that few people ever experience. There is almost nothing God won’t do for the man or woman who is committed to serving the Kingdom of God. Jesus has promised, “God will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
Who is one person in your life who doesn’t understand your faith but you desperately wish would?
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. As you study these following texts: Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8, what is one common command that Jesus specifically gave for every follower? Why?
 
2. Study Acts 20:24.
Why does Paul consider himself nothing but his final goal is to finish the race to complete the task of testifying the good news of Jesus to others? Share your spiritual insights.
 
3. What does Jesus mean when Jesus said in Matthew 9:35-38 where “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
Why so few workers? What are your thoughts?
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. What fears do you have when it comes to witnessing? 
 
2. What can motivate you to be courageous witnesses for Jesus?
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Pray that God will remove the fears that are preventing you from being His witness.
  2. Pray for God’s help to be a willing, effective labourer.

 

LEADER’S TIP

Share that the best spiritual antidote from becoming lukewarm to a backsliding Christian is to:
  • be actively engaged in the mission of the church
  • allow God’s Spirit to guide us to live godly lives according to His word.  
 
For those adults with children, your mission-focused example and the attitude to be willing to do whatever it takes to share Christ will inspire your children to do likewise.  They will see and learn that your active involvement in church is an example of what a “normal” Christian should do. Their early years of involvement in the life of the church is the best way to cultivate a mission-focused life.  In addition, instead of gossip and negative tear down of the church and pastor, regular family worship, Christian conversations at home and all talks seasoned with grace and love and uplifting church leaders to God, will certainly have a positive impact on your young and old ones.
 
**Additional Resources

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Session 7 – Cycle of Evangelism

Cycle of Evangelism

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Luke 8:1-15 (Parallel Passage is Matthew 13:1-23)
 

Read/Watch:

 

What is Evangelism?

Evangelism is not salesmanship. It is not urging people, pressing them, coercing them, overwhelming them, or subduing them. Evangelism is telling a message. Evangelism is reporting good news.  
 
The word “evangelism” comes from the Greek word “euangelizomai”, which literally means “to bring Good News.” The Bible defines what Good News means in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ESV):
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” 
 
Evangelism is sharing the Good News that Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection conquered sin. Sin separates us from a holy God. The Good News is that we can be reconnected to God and be assured of an eternity with Him in Heaven when we believe in Jesus Christ. This gift of a never-ending relationship with God is available to everyone! But not everyone has heard this Good News, which is why evangelism is so important!  
 
In this whole process of evangelism, the ultimate purpose of the Adventist Church is to make disciples by following the methods of Jesus himself. Jesus not only helped people in practical ways—especially through His health and healing ministry—but he also taught and preached the gospel prophetically, both publicly and personally on a  one-to-one basis.
 
Nevertheless, Jesus has shown to us that evangelism itself is not merely an event but a process of transforming non-believers into fully devoted disciples for Jesus. Evangelism follows the agricultural method or cycle of soul-winning as taught by Jesus.  He illustrated this ongoing evangelistic activity using the harvest cycle. He spoke about the parable of the sower in which the seed represented the Word of God and the soil represented the heart (see Luke 8:11, 12, 15). And He referred to the great body of humanity as “fields” that were “already white for harvest” (John 4:35). Following the growth model of Jesus, we can break down the process of making disciples into five essential phases, generally speaking:
 
 the soil 
 the seed 
 spiritual interest 
 decisions with appeals to follow Christ and be baptized.
 the harvest with ongoing discipleship of new members.
 
The final stage of “preserving” a member is to intentionally disciple the member so that the person eventually become a disciple-maker, making new disciples of Jesus.  The by-product of the whole process of evangelism that climax in discipleship is that every disciple ends up multiplying for Jesus. And that’s how the kingdom of God enlarges on the spiritual “algorithm” scale.  In Matthew 13:23…this implies that seed (transformed disciple) will yield a hundred times for the kingdom of God.
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What do you think the future church will look like?
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Look at Jesus’ explanation of the parable. What is the seed? What does the soil represent? What kind of good soil does the path represent? (11-12) What happens to the seed that falls on this good soil? Why must the seed be planted deep? What kind of person does this refer to?
 
2. What do the first three kinds of good soil have in common? What is the good soil? (15) How is it different? How can we have good soil? How does the kingdom of God grow within us?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Why is it important to understand that evangelism is a process rather than a one-time event? Share your understanding with the group.
 
2. As I reflect on my personal story, who does God want me to evangelize to? List at least one person whom the Spirit is impressing upon you and how would you begin this process?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Ask God to impress you with a desire to labour for the salvation of souls.
  2. Pray that God’s Spirit will lead and direct you to those who have yet to hear and experience the salvation of Jesus Christ.
 

LEADERS’ TIP

Emphasize the goal of evangelism is not just baptism but to become a multiplying disciple for Jesus.  Very often, because of impatience and ignorance, many skip the stages of evangelism and jump right to the harvest of potential seekers. Like in an agricultural cycle, the process is important.  
Every member of the D-group must practice “evangelism” where there is a person God has impressed upon the disciple to share Christ with.  All discussions without actual practice and implementation is merely a spiritual mental exercise.  It’s time to get everyone in the group to evangelise.
 
 

**Additional Resources


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Session 8 – Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron Sharpens Iron

~ Mentorship ~

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
 

Read/Watch:

 

What is a mentor?

Think about the people who had influenced your life the most. Why did they do it? What did they do? How did they go about it? Often, under good leadership and guidance, you can experience the most dramatic spiritual and personal growth and it often happens through the influence of a mentor. 
 
A good mentor often:
  • identifies your need,
  • maximize your relationship,
  • model your relationship after biblical examples,
  • grow through the shared wisdom in this mentoring process.  
 
The focus of mentoring is about relationships, with intentionality for growth. Mentoring includes training and the transfer of skills and knowledge, but it’s so much more. It’s a witness to an open life worthy of imitation, perhaps an older, experienced person holding the ladder for a younger colleague. It may be someone with a particular gift patiently helping others to believe that they can attempt and succeed at something new. 
 
Mentors who are humble, patient, encouraging, believing, ready to open their Bibles and their lives often have maximum impact on their mentees. Godly mentors will coach and develop more mentors who see it not as a ministry, but as the best way of life to duplicate themselves for the kingdom of God.
 

Why be a mentor?

Whether you call it mentoring or discipleship, the net result is to able to positively influence another person to full spiritual maturity in Jesus.  Becoming an effective Christian mentor is a powerful way of exerting a life-on-life influence on people so that they can be transformed.
 
As a Christian mentor, a legitimate question being posed frequently by those they are trying to influence is – why should they follow you, the mentor? The answer depends on the mentor’s credibility.  
 
Credibility comes from the word “credo” or “trust.” More than two thousand years ago the philosopher Aristotle wrote that a person’s credibility isn’t built-in. Rather, potential followers give leaders credibility depending on how well those leaders answer three questions:
 
Ethos: Will you treat me with dignity and integrity?
Pathos: Are you capable of going to bat for what is really important?
Logos: Do you know what you are talking about?
 

How can mentors build credibility with their followers?

Here are a few significant points:
One, be authentically interested in your mentee. The mentor’s genuine care shows concern and compassion for his follower. 
 
Second, always communicate with integrity. Be truthful and season it with grace. 
 
Third, never passively accept what is in the mentor’s power to change.  
 
Fourth, always follow God’s leading as the Spirit directs. 
 
Fifth, be humble to draw on the experience of others. Like what Solomon says, “Nothing is new under the sun.” 
 
Sixth, seek out opportunities for training and networking with others so that the experience can be amplified. 
 
Last but most importantly, your mentee will rarely raise the bar for himself any higher than the one you, the mentor, have raised for yourself.  
 
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul recognized the value of developing Timothy into a more effective minister of the gospel. Paul carefully selected Timothy to work with him in the ministry and equipped him for ministerial tasks. He also empowered him for success, employed him in a challenging work environment, and communicated to Timothy the value of their relationship.
Today, the church hopes to have similar strategies to mentor relationships that prepare tomorrow’s disciple-leader to handle the challenges of an ever-changing church and the present world.  
 
Someone wisely puts it this way, “Mentorship is part of God’s plan for us to seek discretion and grace by humbly applying ourselves to the wisdom offered by those who have gone before us.”
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What are some characteristics of someone who is “mature” in their faith?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study 2 Timothy 2:1-7. What is Paul’s relationship with Timothy? How did Paul mentor Timothy? What specific instructions did Paul instruct Timothy to further multiply his work by mentoring others?
 
2. How can we “sharpen” one another in our spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual development to be Christ-liked based on Proverbs 27:17 and Philippians 4:9? Share your thoughts and understanding.
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Have you been “mentored” before? Share your experiences on how it was like.  If not, what do you hope this D-group can do regarding some simple “group mentoring” in term 3 and 4? Share your desires for the expected outcome.
 
2. Is there someone God is preparing you to mentor or disciple so that this person will mature in his faith in Jesus and in due time do likewise? What obstacles are you facing to take the initial step? 
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. If you are not discipling someone, pray that God would put someone in your life that you can begin a discipling relationship with.
  2. Pray that God would continue the work that he has started in the lives of the people whom you are discipling. 
  3. Pray that your kids and those under your influence would gain knowledge and understanding of God’s truth.
 

LEADERS’ TIP

For those who had not been mentored before, it might be good for the group to suggest a light mentorship experience for the next two terms so that everyone can have a little experience in what it feels like to be mentored.  
On a serious note, every member at this stage should begin praying and seeking for someone who might be in your next D-group where you can begin to exercise your spiritual influence and guidance under the umbrella of a mentor-mentee relationship. 
Further, the D-group can be a group mentor experience where experienced-matured Christians can take the lead to share biblical and spiritual insights in leading godly lives and influencing and developing young Christians to be faithful disciples for Jesus.
 

**Additional Resources

 

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Session 1 – Biblical Discipleship

BIBLICAL DISCIPLESHIP

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on John 8:31-32
 
Watch these Videos:
 

What is Discipleship?

Read – Reasons for Discipleship

Discipleship is the process of becoming like Jesus by spending time with Jesus. The personal relationship between a disciple and Jesus is the heart of discipleship.

 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What is one thing you feel God is inviting you to do right now?

 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

 
In the Great Commission by Jesus, why is making disciples an imperative verb and is non-negotiable? Discuss how Christians are to be disciples and learners of Jesus.
 
2. Why Discipleship? What is the cost of following Jesus based on Matthew 16:24-26
 
3. From the verses below, what are the characteristics and measurements of the spiritual growth of a disciple of Jesus?

 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. How does a spiritual-matured disciple of Jesus look like? Share your thoughts.
 
2. Share with us about your journey with Jesus recently. In a few simple words, how would you describe your current relationship with Jesus? 
 
3. Spiritual growth has to be intentional. The goal of discipleship is to be like Jesus. How can the D-group help you to develop essential spiritual habits and practices that are in line with the teachings of Jesus?
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Surrendering all areas of life to Jesus
  2. Commitment to attend this d-group and make it a priority
  3. Personal needs, growth, and challenges
 
LEADERS’ TIP
  • Share the purpose and goal of what the D-group hopes to achieve.
  • Second, share his spiritual victories and struggles for others to open up. Be authentic.
  • Third, keep all the discussions within the timeframe.
  • You can use the story to illustrate, partial surrender to Jesus is not sufficient. Share your testimony and your discipleship journey. All the readings and discussions must move in the direction of life transformation.
  • Further, the leader should at this early stage, encourage faithful attendance of church worship and Sabbath School.
  • In intercessory prayer, the group should gather and pray in between meet-ups using any means and ways (e.g., WhatsApp group call or equivalent). It can just be a 10 minutes meeting of prayer in cyberspace. The group can watch this 2min video (This is Discipleship) as a summary for the meeting.
  • Finally, if members in the group are new to each other, arrange a social setting where all can have a meal together.
**Additional Resources
  1. Hungry for Transformation
  2. Ellen White’s Insights on Discipleship
  3. Are We Mistaken About the Great Commission?

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Session 2 – Daily Time in God’s Word

DAILY TIME IN GOD’S WORD

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate:
 
Read/Watch: 
 
Christian’s devotional life is not optional. A relationship with God is the entire basis of an active Christian life. The primary purpose of prayer is not to get answers; the primary purpose of bible study is not to get information but to know Jesus.  
 
Devotional life, properly defined, is not an activity—it is an attitude. It is a purposeful mind-set. It is giving life to God, devoting life to God. A devotional life is the life-source for all of the needed spiritual qualities.
 
Communion with God will ennoble the character and life. Men will take knowledge of us, as of the first disciples, that we have been with Jesus. This will impart to the worker a power that nothing else can give. Of this power, he must not allow himself to be deprived. We must live a twofold life–a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work.–the Ministry of Healing, p. 512 
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
When you think about reading the bible, what is the first feeling that comes to your mind?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study John 15:1-8. What is God saying in this passage? What does it mean to “abide in Christ” to know Jesus? 
 
2. Read 2 Timothy 3:16  Since the spiritual life comes from the living Word, what will be the result when the study of the Word of God is neglected? 
 
3. Study Psalm 46:10; Philippians 4:8.  What does it mean to be “still” in the presence of God? How can we regularly focus our minds on things that are “noble” and “praiseworthy”? How can I meditate on the Word of God?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. How much time have you meditated upon Jesus and His Words? What are the obstructions in your life that need to be removed so that you can have a healthy personal devotion?
 
2. Is personal devotional life an integral part of your daily routine? If not, what are your struggles? How can this d-group help one another to normalize your personal devotion time with God to be the top priority?
 
3. If you have a family, do you practice regular family worship? If yes, what are some of the joys and blessings? If no, what are some of the battles you face?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Remove all obstacles in my personal devotional life
  2. To meditate on and apply the Word of God in daily life
  3. To enjoy the presence of God 
 
 
LEADERS’ TIPS
  1. Use this illustration where all Olympics participants go through a regimental training in order to win the prize. How much more if we are to pursue God’s eternal reward.
  2. Share the “hows” of their devotional life and encourage their group members to embrace this discipline. Adventists recognize the importance of making a commitment to have daily personal communion with God. We set apart the first moments of each day to commune with the Lord through prayer, the study of the Bible, Spirit of Prophesy and the Sabbath School lesson.  Don’t miss the big picture that the end goal of one’s devotional life is to develop a living-vibrant relationship with Jesus. To set aside a daily time with God requires discipline, sacrifice, prioritize this time over other engagements, and encouragement from the D-group.  
  3. Periodically share his devotional insight with group members via the whatsapp chatgroup (from time to time) to help members recognize the power of God’s word.
  4. Suggest practical tools and means to help members develop a healthy quiet time with God including what to do for family worship.
 
**Additional Resources
  1. Begin A Daily Quiet Time in 5 Easy Steps
  2. Keep it Simple
  3. How to Have a Quiet Time
  4. Life’s Top Priority on Matthew 6:33 (Ellen White)

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Session 3 – Talking to God: Prayer & Fasting

TALKING TO GOD: PRAYER AND FASTING

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Matthew 6:9-13 
 
Read/Watch:
 

What is Prayer and Fasting?

Prayer is the simple act of having a conversation with God. It’s about talking with the creator of the universe: whether aloud or in our thoughts, during special or ordinary moments, when we’re on the move or before we go to bed. It’s the privilege we get as His children—a direct connection to God. No voicemail messages, no call waiting.  If we don’t take time for the Bible and prayer, we will die spiritually.  Biblical fasting is essentially giving up food (or something else) for a period of time to focus your thoughts on God. While fasting, many people read the bible, pray, or worship. Fasting is found throughout the old and new testaments of the bible over fifty times. 
 
Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian, are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth, or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power. Prayer, 87.
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
If you could give your younger self a piece of spiritual advice, what would it be?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study model prayer of Jesus commonly known as the Lord’s prayer.  Share some of the insights based on Matthew 6:9-15.
 
2.From Steps to Christ Chapter 11-The Privilege of Prayer, describe what statement impresses on you? What are the principles applicable to your prayer life?
 
3. Based on John 14:13-14, how do we learn to ask anything in God’s name for He promises us He will surely fulfill it?
 
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Share openly and specifically how your prayer life has been in the recent past. 
 
2. What are the hindrances in your life that needs to be eliminated for you to have a growing prayer life?
 
3. Do you know how to pray? Share the different methods of praying and connecting with God.
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. Apply the principles of prayer
  2. Commit to praying for a specific ministry and persons in your life
  3. Develop a habit of intercessory prayer for one another
 
 
LEADERS’ TIP
  1. Use Grass on your path to remind ourselves of the regularity and necessity of a devoted prayer life.  The more one prays, the stronger he is.  For those who are married, the family that prays together stays together. Prayer is intimately and inseparable from daily time with God.
  2. Ask members for specific prayer requests and concerns and immediately during the meeting, suggest interceding for one another in prayer.  
  3. Share the importance of intercessory prayer so that they too can intercede for their friends, members, and family.
  4. Teach the mechanics of prayers like using the five fingers, ACTS, reciting of Psalms, etc.  Encourage members to form regular patterns of prayer and to find a place of solitude with God. Cultivate the habit of praying at least 10-15 minutes each day as one begins the journey of fervent prayer. It’s a golden opportunity to simply offer to pray for someone who is in need and that opens the window to share the gospel.
  5. Share with members how personal and corporate prayer has been meaningful to you. The leader can pick up the phone and call his members after their work at an appropriate time on a weekday and offer a short prayer for them over the phone. 
 
**Additional Resources
  1. Practical Pointers for Biblical Fasting
  2. Adventist Prayer Resources
  3. Five-Finger Prayers
  4. ACTS of Prayer
  5. The Lords Prayer Explained

Read more...

Session 4 – True Worship

TRUE WORSHIP

 

Preparation

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

John 4:1-26

Romans 12:1-2

Mark 12:30

 

Read/Watch:

The Sabbath

Worship: Why the Frequent Controversy over it?

The Heart of Worship

 

What is Worship?

True worship begins with deep respect or reverence for God, a frame of heart, an attitude.
The Hebrew word for worship, Shachah, means to depress, to bow down, or to fall down flat. It is a picture of humility before the almighty God. The essence of the heart of worship is a life fully surrendered to God.  Worship is not just part of your life. Biblically speaking, it is your life.  The disciple surrendered his whole being to God to be used for righteous purposes. Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God. The secret to a lifestyle of worship is doing everything as if one was doing it for Jesus.  Then work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.  
 
True worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness.
 
God is not the starting point of your life. He is the source of it. To truly worship God in your life, you must turn to God’s word and His eternal truths, not pop-psychology, success-motivation or inspiration stories.  If we fail to genuinely worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves. 
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What is one risk you think God might be calling you to take in this season?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study John 4:23-24.  What does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth? What are the key lesson points in this passage. 
 
2. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to be a “living sacrifice” so that we might offer “true” and “proper” worship.  What is the passage implying that we should offer our bodies as “living sacrifices?”
 
3. Jesus mentioned in Mark 12:30 that we must love God with everything.  What are the spiritual implications for your personal worship?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Share with the group what your recent personal worship is like (and if married, Family worship too). What are your struggles and temptations?
 
2. After understanding the core of worship based on the above discussions and studies, how does your attitude and behavior on a weekly Sabbath worship in your local church reflect your surrender to Jesus? 
 
3. Discuss some of the good practices on Sabbath observance and its purposes.  Share how do you view Sabbath in relation to worship?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. To surrender ourselves totally to Him
  2. To come to church on time for worship and 
  3. To participate in bible-learning Sabbath School regularly
 

LEADERS’ TIP

  • Share with the group both the importance of individual and corporate worship. The consistency of the daily and personal worship life will climax on Sabbath corporate worship when all the worshippers learn to worship God.
  • Share some of the good practices of Sabbath worship like punctuality, participation in the worship service and minimize distractions that can draw the worshiper away from God.
  • Share with group members, especially for those who have families, that family worship is the non-negotiable gathering for all young and old to focus on God.  And it is this practice that helps the little ones to appreciate and learn worship in the larger church experience.  Parents should bring their children to Children Sabbath School classes. Since the d-group establishes mutual accountability, permission is given to “check” on each other if one is absent from church worship on a typical Sabbath.  The motivation is not to police but to encourage, pray and support team members to learn to worship God consistently both in the private and public arena.  
  • In addition, encourage members to read up on the Sabbath School lesson study and participate actively to grow in the knowledge and Word of God.
 
**Additional Resources
 
  1. Sabbath Observance and Preparation
  2. Ellen White Understanding of Worship
  3. Family Worship

Read more...

Session 5 – Fellowship: Living in Community

FELLOWSHIP: LIVING IN COMMUNITY

 

Preparation

In preparation for this week’s D-Group:
Memorize and Meditate on Hebrews 10:24-25
 

Read/Watch:

 

What is a Christian Community and fellowship?

The word “community” is a compound word: “com” means with and “unity” means unity or being unified or having a common union. In short, God wants believers to have the same mind that is in Jesus Christ.  
A Christian community is not just gathering for a meal together or celebrating an occasion. It is the sharing of a common life in Christ. It moves us beyond the self-interested isolation of private lives and the superficial contacts of mere “Christian fellowship.”
 
The biblical idea of a life-transforming community challenges us instead to commit ourselves to live together as people of God.  Christian maturity often takes place not just in the individual realm with God but in a spirit-led Christian community where we hold each other accountable to be Christ-like.  
The end goal should impact our spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, and financial health where Jesus is the changing catalyst of all.
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
If you could hang out with Jesus in any place in the world, where would you pick? Why?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Study Hebrews 10:24-25.  What are the vital lessons God is trying to impress upon us about community? Why are some so quick to give up “coming together?”
 
2. The Greek word “one another” is used at least a hundred times in ninety-four New Testament verses. Jesus mentioned at least 47 times in His teachings, and Paul wrote overwhelmingly on these “one another” commands.
Read The One Another Command. Share a few of these “one another” commands that the Holy Spirit impresses upon you to work on.  
 
3. The early church met regularly in small groups and homes for teaching, worship, prayer, and fellowship meals (Acts 2:44-46; Acts 12:12-17+). Why do you think this is so critical to their growth (this does not mean they forgo corporate worship and gatherings)?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Do you allow others to hold you accountable for your spiritual growth and maturity in this D-group setting? Briefly describe how you feel about this biblical road to spiritual development.
 
2. Belonging and relationships among members established the platform for this mutual accountability in our Christian maturity. How can we help each other to be more Christ-like?
 
3. Why is it spiritually fatal for a Christian to attempt to live a life independent from the life of the church?
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. To choose to live my Christian life in a life-changing community
  2. To consistently help “one another” in our spiritual endeavors
  3. To allow others to “correct” me when I have gone astray.
 
LEADERS’ TIP
  1. Share that any authentic Christian fellowship ought to be a bible-based church community anchored in Jesus where lives are changed.  In the church, members are to help and hold one another accountable for spiritual growth and development. Ask the group for “group permission”: if any member is slacking in his spiritual progress, any group member has the right to gently “check” and encourage the person back to the path of faith. Emphasize briefly that God exists in a community. The Trinity is a community.  Jesus had thousands following him, but he discipled only twelve, which is His small community. These disciples became the anchor of the Christian church.  
  2. Leaders should check whether members feel fearful and uneasy to even confess sins to one another (James 5:16). Hear them out and bring them back to the bible based on our learning. It’s important to differentiate what are opinions and perceptions versus what God is saying in His living Word as holy instructions for Christian living.  
  3. Watch this video as an inspiration in conclusion – Derek Redmond participated in the 1993 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He tore his hamstring in the 400-meter semi-final but continued the race limping and, with assistance from his father, managed to complete a full lap of the track as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Similarly, the Christian community organized in smaller groups is to help one another, and together with God, we will finish the heavenly race. 
 
**Additional Resources
  1. Life Transforming Groups
     
  2. Your Small Group Should Be Making Disciples

Read more...

Session 6: Overcoming Temptations

OVERCOMING TEMPTATIONS

 

Preparation

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

Read/Watch:

 

What is Temptation?

The English dictionary defines temptation as the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.  The real issue in temptation is whether we live apart from Jesus.  Temptations become sins when we consent to them in our minds. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, but not the ungodly.
 
When we survey the scriptures, temptations are not overcome at the time of temptation, but always before. If we look at Jesus, He provides the model to overcome temptation.  Jesus was tempted to do right in His own power apart from the power above.  So are we. And Jesus overcame temptations the same way we should overcome: by power from above (God) rather than from within.  He stayed close to God and found sins repulsive.
 
So long as we depend on God, we will also find sins repulsive and thus this creates the spiritual firewall to prevent us from easily succumbing to possible temptations. The more we love Jesus, the less the attractions of the devil will hold sway over us.
 
 

Accountability (10 Minutes)

Each disciple to share one insight or lesson learned from his/her devotion in the last week.
What is one song that has really impacted your faith journey?
 
 

Bible Discussion (20 Minutes)

1. Base on the study of Matthew 4:1-11, how did Jesus handle His temptations from Satan? What are the lessons we can learn?
 
2. What promise is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13? Share with the group how you are going to claim this promise when you are tempted.
 
3. Base on Matthew 5:21-28, what does the bible talk about succumbing to temptations in our minds? Are there areas in your life where you had given in to temptations and now have become spiritual strongholds?
 
 

Life Transformation (20 Minutes)

1. Ministry of Healing, page 510, tells us that “when we permit our communion with God to be broken, our defense is departed from us. Not all your good purposes and good intention will enable you to withstand evil. You must be men and women of prayer.”
 What does this tell us about seeking the Lord in the study of His Word and prayer daily? How do we ask God to create a clean heart within us (Psalm 51:10)?
 
2. What are some of your temptations? Share with us your struggles and how you overcame them? How can the d-group support you to live victoriously for Jesus?
 
3. Digital addiction is affecting the young to old.  You can easily find sins on the internet. Share some of the “firewall tactics” you may have adopted to prevent yourself from yielding to these temptations easily.
 
 

Intercessory Prayer (10 Minutes)

  1. To claim promises in the scripture to overcome temptations
  2. To keep our minds and heart pure in God
  3. To deliver us from evil before it happens
 
 

Leaders’ Tip

  • Emphasize the primary biblical perspective of overcoming temptation is to stay close to Jesus.  Thus, the regular personal devotion with God, consistent prayerful life and the active participation on Sabbath worship are simple mechanics to help us to stay close to the almighty.
  • Share a personal experience in overcoming temptation. There are some minor temptations when succumbed may be inconsequential, but others will cause permanent damage to marriages, children, family, and even the church family and beyond. And the devil is all out to attack every Christian and family. But God is great and his promises will prevail.  Therefore, one of the reasons to memorize and meditate scriptures is to saturate the minds with the Word of God so that we find sins repulsive.
  • Highlight any temptations the group may be facing and share practical steps on how to avoid or overcome them.  Many Christians struggle with temptations like anger, laziness, sex, lying, gossip, etc.  Some Christians may have already succumbed to certain temptations for a long time and these sins have become spiritual strongholds.  
  • Seek further advice from your pastor or some experienced church elders for wisdom and direction if a certain member needs help beyond the group (with permission).  In some cases, members who are addicted to certain sins may need further professional assistance to overcome besides all the spiritual and emotional support given.  
  • Remember to maintain confidentiality in dealing with all these matters.
 

**Additional Resources

  1. 12 Tips for Resisting Temptations
  2. The Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness

Read more...