Discovering God’s Compassion for a Lost World…

Our Discovery group recently concluded it’s deliberations on the the Old Testament book of Jonah.

It’s an amazing story resulting in a whole city, the city of Nineveh, seeking God’s forgiveness.

In a recent post, Disruptive Grace, I wrote, “The disruptive grace of God has not been and is not confined to biblical times. The Spirit of God continues to bring disruptive grace today. People’s lives are dramatically changed, individual people, communities and nations around the world are radically and fundamentally changed.”

And while Jonah is another biblical example of God’s disruptive grace a read of Steve Addison’s, Movements that Changed the World, will quickly give you a historical view of the movements of the grace of God up to the present day.

During these movements individuals, communities and nations are influenced by the Spirit of God and remarkable change results.

God said to Jonah, “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Jonah 4:11 NIV

While the magnitude of the change was remarkable God’s personal, persistent and patient dealings with Jonah are remarkable. Jonah knew that God was gracious and compassionate, and would be, “slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” Jonah 4:2‭ NIV

In the beginning God looked upon His creation and said, “It is good.” However, through the disobedience of humankind sin entered the world and a change of seismic proportions occurred.

God, the Creator, gracious and compassionate, is not thwarted. He has a plan and is actively redeeming His world. He will bring it to completion in His appointed time.

The pinnacle of His redeeming work was the act of redemption was completed when Christ was crucified, and now to this day the saving grace of God is available to anyone who would believe.

Like Nineveh, like Jonah,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9 NIV

But Wait, There’s More…

Tim Shaw became the face of Demtel International and popularised the saying, “But wait, there’s more…,” for the Australian TV viewing audience.

In recent posts I have described my experience with Discovery Bible Study groups and have encouraged others to start a discovery group.

But wait there’s more!

Discovery Bible Study is one tool, or strategic action, in a whole disciple-making or church planting movement.The disciple-maker is open to meeting God-prepared people, people who are seeking and hungry for the gospel or people who have already received  Christ as their Saviour and want to learn how to share the gospel. Discovery Bible Study, with it’s obedience-based  methodology, becomes the instrument for reproducing disciples, who reproduce other disciples.

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:21 NIV

Again a quick search of the internet will reveal a wealth of resources on disciple-making or church planting movements. For starters Steve Smith’s article, CPM Essentials on a Napkin, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/kingdom-kernels2, and the book, Contagious Disciple-making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery, by David an Paul Watson, are highly recommended. 

Pop-Up Discovery Groups…

Pop-up food venues have become popular. Food trucks and stalls are popping up, and down, all year round. Food vendors congregate, set up tables and chairs, and in no time people arrive to whet their appetite and enjoy conversation with like-minded others. Sharing food is so often conducive to meaningful conversations. Food addresses our physical hunger and eating with others can satisfy our social needs.

Important as these experiences are to our wellbeing Discovery Bible Study groups go beyond that to address our deeper spiritual needs.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’  ”

Matthew 4:4 NIV

People, who are searching and spiritually hungry, come together to feed on the Word of God in a Discovery group. They encourage one another and seek answers to the question, “Having read this passage how then shall I live?” They are open to the Spirit of God and are prepared to step out in obedience when the the answers come.

The possible venues for pop-up Discovery Groups are limited only by our imagination, homes, cafes, shopping centres, workplaces, retirement villages, prisons, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.

There are lots of easy-to-read resources available on the internet for discovery bible study and the obedience-based methodology.

Take a look, get started and before you know it you will have a thriving pop-up Discovery group.

Oh, and don’t forget drop me a line. I would love to encourage you.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 NIV

Discovering God’s Compassion for a Lost World

“You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Jonah 4:2

Following the Chosen series of studies our discovery group has moved onto the theme of Discovering God’s Compassion for a Lost World based on the four chapters of the book of Jonah in the Old Testament.

We have continued to use the three step Discovery Bible Study method, Look Back, Look Up and Look Forward. This method allows the Spirit of God elbow room and I have observed His influence upon each of our weekly sessions.
Across the course of the last eighteen months the discovery group has been a wonderful tool for encouraging discipleship – following Jesus. There has been a growing appreciation of the Scriptures, and a growing appreciation of the importance of being obedient to the Spirit of God revealed through the Scriptures. As such I have observed the willingness to share leadership and invite others to join the group, and a deepening desire to extend the opportunity, in the form of additional Discovery groups, for other God-prepared people, whether they are already followers of Jesus or simply seeking to know more about God.

Thus this growing appreciation has recently seen two other groups initiated in our community, one in a busy local shopping centre and the other in a popular bakery, holding true to our principle of taking the Scriptures into the marketplace.

Continue to pray for us…and continue watching this space…

 

Chosen: Because God has a Plan for Your Life

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Thus began our second series of Discovery  Bible Studies where we were inspired by the Apostle Paul’s two letters, First and Second Thessalonians.

We learned the pattern of Discovery during the previous series, More to Life, Prepare, Connect, Feedback, Bible Reading, Discovery Questions and Prayer.

While the pattern was the same I sensed that God through his Spirit was taking us on a journey of discovery as we wrestled with each of the chapters in Paul’s two letters.

Since finishing the Chosen series the journey of Discovery has continued to unfold.

More to come!

More to Life…continued

The More to Life series mentioned in my post, https://brucestaley.com/2016/01/19/more-to-life/, has begun!

Last week by way of introduction it was Discovery Bible Study Reloaded and we examined Matthew 7: 24-29, the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders.

Lots of laughter when someone  recalled a children’s song of long ago and got the group to join in.

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This week was the first study, Life, in the series.

John 10:10
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

No singing this time but lots of excitement. Names were quickly entered on our Pray4five cards. And more excitement for me when my young friend, Praveen, from India, agreed to lead the group next week.

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Podcasts of the weekly sermons are available at http://www.churchone2one.org

Not only reloaded but reinvented into a Discovery Discipleship Movement. We shall what see what God has in store.

More to Life…

I’m excited by the possibilities that 2016 brings.
one2one Church of Christ, has adopted a year-long theme, Fully Devoted, with a first term theme of More to Life…Because there really is more to life.
John 10:10 NIV
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The first term sermon series will flow into groups, across the church and the community, engaged in Discovery Bible Study exploring each of the topics during the week.
I picked up a draft copy of the study booklet on Sunday. It is filled with people’s stories, Bible passages, questions, resources and instructions for group leaders. There is lots of encouragement for people to engage and discover there is more to life.

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Can anything good come from a local church that worships in a recycled industrial building surrounded by the SES, RSPCA Animal Shelter, Mitre 10 Home Hardware and a waste disposal centre? My answer is a resounding, “Yes!” The congregation has a long history, over 150 years, of God fulfilling His promises, the church is strategically located near growth corridors to the west and the south, and moreover it has a God-given heart to influence its community and beyond.
God will continue to fulfill His promises across 2016.

Luke 24:44-45 NIV
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.