We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Faith is described as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. It's not always easy to live by faith. Many of us would rather have control, know the outcomes, stay in our comfort zone, wait for guarantees or need to see it to believe it. Living by faith requires stepping out into the unknown, the unseen; trusting that God knows and sees the bigger picture. It's risky business, but it's also the great adventure that God invites us all into.
Jordan Rice started the series with the story of Abraham, who left everything he knew, stepped out into the unknown, and trusted that God had a great purpose for his life, even though he couldn't see it at the time. Abraham's story shows us that God is trustworthy, even though our circumstances can cause us to think differently.
- Jordan said that he prefers certainty over uncertainty, power over vulnerability, and independence over independence. What situations in your life have been full of uncertainty? How did they affect you?
- If someone asked your best friend, spouse, or family member if you were "high control" or "low control", what would they say?
Read Hebrews 11:8-12 together.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
- Progress usually requires us to leave where we currently are. What, or who, have you left in seasons of progress in your life? Did you know what to expect on the other end? How did it feel to leave?
- Sometimes God has to remove crutches in our lives so that we can live lives of faith. Has that ever happened to you? Has God ever removed a crutch of familiarity so that you had to move into unknown territory?
- What in your life, if God removed or changed it, would unsettle you the most?
- God doesn't always call us to move away, change careers, or make life-altering decisions. But God is always moving us toward lives of faith, which almost includes leaving things (big or small) that are comfortable and safe. Big or small, what might God be asking you to leave right now?
- When it comes to the hard decisions and crossroads in life, Jordan said that he finds himself focusing much more on what he wants than he does asking God what HE wants. What holds you back from asking God what He wants you to do? Fear? Lack of trust? Past disappointment?
- Have you been disappointed by God? Has anything made it so you aren't sure that you can put your life, or your decisions in God's hands? What might you need to hear from God so that you can trust Him again?
- Who in your life has cleared the way for you and pushed you toward a life of faith, even when it has meant leaving your comfort zone?
- Romans 8:32 says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
How does the truth of the cross, God giving us his very best when we didn't deserve it, help you see your circumstances differently? What can change about how you interact with God in the midst of challenging decisions, unexpected circumstances, or faith-stretching experiences?
EXPERIENCE (FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK)
- Jordan said that most of following Jesus is asking "what's the next step of faith that I need to take?" Take this week as an opportunity to spend time in prayer each day asking God to identify just one next step that He might want to use to stretch your faith.
- Who do you need to invite into your life to push and encourage you toward a life of faith? Or, who needs you to be that person? How can you reach out to that person in a meaningful way this week?
- Memorize Romans 8:32 this week! Keep it at the forefront of your mind, because believing that God is worthy of our trust is so much easier when we believe that God gave us his best before we ever deserved it.
Jordan Rice, Pastor of Renaissance Church in Harlem, NY
- Certainty over uncertainty
- Power over vulnerability
- Independence over dependence
Faith is a call into the unknown, where we are invited on a journey to trust God.
Hebrews 11:8 (NIV)
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Faith is confidence in the character of God.
Genesis 12:1 (NIV)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
Hebrews 11:9 (NIV)
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Romans 8:32 (NIV)
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?