FIRE (group guides with assignments)

SUNDAY EVENING GROUP GUIDES – FIRE

June 5
Seeking, part one: Choose you this day… Seeking starts with a focus and a decision. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. When did you start seeking God’s way for your life?

Suggested group activity: Seek and Find!  Read Matthew 13:44-46 (Just 3 verses with two powerful parables).

Since this is an inter-generational group – Those who are older lead the activity.  Form 2 groups of those who are under 18.  All those 12 years and older are to search for a hidden prize (suggested prize: $25 gift card).  All those 11 years and younger are to search for a hidden prize (suggested prize: $25 gift card).

Older adults supply the funds for the prizes and hide them.  The youth must ask for clues from the adults to help them find the prizes.  In order to get hints from the adults, them must be willing to give up something they have.

(Or another option can be several smaller prizes hidden that are age appropriate).

The two youth groups will need to have separate locations to do the searches.

Once the prizes have been found, gather everyone together and discuss the parables and how the kingdom of God is worth giving up all we have to get it.

Do the following as time permits: 

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday evening and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does choosing have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we come to a place of decision in this?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action individually on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:  (These may be modified as needed)

  1. Share your faith story with your family.  Over dinner, take turns and have each family member tell why seeking God’s kingdom is important.
  2. Pray together about growing stronger in your relationship with the Lord. Take turns praying for one another before dinner each night.
  3. Each family member choose a Christian character trait they would like to improve on and share it with the family.  At dinner have a special prayer asking God to help each family member grow stronger in the Christian character trait they choose.
  4. Choose a section of scripture to memorize. (Suggestion: Philippians 3 – 4 has some great verses).  Share your verses with one another at dinner each night.
  5.   Other… _________________________________________________________________        Come prepared to share about it next week.

_________________________

June 12 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Seeking, part two: Saying No to all competing gods. Seeking grows with loyalty and singleminded determination. Paul said that he counted everything garbage compared to knowing Christ and being found in Him. How is Jesus Christ your life?

Suggested group activity: Following One Voice!  (Read John 10:27) The object of this activity is to learn how to listen to directions from one person while others are trying to distract you or steer you the wrong way.

Set up an obstacle course (in homes, this can be a walk from one room to another, through a hallway, etc.).  One person (a traveler) is blindfolded and must walk through the course while listening to instructions given by a guide.  The guide is not allowed to help guide the blindfolded person except by speaking instructions.  The rest of the group (who can also be used as obstacles are allowed to distract the blindfolded traveler by saying things that contradict the true instructor).  The blindfolded traveler must listen only to the true guide and follow the ONE VOICE.

Go through this letting several of the youngsters be blindfolded, and letting different older adults be the VOICE of instruction.

When finished, gather together and talk about listening to the Good Shepherd and turning our ears away from distractions around us.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does saying no have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we turn away from competing loyalties?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Pick out something you can give up for God this week (TV, Coffee or Soda, deserts, games, etc.). Share it with your family and ask for their support.
  2. As a family, have a night where you all share one boiled egg and one glass of water for dinner.  Talk about those who are hungry in the world and pray.
  3. Pick a night to watch a Christian movie together.  Talk about it afterward and pray for one another.
  4. Take a walk with a Christian friend or family member and talk together about your commitment to Christ, end the time by praying for one another.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________                   (come prepared to share about it next week)

__________________________
June 19 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Seeking, part three: Finishing well. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Seeking lasts a lifetime. We never stop till we arrive at home with the Lord. What is your vision for the long haul of your life?

Suggested group activity: Finish the Race!  (Read Hebrews 12:1-2)  The object of this activity is to learn to keep going when we are tired.

If possible do this activity outside or in the fellowship hall.  The older members are the goal posts.  The younger members are divided up into groups of two with this in mind: One will have to carry the other.  Put a bigger, older partner with a younger smaller partner.  This will be a relay, where the bigger partner carries the smaller partner back and forth between the goal posts for as many times as they can by hopping on one foot.  (Be careful not to fall with or drop your passenger!).  See who can make the most laps in five minutes.  Give a big applause to all who participate along with water to drink.

AFTER THE RACE: All who are over 50 number off.  All who are under 50 number off.  Get in groups of 4-6 with about half older and half younger.  The younger are to ask the older questions about their faith and why they continue to walk with Christ.  Then the older are to ask the younger questions about their faith and what challenges they face.  Close with prayer for each one.

Suggested questions (younger to older):  When did you become a Christian and what are some challenges you  have faced?  Why have you remained faithful?  What advice would you give to help younger Christians stay loyal to Christ?

Suggested questions (older to younger): When did you become a Christian and what challenges are you facing now?  What do you think would help you stay strong in your faith?  How can I help you do that?

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does finishing well have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we stay the course and never give up?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Talk with a faithful elderly Christian about their life of faith.
  2. Read one chapter of 2 Timothy at dinner each night and make talk together about Paul’s end of life words to Timothy.
  3. Discuss this together with your family: What do you hope to have accomplished for the cause of Christ before you die?
  4. With open Bibles at home, talk together as a family about Jesus’ preparation for His death on the cross.
  5. Other…. ____________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about your assignment next week.

____________________________
June 26 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part one: Conviction of sin. Men and brethren, what shall we do? The saving work of Christ must be received before it can be shared. The Bible tells us how we become Christians and enter salvation in Christ. The commission of Christ to us is the same, go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. When did you receive the saving work of Christ?

Suggested group activity: Hide and Seek.  Read Luke 15:3-7.  The object of this activity is awareness of God’s joy over when we go from lost to saved.

Pair up everyone with a partner, older with a younger.  If there is an odd number make one group have three.  The younger partners go an hide, and then the older partner must go and find them.  Do this a couple of times and then swap.  Let the older partners go and hide and the younger go and find them.

After the activity gather everyone together and select four or five who are baptized share their story of faith with the rest of the group.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does conviction and baptism have to do with saving?
Why is it important that we not change this message but obey it and share it?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. At dinner each night, one of the family share with the family about when you obeyed the gospel and received Christ’s saving gift.
  2. Make a list of names of people you know that you would like to see become a Christian and pray for them together as a family every day this week.
  3. Pray for opportunities to share your faith with those you know need to be saved.
  4. Memorize the locations of salvation stories in the Book of Acts in chapters 2, 8,9,10,16,18 and 22. Study them and prepare a lesson to share with others about what they teach.
  5. Other…. _____________________________________________________________

Come prepared next week to talk about how you did your assignment.

__________________________
July 3 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part 2a: Sharing our faith. Go and make disciples of all nations. Paul’s story of conversion is told three times in the Book of Acts alone. God uses him as a model of His grace (see 1 Timothy 1:15-16). After receiving the saving work of Jesus Christ, we are commissioned to share it. When is the last time you shared the gospel with a lost person?

Suggested group activity: Taking it on the Road!  Read Romans 10:14-15.

The object of this activity is to get involved in the gospel call.

Everyone in the group meet at Pruetts or Walmart parking lot.  Have a group prayer.  Take an invitation to Church for everyone who came to give out.  Break up into groups of two or three and go give out your invitation to someone there.

Optional activity: gather and talk about our mission works and what it must be like to live in a foreign place working to share the gospel.  Write letters of encouragement to our missionaries and their families and mail them.

Finish by gathering together and praying for those you have invited or written to.  Discuss the feelings and struggles of those who share the gospel with others.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
When should I share the saving gospel of Christ with someone?
Why is it important for me to share the saving work of Christ with others?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Ask three members of the church this week to tell you about how they were saved.
  2. Show from scripture how your salvation story matches up with what the Bible teaches about how to be saved.
  3. Share your salvation story with a family member or fellow Christian.
  4. Share your salvation story with someone who is not a Christian.
  5. Other…__________________________________________________________

Come prepared next week to talk about how you did your assignment.

______________________________

Wednesday, July 6 is prayer service for the nation.

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July 10 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part 2b: Sharing our Faith. This is a continuation from last week. As we look at the conversion stories in the book of Acts, we discover that the gospel message spread to people all over the Roman empire. What motivated the early disciples to be so evangelistic?

Suggested activity for the group: Saving what Lasts!  Read 1 John 2:15-17.

The objective of this activity is to promote awareness of saving for forever.

Bring copies of pictures of Wedding dresses and Luxury cars.  Give each male a copy with the cars and each female a copy with the dresses.  Starting with the youngest in the group, ladies first: share a thought or feeling about the picture of the dress (ladies)/ car (gentlemen):  What makes these things important to some people?

Now pass out copies of cars in a junk yard and worn out or tattered dresses.  Starting with the oldest in the group, ladies first: share a thought or feeling about the picture of the car in the junk yard/ or tattered dress:  Why are these not important to people?

Pass out copies of pictures of people.  Discuss: Of these three images we’ve seen, which one represents what will last forever?  Which does God want us to save?  Have a prayer for us to have God’s priorities and work to save others.

As time permits do the following:

Discuss this morning’s lesson:

What thoughts or questions do you have about it?
How did it help motivate you to sharing the saving work of Christ?
What challenges do we face today in doing this?
Why are some people more motivated to share their faith than others?

FIRE (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Look up every scripture that has the word “saved” in it and share a few of them each night at dinner before offering thanks and eating.
  2. As a family, make a list of 10 people who you know need the gospel and pray for them together.
  3. Pick out one of our missionaries and pray for them together as a family each night this week.
  4. Make plans to go on a mission trip with the church.
  5. Other… ________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about this next week.

_______________________________
July 17
Saving, part 3: Suffering for Christ. All who would live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). No one wants to suffer persecution and hardship for their faith, yet the Bible tells us over and over to rejoice when we do. Jesus is the prime example of suffering for God’s glory. He did not want to drink the cup, but gave up His will to do the will of the Father. Was it worth it? How have you had to endure difficulty for the cause of Christ?

Suggested group activity: His Pain, Our Gain.  Read Isaiah 53:5-6.

Items needed: a block of wood, hammer, and nails, paper and pens.  Objective: to impress us with Jesus sacrifice and pain for our salvation and ultimate joy.

After the reading of Isaiah, everyone take a piece of paper and write on it something you have done that was wrong.  If there are children too young to write, someone help them by writing it for them.  After everyone has written their sin on the paper.  Starting with the oldest, take the hammer and a nail and nail it to the block of wood (three strikes: one for his feet and two for his hands) and say, “Jesus paid for my sin.”  All the rest say, “Amen.”  (The youngest may need help, but let them at least hold the nail and paper and say the words).

After everyone has participated, sing: Amazing Grace together and have a prayer.

As time permits, do the following:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How do we identify with Jesus in His suffering?
What does our willingness to suffer for our faith demonstrate about it’s worth to us?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. As a family, pray for a Christian who has been missing church services and go visit them and encourage them.
  2. Carry your Bible (not a cell phone version) with you everywhere you go this week and observe the responses of others.
  3. Talk to three friends who do not attend church and invite them to come visit our services.
  4. Try to set up a Bible study with someone who needs to obey the gospel.
  5. Other…_________________________________________________________

Come ready to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

________________________________
July 24
Serving part 1: Looking like Jesus. Philippians 2 tells us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus who emptied Himself and became a servant. Summer work camp’s slogan is: You are never more like Jesus than when you serve. Jesus came here not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Serving may not be a glamorous or popular way to live, but it certainly can identify us as followers of Christ! How are you loving like Jesus through your serving others?

Suggested group activity:

Loving Your Neighbor.  Read Matthew 22:36-40.

Go to Martin Boyd Nursing home (Alexian Village or another nursing care facility) together as a group and go back to the Alzheimer’s unit. Bring some treats to share, sing some songs with them, and pray for them.  Then go out to a local restaurant for dinner together and talk about how God has blessed us and how He wants us to care for the needy.

Discuss: who is my neighbor and what is my neighbor like?

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How do we identify with Jesus through serving?
Who have you served in the name of Jesus lately?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Make a meal (or purchase one) and bring it to someone you know. Include a note that says, “It is my blessing to give this to you, in the name of Jesus.”
  2. As a family, go by and visit someone who is sick or in the nursing home. Say a prayer with them, for them before you leave.
  3. Gather your family together and read John 13 to them. Bring out a towel and warm water in a bowl and wash their feet. As you wash each one’s feet, say a blessing upon them in the name of Jesus.
  4. Go to visit someone in the hospital or nursing home and read John 13 to them. Bring out a towel and warm water in a bowl and wash their feet. As you wash their feet, say a blessing upon them in the name of Jesus.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________

Come ready to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

_____________________________
July 31
Serving part 2: Sharing our Stuff Jesus said, “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” Luke 12:48. Giving is at the very heart of the gospel. God so loved, He gave… God is the ultimate giver. As men and women created in His image and likeness, we are designed to be givers too. Jesus also said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God’s giving is more than just surplus donations, where He cleans out His divine closet from time to time. God’s giving is sacrificial. When is the last time you gave sacrificially?

Suggested group activity: Sacrifice!  Read Luke 12:31-34.

Everyone bring something special that was given to you (or a picture of it) to the group meeting to share about it.  Alternate between oldest to youngest in the group.  Sit in a circle and as each person shares their treasure, have the next two who are sitting on the left ask questions about why it is special.

Or, take a ball of yarn and have everyone sit in a circle.  Starting with the facilitator: hold the end of the string and toss the ball of yarn to a person of your choice and say something you have learned about that person during the past weeks of the group.  Then whoever received the yarn ball passes it to another and so on until all have received the yarn ball, the last person to receive it has to say something about the facilitator.

Finish activity with a echo prayer: The facilitator opens the prayer and then names everyone present.  After He says the name of each person he pauses and everyone in the group says that person’s first name.

Close by reminder that our greatest treasure in the Lord is our relationship with God and one another.

Preview for THE FINAL WEEK’S (NEXT WEEK) activity:

Have a final dinner together at a place of your choice. Each family at the meal feeds another family by taking the check or bringing the meal, depending on if this is at a home or a restaurant. In preparation, facilitator can assign who hosts who, or you can draw names. Then take time to find out what that family likes to eat. Also, have each person in your family write out a blessing for each member of the family you are hosting and read those after the meal.

As time permits:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How does giving help us identify with God?
Who do you know that exemplifies the character of God in their giving?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:

  1. Go through your checkbook or credit card bill(s) and mark the items that were gifts.
  2. Look up as many verses in the New Testament as you can find that talk about giving.
  3. Go through your house and list items that were given to you.
  4. Take something you really treasure and sell it and give the money to the poor.
  5. Other… _________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

_____________________________
August 3
Serving part 3: Storing up Treasures Jesus makes it clear that what we do for the least of His brethren (other Christians) we do for Him. Jesus identifies with all who are in the Christian family. When we serve the needs of our needy brothers and sisters in Christ, we are directly serving Jesus and are storing up treasures in heaven. What are you doing to serve the saints in need?

Suggested activity: Read together Romans 12:9-13 

Have a final dinner together at a place of your choice.  Each family at the meal feeds another family by taking the check or bringing the meal, depending on if this is at a home or a restaurant.  In preparation, facilitator can assign who hosts who, or you can draw names.  Then take time to find out what that family likes to eat.  Also, have each person in your family write out a blessing for each member of the family you are hosting and read those after the meal.

As time permits: Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How does serving the needy identify us with Jesus?
What are some things you have done lately to serve Christians in need?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:

  1. Get some Magi boxes from Joel and Nancy Baxley and fill them up for Healing Hands to take to poor children.
  2. Go to Martin Boyd and volunteer to read the Bible, pray with and visit an elderly Christian saint there.
  3. Visit the Tennessee Christian Children’s home and take some gifts to the care givers that work there.
  4. Plan and go on a mission trip to a poor country.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________

Take time to review the past assignments and plan to continue seeking, saving and serving. Join with others and make it a part of who you are in Christ!

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