Week 11 – Godliness

This is the last extra mile resource until growth groups restart in the Autumn. Why not re-watch and re-read the videos and articles below over the summer to refresh your memory of all that we’ve looked at together so far this year.

WATCH: Reducing the Culture Shock of Heaven

British Pastor Sam Allberry gives us a hugely positive motivation to keep seeking to grow in godliness – so that there’ll be less of a culture shock for us in heaven! I’ll let Sam explain all…

READ: Pursuing Godly Progress

In this article for Table Talk magazine, Adrian Reynolds (Director of Training for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), helpfully challenges us not to be Christians who “stand still” or rely on growing in holiness by osmosis and passivity, but rather to be followers of Jesus who are intentional about heeding the Bible’s direct commands to pursue progress in Godliness with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Advertisements

Week 10 – Evangelism

Well done for making it to week 10 of the Discipleship Pathway! I trust you had a stimulating time discussing the topic of evangelism in your growth groups. This week’s extra mile activities focus on two specific aspects of evangelism – seeking to witness to family members who are not yet followers of Jesus, and thinking about how best to prepare to share your testimony with others.

WATCH: Bringing the Gospel Home

One of the questions that often comes to mind when we discuss evangelism is – how do I share this Good News with my family? Maybe you’re too fearful to share with family members, or you’ve been trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them for years but feel like you’ve hit a brick wall.

Author Randy Newman knows first-hand that sharing the gospel with family members can be a long, painful and even confrontational experience. After becoming a Christian at university he sought to witness to his family, but didn’t see any fruit for decades. But then, wonderfully, his own mother gave her life to Christ aged 75 (along with a number of other family members). In this video Randy shares some of his wisdom and experience in seeking to invite family members to trust in Jesus.

READ: Sharing Your Story

In our groups we discussed how being ready to share your testimony with others is a good way to put into practise the command in 1 Peter 3:15 to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Evangelist Rico Tice, who developed the excellent Christianity Explored Course, shares a few simple yet hugely insightful tips about how to prepare and share your own personal testimony of how you became a Christian, and explain how following Jesus makes a difference to your life. At the end of your article you can even listen to Rico briefly share his own testimony.

https://www.ceministries.org/Articles/540030/Blog/Five_minutes_with_Rico_Tice.aspx

Session 9 – Meeting with God’s People

This week at Growth Group Central we’ve seen God’s great plan for his church and what a privilege it is to be included in this body. This week’s extra mile activities prompt us to reflect on how we can grow in maturity as members of Christ’s body, and how we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.

WATCH: Are you a Healthy Church Member?

Thabiti Anyabwile gives us a 3-minute health check on our attitude to our church, helpfully explaining how belonging to the body of Christ is different to being a member of a bridge club! Why not take a few minutes to both listen to, and then pray in light of, Thabiti’s wise and thoughtful advice in this video.

READ: 20 Quotes from “Why Bother with Church?”

In 2016 Sam Allberry wrote an excellent, short book called “Why Bother with Church?” We’ve recently started giving a copies of this book away to anyone considering applying for membership at Woodgreen. If you’ve never read it, I wholeheartedly recommending doing so. To whet your appetite, click the link below to read an article consisting of 20 insightful quotations from the book, courtesy of Matt Smethurst.

Session 8 – Talking to God

Welcome back to the Discipleship Pathway Blog, encouraging you to go the extra mile in applying the bible study discussions you’ve been having this week on the topic of prayer. This week’s resources offer sound biblical advice and wisdom on how to make the most of the wonderful privilege we have of coming to our great Heavenly Father in prayer.

WATCH: Avoiding a boring prayer life by “praying the Bible”

Professor Don Whitney tackles one of the questions that Christians ask most frequently: “How can I improve my prayer life?” Helpfully, he doesn’t just give us a list of practical to-dos like setting our alarm clock a little earlier. Instead, he gives us one tremendously insightful suggestion for how we can ensure freshness, vibrancy and variety in our prayer life by turning truths that we have read in the Bible into fuel for our prayers.

“I don’t know any Christian who doesn’t want to improve their prayer life.” Prof. Don Whitney

READ: Why should I go to a prayer meeting?

Most of our discussions in growth groups this week revolved around personal prayer. But we also see corporate (together) prayer modelled by the early church in the New Testament. Erik Raymond persuasively reminds us of the benefits of meeting regularly with our brothers and sisters from our church family to pray together. We also enjoy many of these benefits when we spend time praying together as growth groups each fortnight. See if you can come up with some more reasons beyond the six that Erik gives us! Click on the link below:

Session 7 – Listening to God

This term the Discipleship Pathway studies focus in on different Christian disciplines that help sustain us in our daily walk with Jesus. This week we thought about WHY and HOW TO listen to God through our personal Bible reading. These extra mile activities aim to encourage two groups of people in particular. Firstly, those of us who read Jesus’ lifegiving words yet somehow find that it feels like a dry and mechanical exercise. Secondly, those of us who want to read our Bible daily, but feel ill-equipped to do so and don’t have the confidence to start doing so.

WATCH: I Read the Bible and Feel Nothing – What Should I do?

In this video, Pastor John Piper very helpfully answers the following question (its well worth listening all the way through!):

“If I read my Bible, but I don’t feel anything in my affections that resonates with the worth, the value, the preciousness, the beauty, the pleasures of what those words are supposed to communicate, is there anything I can do next? Or do I just have to wait and let the experience happen to me in the future?”

John Piper’s reflections on what it means to apply your heart to God’s Word (Proverbs 22:17-18) are especially helpful.

READ: 8 Questions to Help You Understand and Apply the Bible

The article below by Matthew Hermon provides an incredibly useful and simple method of devotionally studying the Bible that any Christian can use in their personal Bible reading. (NB -This is the model that is briefly outlined in your course booklets). If you are hungry to feed on God’s Word but don’t know where to start, or find yourself scratching your head during your times of Bible reading, wondering what something means, why not consider using Matthew Hermon’s accessible questions to help unlock what God is saying to you through the Bible. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/8-questions-to-help-you-understand-apply-the-bib

Session 6 – The Bible

This week we’ve been looking at the authority and sufficiency of the Bible in our Growth Groups. Its been tremendous to think about the implications of the truth that, as Kevin De Young puts it, “The Bible has the final say on everything that the Bible needs to say something about.” However, some of us may have had our confidence in the Bible knocked by people asking us how we can trust the Bible, as it was written such a long time ago and is alleged to be full of contradictions or errors. This week’s extra mile resources remind us just how trustworthy and reliable the Bible is, and in so doing encourage us that the Bible really is authoritative and sufficient!

WATCH: The Bible Is Old – Have We Lost The Originals?

This engaging and informative video from Speak Life UK (feat. Glen Scrivener) makes clear just how reliable the Bible is, as well as busting some myths about supposed inconsistencies. Look out for a fascinating infographic showing how the Bible is much more reliable than any other ancient document.

(This video is part of a series. The first minute is a recap of previous episodes).

READ: Canon Fodder: The Development of the Bible

Another common critique of Scripture is that the Bible is said to be a man-made book, because it was the early church who apparently picked the books they liked and threw away the rest. In this written interview (see link at the bottom of this post), Michael Kruger, a pastor and seminary president helpfully clarifies common misunderstandings, as well as explaining what the Canon is, how it came to be, and how we can be totally sure that we have the Bible God wants us to have. (P.s. Scroll down to Question 3, which is where this theme of the development of the Bible begins)

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/development-of-the-bible-interview/

Session 5 – God’s Character

This week in our growth groups we’ve been thinking about God’s incommunicable attributes – that is the ways in which God is different to us. (Incommunicable in this context means “unshared”). It was wonderful to study Psalm 139 together and see the many ways in which God is unlike us – to name a few we saw that he is all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging, sovereign, and infinite, things which we are most definitely not! This week’s video and written article help us to further understand why this is such an important concept for us to grasp.

WATCH: Why It’s Good News That God is Not Like Us

In this short but profound clip, Jen Wilkin succinctly summarises precisely why it is such good news that God is different to us.



READ: 10 Things You Should Know About God’s Incommunicable Attributes

In this written article, Jen Wilkin gives us 10 weighty implications and applications of understanding God’s character in all its glory! Click the link below to access this helpful piece and see how these glorious truths impact our day-to-day Christian lives.

https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-gods-incommunicable-attributes/