Feb 1, 2013
Maybe you’ve seen the power of trusting God’s promises. You’ve been living by faith, praying over God’s promises, experiencing God’s heart-satisfying presence, and growing in love and obedience.
And you are wondering — how can I help others experience this? What can I do?
Here’s what we’ve been doing at Mercy Hill Church.
Our church is built on home groups — groups of 8 to 20 people who are committed to living by faith, loving each other, and working together to lead others to faith.
Each group meets once a week in a home for dinner, talking about God’s Word, worshiping, praying, and talking about how we are advancing the Gospel.
But we also want each group to grow strong in living by faith. So we’ve been wondering — what could we do?
What we’ve done is raise two questions while we eat dinner.
The first is — What burdens are we struggling with? People can share about worries, finances, relationships, temptations, parenting, disappointments — whatever.
As the person shares we seek to bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2) and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15). We want to listen well and love deeply. But we know they need more — they need a promise to help them fight the fight of faith.
So then we ask a crucial second question — What does Jesus promise to do about this burden? Sometimes the person with the burden doesn’t know what Jesus promises for their specific burden — so we all share promises we know.
A while back, as we were asking about burdens, one young man (let’s call him “Bill”) shared that he feared he might lose his job.
We listened to his story, asked questions to learn more, and sought to love him and care for him.
Then I asked the second question. I usually say something like this —
Faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus. So the most important question to ask at every point of life is — what does Jesus promise to do about this problem? So let’s think about this together. Bill is fearful of losing his job — so what does Jesus promise to do for him?
One person shared Isaiah 41:10 –that Bill didn’t need to fear, because God was with him. That was helpful, but it’s crucial to help people think about exactly what promises mean. If we don’t, then promises easily become meaningless cliches which give no help.
So I said — That’s an encouraging promise. Thank you for sharing it. So let’s dig into that promise. Does that mean Bill won’t lose his job?
As we talked, we saw that it’s possible God would allow Bill to lose his job. So then I asked — Then what does it mean that God will be with him — and how does that mean Bill does not need to fear?
Someone mentioned Matt 6:33 — that God would continue to provide for all Bill’s needs (not necessarily all his wants, but all his needs). Another person shared 1Pet 2:20-21 — that God sometimes calls his beloved saints to suffer as a way to display God’s glory.
Someone else shared 2Cor 4:17 — that if God allowed Bill to lose his job, it’s because God will use this to bring him even more joy in God now and forever. And someone shared James 1:5 — that God would give Bill all the wisdom he needed to know how to deal with what was going on at work.
Then we laid hands on Bill and prayed that God would strengthen his faith, fill him with all joy and peace in believing, give him wisdom, and not have him lose his job.
We all left deeply encouraged.
How This Is Impacting Us
We’ve been doing this for a few months now, and here’s the impact of asking these two questions —
- instead of just listening to burdens, and caring, and praying — we now are also helping each other fight the fight of faith.
- our focus is no longer just on the problem — but is now also on the all-glorious Jesus who has a promise for every problem.
- many have seen how few of God’s promises they know, and how little they have lived by faith.
- we are no longer quoting promises as cliches — but are digging deep into what they actually mean.
- our knowledge of God’s promises is growing — everyone is learning what God has promised!
So with the permission of your church leadership, try this in your small group. I think you will be excited to see what happens.
* The above discussion took place a few months ago, and I can’t remember exactly how it went. But the discussion I describe is similar to what usually happens, so it’s pretty close to what happened.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- Ten Questions That Transformed My Christian Life
- A Spiritual EKG for Your Heart
- How to Fight the Fight of Faith
- One Reason You MUST Be Part of a Church Community
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