Watch the most recent sermon on 7.24.2021 Go Now!
July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
Thanks for joining us this weekend as we concluded our vision series with a special message about the impact generosity can have. In this message, we heard from Pastor Doug and explored how generosity can spark a movement of the gospel, how it changes people’s lives, and how God can extend the reach of our generosity far beyond what we’ll ever see.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Below you’ll find a recap of the key discussion points from Pastor Doug’s message and a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: Recall a time when you participated in something that had gone “viral”—something that was trendy and that everyone else was doing—i.e. the push-up challenge, flash mob, “no shave” November, or a pay it forward type of thing. Why did you participate?
Key Discussion Point: Did you know that the constant exposure to suffering, injustice, and trauma takes a serious toll? Experts call it disaster fatigue. When you’re constantly bombarded with negative information, it creates a very real and inescapable sense of doom.
While our ability to experience disaster fatigue is at an all-time high due to our endless access to 24/7 information from every corner of the globe, darkness, hopelessness, and dread are not new . . . and they’re not new in the story of God’s people. But here’s the beautiful thing: The Messiah, the light of the world, has already come into the world, and His light is shining into the darkness even now! And He has called us to stand up and fight darkness with light! 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV) says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.” We have been positioned in the places and spaces we occupy in order that we may be agents of light and hope in the lives of those who are lost.
Friends, our battle is not against flesh and blood, it's not Republican vs. Democrat, black vs. white, pro-choicers vs. pro-lifers, or any other human vs. human conflict. Our battle is not against any one person, because every person is valued and loved by God. He desires a relationship with everyone.
We must always remember that our battle is waged against the forces of darkness, not those who are trapped in darkness. Our role is to shine the light of Jesus into dark places so that those trapped in darkness may see the light and come into the light.
Discussion Question 1: In what ways have advancements in technology—particularly with TV, the Internet, and smart devices—impacted the way we view the world and the people around us?
Discussion Question 2: What does it mean to fight darkness with light? How can we as believers fight back against the forces of darkness?
Key Discussion Point: Between the early 30s AD to 350 AD, the Church grew from 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:3–6) to more than 31 million believers! How did it grow? We can get a good understanding as we read part of this letter from Greek orator Aristides to the Roman Emperor Hadrian, “But Christians . . . show kindness to those near them; they do good to their enemies . . . And he who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him into their own homes and rejoice over him as a very brother . . . And if there is any among them that is poor and needy, and they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food . . . Such, O King . . . is their manner of life . . . this is a new people, and there is something divine in the midst of them.”
The Church grew—in the midst of almost 300 years of intense persecution, not out in the open or in the public eye, not in prosperity, but meeting in catacombs and caves and homes—because the light of Jesus Christ shone through believers. The generous grace of God had so changed and moved them, and the Spirit so profoundly poured love, joy, grace, peace, compassion, mercy, and the heart of Jesus in them, that they couldn’t help but be an outpouring of Jesus into the world around them. And because of God’s work in them, the Church exploded, showing us that the light of Jesus can spark a movement of God regardless of the city, culture, climate, or circumstances. It also shows us that this movement can grow rapidly, because nothing travels faster than light.
Discussion Question 3: What are some of the key characteristics you noted from Aristides’ description of believers in the early church? How can we model these same characteristics in our modern world?
Discussion Question 4: What opportunities has God opened up for you to shine His light during this unique season in our world?
Key Discussion Point: Over the last three weekends, we’ve heard our pastors share how spiritual formation transforms us from takers to givers, from consumers to contributors. And this process involves the head, heart, and hands. So, today, we want to end our discussion time by pondering these three last questions together . . .
Head: How is God calling me to reach my community?
Heart: How has Jesus shaped my desire to be a world changer?
Hands: What habits can I practice to activate my faith?
WALK IT OUT
Ponder: Read Matthew 5:14–16, 2 Corinthians 4, and Ephesians 6:10–20. Reflect on what God is teaching about generosity, our lives, and His will and purposes for us.
Practice: If you haven’t already done so, join in on our churchwide 21 days of prayer and advocacy! To get all the details, visit CalvaryFTL.org/ThisIsOurStory.
Pray: This week, pray and ask the Lord to bring about opportunities for you as an individual and for your group to bring light into the places and spaces in which God has you right now.
QUESTIONS FOR FAMILIES
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
1. Do you interact more with your friends in person or on the phone/computer? Name one thing you like about being with your friends in person and online.
2. What do you think it means for good to fight bad? As a Christian, can you think of a way to fight things that are bad, like lying or saying bad words?
3. Did you hear Pastor Doug talk about people in the church a long time ago? What were some good things they did that we can learn from and do today?
4. Tell me when you did something nice for someone this past week?
Be part of this 24-hour event as we partner with churches and pastors from around the world to pray for our neighbors, cities, countries, and one another. To get all the details, click here.
A LOOK AHEAD
This week, we’ll continue to hold services ONLINE and in person (weekends only)!
Join us online this Wednesday for week four of our fall classes! In our sanctuary class series, we’ll continue our conversation around racism and reconciliation with the fourth part of Dr. Tony Evans’ Oneness Embraced.
Then on the weekend, we’ll kick off a brand-new study through the Book of Colossians titled “Unrivaled.” In week one, Pastor Doug will share from Colossians 1 as we explore the untouchable hope we have in Christ.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
If you aren't already, follow us on social media!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.