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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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In this study guide, we’ll discuss the vision God has given our church for our city and for the lives of the people we’ve been called to reach. We’ll examine what it means to live out the gospel and live on mission as we seek to reach our community and change our world.
Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
Getting the Conversation Going: How does God work through crises? He uses His people, His children, His Church!
In His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), Jesus calls His followers “the salt of the earth,” “the light of the world,” and a “city that is set on a hill.” If we’re being honest, it’s easy to live out verses like these in good times—to stand at the door and welcome someone to church with a smile or participate in the occasional outreach (both really awesome things!)—when the world is moving and churning like normal, but what happens to the city on a hill when the world pauses or comes to a screeching halt?! What does the light of the world, the Church, look like when a crisis hits?
The Church is not like a fragile orchid that needs the perfect environment to grow . . . it’s more like a weed in your garden that you cannot kill.—Pastor Doug Sauder
In Hebrews 12:28–29 (ESV), we’re told “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Did you see that? The Church, which is built on the cornerstone and headship of Jesus Christ, is resilient, unshakeable, enduring, and built to last! In fact, it is in moments of crisis, in trials and tribulations, that the Church is called to shine the brightest; to be a beacon of hope, help, and healing for a world that is easily shaken. Disruptions and difficulties in our world and culture create opportunities to bring about revival, advance the kingdom, and put the glory, grace, and goodness of God on full display!
Discussion Question 1: Why does God choose to work through us in the midst of crisis? How have you seen Him work in your life—whether He’s used you in someone’s life or used someone in your life—in difficult seasons?
Discussion Question 2: How has being part of a Christian community impacted your personal relationship with Jesus and your overall quality of life?
The Harvest Is Plentiful: In Matthew 9:37–38 (ESV), Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” The last year and a half has been challenging, divisive, and has pretty much disrupted all of our lives in countless ways, both big and small. And the effects it has had on society, on relationships, on our routines and schedules, in our work and home life, and on the mental, physical, and spiritual health of people around the world are far reaching and have been overwhelmingly detrimental. So, it’s not a stretch to say that this present season is easily the most plentiful harvest we’ve ever seen in our lifetime.
In light of this, as ministers of reconciliation and ambassadors of the kingdom of light, we have an unprecedented and unique opportunity to present people with the answer to all the pain and suffering in this world: Jesus, the hope of nations, the prince of peace!
You’d be surprised by how open people are right now to having conversations centered around faith. As panic, anxiety, fear, and depression have taken hold of people around us, we can offer them true hope, peace, and rest. As redeemed sinners who have received the grace of God and have the hope and peace of God, we have firsthand experience to share with people!
But it starts with us 1) clinging to the hope and confidence we have in Christ, not operating in “a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV), 2) being willing to strike up conversations with people we may not normally interact with (delivery carriers, neighbors, city workers, etc.), and 3) having the holy boldness to engage in spiritual conversations.
Discussion Question 3: What area of need in our world are you most burdened by? What is breaking your heart right now? How is God calling you to be an agent of gospel transformation in this area?
The Power of Getting in the Story: Every single believer is in some way the result of the ripple effect of discipleship. How so? The person or people in your life who prayed for your salvation, those who shared the gospel with you, or the pastor, preacher, teacher, or loved one who led you to Jesus . . . the same thing was done for them at some point! From Jesus to His disciples to the Early Church to today, every one of us has been part of the harvest, and every one of us had laborers impact us.
And every one of us is called to keep this ripple going, to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV), to do life with people and show them how a relationship with Jesus changes everything, and to teach them what life in relationship with Jesus looks like!
Discussion Question 4: How are you continuing the process of discipleship in someone else’s life? Who is your one—it could be one person, one family, or one small group?
Discussion Question 5: In what ways can you be more intentional to contribute to the health of your Christian community and your church?
The Calvary Vision puts definition to a dream we believe God has given our church. What dream? To reach people with the gospel by meeting needs and impacting various areas we believe are close to God’s heart.
So, whether you know where you want to make a difference or would like to learn more about the different opportunities, we’ve got you covered. Visit CalvaryFTL.org/Vision this week to learn how you can be a part of the story God is writing in South Florida and beyond!
In our next study, we’ll continue our discussion of the vision God has given our church as we discuss simple ways we can make a big impact.
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.