The starting point of our relationship with Jesus is seeing our own need for a Savior and putting our trust in Jesus. For more information on what that might look like check the resources under On Your Own.
Being a disciple of Jesus is not something we compartmentalize in our life. Our relationship with Jesus impacts what we think, say, and do. Jesus gives us a new identity. Being connected to Jesus is the primary way that we experience the abundant life that Jesus promises. The New Testament talks about the blessings we have “in Christ” like peace, joy, and love. Over 270 times the phrase “in Christ” is used. Spiritual disciplines are the primary way we live out the fullness of our relationship with Jesus as He invites us to partner with Him in ministry.
With Your Small Group
1. Introduction: Use one small group meeting to discuss this lesson as a starting point.
2. TouchPoint: use these questions before, during, and after working through this trait to help your group have conversations about how you’re growing together as disciples of Jesus:
- Have each group member respond personally: If you are in a growing relationship with Jesus, tell us what that is like.
- People connect with Jesus using a variety of devotional methods. What are some ways that are effective for you?
- How did you come to be in a relationship with Jesus?
3. Get grounded in the Gospel and its transforming power in your life. Choose one of these Bible studies or books:
- Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything by Tim Keller. This study gives a Biblical overview of what it means to live out the Gospel in your life, through your community, and for the benefit of the world. (8-session video-based Bible study; homework preparation recommended but not required; DVD available in CPC Discipleship library.)
- Gospel Identity: Discovering Who You Really Are. This study focuses on the transformation of Christians by the power of the Gospel. (10-session Bible study with leader guide; homework preparation recommended but not required.)
- Gospel of Mark on RightNow Media by Francis Chan.Growing in relationship with someone involves knowing them. Deepen your relationship with Jesus by studying His life, His mission, and His heart for you as revealed in the Gospel of Mark. (11 sessions of 8-15 minute videos; free downloadable leader guide for discussion; no homework.)
- Unlimited Grace by Bryan Chapell. Explaining why grace is important and giving us tools to discover it in Scripture, this book helps us to see how gospel joy transforms our hearts and makes us passionate for Christ’s purposes. (21 chapters organized in 3 parts, 192 pages, reading homework required.)
- The Jesus Centered Life by Rick Lawrence. Walks you through everyday life practices that transform how you see Jesus. (26 chapters, 248 pages, reading homework required.)
Is your group looking to connect more between meetings?
Use the YouVersion Bible app to connect as a group outside your regular meeting times. The Bible app has many different reading plans designed to take you through the Bible in a year, or a single book over the course of a few weeks, or through select Scriptures on a specific topic. Many of the reading plans also include a short devotional to unpack the Scripture a little and challenge you with questions to think about as you read. When you start a new plan, choose the option of reading it “With Friends,” and the app will walk you through inviting others to join you. Get to know each other better and be encouraged by doing a reading plan together. We recommend:
On Your Own
1. Included here are several resources for exploring the Christian faith and what it means to have a relationship with God.
- This article describes how you can start a relationship with God.
- If you’re still exploring or are skeptical, this reading plan from the YouVersion Bible app might give you some insight. This plan helps us understand that the basis of our faith is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Starting Point is video teaching from Andy Stanley found on RightNow Media. Andy will open your eyes to see the Bible as God’s epic story about His desire for a relationship with you. Through these videos, discover how the story started, where it’s going, and find your place in it!
2. These short articles offer encouragement on reading your Bible:
3. Explore The Bible Project to enhance your reading of the Bible. This resource contains numerous short videos providing background, context, and helpful explanations all with the goal to help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. The videos are available on thebibleproject.com as well as in the YouVersion Bible app.
4. For encouragement with spiritual practices, check out these resources:
- Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis. Great for new believers just starting on their journey and fresh encouragement for those of us already along the way.
- A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller. This book offers encouragement for a vibrant prayer life full of joy and power.
- Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper. Through simple spiritual practices freshly applied, Cosper invites us to rediscover the wonder found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Calhoun
5. These are some of our favorite devotionals:
- Saving Grace by Jack Miller
- New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp
- Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today and Every Day
- Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith
- Subscribe to devotionals from FIRST15: daily devotionals consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. This is a devotional resource that is relatable to daily life and helps you experience God in a fresh way every day.
- Use the YouVersion Bible app to stay connected in a consistent way with the Bible. The Bible app has many different reading plans designed to take you through the Bible in a year, or a single book over the course of a few weeks, or through select scriptures on a specific topic. Many of the reading plans also include a short devotional to unpack the scripture a little and challenge you with questions to think about as you read. Explore these reading plans:
Foundational verses provide the biblical basis for each character trait. Read through these verses together as a group when you first begin exploring this trait. You might also consider memorizing one of the verses together.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”—Romans 10:9
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.”—1 Corinthians 1:30
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”—John 15:5
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”—1 John 3:1-2
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”—2 Corinthians 5:17