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The Journey Session #1 "What Just Happened?"

posted Feb 15, 2018, 1:48 PM by Joel Toppen   [ updated Feb 15, 2018, 3:27 PM ]
On Sunday, February 11 we launched our first church discipleship group using "The Journey" series from LifeWay!


The KEY TRUTH from this lesson was this: You were created by a passionate God who relentlessly pursued you to bring you into His family.

We took a close look at 2 Corinthians 5:17: 
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
Take a moment and really ponder what this verse says: 
If anyone... 
  • There's no ethnic, gender, or social class requirement to be a part of the "anyone" this verse talks about!
  • "Anyone" is me. 
  • "Anyone" is you.
If anyone is in Christ...
  • So if I'm in a relationship with Jesus Christ, all that this verse says, applies to ME.
  • If YOU are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, all that this verse says applies to YOU as well! 
If anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creature; the old things passed away...

What we did in class was, we made a list of "old things" we wanted to see pass away.

  • Some of the things participants mentioned included:
    • Hopelessness
    • Unbelief
    • Idolatry
    • False beliefs
    • Bad thoughts
...Behold, new things have come.

The next thing we did as a group was we made a list of "new things" we wanted to see come as a result of our newfound relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Story
Every lesson in this series has a "story" segment. 

The story from this lesson came from Luke 5:4-11. Some of the questions we asked and discussed as a group included:
  • What are some practical examples of what it looks like to follow Jesus in your life?
  • What makes it difficult to follow Jesus? What makes it easier?
We also paid close attention to these statements from the book: 
  • "Being a Christian isn't about following rules; it's about following a Person – Jesus!" 
  • "Following Jesus is ultimately about doing what Jesus did the way that He did it." 
  • "We strive to replicate Jesus' character, ways, and mission."

Unpacking the Story
Every lesson also has an "unpack the story" segment. In this lesson, we looked at the Creation and how God created everything with perfection. We looked at how God created human beings for the purpose of being in relationship with Him and to be stewards of His creation.

One of the questions we discussed from the book was this: Why do you think it's important to know God as Creator?

Next, we looked at "the Fall" – the introduction of sin and all of its destructive elements into the creation. 

Next, we looked at "the Redemption" – God's plan to redeem what was lost in "the Fall." We looked at the importance of Jesus being fully God and fully human: 
  • Fully God, Jesus made the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt of our sin and cancel the curse of death on our lives. 
  • Fully human, Jesus was able to completely represent man before God!
Lastly, we discussed RE-Creation – God is not finished with His creation! The great story of God is still being written. Our lives as "new creations" in Christ Jesus are vital elements in the ever unfolding story of God! 

As we wrapped up our group time, we read Philippians 2:5-11 together:

Philippians 2:5–11 (NLT)

5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We as a group discussed how we might "do what Jesus did the way that He did it." What attributes of Jesus do we find in this passage that we as His followers should imitate?

Our "homework" for this lesson included the following Bible reading assignments:
  • Mark 1:1-15
  • Mark 1:16-28
  • Mark 1:29-45
  • Mark 2:1-17
  • Mark 2:18-28
  • Mark 3:1-19
  • Mark 3:20-35
Along with each reading assignment, we are supposed to write down at least one thought that occurs to us. For example, when I read Mark 1:1-15, I might write down how it stood out to me that repentance is the beginning of the Gospel. 

There are also 3 interactive devotionals that each of us as participants are to complete before our next meeting. These assignments are found on pages 15-19 of the workbook. 

We decided on meeting every two weeks. 
Our next meeting will be on Sunday, February 25 from 6:00-7:30pm.
  • No meal this time, just snacks to share. 
  • We'll also be splitting up into smaller sub-groups this time. 
I'm so happy to be on this journey with you all! 

-Pastor Joel