THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
You can listen to the sermon by clicking here. Then you can click podcast under Sunday January 25. On the right side of where it says Develop Discipline, you can click on either the PDF to see the sermon outline and curriculum guide or you can click on play audio to listen to the sermon.
In this session of the catalysts that God uses to grow a big faith life, you’ll be introduced to the role spiritual disciplines play in the development of our faith. Drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, we’ll discover how God uses systematic prayer and generosity to grow our faith in him.
1. When it comes to discipline, where do you struggle most?
2. Is there something you currently enjoy doing that began as a discipline? If so, what made the discipline become enjoyable?
3. Growing up, were you encouraged to develop habits that could be described as spiritual disciplines? Things like prayer, devotions, giving, fasting, and confession? Did any of these become habits that you have carried with you into adulthood? If so, which? If not, why?
Since strong human relationships are held together through discipline and self-control, we should not be too surprised to discover that our relationship with God requires the element of discipline as well.
4. Can you think of disciplines you’ve developed that have strengthened your relationship with those you care about most? For example, calling your mom on a regular basis; coming home on time; picking up after yourself; trying to live a healthier life.
Read Matthew 6:1-4. In this passage Jesus challenges his audience to engage in the discipline of giving. Jesus assumes generosity. Notice he says when, not if, you give. Our attitude towards generosity and money in general, is usually a reflection of the way we were raised.
5. Were you raised in a home where generosity was practiced and talked about? Were you raised to give? Was the giving in your home more needs/crisis based or did you family support your church or other organizations on a regular, systematic basis?
6. How easy is it for you to be generous when confronted with a specific need? Why?
7. Our “Sky’s the Limit” commitment card challenges us to engage in the spiritual discipline of worship attendance, giving a tithe, praying, and serving in the local church. What is your reaction in particular to the challenge to give financially?
8. Jesus promises that those who give according to his instruction will be rewarded. Do you feel that you’ve been rewarded for your generosity in the past? If so, how?
9. Which is easier, praying consistently or giving consistently? Why?
10. Why do you think Jesus instructs us to pray on a regular basis?
11. We almost all pray in times of crisis. Do you think our crisis prayers would be different if we practiced the discipline of prayer? If so, how?
12. Once again Jesus promises a reward, this time to those who pray. In your opinion, how are those who pray rewarded?
13. Our “Sky’s the Limit” commitment card challenges us to engage in the discipline of prayer. What is your reaction to that challenge? Is that something you could commit to?
The notion of discipline being essential to an authentic, heart-felt relationship may seem strange. After all, discipline is about routine. A relationship is fluid. But if you think about it, every healthy relationship is held together partly by disciplined actions and routines. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the importance of discipline is a relationship is to consider a relationship without boundaries. All self imposed boundaries are a form of discipline. Imagine a marriage in which neither partner practices self control. The marriage would eventually deteriorate. Our relationship with God shares a similar dynamic. Abandoning these practices leaves God at the periphery of our lives. Regularly practicing the spiritual disciplines, however, draw us into a closer, more intimate, more dependent relationship with our God. What will you do in response to the challenge the “Sky’s the Limit” commitment card offers?
CHANGING YOUR MIND
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:24
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35