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LOOK BACK (25 minutes)

Check Up (18 Minutes)

In his letter to the church James, the brother of Jesus,  writes, “Don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says.” (James 1:22)  I would encourage you to do the same.  Don’t just open your hearts and minds to God’s truth; but get your mouth, feet, and hands involved to.

Walk them through the two minute version of God’s Story as a quick refresher (Just the pictures: Creation, Up’s & Down’s, Jesus, Eternity).

Everyone pair up with someone and share how you shared God’s Story with someone this week.  If you didn’t get the chance to practice with someone this week, then share God’s Story with your partner now.  You’ll each have 5 minutes.

Did anyone have an exceptionally rough week (if yes, pray for them)?

Vision Cast (7 Minutes)

Refer to the Discipleship DNA below

Remember our goal is to be disciples of Jesus by responding to his call, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

The basic DNA of being a disciple of Jesus is . . .

Decide to follow Jesus, develop a

New Creation identity, being transformed by Jesus, and

Act like a minister of the Gospel, by joining Jesus on his mission

Following Jesus is not just a one-time decision, but a process of growing in our love for him

Using the “Love Jesus” graphic below, remind them that in order to surrender and follow Jesus we must first trust him, and to trust him we must grow to know him.

ILLUSTRATION: Easy Company

Easy Company, is the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the "Screaming Eagles", it is one of the best-known companies in the United States Army. Their experiences in World War II are the subject of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers based on the book of the same name by historian Stephen Ambrose. Major Dick Winters, was the commander of Easy Company, from D-Day to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

Major Winters led a company that suffered 150% casualties throughout the war.  Despite this, Winters still inspired his men decades after the fact.  For instance, Edward "Babe" Heffron said: "He was one of the greatest soldiers I was ever under.  He was a wonderful officer, a wonderful leader.  He had what you needed, guts and brains.  He took care of his men, that's very important."

Bill Guarnere, who was called "Wild Bill" by his comrades in arms, observed that: "When he said 'Let's go,' he was right in the front.  He was never in the back.  A leader personified. . . . He was a good man, a very good man.  I would follow him to hell and back.  So would the men from E Company.”

These men followed Major Winters because as they got to know this humble and loyal leader they grew to trust him.  They trusted him so much that they followed him even when it cost them their lives.

How much more should we follow Jesus and put everything on the line?  If we don’t, the problem isn’t simply obedience.  A lot of the time the issue is trust.  We don’t really trust him because we don’t really know him.  After all, no-one is more loving, more loyal, more for you, than Jesus.  He gave his very life for you.

LOOK UP (30 minutes)

Connecting (3 minutes)

Following someone is not an easy thing.  Before we choose to follow someone we must first trust them.  And trust is not easily developed.  One of the best ways that trust is built is through sacrifice.  When someone makes a big sacrifice on your behalf that goes a long way in building your trust of them.  Fortunately, God loves us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me.  We call this the Gospel which means “Good News.”  This Good News shows us that God can be trusted.

Modeling (7 minutes)

Refer to The Bridge illustration

Explain the Gospel using “The Bridge” illustration

Then explain how to respond to gospel in prayer and baptism

Teaching (10 minutes)

Refer to The Bridge Illustration

Give everyone a blank sheet of paper, draw the first part of the Gospel bridge and have them do the same.  Go through each step in the illustration and have them write the appropriate part as you explain it.

Review (10 minutes)

Refer to The Bridge Illustration & text

Together go through the paragraphs that explain each part

Ask them what they think the key words or ideas are in each paragraph

Have them underline those key words or ideas

LOOK FORWARD (35 minutes)

Practice (25 minutes)

Have everyone pair up.  Each person has seven minutes to share with the other person “The Gospel” and Response  just like they were taught.  They can use the Gospel Bridge Handout, but encourage them to try and do as much from memory as possible.  After seven minutes switch.

Have everyone pair up with a different partner.  Each person has five minutes to share with the other person just the Gospel.  They can use the Gospel Bridge Handout, but encourage them to try and do as much from memory as possible.  After five minutes switch.

Challenge: Set Individual Goals (8 minutes)

Share with them - - -  Paul writes “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  I want you to think about that.  The Good News you were just sharing has the power to save a life – to really transform someone.

Ask them “How do you plan to obey God’s Word this week? Or how are you going to be a doer of the Word (James 1:22)?”  They should be led to set their own goals, taking steps forward from where they are at now. Have them pray about what the Holy Spirit would have them do and then write down what the Spirit gives them.

Then have them pair up again with someone and share what they wrote down.  Encourage them to swap contact information and encourage one another in the middle of the week to do what the Holy Spirit showed them.   Remind them that next week, we will “Look Back” by sharing with our partner how we obeyed what the Holy Spirit showed each one of us.

Encourage everyone to share the gospel with someone this week to get better at sharing it. Practice!

Prayer (2 minutes)

Ask God to help each person individually accomplish the goals they set, to share His story and the gospel when prompted by the Holy Spirit.

The Bridge Illustration

Step 1: God’s Purpose

In the beginning, God created man and woman to be in union and harmony with Him and with each other.  So that we would have the capacity to love, God gave man and woman freewill. We matter to God.

[Write a picture of a throne on the right and point to it.]

He loves us with an extravagant love; and He wants to have a relationship with us.  God wants you to be with Him.

Step 2: Our Problem

However, we have a problem.  We have broken relationship with God and with each other.  In other words, we have sinned against God.  We have all chosen our own way over living in harmony with God and with each other.

[Draw the 2 cliffs with unhappy stick man on one side and the throne (God) on the other.]

We are now separated from God, and the gap between where we are and where we should be is wide.  It is not a gap that you and I can fill.  No matter how good we try to be, no matter how much religious activity we do, we can’t bridge this gap on our own.

[Draw lines on man’s side pointing to God but trailing into the chasm.]

Many people call this experience powerlessness.  We are powerless to get from where we are to where we want to be, let alone where God wants us to be.  Because of this, you and I are in danger of being stuck on this side of the chasm for eternity, that is death.

[Write the word death at the bottom of the chasm.]

Step 3: God’s Remedy

However, there is a way across. You see, God loves you and me, and he wants us to live fulfilling lives. So He sent Jesus Christ, His one and only Son to come down to earth to be a bridge across this gap.  He did this by dying for our sins, and the rising from the dead.

[Draw a cross in between the 2 cliffs, bridging it.]

The Bible says that (John 3:16):

  • “For God” (point to the throne)
  • “so loved the world” that’s you and me (point to the person)
  • “that he gave his one and only son,” Jesus (point to the cross)
  • “that whosoever believes in Him,” (draw a happy stick figure with a line crossing the bridge)
  • “shall not perish” (point to the bottom of the chasm and the word “death”)
  • “but have everlasting life” (draw a happy stick figure with a line next to the throne)

Step 4: Our Response

It is important to notice that we need to respond to God’s love.  Jesus did the work, but we must step out onto the bridge in order to get back into right relationship with God.

  • Confess: The Bible says we must confess that we are sinners, in other words acknowledge that we have broken relationship with God and each other.
  • Believe: We must believe that Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves on the cross.
  • Act: Then we must act on that belief by choosing to trust Jesus by following him
  • Result: When we believe in our hearts as evidenced by our actions of trust, God is faithful to forgive our sins and restore us back into relationship with him.  We don’t have to do this perfectly.  We just need to commit to the process.
Ask them if they understand the illustration and its meaning.  Then ask “So, where are you standing at now?” The answer would lead you to know whether the person is stuck, ready to receive Christ, or has already chosen to follow Jesus.
  • If he/she is still on the MAN’s side, you can ask, “What is it that stops you from going to the other side?” (Romans 10: 9-10)
  • If they are ready to follow Jesus ask them to explain to you the illustration. When you believe that they understand the Good News then have them talk to God (pray) and tell him what they believe and what they want from him.  See the major points above – Confess, Believe, Act.
  • Remind them of the Result.  When we believe in our hearts, as evidenced by our actions of trust, God is faithful to forgive our sins and restore us back into relationship with him.  We don’t have to do this perfectly.  We just need to commit to the process.  Congratulate them, they have crossed over the bridge and are now part of the family of God!

Step 5: Our Public Response (Baptism)

The Bible says that when we decide to follow Jesus one of our first acts of faith is to make a public declaration.  Jesus was the first one to make this declaration and he commanded his disciples to do the same.  This declaration is called baptism.  Baptism is the physical act of identifying with what has already happened in your heart.  There are three parts to Baptism.

  1. Baptism is a public declaration that you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and that you will try to the best of your ability to follow him.

    (Draw an arrow to the person on the Bridge of the Cross)
  2. When you are baptized by water, going under the water symbolizes that you identify with Jesus’ death for your sins and that you intend to let the old selfish person die to sin by the power of the Holy Spirit(God) which now lives in you (Romans 6:3-7).

    (Draw an arrow then from the bridge to the word death)
  3. When you come up out of the water it symbolizes that you identify with Christ’s resurrection and that, by that same power that raised him from the dead, you have a new life and new identity in Jesus.  This life is characterized with following Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (God) which now lives in you (Romans 6:8-10).

    (Draw an arrow from death to the throne of God)