There’s a fascinating scene that takes place in Acts 17. Paul and Silas were on their missionary journey, proclaiming and advancing the Gospel when they came to the city of Thessalonica. Upon their ministry there, some welcomed and received the teachings of Jesus, while others responded with a riot. One of the claims made against the missionaries was:
These men who have turned the world upside down have come here…
This is exactly what the Gospel does when it comes to a person, a people, and a place. It turns the world upside-down. Christianity is not something that is baptized into what already exists. It blows up all our boxes of preconceived notions, it realigns priorities, and is an act of re-appropriation. While it can be disorienting at first and continually so, it’s ultimately an act of God putting things back into place the way they ought to be. Thus, when the Gospel comes, there needs to be a paradigm shift in how we think, behave, act, serve, and meet. Over the next five weeks, we will be looking at just how God is currently doing that at Summit View Church.
How to Use The Study Guide
This guide has been specifically prepared with you in mind. It will help life groups grow deeper together in relationship with God and one another.
Each week there are conversations starters to help get things rolling, followed by questions for discussion based on the text. Each week wraps up with personal applications and things to pray for to help you grow spiritually.
We realize you may not be able to get to every question. Pick the ones that would best work for your group. Obviously, you are more than welcome to pull in other resources, or highlights from the sermons each week. Our hope is that by participating in this study, you will have a firmer grasp on the Scriptures and a stronger connection with Christ.
New Year? Another Chance to Grow In Your Bible!
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. -Psalm 119:105
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. These plans (and more) can be accessed on the Bible portion of our app, or here on our website at summitview.net/read.
The Bible Project | The Bible – This plan takes you on a chronological journey through the entire Bible in one year. Each book includes videos specifically designed to enhance your understanding and engagement with God’s Word.
First Steps – This plan includes just a few, brief readings each day to build consistency and confidence for new believers or those wanting to explore the Bible more.
M’Cheyne One-Year Plan – Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once. Includes podcasts and devotional materials.
VISION & MISSIONWEEK 1
JANUARY 5, 2020
Study Guide content
Vision of Summit View: To see a movement of disciple-making churches advancing God’s Kingdom throughout the world.
Mission of Summit View: To equip and empower the body of Christ to lead and impact every sphere of life with Gospel-Centered Living.
We desire to see 5% Kingdom of God growth in Clark County over the next 10 years. For that to happen, we must be committed to the call Jesus has put on our lives.
Q. What originally attracted you to attend Summit View Church?
Follow Up: What helped you move from being simply an attender versus someone who calls Summit View home?
Read & Discuss Matthew 28:18-20
Read Matthew 28:18-20.
After Jesus arose from death, defeating our biggest enemies of sin, death, and Satan, He gave the “Great Commission” to His disciples. In this famous passage, Jesus commands his followers to go and make disciples.
Q. Why do you think these verses are so often reviewed and reflected upon in the Christian life?
Follow Up: What is a disciple? What should disciples of Jesus look like?
Follow Up: Based on this passage, whose “job” is it to make disciples?
Follow Up: It comes as a surprise to many people when they discover that the followers of Jesus Christ are called “Christians” only three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). What is the difference between going and making Christians versus going and making disciples? Hint: While both may imply a relationship with Jesus, the term “disciple” is the stronger of the two, implying the relationship of a pupil to a teacher, taking seriously their responsibility to be “under the discipline” of Christ.
Read & Discuss Ephesians 4:11-16
Read Ephesians 4:11-16
The call to go and make disciples can seem like an overwhelming and intimidating task. But we can take great comfort because Jesus has not only promised to be with us until the end of time, but He has also given us everything necessary to accomplish this goal.
Q. According to this passage, who gives spiritual gifts?
Follow Up: What are some of them?
Follow Up: Who receives them?
Follow Up: What is the main purpose of them? Hint: equip people for works, build up the body, reach unity of faith, maturity.
Q. Why is it imperative for each of us to have a proper understanding of our gifts, as well as the gifts of others? How does this align with the vision and mission of Summit View Church?
Follow Up: Do you have a clear understanding of how God has gifted you and called you to be a part of this movement?
As we close and until we meet again, let Ephesians 3:14-21 be our anchoring text for prayer. Within this prayer, the Apostle prays for two specific things: First, that God would strengthen us with His power through the Spirit, and second, that we may be able to grasp the limitless love of Christ. If these two things take place, we will experience the movement of God we’ve been seeking as a church.
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TRUE COMMUNITYWEEK 2
JANUARY 12, 2020
Study Guide content
“Community” has become such a buzzword and sought-after experience. People attempt to find it at the pub, the gym, on the Internet, or supporting local causes. Many even join a church in an attempt to find connection to something larger than themselves. What’s interesting about all of this is that depending on one’s prior experience or exposure, most of us have a differing opinion on what community is, what it should look like, and what it should offer us. This week, we turn our attention to what the Bible teaches about true authentic community.
In fellowship we engage in common activities of worship, study, prayer, celebration, and service with other disciples. This may involve Assembling ourselves together in a large group or meeting with a few. Personalities united can contain more of God and sustain the force of his greater presence much better than scattered individuals. The fire of God kindles higher as the brands are heaped together… The members of the body must be in contact if they are to sustain and be sustained by each other…. – Dallas Willard
Community is an instrument of worship, a weapon against sin, and a tool for evangelism – all for the exaltation of Jesus. – Brad House
Jesus has called His people to have an identity, purpose, and mission. All of which are to be enjoyed and expressed in His community.
In the early church, we see a commitment to three things: Discipleship, Community, and Mission. Which one of these activities is easier for you than the others? Why do you think that’s the case?
Read & Discuss Acts 2:42-47
Read Acts 2:42-47.
Q. What are the activities the early church devoted themselves to? Explain what each of them means.
Q. What do you naturally desire most in your church experience: apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, or prayers? Why? How much of what you have experienced in the past impacts your view of our current church?
Q. Not only was the church committed to these activities as we read in verse 46, they did all of it with glad and generous hearts. Could this be said of you? Your family? Your group?
Follow Up: If not, why not?
Q. Reflecting on the actions and attitudes of the early church, what should we incorporate into our lives? Does their devotion inspire you to grow in any one of these areas?
These passages highlight the unity and intimacy of the early Christian community. It was committed to the Scriptures, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer, service, and hospitality. The internal vibrancy resulted in numerical growth. Yet, when growth happens, we often see it as a negative or painful thing; things won’t be the same as they used to be or what we’re comfortable with. Regardless of what campus you call home at Summit View, we’re all experiencing these growing pains. As we conclude, take time to pray for our church and your campus specifically to continue to embody the things we studied this week.
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THE ABUNDANT LIFE V. THE GOOD LIFEWEEK 3
JANUARY 19, 2020
Whatsoever is good for God’s children they shall have it; for all is theirs to help them towards heaven; therefore if poverty be good they shall have it; if disgrace or crosses be good they shall have them; for all is ours to promote our greatest prosperity. – Richard Sibbes
Most people can’t follow Jesus because they are held captive by the American dream, and can’t free themselves of it until they disabuse themselves of the lies and idolatry it is built upon. – J.D. Greear
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — these three ideas have grabbed hold of the American heart. There is fierce pursuit of them, and a strong defense made against anyone and anything that threatens them. We have the great honor and privilege of living as a beneficiary of those who have paved the path for us. While all these things are good and to be enjoyed, many of us have settled for them, while actually missing out on something more that Christ has for us (which sometimes comes at the expense of our life, liberty, and happiness). Experiencing the abundant life or settling for the good life is a battle that is waged in our hearts and minds every day.
The life Christ has called us to is vastly different than the one we often expect.
Q. As you were growing up, what was your dream of the “good life”? What did it entail? What did you want it to look like?
Listen & Discuss (Podcast)
Listen & Discuss
Listen to this interview with John Piper – What’s the Difference between Living for the Kingdom and Living for the American Dream? http://bit.ly/ShiftWeek3
Q. What, if anything, sticks out to you in this brief interview with Pastor John?
Q. In this interview, Pastor John contrasts a wartime lifestyle and a life of comfort. He speaks about guarding against luxury and opulence, to move toward need; rather than toward comfort and security; to move toward generosity and simplicity, rather than maximizing our own comforts and luxuries now. How does this strike you? How does this compare to the life you have dreamed of?
Follow Up: What makes the prosperity gospel so attractive to us?
Read & Discuss John 10:10
Read John 10:10.
Q. If you’ve been in church at any point in your life, you’ve probably heard this verse referenced, that Jesus has come to give His people an abundant life. What do you think Jesus meant when He said this?
Obligation v. Privilege
Read & Discuss Matt. 28:18-20; Matt.11:20; Acts 1:8; John 10:10
Obligation v. Privilege
As you read through these four verses, ask yourself the following:
Q. Are these teachings of Jesus a command/obligation for all? For someone else?
Q. Are these promises from Jesus for all? Specifically, for me?
Q. Often what happens is that we take the passages of command/obligation and see them as applicable to someone else (i.e. Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8). Yet, we take the passages of promise and comfort and see them as applicable to ourselves (i.e. John 10:10 and Matthew 11:20). Why do you think that is? Do find yourself doing just that?
Follow Up: It’s possible that Jesus’ intention for His followers to have an abundant life is not only found in experiencing His promises, but also finding life, fulfilment, and satisfaction in obeying His commands?
When Jesus speaks about the abundant life, He isn’t simply pointing to the eternal life we will enjoy with Him. It is something that is already available for us to experience today. The Christian life is not a drab, miserable, lifeless existence. As believers, we are to have a purposeful life, experiencing God’s favor and blessing. This is done when we heed Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and all things will be added to you” Each day this week as you rise and start your day, let this be a guided prayer:
God, thank you for all the blessings you have given me. Thank you for the abundance that awaits me in heaven. On earth, help me to seek first Your kingdom, not my own comfort. Lead me to work to expand Your kingdom, not my own. Help me to walk by Your word, not by my own selfishness. Amen.
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ABUNDANCE V. SCARCITY MENTALITYWEEK 4
JANUARY 26, 2020
Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. . . . The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. – Stephen Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The pressure in our culture to secure our own future and to control our lives as much as possible does not find support in the Bible. – Henri Nouwen
God’s desire for His people is for them to live their lives with open hands, entrusting all things to Him.
Q. Can you think of a time you experienced generosity or hospitality that left a lasting mark on your life? If so, please share.
Read & Discuss Psalm 104:10-17 and 24-30
When we think of God’s work in creation, we often refer to Genesis 1. We think God performed His work and then stopped working, letting things run their course. Yet, that’s a misunderstanding of God’s care with and generosity toward his creation. Psalm 104 speaks to this involvement and it gives His people reason to sing praises to Him. Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise of God’s glory, involvement in and with creation, and speaks to His generosity in giving abundantly for all living creatures.
Q. What do these verses reveal about God’s relationship with His creation and its order?
Follow Up: What does it express about God and who He is?
Follow Up: Do these verses show God as one who operates out of an abundance or scarcity mentality? What are some other Biblical examples to reinforce your opinion?
Read & Discuss Luke 12:22-34
Read Luke 12:22-34.
Operating with a scarcity mindset tells us that there will never be enough – money, food, time, etc. As a result, we operate and act out of a place of lack, keeping our hands tightly closed. Yet, this is not how the Scriptures teach us to live.
Q. What are the two illustrations that Jesus uses to make His point? How are you helped or encouraged by this? Hint: See verses 24 and 27.
Q. Three times in this passage, Jesus invites us to not be worried, anxious, or afraid. Why is it that we worry and are anxious?
Follow Up: How can we better seek to live, considering the assurances Jesus gives us in this passage?
Q. In verse 34, Jesus states, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” How does this help reveal whether we live out of an abundance or scarcity mentality?
Follow Up: It’s important to notice that Jesus isn’t against treasure, nor building it up; He simply wants us to stop storing them in the wrong place. Where we choose to store our treasures depends largely on where we think our home is. With all of that in mind, where do you think you are currently storing up your treasure?
Psalm 16:11 says: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This verse speaks to the relationship we have with our God. Our ability to live open-handed with our time, talent, and treasure is highly dependent on our ability to see and experience the pleasure that comes from walking closely with God and receiving our sustenance from Him.
This week, allow yourself to be keenly aware of God’s generosity toward you, thus modeling for you and motivating you to live a life in response to being a recipient of His grace.
To learn more about the abundance/scarcity mentality, listen to this podcast from The Bible Project: https://bit.ly/ShiftWeek4
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DISCIPLESHIP & MULTIPLICATIONWEEK 5
FEBRUARY 2, 2020
The concept of multiplication [in the book of Acts] seems to point in the direction of an increasing number of groups and churches rather than an expansion of existing ones. – George Peters A Theology of Church Growth
We are communities of light. Mission is not something we achieve. It is part of our identity. Mission is central to what it means to be God’s people. – Steve Timmis
We are to make disciples, not converts. Contenders of the faith, not fans of the faith.
Q. Passion fuels priorities and even changes them. There’s always enough time for what you want to do. We give time to our true passions and desires. Our true passions and desires motivate us. What’s one thing that you always have time for? (Exclude day-to-day necessities such as eating and sleeping.)
Read & Discuss Mark 4:30-32
Read Mark 4:30-32.
This parable taught by Jesus tells us something insightful about the Kingdom of God. It begins in a small and unnoticed way, different than what was expected. This parable emphasizes small beginnings but remarkable growth.
Q. If someone has seen a mustard seed, they would certainly be unimpressed. It’s less appealing than most seeds. Why do you think Jesus chooses this analogy to describe the Kingdom of God?
Read & Discuss 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
Paul seems to echo this notion of unimpressive things being key pieces in the story of salvation.
Q. Who did God choose to save? And for what purpose? Is that what you would pick to start a worldwide movement like the church?
Q. Can you think of someone in the past who has contributed to the Kingdom of God in a seemingly small way that grew into something greater? What was the impact?
Q. How is an intentional approach to discipleship a good example of something starting small and growing larger? Hint: Out of this small band of Jesus’ followers comes a Kingdom that will spread to the end of the world and will transform the world as we know it. You and I called to play a part in it.
Read & Discuss 2 Timothy 2:1-2
Read 2 Timothy 2:1-2.
Paul modeled generational disciple-making and told Timothy to do the same. In these verses, Paul told Timothy that he was responsible to make a disciple that made a disciple that made a disciple. Timothy was to be a generational disciple-maker. It should be the goal of each of us. But the question is, is it your goal?
Follow Up: If so, who is it that you’re currently discipling?
Follow Up: If not, who is it that you could pull in and begin discipling?
Follow Up: What things need to be passed along? Another way to ask this question, what are the qualities of a disciple who is complete in Christ? (See Colossians 1:28-29.)
This week, spend time reflecting on and praying the following verse:
One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. -Psalm 145:4-7
- Give thanks to God for the individuals who have invested in your walk with Jesus.
- Pray for God to continue to do this work in and through you.
- Pray for those whom you are discipling and those who your disciples are discipling.
- Pray for the launch of the Battle Ground campus on February 9!
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