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What on Earth

Shaped for a Purpose

Shaped for a Purpose

Introduction

God has uniquely wired each of us and calls us to use our talents, personalities, and abilities to make a difference, to bring hope and healing to a broken world.

Have volunteers read Hebrews 13:20-21, Job 10:8-12, and Psalm 139:13-16.

  • How does the idea that God uniquely and intentional created you impact how you view yourself?


Understanding

God has SHAPED all of us in five different ways.

Spiritual Gifts

Have volunteers read Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, 27-31. Encourage participants to listen to the lists and note if there are any gifts listed that they identify with.

  • Are there any of these gifts that you think you might have?  Why do you think that?

  • In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us to “eagerly desire the greater gifts.”  Are there any spiritual gifts you don’t currently have that you would like to have?

Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 4:8-11.

Dave referenced Rick Warren’s statement that my spiritual gifts are for your benefit, and your spiritual gifts are for my benefit, and that failing to use them is to rob each other.

  • How might you use your spiritual gifts to serve others?

Heart

We are all passionate about different things.  Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks doesn’t just have a heart for coffee, he is passionate about creating a place outside of work and the home for people to connect.  Gene is passionate about introducing people to Jesus.

  • What are you passionate about?  Perhaps some other ways to think about this are to ask yourself, what gets you up in the morning?  What makes you laugh and shout and come alive?   What makes you sad and tears at your heart?

  • The reality is that many of us do not get to pursue our passions in our workplaces.  If you do, you are one of the lucky few.  For the rest of us, how do you or might you live out our passion outside of work?

Abilities

We are born with some natural abilities that can be discovered by looking at our past accomplishments. The vocational skills we have are also usable in God’s work for the benefit of the cause of Jesus. When God gives us an assignment, He equips us with His Spirit and with abilities to carry it out.

  • What natural or learned abilities do you have?  How might you use those to serve others?

Personality

God has wired each of our temperaments in a unique way. Whether you are bold, dynamic, and assertive or moderate, calm, and careful, your personality is needed in God’s new community. It can be used to help others exploring their faith, or support others in need.

  • Do you tend to be more introverted or extroverted?  How does this shape your relationships?  What relational strengths come out of your introversion or extroversion?  What relational pitfalls do you need to avoid?

  • Do you tend to be more self-expressive or self-controlled?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of your personal style?

  • Do you prefer routine or variety?  If you prefer routine, how do you make sure that you remain open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, recognizing that sometimes a new idea is truly a better idea?  If you prefer variety, how do you make sure you stay focused long enough to be able to truly make a difference?

Experiences

God uses our experiences to teach us to trust Him, to build character, and to accomplish His purposes as we allow Him to use our experiences to help others experience Jesus. Some of our experiences bring great joy, others great sorry.  Often our most significant personal growth comes from difficulty.

We would do well to take a good look at our painful experiences and what our trials have taught us. God never wastes a hurt or bad experience. Along with these tough times are other experiences to draw on—meaningful times with God, work experiences, and educational opportunities.

  • Are there one or two life experiences you’ve had that you might be able to use to benefit others?  Share them with the group.


Application

  • When you consider your SHAPE, what are some ways that you might be able to serve:

    •  In your workplace?

    • In your neighborhood and social circles?

    • In the church?

  • If you’d like help thinking through how you might be able to use your SHAPE to impact your community or serve with Compassion, you can contact Eastside’s Director of Local Compassion, Erica Sperrazzo, at esperrazzo@eastside.com.

  • If you would like to further explore how God has SHAPEd you, check out week three of Next Steps on June 18/19: eastside.com/nextstep

 

What on Earth am I Here For?

What on Earth am I Here For?

Introduction

This weekend we celebrated the nearly 2000 Change Makers of Eastside, those people who give of their time and talents to make an impact for the Kingdom of God here.  The reality is that God created all of us to be Change Makers.  Below we’ll explore how that might look in each of our lives.


Understanding

Accept God’s Call

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 2:8-10.

This passage teaches us that God created us to do good works, and that he has already prepared those good works for us.

  • Do you feel like you have a particular calling or purpose in life?  If so, what is it?  And how did you figure out what it is?

 

Advance His Cause

Have a volunteer read Acts 17:24-27.

If God’s only goal in saving you were to get you to heaven, then as soon as you stepped over the line of faith and received His amazing grace through Jesus he might have well have just killed you. 

Instead, God has a purpose for His people.  He wants us to use the gifts and talents he has given us to help people find Him, to show them the Gospel of Jesus.

  • How might God specifically be calling you to use your gifts and talents to help others find Him?  This could be joining on a team at Eastside.  It could be serving with Compassion.  It could be finding ways to love your neighbors or your co-workers.

    • If you want to join an Eastside team, visit eastside.com/volunteer.  If you want to serve with Compassion, they can visit eastside.com/compassionvolunteer.

  • Are there things that God might be calling you to sacrifice in order to be a more effective Change Maker?  For instance, maybe God is calling you to foster a child, invite a struggling single mom to live with you, or spend less on yourself in order to give more away.

 

The Change Maker Code

A code is a way of thinking, behaving, and speaking that defines the culture of a community and those who are a part of it.  It’s the values you live by.  Change Makers live by five values.

 

Jesus is the star. We are the body doubles.

Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

We are the body of Christ.  We each play a unique role in representing Him to the world.  But we’re representing Him.  It’s not about bringing attention to ourselves.  It’s about pointing people to Jesus.

  • How can you most effectively point people to Jesus?

 

It’s not about me.

Have a volunteer read Philippians 2:3-8.

A professor at Fuller Seminary surveyed people in a thousand churches one time and asked them the what the purpose of the church is.  89% of the people in those thousand churches said, “The #1 purpose of the church is to meet my needs and the needs of my family.”

That clearly flies in the face of Philippians 2.

  • Where are you tempted to make it about yourself?  Is it the volume of the music at church?  Do you get worked up over who gets the credit on work projects?  Are you always concerned about whether your kids like their other parent better than they like you?

 

I am the church everyday and everywhere.

The Bible refers to the church as a number of things:

  • A body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

  • The bride of Christ (Ephesians 5; Revelation 19:6-8)

  • A flock of sheep (Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:2-3)

  • A family (Galatians 4:5; Matthew 12:48-50; 1 John 4:20; 1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Note to Leaders: You don’t have to read all of those Scriptures with the group. They’re there for reference.

Scripture never talks about church as a building or a place you go.  The church is comprised of everyone who is a follower of Jesus.[1]  We are the church everyday and everywhere.

That means that we represent Jesus, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

  • In light of this reality, what do you need to change about the way you live?

 

Extra is ordinary.

Have a volunteer read Matthew 5:41.

In ancient Rome a soldier could legally force you to carry his gear for a mile, but he couldn’t force you to carry it any farther.  Jesus told his followers to “go the extra mile” and carry it two.

And here’s the catch, the Romans were the enemies of Jesus’ followers.  They were an occupying force.  That would be like an American voluntarily carrying a British soldier’s pack an extra mile during the Revolutionary War.  That’s the crazy, revolutionary love of Jesus.

  • Where in your life might God be calling you to go the extra mile, to serve above and beyond what is expected or reasonable?

 

Build up!

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:29-32.

It’s easy to criticize and complain, but those two things can stop a church seeking to do great things for God dead in its tracks.  Paul tells us that rather than speaking negativity, we need to speak words that encourage and build up.

  • Do you tend towards criticism and complaining or encouragement?  If it’s the former, why is that and how can you shift your mindset and speech?

  • What’s the difference between constructive criticism that seeks to make things better and destructive criticism that tears things down?

    • Leader Hint: If the criticism is because “I don’t like it.” or “It doesn’t serve me.” then you’re probably just making it about you.

    • Leader Hint 2: If the person you’re talking to has the power to change what you’re talking about, then it may at least potentially be constructive criticism.  If the person you’re talking to has no power to change it, then it’s probably just complaining.


Application

  • How might God specifically be calling you to use your gifts and talents to help others find Him?  This could be joining on a team at Eastside.  It could be serving with Compassion.  It could be finding ways to love your neighbors or your co-workers.

  • Are there things that God might be calling you to sacrifice in order to be a more effective Change Maker?  For instance, maybe God is calling you to foster a child, invite a struggling single mom to live with you, or spend less on yourself in order to give more away.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.2pillarschurch.com/blog/2014/6/the-church-isnt-a-building