Session 1 – Introductions (GOD’S LOVE and PURPOSE WILL GUIDE YOU)
You have begun a life-changing journey with God. So, what has happened to you, and what can you expect?
Welcome to our Foundations discussions. These studies are designed to be done in a small group setting. Our primary purpose is preparing you for what is coming your way in this new life as a follower of Jesus. We pray you will develop friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ with whom you will “do life” together while learning to fully follow God.
We believe our mission is to see all come to a saving Knowledge of Jesus and be equipped to fully follow Him. We do this by “Knowing God, Finding Freedom, Discovering Purpose, and Making a Difference” (Exodus 6:6-8).
To begin, let’s get to know each other (including hosts)
- Tell the group a bit about yourself
- Do you remember the first time you heard that Jesus loved you?
- What about becoming a Christian attracted you?
- When and why did you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
- What are you hoping to take away from these sessions?
Purpose for the Foundations sessions:
- To clearly understand who God is, and what He has done for you.
- To discover His plan for your life and walk with Him in it.
- To learn to joyfully experience God’s love, presence, and transforming power in your daily life.
- To learn to hear directly from God from His word and His presence.
- To learn to live out the answer to this question: “Am I a bit more like Jesus this week than I was last week?” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
How to use the materials:
- Make it a part of your daily personal time with God.
- At any time you can listen for God speaking directly to you by
- Watching a video
- Reading a Narrative
- Reading and meditating upon a suggested verse
- Reading one of the “Keynotes and Takeaways”
- Be ready and willing to joyfully cooperate with God as He speaks to you
It is very important to always remember that everything God says and does is because of His incredible love for you (1 John 4:16-19, John 3:16, John 10:10). Everything God says and does is for your good (Jeremiah 29:11).
It is also important to know that our God is “one God in three persons (the Trinity)”. They are the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. Each “person” has distinct roles, but they are one God. Kind of makes your brain hurt, but it is true (Mark 1:10-11, Philippians 1:2, Titus 2:13, Acts 5:3-4).
Did you know that God is “omnipotent” (all powerful – Jeremiah 32:17), “omniscience” (knows everything – 1 Chronicles 28:9, Psalm 147:5), and “omnipresent” (everywhere at all times – Proverbs 15:3).
God has a plan for your life that He designed even before you were conceived (Psalm 139, Psalm 33:11). It is a much better way to live than you now are (1 Corinthians 2:9, Jeremiah 29:11). God’s plan is to “save you”, “see you changed” into the person He desires, and be released into your calling and purpose.
All this comes together as you learn to “be changed into Jesus likeness and image” by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
God wants you to learn to fully follow Him by continuously experiencing His presence, love and power in your daily life.
But be aware, there are also those who desperately want to see you continue in sin, walk away from God and fail. Specifically, the devil and his demons who are in a battle to keep your soul away from God. This study will also help equip you to see this does not happen.
Take time to read and think about the teachings that follow. Please feel free to ask any question.
The foundational teachings below will help prepare you for what lies ahead. It will not always be easy, but it will be so worth it!
Each teaching begins with a video followed by great information including scripture references for more in-depth discussions. Please contribute your thoughts and ask questions at any time.
SO, HOW DID YOU GET HERE, AND WHAT IS COMING YOUR WAY?
“Something” has caused you to respond to a need or desire in your life for change, yes?
Something has caused you to begin believing that there is a better way to live your life and Jesus may hold the key. You have heard us say that we believe Jesus is God. He came to Earth and was killed to pay the price for your “sins” so God would accept you back into His presence (both now on Earth, and forever in Heaven). To prove it, Jesus was raised from the dead and now asks you to both believe in Him and do what he asks of you.
That is quite a story to believe, but something has caused you to say OK, I’ll believe enough to at least begin seeing if this is all true and my life can change for the better. So, you have decided to follow Jesus.
IS ALL THIS REALLY TRUE?
How can you know if it is true, and what to do next? A good way is to examine the lives of those who followed Jesus while He was on Earth and witnessed what He said and did. They also witnessed His death and resurrection. What was their response? How did their lives change?
Their stories are well documented in an incredible book we call the Bible (along with many other stories that document the lives of people God chose to experience and tell His story). We firmly believe the collection of writings called the Bible is the most awesome book ever written and will be an invaluable guide to study as you get to know God better and better. It is God’s own love story to you that reveals who He is, what His plans and promises are for you, and how to live them out. It contains more knowledge and wisdom than any other book ever written! You are called to read it, study it and apply its teachings to your life.
But you do not need to know the Bible to begin following Jesus. That will come soon. While we believe all the Bible says is true and, and there are many invaluable lessons to be learned and wisdom gained from it, your initial focus should be confirming your belief that Jesus is all He says He is so you have the confidence to fully follow Him.
Some may question if Jesus is real, if all this really happened, and if He is who He claimed to be. I mean, claiming to be God, doing miracles, being killed, being raised from the dead, floating up into heaven while giving us His plan for the future!!! WOW.
We do not have time during this study to go into the many proofs that all this is true. It will be part of other studies (fulfilled prophesy, history, archeology, written documentation, changed lives, to name a few).
That being said, one of the best proofs is seeing how those closest to Jesus responded after being with Him, listening to His teachings, seeing His miracles, seeing Him crucified, be raised from the dead, and then ascend back to heaven: they willingly did as He asked even though it meant they were at high risk of being killed for their faith. That is the impact being with Jesus had on them! That is how convinced they were that He is all He said He was.
The following summary is from https://raychoi.org. These sources were used to confirm what happened to Jesus’ disciples:
- Historian Hippolytus of Rome (Birth unknown, died around 236 AD)
- Historian Eusebius (the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, known as the “Father of Church History” because he wrote about the church history. Lived around 260-341 AD0
Of the 13 close followers of Jesus profiled below, 9 were martyred for their faith and 4 were local missionaries in Jerusalem/Judea until they died of old age.
Andrew– was a missionary to modern day Georgia/Bulgaria. He was a fisherman from Galilee; was Peter’s brother; brought Peter to Jesus. He was martyred (crucified) in the town of Achaia (Greece).
Bartholomew– also known as Nathanael; was a missionary to India, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew; was martyred (crucified) upside down in Armenia (Georgia)
James, Son of Alphaeus– was a local missionary in Jerusalem. When preaching in Jerusalem he was stoned to death by the Jews and was buried there beside the temple.
James, Son of Zebedee–was a local missionary in Judea. He was the son of Zebedee, brother to John the disciple “that Jesus loved.”. He was referred to by Jesus as one of the sons of thunder. He was martyred (beheaded) in Judea by Herod.
John, brother of James and son of Zebedee– he wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John; in Asia, he was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation; died in Ephesus of old age.
Matthew/Levi– A tax collector in Capernaum; son of Alphaeus, possibly James’ brother; also known as Levi or the publican; wrote the Gospel of Matthew; died of old age at Hierees, a town of Parthia (Iran).
Simon/Peter– He was a fisherman from Galilee who was previously called Simon and was also called Cephas; he was Andrew’s brother; wrote 1st and 2nd Peter; preached the Gospel in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy, and Asia; was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.
Philip– was a missionary to Phrygia (Turkey); from Bethsaida; preached in Phrygia (Turkey) and was crucified and buried in Hierapolis in the time of Domitian.
Simon the Zealot– was bishop of Jerusalem after James; died of old age in Jerusalem.
Thaddaeus/Judas son of James– was a missionary to Edessa and to the surrounding Mesopotamian region (Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran); died of old age.
Thomas– Also called Didymus; often remembered as “Doubting Thomas”; preached to the Parthians (Iran), Medes (Iran), Persians (Iran), Hyrcanians (Iran), Bactrians (Afghanistan), and Margians; was killed and buried in Calamene, a city of India.
Matthias– was local missionary in Jerusalem; died of old age
Paul– became an apostle a year after the ascension of Christ and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum (Croatia), Italy and Spain, preaching the Gospel for 35-years. In the time of Nero, he was beheaded and buried at Rome.
Unless you conclude all these men were lunatics, their life-long responses to having been with Jesus is stellar proof that He is all He claims, and worthy to be fully followed!
So, you have decided to follow Jesus. Let’s see what has happened to you, and what lies ahead.
Our next session will be about Conversion. See you then.