Discussion-based Lessons

Discussion-based lessons have groups talking and changing. We are changed more by what we say than what we hear. "Instead SPEAKING the truth (not just hearing the truth) we will grow." Ephesians 4.15 https://www.youtube.com/embed/lduldVUA8-4

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Practice hospitality

When the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to Paul’s message, she extended hospitality and persuaded Paul and Silas to stay at her house. Because she was a Gentile, this visit might have been quite an act: of faith on Paul and Silas’s part. Hospitality like Lydia’s...

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Forgiving for Jesus’ Sake

For many years, I was a part of a team that conducts revival meetings in local churches across the United States.1 I remember one particular church where the Spirit of God moved in an unusual way, bringing many church members to brokenness and repentance. During the...

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Falling in Love with Jesus

If you have ever been around someone who has recently fallen in love, you know that every other word out of the person’s mouth seems to be about the new relationship. With starry-eyed enthusiasm, the person describes every detail, sometimes again and again! That’s a...

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The empirical benefits of attending church

Over the last several decades, thousands of studies published in peer-reviewed journals document that the practice of attending church is associated with making people happier, healthier, better spouses, more generous, more ethical, more tolerant, and more civically...

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Learning Discipleship from Good King Asa

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 CHRONICLES 15:7–8 NIV When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and...

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The myth of the dying church

Do you know what one of the biggest lies about the church is today? It’s actually been going around for a number of years now. You may have even innocently passed along this false information to others. After all, you’ve received your information from reliable...

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The Promise of Forgiveness

I know just enough about computers, as they say, to be dangerous. But one thing I’ve learned the hard way is the meaning of that little button that’s spelled D-E-L. That’s right. The delete key. (I’m guessing you know about that one yourself.) Like you, I can think of...

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Is every disciple an evangelist?

Evangelism is so important for church growth that one can understand why many Christian circles tend to overemphasize it. Overemphasize? Before I answer this, I need to stress that I personally believe in evangelism so much so that I have dedicated my life to see that...

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How can I be confident in a crisis?

The Bible teaches us that there are three kinds of storms in life: storms that we bring on ourselves (like Samson and his self-induced troubles), storms that God causes (like the one that Jesus stilled on Lake Galilee), and storms that other people cause (as when Paul...

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When you refuse to forgive

Wounded hearts can experience powerful emotions. A heart-wrenching letter sent to our ministry from a boy turned man turned church deacon vividly illustrates how intense those emotions can be and the long-lasting, far-reaching effects they can have over time. It also...

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How Can I Ever Change?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Most of us are interested in change. Bestseller lists perennially include self-help books, and the New York Times even has specific categories for Hardcover Advice and Softcover Advice books. We attend...

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The Life of David as Reflected in the Psalms

So as I crave more of God, I want to have a meaningful dialogue with my heavenly Father, to enjoy more intimacy with Him than I’ve ever had before. And the only way I can have this kind of relationship is to keep my mouth shut at times, which is much harder than it...

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Walking Wounded

A friend told me as I was working on this book, “I don’t really relate to this subject—I just don’t struggle with bitterness or unforgiveness.” While that may be true for a few, I’ve come to believe that, whether they realize it or not, unforgiveness is, in fact, a...

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MOBILIZING THE LAITY TO MINISTRY

A careful look at the New Testament reveals the nature of the church as essentially a lay movement. The Apostle Paul indicates that it was Jesus Christ “who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to...

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Beyond David and Goliath

The writer of Hebrews said, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.” Hebrews 6:1 Many small group Bible study groups struggle because they do not do this—they do not move on beyond the elementary teachings....

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Choosing Forgiveness

There will come a time in your life when forgiveness will become your overriding preoccupation. You will either do something so shameful that you don’t think you can ever recover, or, you will be hurt so badly that you think your heart will break. Either way, all you...

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How did I get myself into this mess?

Samson was a ruler in Israel for twenty years. His story is told at length in Judges 13–16. It began strikingly, with an angel’s announcement to his sterile parents that they would, miraculously, have a son and that he would become a judge in Israel. After Samson grew...

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The forgotten heart of hospitality

Lydia was a Gentile convert to Judaism and a successful merchant of costly purple cloth. God opened Lydia’s heart as she listened to Paul’s message about Jesus; she became Paul’s first convert in Europe. After being baptized, Lydia begged the missionaries to stay at...

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Solving biblical illiteracy

The problem of biblical illiteracy among Americans has been well documented. In 1991 the George H. Gallup International Institute of research noted that only 12 percent of teen-agers read the Bible daily, a number that drops to 9 percent in the college years.53 In the...

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Why not a churchless Chrstianity?

The American landscape is dotted with churchless Christianity. Church has been reduced to a weekly or biweekly event. Instead of being the church, we have fallen into merely doing church, and far too often our doing is disconnected from being. We have devolved from...

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How Can I Overcome Loneliness?

Loneliness is one of the most miserable feelings a person can experience. Sometimes you may feel that nobody loves you, that nobody even cares if you exist. You do not even have to be alone to feel lonely; you can feel lonely in a crowd. It is not the number of people...

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 A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LEARNING

It is not uncommon for adults to harbor negative perceptions about their ability to learn and their capabilities for learning are often underestimated and underused. Older adults are especially prone to this source of anxiety and for these adults any type of in-depth...

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Why is this happening to me?

How should we respond when other people cause us trouble? When family rejects us? When a good friend double-crosses us? When a colleague at work lies about us? A prime example of suffering from the troubles brought on by other people is Joseph of the Old Testament,...

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The most extraordinary woman

Of all the extraordinary women in Scripture, one stands out above all others as the most blessed, most highly favored by God, and most universally admired by women. Indeed, no woman is more truly remarkable than Mary. She was the one sovereignly chosen by God—from...

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What is a kinsman-redeemer?

When Ruth told her the man who had been her benefactor was named Boaz, Naomi instantly saw the hand of God in the blessing. “Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!’ And Naomi said to...

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 A POINT OF ENTRY INTO THE CHURCH

Successful churches have discovered that small groups serve as an ideal point of entry into the church for the previously unchurched or dechurched. Groups are particularly well suited to draw into the church those who are on the outside of a church or on the...

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How Can I Live Above Average?

God never intended for you to live a mediocre, average life. You are designed for excellence, and you were uniquely created. Instead of being one in a million, you are actually one in about six billion! Yet there’s nobody else exactly like you; you are unique....

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Was it right for Rahab to lie?

Rahab’s actions in protecting the spies involved the telling of a lie. Was that justified? By commending her for her faith, is Scripture also condoning her methods? Good men have argued over that question, all the way back to the earliest rabbinical history. Let’s...

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Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community

Consider the genius of God’s plan. The first generation of Christians was a tinderbox of contrasting cultures and backgrounds. At least fifteen different nationalities heard Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Jews stood next to Gentiles. Men worshipped with...

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The Power of Small Groups in Christian Formation

A second major objective that has accelerated much of the small-group movement is the “quest for spirituality.” From his study of small groups, Wuthnow observed that a majority of all small-group adherents joined groups because they wanted to deepen their faith.31...

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How can I rebound from failure?

We all make mistakes, and sometimes they are pretty bad. But a failure can become a stepping-stone to success. An incident from Peter’s life (Luke 5:1–11) illustrates this wonderful truth. One time Peter and his friends had been out fishing all night, but they had...

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Sarah’s Foolishness

Abraham was the human channel through which the world would see the outpouring of God’s redemptive plan. He understood that. Sarah understood and also embraced it. “She judged Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11 NKJV). But despite her faith, she knew from a...

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Ending well

My father is now ninety-three. He is finishing well. Every day he adds value to people. He loves them and serves them. Not long ago I asked, “Dad, what keeps you going?” His reply: “Every day I try to make a difference for others. That gives me the energy I need to...

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The church’s unparalleled opportunity

In his insightful book on loneliness and spiritual growth, Samuel Natale argues that in the United States at least, loneliness exists as a serious and growing problem.19 In an increasingly mobile and hostile world, where loneliness and alienation are universal sources...

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The quiet revolution

WHY ARE SMALL GROUPS so prevalent in contemporary America that almost half the adults in the country are involved in some sort of group? More specifically, why are they often seen as the basic unit of church community and a popular option for Christian formation...

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Sunday School University

For nearly thirty years, Dr. Bill Tolar and Dr. Brian Harbour have helped thousands of Sunday School teachers prepare their lessons by means of video.  Each week, they  provide an insightful walk through this week's scriptures and provide concrete Bible-to-life application points for you to make with your class this Sunday.  Their video lesson previews are available for both the Life and Explore Series materials. We have arranged a special one-month free trial of their videos for anyone who mentions joshhunt.com.  Click here for more information or to get your free trial.

Josh Hunt believes in the power of the small group ministry in your church. And, his belief is contagious. In his new book, Make Your Group Grow, Josh presents sound application to easy to understand research that will benefit every size and style of church. Your groups and leadership will benefit from this book.

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President of
LifeWay Research, www.edstetzer.com

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