Growth Group Lesson Plan #20 – Ambassadors

DIALOGUE # 20 – AMBASSADORS
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: As the leader, help the group discussion concentrate and emphasize the idea that God has chosen us as His ambassadors, that this is a lifestyle to be lived at school, work, with friends, in parties, etc; and our mission is to call people the be reconciled with God.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• If you were to be chosen to be an ambassador for a country, where would you like to be sent and why?
• What do you think is the main job of an ambassador?
• Have you ever represented someone? Share with the group how it felt.

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 89:1-2
Your love is deep
Amazing Grace
• Take some time to give thanks to God and today concentrate on giving thanks for those who brought to you God’s message of Salvation. Mention who were the key messengers who helped you believe and know God.
• Pray in groups.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
• What does it really means to be a new creation? v17
• What are some of the old things that are gone from your life? V17
• What is the meaning of being “in Christ”? v17 How can we do it today?
• Why do you think God has chosen teenagers, young adults and adults as His ambassadors? V19-20
• How can you be a full time ambassador of Christ in school, work, with friends, in parties?
• What is this ministry of reconciliation that we have received? V18-20
• How should we invite and call friends to be reconciled with God? V20
• How are you going to be an ambassador from now on?
• How would you summarize today´s message in one phrase?
• Ask group members: What have you heard God telling you to do?

• To do: Read out loud as a group, and commit to memorize 2 Corinthians 5.20

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• What could we do as a group to become better ambassadors of Christ?
• Share the names of friends who need to be reconciled with God?
• Pray for each of the names mentioned and make plans to invite them to your GG
• The vision of our groups is to share as ambassadors the beauty and love of Jesus with others. Challenge group members to join this vision!

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Get to know visitors, stay close to them, find out what they do, their passions and challenges.

Growth Group Lesson Plan #21 – Identity

DIALOGUE # 21 – IDENTITY
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: Invite the group to embrace our true identity. Also help the group discussion concentrate and emphasize the idea that we are God’s creatures by simply being born, but in order to become his children there is a choice each one needs to make. Talk also about the advantages of becoming a son/daughter of God.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• Ask everyone present to hug four people and to tell them why he is glad they are at the group meeting tonight.
• If you were ever confused with someone else, how did it make you feel?
• If you could be someone else for a day who would you be and why?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 139:13-17
Holy is the Lord
Who am I
• Take time to give thanks to God for the family in which you grew up. Mention some qualities of your family for which you are thankful to God they had them.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read 1 John 3:1-3 and John 1:12-13
• What is your first reaction in knowing you are loved by God? 1 John 3.1
• What is the difference between being a creature of God and being children of God? John 1.12-13
• What do we need to do in order to become children of God? John 1.12
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of CHOOSING to be a son/daughter of God? 1 John 3.1
• Why do you think we need to choose to become God’s children? 1 John 3.1
• The world tries to define who people are by their race, color, education, passions, for what they wear, or who they listen to, but who should define our true identity and why?
• Since it’s hard for the world to know and understand our identity, what role do our actions play in letting the world know who we are? 1 John 3.1
• What changes should it bring to my life knowing my true identity and purpose in life? 1 John 3.3
• How can we “believe him” and “receive him” tonight? John 1.13
• Are you a son/daughter of God? Would you like to become one?
• Ask people to respond and share: What do you think is God telling you tonight?

• To do: Read out loud as a group, and memorize 1 John 3:1

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• Plan an activity as a group in which you can invite friends who don’t know they need to chose to be children of God.
• Ask how can we pray for you?

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Ask people about their friends who don’t know Christ, challenge them to bring them to the group meetings.

Growth Group Lesson Plan #24 – Invited

DIALOGUE # 024 – INVITED
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: Invite people to see that our choices reflect our priorities and will determine our eternal consequences. Invite each one to choose eternal life today.

Additional resources: Read and study the material in the following pages for context and further comprehension of the passages.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• Why do people in our days attend parties and banquets?
• What makes you decide if you would go or not? Be honest please!
• How do you feel when people don’t show up to a party you have organized? Why?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 81:1-2
Shout to the Lord
Who am I
• Thanksgiving time: What is the most amazing thing God has done for you in your life? Briefly share it with the rest of the group. End praying in groups of three.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read Luke 14.15-24
• Why do you think Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven with a huge party/banquet?
• Why do you think people excuse themselves from coming to the party? v18-20
• What was wrong in their excuses?
• How do you think God feels when we don’t value or even pay attention to the great feast that He is preparing?
• What can we learn from v21 where the outcasts are invited to come?
• How is eternal life similar and different to this party?
• Why do you think the master wants the house to be full? v23
• What is the role of our choices here? v23,24
• How do you feel with the idea that not everyone will get to participate in the party?
• In what way is our role before God similar to the servant who carried the invitation?
• What kind of changes do you need to make in your life in order to make sure are not left out at God’s party?
• What do you think is God trying to tell you tonight?
• Pray

• To do: Read and challenge people to memorize Matthew 6.33

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• Think of people who need to be invited to the feast.
• Mention their names and pray for them. Plan to do something so they are invited!
• What is the purpose of our Growth Groups?
• How can we can pray for you tonight?

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Go around asking for names of people who need to be invited to Jesus Feast.
• Make sure you invite them to the party!

Additional Resourcesby Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, 219-237

Each one Reach one in 2015 at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church

This Sabbath, December 20th the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church will collect our Christmas offering.
Remember that this is not about money, but about the people that will be forever touched by it.  There are people inside and outside our church that need to know there is a loving Savior that longs to give meaning, purpose and forgiveness to their lives.
Our goal is to raise funds to continue to change lives through Bible studies, literature, training and the preaching of God’s Word.  We are praying to raise $20,000 for Evangelism for 2015.  Remember to bring your offering this Sabbath.  If you did not get an envelop in the mail we will have some available in the lobby.
You can also give online by Clicking here.

New Family Members!

This morning there was a wonderful celebration at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Five precious souls gave their lives to Jesus through baptism and profession of faith. Please enjoy their amazing stories and pictures.

Francisca has returned to her true love, and was baptized with her daughter Cindy, and grandson Julio. She is so excited to be back in the Adventist Church family.  While doing studies, I ask my students to do two or three lessons a week, hoping they will do at least one. During the course of our studies, Francisca had to make a trip to Puerto Rico for a few weeks. I gave her the rest of the study guides to work on while she was away. I forget exactly how many, but there were a lot, like over 15 or more.  When she returned she had them all completed! I was so excited I had to take the pictrure above.

Francisca first found the church in a miraculous way. Here is her story:”When I was a little girl, I remember my grandmother taking me to Catholic Church every Sunday. I married at the age of 18. A few years later my husband and I bought our first house in the Westside of Chicago. Our children were in elementary school. My husband and I were going through a difficult time and one morning I got up extra early before I got the children ready for school. I got up on my knees and prayed to the Lord, “I want to serve you but I don’t know what church I should go to. Please lead me to your true church. I don’t want to go to just any church. There are so many religions, I don’t know where to go. Please Lord help me!”  We had already visited a few different churches.  About 3 weeks later on a Monday, I walked the children to school as usual. The school was located on the other side of the park. As I was walking back past the park I saw a lady on the corner of Lemon and Potomac St. She was just standing there looking around. She looked lost, so I asked her, “are you o.k.?” And she said, “No, I don’t recognize where I’m at.” I asked her, where are you going? She answered, I was on my way to visit some friends they live on Crystal St. I said you know that’s the street I live on, you passed it. Thank God you ran into me because if not, you probably would have kept going! As we walked back she offered me bible study. She explained, that all I had to do was read the article and answer the questions and that she would pick the study up on Saturday. I accepted, after all I thought to myself it’s only 1 page to read and a few questions to answer. Saturday came and I had not completed the study because I had forgotten about it. When Abrahana arrived and asked for the study, I explained to her that I had forgotten about it. And she said that she would return on Wednesday for it. Well Wednesday came and when Abrahana asked for the study, I told her that once again I had forgotten. Then she said, I’ll be back on Saturday for it. At that point, I thought, Wow! She is very persistent, I have never met anyone like her. I need to complete this study to get her off my back. Therefore, I completed the study. Abrahana came on Saturday to pick it up. As soon as I handed her the study she revised it and to my surprise she gave me a second study. She then told that there were a total of 24 studies and since I had already started, I had to finish them. After completing the third study I found the fourth study to be more intriguing as I learned about the Sabbath. At that point I asked her what religion did she belong to and she said Seventh Day Adventist. That was the first time I had heard of Seventh day Adventist. Later that evening I remembered that I had prayed to the Lord for guidance in my search for a church to attend. And I realized that my prayer had been answered. I then told my husband that my prayer had been answered and from that point on we started going to church on Sabbath. Amazingly, Abrahana and I have maintained contact for over 35 years now.”

Julio writes,“Baptism means that we give our heart to Jesus , washing our sins away and starting a new life.”

Julio was baptized today with his mother and grandmother. During the Bible studies we were having with his family, Julio told me he wanted to be baptized too.  A few years ago, I studied with Lauren before her baptism. A couple years ago, Lauren was in my Bible chain referencing class. As Julio prepared for baptism Lauren helped me give Julio Bible studies. In this picture Lauren and Julio are studying about baptism. I was suppose to help too, but Lauren was doing such a good job, I just sat there and ate pretzels while she taught. Julio enjoyed his baptism studies so much that he is now doing the advanced set of guides.

Not only has Julio been baptized, but this is his first year at Tampa Adventist Academy. I am now coaching Julio and Lauren, as they are conducting a Bible study growth group after school on Wednesdays.

Here we are going over the baptism vows with Julio, his mother Cindy, and grandmother Francisca. Since beginning these studies, Cindy has invited both her sisters to join us, and we are now studying with them every week too! Cindy is now enrolling to an online university to study theology. She would like to work as a prison chaplain.

Cindy writes: “Baptism to me means letting go of the old you, old ways and starting fresh.  A new beginning in Christ! (e.g. Being Reborn) Baptism is making a commitment to serve God.” 

I met Marlice several years ago, when she first attended my Seeker’s Sabbath School class. Later, her husband Ray started attending too. Not too long ago, my friends Barbara and Betty told me Ray and Marlice had mentioned to them that they would like to become members of Tampa First. Immediately we began studying for baptism. It was fun being able to spend more time with them outside of Sabbath School, as we had weekly personal Bible studies.

Ray writes: “While doing our bible studies to become amember of Tampa First, I came to realize that I wanted the Holy Spirit to startguiding me in my walk with God with a renewed heart and the only way to achievethat is by baptism.”

Marlice writes: “I was raised a strict Seventh-dayAdventist and attended self-supporting, church-oriented high schools andcollege, and married a school mate right out of high school.  He and I continuedattending the SDA church, but had no personal devotions or home worship.  Inreality, our faith was hollow, having no relationship with Jesus.  Theworld beckoned.  We divorced after seven years and one daughterlater.   Twenty-six years, three husbands and two sons later, I was sadand empty inside and knew that what I was lacking was “God”, so Ibegan my search for meaning and personal peace.  Through all my searching byway of various Sunday-keeping churches and knowing some truly wonderful,loving, giving Christians there, I could never get over the sound of thatlittle voice in the back of my head that said, “yes, but . . .the seventh-day is the Sabbath that God blessedand hallowed.”  So when I came up “empty” for the lasttime, I could no longer continue going to church on Sunday, I started attendingTampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, and it felt so right.  Besides that, the Sabbath School classes and the sermonswere REAL.  My husband, Ray joined me in attending, and he found that itstruck a chord with him too.  Eventually, William Earnhardt invited Rayand me to study the Bible with him to prepare us to join this church.  Wecompleted our course of study and have made the life-altering decision to jointhe “Remnant Church” so that when Jesus comes He can say, “Well done, thougood and faithful servant; enter in to the JOY of thy Lord.”  

My dear Mom and Dad would be so happy ifthey knew that I had “come back”, but this way we can all betogether at that great banquet table in heaven.”

While we went over the baptism vows, Lauren stood with Julio and his family that she has been studying with.

Marlice, who joined our church on profession faith, stood with Ray as he was baptized. After the church service, both of them joined the meeting to help feed the homeless. Ray is also becoming active in our men’s ministry, and is joining a men’s Bible study on Thursday nights.

 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.Colossians 2:12 NLT

I will contine studying with Cindy, as both of her sisters have now joined our study!

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:4-6 NLT

This evening, our new church family members and I gathered at David and Sondra’s home. They are Lauren’s parents. We celebrated the baptism with a nice dinner, then closed out the Sabbath with family worship. After that we played games and had fun fellowshiping together.

Don’t let the sun set on you, before you decide to give your live to Jesus. He gave His life for you. I would love to talk to you about giving you life to Jesus if you have never done so. You can contact me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net