Journey of Discipleship Updates: December 2016
Dear Journey Leader,
You are receiving this email because you are leading/have led a small group, Sunday School class, School of Discipleship class, or have facilitated some other ministry expression here at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.
First, I want to thank you for your willingness to heed God’s call to leadership. The task of helping others along the JOURNEY of discipleship is not easy, but so vital to the mission God has given us.
Second, I want to share with you the three-fold purpose of this monthly communication- cast vision, communicate relevant information about upcoming events and opportunities, and share resources:
- VISION: This monthly communication will keep you connected to our larger vision of discipleship. You see, we believe our distinct calling as the Church of Jesus Christ, is to make disciples or followers of Jesus and this entails facilitating an ongoing, intimate, and growing relationship with Jesus. All of our efforts, regardless of the group or educational opportunity, should be toward that end.
- COMMUNICATION: This monthly communication will - get ready for this – communicate any upcoming events we of which we want you to be aware. Specifically, we will keep you up-to-date on events we would like to you to share with your group/class.
- RESOURCES: We further want to help you in your efforts at teaching and leading be giving you access to additional resources (including Right Now Media and possible curriculum) you might consider.
My hope and prayer is that you will feel supported and connected in your efforts in leading others in the JOURNEY of discipleship.
On the JOURNEY with you,
THOUGHTS FROM SCARLETT
As a child I remember adults always commenting about the quick speed of time. But as a child I thought time, specifically the days leading up to Christmas, went painfully slow. Today I am asking, “How could it possibly be December?”. (I guess I have reached adulthood).
Each year during Advent Season we choose how we will spend our seemingly limited time. How many hours will be spent at the mall (or on amazon.com) searching for those perfect gifts? How many Christmas functions will we squeeze into an already full calendar? How much food will we bake for our neighbors who probably already received three pound cakes?
When I recently complained about my full schedule, a dear friend said, “Scarlett, every time you say “yes” to something you are saying “no” to something else. (This was much needed wisdom for an extrovert like me who desires to be a part of everything!) As much as I love the parties, gifts, and food that occupy December, I don’t want to miss the only real reason for celebrating Christmas: Jesus. I want to say “yes” to spending quality time with the Ultimate Gift, even if it means attending less festivities.
Advent is a wonderful time to reflect on your own journey of discipleship. Please do not miss time with our Savior these next weeks because you are just “too busy” with the commercialism of the holidays. If you are not currently reading the Word, I invite you to participate in our daily Advent Devotional, written by Dr. Dan Sharp. It provides a great Bible lesson where you are reminded of the purpose, promise, and hope of Advent. Let us say “yes” to time with Jesus this Christmas season... even if it means we must say “no” to a few parties. After all, one is more likely to produce eternal fruit and the other usually produces physical pounds we will regret in January.
Director of Discipleship and 20s Ministry
NEXT STUDY: REFRAME
Our next recommended small group study is Reframe. The study will coincide with David’s sermon series, Once Upon a Time, beginning January 15, 2017. The study includes a video teaching and a small group guide, which we will provide to you free of charge.
The deadline to order your study guides for your group is January 3. If you and your group would like to participate, please let us know! We also will provide a leader’s guide. You can email Lori Tipping with the number of books you need for your group at email@example.com.
SMALL GROUP LEADER TRAINING (LED BY SCARLETT STEWART)
If you would like to participate in the Reframe study starting January 15, you are invited to join us after worship on January 8 in 310 A&B to learn more about the study. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Lori Tipping at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Sunday School! Please note that the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms of EMC will remain locked and closed on December 25 and January 1.
JOURNEY ASSESSMENT & SPRING DISCIPLESHIP CATALOG
There are a couple of way you can help the people you lead get connected to the journey. The first is our Journey Assessment. The Journey Assessment is our trail map. It provides an opportunity to self-assess and reveal to you that “You are here,” and will provide a starting point along the map of your journey. You can find it here: http://www.fpco.org/journey
Second, we have created a Journey Catalog. The catalog presents various opportunities to help facilitate spiritual growth and development. From in-depth studies of the Bible, to classes that challenge you to think about how your faith fits into your work, to how to raise your children as Christians, the catalog includes all opportunities within the church including, but not limited to, Small Groups, Sunday School, School of Discipleship, Center for Faith and Work, and Congregational Care Ministries. The spring catalog was just mailed out the all members and posted on our website: http://www.fpco.org/journey
As you have opportunities to lead the people under your charge, please know these resources are available to you!
Our own Dr. Dan Sharp has written another beautiful Advent devotional to enhance our preparation for Advent:
The Advent season refers to the advent, or the “coming” of Christ. Advent means “coming” as in the “advent of a new era.” People delight in looking forward to wonderful events, be it a wedding, a birthday or anniversary. The anticipation is half, if not most of the fun. The season of Advent is one such time.
You can subscribe at fpco.org/advent.
SMALL GROUP RESOURCES
If you are looking for your next study and need some help, we have several recommendations we would like to share.
- That the World May Know
A number of groups and classes in our church utilize this resource in their studies of Scripture. Ray Vander Laan leads this video series and his preaching and teaching ministry is focused on understanding the Bible in light of the historical and cultural context in which God placed it. This perspective on the Bible highlights God's call for His people to be a transforming influence on their culture. He uses research of the top scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, and Biblical study as tools to explore the Biblical text ever more deeply. His gifts, expertise, and calling are to link that cultural information and the Bible so that its message applies to our lives today in very practical ways.
- Life With A Capital L
Many of you may remember when Matt Heard was our guest preacher several months ago. In this study, Matt escorts us on a journey of discovery: that Jesus didn’t come to save us from our humanity — Christ instead yearns to restore it to what God originally intended. Matt then explores ten key areas where everyday life can become extraordinary Life.
- The Life You’ve Always Wanted
An incredible classic by John Ortberg and one of my all-time favorites! You can live a deeper, more spiritual life right where you are. The heart of Christianity is transformation---a relationship with God that impacts not just our 'spiritual lives, ' but every aspect of living. John Ortberg calls readers back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity---God's power to bring change and growth---and reveals both the how and why of transformation.
- Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. If you have already been through Financial Peace University either as a group or in our School of Discipleship, Total Money Makeover is a great follow-up and one of Dave’s most popular studies.