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Study Guide Living a Generous Life


study guide Living a Generous Life

Community Presbyterian Church


table of contents Opening Letter from Scott Farmer & Mark Wollan ..................i How to Get the Most out of the Study Guide: Suggestions for Individual Study ....................................ii Suggestions for Small Group Study ...............................iii Week One

- God Owns it All .........................................................1

Week Two

- Giving is Core to the Gospel ...................................3

Week Three

- Moving from Taker to Giver ...................................5

Week Four

- Blessings Money Can’t Buy .....................................7

Week Five

- Making a Difference Now and for Eternity ............9

For Facilitators of Small Groups ...............................................11 Sunday Night Experience ........................................................11 CPC Small Group Contact Information .................................12 Notes ..........................................................................................13

LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


Dear Friends, We want CPC to become a church that radically expresses God’s generosity. That desire is so strong, we’ve made it part of our Radically Engaged Vision 2020. But Generosity is more than a vision – it’s a prayer. Together, we’re asking: “Lord, may the people of CPC excel in the grace of giving.” Many of us want to live a generous life. We’re praying about it regularly. The problem is we don’t know how to start. Living a Generous Life is the place to begin. This five-week CPC Small Group Study Guide provides a Biblical foundation for generosity. Each of us is on a journey toward generosity, but we need companions. We need the wisdom, prayers and encouragement of others. This small group study is not about solving budget challenges or initiating a capital fund campaign. It is about being transformed. It is about becoming more like Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” II Corinthians 8:9 Join us on this journey toward living like Jesus – Living a Generous Life! Prayerfully, Scott Farmer & Mark Wollan

Community Presbyterian Church • LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE

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how to get the most out of the study 1. Attend worship each week to hear the corresponding sermon. 2. Prayerfully read and reflect on each week’s content. 3. Join or start a small group or attend the Sunday Night Experience each week. Prepare in advance by reading the week’s content and listening to the sermons. You can also do this study individually. 4. Bring your Bible and study guide to your small group or have them handy while working through this guide on your own. 5. Begin the study following the first sermon the weekend of Week One of the series.

about the study guide Suggestions for Individual Study: 1. As you begin each session, pray that God will speak to you through His Word. 2. Each week deals with scripture—read and re-read several times to familiarize yourself with the text and theme. 3. The scripture verses included in this guide are meant to help you understand what God is teaching through His Word. The questions will assist in bringing a deeper understanding of the scripture, as well as how to apply it to your life. Some questions require more action on your part, or give ideas for further reflection and prayer. You might want to journal your thoughts, questions and prayers. Writing can bring clarity and deeper understanding of how to respond to His Word. Pray and thank God for what you have learned and ask Him how to apply these new insights to your life.

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LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


Suggestions for Small Group Study: 1. Come to the study prepared. Follow the suggestions for individual study. You will find that careful preparation will greatly enrich your time spent in group discussion. 2. Be willing to participate in the discussion. The leader of your group will not be lecturing. Instead he or she will be encouraging the members of the group to share their response to the various topics. 3. Be sensitive to other members of the group. Listen attentively as they share. Each question assumes a variety of answers. Many of the questions do not have right answers, particularly questions that aim at inspiring or application. Instead, the questions push us to explore the scripture more thoroughly. When possible, link what you say to the comments of others. Also, be affirming whenever you can. This will encourage some of the more hesitant members of the group to participate. 4. Be careful not to dominate the discussion. 5. Expect God to teach you through the Scripture being discussed and through the other members of the group. Pray that you will have an enjoyable and enriching time together, but also that as a result of the sharing you will find ways that you can take action individually and/or as a group. 6. Remember that anything said in the group is considered confidential and should not be discussed outside the group unless specific permission is given to do so.

additional resources Additional Resources can be found online at

www.cpcdanville.org

Let us know how this study has inspired you.

Email us at stories@cpcdanville.org

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week one God owns it all II Corinthians 9:8-10 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 8

opening remarks Scott Farmer, Senior Pastor As Paul urged the Corinthian church to “excel in the grace of giving”, so we believe God also longs for CPCers to excel in giving as well. In this first week toward living a generous life, we lay a foundation of biblical understanding that will clarify our beliefs about God, our fears about giving, our role as financial stewards, and the grace and joy of generosity.

warm it up When you were growing up, how would you describe your family’s view toward money? What was your family’s attitude toward generosity?

sermon questions 1. What changes when I experience the paradigm shift from “I own my stuff” to “God owns it all”?

2. How is the understanding of sowing and reaping (Verses 8-10) related to overcoming reluctance in giving?

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LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


video • Bob Coy, Giving is a Heart Issue 1. How do you feel about your place among the “100 people” of the earth?

2. How do you relate to Bob Coy’s “average household” budget (except for taxes)?

3. What is the difference between a “tickled tither” and a generous giver?

4. With giving averaging about 3%, many people in the church are not even “tickled tithers.” Would you say this is primarily a.) a faith issue, b.) a Lordship issue, or c.) a financial management issue?

5. Maybe, as we discussed earlier, it is easier for you to acknowledge God’s ownership with your head than it is with your heart. Looking honestly at the state of your heart, what percentage of your possessions do you feel you have “released” to God’s ownership?

weekly reading What was one story, principle or truth from the devotional that impacted you this week?

wrap it up Use the last few minutes of the group time to challenge each other to start living what we have learned. The assignment for the week can be found at the end of each week’s devotional readings. The week 1 exercise is directly related to the video that you watched today from Pastor Bob Coy. Therefore, consider beginning the exercise early in the week …. before you forget the content of the video.

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week two giving is core to the gospel II Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

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opening remarks Mark Wollan, Associate Pastor Have you ever thought about the fact that God is radically generous? Though God rightfully owns all things, He does not hoard anything selfishly. This truth is evident throughout the Bible, but never more clearly than in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s greatest, most unselfish gift. Jesus then, becomes our chief motivation for living a generous life.

warm it up What motivates you to be generous? (ie, compelling stories, guilt, potential impact, etc.)

sermon questions 1. Mark gave a biblical overview of God’s generosity. Why do you think it’s important to understand that God is generous (as well as loving, gracious, etc.)?

2. What kind of ‘poverty’ did Jesus experience for our sake? For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9

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3. Have you ever made the connection between God’s generosity toward you and your generosity toward others? How does making that connection affect your motivation?

video • Tim Keller, It is More Blessed to Give than Receive 1. Tim Keller mentions the fact that no one has ever confessed to him, “I spend too much money on myself.” Why do you think greed is such an overlooked problem? 2. Paul finishes his exhortation in Acts with these two ideas: believe the gospel and live radically generous lives. If you had to explain to a friend how faith and generosity are connected, what would you say? 3. As a group, list 5-10 ways that you see God’s generosity in the Bible.

4. Individually, list 5-10 ways that God has been generous toward you and share a few of your answers with the group.

weekly reading What was one story, principle or truth from the devotional that impacted you this week?

wrap it up Generosity is rightly motivated by looking to Jesus as our model of generosity, embracing his love, and participating with God in healing the world’s brokenness. How do these compare to other motivations you may have? How might you grow in one of these this week?

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week three moving from taker to giver II Corinthians 8:5; 9:11 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

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You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

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opening remarks Mark Wollan, Associate Pastor Wealth is a strange thing. Many of us are relentless in our pursuit of it – only to find that it is both elusive and consuming. We often end up enslaved to the things money can buy. We allow possessions to possess us! The Gospel brings true freedom from the slavery to materialism.In the Gospel, we find that our identity is not dependent on what we own, but is found in the one (Jesus Christ) who has bought us!

warm it up As a child, what was your most ‘prized’ possession? How did you get it? What happened to it?

sermon questions 1. Mark talked about possessions shaping our identity. Do you agree? Explain.

2. What are the risks involved in trusting that …God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all time, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.? II Corinthians 9:8

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LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


3. Tell your group about a time when something you own/owned became a little “too important” and began to shape your identity. How did you/are you dealing with it?

video • Gordon MacDonald, Are you a Giver or a Taker? 1. Gordon MacDonald ends this video by saying, “Are you a generous giver? This may be one of the most important questions we ever ask ourselves.” How do you feel about that statement? Is he exaggerating or is this really one of the most important areas of our lives?

2. Luke includes the story of the rich man and Lazarus in a section of Jesus’ most profound teachings on money. (Luke 16: 19-31) Why do you think Jesus would tell such a dramatic story as He taught on money?

3. It took the disciples a long time to learn the lesson of generosity and it’s obviously not an easy thing for us, either. What is the hardest aspect of this teaching for you to internalize – and start practicing?

4. As you think about your household budget, what items do you think are pulling your family away from pursuing a generous lifestyle?

weekly reading What was one story, principle or truth from the devotional that impacted you this week?

wrap it up Moving from a taker to a giver requires an honest look at myself and my possessions, trusting in my true identity through Jesus Christ, and making bold moves, to release the grip of materialism. What bold move would you consider making? Share it and ask your group to pray for you as you consider it.

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week four blessings money can’t buy Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

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opening remarks Cathy Burkholder, Associate Pastor The apostle Paul quotes Jesus as saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus is saying that when we give - whether it’s time, energy, service, encouragement, resource, etc. - there is an even greater blessing than when we are on the receiving end. That sounds unnatural, almost counter-cultural, but the truth is our giving can actually lead to longer and more lasting feelings of joy and well-being than receiving does.

warm it up In what way did you experience God’s generosity to you this week?

sermon questions 1. How is God blessed when we give, especially when we give generously?

2. Share any personal stories you may have of the benefits or blessing of generous giving. Share a time that you’ve benefited from the generosity of someone else. How did it feel?

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LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


3. Natural wisdom says, “I’ll give when all my needs are met.” “I can’t afford to give” or “I’ll give when I’ve got some surplus.” God’s wisdom says, “Give now, even in your time of need, and watch me work!” Where do you see evidence of this in the Bible? What about in your own life? (I Corinthians 8: 1-2)

video • Chip Ingram, Managing Our Finances God’s Way 1. What parallels can you draw from this story to your personal relationship with God and your attitude toward your finances? How are they related?

2. How would your financial habits be likely to change if you asked every day, “How does God want me to spend his money?” Think about Chip’s example of putting the checkbook near his watch and keys. What will you do to remind yourself from time to time that you are a steward of God’s resources?

3. Think about the people you may meet in heaven one day who were helped by your stewardship of God’s resources. How does this make you feel about what you are learning in this study?

weekly reading What was one story, principle or truth from the devotional that impacted you this week?

wrap it up Without God’s help we will easily succumb to materialism, become prisoners to our debt, and unable to experience the joy of generous giving. With God’s help we can curb the spirit of greed that so pervades our society, live within our means, and have a generous spirit of giving. As a church, let’s seek to excel in everything, including giving (2 Cor. 8:7). 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

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week five making a difference now & for eternity II Corinthians 8:13-15 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

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opening remarks Scott Farmer, Senior Pastor One of the most profound reasons to pursue generosity is that by it we get to participate in God’s care for His world. For many Christ-followers, that fact induces a driving passion such that they can be said to “excel in the grace of giving.” Most of us are on a journey toward generosity. In this fifth session, we will locate where we are on our journey toward Vision 2020 of radically expressing God’s generosity.

warm it up Take a couple of minutes for several volunteers to share a generosity experience they’ve had over the last week. Celebrate those stories of intentionally listening to God and following His “generosity prompts.”

sermon questions 1. In the sermon, Scott said, “Giving creates community in our fragmented world.” How have you seen or experienced that reality?

2. In the sermon, Scott quoted, “Generosity is the new context for evangelism.” How have you seen or experienced that insight?

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LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE • Community Presbyterian Church


3. What did you hear in this sermon that reinforced an important insight for you, or challenged you, or called you nearer to God’s generous heart?

video • Bill & Vonnette Bright, A Contract with God 1. What aspects of the Bright’s lives were involved in their contract with God? In what ways did the Bright’s honor that contract? In what ways did God?

2. The video mentioned the idea of “sowing and reaping”. Have you ever had a time in your life when you trusted God with your resources and He gave back to you in an unexpected way?

weekly reading What was one story, principle or truth from the devotional that impacted you this week?

wrap it up Reflect on your whole experience in Living a Generous Life. How are you different because of this engagement with generosity? What will you commit to doing differently? Close with the Vision 2020 Generosity Prayer: “Lord, may the people of CPC excel in the grace of giving.” If you can, pray this personally: “Lord, may I excel in the grace of giving.”

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for facilitators of small groups 1. As you go through the content for the week, make a note of the questions you think would generate good discussion in your group time. 2. Ask group members which questions impacted them and have them share if they are willing. 3. Take time to give thanks to God for His gift of salvation in Jesus. 4. Keep us posted on the prayers of your group—when you’re meeting, who’s participating, etc. Contact Terry Campbell or Linda Roberts for your facilitator log-in and password so your group information can be updated regularly online.

The Pastoral Staff will host a Sunday Night Experience starting October 21st through November 18th in the CPC Multi-Purpose Room from 6:30—8:00 PM. Everyone is welcome! Come as a Small Group or come as an individual and join a group for this study. For more information or to register visit www.cpcdanville.org or contact Terry Campbell at 837-5525 ext. 319 or at terry@cpcdanville.org.

How to Share Your Story and Hear About Others Let’s get radically engaged as a church community by sharing how God is a work in each of our lives! As you work through the Study Guide, contribute a daily dose of inspiration! Share your story on CPC’s Facebook page

facebook.com/cpcdanville

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CPC Small Group Contact Information: Cathy Burkholder, Pastor of Life Transformation cathy@cpcdanville.org 925.837.5525 ext. 201 Lee Camp, Elder of Small Groups lcamp@pacbell.net 925.837.0424 Terry Campbell, Director of Small Groups Terry@cpcdanville.org 925.837.5525 ext. 319 Linda Roberts, Admin Support for Small Groups linda@cpcdanville.org 925.837.5525 ext. 225

222 W El Pintado Road, Danville, CA 94526 www.cpcdanville.org

925.837.5525

facebook.com/cpcdanville

Community Presbyterian Church • LIVING A GENEROUS LIFE

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notes:

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notes:

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“By 2020 CPC is a transformed, intergenerational community passionate about living as Christ’s disciples with a contagious zeal for people meeting Christ and radically expressing God’s compassion and generosity.”

A Life Transforming Church A Gospel Sharing Church A Compassionate Church A Generous Church An Intergenerational Church

222 W. El Pintado Road, Danville, CA 94526

www.cpcdanville.org


Living A Generous Life