Page 1

november 2012 celloutlines

celloutlines | overview

Introduction This time last year (November cell notes 2011) we read five amazing testimonies from young people in The Salvation Army. We read how these young people had found hope, healing and, above all, freedom in their relationship with Jesus: freedom from past hurts, freedom from anger, freedom from wrong habits, freedom from rejection, to name a few. These young people also told us how Jesus had freed them to be themselves, to explore their gifts and talents, to embrace their weaknesses and face their fears, and to love and help others. They shared their determination to continue to live as the person that God had created them to be, and encouraged us all to accept that living for and with Jesus is the only way to experience real life! Read one of these stories again now:

Sarah’s Story ‘I am one of those people who, when bad things happen to them, always seem to manage to push through. Even though I have a fairly laidback personality, I am very determined at times. One of my ways of coping with things in the past was to keep going and push through, but also I would put the emotion or the damage that the painful situation caused in a box – and put it on a shelf – to be processed another day. So on the surface I always looked like I coped well, but inside things were probably not so good. But three years ago I reached a point in my life where I realised that I actually wasn’t coping with things all that well. I had gone through a number of changes in my personal situation and these had managed to erode my confidence and my self-worth. In fact, inside I felt completely worthless. And it didn’t matter what anyone said to me, it really didn’t change how I felt. I was a Christian and believed very much in the love of God and had known God working in my life in some amazing ways. But at this point in my life I couldn’t really understand why he loved me, and in fact I started to think that God perhaps didn’t love me – he loved other people, but I didn’t feel worthy of his love. Fortunately at that time I had some really good friends in my life, who gently started to challenge me and encouraged me to seek some help. So with the help of a very trusted friend, I started to process all this painful emotion that was going on in my life. I also started to take the boxes off the shelf of all the bad things that had happened. And for me this was a very hard thing to do – because those boxes contained some very painful memories. In my early teens I was sexually abused. At other times I had had some very significant people in my life tell me I was no good and would never amount to anything. I had some very painful times of rejection, significant bereavements, and so the list could go on. You can perhaps understand why it seemed simpler to just keep all that rubbish in the boxes – with the lids firmly in place. I’ve been told that in reality it was quite a miracle that I turned out how I had. But as I began this process of looking at all these things, in many ways life got even harder. It felt dark for me – in fact it was so very dark. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning – I just seemed to function, and there were many times when I wondered where God was in it all. But my faith was strong enough for me to believe that God had put me on this journey, and even though he didn’t feel very close I had the confidence to believe that God would be sovereign in this situation, and so I just clung on. And so I continued on this journey for many, many months. In that time I faced up to many things. I learned again what it was to be of value and worth, what it meant to be a child of God and that he loved me unconditionally, and I accepted that as truth in my life. I learned that I did not need to live in fear of what others said. I also learned about true forgiveness and the freedom that it brings, and I made the conscious decision to forgive those who had abused me and rejected me. When I reached the point of making the conscious decision to forgive and then doing so, I remember at the time writing in my journal: ‘I felt beautiful – not too sure I have ever thought myself beautiful – but I had this amazing sense of beauty inside of me.’ continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


There is a passage of Scripture, paraphrased in The Message as follows, that seems to perfectly illustrate what it means to live in real freedom in our lives: ‘By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us – set us right with him, make us fit for him – we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover that at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.’ (Romans 5:1–2 The Message) ‘Out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.’ Isn’t this just a perfect picture of the amazing spiritual freedom that we have in Jesus!? So this November the theme for the cell groups is Boundless Freedom. We will be exploring the amazing gift of freedom that we have in Jesus. This month is split into two parts: Weeks One and Two will consider Boundless Freedom: what it is, how we experience it, and how we live it out. Weeks Three and Four will look at freedom in identity – ‘Free 2 B Me’ – and will discuss how crucial it is that we understand our true identity in Jesus and live in the freedom that this knowledge confers. And don’t forget about Cell Extra – which you can download from the ALOVE website. Cell Extra will provide you with six devotional style readings/activities that continue to build on this topic of spiritual freedom and identity. It will encourage you in some practical and personal ways of continuing to make these essential truths real and active in your life! If you haven’t checked Cell Extra out yet… make sure you do this month!

celloutlines

november 2012

Since that time not all things have been plain sailing – life indeed has had its ups and downs – but in the midst of it all Jesus has been there, quietly assuring me of his presence, his love and his power in my life.’

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week one These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Boundless Freedom (Part 1) Cell Introduction Read the cell introduction, including Sarah’s story, together to introduce the theme of this month.

Welcome Prepare some strips of soft cloth to tie the hands and ankles as well as to make blindfolds. (Strips torn from an old sheet work nicely, or old scarves.) You’ll need enough strips for each person to have one. Distribute the cloth strips to your group members and have them form three groups. Instruct one group to tie each other’s hands behind their backs. (You will have to help the last person.) Have another group use the strips to loosely tie each person’s ankles together. Have the remaining group use its strips as blindfolds. Provide instructions to the group, letting them know that as you call out various actions they are to do each one in the best way that they can. For example: • Shake hands • Touch your toes • Walk across the room • Wave to a friend • Take one giant step • Sit cross-legged on the floor • Hop on one foot • Point to the west

celloutlines

• Wink at someone

Word A. Debrief the above game with the following discussion questions (you could keep the group tied up for this bit if you want to!). • What kinds of problems were you having following the instructions? Explain. • What can be done to solve these problems? • This game has taken away some of your freedom. What kinds of things bind us or take away our freedom in real life? (Allow some time on this question and get the group thinking hard about the boundaries we place on ourselves, the ‘sin’ that ties us up, and the things other people may do to that restrict us in some way.) • How can we be freed from these things? (Continue to answer this question with the following activity.) B. Write or print out the following verses (and any others that you choose) on large pieces of card. Place them continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week one (continued...) around the room and ask the group to move around and take some time to read each card. ‘Jesus told the people who had faith in him, “If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered, “We are Abraham’s children! We have never been anyone’s slaves. How can you say we will be set free?” Jesus replied: “I tell you for certain that anyone who sins is a slave of sin! And slaves don’t stay in the family forever, though the Son will always remain in the family. If the Son gives you freedom, you are free!”’ John 8:31-36 (CEV) ‘Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.’ Galatians 5:1 (The Message) ‘My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.’ Galatians 5:13 (CEV) ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV) ‘In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.’ Ephesians 3:12 (NIV) ‘Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.’ 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV) ‘Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God’s slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life.’

celloutlines

Romans 6:22 (CEV) ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’ Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) Gather the group and place a large piece of paper in the centre of the group with the following diagrams. Discuss each circle and jot down all your thoughts in the relevant spaces.

continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


What responsibilities do we have in freedom?

FREEDOM

What have we been set free to do/become?

How do we live in the freedom that Jesus has for us?

celloutlines

november 2012

What have we been set free from?

continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

You may wish to use some of the following thoughts, from a variety of sources, as you discuss with your group: In the UK we believe we are truly free. We are free to choose how we live, what we say and how we believe. Some of us choose to live as husband and wife and others choose to live in same-sex relationships. Others choose not to marry at all and live life alone. Some practise freedom of speech, through radio and TV broadcasts, books and pulpits. And others choose to keep their opinions to themselves. Some choose to worship the moon and stars, idols and Satan. And others choose to worship and follow God. Today we all have the right to vote for our leaders and exercise our political freedoms. Our parents taught us to do as we please, live the way we want (within the law) and be whoever we want to be. The sky is the limit! Right? But even though we have all of these earthly freedoms, are we really free? Are we truly happy? What does the Bible say about being free? When God created us, he gave us freedom of choice. We can choose to believe in him or not. To sin or not. There is no grey area. To live in sin is to be a slave to sin. When we continue to make bad choices or do evil against others, we choose sin. But when we live for God, we become free from sin and our spirit is renewed. We can also be free of fear. God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, because we are to trust him with all of our problems, concerns and worries. If we put our faith and full trust in him, without doubt, then he will provide a way out of them. Romans 8:14-15 (NIV) says, ‘...because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.’ We as people were also created to be free. Those who belong to Jesus Christ should have released themselves from their sinful passions and desires. If we truly live by the Spirit, we should do what the Spirit requires of us. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we allow the Spirit to control us, we will experience true spiritual freedom. For Galatians 5:13 says, ‘You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.’ Treating others the way we want to be treated is a great way of showing others love and respect. And believing in God is the only way we can truly be free in this world. [Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2547155]

celloutlines

Jesus came to provide the greatest freedom possible. The greatest freedom we have is the freedom from sin and its consequences. It is the freedom Jesus died to provide. Jesus stated: ’The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ (John 8:35-36 English Standard Version). And Paul encouraged: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:1-2 ESV). What a refreshing freedom Jesus provides! What peace we can have because we have been set free! [www.teenmailbiblestudy.org/2005/07/freedom_1.html] ‘Christ offers you freedom from personal and spiritual conflicts, freedom from sin and negative programming of your past, freedom from the damaging effects of guilt and unforgiveness. Freedom opens the pathway to knowing, loving, worshipping and obeying God.… Who sets you free is Christ; what sets you free is your response to him in repentance and faith.’ (Steps to Freedom in Christ, Dr Neil T. Anderson) Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. He is the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


(Life Application Bible) C. Freedom drama This short YouTube film shows a group of people performing a drama to ‘Locked in a Cage’ by Skillet. It characterises the downfall of a girl in the world. The only thing that can bring her freedom is the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ. You may find it a helpful illustration of some of the things you have been discussing. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc1_zbaM4go

Prayer Ask each person to consider some of the things that you have discussed about freedom and to identify one area of their lives in which they would like to experience more freedom. Pray for each other now, in whatever way works best for your group.

Action Encourage the group to read Galatians 5 and memorise verse 1 by next week, and during the week to outwork one verse from this chapter somehow as they go about their daily activities.

celloutlines

november 2012

He frees us from the consequence of sin. He shows us clearly the way to eternal life with God. Thus Jesus does not give us freedom to do what we want but freedom to follow God. As we seek to serve God, Jesus’ perfect truth frees us to be all that God meant us to be.… Christ died to set us free from sin and a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free – not free to do what we want because that would lead us back into slavery to our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what was impossible before – to live unselfishly…. Those who were trying to be saved by keeping the Old Testament law were soon tied up in rules and ceremonies. But now, through the Holy Spirit, God provides freedom from sin and condemnation. When we trust Christ to save us, he removes our heavy burden of trying to please him and our guilt for failing to do so. By trusting Christ we are loved accepted, forgiven and freed to live for him.

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week two These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Boundless Freedom (Part 2) Welcome Ask people to think of a new law/rule that will be in existence in 2050. (This is just for fun, so suggestions can be bizarre rather than serious!)

Feedback from last week Find out who has memorised Galatians 5:1. What did each person do to outwork one of the verses in Galatians?

Word Split your group into up to four smaller groups or pairs. Give each group/pair one of the following Bible passages to read with the same five questions to discuss. Ask each group to appoint a ‘scribe’ to take notes, maybe on a large piece of flipchart paper that can then be shared with the rest of the group. Allow time for this discussion to take place, then bring the whole group back together and ask each small group to share what they have discovered. Group One

Read Mark 5:21–34: Jesus heals a bleeding woman.

Group Two

Read John 4:1–26; 28–30; 39–42: The woman at the well.

Group Three

Read Luke 23: 32–43: Jesus and the two criminals on the cross.

Group Four

Read Luke 19: 1–10: Zacchaeus.

Questions: • Who is the person in the Bible passage who met with Jesus? • What did the person say/do?

celloutlines

• What did Jesus say/do? • What was the result of the person’s encounter with Jesus? • What does this mean for you today?

Worship Play the song ‘I am free’ by the Newsboys (download from iTunes or watch on YouTube, see links below). If your group are confident, then ask them to sing along and use this song as a time of worship to thank God for the freedom that he gives us. • Newsboys ‘I Am Free’ (Lyrics) www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9o_KrIfbzM (Just the track and lyrics – around 3½ minutes) • Newsboys ‘I Am Free’ (Live @ Flevo 2007) www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY7-Ss-0sKs (live version around 8 minutes) • Live and studio versions also on iTunes continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week two (continued...) Lyrics below!

I Am Free Through you the blind will see Through you the mute will sing Through you the dead will rise Through you our hearts will praise Through you the darkness flees Through you my heart screams I am free I am free Chorus: I am free to run (I am free to run) I am free to dance (I am free to dance) I am free to live for you (I am free to live for you) I am free (I am free) Yes, I am free (I am free) Through you the Kingdom’s come Through you the battle’s won Through you I’m not afraid Through you the price is paid Through you there’s victory Because of you my heart screams I am free I am free Chorus:

celloutlines

Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Action Ask each person to write a psalm, poem, song or prayer (or create a picture if they are really arty and prefer pictures to words) about the freedom that we have in Jesus. Bring to share with the group next week.

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012 celloutlines

celloutlines | week three These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Free 2 B Me (Part 1) Welcome Present the group with some photos of everyday objects taken from unusual angles. Ask group members to guess what the objects are. OR Find a few bizarre objects from around your home, things that your group members will not be familiar with (if you don’t have any, look on the internet and print out some pictures of bizarre objects.) Ask your group members if they can guess what each of the objects is and what its purpose is.

Feedback from last week Find out who has written a psalm, poem, song or prayer or created a picture about the freedom that we have in Jesus. Either share these together as an introduction to the session, or use them at the end during the prayer section.

Word Explain that one of the key aspects of being able to live in the freedom that we have as Christians is understanding and living in our true identity. The way we perceive ourselves is what we will become, so it essential that we have a right and true view of ourselves – and that starts with God. Knowing who you are, being secure in who you are, enables you to reach out and connect with others and the world around. It means you are not constantly striving for something else in your life, but you find peace and security – wholeness and freedom. When we understand and accept where our true identity comes from, we are in a position to challenge some of what society tells us and find new ways of living as disciples of Jesus free from insecurities, unrealistic ideals and unfulfilled desires. When we understand and accept our true identity we can live in freedom, not bound by the expectations of others... be it society, friends, the SA... not afraid to fail. When we understand our true identity we can dare to dream; to aspire to do greater things for God... and to see God’s Kingdom closer than ever before. A. Pressure from society. Lay out a long piece of wallpaper. Draw around a willing volunteer. Ask people to flick through a bunch of magazines and cut out and stick on the paper anything that influences our identity – eg, fashion, celebrities, advertising, products, TV, film, technology/gadgets, social networking etc. It may help to give the group the following statement as they search the magazines: ‘Imagine you are someone from another planet arriving here with only the culture around you to influence you as to what you should be like, how you should behave etc.’ Ask the group what they discover through this exercise – eg, what pressures do they identify, how does looking at those things make them feel? continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

Use the following thought as you find helpful in your discussion: ‘Our culture tells us how to go about creating an identity and we follow suit. We are told about thinking well of ourselves, being concerned with our image and comparing ourselves to those around us. And we go along with it. Everyone plays the game and we join in without even asking.’ (Graham Beynon, Mirror, Mirror p134) It is important to understand that the culture/society that we live in today is trying to shape our identity for us. We are offered a vast array of lifestyle choices that we can make to create who we want to be. Through things like the media, advertising, celebrities, as we can see in our collage, we are encouraged …to look a certain way, …to behave in a certain way, …to buy certain products because our favourite celebrity endorses them, …to belong to a certain group. What do we see when we pick up any magazine or watch TV? We are bombarded with: • Beautiful people – who we will never look like; • Rich people with possessions – which we will never own; • Celebrities with the coolest lifestyles – which we will never live. So often we define ourselves – that is, we decide who we are and whether we like ourselves – by how we look, what we wear, what we do, how successful we are, what we have achieved, who our friends are… and so on. It’s even possible that sometimes we can try to find our identity in the things that we do at church – being at the hall every night of the week, busy with the Army programme. We make judgments about ourselves, whether we like ourselves or are acceptable, as we compare ourselves against the things that the world values and considers important. Our culture wants us to buy into a belief system – that it’s only those who look the best, who have the latest stuff and the greatest achievements, who become the most popular, the happiest and the most content. Looking at all this stuff sometimes makes us think things like: • ‘If only I had more trendy clothes, that guy I like would be sure to fancy me.’ • ‘If only I had iPhone 5, then I would be happier.’

celloutlines

• ‘If only I was a little bit prettier, then I would have so many more friends.’ In addition, what this culture tells us is that if we don’t like who we are, it is possible to change ourselves to become the type of person that we want to be – and who others want us to be; we can design ourselves like we do on social networking sites and only let people see the parts of us we want them to. One study of college-aged users in the US found that identity was becoming ‘increasingly externally driven; the self turning into a kind of brand crafted in response to feedback from invisible consumers.’ (Mail on Sunday You Magazine July 2012) Of course we’re not saying that it is wrong for us as Christians to wear trendy clothes, to want to look good, to enjoy new gadgets and gizmos that society offers us, to be popular, even to feel good about ourselves. As Christians we should be ‘attractive’ people as we let the life, creativity and beauty of Jesus shine through us. (But don’t forget that this attractiveness has nothing to do with what we look like!) But if we base our identity on the things that the culture portrays as important, be it a particular image or product, we won’t really discover who we really are and be our true selves. We will eventually be left wondering who we really are, feeling disappointed and frustrated because we have built continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012 celloutlines

our foundations on and put our hope in something that can’t possibly deliver what it promised. As an extension to this activity you could watch some adverts and discuss what they are really saying. Some good examples are:

Pantene Ad www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VGW7vX629I&list=PLF7ACD9912DD75CD0&index=6&feature=plpp_video

Lynx Chocolate man effect www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAtyunatwqc&list=PLF7ACD9912DD75CD0&index=4&feature=plpp_video

Red Driving School www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW_5vgnkpIk&list=PLF7ACD9912DD75CD0&index=3&feature=plpp_video In Britain it is calculated that between the ages of 4 and 18 the average person sees around 140,000 adverts. Encourage your group to keep up a banter with adverts when they see them. It may also be helpful to point out to your group that many of the images of people we see in advertising are not real… they have been digitally enhanced in all sorts of ways. Look at the Debenhams campaign to stop airbrushing here! http://stylefrizz.com/201006/photoshop-before-and-after-by-debenhams/ B. Pressures from others Explain that other people can have a huge influence on the way we perceive ourselves and build our identity. Our family and friends, teachers and leaders, the things people say about us, the things we feel pressured to get involved in, all have an impact on how we think of ourselves, how confident we become, how secure and fulfilled we are. Some people influence us for good, others are a negative influence and may destroy our self-confidence and speak words that bind us. There is a children’s story written by Max Lucado called ‘You Are Special’. This story is about small wooden people called Wemmicks. All day, every day, the whimsical Wemmicks go about town doing the same thing: they give each other stickers. Golden stars are awarded to the talented and clever, while the clumsy and less gifted receive nothing but grey dots. Punchinello is covered with the dreaded grey stickers. Try as he might, he just can’t seem to earn even one golden star. But then he meets a most unusual Wemmick and discovers that things can be different. When he takes his new friend’s advice and visits the extraordinary woodcarver, something strange begins to happen to Punchinello – something that is sure to shake Wemmicksville to its foundations. Read this story to your group! There are several different versions of this story being read on YouTube (try www. youtube.com/watch?v=15QuHygLwFU), or if you have the book you could read it yourself (we’re never too old for a good story!). After you have read the story use some or all of the following questions to discuss with your group: • Who are some of the people who give you ‘grey dots’? • How do these people make you feel about yourself? • Who are some of the people who you like to give you ‘gold stars’? Why? • Can you think of any negative words that people have spoken about you that you feel are ‘tying you up’ or that you can’t shake off? • What actions do you need to take to start the process of these stickers ‘falling off’?

Prayer You may find group members have shared openly about some of the pressures they are facing in their identity or barriers to their freedom. If so, you may wish to pray for each other in whatever way works best for your group. continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


Play some reflective music and ask each person to pray inwardly about the things they have written down, and to ask God to set them free from pressures and ties from the world and people around us that stop them living in the freedom that Jesus died to give them. Remind them to say sorry to God if necessary. (Try SPIRE track 2 ‘I bow down’ available from ALOVE, or Hillsong ‘In Your Freedom’…download from iTunes or search on YouTube.) Ask each person to bring their dot stickers and stick them on an outline of a cross, pause and thank Jesus for setting them free and for making them so special. Ask them to make a commitment to live in freedom and in their true identity as a special child of God.

Action Ask each person to consider one practical thing they need to do this week to live in freedom from one (or all) of the things that they wrote on their dots. Tell them you will be asking them how they got on with this in the next session!

celloutlines

november 2012

Alternatively, give each person some dot stickers and ask them to write on the stickers any words, people, habits, sins or other things that they feel are tying them up and preventing them from really being or discovering the special person that God made them to be.

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week four These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Free 2 B Me (Part 2) Welcome The classic ‘Who Am I?’ icebreaker works well for the theme of this session! Have each person secretly write on a Post-it Note the name of a famous person. Keeping the name hidden, stick the Post-it to another’s forehead or back. Each person takes turns to ask the group questions to figure out who the unknown person is. The catch is that only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers can be asked – eg: • Am I alive? • Am I female? If the answer is ‘no’, that person’s turn is over. If the answer is ‘yes’, they can ask another question. Keep going until you get a ‘no’ or the person can make a guess at who they are. If they guess right, they win, or if they guess wrong their turn is over. Keep going until everyone has guessed; or if time is tight, maybe stop after a few right answers. Or an alternative version: Select someone to be ‘It’. Have ‘It’ leave the room. The remaining group members decide who the group will be – perhaps a group of supermodels? what about a group of school teachers? When ‘It’ re-enters the room, he or she goes around the room asking questions to figure out who the group has become. Try your best to confuse, but do answer truthfully! He or she can guess correctly or give up. Then it is someone else’s turn to be ‘It’! Determine ahead of time how many questions ‘It’ can ask – perhaps one question of each person. Or perhaps a set number, such as twenty questions. This game doesn’t even need to have a winner or loser – just have fun and let everyone have a turn!

celloutlines

Feedback from last week Ask the group to share how they got on outworking the one practical thing they need identified that they needed to do to live in freedom from one (or all) of the things that they wrote on their dots in the last session.

Word A. Take the group through the following five points: Ask the young people to draw an outline of their hand, large enough so that they can write in each finger. They should write the title of the following five points as you get to it in the following section. Say: ‘I am going to give you five key pointers that will help you discover and live out your true identity as a man/ woman of God.’ 1. Made in the image of God Write on the first finger or thumb – ‘Image of God’. The first key thing is understanding and accepting that our true identity is that we have all been made in the image of God. continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

celloutlines | week four (continued...) Genesis 1:26-27 (The Message) says: ‘God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature… God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.’ We are made in God’s image and likeness, reflecting his nature, personality and character. We are made like God… a model based on him. God made an amazing world, but only humanity is made in his image… giving us value and status within creation. What a huge privilege! The thing about an image is that it doesn’t exist by itself – an image is defined by whose image it is. Your image in a mirror is not there unless you are looking in the mirror! So if we’re made in God’s image, to know ourselves we must know and understand him. 2. Cleansed and accepted Write on the next finger – ‘Cleansed and accepted’. We all know what happened in the Garden of Eden, don’t we? Through one wrong choice everything was changed. Once sin was involved, creation became separated from God. After the apple Adam and Eve couldn’t look at God any more, and their image of themselves became distorted and unclear. It is in this state that we are all born into the world. Because of sin we are now all born into the world with an unclear picture of God and therefore of ourselves. It is as if there is a barrier between us and him. That is why people search for identity in other places. God had to deal with the sin that separates us from him and from seeing our clear identity. How? Through Jesus, of course! ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NIV). Real spiritual and eternal life can only be found in Jesus. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we have a restored relationship with God. Jesus has won back for us our spiritual life and identity that was lost through the sin in the Garden of Eden.

celloutlines

This shows us perfectly how we should view ourselves and form our identity. Through Jesus and all he did for us on the cross, we can see our true reflection as a unique, valued individual made in the image of God. Through Jesus we get back to where we belong, where we were made to be. Only through Jesus does the image of our real selves become clear again. 3. Truth of our identity is in the Bible Write on the next finger – ‘Biblical truth’. One of the ways we find the real truth about who God has made us to be is by looking at what he has said about who we are in the Bible. Look at the following truths from the Bible. These are just some of the truths about our real identity, and we will look at some more of these in a minute. • ‘I am an accepted child of God’ (John 1:12). • ‘I have a full and true life in Christ’ (Colossians 2:10). • ‘I am free for ever from condemnation’ (Romans 8:1-2). • ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13). continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

• ‘I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit’ (John 15:16). Our acceptance of Jesus when we became a Christian guarantees us this identity. In other words, these things are true about us simply because we are Christians. There is nothing we can do to make them truer, and nothing we can do to make them untrue. It simply is the truth! 4. ‘Heart knowledge’ Write on the next finger – ‘Heart knowledge’. We need to get the truths of our identity from our head knowledge into our heart, where we can really accept and believe and live in our true identity. We need to learn the truths in the Bible and use these to combat our negative thoughts, our doubts and our fears about who we are. So for example, we may often hear the world saying to us, ‘You are what you buy’ (think about the collage from last week). But the truth in the Bible says we have ‘a full and true life in Christ’ (Colossians 2:10 New Century Version). So if we memorise this Scripture and choose to believe that it is true, then every time we hear that negative message we can hold up our hand and say: ‘Stop! I’m not going to believe that about myself. It’s not true. The truth of my identity is found in Jesus, and because it is in Jesus it is true that I do not need to have the latest stuff to be significant.’ 5. ‘Freedom in being me’ Write on the last finger or thumb – ‘Being me’. When we believe and live in our true identity, we are able to really start living as disciples of Jesus. When we understand and accept where our true identity comes from, we are in a position to challenge some of what society tells us and find new ways of living as disciples of Jesus free from insecurities, unrealistic ideals and unfulfilled desires. We can live in freedom, not bound by the expectations of others, be it society, friends, the SA, ourselves… When we live in this freedom we can dare to dream and to aspire to do greater things for God. Signature To end this section ask the young people to sign their name in the centre of their hand. B. Who Am I? Print out a copy of the attached ‘Who Am I? list for each person. (NB These are paraphrases of the Bible verse… not the exact words that you will find when you look up the Scripture.)

celloutlines

Take it in turns to read around the group, each person reading one statement, until you have all read the whole list. Explain that these are the truths about who we are – our true identity in Jesus. These are the truths we must understand, believe and make real in our lives. We can’t earn or buy these truths. They were guaranteed to each one of us by the word of God simply because we have been born into God’s family by faith in Christ. Every one of these statements is completely true of each of us and there is nothing we can do to make them more true. They were true the moment we accepted Christ, and they are true now. They are not true because of anything we have each done. They are true because of what Jesus has done for each of us. We can be confident of who we are in Christ – of what God has done for us and made true of us. Believing what God says about you doesn’t make it true. It is true, therefore we believe it. Sometimes – often – we can struggle to take this on board. ‘It sounds great, but I can’t really believe it. Me – I’m too much of a sinner for these things to be true!’ Or we believe these truths but they just don’t make any difference. They don’t sink in, or become a reality in our lives. This is why we must take time, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to pray and reflect and accept the truths. The more we reaffirm who we are in Christ, the more our behaviour will begin to reflect our true identity and the greater freedom we will find. So continually remind yourself who you are in him! continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012 celloutlines

Allow a few minutes of quiet for each person to read the list again and answer the following questions: • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the most encouraging to you today? Why? • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the most challenging to you today? Why? • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the hardest for you to believe? Why? C. Print or write out the following statements on pieces of card. Place the ‘The world tries to tell me / I think about myself’ statements out in the middle of the group. Ask group members if there are any statements that they identify with feeling, thinking or even hearing others say about them. Then lay out the ‘My true identity tells me’ statements. Ask the group to try to match up one of the Scriptures with the negative thought/feeling that it counteracts, as shown in the list below. The world tries to tell me/I think about myself:

My true identity tells me:

‘I am not acceptable as I am’

‘I am accepted in Christ’ (John 1:12)

‘I’ll never amount to anything special’

‘I am the salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13)

‘I need more stuff to be happy’

‘I am complete in Christ’ (Colossians 2:10)

‘I’ve made too many mistakes’

‘I am free forever from condemnation’ (Romans 8:1-2)

‘My body isn’t muscley enough / thin enough’

‘I am a temple – a dwelling place – for God. His Spirit and his life live in me’ (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

‘I can’t do it’

‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13)

‘I am no one without girl/boy friend’

‘I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God’ (1Peter 2:9,10)

‘God will never use someone like me’

‘I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit’ (John 15:16) ‘I am Christ’s personal witness sent out to tell everybody about him’ (Acts 1:18)

‘I am a total failure’

‘In all these things I am completely victorious through God who showed his love for me’ (Romans 8:37)

‘If I didn’t have my good looks / good body I wouldn’t have anything’

‘I am a child of God and will receive the inheritance he has promised’ (Galatians 4: 6,7)

‘I don’t belong’

‘I am a child of God and one with others in his family’ (Galatians 3: 26-28) continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


Prayer Ask each person to consider one of the ‘Who I Am’ statements that they would most like to experience in their lives right now. One at a time have each person to tell the group their chosen statement and ask the group members to pray for that person, that God would fill them with the Holy Spirit and enable them to experience what they need in their lives, to live out their true identity and find freedom in being themselves!

Action Ask each person to think about the best way that they can continually remind themselves who they are in Jesus, and use the truths in the Bible to combat negative thinking and lies. Here are examples: There is a free app called ‘Identity In Christ Daily’ which will send a daily Scripture verse to your phone/tablet to read all about your identity. Create or download a poster of some of the above Scriptures and stick it somewhere you will see it regularly (search ‘Identity in Christ’ in a Google image search; or look at Cell Extra). Write your favourite verses, those that most need to believe, on your mirror or on Post-it Notes in strategic places.

celloutlines

november 2012

After this activity explain to the group that this shows us how we can use Scriptures as weapons to fight away the lies that we so often believe about ourselves. Encourage the group to memorise Scriptures so our weapons are sharp and ready to do business!

continued over >>>

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


november 2012

Who Am I? I am the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) I am a child of God (John 1:12) I am a part of the true vine, and Christ’s life flows through me (John 15:1,5) I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15) I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit (John 15:16) I am Christ’s personal witness sent out to tell everybody about him (Acts 1:18) I am a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18) I am a slave to God, making me holy and giving me eternal life (Romans 6:22) I am a child of God; I can call him my Father (Romans 8:14,15; Galatians 3:26; 4:6) I am a coheir with Christ, inheriting his glory (Romans 8:17) I am a temple – a dwelling place – for God. His Spirit and his life live in me (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) I am joined forever to the Lord and am one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17) I am a part of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30) I am a new person. My past is forgiven and everything is new (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18,19) I am at peace with God, and he has given me the work of helping others find peace with him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) I am a child of God and one with others in his family (Galatians 3:26-28) I am a child of God and will receive the inheritance he has promised (Galatians 4:6,7) I am a saint, a holy person (Ephesians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2) I am a citizen of Heaven seated in Heaven right now (Ephesians 2:6; Philippians 3:20) I am God’s building project, his handiwork, created in Christ to do his work (Ephesians 2:10) I am a citizen of Heaven with all of God’s family (Ephesians 2:19) I am a prisoner of Christ so that I can help others (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1) I am righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24) I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:4) I am an expression of the life of Christ because he is my life (Colossians 3:4) I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4)

celloutlines

I am a child of light, not of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5) I am chosen to share in God’s heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1) I am a part of Christ; I share in his life (Hebrews 3:14) I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God (1Peter 2:9,10) I am only a visitor to this world in which I temporarily live (1 Peter 2:11) I am an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 5:8) I am a child of God and I will be like Christ when he returns (1 John 3:1,2) I am born again in Christ, and the evil one – the devil – cannot touch me (1 John 5:18) I am not the great ‘I am’, (Exodus 3:14; John 8:24,28,58) but by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Corinthians 15:10) (Taken from Stomping Out The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson) • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the most encouraging to you today? Why? • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the most challenging to you today? Why? • Which one or two of these ‘Who I Am’ statements are the hardest for you to believe? Why?

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove


November Cell Material  

Cell Material for November

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you