Friday, March 27, 2009

Influence

This week's small curriculum reminds us that we can all make a difference if we choose to.

Big Idea:
Just as Christ influenced the world for all eternity, each of our lives is meant to have significant influence on the world around us - both locally and globally.

Summary:
God has called us to be good stewards of our lives and the gifts He has given us – relationships, time, talent, and treasure. But none of those things may matter as much as the influence that God has entrusted to you. Influence is so important because it is the power to affect how someone develops, acts, or thinks. Influence shapes our world and can affect the eternal destiny of people. This is why influence requires careful stewardship. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to influence the world for the sake of Christ, His gospel, and His kingdom. Therefore, we must become the most influential people on the planet. Having a heart for the world is making the commitment to become a person of influence who stands for righteousness, truth, and justice. In fact, neglecting to influence the world around you for the sake of Christ is to completely miss the calling of Christ on your life.

How can we best steward this gift of influence? The Bible teaches us the following three principles. First, we must recognize our influence. Everyone has influence. We are far more influential than we realize. Each of us has some measure of influence over every person we come in contact with in life. Second, we must exercise our influence; otherwise, it is irrelevant. Influence is like money. We can use it for good, we can use it for evil, or we can save it and never use it. The way that we influence the world is through compassionate engagement - through loving, giving, serving and sharing the Good News of the Gospel. Third, we must maximize our influence. There are two legitimate reasons for expanding your sphere of influence – ministry and missions. The enemy is working hard every day to maximize and expand his influence of unrighteousness in the world. Therefore, as Christ followers, we must be about expanding and maximizing our kingdom of God influence. If we do this, we will make a difference in this world and the world to come. 

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Matthew 5:13-16
This passage encourages us to be influential. Give examples of how we can be salt and light. How does Christ look upon those who neglect their influence? What is the result of us exercising our influence? Share a specific story of what has happened as a result of letting your light shine.

Daniel 3:13-30
How did these guys influence a nation? Discuss how your obedience to God’s commands can influence others.

1 Peter 5:8-11
Discuss how the Devil is exercising his influence in the world today. What is the result of his influence? How can our influence make a difference? Discuss ways we can maximize our influence in the world.

Taking Action: Exercise your influence in a real way by engaging individually or as a group in the upcoming “Project Homeless Connect,” by signing up for a short-term missions trip, or use your financial resources to send someone else. Contact Katie in or Outreach Department this week.

Ministry Time

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