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Join the MVMNT: Spreading to Macedonia

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 16:6 - 19:20

REFLECT:

  1. How did Paul go about strengthening and establishing the churches? What additional patterns emerge in this section?

  2. What might be the phases in establishing a church from the very beginning of its existence? How long might it take to establish a church?

  3. What bearing does Paul’s process have on the multiplication of churches? How do they preserve the spontaneous expansion of the Church?

  4. What insights do we gain from Paul’s model of taking the gospel into culture that can cause our witness to have similar impact today? In what way is Acts 17 a pattern to follow today?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

THE SEED LETTER

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When you say yes to God’s call - just be ready! I heard these words many years ago, and they did not carry much weight.

September 22nd, 2019 was a life changing event in my life and hopefully, the lives of some very good friends. That Sunday was the first time we held a worship service at Outreach.

I was given the blessing and the task of doing what I felt God was pressing on my heart. I had talked to Jason, and he was all in from our first discussion.

I knew we had to do something for our young people where they felt at home. I have had quite a few of our friends from Outreach tell me that they have tried church, and “It just wasn’t for them.”

We all know how tough it can be to walk into a church for the first time. I have seen the situation play out first hand after going to an established church. The structure and feel can be intimidating for anyone. That is why I felt that trying something on our own campus could maybe work.

I had just never, EVER envisioned myself leading a church of any kind! My pastors Erik and Jeff, helped me to see that if you are called to something, God is already qualifying you!

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Even though our space is not large, it was perfect for September 22nd and the present-future. Furniture was moved around and 25 folding chairs borrowed from Englewood Church were added. Now we have a home for our new worship space - “The Seed”.

The attendance was a beautiful mixture of current and aged out Outreach peeps. We had over 35 people in attendance! We had three beautiful families with their babies! We also had staff and some loving friends to help us get started from Common Ground Northeast attend. We were blessed to have Sonna, John and Dana lead us with some beautifully unplugged worship songs!

My favorite part of the service was after I talked about how the name for The Seed came about - from Matthew 13: 1-23. We then broke up into small groups, and we all talked about which of the four seeds that Jesus talked about in the parable we were, right then. A seed on rock (pavement)? A seed barely growing in a rocky place? A plant growing amongst weeds? A plant/tree bearing good fruit?

The discussion time was beautiful.

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Breaking up and sharing will be a constant every time we meet. In my heart I always feel that our stories are so important to our health and healing.

Lastly, we had a meal together, because we knew that there were a few people attending that were bypassing dinner at their current living arrangements to come and hang out with us.

It was so fun hanging out and eating with everyone! As we were cleaning up one of my buddies told me that it was exciting to know that this could be “his” church!

After was over, we had quite a few of the youth very excited about next Sunday. I had to let them know we are taking the process slow. Our current idea for the future is we will meet again in October and if that goes well and everyone wants to continue, we will then begin to meet every other week.

We are very thankful for the friends that came to worship, our incredible volunteer team, Outreach, Common Ground Northeast and Common Ground Midtown for their support in how God allowed The Seed to be planted on the near-eastside of Indianapolis.

Humbled and blessed,

Anthony Dumas

CGNortheast, Elder

Join the MVMNT: Cyprus + Lystra

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 12:25 - 16:5

REFLECT:

  1. Can you see a basic pattern beginning to emerge in Paul’s missionary activity? What are the core elements? In what sense might it be considered a cycle?

  2. Does Paul appear to be following a strategy as he goes about his mission work? How can you hold the idea of mission strategy in tension with the idea of the spontaneous expansion of the Church under the direction of the Spirit?

  3. How would you describe Paul’s core tasks of mission work? Do these tasks necessitate following the core elements of Paul’s model?

  4. Are those core tasks intended for the Church to follow today? Is mission work a matter of establishing churches and seeing them multiply?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Join the MVMNT: Caesarea Antioch

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 9:32 - 12:24

REFLECT:

  1. Why do you think Barnabas went to get Saul before he began extensive work with the church at Antioch? Why do you think they spent an entire year teaching the church at Antioch?

  2. What does this tell us about the kind of foundation needed for a church to become strong enough to be a base for the worldwide expansion of the Church? What all goes into laying such a foundation?

  3. Even though Saul and Barnabas taught the church and, in that sense, laid the foundation, what other factors contributed to preparing the way for their work? How can you envision faithful men and women being used as God’s tools in building a strong base for expansion of the Church?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Join the MVMNT: Judea + Sumaria

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 6:8-9:31

REFLECT:

  1. What were the main ingredients that caused the Church to expand from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria? What are some of the implications of these ingredients as we seek to carry out mission work today? How might they affect our strategic planning?

  2. How can we identify where God is working and respond accordingly? Are any of our cultural prejudices getting in the way of identifying God’s work?

  3. Do you think God will spontaneously expand His Church today in a similar way?

  4. How might you, as an individual, participate in the expansion of the Church, when and if it occurs? or in the expansion of the Church?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Do Justice

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Common Ground Northeast is a church who intends to pursue justice according to the scriptural mandate to honor all people as image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26), to be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21), and to be a voice for the voiceless (Prov. 31:8-10). When we see moments of social inequity, we must step in, raise our voices, and point it out to represent the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

A few weeks ago, IMPD Officer Robert Lawson was charged in response to a physical engagement that occurred between himself and a 17-year-old student on campus at Shortridge High School. Videos have circulated online and multiple news outlets have covered the incident as more information has come to light (see WTHR article here). As law enforcement officials have tried to understand the situation, the context of the incident, and video/eyewitness accounts, they have reported that it is clear there are discrepancies between the officers account and the information collected.  While the officer has been put on unpaid administrative leave as the facts involving the altercation are being sorted (through an internal investigation), some of the dynamics must be weighed in light of the Gospel-driven justice. 

There are two social and systemic dynamics that must be analyzed critically:

1. Overuse of force.

Officers are trained to de-escalate situations and to serve the public by maintaining social order in a professional manner. And, whether or not there was a need for the officer to engage the student, a close-fist punch was an overuse of force. A punch is not an effective means of restraint and the fact that the officer altered his description of the way he struck the student reveals that he knew it himself. Additionally, in determining the “level of threat” from the 17 year old student (who is clearly in a smaller weight-class than the officer), Lawson exaggerated the posture of the boy stating he, “balled his fists” which the videos reveal did not occur.  This was clearly an overuse of force and the officer attempts to justify it. 

As this story unfolds, we should be cognizant of the power dynamics involved, the systemic outworking of this situation, and who it tends to favor.  Ultimately, officer Lawson’s actions were not reflective of his training or his position of authority and they should not go without consequences.

2. Blaming the victim. 

At first glance, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, seems to take responsibility by stating “This in no way excuses what the officer is accused of doing, obviously…” Curry then adds, “…but our hope would be that adults could act like adults. She screamed. She yelled. She dropped f-bombs. She dropped MF-ers. We simply would hope that adults could act like adults. What happened here, this whole circumstance would have been avoided.” 

By attempting to define how adults should “act” and weave together specific moments outside of the context in which they happened, Curry was framing the situation in such a way that placed blame for the “whole” incident on the students’ aunt instead of the officers obviously inappropriate actions. This statement was unwarranted and inappropriate; we should call for Prosecutor Curry to publicly apologize for covertly justifying the officers actions. 

As a church family, Common Ground Northeast, we must follow the example of Christ who stepped into the difficult environments of injustice and speak for those who are being mistreated especially in our law systems.  Jesus continually confronted the Pharisees, for their misuse of authority, when they tried to uphold an unjust system that benefitted them at the cost of others.  We are responsible for holding our government and law-enforcement officials accountable for the decisions and actions they take so that all people are treated equitably and with dignity.

May we “do justice” together,

Pastor Erik Thien

Elders at Common Ground Northeast


As we come off the heels of our Reconcile Conference, this is a very direct way we can apply the things we’ve learned. Here are some ways you can take action:

    • Keep watching the story as it unfolds.

    • Email the Prosecutors office at mcpo@indy.gov .

    • Call Prosecutor Terry Curry at (317) 327-3522

    • Share your thoughts or even this article on social media to spread the word.

Join the MVMNT: The Church + Jerusalem

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 3-6:7

REFLECT:

  1. What are the core elements that contributed to the incredible community life that characterized the Church almost from the moment of it's’ supernatural birth?

  2. What sorts of things took place to sustain their amazing love, generosity, and one-mindedness?

  3. Special needs were there due to Pentecost, and people stayed for months to get trained in their new faith before returning home. Should we expect our churches to experience a similar dynamic community life today?

  4. What seems to be the relationship between the quality of their community life and the effect of their witness?

  5. What sorts of things can begin to eat away at dynamic community life in our churches, as with the Early Church? How do we see this today?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Why "we give as a church."

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WHY “WE GIVE AS A CHURCH”

During our response time on Sunday morning, you have heard us say the phrase, “we don’t give to a church; we give as a church.” This phrase is a quick way to summarize our convictions on (1) the posture of giving and (2) our relationship to the church. We recognize that we are the church and, as a community, we give to God as a church. These funds are collected for ministry initiatives both internally and externally.

In her book The Worshipping Life, Lisa Nochols Hickman says, “We do not give to the church; we give as a church. We give as a body of people, who discern the needs of our community and world, and give in the name of Jesus Christ. Of course some of that money supports a building and a staff, but both are necessary in proclaiming the gospel. Our giving to the church should not be out of guilt or shame, but in response to our own internalization of the gospel and its demand on our lives (Pg. 96).”

We are the church.

If our posture of giving is that we give to the church, then we are thinking of the church as an institution - separate from ourselves as individuals - that we are financially propping up.  That’s the same relationship we have with a country club or gym. We might pay our “dues” to these institutions because they provide a service or product.  When we give as a church, we are assuming that everyone who calls CGNE their home is a part of the community and we are contributors to the mission, vision, and goals. 

Also, when we give as a church, we recognize that we are giving to God and not just to an organization. This means we are accountable to God, as His disciples, to participate, according to our convictions, in the collaborative efforts of Common Ground Northeast. 

Better together.

When we give as a church, we understand that there are ministry initiatives we can do together that we cannot do as individuals. So, when we gather that money together, it is still YOUR money funneled through the community of Common Ground Northeast under the guidance of our leadership (in particular our OPS team)! These leaders serve the congregation with the collected finances in three ways: paying for some to work vocationally in the body, by providing communal space for gathering/mission, and by giving to those in need outside of our own body. To be more specific, our finances pay for practical financial components like salaries, our mortgage, and our utilities but it also goes toward missional endeavors that help those outside of the community.  When we give as the church, we are giving to these efforts collectively creating synergy and a sense of unity around a common goal.

At Common Ground Northeast, we want to give “as a church” It is our desire that we would give sacrificially, cheerfully, and intentionally as the church to which you belong and, as a church body, to the things we intend to support communally!


September 8, 2019 Message: RECAP

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CATALYST + COMMISSION RECAP

SCRIPTURE VERSES

Luke wrote the book of Luke as a historically accurate witness to the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Luke also included the Commission of Jesus for his disciples to spread the Good News. Acts is the continuation of the story.

The book of Acts describes the rapid expansion of the Gospel and the early church. “It’s like Jesus is patient zero” for the gospel contagion that gets transmitted to His followers and eventually spreads throughout the entire GLOBE as a worldwide MOVEMENT!!”

As we study the book of Acts this Fall, let us pay attention to the ingredients that catalyzed this wildfire. Are there TOOLS that were used by the early church that made it an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE as it spread across: borders, generations, cultures, languages, and socioeconomic barriers?

In Luke, Jesus did and taught many amazing things, but the disciples were not sent out immediately. They were told to wait for one more ingredient - the Holy Spirit. Once they were empowered witnesses, proclaiming the teachings of Jesus and following Jesus’ actions, the Gospel spread in a strategic manner that Jesus prophesied about.

…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth…

This was not a generic statement about random places but about specific missional outposts. This caused the Gospel to be carried from the Jews to the Gentiles and then to the Gentiles everywhere. Acts shows us exactly how strategic this whole plan was and how it could only be implemented through the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The book of Acts describes men like Paul who were shaped into vessels and used to expand God’s Kingdom in God’s perfect timing but the details are not about the figures and their lives. If we follow through the book of Acts, the common denominator is the working and the power of the Holy Spirit.

3 SPECIFIC WAYS WE CAN FOLLOW UP FROM THIS MESSAGE:

  1. Follow along with the Reading Plan

  2. Support something

  3. Pray that the Holy Spirit guide, open our hearts, and reveal what we are doing well and where we are lacking as a church

The Holy Spirit is NOT content to allow those of us who follow Christ to sit back and read about this MVMNT!! Eventually, the Holy Spirit come up behind you, tap you shoulder, and say: “that’s THEIR move…what’s yours??”

Join the MVMNT: Catalyst + Commission

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WEEKLY: The author of both the Books of Luke and Acts is Luke, an observant, educated, historically-oriented figure and writer.

The book of Luke was given as a detailed account of the life and Gospel of Jesus to fortify the faith of the Believers. Acts is the sequel. We get the first hand account of how Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection went VIRAL, eventually spreading throughout the whole globe.

This fall we are going to look at a few of the tools and key elements that sparked this wildfire to see how we can continue that MVMNT here, today.

READ: Acts Chapters 1-2

REFLECT:

  1. Why do you think Luke thought it was so critical for him to write the Book of Acts as a second volume to his gospel? What was his intent? How is it a continuation of what he wrote in Luke?

  2. How does Acts relate to the rest of the New Testament?

  3. Why does Luke give us only a few key events and make several summary statements? What was he trying to clue us into?

  4. How important is it to grasp the broad plan that is unfolded in Acts? How might it shape our understanding of our mission?

  5. Why is it essential to understand this plan in order to accurately understand the teaching in the New Testament letters?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

MVMNT SERIES READING PLAN

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Join the MVMNT and study the Bible with all of Common Ground Northeast, as we review what God has done and is doing and will do with the Body of Christ locally and globally!

A Letter from Erik about the Recent Tragedies

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Common Ground Northeast Family,

I was shocked to learn about the first tragic shooting in El Paso resulting in 22 deaths and numerous critical injuries. This moment was difficult enough. Then, I woke up to hear about the events in Dayton, I was horrified, and I was a little stunned. My first thought was, “will there be more?!” Following this I had a flood of emotions - shock, anger, sadness, fear, more anger... One of the most common thoughts I’ve had amidst the MULTIPLE mass shootings we have endured in our nation is, “why is this still happening??

No doubt many of you in the CGNE family felt the same.

All of us process tragedy differently, though we have the same Holy Spirit who counsels us. All of us have different opinions on how to fix the issues, though we are all ambassadors to the same Kingdom. And all of us feel the weight that sin places on us, because we are living in a broken world without the fullness of shalom until Christ returns.

A few weeks ago, our sermon addressed the importance of practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Lament. What a timely message for the Holy Spirit to bring into our community as we encounter such confusing and terrifying events in our culture?

We are reminded that Gods sits with us in the midst of our sorrow and pain, and we are reminded that He has made a way for us to approach God when we are suffering or angry.

I want to encourage our congregation to go to God in this season. Take all of the questions and the fullness of your emotions before the One who has the ability to comfort, to guide, to bring justice, and to be present in all situations, to all people, at all times.

...but don’t stop there.

As those who have been charged with the ministry of reconciliation, be ambassadors of the Kingdom of heaven and carriers of Shalom to everyone around you.

PRAY.

Take time to pray for those who were directly affected in the shootings. Ask for peace, healing, and comfort to rest upon the victims. Ask for God to enact justice to whatever degree He deems worthy.

ACT.

God may be prompting you to action; to raise money for victims or to advocate according to your convictions surrounding these shootings. Ask Jesus what He wants you to do in response to the tragedies we've witnessed. In all things, listen to Jesus and DO what He says.

We will take a few minutes this Sunday to reflect, lament, and pray as a congregation. Until that time, may the words of David, from Psalm 34:17-18 comfort you in this season:

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Kirie Elieson (Lord, have mercy on us),
Erik Thien

Next Generation: Growing Young

Next Generation Growing Young

WEEKLY: God speaks through young people in profound ways. We see an example of this in Samuel. Adults may have more life experiences, yet our kids and youth still have God experiences. Our kids and youth are as vital as anyone when it comes to the Kingdom.

We need the next generation present with us. The future leaders of our society and church sit next to us every week. We hold a divine responsibility to pass along the God given gifts of life experience, wisdom, and learned lessons to the next generation coming behind us. We need to be present with the next generation.

The power of presence can change the world for anyone. It changed ours when God decided to be present with us through His son Jesus. God's redemptive plan is through humanity, people, us. No matter what stage of life we are in, we as Christians and as the Body need to own growing young for the vitality of the Kingdom and glory of God.

“The truth is, every church needs young people. Their passion enriches the soil around them. The curiosity they bring to Scripture and the authenticity they bring to relationships keep your church’s teaching fresh and fellowship fruitful. 

Young people also need a thriving church. A thriving church both grounds them in community and sends them out to serve. 

Your church needs young people, and they need your church. One without the other is incomplete.”

- Kara Powell

READ: 1 Samuel 3

LISTEN:

LEARN MORE:

REFLECT:

  1. How does the way God used Samuel shape or challenge the way you see how God can use our kids and youth today?

  2. In what ways has the next generation taught you about God? What has God taught you through them? How is God using the next generation currently to influence or teach you?

  3. Who has the Spirit brought into your life to influence and be influenced by? Is there someone to whom you haven't responded, opened up to, or been present enough with (that you should)?

  4. Where are you actively Growing Young in your life? What areas do you need to starting thinking about and taking steps toward in regards to Growing Young in faith and the church?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Spiritual Disciplines 4: LAMENT

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WEEKLY: As Christians, we all want to grow closer to Jesus, but it doesn’t happen without some intentional training. Spiritual disciplines, according to Bishop Manny Carlos, are “habits or practices that are intended to help you grow in your relationship with God…and in Christlikeness.” Over the summer, we are going to cover one Spiritual Discipline a week as we attempt to use them in our lives to grow closer to Jesus and closer in likeness to the life He lived.

We can run, hide, avoid, or medicate ourselves to hide from sorrow, pain, and suffering but God has given a pathway to engage it with Him. When we Lament, we are taking hold of the tools God has given us to process the difficult seasons, unfortunately, we rarely use it in our culture today. How do we recapture the lost art of Lament and use it as a discipline today?

READ: Psalm 73; The Book of Lamentations

LISTEN:

LEARN MORE:

REFLECT:

  1. When you think of Lament what do you think about? What emotions, postures, facial expressions, and attitudes are present?

  2. When was the last time you honestly Lamented? What were the circumstances surrounding that moment?

  3. When we Lament, it reminds us that we should not have an attitude of triumphalism. What is triumphalism, why is it problematic, and how does Lament help us to counteract it?

  4. Recapturing Lament helps us to hold on to God in times of sorrow and suffering. How does it help?

  5. How can you implement a theology and liturgy of Lament in your life today? What rhythms can you establish to help you do this regularly?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Spiritual Disciplines 3: STEWARDSHIP

art of spiritual disciplines

WEEKLY: As Christians, we all want to grow closer to Jesus, but it doesn’t happen without some intentional training. Spiritual disciplines, according to Bishop Manny Carlos, are “habits or practices that are intended to help you grow in your relationship with God…and in Christlikeness.” Over the summer, we are going to cover one Spiritual Discipline a week as we attempt to use them in our lives to grow closer to Jesus and closer in likeness to the life He lived.

Nobody wants to talk about money in church! Yet, Jesus talked A LOT about money during his ministry on earth. Our desire to avoid the topic just reveals how strong our relationship with finances tends to be; it affects our lives, minds, hearts and actions. If we don’t look at what the Bible says on the topic of stewardship in our finances, then the world will shape our view of money for us.

READ: Matthew 25:14-29 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19

RESOURCES: Across the Globe Video (2 Mins)

REFLECT:

  1. As a starting point, think about the kind of economic relationship you have with your finances? Check this out to see a summary of the “money personality types.” What are the negative and positive effects your “money personality type“ has on your ability to be a good steward?

  2. Read the Matthew verses above. What does the Bible say about our economic relationship with God in the Kingdom of heaven? Hint: God is the _______ and we are the _______.

  3. Who is “rich in this present age according to the Timothy verses above? How does this affect your view of the financial dispersion across the globe?

  4. After reading the verses above and watching the video in the “resources” section above, how has your view of money, finances, stewardship, and generosity changed?

  5. What are 1-2 things you can you do THIS WEEK to be a better, more generous, steward in the Kingdom of heaven? What will you do with the TRUST God has given you?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Spiritual Disciplines 2: LISTENING

art of spiritual disciplines

WEEKLY: As Christians, we all want to grow closer to Jesus, but it doesn’t happen without some intentional training. Spiritual disciplines, according to Bishop Manny Carlos, are “habits or practices that are intended to help you grow in your relationship with God…and in Christlikeness.” Over the summer, we are going to cover one Spiritual Discipline a week as we attempt to use them in our lives to grow closer to Jesus and closer in likeness to the life He lived.

Listening to God is a lost art in our culture yet we see constant example of it in the Bible. We are also aware that God has place the Holy Spirit in us for a reason. Yet, very few of us act like the Holy Spirit is involved in our lives, minds, hearts and actions. What do the scriptures say about this and how do we listen to the voice of God (and act on what we hear) in a responsible manner?

READ: John 3:8; John 10:1-21; John 16:12-14; Acts 1-2; Acts 10; Acts 16:6-10

MORE RESOURCES:

REFLECT:

  1. What does the Bible says about hearing from God? Read the verses above and reflect on them with this concept in mind.

  2. experiences have you had while listening to the voice of God?

  3. How do you know when you are hearing from God? Do you have filters or tools that you use to discern this?

  4. If listening to God is like a muscle, how are you exercising it? What actions do you take at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

  5. When was the last time you did it? What is stopping you, your house church, or your family from letting the “wind blow“ in your lives?

** While we may not agree with everything the authors/speakers say in our resources, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Spiritual Disciplines 1: Word

art of spiritual disciplines

WEEKLY: As Christians, we all want to grow closer to Jesus, but it doesn’t happen without some intentional training. Spiritual disciplines, according to Bishop Manny Carlos, are “habits or practices that are intended to help you grow in your relationship with God…and in Christlikeness.” Over the summer, we are going to cover one Spiritual Discipline a week as we attempt to use them in our lives to grow closer to Jesus and closer in likeness to the life He lived.

The Word of God is foundational to any believers walk with Jesus. It is the means by which God has given us specific revelation of who He is, what He is like, and how we are to follow God. There are many different ways to engage with God through His Word. The important thing is that we do it! Pick a method, get an accountability partner, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read and listen to God’s word.

READ: 1 Timothy: 4:11-21; John 1:1-5; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

MORE RESOURCES:

REFLECT:

  1. What kind of Spiritual Disciplines have you used in the past to grow toward Jesus? Are you still using it?

  2. What are the biggest obstacles stopping you from reading or listening to God’s word? How can you overcome them?

    1. Would you like to start a reading plan? Click on the “youversion” app above to get some ideas.

    2. What kind of accountability do you have in reading the Bible? Ask you House Church to help or start a Transformation Group with someone.

  3. Freshen Up: Is your way of reading becoming stale? Try the methods in the resources to check out some new ways to read.

** While we may not agree with everything these authors say, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

United In Christ 5: Race + The Church

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WEEKLY: Race has been a consistent division in the church. It is said that Sunday morning is the “most segregated time of the week.“ How do we find ways to unite in the area of ethnicity and cross-cultural engagement?

READ: Galations 2:11-21

MORE RESOURCES:

Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. What does God’s word say, through the story of Paul confronting Peter, about race and unity (Galations 2:11-21)?

  2. What are ways you can continue to become united with those of different ethnicities than you?

  3. What engagements have you made to understand the history of race in the American Culture?

  4. If you have little understanding in this area, what is stopping you? If you have, what are your thoughts on the subject? How does it shape ethnic relationships today?


** While we may not agree with everything these authors say, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

United In Christ 4: Women + The Church

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WEEKLY: The debate about women and leadership in the church has caused a tumultuous rivalry in recent years. While the there seems to be strong prohibitions for women in ministry, there are some contextual questions that must be considered before we make a final conclusions. When the smoke is clear, we must be united as a church on issues that we cannot draw 100% conclusions on. Let us join together in rightly dividing the scripture and choose liberty in issues which are held in high debate among sincere, bible-believing, communities around the world!

READ: Genesis 1:26-28 1 Timothy 2:9-15 1 Cor. 14:33-40

MORE RESOURCES:

LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. What tradition have you typically viewed as correct: complimentarianist or egalitarianism? Why?

  2. Have you considered the alternative perspectives?

  3. Have you looked into the issues culturally and textually or have you defaulted with a tradition that was handed to you? Why or why not?

  4. Did anything change in your view after the Sunday Service regarding women in ministry? Why or why not?

  5. Why should this not be a divisive issue for the church?


** While we may not agree with everything these authors say, diversity in perspectives is beneficial to growth, and we encourage an open and Spirit discerning posture while studying the Scripture and while reviewing any resource. **

Juneteenth: A Holiday Worth Celebrating

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The Jewish culture of Jesus’ time was deeply shaped by moments such as the Passover holiday. These holidays celebrated times in the history of the Jewish people where Yahweh moved mightily to make a way for the people. The Jewish people were unwilling to let those events become lost and were committed to always remember the truth of their story with all the joy and pain that came with it. Jesus participated in these celebrations and holidays of remembrance.

In our own culture, there are celebrations of important moments. In the summer, many people celebrate the 4th of July as a deeply reverent holiday, but there is another meaningful moment that should create both pause and celebration. This holiday is known as Juneteenth.  

Juneteenth is the fusion of words June and Nineteenth and celebrates when in 1865 the African-American slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave them their right to freedom.

Juneteenth is already celebrated by millions of Black Americans each year to commemorate freedom from chattel slavery. This day is acknowledged on some level by many states. It is not considered a national holiday, despite it being the oldest known Black freedom celebration.

As Common Ground Northeast continues to pursue the vision of our church as a reconciling community, holidays like Juneteenth are absolutely paramount to our understanding of how we embody that vision. We must all understand that chattel slavery in America was foundational to the creation of the country itself.

Africans slaves were brought over and forced to work under brutal conditions for centuries, enduring rape, torture, and sub-human conditions generation after generation. One of the main functions of enslaved persons was to pick and process cotton; by the start of the Civil War cotton had generated $220 million worth of goods (equating to $6.5 Billion in today's standards). This made up 61% of all US goods exported and was a huge part of the entire US economy.

The economic boost from slave labor catapulted the United States into one of the most economically powerful nations in the world, fueling the growth of the nation. Chattel slavery in the United States had an impact across the whole of the U.S. economy, carrying with it international implications for centuries.

Juneteenth celebrates the de facto end of this abuse and of legally enslaving Black persons in this country.

This is relevant to our work as a church because the work of reconciliation requires an acknowledgment of wrongdoing in order to fix what was broken. Juneteenth acknowledges the wrongdoing and abuse done to Black Americans that still has an impact today.

Much like the Old Testament celebration of Jubilee, the holiday of Juneteenth can be a moment where we take seriously the damages done and seek to repair the damage. Emancipation of enslaved Black Americans is one of the most important moments of U.S.history, and treating it as such is a powerful means of starting the process of reconciliation.

So how do we do acknowledge, fix what is broken, and begin the process of reconciliation? As a church and within our individual families, we can celebrate Juneteenth by making space to educate ourselves and legitimately celebrate a positive, momentous shift in our country's history. We can also commemorate the day by taking serious the amount of work still needed to be done as a nation.

Juneteenth is not acknowledged as a national holiday and should be. There have been a number of efforts to turn the day into a national holiday, but these efforts have always been devoid of White Evangelicals at the table to help the cause. Despite the lack of national approval of such a holiday, it still can and should be celebrated by our faith community.

Juneteenth can be celebrated by recognizing that not all Americans have equal freedoms and rights, and that millions of Black Americans and people of color still suffer from systemic injustices that cause a different type of bondage than physical slavery. We often participate in these systems, so we need reconciling. We have an opportunity to do so in celebrating Juneteenth.



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Josh Riddick

DIRECTOR OF INTERCULTURAL ENGAGEMENT

Josh and his wife Lindsey have been part of the Common Ground family since Spring of 2017. Josh is from Michigan, but has been in Indianapolis since graduating college in 2016. Josh was drawn to Common Ground as it a community pursuing genuine reconciliation. He is passionate about seeing systems of inequality reformed and the Church being the agent of change to do so. Josh is an aspiring contemplative, hip-hop head and WNBA/NBA junkie. Josh, Lindsey, their daughter Jade, and their dog Jazzmyne are proud call the Near East side of Indianapolis home.

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