Ephesians

Introducing Transformed Living

We may know who we are in Christ, but how do we live this out every day? What does a transformed life look like in practice?

In the second half of his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul focuses on the unity and purity of God’s people. He shows us how living in relationship with Jesus can help us stand firm during spiritual warfare, find our unique place in the Church, and strengthen our relationships at home and in the workplace.

Building on the amazing truths found in Ephesians 1-3, this next 50-day journey unpacks how you can live in the light of what Christ has done for you. Explore Ephesians 4-6, verse by verse, and begin truly living out your transformed life.

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more.

Find out more about Transformed Living here.

 

About Dave Smith

Dave is the Senior Pastor at KingsGate Community Church in Peterborough, Cambridge, Leicester and London. Dave became a Christian while studying at Oxford University and went on to complete a Doctorate. He and his wife Karen planted KingsGate in 1988, a lively and thriving church, which has obtained national profile on Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 1.

 

Resource of the Month: Transformed Living Church Programme

An invitation to explore how to live out the Christian life through Ephesians 4–6

We’re excited to bring you a brand new resource that small groups and your whole church can do together.

Transformed Living is a seven-week church programme that helps you and your church explore what it looks like in practice to live life ‘in Christ’. Ideal as a stand-alone programme, it can also be used as the second part of a series with Transformed Life, which focuses on questions of identity, purpose and belonging using Ephesians 1–3.

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What does a transformed life look like in practice?

Unite your church as you learn and grow together. Strengthen your relationships at home and in the workplace, and discover how to stand firm under pressure. Find your unique place in the Church, and explore why the unity of God’s people is a key element for living a transformed life.

The church programme is underpinned by the 50-day devotional book, Transformed Living (currently on offer with £2 off until 31 March 2017) by Senior Pastor Dave Smith (Kingsgate Community Church). The book includes daily readings, reflections and questions to help you apply the teaching to your life.

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more. Using all of the available resources will unite a small group or the whole congregation, enabling everyone involved to grow together. Visit www.transformed-living.info/home to find out more.

What to do next

You can sign up for Transformed Living here. If you have recently signed up on the Transformed Living website, you’ll have access to all the free online resources and we’ll keep you up-to-date with news and information via email. If you have already taken part in Transformed Life, we would love to hear your feedback, so please let us know how you got along at hello@transformed-life.info

Watch Dave Smith explain more about Transformed Living.

Find out more about our other church-wide initiatives here.

‘As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’ (Ephesians 4:1–6)

Resource of the Month: Transformed Life church programme

An invitation to discover your identity, belonging and purpose through Ephesians 13

As we move into the autumn term perhaps your small group or even whole church is seeking a new programme to study together up until Christmas.

Transformed Life is based around a successful teaching series created by Dave Smith and road-tested by KingsGate Community Church. As a Senior Pastor, Dave has become more and more aware that questions concerning identity, belonging and purpose are key for everyone. When we do not clearly understand who we are in Christ, all other areas of our spiritual growth are undermined and our purpose is lost. Watch the video above to see Dave Smith introduce Transformed Life.

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Underpinning the whole programme is the Transformed Life 50 day devotional book, written by Dave Smith. It is suitable for both individuals and small groups. Full-colour 16-page children’s activity books are available for Early and Primary Years.

If you have recently signed up on the Transformed Life website, we will be sending you emails during the autumn term to help and encourage you and your small group. And if you have already taken part in Transformed Life, we would love to hear your feedback, so please let us know how you got along at hello@transformed-life.info

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more. Using all of the available resources will unite a small group or the whole congregation, enabling everyone involved to grow together and be renewed, challenged and transformed as they deepen their understanding of who they are in Christ. Visit www.transformed-life.info/home to find out more.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11–12, NIV)

Find out more about our other Church wide initiatives here.

Introducing Transformed Life

Following on from the extremely well-received 40 Days with Jesus, Dave Smith’s exciting new resource, Transformed Life, explores the themes of identity, belonging and purpose found in Ephesians 1–3, which can transform our lives. Watch the video above to see Dave Smith introduce Transformed Life.

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more.

Find out more about Transformed Life here.

Find out more about our other Church wide initiatives here.

 

Transformed Life: Summary Week

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This final update is the Transformed Life Summary Day.

As we reach the end of the Transformed Life programme, Dave Smith encourages us to reflect on the revelation of our new identity, belonging and purpose in Christ and apply these truths to our everyday lives. He provides for us a list of declarations for the promises, truths and prayers covered through Ephesians 1–3. You could list some of these in various places – on the fridge, on your computer, at work – as daily reminders to yourself about your own identity, belonging and purpose.

Here at Small Group Central, we hope you have enjoyed and been encouraged as you have worked through the Transformed Life programme.

Your feedback

If you would like to share your experience of Transformed Life, then we would love to hear from you – contact us or send an email to hello@transformed-life.info

Spread the word

If you have already completed Transformed Life, we would love you to encourage others to take part this year. Transformed Life can be started at any time during the year, so please spread the word and let others know about this church programme.

What next? Transformed Living …

We are working with Dave Smith once again to produce a follow-on programme called Transformed Living. This will continue to explore Ephesians, looking at chapters 4–6, and is currently due to be released in 2017. We will keep in touch with updates!

We also have a number of other CWR church programmes that you may be interested in. Click below to find out more …
 

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Transformed Life: It’s no big secret…

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Mark Baker shares his thoughts about Transformed Life Week Six.

OK, so we’re really getting stuck into the ‘purpose’ part of the book now, with Dave Smith writing about our calling and gifting from God and being a servant of the gospel, the Church and even God’s eternal purposes! Pretty deep stuff! And the last day of Week 6 is entitled: ‘Suffering and Glory’… wow – heavy!

But as I’ve found with the whole book, Dave puts it all in a way that I really get. I mean, he opens the ‘Suffering and Glory’ day by talking about the movie Rocky! You can’t get much more down-to-earth than that!

But going back a bit to earlier in the week, I like the link between our purpose and what God has gifted us with to serve. It makes sense that God would give us the skills, personality and experience we need to serve in the way He wants us to serve.

Dave says, ‘As I look back to before I became a Christian, I would characterise my life as lacking a sense of overall and ultimate purpose.’ Check. Been there, felt like that. I can’t say that for me personally I suddenly got a sense of purpose as soon as I became a Christian, but like my journey to becoming a Christian, my sense of purpose has developed over time and with experience.

The book mentions that although we each have our own gifts and purposes, we do all share the common purpose of sharing Jesus with others. I think we can all learn something from the B.L.E.S.S. acronym on Day 39. Begin in prayer. Listen. Eat. Serve. Share the story. Evangelism made easy! But as Dave points out – it’s right there in the Bible. It’s just following the pattern set out for us by Jesus. There’s no big secret to it, no need to perform strange rituals or follow complicated instructions – it’s just sharing our lives and our stories with people, just like Jesus and the disciples did.

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

About Mark Baker
markMark works for CWR and is trying to figure out what God has in store for his life. He enjoys reading, writing, small group ministry, watching England and Bath rugby, and helping out at Alpha.

Transformed Life: Blessing and identity

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Mark shares his thoughts about Transformed Life Week Two.

I’ve decided to talk about each day individually, because, quite frankly, it was all good!

Day 8
It’s interesting how God has planned blessings for us from the beginning of time! Blessings so much more than even the greatest worldly gain. I’m finding that Dave’s conversational tone helps me get my head round some of the more in-depth theological themes.

Day 9
I loved how Dave says God chose us to be holy way before we chose to follow Him. Questions of predestination, of Calvinism vs Arminianism, are all well and good, but just knowing that God chose us right from the start is a great encouragement that can actually apply to real life – I can live each day with the knowledge that God actually chose me!

Day 10
I found the picture of adoption helpful, especially the thought that when we’re adopted into God’s family, we each become just as much a part of that family as anyone else. We’re still ourselves but we also take on a new identity in Christ.

Day 11
Dave mentions that God didn’t intend for us to be burdened by guilt and shame. As this follows on from the story about the slave and being freed, it made me think about how Jesus’ sacrifice frees us not only from sin itself, but also from burdensome guilt and shame about things He has already forgiven.

Day 12
Woah, Ok. A day about positive thinking? A bit new age-y for me… but wait. No, what Dave is saying is that whilst Paul was writing about great things to come, his immediate circumstances weren’t particularly great (to say the least!). So even though we may be going through, well, pretty much anything, we don’t hope for the future in some wishy-washy ‘hoping for it to stop raining’ kind of way, but we have a solid confidence in what Jesus has done and will do in the future.

Day 13
Today is all about being included. This struck a particular chord with me as I have experienced being part of the ‘out’ group (rather than the ‘in’ group), especially during school, and trying to stand up for those who are rejected or outcast. I look forward to reading more about that in Week 5 – Belonging to His Family.

Day 14
This day is all about being secure. It’s a nice touch in the Reflect & Respond at the end that Dave invites both those who are not yet Christians and those who are, to ask Jesus to ‘seal you for eternity with His Spirit’. This phrasing might sound like Christianese but in context of everything we’ve read over the week it makes perfect sense.

The week ends with an Action Step to look at a list of statements at the back of the book and allow them to take place in my own life. Some of my favourites include: in Christ I am highly favoured (Eph. 1:6), in Christ I am expectant (1:9–10) and in Christ I have come alive (2:5).

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

markAbout Mark Baker
Mark works for CWR and enjoys trying to figure out this thing called life with his small group. He enjoys reading, writing, small group ministry, rugby (watching, not playing… he’d get flattened!) and helping out at Alpha.

Transformed Life: Hindsight is a beautiful thing…

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Charlotte shares her thoughts about Transformed Life Week One.

This is my first time of reading a daily devotional alongside other people, rather than doing it solo. I have been to-and-fro with university and travelling for the last four years, so it feels nice to do something with everyone at my local church and really throw myself in – small groups and all!

Working my way through Week One of Transformed Life has left me pretty inspired, I have to say. Each day there seemed to be something that really struck a chord with me and made me think about how I could continue the day, and even my life, differently to how I would have done beforehand.

Dave Smith explains everything so simply, but not condescendingly, which really helped me to keep on track. I found his examples and anecdotes super-relatable, which I often find isn’t the case with Christian material I pick up, so that definitely kept me more engaged than I probably would have been otherwise!

But by far the thing that I connected with the most this week was when Dave Smith talked about belonging to an eternal family. He says, ‘Church is not simply a weekly meeting to turn up to when you feel like it, but is a family in which you are to actively give and receive’.

Living a rather nomadic lifestyle over the last few years definitely made it more challenging for me to ‘actively give and receive’ in my church family. I would always try to attend a service on a Sunday at a church, wherever my current location was at the time, but I never really contributed or took away any more than that.

It is only now that I am home and fully involved in my church again, that I can see just how nice it would have been to have made more of an effort to interact with a church family while living in all of the different and unfamiliar locations throughout my university life and travels. But then again, hindsight is a beautiful thing!

Moving forward, I am certainly more appreciative of this sense of purpose and belonging I have gained by fully committing to the universal family of God. I am just grateful that I have realised this sooner rather than later!

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

About Charlotte Moore
Charlotte Moore is a recent graduate, working to build her career in digital marketing and web design. When she isn’t interning at CWR, she is playing drums in her local church or planning her next holiday to a new destination.

Transformed Life: Reflecting on the introduction

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Emily Owen shares her thoughts about the Transformed Life introduction.

I find it difficult to read a whole Christian book through to the end. I also find it tricky to keep a good habit going and I’m forever deciding that ‘this is the week’ I will get up a half hour earlier to make sure I read my Bible and pray every morning. So, it is with hopeful optimism that I’m approaching Transformed Life as, knowing myself, I’m expecting to find it difficult.

Starting with the introduction – Dave Smith doesn’t mess about, he jumps straight in with three BIG questions: ‘Who am I? Where do I belong? What am I living for?’ These questions could come across as pretty intimidating but the easy way that he writes made me feel like I can trust Transformed Life not to be too ‘full on’. It might be tackling big questions but it’s going to make it easy to find the answers.

Sometimes in a small group setting I hold back on sharing or taking part in discussions for fear of sounding stupid – there are always people in the group who are more confident, or seem to know a lot more than I do. If the intro is anything to go by then Transformed Life doesn’t assume that you already know everything. It’s got a good balance between teaching and encouragement without overwhelming you with loads of new information. It was good to read the historical context of Ephesians – I feel like I’ve already learnt something before the study even begins.

One standout line from the intro makes me really excited about exploring Ephesians and continuing to read Transformed Life: ‘Ephesians 1–3 paints a wonderfully full portrait of our new identity, belonging and purpose in Christ.’ Identity, belonging and purpose now seem like exciting things to discover rather than big questions to answer!

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

About Emily Owen
Emily Bio Pic sm Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.