resources

Why 40 Days with Jesus?

40 Days with Jesus can be used at any point during the year, but it was originally run as a post-Easter teaching series. Launched In 2014, many churches, including KingsGate Community Church where it originated, chose to start the series on Easter Sunday, enabling them to invite Easter guests to explore the accounts of the risen Jesus for themselves. With Easter approaching once more, we thought this would be a great post-Easter resource for you and your small groups to get involved with. Take a look at what Dave Smith, author of 40 Days with Jesus, says about the programme…

 

What is 40 Days with Jesus?

Over these 40 days, we focus on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, from His appearing to Mary Magdalene on that first Resurrection Sunday morning through to His ascension to heaven nearly six weeks later.

 

These final days before Jesus ascended back to heaven were of such importance that all four Gospel writers included them in the conclusion of their account of Jesus’ life. Over the course of these 40 days, Jesus appeared to over 500 followers on at least 11 different occasions. Although it took the disciples some time to believe and embrace the full significance of Jesus’ resurrection, ultimately, their personal encounters with the risen Christ completely changed their lives. This same message has the power to change our lives today in the following three ways:

  1. We can be convinced of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus

The primary purpose of the 40 days, then and now, was to provide vital evidence that Jesus really was and is alive, as Luke makes clear: ‘After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God’ (Acts 1:3).

  1. We can be transformed by encounters with the risen Christ

The disciples encountered Christ physically during the 40 days; we can now do so spiritually. Since the ascension and the Day of Pentecost, Jesus is now present with His people in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. We can receive a foretaste of our glorious future in Christ

The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus provide the most comprehensive picture of what life will be like for us in our resurrected state. If we look at the risen Jesus we see the foretaste of a life that is not a disembodied, purely spiritual existence, but rather a transformed physical life, with a glorified, resurrected body, in the new heavens and on the new earth!

If you would like to find out more about 40 Days with Jesus, you can go to the website or to take part, you can sign up here.

 

About Charlotte Moore
Charlotte is a recent graduate, working to build her career in digital marketing and web design. When she isn’t working at CWR, she is getting involved with her church or planning her wedding taking place later on in the year.

Bible knowledge on the decline?

Christian leaders are faced with a dilemma. Biblical teaching and information is becoming ever-increasingly available in an instant thanks to technology. Yet research suggests that Bible knowledge has been on the decline over recent decades. And it would seem that Christians are spending less time regularly meeting together to learn and study the Bible.

Here at Small Group Central, we have many resources to help you dig deeper into the Bible – one of which is CWR’s Small Group Toolbox series. Made up of six study guides, each including four individual sessions, this series looks at a number of different, relevant topics for Christian small groups today:

1)      Building Character Through Testing Times

Keep strong through faith and see life’s challenges as an opportunity to grow spiritually. A resource to help you and your small group explore vital issues of Christian growth and discipleship.

2)      Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

Understand the nature of your spiritual gifts and the reasons why God, in His wisdom, entrusts these special powers to ordinary people. Discover what these spiritual gifts are, which gifts you have, and how to use them wisely.

3)      Identity

Explore the subject of identity rooted in faith. A resource to help you and your small group explore identity and relationships – if you know who you are, you know what you’re here for.

4)      Guidance

Uncover guiding principles found in the Scriptures and set your personal prayers for guidance firmly within the bigger plans and purposes of God.

5)      Strong Faith for Tough Times

Discover how a living faith calls for practical action and unlocks the ability to look beyond current changing circumstances to the unchanging faithfulness of God Himself.

6)      Hearing God

There is a great deal of mystery concerning God’s communication with His children. There are no ‘five easy steps’ that can guarantee hearing from God, but God has probably been speaking to you more than you are aware.

If you would like to find out more about each of the Small Group Toolbox study guides, you can go to the Small Group Central shop.

Engage in spiritual disciplines

If you were asked what Christianity is all about, what would you say? Believing in God? Going to Church every week? Reading the Bible? Being saved so you can go to heaven?

Jesus said the most important thing of all is to love the Lord your God with your whole being – heart, soul, mind and strength. Having a loving relationship with God is what Christianity is really all about. And while all those other things have their place, it is only as part of that personal relationship with God.

For centuries, God’s people have engaged in practices that have proved vital for growing that loving relationship with God. We call these ‘spiritual disciplines’, and in this series you will look at the following seventeen areas of spiritual discipline:

1)      Focus on God: worship, Bible study, meditation and prayer

2)      Focus on others: fellowship, submission, serving and witnessing

3)      Focus on ourselves: simplicity, giving, battling temptation and fasting

4)      Focus on daily life: solitude, silence, giving thanks, confession and living for today

It is important to note that these things are not love for God themselves, rather they are a means to that end. Spiritual discipline is really self-discipline that has the spiritual goal of growing that love for God.

As you work through the various areas of spiritual discipline you will see how each, in its own way, works towards this goal of loving God. Each study guide comprises a daily reading and reflection, and weekly questions and discussion points for small groups to work through. There are also free, accompanying video teachings for each of the sessions to really help bring each topic alive!

If you would like to find out more about each of these four small group study guides, you can go to the Small Group Central store, or watch the introductory video.

Fresh ideas for… small groups facing a dry spell

This week we received an enquiry from a small group leader who was looking for some fresh, Bible-focused resources for their small group of twelve to make the most of. The leader was finding it challenging to discover fresh content that differs from the regular material made available by others.

So, here at Small Group Central, we put on our thinking caps to provide a whole selection of resources that the group might like to use going forward. We then thought that this could be a challenge that many other small groups might be facing, and so we thought we would share our thoughts:

1.  The Vital series

This series comprises four study guides of four weeks each, focusing on seventeen different spiritual disciplines across the series, including Bible study, witnessing, temptation, silence and giving thanks. As you work through these various areas of discipline, you will see how each, in its own way, works towards this goal of loving God. Each session also comes complete with a free video teaching, which can be found online.

To read more about this series, click here.

2. The Small Group Toolbox series

This series offers six study guides, each containing four sessions, on a variety of relevant topics for Christian small groups today, including titles such as Building Character Through Testing Times, Identity and Hearing God. Each of the six study guides is a workbook-style resource ideal for taking your small group to the next level.

To read more about this series, click here.

3. Every Day with Jesus Extra

You may have heard of the popular Bible reading notes Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes. However, did you know that CWR also create resources for small groups to use alongside these notes? Short icebreakers, key thoughts, discussion points, prayer points and scripture are collated to provide readers with stimulating and ever-changing small group study guides.

To buy your subscription to Every Day with Jesus, you can click here. To download this month’s free Every Day with Jesus Extra, you can click here.

 

Of course there are many, many more resources available for small groups who are looking to shake up their weekly meetings. We offer Bible reading programmes for the whole church, which also work within a small group setting, a number of DVD resources that are ideal to work through as a small group and a huge selection of Cover to Cover study guides, which give a fresh perspective on numerous books and people in the Bible.

So really the possibilities are endless – which one will you try next?

 

 

Download Every Day with Jesus Extra – July/Aug 2016 (free download)

Seek me and live.

The message given to Amos is both challenging and reassuring, highlighting God’s love of justice and opposition of the oppression of the poor. Whilst a forgiving Father, He will not stand by inactive and watch His people living lives based on selfishness and greed.

God’s heart is that we seek Him and Live.

Download Button

To get your copy of this month’s Every Day with Jesus, click here.

Resources of the Month: Elisha and The Beatitudes Cover to Cover Bible Studies


Cover to Cover Elisha: A lesson in faithfulness

Discover a life lived with faithfulness, deterred by nothing, walking closely with God.

Elisha was called by God to succeed Elijah and continue the fight against idolatry in the land of Israel. Although we may not have the same calling, we too are living in an age where our belief in God is being challenged. Elisha’s example teaches us that with the Holy Spirit we can achieve far more than we could by ourselves and by devotedly serving God, whatever the cost, we can experience His power, protection and provision.

Over seven sessions, be encouraged in your small group that God’s power is the same in every generation and explore how you can respond to God’s call in your own life.

 

 


Cover to Cover The Beatitudes: Immersed in the grace of Christ

Look afresh at the Beatitudes and explore Jesus’ unconditional grace.

The eight Beatitudes, or blessings, are not just an introduction to Jesus’ groundbreaking Sermon on the Mount. They are among His best known but perhaps least understood words. Jesus speaks to the needy, the sad, the powerless, the cheated, the carers, the purists, the blamed, and indeed to all of us. His words remain as relevant today as when they were first given.

This is an opportunity over seven sessions for your small group to gain a fresh perspective of the eight Beatitudes and discover afresh their relevance in today’s world.

 

 

More in the series

Cover to Cover Bible study guides are ideal for group or individual study. Experience the reality of Bible events in a fresh way and gain a new depth to your Bible knowledge. Icebreakers, Bible readings, eye openers, discussion starters, personal application and ‘seeing Jesus’ sections, make these Bible study guides a great small group resource.

Paraclesis: Journeying Together – Introduction Pack

Paraclesis: Journeying Together is a fresh approach to local church pastoral care. The Paraclesis initiative has been created as a response to the felt need for more care and support in the Church today.

Scripture shows that it is God’s heart that we should love and come alongside one another just as He comes alongside us.

‘He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message)

Developed by Trevor J. Partridge, the Paraclesis: Journeying Together six-week series aims to place caring at the heart of the local church  in order to support those in need.

CWR has developed a suite of both online and print resources to help churches access the gift of experience that is hidden within their congregations and enable people to come alongside one another. By embracing the heart of Paraclesis and benefitting from all the accompanying resources, the Church can develop a fresh culture of care.

How to start your journey

If you like the sound of Paraclesis: Journeying Together, why not introduce it to your leadership team and church? We have compiled a free Introduction Pack, which you will receive once you sign up. You can use the free Introduction Pack to let your church leadership know what Paraclesis: Journeying Together is all about and what to do next.

The Introduction Pack includes an Introductory Booklet containing an Introduction Booklet with samples of a full sermon, a sermon outline and a small group study, as well as extracts from the Daily Guide workbook and the companion book Love With Skin On. A DVD is also included with explanatory videos, perfect for introducing Paraclesis: Journeying Together to your church leadership team.

By signing up, you will have immediate access online to all of these resources and more. Currently  available in the UK and Republic of Ireland, we plan to release the six-week series internationally in 2017.

Find out more at www.paraclesis.org.uk

Download Every Day with Jesus Extra – May/Jun 2016 (free download)

The Presence of God

The Christian life is so much more than just following a set of rules and rituals.

In this issue, Selwyn shares with us how we can practise the presence of God and experience Him more powerfully in our everyday lives. Each day he unpacks how God not only wants us to know about Him but also to experience His presence and live in the fullness of life as He intended.

Download Button

To get your copy of this month’s Every Day with Jesus, click here.

Resource of the Month: There Are No Ordinary People

There Are No Ordinary People DVD

 

There Are No Ordinary People DVD

Two thousand years ago lived a seemingly ordinary man called Barnabas. His name is repeated no less than 25 times in the book of Acts and five times in the Epistles.

Following the success of the accompanying book, you can join Jeff Lucas over the four-sessions on this DVD as he discovers that in the midst of the ordinary we can all live extraordinary lives with God.

The DVD shows a different side to Jeff, famous for his wit and humour, as he explores the character of Barnabas with an in-depth study. His light-hearted tone is not completely lost as he extracts deep life lessons, making Barnabas’ story applicable to our everyday situations. See for yourself how Barnabas, an often overlooked Bible character, became central to God’s plans and played an influential role in the beginnings of the Early Church.

With inspirational quotes interspersed throughout, and featuring on-screen questions at the end of each session, this DVD is ideal for both small groups and individuals.

About Jeff Lucas International author, speaker and broadcaster, Jeff Lucas holds a pastoral teaching position at Timberline Church in Colorado. He is an author and is also broadcast on weekly radio shows on Premier Radio. He is a monthly contributor to Christianity Magazine and writes a daily devotional with CWR entitled Life Every Day.

Getting started: 40 Days with Jesus

40 Days with Jesus is about to run for its third time since it was launched in 2014. Over 15,000 people have taken part so far and we are excited to be getting the ball rolling again once more this year.

‘I have been a Christian for over 30 years and thought I had heard it all, but this book shed new light on Jesus, 40 days after His resurrection. I think it is a good resource for those exploring their faith as well as established Christians.’

Now, on the off-chance that you have not yet come across 40 Days with Jesus, here’s a quick look at what it is exactly and how you and your small group can get involved!

40 Days with Jesus is based around a successful teaching series that was run following Easter 2012, by Dave Smith, the senior pastor at KingsGate Church. For nearly 20 years, Dave had seen lots of guests come to the Easter services, many of whom had given or recommitted their lives to Christ. However, he found many more viewed this as a one-off event, and would wait until Christmas or the following Easter to come back again! So Dave decided to do something a bit different – hence the creation of 40 Days with Jesus.

Over six weeks, this programme explores the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and the remarkable way in which He changed the lives of those He encountered. To support the weekly sermons written for the whole church and the 40-day devotional created for people to read each day, there is also a set of small group studies and videos ideal to use in between Sundays. Each video provides context and teaching on the subject of that week, and then the small group sessions offer questions and topics to spark discussion.

So if this has sparked your interest, why don’t you watch the video below? Or if you would like to get signed up and start preparing for you and your small group to get started, click here!

Introduction to 40 Days with Jesus from CWR on Vimeo.