Jesus, THE Transformer

This year our theme is ‘Jesus, the Transformer’. In a world of upheaval and uncertainty, Jesus is our hope. Only he can change a human heart and transform a community and a nation. While on earth, Jesus sought to bring positive change to his world – one life at a time and one story at a time. He is still doing the same today in our time. That’s why our vision as a church over this last 3-year period has been “to see over 10,000 stories of transformation by 2016.” As each one of us engages with our world (through focusing on 1 person to be a blessing to) and connects in community and service, this vision can become a reality.

Gospel Stories
So far this year, we have been working through the Gospels, gleaning insights and inspiration from the stories of Jesus changing people’s lives. [Visit the church web site or phone app to access audio and video podcasts of these messages from our teaching team]

Jesus and the Supper (Mark 14:12-26). Jesus calls each of us to the table, where he shares a meal with us, displaying his great love to be demonstrated through his death on the cross.
• Jesus and Judas (Mark 14:10-11, 43-52). Like Jesus, we may experience betrayal even from those close to us. Through God’s grace we can still offer forgiveness, even if reconciliation isn’t always possible.
• Jesus and Peter (Mark 14:27-31, 66-72). The story of the denial shows us that we all fall and fail at some time, yet Jesus reaches out to us in forgiving love to free us from guilt and shame, restoring us and commissioning us for kingdom contribution.
• Jesus and the Outsiders. Jesus was always reaching out to people outside of the racial and social confines and boundaries established by the Jewish religion. This reminds us that no one is too far from the love and grace of God. 
Jesus and his Mother (John 1:25-27). Jesus’ love and care for his mother, even from the pain of the cross, gives us an example of the importance of honouring our own parents.
• Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-30). Often there is one thing that stops us from full surrender to Jesus. For this man, it was his wealth. 
• Jesus and the Demoniac (Mark 5:1-20). No one is too far from the freedom that is available to them through Jesus. Jesus is more powerful than any demon, stronghold or destructive habit. 
• Jesus and the Prostitute (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus’ grace is shown to all of us, even those caught in a life of sin.
• Jesus and the Little Boy‘s Lunch (Luke 9:9-17). When we bring what we have to Jesus, even if it does not seem like much, Jesus is able to use it and multiply it for the benefit of others. 
• Jesus and the Prophet (Luke 7:18-28). Jesus doesn't always do things the way we expect him to. His ways and his thoughts are much higher than our ways and thoughts. This can lead to disappointment if we are not careful. But we must never doubt the faithfulness of God to fulfil his promises - in his way and his time.

Discussion Questions
1. Which Gospel story so far this year has had the greatest impact on you? Why?
2. This year we are encouraging everyone to Focus on 1 person who they are praying to come to know Jesus. We can do this practically by seeking to BLESS that person. Review the BLESS acronym and share how this is working in your own relationships. How can your Life Group further apply the Focus 1 strategy for reaching people for Jesus?
3. The rich young ruler’s wealth kept him from following Jesus. What other ‘one thing’ can hold us back from full surrender to following Christ?
4. Review the keys to being a great Life Group member. How do you think our group is going so far this year?
5. Take time to share stories of what God has been doing in each person’s life this year. Celebrate what God has done.
6. Have people share their greatest challenge right now then take time to pray that Jesus will intervene, bringing change and transformation. 
7. Reflect on the six dimensions of the sacred meal and then celebrate communion together.

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We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we work and live, the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.