Summary: Knowing Christ is where true faith begins. From there we grow through the essentials of discipleship: Bible study, prayer, preaching, worship and Christian friendship and fellowship.

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What is faith?

A Sunday-School teacher asked her class one day, “What is faith?” the class sat there quietly - which was a surprise in itself, so the teacher asked again, “can anyone tell me what is faith?” You could see the little minds working and one boy stuck up his hand. The teacher said, ‘Ok Johnny, what is faith?” Johnny answered, “believing something you know isn’t true.”

We may laugh, but the sad truth is that many non-Christians would probably define our Christianity in the same way. Maybe its stated using different words, but many today believe that there is self-deception or unreliability in biblical Christianity. There are even many prominent so-called Christians who publically deny the very basis of true biblical Christian faith.

Knowing Christ is where true faith begins. From there we grow through the essentials of discipleship: Bible study, prayer, preaching, worship and Christian friendship and fellowship.

Maybe you have heard someone say that the Bible is the most amazing book ever written, perhaps you find parts of it difficult to understand, perhaps you want a greater understanding of the context in which it was written, maybe you desire to learn more about God’s Word to strengthen your faith, maybe you just feel you need to know more. Whatever the reason that you have chosen to join this growth group, welcome.

As we learn together, God will lead each of us to a deeper understanding of His truth and how we can apply it to our lives.

Billy Graham said, “Millions of people today are searching for a reliable voice of authority. The Word of God is the only real authority we have.

His Word sheds light on human nature, world problems and human suffering. But beyond that, it clearly reveals the way to God.

The message of the Bible is the message of Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). It is the story of salvation; the story of your redemption and mine through Christ; the story of life, of peace, of eternity.

Our faith is not dependent upon human knowledge and scientific advance, but upon the unmistakable message of the Word of God.”

There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.

These sessions are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible, together we are going to focus on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world. To set godly priorities, grow in Christian character and live according to God’s standards so that we are a living witness to others.

I think its safe to assume that we all consider ourselves intelligent people, maybe you have a different opinion, but the truth is when we became Christians we did not kiss our brains goodbye as we put them in a jar in the cupboard under the stairs.

Let me be clear from the start. Our sessions together require participation – we are going to discover the truth together – you are not passengers - you are participants. I expect questions, comments, opinions and observations from everyone of you. Ok?

Ice Breaker

What shapes/shaped your faith?

(1 is most influence and 10 is least)

__ Parents

__ Television / Radio

__ Bible

__ Teachers

__ Pastor

__ Experience

__ Friends

__ History

__ Music / Worship

__ Books

How did you find that? Anyone willing to share their top 3?

We use faith everyday.

Set aside religious faith, it is impossible for us to get through a day without using some kind of faith.

The driver has faith the car will start in the morning. The commuter has faith that the train will get them to work. The scientist has faith in scientific methods learned from other scientists who assumed they were right. You have faith that when you need bread or milk your usual shop will be open and sell them to you.

Faith, simply put is trust, we all trust in something everyday.

Faith is also only as valid as what it is placed in. Trust an untested food, an unqualified doctor, or a double glazing salesman and the faith may not be valid.

Faith may be well intentioned but misplaced.

Meagre faith placed in something reliable will bring results – if you have weak faith in thick ice the result is positive the ice will hold your weight regardless of the strength of your faith.

Testing the reliability of faith is rational and sensible. C.S. Lewis said “Wisdom leads us to investigate and know the true facts about our faith. If a clock is wrong, we adjust it. It’s the sensible thing to do.”

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