Image of God

Series: Genesis
Genesis 1:26-27

Mike Rauwolf | October 16, 2016, 10:00AM


Main Points:

  1. Genesis 1 reveals how God has ordered and structured the Kingdoms/Domains of Creation, along with the residents or rulers over those Kingdoms/Domains. It is a display of how the world is supposed to work properly.
  2. Human beings are made in the “Image of God” – a title normally given only to kings in the Ancient Near East. Translation: God’s intent for humanity is that we would be his regent kings/rulers over His Creation. “Image of God” is not only a description, but also a vocational calling. The creation cannot flourish unless humans rule over it properly.
  3. How do we exercise our calling and rule over the earth?  The answer is found by looking at what God has already modeled for us. In the six days of Creation, God does four things repeatedly that we are now called to do:
    1. Exercise Creativity for the benefit of all creation (As God created, he now calls upon us to use His raw materials and continue to create… gardens, communities, art, cities, etc.).
    2. Judge rightly for the benefit of all creation (determine what is good).
    3. Separate or distinguish habitats and roles according to what works best for the benefit of all creation.
    4. Pronounce “Calling,” or “Naming” (affirming identities and destinies according to what God has already established) for the benefit of all creation.
  4. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “Image of the invisible God.”  Jesus is the true image-bearer, the fully human being. In his life He embodied everything we were called to be. In his death he absorbed all of the consequences for our failure to be what we were called to be.


  1. Where have we “got it right?” i.e., exercising creativity that blesses a community, judging rightly, distinguishing/separating properly, or calling appropriately?
  2. Where have we “got it wrong?” i.e., creativity that harms people, redefining what is good according to personal or short-term gain, wrongfully distinguishing/discriminating, or naming/renaming inappropriately?
    1. (Bonus: When we alter the God-given calling/naming of someone or something according to a redefined definition of what is good, how does that affect its long-term destiny? Does it lead to flourishing and fruitful multiplication? Do we even tend to make these decisions with long-term implications in mind?)
  3. Read Colossians 3:9-10.  How does Christ restore you to your calling: “The Image of God?”
  4. Pray for each other, repenting of where we have “got it wrong (question 2),” and asking God to help us further submit to the Spirit, that we might be able to “walk according to the calling we have received (Eph 4:1).” – Image-bearing kings/rulers.

CLICK HERE to download full resolution images of the slides used in this message (.zip format).

Darkness to Light

Series: Genesis
Genesis 1:1-3

Mike Rauwolf | October 09, 2016, 10:00AM


Discussion Questions:

  • Based on Genesis 1:1-3, what do we learn about God?
  • Though the passage doesn’t introduce human beings yet, what do we learn, based on the message, about people?
  • How is this early picture of creation in Genesis also a picture of the condition of the human heart?
  • Is there chaos or darkness in your life right now? Where is God in the picture?
  • End by praying for one another

Church: Displaying the Colors of True Wisdom

Series: “Effective” Church
Ephesians 3:4-12

Mike Rauwolf | October 02, 2016, 10:00AM


Discussion Questions:

Some definitions and concepts:

  1. Rulers and Authorities: Sometimes spoken of as earthly authorities over groups of people. These “authorities” define the “rules” – whether spoken or unspoken, laws, philosophies, political ideologies, etc. that members must adhere to in order to belong and find meaning and significance.  The apostle Paul also speaks of “Rulers and Authorities in the heavenly realms” – Spiritual powers at work manipulating earthly rulers and authorities in order to enslave and divide human beings against one another.
  2. Wisdom: The ability to discern the path towards human flourishing.  Or, how to live life in such a way that makes life work properly, makes community work properly, and even the creation itself.  Rulers and authorities are distinct from one another in that they each hold unique claims to wisdom, often disagreeing heavily over which claim is correct.
  3. The Church: In Ephesians 3:10, Paul claims that the Church displays the manifold wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  This message is an exploration of how that actually works.

Questions (There are lots. You are free to pick and choose):

  1. What kinds of groupings of people do we tend to belong to (i.e. political parties, clubs, cliques, etc.)? Are you heavily involved in any of these at this time? (Don’t worry, you’re not a bad person if you do🙂.
  2. What are the “rules” for belonging and who are the authorities?  According to those rulers and authorities, what is wisdom?
  3. Who or what would you say gives you a sense of worth, belonging, purpose, etc.?
  4. Would you agree that human beings in general have a sense that their lives are supposed to have purpose, belonging, and value?  Where does that come from? What kinds of “rulers and authorities” are we willing to submit to in order to attain these things?
  5. How is the Church a display of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities (Read Ephesians 3:4-12)? Have you ever experienced this?
  6. How can the Church be a stronger display of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms?
  7. What is one thing you are going to do this week as a result of this conversation?

The Growing Church

Series: “Effective” Church
James 1:3-4

Mark Bryant | September 25, 2016, 10:00AM


Questions for Discussion

(These questions are springboard questions—please use them to lead you to better questions).

Big Idea—God wants a Big Church.

  1. What “scale” (growth measurement) has been most important (or problematic) in your life? How has it helped or hurt you?

  2. What do we learn about God in Isaiah 40:6-17 & 27-31? What stands out to you?

  3. How do you attempt to “do” Titus 2:12 on your own strength? What does the training look like in your life? How have you experienced the grace of God training you?

  4. Read James 1:2-4—What does this growth process look like in your life right now?

  5. Dendrochronology is the study of analyzing tree rings. Tree rings record a lot of history—floods, droughts, nutrition, fires, etc. If your life were represented by a tree–what would it look like and what would a dendrochronologist learn about your current growth?

  6. What helps you grow spiritually?

  7. Bonus question—Read Eph. 4:1-3, 11-16

    Where are you at in the scale of maturity in Christ?

    What part are you currently playing in the body of Christ?

Body Parts

Series: “Effective” Church
1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Mike Rauwolf | September 18, 2016, 10:00AM


Questions for Discussion

  1. Everyone views their identity through the lens of their culture, and every culture has unique, distinctive traits and values. In your current cultural setting, do you feel like it is easy or difficult to view your identity as part of a body? Why or why not?
  2. How can we re-orient the way we think so as to regard ourselves as “body parts?”
  3. “If the ear should say ‘because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.” Do you ever feel like that ear?  Discuss.
  4. Paul says “we bestow even greater honor upon the parts that lacked it.” What are some practical ways in which we can honor those parts of the body that don’t seem as significant?
  5. The body of Christ is interdependent. Are you more inclined to “go it alone,” or depend on others in the body?  How can we let down our guard and allow the body to be the body?

Spend some time in prayer over these concepts.

The “Fullness”

Series: “Effective” Church
Colossians 1:28-29

Mike Rauwolf | September 11, 2016, 10:00AM




Series: Christ-Like
Philemon & Colossians 1:24

Mike Rauwolf | September 04, 2016, 10:00AM