D. I. A. Disciples in Action curriculum assisting young people in their discipleship journey

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Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died a courageous and unimaginable death, and rose again. I know it; I believe it; now what? Surely knowing all of this and accepting its reality into my life ought to make me a better person, right? Well, yes, but as Ellen White points out in Steps to Christ, “The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature” (p. 64).

This means that restoration will be inextricably bound up with forgiveness. Jesus saves us. He does this by His own act, without any help from us, though it doesn’t do us as much good until we turn our faces toward His and accept it. But after that, He wants to teach us how to live.

People have generally gone in two mistaken directions on this subject. Either everything depends on doing All The Right Things In Exactly The Right Way ( and if you don’t know where you’re going wrong I’ll be glad to tell you!), or God loves us and once we say yes to Him anything we want to do will be fine. It’s up to Him to make us perfect. Or. . . maybe just to declare that what we’re already doing counts as perfect. Yeah, that’s better. Not…

As usual, the road has two edges, and you can crash off either side. The truth in the center of life with Christ is, He saves me, I accept that, He declares me righteous through His own perfection, He then sets out to take the rest of my life to teach me how to live a righteous life. That is, a life of perfect love and endless grace. If I am living in connection with Christ moment by moment, my first reaction to sin will be grace, too, just like His. I’ll long to find ways to bring wholeness and health to the broken sinners I see around me. So I’ll reach out to try to help. . . and I’ll blow it. I’ll make somebody feel patronized or judged when that was the opposite of what I meant.

Or I’ll be too tired, or too busy, or too (fill in the blank) and not try to help at all, which is worse.

Or, let’s face it, I’ll just be selfish!

I need forgiveness. Again. There’s plenty of forgiveness available. The question will be, will I realize I need it? Will I remember to look back into the face of Jesus, which I forgot for a minute or a day? Will I see those eyes of love and feel the breaking of the hard shell around my heart? Having got that far, will I accept forgiveness freely given, or still try to somehow earn it?

And then, will I pass it on? If I truly understand my own condition and truly accept the unbelievable grace of God in erasing that and working hard to restore me, I’ll want everyone to know what that feels like. I won’t be like the ungrateful servant who ran out and put his petty debtor in prison after being forgiven for a debt that would take three lifetimes to repay.

1. Why is restoration so bound up with forgiveness?

2. What do you need to be forgiven for?


3. What and whom do you need to forgive? What will you do about it?



God has everything you need, right in His hand. That hand is stretched out toward you. Have you taken it? Do you take it again, every hour of every day? Do you point it out to others and urge them to take it, too?

If you have a journal, here are some things to reflect on, or you could discuss them with your friends or with your group.

  • I know in my head that God has provided everything I need for salvation and redemption, but sometimes I try to avoid some parts of the package, or try to find ways to save myself. What are some of these ways, and what am I willing to do about it?

  • What does it really mean to me that Jesus came to save me—would have done it even if I’d been the only sinner?

  • Are there ways I make forgiveness too hard or too easy? Do I sometimes excuse or condone instead of forgiving? Do I sometimes think I can’t forgive because that would mean I don’t take the sin seriously?


Having reflected on these things, challenge yourself to find ways to make them real and visible in your daily life.

  • How do I order and plan my day to intentionally and visibly live a life of wholeness and redemption?’

  • Whom should I talk to, and let them know I forgive them? Whom should I forgive in my heart and not even tell them, because they never knew I was hard-hearted toward them and it would hurt them worse to know?

  • Is there something I need to ask forgiveness for? Are there ways to make restitution? Is there something I already know I’m forgiven for, but I have a hard time accepting it and living in that light? Or is there someone I can’t forgive? Who might be willing to talk with me and help me?

Session 18: Supporting the Ministries of Local and Global church with Personal Resources
To support the ministries of the local and global church with personal resources, I am:

  • managing my resources with the understanding that they all belong to God.

  • returning a faithful tithe and giving offerings systematically.

  • serving in one or more ministries of my local church.

  • participating personally, as possible, in global service projects or ministries.

Big Idea

God has blessed me with many gifts, and wants me to manage them for Him and His work, for my own and others’ blessing.


Look: Malachi 3:6-12; Leviticus 19:9, 10; 23:22; 1 Corinthians 12

Memorize: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Today’s New International Version).


It All Belongs to God

In Psalm 50:10, God says, “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.” The hairs on our head, the unique prints carved into our fingertips, the ability to think and speak and act, our musical gifts, painting talents, and athletic abilities were all created and given by God.

Money belongs to God, too, even though He’s not the one who invented it. All societies start out bartering, and as long as Jane has something Joe needs and they can trade directly, that’s easy. It’s still possible if Joe has something Jane wants and Jane has something George needs, and George can do something for Joe, but it’s getting complicated. At some point, someone used God-given intelligence to say, “Let’s decide together that this particular kind of shell or stone will represent a certain amount of labor, goods, or service. Then we can all trade freely.”

But where did they get the shells and beads? Where did they get the brains, muscles, and talents to do the things they did for each other? God gave them. Ultimately, it is impossible for us to give anything to God that He didn’t already give to us.

It would behoove us, then, to remember this before we make any decisions concerning how much of which things we’ll “give” to God. It’s all already His. We are His, too, but He lets us decide whether or not we want to live that way. If we decide we do, then we are His in a new, all-inclusive way. Suddenly, we want nothing more than to be of use in His kingdom. We offer up everything we own and wish there were more. And when it comes to financial details, we think, “Ten percent? That’s all He wants back? Wow, if only my bank and credit card companies were so moderate! Not to mention the Tax Man!”

So we begin the adventure of learning how to manage, or steward, God’s goods. And we soon discover tithing is only the tip of the iceberg. If it all belongs to God, then what kinds of videos will He want in His library? What kind of TV to watch them on? How much should I spend on clothing and personal needs, and what statement do I make by my dress and behavior? Which job would He like me to take, and how many hours a week should I work? Someone who belongs entirely to God and is living like it will be certain that family time is inviolate, and not just on Sabbath, either.

Then, what about “the poor and needy”?

People who belong entirely to God will learn to really see those around them. They will discover there are always those who need more than they do, whether in physical goods or love or self-respect, and they’ll look for creative and loving ways for those persons to meet their needs and still maintain dignity.

Leviticus talks about the ancient practice of gleaning. It’s stated just as directly as any other command of God; in fact, it’s right before repeats of “do not lie” and “do not steal”: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:9, 10, TNIV). That’s pretty clear. Imagine if our country ran that way. All the farms would have corners and edges where, if a person was willing to work and pick the food, they could have it.

There are some ways in which we do something like this. Thrift stores sell used things and overstock stores sell things that haven’t sold, and these things are available, not for direct work, but for a smaller amount of money, so that the working poor can afford them. However, these things are often very poor quality, and it doesn’t apply to food. If you actually don’t have enough to eat, you must go through an undignified, even humiliating “begging” process known as “applying for assistance.”

Perhaps some creative Christian will come up with a better method, allowing people who can’t find paying work to still keep their self-respect and work for what they need, and helping people with disabilities to understand that they, too, contribute to the human family, even if it’s only through their smiles, or their very existence.

It all belongs to Him—including every human being.

  1. Make a list of the temporal ways in which God has blessed you. Be as complete as you can. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Now list the ways you are using all of these blessings for God’s kingdom. Be creative--it doesn’t necessarily mean in recognized “religious” ways. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. What are some ways that you can promote a “gleaning” mentality? Do you have a “field” you could share from? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Beyond tithe, how can you be systematic and intentional about financial support for God’s work in the world? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Non-Financial Giving

When we think of “stewardship,” or supporting God’s work in the world, we tend to think of money first. And it is important, certainly. However, it’s probably the least important of the gifts you have been given or can give back. If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He certainly owns you and me, especially if we have made the daily choice to live His way.

You may be familiar with the lists of spiritual gifts in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. Perhaps you have taken one of the tests available to help you determine what some of your gifts are. If not, it’s a good idea to try. The next step is to try using some of them.
The first and often easiest place to begin is in local church ministry.

Are your gifts of the up-front variety? You could do special music, make a presentation on health or some local news such as Pathfinders or Investment, or even preach a sermon. Would you rather work behind the scenes? There are always tasks such as helping with cleaning, decorating for a certain season, helping with a potluck, or running the sound system. Are you somewhere in between? Perhaps you’d like to be an usher or a greeter. Have you ever considered leading a Sabbath school discussion or starting a small group? And there’s always need for people to help in children’s departments! Sometimes the work a young person does in his or her local congregation leads to a career or vocation. In any case, it will develop your interest and ability to work for God in a variety of ways, and it’s a good place to practice and find out which things you really are good at, and which you may want to let someone else do. Where else but in a loving church family?

Most of our work for God, however, unless we do become pastors, Bible workers, and so on, will necessarily lie outside the church doors. There are a multitude of opportunities for volunteering in your local community, no matter how small or large it may be. You can do individual things, like mowing lawns for elderly or disabled people, taking meals to shut-ins, or offering to babysit free of charge for a single parent you know. Or you could call your local social service agencies and see what’s available on a more organized level. There may be after-school programs, or literacy programs, or Red Cross, Unicef, March of Dimes, and more. Volunteerism is on the rise. Shouldn’t God’s people be in the forefront? Volunteers find their own lives enriched far beyond what they may give to others.

Most importantly, serving people opens doors to locked hearts. That is, if the service is really done with love. People can tell. Phonies will not fool them, but they will open up to people they learn to trust, and when they do, you will have made a new friend and discovered doors unlocking in your own heart, as well. You will find opportunities to share the blessings God has given you as you learn to follow Him, and to invite others to try it, too. And you will grow into someone you hardly recognize—someone loving, giving, and full of the joy of life.

  1. Make a new list, this time of spiritual and emotional gifts, talents, and abilities you feel God has entrusted to you. Again, be as complete as you can __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What are some of the ways you already use these gifts to build the kingdom of God? What new things would you like to try? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. How do you work for God outside the church? What have been some of the results? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. How would you encourage someone else to use their gifts for God? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Global Neighbors

Not everyone can go physically to another land to work for God, but everyone who gets the chance, even for a short-term mission trip, should jump at it. Those who have gone, almost without exception, come back saying their lives have been changed forever. The Seventh-day Adventist church has lots of opportunities for these missions. And if you feel God is calling you to a greater commitment, to live and work for an extended time in another culture, you should explore that while you’re young and before life sweeps you past the opportunity.

In the meantime, there are other ways to support global mission, besides, of course, mission offerings.

  • First, you can partner at home with a missionary or mission family abroad. Many now have blogs or websites where you can keep up, offer prayers when they go through tough times, listen when they need to talk, offer counsel if you have it, and encourage them at all times. These people serve on the front lines of the Great Controversy, and their task, while incredibly rewarding, is also difficult, demanding, even dangerous, spiritually and sometimes physically.

  • Secondly, we are becoming more and more a global family, with the reach of technology that allows you to have Facebook friends from every continent and talk face to face on a computer in time zones that require some creative scheduling on both ends. Could you see your time online as a mission for God? And what would that mean? One thing that we’ve all learned is that online communication has to be careful. Without facial expressions and body language, emails and posts can easily be misunderstood. Then there’s the security issue. We have to be careful both about personal information and about what spiritual subjects we choose to air. Christians have been known to end up in some flaming debates that were not Christ-like at all, no matter what the original subject may have been. And what if you get all heated and angry about an issue that you come to see differently as you grow and mature in Christ?

We are so used to 24/7 contact and technology that we may treat it like we (shouldn’t) treat our little sisters or best friends—rant and sneer and ridicule, and apologize later. The problem is, we can’t really take back the words we’ve said that hurt people, and if it’s online, it lives forever!

The bottom line is, people who belong entirely to God will strive to be Christ-like at all times and in all situations. And that means every day, every store, every street, every classroom and work station becomes a mission outpost for the kingdom. It all belongs to Him! Let’s support it and His work for it in every way we can.

  1. Have you ever been on a mission trip? If so, share some stories. If not, what plans might you make to go?


  1. Do you partner with a missionary or mission family? Would you like to? How will you go about finding one, and what do you think you can do to help and support their work?


  1. Have you thought about your online presence as a mission? How could you work for God in this way?


Every single thing we have, are, and do is because of God. Even if we are rebelling and refusing to live His way, that’s because Jesus died to give us freedom of choice. If we are dedicated to God, we will dedicate all our resources, from physical, monetary, temporal blessings to talents, gifts, spiritual abilities, and our very hearts and souls to Him.

If you have a journal, here are some things to reflect on, or you could discuss them with your friends or with your group.

  • Do I have any resistance to giving God back His full 10%? If so, why? What can I do to change that?

  • What is my attitude about giving beyond tithe? What excuses, if any, do I make? What are some blessings I’ve received when I’ve given freely and cheerfully?

  • Have I seen some ways that people use online forums such as Facebook in an attempt to be missionaries, but it felt forced or preachy to me? Why did I have that reaction? How can I avoid the same mistake?


Having reflected on these things, challenge yourself to find ways to make them real and visible in your daily life.

  • How can I budget my time, money, and other physical resources to be sure God gets His 10% back and give more beyond that?

  • What are the ways I serve in my local congregation? What are some things I’d like to try? Who will I ask to help me get started?

  • How could I go on a mission trip or support someone who has?

Session 19: To Help Believers Live a Contagious, Holistic Christian Life
To help believers live a contagious, holistic Christian life, I am showing others how to:

  • understand the biblical teaching to love the Lord with our heart, soul, strength, and mind.

  • explain how Christ is the center of all biblical teachings.

  • express Christ’s love by creatively using their talents and interests.

  • apply biblical principles to every aspect of their lives—mind, body, and spirit.

  • lead someone to accept and follow Christ.

Big Idea

Christianity is not to be lived in a bubble or in isolation from secular society, but rather, because of the active and indwelling love of Christ, it should be an infectious experience that affects everyone with whom we come in contact.


Look: 1 John 4:-21, Matthew 22: 37-40
Memorize: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 5: 8, 9).



It is difficult to read a book, watch a movie, or speak about relationships without eventually hearing about love. It is a present force in our society and in our lives. God, through His Word, speaks of love profusely in the Old and New Testaments. It is the one common thread that runs through the entire fabric of Scripture. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gives this definition of love: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:2-8 ESV).

These characteristics are the outgrowth of someone who has experienced love. Many may look at this text and conclude that this standard is too high to reach. But, if we look closely, most of us can see an area or areas where we have fallen terribly short of this ideal.
[interaction—If you have a large group, separate into small groups of four or five and give the participants time to share any occasions where they have seen this kind of absolute love shown. As an alternative, if you are leading a small group, have them respond by raising hands. Allow a few minutes for open discussion.]
From our discussion, you may be asking yourself, “Who on this earth can be always patient and kind and never irritable?” “Who would dare say that they believe all things and can endure all things?” It seems an impossible task. However, this is the beauty of this passage. Of ourselves, it is an impossible task to love this way. This is why the first and greatest love requirement is not to love our neighbor, but rather to love God.

The Pharisees asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. “And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22: 37, 38, Amplified).

We find from this text that loving God is our first priority. Have you ever wondered, “How do I love God?” Is it enough to just utter the words toward heaven? How do you show love to someone who is as big and self-sufficient as God? What can you say to Him that will make a difference?

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