Today is Wednesday, August 29th 2017; I am excited to learn with you! This coming Sunday we finish the 3 week series called “Center”, where we learn more of the dealings of Christ and how to center upon his presence. In today’s passage we learn how Jesus is the perfecter of our faith as we run the race of life in Christ. Please join us at our gatherings at 9:00 am or 10:45 am this Sunday.  -Max

(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_Have you ever entered any type of race? At any point did you feel exhausted in the midst of it? If you had never trained for it, to build up stamina and endurance, would you have been able to finish?
_ How is the Lord impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?

As we open the Bible and look into the Word of God, we understand that we read a Word that has been “breathed out” by Him who keeps and sustains the universe. So we find ourselves in the midst of all and complete Truth. From knowing this we expect to have life-altering changes, even in simplest form, which leads us to pray the following:

His word is a strong eternal rock,

Unshaken it stands thro’ fiercest shock;

Though Satan and all his hosts may mock,

I have faith in the Word of God!

DISCOVER  [Hebrews 12:1-2]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

_Who is the author saying he and others are surrounded by? Why is this important to know in correlation to the testimony of the book? Why does it seem the author takes this as such an encouragement? v.1
_What does the author mean by ‘weight’? What characteristic does the author give to ‘sin’ and weight’? How does the characteristic given to sin and weight keep the christian believer from fulfilling the command established in the second half of v.1?
_ What is revealed to us about the mission of God as the author compares it to a ‘race that is set before us’? How are we to run it? Based on v.2, who supplies this endurance? v.1
_Who is the perfecter of our faith? Why is this crucial for our walk in Christ? What was Jesus viewing as joy, that he dealt with the punishment of the cross? Why is it important to know Jesus ‘is seated at the right hand of the throne of God’? V.2

Last Saturday, there was a huge foot race in the heart of Annapolis. As I was driving by, once in a while I would notice a person who had stopped or was slowly walking due to exhaustion. This simply told me that they weren't adequately trained and ready for such a race. Props to them for trying, because running is the worst, but simply put, they did not have the endurance. Apply this to our lives as believers and what we just read. Jesus is the perfecter and supplier of our endurance. We will stop mid-race otherwise. Center upon His presence and his word that He may give you such strength, and perfect your faith.

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ How does what I just learned about the power, providence, passion, and person of Jesus, encourage me, and then command me to walk in obedience to what he is calling me to do this week?
_Have I been relying on my own abilities or the sovereignty of Him who holds His sheep in His hand?

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?