Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us at the next Sunday worship service:
9:00am & 10:45am,
Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm


For Bay County: Finding common ground


Do the people in your world know you’re FOR them? In our world today, people are often known more for what they are against than what they are for. Unfortunately, this extends even into the church. We want to reach the lost with the incredible good news of Christ, but often all they ever hear us emphasize are the behaviors and attitudes we are against. In this sermon series, we will talk about how God is FOR the people in our world. He is FOR breaking down unnecessary barriers that keep people away from experiencing His love.

Bottom Line:   

Something To Talk About:

Many people no longer relate to the church. If the church is to be a carrier of hope, how do we create common ground within our community so that we can demonstrate that God is for them? Here are four practical ways of building common ground so that hope can be spread.

    1. Say yes by looking and walking around: An opportunity is a favorable moment in time when good things can happen. It’s a window of possibility and potential that opens to us. It comes and it goes, and depending on how we respond to it, our life destiny can be determined and the future of others can be affected. God is an opportunity-giving God. Daily, God gives us moments with possibility and potential. But we won’t see many of these opportunities unless we go out and look and walk around. Opportunities are introduced into our lives, and they linger briefly, waiting for our response. As surely as they arrive, they leave. Seeing them and seizing them is our challenge. There are people all around you who have needs. Someone may be afraid or discouraged. Others may feel hopeless. Ask God to help you stay sensitive to His leading. Take the time to go and look for opportunities to minister to others. 
    2. Say yes by being observant: It’s worth considering that those around us who are hurting might need the same kinds of things that we need when we’re hurting. Kindness always begins with the eyes — the way you observe the world and are sensitive to the needs of other people. Luke 10:33b, says of the Good Samaritan, “When he saw [the man’s condition], his heart was filled with pity” (GNT). Notice that “he saw.” That is the starting point. If you want to learn to be a kinder person, you’ve got to become more observant of the needs around you. The Bible says, “Look out for the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24b NCV). It’s not always easy to see the needs of other people, especially when they’re on the other side of the road. But it’s the starting point of kindness. As God’s children, we are supposed to be studying our environment while working with God. If we are not observant we may miss the opportunities God gives us on a daily basis. 
    3. Say yes by listening more: Part of living out our faith in a positive way is to create, build, and sustain meaningful connections with others. In so doing we reflect the image of God and, hopefully, pass some of His love on to the world around us. A huge part of establishing connections is done through listening. We all know at this point the old adage that goes something like, “Are you listening or just waiting to talk?” Listening well is more than being quiet and more than being curious. It’s the process of discovering another person’s interests, likes, and positions on spiritual matters. It’s common to hear Christians say, “Speak the truth with love,” but what about listening? When I stop what I’m doing and listen, it tells the other person that they are important to me.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you want to know what’s going on in your business, schedule time to walk around and ask questions. It’s been called Management By Walking Around (MBWA). How can MBWA work for Christians?
  2. You may find that during your first time looking and walking around people seem distant and unapproachable. Don’t be discouraged. Repetitive visits and discussions will eventually bear some fruit. Agree or disagree and why?
  3. What does being observant mean to you? Who do you know that is observant? What do they do to notice differences? Do you have any strategies for trying to be more observant?
  4. What are some other ways you can see others during your day and help them?
  5. What do you think of when you hear the word “observant”? What are some practical ways we can be more observant? 
  6. Why is listening such an important part of communication? What are some ways you would describe someone who is a good listener? What are some things that keep us from listening well?
  7. How does listening help us to love others well? What is the difference between listening to replay and listening to understand? What is at the root of failing to listen well?
  8. When you are talking to someone, is your mind thinking about what they can do for you? Are you positioning yourself? Do you have a favorite story you can’t wait to tell? Are you trying to talk before they are finished? James 1:19 says to be quick to listen and slow to speak…is that true of you?
  9. What are some intentional ways you can slow your life down so that you can more easily see the needs of people around you?
  10. What people do you pass every day who are sometimes more difficult to notice? When you keep your eyes open, what new opportunities do you see to help one of those people?
  11. What is your number one takeaway from this message?

Take One Thing Home with You

Ask Clarifying Questions

If and when you don’t understand something that someone is telling you, try asking some clarifying questions. Our conflict in life, all too often, is the product of miscommunication. One of the ways around this is to ask questions rather than immediately respond.

Slow down. Hear the other person out. Ask questions if you feel yourself getting agitated. For example, “What I’m hearing in all this is ______, is that what you’re wanting me to hear?” This gives the other person the opportunity to, you guessed it, clarify.

This alone will go a long way toward having better conversations.