If you didn’t see it yet, give this video a quick watch before getting ready for group!
When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Everyone has a different picture come to mind when they hear “Church People.” And honestly... most of those pictures aren’t very good. People see opinions, judgement, buildings, politics, and organizations... but Jesus had a completely different idea when He established the church. He envisioned called out, rescued people joining the mission of God to bring redemption of hope to everyone in His world. And it’s time we all got back to being the church instead of just going to one.
This week Jodi took the call on Church People a step further - we are stirred to action. Knowing that God saw our need, loved us anyway, and demonstrated his love in Jesus, we follow the same pattern and demonstrate our love to the “ones” that God has placed in our path!
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Who in your life has helped shape your understanding of God and grow in good character?
What did it cost them? What kind of sacrifice did they make to pour into you?
Right after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the early movement of Christ followers spread like wildfire because people noticed how differently they lived. They gave to those with less, repaid their enemies with kindness, and treated every single person like they were created in the image of God and loved completely by Him.
How would treating every person like they were created in the image of God impact and challenge the world around us today?
Connect with the Message
Overcomplicated and overwhelmed
When we are working to become who Jesus calls us to be, we have the privilege of bringing real life, hope and change wherever we go. But we usually get stuck pretty quickly.
Sometimes it’s because we overcomplicate it with unrealistic standards of what bringing change really looks like. Sometimes it’s because we get overwhelmed by not only the huge worldwide need that seems unconquerable, but even the situations in our friends’ and family’s lives.
When you think about the biggest change makers in the world, who comes to mind? What makes you respect their impact on the world?
Do you have trouble believing that you can bring help and hope to people in your current situation? What is it that you think you lack?
Jesus summed up our entire life mission as “Love God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself.” This definitely uncomplicates things… but what are the real implications of loving your neighbor as yourself?
You’re more like the religious leader than you want to admit
This next question is the real deal. And it starts with identifying not with Jesus… it starts with identifying with the “expert in the law” - because we’ve all asked his question.
But I’m not equipped for that…
I don’t have the money to make a dent…
I’m super busy… I can’t love everyone! I’m only one person!
They’re really messy… I can’t get pulled down with them…
When you identify with the religious leader, you take an honest inventory of yourself. You can start to cope with the fact that you need the wisdom and guidance of God. You need the power of God to make an impact. You need the love of God so you have something real to give away. But all that starts with humility, and admitting that we need Jesus’ push to BE a neighbor just like the religious leader did.
Love God // Love People
Read Luke 10:25-37
In Luke 10, the religious leader overcomplicates Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbor by asking him “but… who is my neighbor?” He turns on his personal fog machine.
This is an important story because we actually do the same thing all the time… we know we can’t do everything, but we also have trouble doing something. In what ways do you ask the same kind of question, turning on your own personal fog machine?
The priest and the Levite find their own reasons to justify walking past the man half-dead on the ground - and we’ve all done the same. What kind of ways have you justified “passing by” people around you that need help and hope?
Why is Jesus’ response to the expert in the law so important for us all to hear? How does it challenge us to think differently?
“consequences” VS punishment
God wants compassion FOR us not FROM us. So in the next question as you talk about the "possible consequences” of not acting on your compassion, it should NEVER include anything about God’s view of us or love for us. That is immovable.
But consequences are still real. When we don’t act on our compassion, the compassion fades. Our eyes dim, and we don’t see opportunities as clearly. The more we face inward and focus on our own lives, needs, and wants, our hearts harden and become less like the heart of Jesus.
And, someone misses out. There are tons (and tons and tons) of people everywhere around us that are living without hope and without the love of God - and God wants to work through our obedience to reach them. So when we aren’t obedient…
The word for compassion in the Bible literally means “to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)”. Compassion is a stirring in the gut that moves us to real action - just like God was stirred to the action of rescuing us from our sin.
What stirs up compassion in your gut? What things about the world or situations in the lives of people around you break your heart the most?
What do you think the consequences of NOT acting on your compassion could be?
Make it personal
Andy Stanley said we should “do for one what we wish we could do for everyone.” Jodi challenged us to lean in and figure out who our “one” is - who God has placed in our path that we are uniquely equipped to bring help and hope to.
Who are some of the people that might be your “one” or “ones”?
What do they need? How can you bring practical help or tangible hope to them this week?
What worries or challenges are standing in your way?
If your group didn’t see the video about Curtis the bus driver, or you need some inspiration about making your job important and meaningful, watch the video!
READ. PRAY. DO.
Read 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians is all about what love looks like when it’s lived out. As you focus on loving your neighbor as yourself, use 1 Corinthians 13 to give you examples of how that might look in everyday life!
Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
Adapted from Psalm 18
Father, I love you. You are my rock, my fortress, my savior. In you I find my refuge and salvation when I am desperately in need. You saved me from death and lead me down the path of true and abundant life.
You have saved me and I want everyone to know it. You’ve given me hope and I want to share it freely. Give me eyes that see clearly who needs your love and and a heart that spews compassion wherever it can. Root me firmly in your love and security so I have plenty to give away.
Write down your own story of grace.
Writing down your story will help you spend time reflecting on what God has done for you and how He’s changed you. Think through what your life was like before He rescued you, and how He paved the way for grace to show up in your life.