The questions in this small group guide relate to the sermon from Oct. 4, 2020. If your group has not had a chance to listen to the full sermon related to this discussion guide, they can find it in our sermon library. Rev. Adam Hamilton preached this week’s sermon.
Lord Jesus, our 30th anniversary celebration is not about bringing us praise. It’s a chance for us to thank you and praise you for the love you’ve generously, graciously poured into our lives. And it’s a time for us to rededicate ourselves to actively living in ways that share that love with our neighbors. We open our hearts to your Spirit’s presence, asking you to guide us into the truths about love you want to teach us. Amen.
- Pastor Adam said, “This is just not that complicated. What the world needs is love. Jesus came to show us what that looks like – both the love of God for us, and the love we’re meant to show for others. This is how the world will be healed.” Do you think “not that complicated” means this is always easy? Can you think of times when you’ve struggled to know what it would mean to love your neighbor (broadly defined)? Can you think of times when you knew, but it was hard to do?
- Read Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said every key Bible principle, all the truths we know about what God wants, “depend” on the two commands he quoted. What do you believe made these two commands so foundational in Jesus’ thinking, teaching and living? Can you recall any time when some belief you held led you to love God or some of your neighbors less, maybe even without realizing it?
- Read 1 John 4:16-21. “‘God is love’….touches on everything….Love and God go together; hate and God do not (4:20); fear and God do not (4:18).” * Have you ever experienced a situation in which as you learned to love another person your fear of that person grew less, even disappeared? In what ways has following Christ made you and your relationships more loving?
- Read Luke 15:1-7. Pastor Bruce Larson wrote, “A shepherd once explained to me that sheep nibble their way into lostness. They move from one tuft of green grass to the next, sometimes right through a hole in the fence. When they’re done nibbling, they can’t find the hole and they’re lost. Some of us know what that is—to nibble ourselves bit by bit into the far country.” ** Have you ever been like the lost sheep, not sure how to get home? What “shepherd(s)” has God used to find you and lead you home?
- Read Matthew 9:35-38. Jesus said he yearned for God to “send out workers into his harvest field.” To what extent do you think “troubled and helpless…sheep without a shepherd” expresses the spiritual state of some of your neighbors, co-workers, even maybe some people you know in church? Are you willing to become one of the “harvest” workers Jesus wished for? What abilities and resources has God given you that you can use to help reach troubled, helpless people with the good news of Jesus?
- Pastor Adam said our “Love Your Neighbor” campaign is about more than T-shirts and signs. We’re challenging ourselves to join in specific acts of kindness that will make a difference for others. He gave us this challenge for this week: “A call to provide food for hungry people in Kansas City. Since the pandemic, the hunger rate in Kansas City–people who are struggling to provide enough food for their families–has increased by 41%. You are one of the largest sources of food for the Kansas City areas food banks. We’re inviting you to consider donating $1 per day—$30 for the month–which will, with the food we buy from Harvester’s, supply a family of four for a week with necessities. Or you can shop and purchase these items–we have a list on our website at www.cor.org/next. Often our children help with this. Some of you can do more than $1 per day–you might want to support several families. Some of you could do one family a day–that’s $900 for the month.” Discuss whether you as a group might combine your resources to meet this challenge, or if not, encourage each other in doing whatever you realistically can to address the challenge.
Lord Jesus, your follower John Newton wrote the hymn that says, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Thank you for giving us this group as a place to care, to grow together, and to extend your love to others. Send us from this meeting eager to be people who testify to your love. Amen.
* Jaime Clark-Soles, note on 1 John 4:16-20 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1562.
** Bruce Larson, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26: Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1983, p. 235.