The core value of love
Three ways to see your life as a life on mission with Jesus
Communion, it is about proclaiming Christ until he comes again. It is as if Jesus is saying that he wants us to be on mission with him while he is gone.
Forbes Magazine: Companies in the USA should not be so focused on making employees happy, but a connection to a larger mission. Violin makers illustration: Are they always happy? No, but they live and breath violins; success does not are come when they are happy, but by embracing a deep sense of mission. How much more important is the mission of the church? This must become our identity.
- Let’s make the obvious comparison: as a church, shall we focus on being happy at church, or focus on the mission we have been given?
- Why do we run into so many people who believe the church is about them and their happiness?
- How can we begin to make an attitudinal change for the Kingdom’s sake? What barriers and obstacles will we face?
Romans 5:5 – you have the greatest resource. Believers are not lacking in resources because of God’s love.
You have received the love of God. God is love, which is a theological fact. Must move toward, God is love to ME. This brings to me a capacity to serve, forgive, and love. Freely given to us, then freely give to others.
- When did you first become aware of the love of God for you? Perhaps you knew about God and even professed faith in him, but when did God become a real person to you?
- When was a time in your life that you doubted the love of God? What was happening in your life to feel that way?
- How does the love of Jesus lead us toward life change?
- Why is the change from an inward focus to an outward focus so difficult?
- What are some things that we often give away for free? Have you ever received something for free that turned out to be very expensive?
- How does the gift of the Holy Spirit change everything?
You have been built up by God’s love. Development of faith causes growth. Joy is a part of the Christian life. There will be a time when we are perfected in Christ, this brings hope. There is also suffering and hardship, but we are never without hope. Adversity is not what he intends, but this affliction produces character, which is what God intends. Hope does not put us to shame, it does not disappoint.
- How does faith causes a Christian to grow?
- What are a few things that we can do to exercise our faith?
- If someone who claims to be saved does not have a joyful spirit, how can the body of Christ guide this person toward growth? How or why does serving others lead to joy?
- Who has a story abo0ut when Christ brought hope during a difficult time in your life?
- How has adversity brought growth in your life?
- How have we misused the word “hope?” Why do we often neglect the certainty of hope in favor of something we might call, “a wish?”
You have been supernaturally filled with God’s love. This comes through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). The Spirit makes us alive by the same power of the resurrection (Romans 8:11). This love is always at our disposal. You have been loved well by the God of the universe.
- What does it mean to you that we are supernaturally filled to capacity? How does that influence that way we love others?
- How would your life change if you really embraced the fact that God’s power can literally live through you?
- Who has a story about a time when God supernaturally came through when you thought all hope was lost?
- We usually see resources as limited, how does this differ from what Ken talked about on Sunday?
Fordham Seminary study: “Why did Muslims convert to Christianity?” Two of the nine points… 1) the love found in Christian marriages, and 2) the unconditional love from God.
1 John 3:16 – you have the greatest motivation. This is such a clear example of how we are supposed to love others…
We know love by this…
He laid down his life for us… (experiential). In Greek, literal translation, “for us, the life of him, was laid down.” The emphasis is on US. “Laid down his life,” it was not taken from him. The motivation is love, he gave of himself. Galatians 2:20. John 13:15.
We should lay down our lives for the brethren. (Operational). Not just for existing brethren but for prospective brethren.
- In what ways does the church exist for those who are not yet members?
- What are some ways that we erect barriers that prevents the next generation from feeling at home in our church?
- The Bible says that we are to look out for the interests in others (Philippians 2:1-4). When was a time that you saw this lifestyle in action?
- The greatest love is laying down our life for others, but how can we move past “laying down our life” in only the physical sense?
- How are you making time for other people, in order to serve them?
- How often does selfishness take us away from serving others?
Marie Fisher was 13 in that Amish school that day, “Shoot me first.” I lay my life down for others. Even caught the gunman off guard, and asked for a prayer. Nickel Mines Community in Pennsylvania (October 2, 2006).
Ephesians 4:1 – you have the greatest platform. The platform at the church is not the best place to make an impact. Paul writes with urgency.
Consider the urgency. Speaking as an apostle, but he was a prisoner, making the most of his situation. This jail is my calling and urgency. Don’t miss the moment, wherever God has placed you.
- When was a time in your life that you used your circumstances as an excuse for not living life on mission?
- In what ways was Paul blessed, and a blessing to others, by being a prisoner?
- How often do we say that our lives would be so much more fruitful if only our circumstance were different?
- In the first century, people identified with Jesus (saying, I am for Jesus), why are we shy about letting people know this fact about us at the very beginning?
Consider your missional proximity. Wherever you walk, wherever you are living, do your calling. Where your feet are planted, people are watching and listening.
- What are some ways that you keep your mission in front of you throughout the day?
- Since there is no impact without proximity, how close are you to those in need of ministry or service?
- What is missional proximity? John Hobbs has a great illustration here… “If you take a full can of coke and hold it out in front of you at full arms length for as long as you can, what happens? While the can does not weigh a whole lot, you will get very tired. If you take the can and keep it close to you, you can carry it all day without issue.” How is God’s mission for us like that? (The further you are from people, the harder it is, but the closer you are to people, the easier it is.)
Consider your calling. This verse is a hinge verse, all this is written for what I am telling you now. Walk close to your opportunity, to your people, and to God.
- When was the first time you understood that God’s calling is not just for missionaries and pastors?
- How do you see yourself as called? To what is God calling you?
- How can you walk in a manner worthy of the Lord? What needs to change in your life for that to happen?
The Zulu people in Kwazulu-Natal province, greet one another in their language with a phrase meaning “I see,” and the reply is, “I’m here,” like “I don’t exist until you see me.” When you see that person, it’s like you’re bringing them into existence.
Who would God have us to see so they can know the living God?