Love Where You Live
When was the last time you stopped to think about the influence you have in your life? At home, at work, at the school pickup line, at a child’s sporting event or band concert, where there are people who need to hear that God’s love is for everyone. When you serve others, not only do you honor them, but you honor God, and your influence expands in ways you might never expect.
Weekend in review
This weekend guest speaker Tim Harlow shares a message about who our neighbors are and your mission should you choose to accept it.
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing. You can talk about whatever you’d like, but here are a few potential questions to get the conversation going.
- When you reflect on the life that Jesus lived, how would you describe the way that Jesus loved people?
- Jesus’ critics called Him a friend of sinners. It was meant as a put-down but it was actually an accurate description of the way Jesus lived his life. Do you have a favorite “friend of sinners” moment from the life of Jesus? What was the situation and why is it one of your favorite moments where Jesus’ love for sinners was on display?
Select 4-5 questions from the list below to guide your discussion time.
- According to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, what was Jesus doing wrong? See Luke 15:1-2. One of the things that prevented the Pharisees of Jesus’ day from turning to Jesus was their legalistic attitude. This week’s guest speaker, Tim Harlow, suggested there was a major problem among religious people today that prevents us from fulfilling our God-given mission. He referred to it as “gracism.” Do you recall what he explained the ”gracism” attitude was and how it hinders our ability to love people like Jesus did?
- In Luke 15, Jesus refuted the religious Pharisees’ criticism by telling them three back to back to back parables. (The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, The Lost Son). What do these parables teach us about the heart of our Heavenly Father?
- Read Matthew 9:9 What was it about Matthew that caused people to view him as undeserving of the Father’s love? How did Jesus view Matthew?
- Read Matthew 9:10-13. What kind of friends would you expect Matthew to have? Why was Jesus unashamed and unhindered to socialize with Matthew’s naughty friends?
- Read Matthew 9:13. What Old Testament scripture did Jesus quote to explain his willingness to attend Matthew’s dinner party? What does this Old Testament passage reveal about the priorities of our Heavenly Father? In light of the priority in Heaven, what did Jesus say was the priority of His mission on earth?
- Read Luke 15:3-7. What did the shepherd leave behind? What did he go searching for? How long did he pursue his search? We aren’t shepherds and we aren’t looking for lost sheep, however, what does Jesus’ story tell us about the in-kind pursuit should we be making as we go about our lives?
- What adjectives would you use to describe the shepherd’s search? Why was he willing to expend this kind of effort? Likewise, what would Jesus do if he lived in our neighborhood and his “sheep” were lost? What kinds of things might Jesus do to find the one that was lost?
- The shepherd went on an intentional search and rescue mission. Matthew stayed home and invited lost people to come and meet his guest of honor in his home. Sometimes we might need to go and search and other times we might be effective by hosting and inviting. Between now and Easter what could you do to “go and search” or what could you do to “host and invite?”
wrap up | prayer
Take a 3”x5” card or piece of paper and write down the names of 3 people you want to see go from lost to found. (family member, co-worker, classmate, neighbor, business associate, customer, client, past acquaintance, or roommate), spend time praying for each person on your list and pray for God to open doors and create some divine opportunities to plant seeds and invite. Pray and ask God to help you grow a heart like His for people who are lost.