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
Last week our guest speaker Tim Harlow kicked off our series Love Where You Live” by highlighting the way Jesus demonstrated love. Jesus loved people others didn’t think deserved to be loved, people like a tax collector named Matthew and a house full of Matthew’s friends described as tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners. Jesus’ critics called him “a friend of sinners.” They meant it as a put-down but, Jesus wore the title like a badge of honor. He came to save sinners and he began by befriending them. If we are going to love like Jesus loved, we’ll have to be willing to connect with people whose lives may be “messy.”
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing since you were last together. Then use some of the following questions to introduce a helpful, spiritual direction that we want to have when we meet together.
When we think about loving our neighbors, we probably have had some great ones and some difficult ones over the course of our lives.
- Who’s been one of your favorite neighbors and what made them your favorite?
- Who’s been one of the most challenging neighbors to love, and what made loving them a challenge?
- Share one of the most “neighborly” things you’ve done in the past to help or show kindness to a neighbor.
Gene Appel’s message focused on one of the greatest short stories ever told, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Let’s continue that focus. Select 5-6 questions from the list below to guide your discussion time.
- Read Luke 10:25-29. Jesus tells this parable in response to the bad attitudes and loaded questions of an “expert in the law.” “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” is a great question, normally. What was wrong with the “expert’s” question in this case?
- If you are genuinely seeking truth, asking questions is a good thing, however, what was wrong with the “expert’s” question, “Who is my neighbor?”
- The expert in the Law got something right and Jesus commended him for it. He wisely and accurately summarized all 613 Old Testament commands into just 2 commands. What were they?
- The expert in the Law’s response to Jesus’ affirmation of his answer reveals that a person can be very knowledgeable about the Word of God but inwardly still have a heart that is far from the heart of God. In response, Jesus reveals the heart of God through the parable He tells. Read Luke 10:30-35.
- In addition to the thieves who beat and robbed the man on the road to Jericho, who were the “villains” in Jesus’ story? What did they do that made them the bad guys in this parable? Why would this have been a surprising twist to Jesus’ story?
- Who is the hero in the story and why would he be an even more unlikely hero for Jesus to use in his parable?
Sometimes people who appear in need can play on our emotions and abuse people’s willingness to help. In Gene’s sermon, he pointed out that the Samaritan displayed a balance in his helpfulness. He listed some things that the Samaritan didn’t do. Look at that list and make note of the corresponding help the Bible says the Samaritan did provide.
- He doesn’t perform surgery. Instead he…
- He doesn’t give away his means of transportation. Instead he…
- He doesn’t move him into his own house. Instead he…
- He doesn’t say, “Take my wallet and everything I have.” Instead he…
- He doesn’t say, “I’ll stay by your side until you are completely healed.” Instead he…
- He doesn’t give the man a blank check. Instead he…
Sometimes our fear of helping someone with seemingly overwhelming needs keeps us from doing anything helpful at all. The Good Samaritan is a hero in the story because he did what he could. Do you recall the point of Gene’s story about the starfish washed up on the beach?
- Read Luke 10:36-37. What is Jesus’ answer to the question, “Who’s my neighbor?”
- What did Jesus say the expert in the law needed to do to love his neighbor?
- Identify at least 1 thing that would help you to have more of Jesus’ eyes of compassion?
- What needs do you currently see in the lives of people in your neighborhood?
- How do you think you could participate in 21 Days of Serving?
wrap up | prayer
Share prayer requests, spend time praying for each other, and pray that God will use the Eastside church family in a powerful way during our 21 days of serving.