Saturday, August 09, 2008

Compassionate Living

This weeks small group curriculum continues in the "Red Letters" and hits the topic of compassion. Beware, it may challenge you and make you feel a bit uncomfortable.

Big Idea:
God is calling us to be a part of a compassionate revolution in which we engage the world around us with kindness, truth, compassion, justice, forgiveness, and restoration.

In reading the “red letters” of the gospels, it is clear that Jesus had a mission – to be the Savior of the world and the perfect sacrifice for our sins. The ministry of Jesus was primarily one of preaching the good news, the Kingdom of God, and repentance; however, much of the gospels are filled with examples of Christ’s acts of compassion. Jesus had compassion. For example, His ministry was to teach the 5,000, yet He also had compassion on their physical need to eat, so He fed them. His ministry was to preach repentance, yet He healed the sick and raised the dead. His ministry was to share the good news, yet He freed people from demons. He was sent to the Jews, yet He also delivered the Gentiles. His primary concern was the spiritual health of the people, yet he also ministered to their physical needs. We are commissioned by Jesus to go and make disciples; however, if you want to be like Jesus, you had better be displaying real compassion by meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of people.

A genuine relationship with Jesus will result in a life that is characterized by compassion, generosity, and service to others. Since helping others is not optional, we cannot allow any of the following excuses to derail us: (1) this is the worst possible timing, (2) maybe these people deserve their fate, (3) I’ll probably get “burned” if I get involved, (4) I’m uncomfortable around these kinds of people, (5) I just know it’s going to cost me, (6) how can I make a real difference if I don’t have my act together? Jesus could have used every one of these objections to avoid serving us. But He chose compassion, and if we truly follow Him, we too will choose compassionate living.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Matthew 25:31-46
Have you ever experienced this kind of compassion? How have you displayed it? Discuss how we can live this out today. What does Jesus say is the result of not showing compassion?

Luke 10:25-37
How did the Samaritan display compassion? What are some reasons we have used, or might use, to avoid taking action and showing compassion? How is compassion related to love?

Deuteronomy 15:7-11
Who has God commanded us to help? What should our attitude be regarding generosity and compassion? What is the outcome of showing compassion versus not showing compassion?

Taking Action: Simplify your lifestyle in order to give your resources of time and money to others. As a LifeGroup, engage in an outreach project or activity sometime within the next 2 months. Contact the City of Grace Outreach Department for ideas.

Ministry Time

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