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Overview

Fellowship. The word gets used a lot in church. But too often our understanding and practice of fellowship are shallow and stripped of the life-giving, life-transforming power God intended community to have. Jesus lived out and taught a deeper, more radical kind of fellowship a way of interacting that makes others sit up and take notice. These six sessions will show you Jesus way of loving others as I have loved you. Experiencing Christ Together helps your group explore the five biblical purposes that make up a high-impact Christian life fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism, and worship. Jesus perfectly lived out God s purposes for his life, and he taught his followers how to do the same. As you walk in the footsteps of those first disciples listening to and watching Jesus through these studies, you and your group will be transformed. One small group leader put it this way: The Experiencing Christ Together series has motivated me more than any other Bible study that I have ever been to. This Bible study gets to the heart of the matter my character in Christ and that has created action on my part. "

Details

  • SKU: 9780310249818
  • UPC: 025986249816
  • SKU10: 0310249813
  • Title: Connecting in Christ
  • Series: Experiencing Christ Together Experiencing Christ Together
  • Qty Remaining Online: 2
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Date Published: Mar 2005
  • Pages: 128
  • Weight lbs: 0.40
  • Dimensions: 8.88" L x 6.66" W x 0.36" H
  • Features: Price on Product
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
  • Subject: Christian Education - General
NOTE: Related content on this page may not be applicable to all formats of this product.

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

SESSION 1 AS I HAVE LOVED YOU

Robin was born with defective kidneys. He had two kidney transplants as a child and a third as a young adult. In his late thirties he needed a fourth transplant. Unfortunately, the waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor was six years. Realistically, then, someone who loved him needed to give him a kidney.

Six of Robin's friends each offered a kidney. The doctors picked their top three choices among the six, and those three worked out among themselves that his friend Amy would be the one to save Robin's life.

Loving one another often costs time. Effort. Even money. But what can one say about friends who are willing to give the organs of their bodies for one another? Your friendships may never need to go that far, but as you consider Jesus' words about love in this session, ask yourself how far you would go for a friend.

CONNECTING WITH GOD'S FAMILY 20 min.

There's something about sharing personal stories that deepens your connections with each other. That's why each session in this guide begins with an opportunity to hear one another's experiences.

1. Take sixty seconds to respond briefly to one of the following:

Think of a time when someone loved you. It could be a current experience or one long past. What did that person do that was loving?

Describe a time when you experienced God's love.

2. Whether your group is brand new or ongoing, it's always important to reflect on and review your values together. On pages 80-81 is a sample agreement with the values we've found most useful in sustaining healthy, balanced groups. We recommend that you choose one or two values-ones you haven't previously focused on or have room to grow in-to emphasize during this study. Choose ones that will take your group to the next stage of intimacy and spiritual health.

For new groups: You may want to focus on building a safe environment. If a group isn't a safe place for people to share themselves, nothing else happens.

For existing groups: We recommend that you rotate host homes on a regular basis and let the hosts lead the meeting. We've come to realize that healthy groups rotate leadership. This helps to develop every member's ability to shepherd a few people in a safe environment. Even Jesus gave others the opportunity to serve alongside him (Mark 6:30-44). Session 3 will explain how to set up a rotating schedule.

GROWING TO BE LIKE CHRIST 40 min.

John 15:9-17 is part of the final teaching Jesus gave his followers-his disciples or students-right before he was crucified. Everything he had trained them to be culminated here. Love was an essential mark of Jesus' students. In fact, it was the sign by which outsiders would recognize those who belonged to Jesus (John 13:35). It was also the glue that bonded them first to him and then to one another. Without a deep commitment to love each other, they would never have changed the world as they did.

Love is the ultimate test of whether you have Christ in you or not. Jesus' kind of love is difficult-it's nearly impossible to sustain if his life isn't welling up from within you. Jesus' kind of love puts your desires on the back burner and focuses on another person. It sets aside personal gain. It gives; it builds up the other. This is not the "love" sentimentalized in greeting cards and pop songs. It's something much more costly.

3. Read John 15:9-17. Exactly what does Jesus tell his followers to do in this passage? Note especially the instructions he repeats more than once.

4. Why does he repeat himself, even to these disciples who know him well?

5. Jesus defines the word "love" by pointing at himself-paying the ultimate price (verses 12-13). How would you describe this kind of love (for example, affectionate, romantic, etc.)?

6. What is the connection between loving others and remaining (abiding, dwelling) in Christ's love for us?

7. The quality of our love for others reflects the degree to which we are gripped by Jesus' love for us. What do you think helps a person become more motivated by Christ's love?

8. Turn to 1 John 3:16-18. What is one way we can lay down our lives for each other?

9. What other ways of laying down our lives for each other can you think of?

10. Has anyone other than Jesus ever laid down his or her life for you? If so, briefly describe what that person did.

11. Whom in your life is God reminding you to love?

12. The more you "remain" or "abide" in Jesus' love for you, the more you'll love others. Likewise, the more you love others, the more you'll abide in his love (John 15:9-10). Abiding in his love is a moment-by-moment awareness that Jesus is present, now, loving you.

Immersing yourself in the Bible and prayer will help you cultivate that moment-by-moment awareness. Here are several options for doing this for the next six weeks. Which one will you commit to pursue?

Prayer. Identify someone whom you have trouble loving. Commit to praying for that person throughout this study, both with your group and on your own. Ask God to show you his attitude toward the person. Ask him to help you to love the person the way Jesus would. You may find it helpful to write your prayers on the Reflections page included at the end of every session.

Gospel Reading. Read through the gospel of Luke. On pages 93-94 is a reading plan. As you read, we recommend that you jot down your thoughts on the Reflections page or in a journal.

Meditation. If you've read Luke before, try meditation as a way of internalizing God's Word more deeply. Copy a portion of each week's Bible study passage onto a card, and tape it somewhere in your line of sight, such as your car's dashboard or the kitchen table. Think about it when you sit at red lights, or while you're eating a meal. What is God saying to you, here and now, through these words? Several alternative passages for meditation are suggested on the Reflections page in each session. You may use that page to write your responses to your meditation verses.

On pages 24-25 is a Personal Health Plan, a chart for keeping track of your spiritual progress. In the box that says, "WHAT is your next step for growth?" write the step you chose in question 12.

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Read 1 John 4:7-21. Why does John think love is so essential for us to practice?

Look at Jesus' example of love for his disciples in John 13:1-17, 34-35. Why is love (rather than something else) the mark of a true disciple? What would it look like to wash each other's feet in today's society?

Read Isaiah 53:1-9 and Philippians 2:1-11. What did Jesus' kind of love involve? What in these passages motivates you to love? How are we supposed to follow Jesus' example?

Read Romans 5:6-8. Here Paul emphasizes that Jesus' love was unusual. How, then, can we take his example as one we should follow?

(Continues.)

Reviews

Also in "Experiencing Christ Together Experiencing Christ Together" Series

Surrendering to Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Sharing Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Serving Like Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99
Growing in Christ [Paperback] (Mar 2005) $7.99

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