Title: Unstoppable Love
The Point: Loving people is a powerful expression of loving God.
Get Into the Study
Use the following illustration, along with the follow-up questions, to introduce the major theme of this session.
If you’ve never watched an episode of Gilmore Girls, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about on social media. The series wrapped 8 years ago, but suddenly it’s everywhere!
The reason for the show’s recent resurgences is that Gilmore Girls is now returning with four 90-minute movies that promise to honor the true spirit of the show. Fans of the show, young and old, are losing their minds about it. These fans aren’t just excited to see the main stars of the show return — the entire cast of characters who make up the fictional town of Stars Hallow are all returning, and people can’t wait to see them again.
Speaking of Stars Hollow, the town itself is character in its own right. This is a place that held knitt-a-thons, dance-a-thons, town meetings, festivals, outdoor movie nights, and a yearly winter carnival. In fact, this fictional town has captured the minds of viewers so dearly that there’s even an upcoming celebration in the real-life town that inspired the show in the first place — and tickets sold out in one day.
It’s this vision of community that has captured the hearts of so many viewers. People long to be part of that kind of town — a place where you know everyone and everyone knows you. A place where people genuinely love one another and express that love in many different ways. A place that reminds that loving people is part of what it means to love God.
- What TV-show setting would you choose to live in? Why?
- What do you remember most about your home town?
- How does our natural desire for community speak to how God made us?
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
Study the Bible
Barna Group released its report, “The State of the Church 2016,” in September 2016. This report focused on a variety of topics related to churches in American today. In the survey, the Barna Group asked some questions about “How Americans experience and express their faith.” Three-quarters of Americans (75%) say that they have prayed to God in the last week. (The survey included 5,137 interviews of random U.S. adults, ages 18 years and older.)
Say: Based on the percentage of Americans who claim to pray regularly – the survey suggests that many people consider prayer to be important in their lives.
Then continue by leading the group to discuss Question #3 (PSG, p. 86): When have you seen the transformational power of prayer?
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
What descriptive words would you use to describe the church today?
What things do you devote yourself to?
What group or organization have you always wanted to be a part of? Why?
What are some words that describe your experiences with prayer?
How would you describe your prayer life?
Which keeps you from praying more: being too busy, being too confident, or something else?
When have you seen the power of prayer firsthand?
What’s the relationship between prayer and evangelism?
Is there anything keeping you from having a “What can I do for you?” mindset?
What would it look like for our church to practice the extravagant love of the Acts 2 church?
What do you find extraordinary about the way the early believers cared for each other and people in need?
Are you most comfortable praying (praying for people’s needs), caring (meeting people’s physical needs), or sharing (telling people about Jesus)? Explain.
In which area – praying, caring, or sharing – does your Bible study group excel? In which area – praying, caring, or sharing – would you like to see your group grow?
Is it possible to truly care for others without sharing the gospel at some point?
What emotions come to mind when you think about sharing the gospel with someone?
How are our actions influenced by our faith?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: