Session 4: Loving others

Outcomes (team members will):
  • Examine the way Jesus’ love went far beyond human expectations and social norms.
  • Contrast love as it is expressed in our American culture with love as it is expressed through Jesus.
  • Reflect on the need for the Holy Spirit to form Jesus in us.

Leader resource
  • Love Walked Among Us, Paul E. Miller. ISBN 1-57683-240-6.

Review
  • What practice did you try this past week to draw near to God? 
  • What was your experience like?

Opening Activity

  • In groups, invite team members to act out the familiar stories of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) and The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
  • The groups should read the stories, but then change the characters and settings to represent modern people and places (e.g., the good Samaritan is changed to the good homeless bum).
  • Have each group act out their version of the story.
  • After each have acted out their story, ask them what fresh insights they gained into God’s love for people.

What is love?

  • Make two categories on the board. Label one “America” and the other “Kingdom of Heaven.”
  • Invite the team to think about words that describe what love is according to our American culture. For each word they give, they must also give a specific example of how that is shown (e.g., for love in America - “unstable” because in movies we often hear “I don’t love you anymore.")
  • In the other column, write what love is in the Kingdom of God, as we see it perfectly expressed through Jesus. Again for each characteristic, invite them to give a specific example of how they see that expressed in the life of Christ.
  • Then invite them to reflect on their own life, and whether it looks more like American culture or the Kingdom of God. Have them share reflections in small groups.

Self Examination

  • Read Philippians 2:1-11. Have team members point out the key phrases that describe the attitudes we need in order to love like Jesus.
  • Brainstorm things that get in the way of us loving like Jesus.
  • Give the group an extended time of silence (at least 20 minutes). Have them reflect on Philippians 2:1-11, asking God to reveal the places of their hearts that are not in line with the “mind of Christ”.
  • Invite them to think specifically about the group going on this trip together, and the people they will be serving:
    • Are they considering others better than themselves? 
    • Can they identify selfish ambitions in their hearts?
    • How are they putting the interests of others before their own?
  • Invite team members to listen and write a letter to God, expressing the areas that need to be changed to be like Christ. Have them spend a few more minutes listening and then write a letter from God with whatever they hear Him saying to them.
  • Give team members opportunity to share.

Power to love

  • Love is not possible apart from the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
  • Read John 7:37-39 and Galatians 5:22-23.
  • If we try to love on our own, that is the flesh. If we surrender to God’s working in our life, then He will produce in us Christ-like love for others.
  • Take time to pray for each other for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit so we can love like Jesus.

Team covenant

  • Hand out copies of the sample team covenant.
  • Read over it together.
  • Invite the team to respond and suggest any changes. 
  • Ask team members to take this home and reflect on whether or not they can make the commitments outlined.
  • Tell them to bring back a signed copy when they are ready. Each person must sign it before going on the trip.

Response

Take time each day this week to ask God to fill your heart with His love. Be ready to express that love as He gives you opportunity.


Preview

Next session we’ll look more at how the love of God flowing through His people becomes a blessing to the world.
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