Interactions: Love in Action - Experiencing the Joy of Serving (Interactions Small Group Series)
Love in ActionCopyright 1998 by Willow Creek AssociationPreviously published as Serving LessonsRequests for information should be addressed to:Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530ISBN-10: 0-310-26607-6ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26607-5All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New InternationalVersion. NIV. Copyright 1973,...
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Love in ActionCopyright 1998 by Willow Creek AssociationPreviously published as Serving LessonsRequests for information should be addressed to:Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530ISBN-10: 0-310-26607-6ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26607-5All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New InternationalVersion. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZondervan. All rights reserved.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, ortransmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.Interior design by Rick Devon and Michelle EspinozaPrinted in the United States of America05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 /?DCI/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1T H E B I G P I C T U R EWhat is the message of our culture today? What is the commonthread of thought that weaves its way through almosteverything we do? What is the core value that drives andguides the lives of most people? All we have to do is walkaround in our society and we will begin to develop this particularmind-set almost by osmosis.It is a "me-first" mind-set. This mind-set says indulge yourself,fulfill your desires, satiate your appetites, pursue pleasure,take off all restraints. As much as we might want to pretendthat this value system died in the eighties, let''s behonest: it is alive and still thriving.With this mind-set comes an elusive promise: If you seek firstyour own good and satisfy your own desires, then you will behappy. In print, on television, and in the movies, over andover we hear the lie. The road to contentment, satisfaction,fulfillment, and true joy is marked with a street sign flashing"Me First."The truth is, this perverted and backward view of life is leadingto modern day madness. Our society is on the verge ofinternal collapse. Escapism is running rampant. Perversion ofsexuality has become almost common fare. Unwanted pregnanciesby the thousands are being terminated every day.Men and women walk away from their commitment tospouse, children, job, and many other life responsibilitieswith growing ease. People are pathologically self-centeredand ignore the needs of others. The "me-first" mind-set is controllingmany lives, even the lives of those who call themselvesfollowers of Christ.SESSION 1LOVE IN ACTIONEXPOSING THE"ME-FIRST"MIND-SETA W I D E A N G L E V I E W1. What are some signs that the "me-first" mind-set isalive and thriving in one of these areas:- In the marketplace- In the church- In families- In your country- In the mediaA B I B L I C A L P O R T R A I TRead Mark 8:31-38 2. What do you learn about Jesus'' view of Himself in thispassage?What do you learn about Jesus'' view of His followers?3. Jesus was clear about His commitment to suffer anddie for His followers. Why do you think Peter tried tostand in the way of Jesus'' plan?Why was Jesus'' response to Peter''s resistance so severe?S H A R P E N I N G T H E F O C U SRead Snapshot "Grappling with Greatness"4. What are some of the warning signs and symptomsyou see in your life when you are striving for a "positionof greatness"?GRAPPLING WITH GREATNESSJesus tried again and again to expose and attack self-centeredness in His disciples. He wanted themto have a "Father-first" mind-set but often saw their "me-first" mind-set prevailing. Once, while walkingdown a road toward a city called Capernaum, some of Jesus'' followers were debating amongthemselves which of them was the greatest. In the gospel of Mark we read these words: "They cameto Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ''What were you arguing about on theroad?'' But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest" (Mark 9:33-34).Jesus had just preached a powerful sermon on servanthood, yet the disciples still did not get the point. In an effortto drive the point home even
Discover the joy of serving others. How can you identify full devoted followers of Christ? Their servant lifestyle gives them away! In our 'me-first' culture, servanthood is the earmark of men and women who have discovered the joy of giving. But the secret to servanthood isn't running yourself ragged trying to be everything to everyone---it's pouring freely out of a full cup the things you were designed to give. Love in Action shows how you can break the back of self-centeredness and experience the satisfaction of serving others wisely and effectively. You'll discover how sharing your unique personal resources and spiritual gifts can become a source of strength to others, worship and praise to God, and a personal delight that nothing else can match! Interactions---a powerful and challenging tool for building deep relationships between you and your group members, and you and God. Interactions is far more than another group Bible study. It's a cutting-edge series designed to help small group participants develop into fully devoted followers of Christ.
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the largest and most influential churches in North America, and the chairman of the board for Willow Creek Association. He convened The Global Leadership Summit in 1995, following a God-given prompting to help raise and develop the spiritual gift of leadership for the local church.
Both visionary and passionate about seeing every local church reach its full God-given potential, he speaks around the world on strategic issues related to leadership, evangelism, and church growth. An exceptional communicator, he is a best-selling author of more than 20 books on personal evangelism, marriage and especially on the subject of Christian leadership, including Just Walk Across the Room, Courageous Leadership and the newly released, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond.
Bill received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College in Deerfield, IL. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and one grandson.
Kevin G. Harney is the Teaching Pastor and Evangelism Champion at Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana and Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, MI. He is also on the Teaching Team of the campus ministry at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He is author of Leadership from the Inside Out: Examining the Inner Life of a Healthy Church Leader; Seismic Shifts, the little changes that make a BIG difference in your life; John: An Intimate Look at the Saviour; Ephesians: Bringing Heaven to Earth, and co-author of the Willow Creek Interactions series, the Willow Creek New Community series, the Old Testament Challenge series, and Finding a Church You Can Love and Loving the Church You've Found.
- Introduction: Experiencing The Joy
- Of Serving...9
- Session 1
- Exposing The 'me-first' Mind-set...11
- Session 2
- Breaking The Back Of
- Session 3
- Gifted To Serve...25
- Session 4
- The Servant's Survival Kit...33
- Session 5
- Serving Through Sharing...43
- Session 6
- My Life, A Living Sacrifice...51
- Leader's Notes...59
Love in Action T H E B I G P I C T U R E What is the message of our culture today? What is the common thread of thought that weaves its way through almost everything we do? What is the core value that drives and guides the lives of most people? All we have to do is walk around in our society and we will begin to develop this particular mind-set almost by osmosis. It is a 'me-first' mind-set. This mind-set says indulge yourself, fulfill your desires, satiate your appetites, pursue pleasure, take off all restraints. As much as we might want to pretend that this value system died in the eighties, let's be honest: it is alive and still thriving. With this mind-set comes an elusive promise: If you seek first your own good and satisfy your own desires, then you will be happy. In print, on television, and in the movies, over and over we hear the lie. The road to contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, and true joy is marked with a street sign flashing 'Me First.' The truth is, this perverted and backward view of life is leading to modern day madness. Our society is on the verge of internal collapse. Escapism is running rampant. Perversion of sexuality has become almost common fare. Unwanted pregnancies by the thousands are being terminated every day. Men and women walk away from their commitment to spouse, children, job, and many other life responsibilities with growing ease. People are pathologically self-centered and ignore the needs of others. The 'me-first' mind-set is controlling many lives, even the lives of those who call themselves followers of Christ. SESSION 1 LOVE IN ACTION EXPOSING THE 'ME-FIRST' MIND-SET A W I D E A N G L E V I E W 1. What are some signs that the 'me-first' mind-set is alive and thriving in one of these areas: * In the marketplace * In the church * In families * In your country * In the media A B I B L I C A L P O R T R A I T Read Mark 8:31--38 2. What do you learn about Jesus' view of Himself in this passage? What do you learn about Jesus' view of His followers? 3. Jesus was clear about His commitment to suffer and die for His followers. Why do you think Peter tried to stand in the way of Jesus' plan? Why was Jesus' response to Peter's resistance so severe? S H A R P E N I N G T H E F O C U S Read Snapshot 'Grappling with Greatness' 4. What are some of the warning signs and symptoms you see in your life when you are striving for a 'position of greatness'? GRAPPLING WITH GREATNESS Jesus tried again and again to expose and attack self-centeredness in His disciples. He wanted them to have a 'Father-first' mind-set but often saw their 'me-first' mind-set prevailing. Once, while walking down a road toward a city called Capernaum, some of Jesus' followers were debating among themselves which of them was the greatest. In the gospel of Mark we read these words: 'They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?' But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest' (Mark 9:33--34). Jesus had just preached a powerful sermon on servanthood, yet the disciples still did not get the point. In an effort to drive the point home even more clearly, Jesus added: 'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all' (Mark 9:35). While the disciples wanted a position of greatness, Jesus called them to have a passion for service. What would your life look like if you developed a greater passion for service? Read Snapshot 'Indiscriminate Service' 5. What might our service look like when we approach it with one of the following attitudes: * I will serve those who have influence, power, or who can repay my kindness. * I will serve those who are like me . . . those whom I understand and around whom I feel comfortable. * I will serve those with needs, regardless of their status, age, or position in life. 6. Who were some of the people Jesus served when He walked on this earth? INDISCRIMINATE SERVICE Jesus calls us to serve indiscriminately. In Mark 10:13 people began bringing little children to Jesus so He would touch them. The disciples got angry and rebuked the crowds. In their minds, these little children were not important enough to waste Jesus' time. After all, children weren't powerful people, and they had no influence or authority, so Jesus shouldn't give them the time of day. When Jesus realized what was going on, He became angry. He insisted that the disciples permit the little ones to come to Him. He did not want them to hinder or get in the way of the children. He wanted His disciples, and the whole world, to know that the kingdom of God belonged to such as these. In receiving the little children, Jesus was calling His followers to turn from arrogance to humility, to stop serving only those who could return the favor and to begin serving indiscriminately. Jesus was saying, 'Change your mind-set. Get off the 'me-first' bandwagon and adopt a 'Father-first' look at life.' How does His example influence your view of whom you should serve? Read Snapshot 'I Want to Be First' 7. How does our culture encourage and praise those who strive for positions of power and prominence? How does our society treat those who don't compete for first place? What implications does this have for the Christian who is committed to following Christ's example? I WANT TO BE FIRST Again and again Jesus drove the message home: Don't be consumed with a 'me-first' mind-set. You might think that after all of Jesus' clear teaching on the topic the disciples would have gotten the point. But it had still not soaked in. In Mark 10:35--37, James and John approached Jesus and made a 'little' request. They said, 'Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.' When Jesus asked them what they wanted, James and John replied, 'Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.' They wanted the two most prominent and powerful positions in the universe next to Jesus! 8. Describe one area in your life in which you are presently working to gain a position of power and prominence. How do these efforts look in light of Christ's teachings on the 'me-first' mind-set? P U T T I N G Y O U R S E L F I N T H E P I C T U R E AN HONEST LOOK AT M Y M IND-SET Take time in the coming week to reflect on where you see a 'me-first' mind-set in your life. Make note of any indications of a 'me-first' approach to life in the following areas: * In your home * In your workplace * In your friendships * In your church life * In your social settings * In other areas FILLING YOUR M IND WITH A NE W VIEW Often our thought patterns are formed by what we feed into our minds. Take time in the coming week to memorize the passage below and to reflect on what it means. How does this truth from the lips of Jesus impact the way you see yourself and others?