Discussion Guide: For the Love Week 11

Ice Breaker

One of the things we value within community is fun. In the midst of all the pressures life throws at us, it is our ability to laugh, play and celebrate together that reminds us we serve a good, loving, and resurrected Lord who stands above it all. So, we want to take the first few minutes of our time together to play, have fun, and celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus.

Today’s Ice Breaker: Ghost

Ghost is a word game in which players try to add a letter to a growing word fragment — without ever actually spelling a word. If they accidentally spell a valid word, they lose the round. If they add a letter but a word is no longer possible to be made using those combinations of letters, another player can “challenge” them.

Ghost can be played with two or more players.

The rules of ghost are relatively simple: each player takes turns adding a letter to an ever-growing word fragment. Try not to spell a word (of length 4 letters or more). Try to force another player to spell a word, or else try to get a player to say a letter that makes it impossible to form a word.

Choose any player to start the game. He or she may say any letter of the alphabet. Each player then takes a turn to add a single letter to this fragment. Instead of adding a letter, a player can “challenge” the last player who added a letter, if he or she thinks a word does not exist that starts with that fragment. If a challenge occurs, the last player must try to say a word that begins with that fragment. If the player who was challenged is able to spell a word, the challenger loses a point. If the player who was challenged cannot spell a word, the challenger earns a point. If a player accidentally spells a word, he or she also loses a point. The round ends.

What You Will Need:

  • A group of people who can think and spell

Today’s Discussion

This week we conclude our For the Love series where we have been walking through the Gospel of John and seeing God’s love as revealed through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. We have seen how that love may not always look and feel the way we think it should, but that if we will allow God’s love to reveal itself to us then our lives will never be the same. In this discussion, we will see how that love can impact our lives and relationships in a profound way.

Discussion Questions

What are some names throughout history that you would associate with the word ‘shame?’

What are some names throughout history that you would associate with the word ‘honor?’

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Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

When was a time in your life where you felt honored, and how did that moment impact your life?

When was a time in your life where you felt shamed, and how did that moment impact your life?

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Genesis 3:2-7

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves

 

What role did the fear of shame play in the fall of humanity?

Why do you think the fear of shame is such a powerful influence in our lives?

How does that fear tend to affect the way we: parent, treat our spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, perform at work, manage our finances, etc?

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Leader Notes

Fear and shame lie at the core of the fall of humanity. Adam and Eve were “birthed” into an environment of perfect, unconditional love where they walked with God and one another void of shame and fear. In their nakedness, their most vulnerable state, they were confident in who God was, who they were, and who they were to each other and there was no presence of fear or shame. However, the serpent shows up and in 43 words he convinces the perfectly content humans that they are lacking something and that at the heart of that something is a God who cannot be trusted. At that moment Eve’s world is rocked. She goes from feeling confident as a daughter of God to a feeling like a suspicious outsider. It’s that feeling when the person you thought was one thing is suddenly revealed to be someone completely different. It was a sense of betrayal, a sense of being mocked, a sense of shame.

Love was instantly replaced with fear. Trust was replaced with accusation. And in that shame and fear Eve did what we all do in moments of fear; she reached for something that she thought would give her control of her situation in an attempt to alleviate that fear, to restore that sense of status and belonging. It is this same fear that lies at the heart of our idolatry. When we buy into the lie that we are not loved by God, or others for that matter, we are gripped with fear and shame, and at that moment we reach for someone or something to restore that sense of love and acceptance in an attempt to restore the identity we feel will bring us peace.

You see, if we are made in the image of a God who is Love, then that means the deepest desire and need of our souls is to know we are loved unconditionally. When that unconditional love is lost then the fear that replaces it is just as powerful of a force in our lives and it drives us to grasp for the closest thing to us that will quiet the voice of accusation in our heads. Eve grasped for the fruit. Abraham grasped for the lie that Sarah was his sister, David grasped for Bathsheba, Judas grasped for 30 pieces of silver, Peter grasped for his fishing nets, Paul grasped for his reputation as a Pharisee, and we all grasp for things in our lives. We look to that guy/girl to make us feel significant. We look to that promotion or achievement to tell us we’re important, better than others. We look to our money to make us feel secure. This kind of idolatry is the root of every sin, and fear of rejection and shame is at the heart of that idolatry.

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1 John 4:16-19

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he first loved us.

What is the only force in the Universe powerful enough to overcome, or cast out, that fear in our hearts?

How does the Gospel of Jesus give us that source of unconditional/perfect love?

How does that love then empower us to be who God has called us to be as His ambassadors and ministers of reconciliation?

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Closing Thought

Let’s take the last few minutes to break up into groups of 2-3 and pray for God’s love to come into our lives and cover any areas of shame we may be wrestling with at the moment.

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Pensamiento Final

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