04 Nov Discussion Guide: The People of Mosaic Week 1
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
This week we begin a new series titled The People of Mosaic. We will be talking about, and taking a look at, the collective impact we can make when we give big, serve joyfully, and love passionately as Jesus-people. What if we became a church that was known as much by our lavish generosity as we were by our Biblical theology? How might God use us to change our city, our state, our nation, and even our world? Let’s talk about it and see what happens.
What are some perceptions about Christianity, or the Church, that exist around the world today, and would you say those perceptions are warranted?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What does it mean to love your neighbor?
What does it mean to love your enemy?
The point here is that there should not be a difference in the answers. Loving our neighbor and loving our enemies are the same thing when it comes to Jesus. Love is not primarily a feeling. Feelings will accompany love, but they are what comes as a result and not the motivating factor. Love, at its core, is a choice. Love is a sacrificial choice you make to put the needs of another before your own desires or needs. Love is the willingness to look at someone and say in your heart, “Regardless of what it costs me, I will be what you need me to be and do what you need me to do for the sake of your welfare.” It is the thought that your joy is bound up in that person’s wellbeing.
Now, that does not mean you excuse that person’s sin, or that you allow yourself to continually be put in a position of abuse or manipulation. Sometimes, what that person needs most is for you to intervene with hard truth and ridiculous grace and put an end to their destructive behaviors, but love is doing that from a place that loves the friend more than the friendship. And, when it comes to the people who have wronged us or the people we may not like very much, then love is the willingness to look at that person through the eyes of Christ and recognize that the reason they hurt you is because of that person’s own brokenness. It’s the ability to recognize that person needs healing and that the only power strong enough to bring that healing is the unconditional love of Christ, and that the person in the best position to display that kind of love is the one who has been hurt or wronged by them.
Love knows no difference between the objects of its affection. Love loves consistently or it is not love.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Been to the Mountain Top Speech
[Commenting on the parable of the Good Samaritan] “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
What can that kind of love accomplish in our world?
Where is the only place we can find that source of unconditional love from which to live that kind of life?
That kind of love can heal our world. It is this very thought that Paul is tapping into in 2 Corinthians 5 when he writes:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Paul is saying that Christ looked at us with unconditional love and that unconditional love brought into His New Creation, gave us a new identity and a new nature. In other words, the unconditional love of Christ healed us, or as Paul says, “reconciled” us back to Him and back to our original design. Paul then says we, as Jesus’ followers, are to take that unconditional love into the world to achieve the same result…reconciliation. Only the unconditional love of Christ has the power to cast out fear, heal the brokenness in people’s hearts, right the wrongs of our fallen nature and restore people back to who God originally designed them to be.
The reason that is so is that we are made in the image of the God who is Love. Our design is to reflect that love to the world and that love from the world back to God. Meaning, our souls are made for love. Fear, insecurity, and shame have lead us to idolatrous pursuits which have further produced fear, insecurity, and shame as we have further disconnected ourselves from God and have tried to cover our shame and hide from Him in fear. Yet, when we hear the voice of our Maker calling out to us, “Where are you?” that pursuit in love brings about the healing and reconciliation we’ve longed for our entire existence. When broken people experience that kind of love through the people who represent that God, Jesus, then they too can, and will, come out of hiding and be restored to the heart of God.
Do you think it is possible for us to live this kind of life not just on Live Big Sunday, but every day of our lives? If so, what would that look like for us individually and as a community?