Welcome to the Loving People series! I’m so glad you’re joining us on this journey—and I truly believe it will be life changing as we pursue God together as a church.
As Christ-followers, most of us know that loving others as Jesus has loved us is one of God’s top priorities for our lives. However, the reality is, we’re not always sure how to do this in real life. So often we tend to do our relationships in the same dysfunctional and destructive ways as we did before coming to Christ.
The good news is the Bible is full of great teaching on what it looks like to live a life of love—and do our relationships in a whole new way: the Jesus way. The bad news is we often have either missed or ignored this teaching because we have not had our “relationship glasses” on when reading the Word.
In Loving People, we are going to be rolling up our sleeves and studying what the Word says about relationships. We are also reading some selections from gifted pastors, counselors, and teachers to learn more about what it looks like to live a life of love. You likely have questions about how this study will work practically, so next is a Q & A section to get you started. And again, I’m so glad you are taking this journey. May God meet you in a powerful way as you pursue Him to learn how to love others as He has loved us—and to do relationships in a whole new way.
1) What will I be doing each week?
Each day you will Explore key passages from Scripture, Read selected excerpts from gifted authors, and Reflect on your learning by answering some questions, praying, and journaling. At the end of each week’s study, you will also answer a few questions on the weekend’s message.
2) How long will each study take?
We have divided each week’s study into five daily assignments. Each day’s assignment is designed to take about 30 minutes to complete. If you want to use this five day a week format to strengthen your regular rhythm of relationship with God, that’s great! However, if you prefer to finish each week’s study at other times during the week, that’s fine too.
3) What resources do I need?
• The Study
Each week you can view the study here, download it and print it off, or use it as a digital file on your computer, tablet, or phone. If you don’t have a computer or printer, you can pick up your study at church each weekend at the Starting Point kiosks outside the Worship Center or the Ridge.
You will need two books for this study (hard copies, digital, or audio). The books are:
The Emotionally Healthy Church (Peter Scazzero)
Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them (John Ortberg)
If you use Audible to listen to these books, we will provide location markers for each reading assignment to help you find the right locations. Some weeks we will also be reading short selections from other authors. You will be able to download these from the website as well.
You will also need some sort of journal (hard copy or digital) to record your insights, answers, and prayers.
4) What version of the Bible should I use?
We recommend the New International Version (NIV) for this study. However, at times we will ask you to use a different translation for certain assignments. You can find all these versions on the free YouVersion Bible app in your favorite app store. If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, but you do have a computer, you will find most of these versions at biblegateway.com. If you don’t have access to either of these resources, it’s fine to use whatever Bible you have!
5) Do I need to finish the study each week before the next weekend’s message?
No. Each week’s study will follow the topic we are covering in our weekend series. However, you do not need to finish the study before hearing the message. So, it doesn’t matter when your Life Group meets (early or late in the week), simply start the next study each week after your Life Group, and it will work fine. You will have a full week to finish each week’s study before your next Life Group.
6) What’s Next?
Your next step is to purchase the books and journal (if you haven’t already), and then simply complete the study for week one (below). Then bring your study and journal to your first Life Group this week. After your Life Group, download the study for Week Two and start working on it. You will have a full week to finish it before your second Life Group.
A WHOLE NEW WAY
This first week of Life Group is your potluck and covenant session. This is an important time to get to know one another, share your hopes for this session, and clarify your commitment to attend, participate, and complete the weekly study. During this first meeting, you will discuss the Covenant (commitment sheet) and this past weekend’s message. If you’re ready to sign the Covenant the first week, that’s great. If you need more time, you can wait until the third week to make your decision. This commitment is one of the keys to a healthy group.
To prepare for this week’s meeting, simply answer the questions below in your journal—and then be sure to bring both the study and your journal with you to your group this week.
1) Where did you live in third grade, and what was one of your favorite things to do in your free time?
2) Review your notes from last weekend’s message. What was one of your favorite insights, passages, or points—and why?
3) The first point in this weekend’s message was “Love . . . Is Our Top Priority.” Quickly review the Scripture passages under this point on your message note sheet. Then read I John 4:7-12 and 4:16-21. Take a couple minutes and jot down three or four bullet points in your journal about what this passage teaches about love.
4) What is one thing you’re hoping to learn as we start this Loving People journey together as a church?
5) Take a couple minutes and spend some time in prayer. Ask God to use this study to help you learn how to love others as He has loved you. Also ask Him to use the next ten weeks to teach us as a church how to live a life of love.