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Doing God’s Will in a World Gone Wild

Have you heard small group members talk about discord they’ve experienced?  “If I have to hear one more negative comment about (insert name of political candidate they admire) I am going to explode!”  Or, “I have the worst neighbors!  They always (insert an unpleasant behavior).”  And there is always, “I’m going to give up all my social media; people’s posts have become so toxic!”

The madness of the year 2020 did not die in the year 2021, but Christians are called to look at eternity, not current circumstances.  Are you looking for studies to help you with all the divisiveness in our world – with a view to eternity in mind?   What about studies that teach how to show the love of Christ to family, friends or neighbors who are divisive in their politics or inflammatory in their behavior or comments?   Or studies to teach you how to do God’s will in this wild world in which we are living?   Look no further than these great studies, all found on Small Group Advisor.

Speaking the truth in love

“Keep it Shut” by Karen Ehman is a study about how our mouths can contribute to either discord or love.  Speaking the truth in love and dealing with our anger verbally are just two of the important areas covered in this six session study.

Connecting with others through love

“You Make me Crazy” by Rick Warren is all about loving those we find unloveable.  As it says about the study:  “We all have relationships that drive us crazy. Whether it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, sibling, parent, co-worker, or crazy relative you see once a year at Thanksgiving, a crazy-maker can really make life difficult.  This six session video study from Rick Warren will help bring sanity to your relationships so you can do more than just coexist. Learn how to connect with the crazy-makers in your life through these six sessions.”

Living and showing love

“Start Becoming a Good Samaritan” by Michael Seaton is a six lesson course on changing the world through the kind of love shown by the Good Samaritan – love that acts. How can we not be excited about this study from the description alone, as a study “that will help your group look at issues like poverty, social injustice, the pandemic, the environment (all the hot buttons for divisiveness in our communities) and teach you how to make an impact today.”

Two Not On This Site  

Not listed on this website, but definitely on point for these divisive times are the two Bob Goff studies, “Love Does” and “Everybody, Always”.  Both of these studies teach about why we love and how we begin putting love into action.

 Let’s make 2021 a year with small groups all over the globe studying ways to shine the light of Jesus’ love into the darkness of discord and division.

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The Spiritual Growth Triad: Giving, Praying, Fasting

We are about halfway through the 2021 Lenten season, so while it may be too late to start a small group study about Lent this year, there are three elements of Lent that are worth studying any time, all year. They are:

* giving, the way we manifest the love of God to others;

* prayer, the way we connect with God;

* fasting, what we give up to draw closer to God. 

As you consider which topic and series to study, start by reading Matthew 6:2-3 which provides Jesus’ direction on giving, Matthew 6:5-13 regarding praying, and Matthew 6:16-18 on fasting, then reviewing the following suggested studies.

The premiere study on giving is Randy Alcorn’s four-session video “The Treasure Principle”.  Covering the treasure, the spirituality, the sacrifice, and the joy of giving, each session ends with a practical “live it out” guide for experiencing what you learn. Throughout the study, participants are encouraged to interact with God over the issues surrounding giving.  This is not a video study. Participants would be asked to do the readings between sessions and review the discussion questions together at the meetings. The study guide and optional companion book can be found here:

If you search the topic of “prayer” on the Small Group Advisor website, you will find many to choose from.  I want to highlight “Prayer – Does it Make Any Difference” by Phillip Yancey.  You will not find the soft-spoken Yancey to be the most exhilarating teacher, but the material is essential if you want to understand the most important aspect of our relationship with God – our communication with Him through prayer.  Yancey answers the most common questions about prayer and blesses participants with concrete answers and applicable reasons for and ways to pray.

The term fasting means to “abstain from” which covers a lot more ground than food and drink.  It is also about getting yourself uncluttered so there’s room for the best that God has for you.  It may mean giving up strongholds, in which case  “Goliath Must Fall”  by Louie Giglio would be a great study.  It could mean turning away from your discontentedness to seek the contentment only God can bring, so you’ll want to study “Satisfied” by Jeff Manion.  Maybe a study on abstaining from the need to control is in order.  Karen Ehman’s “Let. It. Go.” is a perfect fit.  Her six week studio teaches participants to put God in the driver’s seat and the benefits of surrender.

Any of these studies will serve to deepen your spiritual growth, so consider doing them in a row, over several months, to truly bring the spirit of Lent to your small group experience.