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Loopholes Vs. Love

We are looking for loopholes and Jesus is looking for love.  

There are so many Bible stories about humans looking for a way around God.  This is not surprising when the world often teaches us to find the easy way.

Think of the man who asked Jesus how many times we should forgive, coming up with a number he deemed perfectly reasonable:  7.   Jesus blew that out of the water by telling him that we should forgive 70 X 7.  (Matthew 18:21-22)

Martha complained to Jesus about Mary not helping with the hospitality work.   But Jesus told Martha that Mary chose the better thing altogether – basically that the work would always be there, but He would not. (Luke 10:40-42)

The prodigal son had an angle, too.  He thought he would ask to be a slave when he wanted to return to the comfort of His father’s house.  He had no clue that God had something bigger in mind through his father:  total and complete love and forgiveness. (Luke 15:11-32)

We look for loopholes, too when it comes to studying God’s word.    We say we have responsibilities and are busy or tired.  Yet we have endless time for quick and easy distractions, faces glued to our screens.

God wants us to receive His love, love Him, and spread His love to the people in our lives.  It isn’t always easy to do that.  But, if we look for angles and workarounds to doing His will, we are the ones who will not live life to the fullest or receive all that God wants for us. (John 10:10)

If this idea of loopholes instead of loving speaks to you, here are a few great studies to focus on loving God.

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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.