SEEK ONE ANOTHER
Serving is Loving
The leader explains that he/she is giving everyone 15 points. The leader begins asking the questions below, and each member of the group will subtract a point for each thing/item they have done.
At the end of the questions, group members are encouraged to reflect on their score. The leader asks if anyone would like to share their score and anything regarding how they arrived at this number. Other questions to ask the group: “Are you happy with your total?” and “What actions would you add to become more serving?” If they are happy with their number, “How will you continue to serve more?” Share ideas on serving one another!
Take a point away if you:
1. Assisted a stranger in a store or business this past week
2. Texted or called a friend with a word of encouragement this past week
3. Put your shopping cart back into the proper storage space in the lot, anytime this month. Extra point off if you returned other carts that you didn’t use to the corral place!
4. Gave money to a charity this month.
5. Served at a non-profit organization this month
6. Verbally told a friend or family how much you care about them in the past six months
7. Prayed for someone who asked you to pray for him or her
8. Checked up on someone with whom you have not had contact for a while (in-person or virtually)
9. Recently did a “chore” that was normally not yours to do
10. If you shared a scripture with a family member
11. Discussed a sermon/Bible study lesson with someone who did not hear the sermon or is not in the Bible study.
12. Made a meal for someone outside your home in the past two weeks
13. Read your Bible today (or if your meeting is early in the morning, take a point away if you read your Bible yesterday)
14. Will commit to pray daily for at least one other person in your group this week.
Group Encouragement Time
In-Person Groups: Leaders provide paper and pens as needed for this activity. Explain to group members that the group will be given 5 minutes to write notes of encouragement to one another. It is important that everyone receive a note of encouragement! To accomplish this, leaders can assign each person to write a note to the person on their left, draw names for note assignments, or divide the group up by gender, and each person writes a message to each person in their gender group.
Virtual Groups: Challenge your group members to take 5 minutes to send private messages of encouragement to the other group members using the private Chat feature. If your group is large, split up the group by gender or assign specific people amongst the group members so that everyone receives an encouraging note.
1. Describe your experience so far in Bethel’s 21 days of prayer and fasting.
2. Review this week’s sermon text, John 13:31-35. What especially catches your attention in this passage or in the sermon?
(Intent: Leader, use this as a probing question to get a feel for where group members are focused as you begin this week’s discussion.)
3. Read verses 31-32. A. How did Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension glorify the Father? B. How did the Father glorify Jesus through these events? C. Like Jesus, we can glorify God. Discuss some thoughts on how we could do this.
(Intent: A. Jesus did only what He saw His Father doing and obeyed perfectly. He glorified the Father by representing him exactly, Heb. 1:3. B. The Father glorified Jesus through the resurrection and ascension, vindicating Christ’s claims.)
4. In verse 33, Jesus tells His disciples they will be left behind, for now. A. How do you suppose they felt? B. Have you ever been in a position where you were left behind? What fears, concerns, or disappointment went through your mind?
(Intent: A. This question is to help group members imagine the scene and connect with the text. You may want to use second-level questions to probe deeper into the disciples’ situation. B. Use this question to help the group relate to what the disciples may have been feeling at the time.)
5. Take a look at verses 34-35. A. In v. 34, Jesus introduces a new characteristic of love. What is it, and what does it mean? How can you apply that to loving others? B. Who is this love directed toward? Why?
(Intent: A. While the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” had been given before in Lev. 19:18, Jesus ups the bar by telling the disciples to “love just as I have loved you.” This is a sacrificial action-oriented love. B. This love is directed toward fellow believers as a witness to the world.)
6. Jesus spent His earthly life setting the needs of others above his own. A. What motivated Him? B. You, too, have an earthly ministry. What are some ways that we can love the Church and the world as an outgrowth of our love for the Lord?
(Intent: A. God is love, characterized by desiring the best for another and being willing to sacrifice for him or her. B. As you discuss, remind the group that Christ’s ministry is at its core relational love, which we are to imitate by the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 10:32-11:1.)
7. A. Describe an example—that you have observed—of someone loving another Christian as Christ loves. What reaction did people have? B. This week, who could you more intentionally show love to by serving them?
(Intent: A. We have testimonies of many who have come to Bethel, being drawn to that Christ-like love. Some may have observed a believer at work, in the market, or on the street showing unusual grace or compassion.)
8. Sometimes when we’re called, it feels like we’re stepping out alone. What is your experience when you’ve stepped out in obedience? How have you found that God meets you there?
9. How does connecting to God affect how we’re connected to and loving one another? Conversely, how does serving one another draw us closer to the Lord?
(Intent: Our motivation and empowerment to love others is an outgrowth of our love for the Lord and His transforming work in us. In Col. 2:1-3, we see that a connection to each other results in more understanding of “God’s mystery.” Our earthly bonds with other believers draw us closer to Christ.)
PRAYER AND APPLICATION
Refer to 7B. As the group prays, each person should seek the Lord’s direction on how they should specifically serve the person they identified. Then plan how and when to carry out that service.