Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Since this is a season of the year where we especially think about “love,” I thought it would be worth considering a unique way in which small group relationships afford us the chance to show love to others. At Southwood we concluded 2014 by hearing an excellent series of sermons that defined biblical love as “the expression of a relationship based on the object’s need.”
One of the challenges for us in loving each other in this way (the way that God has loved us based on our need!) is that we are so naturally focused on our own needs to the point that we often try to show love to others in ways we personally would want to receive love. The problem is not everyone loves candy hearts, bear hugs, or fruit cakes in the same way you do! What a gift it is when someone loves us enough to ask us what we actually need and then to communicate love intentionally based on that need!
The more we know each other’s needs the better we are equipped to love each other. This is where small groups have an edge. As we develop relationships with each other, we should be sharing and listening for the needs in each other’s lives. What are the hurts, the struggles, the unfulfilled longings you hear from members of your group? I hope you have shared some of the needs in your own life with your group. We all have needs, and it’s vital we share them together so we can carry each other’s burdens. So, what are the needs in the others in your group?
I’d encourage you as leaders to sit down with a list of your group during this Valentine’s season and try to think of at least one personal need for each member of the group. You may not be the one who can meet the need you’ve thought of, but the exercise will help you consider how you can love the members of your group better – in tangible ways, in words to them, or even in prayer for them.
Is one lonely? Another financially strapped? One couple at their wits’ end with the kids? Someone needing physical work done around the house? Someone else needing someone to care enough to say hard things in love? Don’t try to meet everyone’s needs in one sitting, but try taking the time to consider how each individual most needs love. Pray that God would give you opportunity to show his love to each of them and to receive it from them in return.
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You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.
You Can Change
How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp
Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.
The Heart of a Servant Leader
This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace. Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.
Comforts From The Cross
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.
- Christ PCA - Nashville
Scott Sauls and CPC Staff
Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.
- Lookout Mountain PCA
Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff
Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.
- Steve Brown Etc.
Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.
- Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.
- Of First Importance
Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel
Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.