Noel: Mission of Love

Acts 17:22-31; Romans 10:6-15 | November 26th, 2017

Warm Up: A 2010 study by Lifeway Research found that 91% of Americans celebrate Christmas (including atheists). There is a cultural receptivity to Christmas even if many who celebrate it miss the true significance. This receptivity allows each of us the opportunity to engage thoughtfully and meaningfully with those outside of the faith. 

Pastor George presented a goal for our church family to pursue between now and Christmas: To increase the quantity and the quality of our spiritual conversations. What did he mean by this? How do you personally feel challenged or inspired about pursuing this goal? Be specific. 

  • Read Acts 17:22-31 aloud. This Sunday we began a three week discussion on how we enter into spiritual conversations with others. From Paul’s example at Mars Hill recorded, what were the ways you saw him “notice” his way into spiritual conversations with others? Obviously we live in a different cultural landscape than did Paul, but what encouragements from this text inspire you to “notice” others and engage more boldly into spiritual conversations with others? 
  • In Matthew 7:5, Jesus said, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” We need a better spiritual vision if we are to notice our way into better spiritual conversations about Jesus this season. 
  • What are your usual explanations (excuses? ;) for not engaging with people outside the faith in conversations about Jesus?
  • How do we develop better spiritual vision so that we begin to notice those around us? 
  • It’s easy for us to miss what we are not really looking for. Too often we are looking to control a conversation with our agenda or combat a person’s view of the world, rather than looking for ways to show compassion through the kindness of Jesus.
  • How does noticing someone’s need and demonstrating compassion serve to improve your witness? Can you think of examples in your life or in those you observe where compassion has opened the door to relationship? 

Wrap Up: This week, we are encouraging everyone in The Shoreline to join us in a faith experiment. Begin noticing the people around you as Jesus would…with compassion. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about the next step. Daily commit to pray the following: “Dear Father in Heaven, in Jesus name help me to see others around me as you see them.” Let the Lord open your eyes so that you might truly notice this week!