Primary Goal is to clarify what what God's love is and what it is not.
True love is God's love---everything else is a pale imitation. Past hurt and disappointment often comes up when we talk about God's love. "I feel like God doesn't love me anymore because..." "If God really loved me He would have..." "God could never love me because I..." Allow the group to share their thoughts and feelings about God's love but be careful of those who could dominate the discussion with their problems. They may need time outside of the group to help process. Re-direct the discussion by interjecting, "Thank you so much for sharing, Dan. Could I pray for you right now and then maybe we could talk about it more afterward." After you have prayed, immediately ask if someone else wants to respond to the question or move to the next one.
Another idea: At the risk of sounding cheesy, heart-shaped cookies make a fun snack for this chapter. :)
Ice Breaker Question:
What is your first memory of feeling loved?
The love we have for each other is powerful, but it is only a pale imitation of the love God has for us.
Talk About It: I AM Love
"And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is." (Ephesians 3:18)
1. How have your relationships with others (parents, spouse, friends, etc.) influenced how you view God's love?
2. How do you define real love? How do you know if someone's love is authentic?
LEADER: Answers could get dicey here. Some people have a very self-centered definition of love. Listen to everyone's view without critiquing and then turn the discussion to what the Bible says.
3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4 -- 7, inserting "God: into each verse ("God's love is patient and kind. His love is not jealous..."). How does God's love differ from our love?
4. In this chapter you read, "Love is the supreme expression of God's personhood and flows out of His goodness. It affects all His other attributes." Consider one or two of God's other attributs listed in the I AM statements at the beginning of the book. How do you think His love affects those attributes?
LEADER: For example --- God's power is directed by His love. He won't use it for evil.
5. Which of the following facts about God's love do you think s the most challenging for people to fully believe, and why?
--God's love is free.
--God's love never changes.
--God's love for us is perfectly pure.
--God's love works for our good.
6. When you think about God's love for you, which of the above facts is the hardest for you to truly believe? Why?
7. Read Ephesians 3:19. What hinders you the most from experiencing God's love for you?
LEADER: Follow up question if needed. --- Listen to a quote from the chapter, "God loves us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is." How does that make you feel?
Focus on God
On an index card or your favorite electronic device, write the following statement and verse, or just take a picture of it:
God, because You are love, I know You are
unconditionally committed to my well being.
"We know how much God loves us, and we have
put our trust in His love..." (1John 4:16)
Carry it with you throughout the week. Look at it when you get up, when you go to bed, and at least once during the day as a way of intentionally shifting your focus to God's unconditional love for you.
Ask God to help you experience His love this week.