Here are some questions to help you with your class for the next two Sundays. Terry Smith provided some questions, and I have added several. There are too many questions to actually use, so you will need to select the ones you feel are most appropriate to your class and to your interests. Of course, you may have some of your own ideas of what you want to discuss in class, and that is fine also. Feel free to use whatever questions you want to.
Tapes have been made of Smith’s talk for you. If you do not get your tape Wednesday night in the Teacher’s Class, then check with the church office. The presentation is also available on our Brentwood Hills web site. The Teacher’s Class will meet next Wednesday night (8/27/03) also to help you prepare for the second week of class. However, there will be no additional questions besides what is in this handout.
You might want to begin by asking your class for general reactions to Smith’s presentation before dealing with specific questions.
Here are the questions that Smith submitted:
1. What are some moments in the life of God's people in the Old Testament where God showed compassion for his people?
2. Choose a moment in the life of Jesus where he demonstrated compassion that has impacted your life.
3. If you were Peter in John 13 and Jesus had just washed your feet and he told you that you were going to deny him three times that evening, what would have been some of your thoughts and feelings?
4. What do you think was happening in Zacchaeus’ life (Luke 19) when Jesus met him and why was he so exuberant when Jesus invited himself to lunch with him?
5. Have you ever felt that exuberant in the presence of Jesus? What happened to you?
6. When Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4) what was her attitude toward him in the beginning and what do you think changed her response to Jesus in that encounter?
7. Talk about her feelings of rejection in her culture and the exhilaration she felt when she went back to town to tell everyone to come and meet Jesus? In what ways do you relate to what she experienced with Jesus?
8. Luke 15 tells the story of the two sons. One went away and squandered his life in wild living and the other stayed home bitter when his brother returned and was given a feast. In what ways do you do you identify with either of these brothers? It says the father was filled with compassion and ran to meet the boy. What was going on in the father when he saw his boy coming home? What words would the lost son use to describe what that was like for him?
9. In Matthew 20 Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard. He paid them all the same even though some worked a full eight hours and one worked just one hour. Those who worked the full eight were "ticked off" that he paid one who worked only one hour the same as he paid the others. What is your response to the generosity of the landowner? Where does the thief on the cross relate to this story?
10. Where are you on the journey of connecting with God's love for you at your worst? Based on his life of compassion what do you believe Jesus would say to you about what he values more than anything in all the world? Are you living in celebration of the joy of his presence each day? If not, why not?
Here are some questions that I have added:
1. (Highly recommended question) What is the connection between compassion and evangelism? Why do we need to be compassionate people as we try to reach out to coworkers, neighbors, etc.?
2. Compassion involves three things: (1) awareness and perception of need, (2) emotional reaction–empathy, tenderness, kindheartedness, etc., (3) caring action. Which of these three is most difficult for you? For the church as a whole?
3. Smith mentioned John 10:10 where Jesus talked about the abundant life. He then asked, “Does it work for adults? How do we get to the joy of Christian living?” How would you respond to his question?
4. Smith shared his “three secrets” related to compassion. The first was “Jesus met people in their humanity, not their piety.” What did you understand Smith mean by this? How does the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8) and the Samaritan woman (John 4) illustrated this secret?
5. What was the purpose of Jesus meeting with Peter in John 21:15-19? How does this apply to our efforts to reach out to non-Christians?
6. Smith said, “If we are aware that God has dealt with us graciously and compassionately, then we can deal with others graciously and compassionately.” How do you respond to this statement?
7. Smith said that his congregation does not use the word “evangelism.” He said that if we get the message right and get the joy, we can’t help but share the good news. Do you agree?
8. Smith demonstrates a passionate desire to know God. Why do some (many?) Christians not exhibit this same passion?
9. Question for August 31: After all that we have heard and discussed this summer on evangelism and outreach, what do we do now? What practical steps should we take to put into practice what we have heard and discussed?
You can decide how to divide Smith’s material for two week’s worth of discussion. Good luck!
Church of Christ
5120 Franklin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37220
Phone: (615) 832-2541
Fax: (615) 832-2583