Gateway North, Online & Branson
2/21 WHY WE ISOLATE
Living in this fallen world, none of us escapes being wounded by the brokenness of the people around us. We’ve experienced judgement, physical or emotional abandonment, harsh words, passivity, and many other hurts, just as others have experienced some or all of those from us. As a result, our tendency often is to hide our hurts and doubts, pretend everything is ok, and avoid deep connection. But when we do, we miss out on the support, encouragement, love, accountability, and joy God wants us to experience in community.
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or family around the dinner table and talk through your answers to live more connected.
- What are some of the reasons you think people don’t trust one another?
- What are a few events or experiences that have caused you to close yourself off by pretending everything is fine and/or led you to avoid connecting with people on a deeper level?
- What are some of the positive relationships or experiences you’ve had where you felt safe, accepted, and loved? Do they give you any courage to try trusting others as well?
- How do you feel about the idea that we can’t really follow God or experience His blessings if we don’t vulnerably connect with others (frustrated, determined, accepting, disagreeing, etc) Read 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 below.
- Why do you think we’ll never really feel loved if we aren’t real with each other about where we’re hurting or broken?
- Not only are we called to be vulnerable so we can be fully loved, but God also tells us to fully love others regardless of how they treat us. Read Luke 6:32-35 on the back side. What makes this challenging for you personally?
- What could be your next step in pursuing intimate community? It might be inviting someone for coffee, seeking out a Life Group, identifying 1-2 running partners, or joining a serving team.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (ESV)
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
Psalm 103:14 (NLT)
For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
Luke 6:32-35 (NIV)
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that…But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to Spiritual Growth Path and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.
Spiritual Outcomes – Trust God & Relationally Engaged
In Jesus’ relationships here on earth, we can see how His disciples/community sometimes loved and believed in Him, while at other times they doubted and abandoned Him. As it says in Psalms 103 on the front side, He recognizes where we are broken, and understands how difficult the command to be vulnerable is for many of us – He’s been hurt too. But even when others weren’t loving Him, He chose to be vulnerable AND love them anyway. That may seem impossible to us, but God can make ANYTHING possible if we are willing to trust and obey Him in taking just the next, small step in loving and being loved His way – holding nothing back.
This series is anchored in the book of Luke. If you’ve yet to do so, we encourage you to download the Bible App by YouVersion on your smart phone, and sign up for the “Outreach New Testament” reading plan. Here are the steps to start using the Bible App:
Sign up for the New Testament Plan
- Download & open the Bible App by YouVersion.
- If you haven’t already signed in with your free YouVersion account, do so now under More > Settings > Account.
- At the bottom of the screen, tap Plans > Discover > Search: Outreach New Testament” > Start Plan
Using the Reading Plan
- Open the Bible App, and at the bottom of the screen, tap Plans.
- Under My Plans, tap “Outreach New Testament.
- Click each daily reading until Luke, as if you’ve read them, or just skip forward.
- Start reading the daily plan with us in Luke as we go through this series together.