Date: December 17, 2023
The Love Expressed in God’s Name
The Point: We can call upon the name of God because He loves us deeply.
Get Into the Study
After discussing Question #1, share the following story of a father’s love for his sons:
On a sunny Florida day two dads, Nate Davenport and Seth Kozak, and four children had lunch at Jupiter Grill. Afterwards the children headed for the nearby splash-pad area and fountain. But the children started screaming, “We’re getting shocked — we’re getting shocked.” Upon hearing the children screaming, Nate headed for the fountain and grabbed his children, but he and other helpful bystanders were shocked during the rescue.
The injured were taken to a nearby hospital but electrocuted Nate never regained consciousness. A U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Iraq War, he took a hit for his kids. He was 45 years old.
His mom said, “God blessed us with him. He’s an amazing man…He’s loyal. He’s a good father. He’s a great husband. He loves Jesus. And yeah, he gave his life for his kids.”
“And we obviously know that he did exactly what we would expect him to do,” Davenport’s brother-in-law, Mike said. “… what any father would do, hopefully, but him, especially just his character, that’s what he was.”
It was later found that loose wires and broken lights in the Harbourside Place fountain leaked electrical voltage into the water on October 22, the day Nate Davenport died.
Compare Nate’s love for his children with God’s love for you. Continue “Get into the Study” in the Leader Guide by calling attention to “The Point” and praying.
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a funny video clip showing someone saying “I love you.” Then ask Question #1.
Get Into the Study [Option from Advanced Bible Study Leader Guide]
After reviewing Pack Item 4: Attributes of God, play or read the lyrics to the song “Jesus Paid it All.” Lyrics can be read here.
Study the Bible
After discussing Question #4, share this story:
In September, Will Graham preached to an exuberant crowd of 17,000 in Curitiba, Brazil. Teenager Carlos was one of 1,000 who came forward to confess he had drifted far from God and made bad choices. Thankfully, a friend brought him to Hope Curitiba! Will’s message touched him when he said, “It doesn’t matter how deep you are in sin. God’s love on the cross covers you.”
Ask: How does coming back to God after a time of difficulty or rebelliousness lead you to appreciate His love even more?
The percentage of Americans who believe in God has edged downward since 2001 when it was 90 percent. Belief in God in 2023 is now 74 percent, which is16 points lower, with 14 percent saying they are not sure about God and 12 percent saying they don’t believe in God.
God still loves each person deeply whether a person accepts it or not; we are made for relationship with Him. How sad that many people don’t know of His great love! They have lost confidence in the church. Wealth, leisure, power, and honor have replaced God and His Word. People are too busy and so occupied with screen time. God is calling each of us to be like Carlos’s friend and bring someone back to the realization of God’s love.
Continue to Question #5, changing it slightly to: How would you describe the promises given in our verses to unbelievers?
EXTRA was written by Carole Segars Waina, a Lifeway contributor for over 30 years. She became a Christian when she was 7 in a little country church under her daddy’s preaching. Carole and her husband love to travel from their Texas home to just about anywhere! They often take the whole family along, except for Oliver the cat.
Study the Bible [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a video clip of famous TV dads. Invite the group to suggest other fathers they enjoyed watching. Invite the group to share ways in which those fathers were similar or different from our Heavenly Father.
Study the Bible [Option from Senior Adult Leader Guide]
In Psalm 103:8-13 we read about God’s faithfulness and His unfailing love for us. Ask the person you enlisted to lead the group in singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
- Who is your favorite TV or movie dad?
- How does God express his love towards us?
- What are some ways you show love to others? How have others shown love to you?
- What are some foolish things that you or someone else has done in the name of love?
- What’s a creative way you’ve seen or heard someone say, “I love you?”
- How do we know that God’s provision is motivated by love?
- What does it mean for human beings to “bless the Lord”?
- How have you recently been reminded of God’s provision?
- What can cause us to “forget” God’s blessings?
- The psalmist listed several of God’s benefits. Which of these stand out most to you? Why?
- How does God show us His compassion, grace, and forgiveness?
- How has God shown you His faithful love?
- What is your initial response to the fact that God is compassionate?
- Who has been an example in your life of the power of forgiveness?
- How does God extend grace to His people?
- How does understanding God’s faithful love enhance our relationship with Him?
- What can help us grow in our understanding of God’s love?
- How has your understanding of God’s love changed over time?
- What about God’s love do you find hard to fully comprehend?
- In what specific ways have you experienced God’s love?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
Home Life – Our Father
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.