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September 8, 2014

Lights in the Darkness

Article: A man was sitting next to someone on the bus muttering crazy things to himself. The mom yelling at her child in the front of the bus wears a painful story on her face. Two seats over, sitting near enough for you to smell, is someone for whom a shower must be a luxury. We need people in our face, in the light or we will forget them.

In a crowd of bad-smelling, unnerving neighbors like these, Jesus gave the two great commandments: Love God and love your neighbor. And then Jesus – God in human form - showed us how to obey these inseparable commandments. He walked through the crowds of desperate people, into the sinner’s house, and right up to the Samaritan woman (John 4). He touched the sick, the broken and the shunned.

To the writer of 1 John, Jesus’ action on earth matters. If we want to love, we must “walk just as Jesus walked” (1 John 2:6). Yet we struggle to make the connection between the people Jesus served and the people we are called to serve. The world is so enticingly full of “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the arrogance of material possessions” that we grow blind to the people in the shadows (1 John 2:16).

Jesus covers our lack of love and brings us back into the light. In this 8-week Bible study, we will examine what it means to “walk in the light as Jesus is in the light” (1 John 1:7). By reproducing Jesus’ actions on earth, we can bring light to the outcasts in Newark, our communities and our world.

This week#1

Put Yourself Out There

Pray for confidence that your knowing of God lines up with your practice of God-inspired Living                (1 John 2:28-29).

Read the entire letter of 1 John in the King James translation first, then read in other translations the rest of the week and make a list of connections

Let the rich language of darkness, sin, death, love, life and light touch your physical senses through your imagination. As you read, notice the way the body, mind and spirit are intertwined in 1 John. Write a list of these connections.

Our humanity and spirituality are wrapped up together. Jesus’ life in the flesh is as important as his being God. Likewise, the two great commandments are inseparable. They require us to fully engage. Do the spiritual and physical parts of your life need to become more deeply integrated? Are you walking in truth in your body, mind and heart? Ask God to show you ways that you can connect more deeply with him and others. Be deliberate this week about spending time with people in great physical and spiritual need, the type of people Jesus served. Share yourself with those in need.

Love Jesus; Love People; Prove It!

One Soul at a Time