3. Conditions are Perfect

Conditions are Perfect

Part 3 of the Spotlight series "Membership is Passing" 
What's something you've tried to do but realized halfway through that you were totally unqualified?

Once you've broken the ice, get into the idea of this Spotlight with the another question, this one about gatekeepers. Use the clip below for this.
(And welcome, by the way! It's great that you're here!)
Hopefully that makes enough sense to get you started.

Pray this prayer to get into it:
It can be hard to trust you when you say you love me,
since so very many voices say I am unworthy,
including my own.
Spark in me the joy of knowing
that I have a place with you,
and move me to trust in this truth. 

Welcome Perspective: Believe it - it's true: disqualifying people is never God's goal.
There exist two messages,
both claiming to be true,
but completely contradictory to one another:
one demanding our perfection as the condition for acceptance,
the other assuring us that God's unconditional love has already made conditions perfect for us to be part of his family.

God contends against those who try to put conditions on his love.
See how he puts it in Isaiah 52 & 53.
Choose one person to read the comments, and then have the whole group read the quoted scripture passages. 
These words of Isaiah led to a powerful moment for a person who, in terms of lineage and upbringing, didn't belong to God's chosen people. Read his story here, from Acts 8.

Acts 8:26-38
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.


Remarkable, isn't it? He reflects on the prophecy of Jesus and realizes nothing stands in the way of him being baptized into the family of Jesus. 
Respond to this by listening to and (if you'd like) singing along with the song "Nothing Stands Between Us" by John Mark McMillan.
Worship Perspective: Can you believe it? Nothing stands between you and the love of Jesus.
Learn Perspective: The message of Christ means showing people they're in, not that they are out.  
Use 10 minutes to prepare for your Gather event.
Think in terms of who, what, when, where, and how. What remains to be answered so your event can work well? 
Serve Perspective: Acknowledging how diverse people are shows just how big God's love is.

Prayer Requests

Prayer Activity
  • Pray together, using the following prompts. Anyone may share any prayer they are comfortable sharing, but please begin your contribution to the group prayer with any of these: 
    • Lord, you have reached out to me with unconditional love, which I need when I feel...
    • Lord, I know others who need your unconditional love. I pray for...
    • Lord, things happen that cause me to doubt whether or not I'm worthy of your love. Guard me from those things, specifically...
Close your time together by singing along with the song Be Thou My Vision.
Farewell Perspective: See as God sees you - created for and ready to belong with him.

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