Kingdom Come: Compassion
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that David Stroud gave on 4th October. It lasts around 80 minutes, but feel free to extend sections, remove sections, add your own or just do your own thing entirely! Whatever works best for you and your group.
The discussion questions and reflections will work without having listened to the talk, but if you are going to use them you may want to watch the talk before you meet.
Welcome & Prayer (5 mins)
Welcome everyone to the group and remind people of the following:
- As a general rule it’s helpful to keep your mic muted unless you’re talking to reduce background noise.
- During the discussion if you want to speak, raise a hand and I’ll throw the conversation to you.
- We’ll be using the chat function to post links, quotes, Bible verses and prayer requests.
Start your time together by praying, thanking God for the opportunity to be together and asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together (you may want to ask someone else to pray).
Gratitude & Challenges (15-25 mins)
Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share one thing from the last week they are grateful for, and one thing they are finding particularly challenging.
Don’t forget to make it clear who is to share next, and to let people know they can pass if they want to.
Overview & Group discussion (30 mins)
This term we are thinking and praying about what Jesus’ kingdom come ‘in London as in heaven’ might look like. Each week we’ll be looking at a different aspect of the nature of the King and his kingdom, and this week David reminded us about the power of compassion as citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matt 9:35-38
David shared that whenever Jesus spoke about the kingdom, he would show people that this kingdom was coming by:
- healing the sick,
- welcoming the outlier,
- and offering forgiveness for those far from God.
It really was very good news!
He went on to talk about how we’re told in the Bible that Jesus had compassion on the crowds who had come to listen to Him, He saw their needs and…
The Message Translation says, “his heart broke”. The NIV says, “he had compassion”. It can be translated as “deeply moved.”
We’re told in the Bible that Jesus has compassion on those who are sick, those who are lonely, those who have strayed in our spiritual lives… and all of us!
“…my unfailing love for you will not be shaken… says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
Jesus has compassion on individuals and also on the city of Jerusalem. God loves to go to the detailed needs of the individual, but he also loves to express his compassion for the whole city too.
“When he approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it…” Luke 19:40
How do we experience this compassion for others?
Remember that this is how he feels for you: he does not judge you, he is not angry with you and he is not bored with you. He is full of love and compassion. We are to be the same to others.
As we grow to be more like Jesus, we should not be surprised if we become more compassionate too, and we find we are bothered more about the plight of an individual or the state of the city. However, compassion isn’t just a feeling.
“…as God’s people, clothe yourselves with compassion.” Colossians 3:12
Paul reminds us that compassion is a decision, not just an emotion.
Here are 4 ways we are to act as a result of compassion:
- Jesus is excited about the opportunity (he does not feel down about the level of need) “the harvest is plentiful” (v37)
- Jesus prays.
- Jesus plans – uses his head as well as his heart. He starts to develop a strategy – “let’s get workers”.
- Jesus acts – he sends them out.
Q. What connected with you about this sermon? Why?
Q. Do you need to know the compassion of Jesus? Do you believe that He is compassionate towards you, that He waits to welcome you home, that He sees your situation? How have you experienced the compassion of Jesus? What does this mean to you? How can we encourage each other to know the compassion of Jesus?
Q. Do you feel compassion for this city? This is such an incredible city but it is also a city full of people who are grieving, hopeless, uncertain, or anxious. It is a city in need of the presence of the Kingdom of God. What does that look like for you, your family, or your friends? How can your response be the response of Jesus – to see the need, pray, plan, and act?
Come Holy Spirit (10 mins)
Let people know that you are going to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’ and then wait together in silence for a few minutes. Tell people you are going to wait until it gets a little uncomfortable… and then you’ll wait a little longer… to give the Holy Spirit time to do what he wants to do. Encourage people to only pray in tongues, or to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ and to be open to what the Holy Spirit may be bringing to mind, or the emotions they begin to feel.
Let people know that after the silence, there will be the opportunity for anyone to share anything they are feeling or thinking, and for people to pray for others in the group.
Note to Leader: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you something to pray over a specific person in your group and start with that!
Prayer (20 mins)
If you have time, move into a time of prayer for the city: for your family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. Pray that we would be a church that is compassionate in love.
You may want to pray the Lord’s prayer together to end:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.