Based on the sermon by Logan Owens
As always, this week we encourage your group to be respectful of one another, but in order for discussion to work you’ll likely need to say some things that will be potentially offensive. For the sake of creating a safe place to share, group members will have to do their best not to take offense. Perhaps you should begin with a promise everyone says out loud. Something like this: I will freely share what I really feel, and I will welcome without judgement how others really feel.
How have you reacted to the increasing division in our country? Does it stress you out? If you’ve been particularly affected, why do you think that is?
Were you familiar with the story of Ishmael and Hagar before Sunday? If not, how did the story make you feel? What surprised you? If you’d heard it before, what stuck out this time as interesting or provocative?
If more than a couple of your group members haven’t heard the sermon be sure to read the story in Genesis 21.
This week spend most of your group time answering these two questions:
Who are you scared of? (Who’s the boogeyman to you?) Perhaps consider Logan’s definition of the boogeyman: someone who’s different and coming to take what’s yours. If members struggle to identify the boogeyman, ask, “What are you afraid someone might take?”
What would it look like, practically speaking, to love the boogeyman? (If you’re struggling to generate a list of answers, consider this example from Logan: “You might be scared that your gay nephew, friend, coworker is living in sin. But you love him anyway. And you don’t just say you love him. You love like God loves. You help him and his partner move into their apartment, you invite them over for dinner, you actively and eagerly love them despite your fear.”)
* Expect that your boogeyman answers will be diverse and may very well create tension between group members. Tonight is an opportunity for people to express their differences and talk about those differences in peace and love.
On Sunday Logan said, “God loves the people you’re scared of. So should you.” If, upon seeing someone who’s different from you or competition for you, you were to ask yourself, “How does God see that person?” would that change the way you interacted with them? How so?
How might things change around you if everyone responded to fear with love?
Where have you seen people respond poorly to fear of the boogeyman? What was the problem with their reaction?
Read Matthew 5:43-48
What does it look like to love your enemies?
Have you ever seen someone do this well? Share examples of what it looks like.
Pray for courage tonight! Too, if your session has been tense, use the prayer time to mend things and restore peace.
Watch this video about the work of Preemptive Love, an organization devoted to loving the boogeyman: https://www.facebook.com/preemptivelove/videos/10155854613274343/