In Compelled, authors Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation challenge readers to look at love within the context of God, the church, and the lives of individual believers. The authors are also editors of The Mission of God Study Bible, for which this book can serve as a companion.
by Rebecca Day Tucker
Book Club Guide
- In chapter 1, the author references (and includes the text of) 2 Corinthians 5:16, which talks about having a different perspective of others and of Christ. The text of the verse says we do not know them “in a purely human way.” In what way should we see others, and Christ? How do we gain this perspective? Is it difficult? Why?
- What qualities does someone who loves exhibit to the object of that love? Make a short list, and set it aside for a minute. Now, consider God’s love for us. Because of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us, we are compelled to love others. Describe the characteristics of Christ’s love that we should model in our love for others, as described in chapter 2. How do these characteristics compare to the list of qualities you initially listed?
- The authors remind us of the Great Commission from Christ, to go and make disciples. They caution us, however, about using gimmicks to attract people. Instead, they suggest a missional approach that encourages us to meet people who need Christ, whomever they are, wherever they are. How can you do this in your neighborhood? Your workplace? Your city?
- One of the subtitles in chapter 7 directs us to “Love People, Not Preferences.” What preferences might get in the way of our love for people? (The authors focus specifically on the church in this section, but consider all aspects of your life: in your home, with extended family, colleagues, neighbors, and so on.) How can we overcome these and demonstrate love to those same people?
- We cannot love a lost and dying world if we cannot love God’s redeemed. Consider the biblical descriptions of the Church described in chapter 9: the household of God, the flock of God, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ. How do these descriptions impact the way we relate to our churches and the people within them? Do we truly love God’s redeemed? All of them?
- In terms of our Christian faith, how are love and obedience different? How are they similar? Name two concrete ways in which your love for God has resulted in obedience, even if it wasn’t the popular or comfortable thing to do.
- That you will begin to see everyone with whom you come in contact through God’s eyes. Pray that for the next week you will seek to interact with others with their holy parenthood in mind.
- That the gospel, the death of Christ for your sins, will become real in your life. Pray that as a result of His death, you will be compelled to live differently, to sacrifice yourself for someone or something. Pray that God will show you where you should seek to sacrifice for the sake of others, and that you will be obedient to His voice.
- For your church, that people will be more important than preferences, that loving those within the body will be a goal in the coming months, and that visitors and non-members who come into contact with members of your congregation will immediately see the love within the body of Christ.
- Because Christ loves us, we are compelled to love others and to want them to be a part of the body of Christ. Identify someone you know or are acquainted with who is not a follower of Christ. Find three ways to exemplify the love of Jesus to them this week.
- Using a concordance, identify passages in the Bible that talk about “love.” Look up several, and write down the characteristics of love described in each passage. On a following day, choose a few of those characteristics and write down concrete ways you, your family, or your church can exemplify that kind of love.
- Find a Christian friend, and together commit with them that you will each tell someone about Christ’s great love for them. Uncomfortable? Remember, we are compelled because of God’s great love for us not just to share that love with others but also to make disciples. We are also to encourage the body of Christ. Committing with a friend to share the gospel allows you to encourage each other and to introduce two (or more) others to the redeeming love of our Savior.