The Living Word

A Compassionate Theology: Growing in Christ


The Bible demonstrates the full spectrum of life with and without God. It goes through the journey of sinners and saints and shows they are often the same people at different stages of their lives.

If the Bible were being written today, your story would be within its pages. In your past, God was abused in the way He was misrepresented to you and today He is seeking to be known by you in His true, loving and compassionate nature. 


God has been part of your life when it was roses and when it was thorns. He loves you, and His Book is all about you and people just like you. God’s living Word, from cover to cover and continuing in us, is the story of people glimpsing and grasping at God. People just like you and me.

Cross-Cultural Compassion

Startwarmer:
(what’s a startwarmer?)
Invite participants: Tell of a time when you were with someone who didn’t believe in God, and yet you saw God through them.

What do you think of the phrase “Cross-Cultural Compassion”? How is it similar to “Cross-Cultural Missions”?

Discussion Time: 
In small groups (2-4) discuss the Participant Discussion Guide questions.

Participants Discussion Guides:

Group 1: Cross Cultural Compassion
John 4:4–30
What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?
What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?
What does this story teach you about God’s plan?
In what ways does this story challenge you?
Prepare a short retelling of the story.

Group 2: Cross Cultural Compassion
Matt. 8:5–13
What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?
What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?
What does this story teach you about God’s plan?
In what ways does this story challenge you?
Prepare a short retelling of the story.

Group 3: Cross Cultural Compassion
Mark 5:1–20
What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?
What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?
What does this story teach you about God’s plan?
In what ways does this story challenge you?
Prepare a short retelling of the story.

Group 4: Cross Cultural Compassion
Matt. 15:21–28
What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?
What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?
What does this story teach you about God’s plan?
In what ways does this story challenge you?
Prepare a short retelling of the story.

Group 5: Cross Cultural Compassion
Luke 17:11–19
What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?
What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?
What does this story teach you about God’s plan?
In what ways does this story challenge you?
Prepare a short retelling of the story.

Review and Reply
Have each group report back, tell their story and answer the questions succinctly.


Conclusion: 
Key Question: Who is with Jesus?

Read John 12:20–32 aloud to the group.

What does this story teach you about Cross-Cultural Compassion?

  • Jesus’ answer to the “Greeks want to be with you” question was: 
  • “If they know me as sacrifice and Saviour and are willing to sacrifice themselves to tell the world of God’s Love (like I have) then they are already with me.”


What does this story tell you about true faith in Jesus?

  • Those who are willing to suffer for the greater good of others are faithful to Jesus’ mission.


What does this story teach you about God’s plan?

  • God’s good and perfect goal is to see His name glorified. In this humanity is made whole. It was glorified in the incarnation and teaching of Jesus – then again in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In compassion for us, God is willing to put Himself through the agony of death. Now He calls us to the world of Cross-Cultural Compassion: incarnational, teaching, dying to self and resurrecting anew for the people and the Earth which He created and recreates daily.


In what ways does this story challenge you?

  • I want the easy way out far too often. Jesus faced death for us to save us. Now he asks us to live for Him and His message of reconciliation. This goal of divine compassion is to see God’s name glorified in all we say and do.


Ask for reflections from the group.

Blessing: May you live your life to the Glory of God’s Name!

Close in prayer.




The Little Things

When Sully left home the morning of January 15, 2009 he had no idea he would be a hero by the end of the day. To him, as a pilot flying from one US city to another, he was just going to another day at work.

But when a flock of geese flew into the engines – both engines – of his Airbus A320, there was no choice but to crash land. He could choose where, but the plane was coming down – and quickly. Would he choose an airport a few miles away? No, too far. Would he choose the freeway and hope not to hit too many cars? No, too dangerous.

Sully steered the giant plane toward the Hudson River and planned his descent. The damaged engines would need to get the plane to the right speed and then be turned off. Then he would need to glide it in, powerless, and hit the water just right so the plane didn’t flip end over end or tear apart wing from wing. He needed to skim the plane across the river’s surface like a boy skipping a rock on a pond.

But before that, he had to bank into a long left turn lining up the river in the direction it was flowing, the auto pilot had to be turned off, the plane had to be levelled perfectly, the nose lifted just right, the vents and valves had to be sealed to stop water coming in – all with only emergency generator power and battery operated systems.

As a pilot and gliding instructor, Sully flew planes and taught others to do so every day. But today, there was no room for even the slightest mistake.

A few tense minutes later, Sully slid down the emergency slide to join the crew and passengers in one of the life rafts. The landing went perfectly, everyone survived –with an amazing story to tell.

Could you have done that? Yes, if you had the thousands and thousands of hours of training, practice and experience – and the calm confidence those hours brought Sully.

The greatest things in life are accomplished through the virtue and character developed by little things done over and over when they don’t seem to matter. One day, piled on top of each other, those little things create a mountain of potential that can do the impossible!


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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

Saying Sorry

I can’t remember the conversation beforehand but I do remember that I was in trouble—lots of trouble. I had said something insensitive and was not doing well formulating an apology.

My wife and I laid side by side, sharing the same darkness and the same doona, in silence. I knew it was my turn to say something. Something helpful.

What should I say?

Thoughts were racing through my mind. I remember feeling very disappointed in myself for mistreating my wife. I felt like a bad person.

My words so far had been very hurtful. As had my attempt at an apology thus far. I hadn’t meant to say what I had said and I was sorry. But I couldn’t figure out the best way to say that.

Finally I decided to simply say, “I’m sorry.” But as I spoke, I thought, sometimes I am such a useless person. So, my planned words and my unplanned thought combined to fill the dark void with, “I’m a sorry person.”

Great, I thought, I’ve done it again. That didn’t help at all.

Then I heard something unexpected from the other side of the bed. It started as a sniffle, turned into a giggle and then became convulsions of laughter. When my wife was finally able to catch her breath, she said, “Truer words have never been spoken.” Then she went back into hysterics and I joined her in tears of laughter and relief.

There is something very healing about a good laugh. It has the power to turn bitter tears into sweet ones. The tissue box was still being used but for a very different reason.

My wife and I now have a new technique for disarming potential setbacks in our relationship that involve me blurting and her hurting. Upon hearing me say something bordering on insensitive she says, “You know, you’re a sorry person.” And I gingerly step across my freshly dropped eggshells, wrap my arms around her and say, “Yes. More sorry than I can say. I love you.”


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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...