In his book With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, Skye Jethani tells of his meetings with college students from the House of Despair, an “underground safehouse” for those struggling with the difficult issues of life and faith.
Around their Christian campus, these students were known for numbing their pain with alcohol, drugs, sex, and, most curiously, raw conversation. When they met with Jethani, he insisted that they recognize only three rules: be honest, be gracious, and be present. Their range of subjects had no limits. One week it might be the doctrine of hell; the next about the pressure to find a spouse.
One night the subject was destructive habits. One student told his story, which turned out to be typical of many: “My parents were students at a Christian college in the early ’90s when a revival broke out… A bunch of grads that year became missionaries and pastors. They were on fire for God. And here I am consumed by sin day after day. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be here. I know I’m not who God wants me to be.” Other students shared similar stories, often through tears, about how disappointed God must be with them.
After listening to these stories, Jethani asked, “How many of you were raised in a Christian home?”
They all raised their hands.
“How many of you grew up in a Bible-centered church?”
All hands stayed up.
“This is incredible!” Jethani said, shaking his head in disbelief. “You’ve all spent eighteen or twenty years in the church. You’ve been taught the Bible from the time you could crawl… but not one of you… said that in the midst of your sin God still loves you.”
Jethani concluded: “I did not blame the students for this failure. Somewhere in their spiritual formation they were taught, either explicitly or implicitly, that what mattered was not God’s love for them, but how much they could accomplish for him. That night I finally understood why they called it the House of Despair.”
The title of this book is God Loves You: He Always Has—He Always Will. All in favor of that proposition? I see every hand up. Any against? None. It’s not a title designed to stir controversy. The real issue is this: How deeply do we believe it?
David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).
Good Questions Have Groups Talking
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book: God Loves You: He Always Has; He Always Will, by David Jeremiah
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
God Loves You, Lesson #1
God Is Love
God Loves You, Lesson #2
God Carved His Love in Stone
God Loves You, Lesson #3
God’s Love for You Never Quits
God Loves You, Lesson #4
God Wrote His Love in Red
God Loves You, Lesson #5
God Loves You Even When You Don’t Love Him
God Loves You, Lesson #6
God Loves You Even When He’s Correcting You
God Loves You, Lesson #7
God’s Love Will Never Let You Go
God Loves You, Lesson #8
God Loves You and Wants You to Live with Him Forever
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.