Wired for Connection

Spring 2020 Institute & Life Groups

Lesson 1 | Who is God | See the Invitation

The Image of God We Create • January 12, 2020 • Melissa Frye

We all have an image of God that we’ve developed, likely even subconsciously, from the experiences and relationships that have shaped us most over time. For some, the walk of the Christian faith may be an all-out attempt to not make any mistakes for fear of disappointing an exasperated or fed-up God. Others may see God as moody or judgmental and domineering — just waiting to deal out strike three and break any potential for reconciliation with Him that may take place. These distorted images of God hinder our spiritual walk and perpetuate a sense of shame that seems inescapable. How would your faith change if your perspective shifted and you learned that God isn’t distant, puppeteering, or judgmental — but rather is relational? God delights in our relationship with Him and invites us to draw close and follow. He invites us to a seat at the table and reminds us that we are His beloved.

Lesson 2 | Who is God | See the Invitation

Relationships Are Essential • January 19, 2020 • Melissa Frye

From the very first moments in time and pages in scripture, God was creating us for relationships; creating us in His image. As humans “made in the very image of God”, our relationship with God and with other people is an essential element of our healthy design. Healthy relationships with other humans offer us a window into the self-sacrificing love of Father, Son, and Spirit. It was true for Adam, true for Jesus, and is true for us. Come and see the invitation to live into your design as an image bearer of God!

Lesson 3 | Who Am I? | See the Design

The Tapes We Play • January 26, 2020 • Melissa Frye

What has shaped your understanding of who you are? When you reflect on the habits and personality quirks that have become identity markers for you, do you see the character of a parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend within your own actions? When you fail, are you gracious and hospitable to your own mistakes — or is your mind full of repeating messages that convince you that you’re needy, unlovable, loud, untrustworthy…? When we hold distorted images of our own identity, we miss out on God’s invitation to be a beloved child sharing His presence with others around us. No matter how you feel about your internal tapes, awareness of how you’ve formed your own ideas of self-identity is a necessary step in true connectedness to other people.

Lesson 4 | Who Am I? | See The Design

Finding Abundance • February 2, 2020 • Melissa Frye

The baptism of Jesus is a pinnacle moment for all those who profess the faith. We believe that the sacrament of baptism initiates us into the christian journey with one another — it reminds us that we aren’t alone in our desire to be close to Jesus. Even when we are tempted by the repeating messages of failure or fear — God invites us, just as God invited Jesus before His temptation in the wilderness, to live into the safety of who God says we truly are. Over time this creates in us a confidence, out of our relationship with God, to practice self-compassion and empathy in relationship with others.

Lesson 5 | Who Are We? | See Beneath

Learning to Truly See • February 9, 2020 • Melissa Frye

It’s one thing to be able to identify the images of God and of ourselves that we have been shaped to believe, but it’s entirely another thing to compassionately help others reach the same place of self-compassion and empathy. In a world where there are an unimaginable number of causes for the fear and anger that we receive from the woman in the grocery line, the coworker on the other end of the email, or the child that we’re trying to help to school on time… can we actually experience true connection? How do we learn to see beneath all that is obvious on the surface within ourselves and in others?

Lesson 6 | Who are We? | See Beneath

See as Jesus Sees • February 16, 2020 • Melissa Frye

The hour of the crucifixion brings with it the single greatest example of empathy and restorative connection to other humans. Jesus’ response, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…”, assures us that the work required for healthy relationships with each other is of critical importance as those living into God’s mission for redeeming the world back to Him. It’s not a way for us to participate with God, it’s the way that we are wired for participating with Him. In this final lesson of the Wired for Connection series we’ll be reminded of our charge as Christ’s body as we learn how Jesus “saw beneath” in the lives of those around Him in His darkest hour. We’ll join Him in the truth of His resurrection, as we’re invited to consider if forgiveness and reconciliation is even possible without empathy?