Series: Better Together
Title: Part 2 - The Epidemic of Isolation
Date: September 16/17, 2017
Speaker: Phil Vaughan
We live in a culture that is supposedly more connected than ever because of technology, and yet more people report feeling lonely than ever before. It turns out that isolation is a real epidemic with real consequences. This week Phil challenged us to take the threat of isolation seriously by investing in deep friendships.
Passages: Genesis 1:26; John 17:20-21
- Tell about your best friend from your childhood. What was your relationship like? Have you kept in touch with them over the years? If so, how have you managed to stay connected? If not, what caused you to drift apart?
- In his message this past weekend, Phil quoted Dr. Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, who said, “Isolation is killing us… [we suffer from] diseases of despair driven by deficits of hope.” Do you agree that loneliness is really that harmful? Why or why not? How does this connect with your personal experience?
- Read Gen 1:26. God speaks in this passage as an “us.” Reflect for a moment on the fact that God himself - the very center of existence - is a community. In a biblical worldview, reality is fundamentally relational. What do you think might be some implications of this truth for our American culture of rugged individualism?
- Phil mentioned several excuses most of us use to avoid community (I just don’t like people, I’m an introvert, I’ve been betrayed, it takes too much time/effort, etc.). What’s your go-to excuse for not building deeper friendships?
- Read John 17:20-21. On the night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed that the relationships between his followers would be a sign to the world about the nature of God. Imagine that someone’s understanding of God was based entirely upon what they observed from your current relationships with others. What picture of God would they see?
- Read Proverbs 13:20 and Proverbs 27:17. These passages explain just a couple of practical benefits of meaningful relationships. Phil challenged us to make a short list of potential friends whose relationships could similarly be mutually beneficial. Who are one or two people with whom you think you could have an iron-sharpening-iron friendship?
- Phil also challenged us to ask ourselves, “What can I do this week to invest in relationships?” How would you answer this question?
● What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?
● What will help you remember it?
● Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?