Life Explored
Rico Tice, Barry Cooper and Nate Morgan Locke, The Good Book Company, 2016

£39.99 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

What’s the big ideas of Life Explored? We all want to be happy. Why is lasting happiness so hard to find? Life Explored is an exposé of the little gods that promise us so much happiness, yet deliver so little. As it explores the Bible story (creation, fall, redemption, new creation), Life Explored shows how our deepest desires for happiness can only be satisfied in one person, Jesus Christ. The best gift God can give us is himself.

Inside [the Leader’s Kit] you’ll find provocative discussion starters, insightful Bible studies, and guidance on helping people with tough questions. There are seven interactive sessions, complemented by a stunning film series.

What do you get?

Leader’s Kit contains:

  • DVD with session films and teaser
  • Leader’s Handbook
  • Handbook for guests
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Code for free film downloads
  • Invitation sample

Seven sessions

  1. The Good God
  2. The Trustworthy God
  3. The Generous God
  4. The Liberating God
  5. The Fulfilling God
  6. The Life-Giving God
  7. The Joyful God

Everything is here for a one-to-one, but for groups, add extra Handbooks.

Who is it for?

Enquirers mainly, but Beginning and Growing Adults and Youth will love it too. Small groups, large groups or one-to-ones.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Powerful, emotive short films raise life's significant questions for Enquirers, with opportunities to react and interact with relevant biblical material.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Crystal clear aims for overall course: ‘designed to speak powerfully to those who don't consider themselves to be religious and have never read the Bible'; each session; and each section within the session.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Refreshingly clear and easy-to-use notes, beautifully laid out. Typical session consists of: Film 1 (10 mins); Discussion (5 mins); Bible Reading (2 mins); Film 2 (15 mins); Bible Reading (3 minutes); Discussion (25 mins). Scripts for the input films (Film 2) are provided for reference in the Leader's Handbook. Suggested ‘answers' to the discussion questions are supplied throughout, for each session, plus a chapter on how to reply to typical thorny issues. Helpful grid which summarises the material.

    Who could lead it?

    A confident group leader. Lots of guidance for how to make the group happen and how to deal with different questions and situations. Good section on ‘God's role in evangelism and ours' which encourages the reader to think out for themselves which is which, based on 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. Clear guidance on how to prepare one's own story of faith, plus helping someone who wants to become a Christian, without being prescriptive.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Attractive and neat handbook containing main points of session. Nice paper!

    How good is any digital material?

    Fabulous production of videos. Each session has two short films - the first a story and the second an input slot from one of Tico Rice, Barry Cooper or Nate Morgan-Locke. Latter are all good communicators, and talk naturally against a good backdrop. The opening films are imaginative and creatively shot. Each one illustrates the unhappiness that results from living for godless values and aspirations; and the fallenness of the human state. No speech. Set in a variety of countries around the world. Thought-provoking, memorable, sad and emotive.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Familiarisation with material and setting up for video-watching. This is outreach material, so invitations issued and a good welcome prepared.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Code leads through to accessing the videos available here too. Encouragement to register your course; map supplied of courses running. Suggestions for running Christianity Explored and Discipleship Explored.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Mix of thought-provoking questions should get discussion going easily.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Good mix of video-watching, discussion, and looking at the Bible. No hands-on.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Adaptable for any numbers, including one-to-one. Possibly not appropriate for sensitive people – the excellently-shot videos are powerful and revolve around some challenging stories. The subjects they raise are essential; but it may just be that the downbeat feel and sad endings are too emotive for some people, especially if they are already going through hard times. Alternative live talks supplied via the website if you don't want to use the films. Having said that, the film in Session 4 is more light-hearted. Though it still ends sadly ...

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Opening questions deal with life as we experience it; the closing question gives an opportunity to reflect personally on the session each time. Most of the questions are implicitly or explicitly applied to how we think, how we think about God and how we think about life.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Lots! Introduction to the second films is always a Bible passage; and is followed by a Bible story or passage for discussion.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Passages are illustrative of the theme; and combine both understanding of the passage plus how it applies to oneself. Range of Bible passages, from Old and New Testaments.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Really good questions which link the Bible passage to life and thought in an accessible way for all, especially those with little experience of looking at the Bible. There are, however, quite a lot of concepts for participants to take on board, with a wide range of big life issues to consider. If participants have had minimal exposure to Christianity, it may need some exploration and further explanation to give them a chance to understand.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Evangelical.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This is outreach material. The two films have a combined aim: ‘The first tells a story which hopefully enables the viewer to see things from a different perspective. The second film uses that story to bring biblical truth home to the viewer's heart.' The story films are atmospheric rather than obvious, and may need a bit of thinking about to link to the theme. But the starting points should be familiar to the life experience of most people.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Such a helpful overall theme of considering ‘sin' from the point of view as ‘idolatry': ‘People begin to see that they are worshipers of something, whatever that may be'. This may well be a challenging experience for some, as the themes explore the often difficult emotions attached. As the blurb reminds us, the chosen gods may well ‘eat [us] alive' if they are not Jesus.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The big themes of living for and with God rather than any poor substitute are explored through the straight-forward yet friendly input from the three men in Film 2. Challenging.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Brilliantly begins with our desire for happiness and explores how it is only in Jesus that that desire can be fulfilled – and not in celebrity, or family or obsessions or in any other way. Acknowledges that these things can be good – but not as good as the Creator who gave them to us.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    A great course to bring people along to – plenty to hold interest for Christian and Enquirer alike.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    As an outreach activity, this would be great for encouraging local interaction.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a direct focus; though final session 7 deals with the future of the world: ‘a world, real and physical. Where we experience both the relationship and the home we've longed for all our lives'.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Implicit.

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