Life is ______
Judah Smith, Nelson Books, 2015

£29.37 (Approx)
3.8
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Life Is ______ God’s Illogical Love Will Change Your Existence.

Judah Smith believes Jesus shows how to live life to the fullest. In this six-session video study, Judah completes the new sentence again and again, revealing how

Life is to be loved and to love.
Life is to trust God in every moment.
Life is to be at peace with God and yourself.
Life is to enjoy God.

Judah speaks as a friend, welcoming new believers, lifelong followers of Jesus, and even the merely curious. He shows us the love of God that defies human logic and the life that God intends for us to have in the here and now. With excitement and humour, Judah looks at the stories in the Bible from his unique angle and shows how life is all about loving God and loving others.

What do you get?

A5 study guide and DVD with the following session titles:

  1. Life Is . . . to Be Loved by God (20 min.)
  2. Life Is . . . to Love Others (20 min.)
  3. Life Is . . . to Trust God (18 min.)
  4. Life Is . . . to Be at Peace with God (18 min.)
  5. Life Is . . . to Be at Peace with Yourself (19 min.)
  6. Life Is . . . to Enjoy God (23 min.)

A copy of the study guide is needed for each group member. It includes material for the study, and also between-session personal devotionals. There is also an accompanying book of the same title, but the study can be run without it.

Promotional material and more available to download at www.lifeisbook.tv.

Who is it for?

Adult small groups, Enquiring, Beginning and Growing.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Inspiring presentation through DVD and study guide about how to base our lives on Jesus – practical and biblical.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Study guide is well laid out with clear sections.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Brief leader's facilitation introduction, then straight into the material. Sessions comprise: Welcome to the topic, plus icebreaker; Video Teaching with space to make notes around the summaries in the book; Group Discussion with questions; Closing Prayer with suggestions for this; Weekly Challenge for all based on the topic; recommended Reading from the book of same title.

    Who could lead it?

    A good facilitator. Material is easy to use.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Study guide includes five between-session devotional material per week, plus discussion questions, video summaries and introductions to each session. There is room for note-taking too. Reading relevant chapter of the Love Is ____ book is recommended at the end of each session. Devotional material in study guides comprises a couple of pages of input, then questions based on this. It helpfully expands the topic, based on biblical material.

    How good is any digital material?

    Videos are nicely done, with a satisfying retro feel. Smith talks in a café/bookshop background, to a mixed age group of listeners. Smith is engaging; some may find the ‘American' style takes a little getting used to. It would have been so much better without the intermittent audience encouragement of ‘wows' and other vocal agreements! But it's worth getting over that for the content.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Material is ready to roll, but familiarisation with it would be good.

    Is there website support? Links?

    www.lifeisbook.tv has downloadable publicity plus ‘Kids Life Is ____' booklet, and sermon notes.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Largely up to the facilitator to make the most of the questions – these are good, open ones, but still carefully focused on the topic. Some good interactive ‘games' and icebreakers are included however, based on the topic. Personal study time also invites members to bring questions and points to the group for discussion.

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

    Good entertaining speaker on the video; plus discussion on open questions; prayer and between-session applications.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This resource would possibly suit younger adults best, simply because of the style. The actual content would work for most people – it is deceptively profound. For UK watchers, an intro which encourages ignoring the background noises from the listeners on the video might be a good idea.

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

    Weekly challenges put the material to work in people's lives. Devotional studies explore the issues further and deeper.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Smith's talks are based on specific passages, sometimes more than one. Devotional material is also.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical texts are often shown on screen, and for the devotional passages, are printed in full in study guide. Smith explores a mixture of relevant passages, and relevant Bible stories. Inspirational.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Careful but uncompromising teaching on biblical texts – for example, an exploration of what self-denial really means. Though always linked to contemporary examples, including from his own life and experience, the majority of what Smith says is firmly biblically based and unpacks the passages under consideration.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Evangelical.

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

    Great foundational teaching on God's motivation for loving people, and the implications of that for our lives.

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

    Resource is designed to be suitable for all – including Christians and sceptics. Some familiarity with Christian concepts would be necessary. Encouragement to pray with honesty for ourselves and each other. Each session has relevant bullet point suggestions for turning the key points into prayer.

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

    Challenge to honestly engage with how we relate to God, how our assumptions affect this, and the things that get in the way.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Deals well with deep life challenges, from the reality of the love of God, the confusion of hard times, to actually learning how to enjoy God. ‘Jesus offers a whole new way of existing, and allows you to lean in to rest, and peace and enjoyment.'

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Vision is for this to be used in evangelism – it would work as long as there is some understanding of Christian ideas. Although, it would certainly spark questions among the group.

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

    Not a particular focus.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Focused on living life with God.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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