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Scotty Love: The Good Listener

Get to know Scotty Love’s darling wife this week, and get a crash course in how NOT to communicate with your own bride!

Part two of the Scotty Love Videvo Bible Study for Guys.

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LESSON TWO
Listen Up!
Key Scripture: Proverbs 18:13, James 1:19, Prov 10:19.

ICE BREAKERS

How many of you can recite your favorite (clean) line from your favorite movie?

How many of you can remember what the pastor preached on last Sunday?

What’s the last thing your wife, boss, roommate or someone said to you before you came here?

INTRODUCTION

There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is the physical act of hearing, while listening is the act of giving attention to what we hear. We hear things all the time that we never will remember – dogs, car engines, rain, wind, music, Muzak, and yes, the voices of other people. We have the ability to give these sounds our attention or to tune them out. When we tune out voices that want to be heard, we can get ourselves into big trouble.

Friends, wives, girlfriends, children, doctors and bosses are just some of the people who want us to listen. Failing to listen can cause fractures in a relationship. It can get you in trouble. It can get you fired. It can lead to a night spent on the couch, or, as Scotty Love found out, a very, very expensive credit card bill.

Listening is critical to doing business. It’s also key to good marriages, good friendships, and yes, good small groups. If we want to be the men God wants us to be, we have to pay attention and listen!

READ AND DISCUSS

Can anyone share a recent story of a time you didn’t listen and got yourself in hot water?

Mark Twain once said, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” How does speaking without listening make us look like a fool?

Why is it important we hear the whole story before we speak?

Why do we tend to start speaking and offer answers before we know the whole story?

Read James 1:19 and Proverbs 10:19

Is there a correlation between speaking too soon and becoming angry?

Have you ever made someone angry because you spoke too soon? Or has someone angered you by failing to hear you out?

What other problems do we create when we fail to listen?

CHALLENGE

Where do you struggle to listen the most: with your family, at work, or at church?

How do you think social media has changed the way we listen? Do we “listen” better or worse online?

Sometimes we don’t hear people who want us to listen because we are distracted. They hit us up when we are busy doing something else, or when we don’t have time to chat. How often does this cause listeng problems for you?

Do you think you can be a good listener while you are doing other things?

What other factors/situations can you think of that lead to people not hearing one another?

How can you eliminate distractions or otherwise improve your ability to listen to others when they want to talk?

What other habits do you need to change in order to become a better listener?

When is it okay to speak up and give answers or advice to someone who needs it?

How can we respond when we don’t have the answers?

WRAP UP

If we want to become better listeners, we need to plan ahead. We need to discover the things that keep us from listening, and we need strategies to help us eliminate those distractions. When someone needs to talk, we need to give them our attention – not just our ears, but eye contact. We need to stop work if we can, or ask if it can wait a minute. If it can wait, we need to get to a stopping point and give the attention that’s needed.

Failure to communicate rarely happens because people aren’t speaking. It happens because someone isn’t listening. Don’t miss an opportunity to love someone because you’re too distracted to hear them out. Stop and listen. Let them finish. Then speak only when necessary. Sometimes just listening is enough.

PRAYER

Dear God,

Forgive us for the way we run our mouths. Forgive us for being bad listeners. Teach us to stop and listen when someone needs our ear, and give us the wisdom to know when to answer, and when to stay silent.

In Jesus’s name,
Amen

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Scotty Love: Small Groups

The Scotty Love Show was conceived as a video Bible study for guys, especially guys who might not be used to the small group or Bible study atmosphere. The idea was to present a skit or video in which the host of the Scotty Love show discusses a topic relevant to Christian men – poorly. Afterwards, the guys in the group dig into the Bible and some discussion time to seek some real answers. It’s an ideal program for young adult men, or a mixed age group, as Scotty’s guests include older and younger male friends, not to mention his sassy wife and unflappable daughter.

Week one of the series is, appropriately enough: Small Groups.

Here’s episode one. Bible study is below the video.

Share and enjoy!

Iron Sharpens Iron
Key Scripture: Proverbs 27:7, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

ICE BREAKERS

What is your favorite sports team?

What is the greatest action movie of all time?

What is the funniest movie of all time?

INTRODUCTION

Guys are not naturals when it comes to opening up. We don’t go to the bathroom in groups to talk about our dates. Guys don’t call guys just to say, “Whatcha doin’?” Guys don’t meet over coffee, and they never, ever talk about “feelings.”

God doesn’t want us to keep it all to ourselves. If he did, he wouldn’t have gifted women with the ability to make us open up when we don’t feel like talking. But God doesn’t want us to stop there. He wants us to band together as men to encourage, support, and strengthen one another.

Being part of a small group is a serious commitment, but a small group demands all of its members to make that commitment in order to succeed. We need to commit ourselves to listen, to share, and maybe most important – to keep it in the group.

READ AND DISCUSS

Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

What benefits does Solomon give for working together instead of going it alone?

How often do you undertake a task that would be better done with two people?

Why do you think we choose to do those jobs on our own?

Have you ever had any disasters – small or large – because you didn’t ask for help? What happened?

Read Prov 27:17

How have you been “sharpened” by mentors – teachers, coaches, pastors, bosses – in your life?

How have you been sharpened by peers in your life?

What other benefits have you experienced working with or playing on a team vs. going alone?

CHALLENGE

Why did you decide to join a small group?

How do you expect to be “sharpened” by being in this group?

What fears do you have about being in a small group?

What expectations do you have for this group, and for your fellow group members?

How nervous are you about sharing things that are going on in your life?

The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The same rule has to apply to a small group. How can we create a safe environment where guys can be heard without worrying that what is said here will leave this room?

What other questions or concerns do you have that you’d like to address as we begin our small group studies together?

WRAP UP

Whatever your expectations are coming into this group, one thing is certain: we will get out of it what we put in. If we put on fronts and refuse to be honest with each other, we will never become sharper. If we betray the trust required to make this group a success, we will fall apart. But if we are genuinely open and honest with one another, there’s no limit to what God can do with our group.

Let’s ask God to bless the time we spend together. Let’s pray for the courage to open up and be real. And let’s ask God to use each of us to sharpen one another.

PRAYER

Dear God,

Thank you for bringing each one of us to this group. I pray that you will use this group to encourage and inspire every member. Help us to build the trust we need to hold each other accountable and build each other up.

In Jesus’s name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking… God’s Best

Part six, the final chapter (for now) of Desperately Seeking.

Share and enjoy.

First Impressions

What do you think of Jenny?

What are some good things we can say about Jenny?

Is there anything that concerns you about Jenny?

 

Introduction

Jenny really is interested in finding God’s best, isn’t she? She’s read the books, and she’s looking for God to give her all of the good things in life. There’s just one problem: God has already given us his best. He’s given us Jesus. Jesus came not to give us wealth and good health. He came to give us the best blessing of all: our salvation.

Too many believers are focused on what God can do for them. Not enough are concerned with what they can do to serve the Lord. Jesus died for us. He’s given far more than we could ever earn or deserve.

The Christian life isn’t about what we can get from God. It’s about how we can give back. We can never give enough to equal what Jesus has done, but we can use our time, our gifts, and the blessings God has given us to serve the Lord and serve other people.

 

Read Matthew 20:20-28

Why do you think James and John’s mother asked Jesus for a favor?

How did Jesus respond to her request?

Jesus said that whomever wants to be the greatest has to be the servant of all. How did Jesus live out this command?

Does anyone know how James and John ultimately lived out their lives? (James was martyred, as were nine other disciples. John was repeatedly jailed and tortured for Christ and was even dipped in boiling oil. He died of natural causes in exile.)

 

Application

Why do you think people are drawn to teachers who tell them that God wants to give them riches and blessings?

Do teachings like the so-called prosperity gospel do more to help or hurt the cause of Christ?

What would you say to someone like Jenny about God’s best?

What advice would you give to someone who wanted God’s best life right now?

 

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Forgive us for the times we treat you like a blessing machine. Help us remember all Jesus as done for us. Teach us to be servants so we can live the life you have planned for us.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking… Compatibility

Does Christian genre fiction have groupies? Like the Trekkies? Let’s hope this is just fiction.

Part 5 of Desperately Seeking, our video Bible study for singles. Share and enjoy.

First Impressions

What do you think of Doug?

What are some good things we can say about Doug?

If he asked, would you go to the movies with Doug?

 

Introduction

Regardless of what you may think about his taste in movies and literature, we’re all a little like Doug. Some of us love science fiction and comic books. Some are sports fans. Some like art and classical music. And some people can’t get enough of professional wrestling.

Finding things in common with a mate is important, but what commonalities are most important? As Christians we need to be seeking people who are like-minded in their faith. We need to find someone who shares our values so that we can live out our faith and pass it on to our children.

The focus of this series on making the most of our single days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do that with an eye to the future. Learn now what’s most important to you in a husband or wife. Make your list of intangibles, and don’t compromise those in the slightest. There are worse things than being single, and being “unequally yoked” is one.

 

Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

What does it mean to be yoked? (Feel free to have someone Google this question if need be!)

Why does Paul caution against being unequally yoked?

Why would being married to an unbeliever be hard?

How would marrying an unbeliever make raising children who love Jesus difficult?

 

Application

What are some things you simply couldn’t live with in a mate? Is there anything that’s come up in a past relationship, even something small, that you just couldn’t live with? (This doesn’t have to be a serious thing; it can be small or funny.)

Have any of you ever tried “missionary dating,” dating someone to try to lead them to Christ? How did that work out for you?

Is there value in knowing what you can and can’t live with in a mate before dating?

Have each person in the group come up with a list of five things they think are most important in a mate. Share your lists, and see if you can come up with a master list.

 

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Make us wise as look for your will in our lives. Help us to cling to what’s most important so that we won’t compromise our faith. Bless us with godly spouses who build us up in Christ.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking…Responsibility

Today’s we share part four of our Desperately Seeking video Bible study series. Do you know someone like Miriam? If you went to Bible college, I’m sure you do.

Share and enjoy!

 

First Impressions

What do you think of Miriam?

What are some good things we can say about Miriam?

What red flags do you see in Miriam?

 

Introduction

Miriam sounds like a young woman with a good heart. She might even make a great pastor’s wife. But Miriam was not very wise in her college plans. She had the opportunity to get a good education, to start a career, and to gain some independence. Instead, she graduated school with a huge debt and little to show for it.

Being a stay-at-home parent is as noble a life choice as having a career, but God doesn’t want us to enter the world as helpless, dependent babes. Your single years are a time for learning how to be wise with the opportunities and the blessings you have been given. It is a time to get an education, to learn how to provide for yourself, and to learn how to manage your money.

God has given each one of us talents and opportunities. If we don’t use those gifts wisely, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

 

Read Matthew 25:14-30

How did the rich man reward the servants who invested their talents wisely?

Why did the rich man punish the one who did not invest their talents?

What do you think Jesus is really talking about in this parable?

Which of the servants do you think most matches up with Miriam, and why?

 

Application

Why is it important for us to learn to be independent, even if we plan on getting married?

How would learning to be a good money manager and learning to live on your own benefit you in married life?

What other skills do you think you need in addition to being a good money manager?

What are you doing to establish yourself as a self-sufficient person right now?

Is there anything you need help with right now so that you can stand on your own two feet?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gifts you have given us. Help us to invest those gifts and be wise stewards of all you have given us.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking… Obedience

Everybody knows somebody like Pete. Whether we like to admit it or not, there’s a little Pete in all of us. Obedience isn’t always easy, but it’s still expected if we want to call ourselves followers of Christ.

Share and enjoy!

First Impressions

What do you think of Pete?

What are some good things we can say about Jenny?

Is there anything that concerns you about Pete?

Introduction

Of all the characters introduced in this series of videos, no one stirred up more reaction than Pete. Pete’s faith may be genuine, and his love for God real, but Pete is holding back. As much as he wants to be a man of God, there are areas in his life – one in particular – he refuses to surrender to God.

The Bible is very clear on what is good and what is a sin, and the Bible doesn’t forbid anything without reason. Sex was created for a husband and a wife, and there are consequences – spiritual, emotional, and physical – for disobeying God’s commands for sex.

Sex isn’t the only area where Christians try to compromise with God. Sin is sin, and all sin puts a wall between us and the Lord. God wants us to obey him in everything. He wants us to keep our bodies, our hearts, and our minds pure. He wants us to set ourselves apart from the world by our obedience.

Read Daniel 1

What compromises did King Nebuchadnezzar want the Israelite men to make?

Why do you think Nebuchadnezzar insisted the Israelites eat the king’s food and drink his wine?

Why did Daniel and his friends refuse to obey the king?

How do you think the test Daniel and his friends undertook changed the way the king saw Daniel?

Application

Why do you think so many singles have compromised on sex?

Do you think it’s possible to remain pure until you are married? Why or why not?

What are some other temptations that singles struggle with?

How can obeying God make us a good witness to others?

How can we develop the strength and character we need to stay pure?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Forgive us for the compromises we make every day when we give into sin. Purify our hearts, and give us strength when we need it to resist temptation.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking… Jesus

Part two of our Desperately Seeking series is below. Watch Michael’s video, then grab your Bible (or pop open Bible Gateway in another window).

Share and enjoy.

First Impressions

What do you think of Michael?

What are some good things we can say about Michael?

Is there anything that concerns you about Michael?

Introduction

Michael has an interesting job. Seven days a week, he dresses up and pretends to be Jesus. As challenging as that may be, it’s a far cry from the challenge God wants us all to undertake on a daily basis. Michael acts like Christ in a Christian theme park, surrounded by the faithful. We are called to walk like Christ every day in a world that has rejected him.

An actor portraying a real person, on stage or screen, spends a great deal of time studying their role. They read biographies. They watch footage, if footage exists. They look at photographs. They study their subject from every angle to be the best imitation they can be.

Following Christ means we must get to know Jesus. We must study him from every angle. We must learn to see the world as he does and act the way he did.

Read Philippians 2:1-11

How does Paul describe Jesus?

What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of Jesus?

How did Jesus view other people? Whom did he value? Whom did he seek out?

Why did Jesus sacrifice so much?

Application

Do you think we as Christians spend enough time going into the world to live like Christ?

What are some of the biggest obstacles to living like Jesus in the “real” world?

What are some things we can do to live more like Christ at work? At school? In our neighborhoods?

What sacrifices can we make to show others that Jesus loves them?

Is there something we can do as a group to serve others?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for Jesus and all the sacrifices he made for us. Teach us to be imitators of Christ so that the love of Jesus will shine in our lives.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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Desperately Seeking… What You Need the Most

Desperately Seeking… is a “videvo” series written for single Christians. Long story short, this series was created in response to my discovery that the only websites the Internet had to offer single Christians were dating services. Every Wednesday, for the next six weeks, we will release one of these Bible studies for free. We hope to build an audience of singles and young adults whom we can inspire to go deeper in their Christian walk.

You are not alone, and whatever you current “status” may be, you are not incomplete without a spouse. Not if you have Jesus.

Here’s Desperately Seeking part one, featuring Kristen. Share and enjoy!

First Impressions

What do you think of Kristen?

What are some good things we can say about Kristen?

What “issues” do you think Kristen has?

Introduction

Kristen is probably a great person, but Kristen is a victim of a system that says if you’re not in a relationship, your life is incomplete. The culture we live in constantly bombards us with messages like this. We hear it in pop music, we see it on TV and in movies, we read about it online, and we hear about it from the people around us.

You would think the church of all places would be a refuge, but often times it is not. Churches are filled with well-meaning, usually married people who have forgotten (or never knew) what a blessing the single life can be. Singleness is a gift. It’s a time of growth, and it’s a time of freedom. Singles have all the time married people can only dream of to learn, to draw closer to God, and to serve others.

Read 1 Corinthians 7

What sort of obligations do married people have that single people do not?

How can these obligations be a hindrance to a person’s spiritual growth?

What advice does Paul give to single people?

What spiritual advantage is there to being single vs. being married?

Application

Based on the scripture we’ve read, what advice would you give to Kristen?

How can we shift our focus from worrying about dating and relationships to growing our faith in God?

How can we devote our single days to serving the Lord?

Have fun with this one: What sort of answers can we give to those well-meaning but misguided believers who think life isn’t complete until we are married?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the single life you have given us. Help us to remember this time is a blessing so we will not waste it on ourselves. Teach us to love and serve others and give you our best.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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A Manifesto on Singles Ministry

Ok so here’s the story.

11 years ago when I got engaged for the 3rd time and realized I was finally going to get married, I felt a need to create something for singles, something to leave behind as a legacy to help other singles grow in their faith and not waste their single years pining for love. The Bible makes it very clear single years are not to be wasted and as much as I did in those 13 years, I knew I wasted a lot of energy chasing the wrong things.

At the time I already had 3 websites going and wasn’t sure I wanted to start another. I gave it to God in this way. I said okay, I will search the web. If I find one, just one website that is devoted to helping singles grow in their faith and not just a dating service, I’ll let it go.

I found nothing. Not a darn thing. Every Christian portal with a singles link sent you to a dating site. There was nothing – NOT ONE WEBSITE – to help singles grow their faith. Only dating services.

Now I was furious. I had flashbacks to my college days when no one at church could give me a good answer as to why we didn’t have a program for singles. We had a thriving youth ministry drawing hundreds of kids a week. When you graduated from high school, they shook your hand, said congratulations, and that was it.

Around my junior year of college, they announced they were hiring a singles pastor. I was so excited, I inquired about applying for myself. One of the staff members laughed at me and pulled me aside.

“John, we’re not hiring a college minister. We’re hiring someone for the ‘single again’ crowd. The middle-aged singles.”

“Are they going to do anything for college students?” I asked.

The answer was just one word. “No.”

Couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.

Someone else at the church clued me in on why college/young adults was not a priority. The general attitude among the church leaders was that college kids and young adults were expected to go away, get their education, and come back when they had families. They didn’t care what they did in those intervening years. They were just expected to come back later when they had kids – and income they could give back to the church.

Back to my original story. When I did that exhaustive search of the Internet and found nothing but Christian-branded meat markets, my response was to create a parody dating site called getyoked.net. Getyoked featured fake video personals parodying Christian singles and the people who made their lives miserable. We also added videos from a pair of “experts” who also chided singles for not being married and fruitful. It was a blast to create, but it never really took off. I kept it afloat for 8 years before pulling the plug. and I repackaged the best videos into a video Bible study called Desperately Seeking which is posted free on the RI website.

Over the next six weeks, I will be posting these videos here on the blog, complete with the Bible studies written to support them. Beyond that I will be posting more video Bible studies – or “Videvos” – created with a young adult/college/singles audience in mind. Many of these are films already available from RI, including Fluffy and Clive the Zombie, but I have put together a team of friends, former students, and collaborators to ultimately create new content for singles and young adults.

My hope is that in the coming year, we can build a portal here on Righteous Insanity where singles and college kids can find some support for their Christian walk. We also hope that the very few pastors and volunteers out there working with singles can find some resources to use in their ministry.

It is a SHAME that the church spends so much time in kids, teens, and parents while turning a blind eye to young adults. It’s a gamble the church has won more often than not in the past but is losing today. Let’s change that. Let’s make a difference you young people at a time in life when they really need it. Let’s stop shaming them for being single, pushing them into marriage before they are ready, and help them focus on the relationship they need the most – Jesus!