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Place of Victory for all Nations, Northern Ireland Live 58: House Fellowship Discussion Guide Week 1: Wednesday 26th September Live58 DVD Clip Timing: 0:00 to 4.36

The Poor: The Heart of God

1. Prayer and Worship

20 mins

2. Introduction: 15 mins Read Isaiah 58 • Background to Isaiah 58 During the time of the prophet Isaiah, Assyria had become the dominating military and political power of the region and the threat of being crushed and assimilated by them was quite real. So they increased their acts of religious piety, while never addressing the underlying issues such as their exploitation of the poor and interpersonal conflict. Question: What is God saying to Israel through his prophet Isaiah? Summary: • Verses 1-5 God is chastising his people for empty displays of religion • Verses 6-7 God describes the “true fast”… compassion and action for the poor and oppressed • Verses 8-14 God’s promises blessings for those who live in accordance with His heart

Over the next 13 weeks in our House Fellowship groups we will be looking at the issue of poverty and God's response to the poor. The series is based on a film that has been produced by a Project called Live 58:. “58: is an unprecedented, action-based, global alliance of Christians, churches and world-class poverty-fighting organizations working together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime by living the True Fast of Isaiah (Isaiah 58). The purpose of this series on Isaiah 58 is to remember what happens when religious practice becomes disengaged from compassion and action to help others. According to our Scriptures, this disengagement is evidence of an empty heart and a careless life. In Isaiah’s time the people were more interested in external piety than in inward holiness. So, each week we will watch a clip of the movie which will be followed with a discussion. The goal is that viewing the film is an important moment on a journey that draws us as Christfollowers deeper into the heart of God to look at how we as Christians might engage with effective action on behalf of the poor.

3. Watch the Movie Clip from time: 0:00 to 4:36

5 mins

4. Group Discussion

20 mins

• • • • •

Do you agree that natural disasters are not just natural disasters and that they are caused by generations of extreme poverty which leave countries vulnerable and unable to cope? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of poverty there is in the world? What do you think is Isaiah 58's message for us today? Do you agree that unless we care for the oppressed and the poor we are not really doing God's work? Do you think that the Church must 'side with the poor and oppressed' because their cause is God's cause? (See Psalm 103:6 and Psalm 12:5)

Summary God is concerned about how we practice our religion and faith today God's identifies with the poor Unless we care for the oppressed and poor we are not really doing God’s work

Week 1 – The Poor The Heart of God  

Isaiah 58 Study Material