Seven Men – Study Guide for...
Focus for the Week
Is it possible to be a great leader apart from risk?
How did you take action in “everyday” ways during the last week based on the challenges of our study? Remember to be specific!
Did anyone specifically set aside time to dream about how we can be used by God to be catalysts for cultural transformation? Remember: what you thought about on the way to our time together doesn’t count. Did you set aside time?
What is the next step you need to take in being “a catalyst for culture change?”
Eric Liddell made many sacrifices to follow Christ. He gave up a chance at multiple Olympic medals, spent years apart from his fiance and later his children and life. And ultimately died as a young man in a Japanese internment camp. Which sacrifice of Liddell’s do you respect the most?
Do you think Liddell’s sacrifices were “worth it?” Were they a good investment?
Liddell was most famous for refusing to run in the Olympics on Sunday. But later Liddell officiated a hockey match on Sunday as explained in the below paragraph. Do you think Liddell compromised his standards by doing this?
Eric took a special interest in the three hundred children who had been taken out of the China Inland Mission School and were now living in the camp without their parents; he thought of his own three girls, so fortunate to be in better circumstances. Throughout these difficult years, Liddell maintained his belief that Sundays should be reserved for God. But when teenagers got into a fight during a hockey match, Eric— to the astonishment of those who knew of his famous stand at the 1924 Olympics— agreed to referee the game on the following Sabbath. Joyce Stranks, who was a seventeen-year-old fellow internee, said that Eric “came to the feeling that a need existed, [and] it was the Christlike thing to do to let them play with the equipment and to be with them . . . because it was more Christlike to do it than to [follow] the letter of the law and let them run amok by themselves. And for me that was very interesting because it was the one thing, of course, everyone remembers about Eric [that he would not run on Sunday because the Sabbath was the Lord’s Day]. “
Liddell died as a young man. How would you answer someone who asked why God allowed a good man like Eric Liddell to die young?
Christ’s call to follow Him is a call to deny self. What motivation does Christ give in the following verses for decisions like those Eric Liddell made?
 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.  Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28 ESV.
Why is the idea of a coming Kingdom (Matthew 16:28, the first petition of the Lord’s prayer) so important when considering a world in which good people die young even after they have followed Christ?
Engage and Execute
If you earlier verbally answered the question by saying that Eric Liddell’s decision to forgo all for the sake of Christ was worth it, how are you answering the question with the statement of your life? Are you losing your life for the sake of Christ?
If you evaluated the use of your time, would it reflect the priorities of someone who is making decisions like Eric Liddell to follow Christ-wholeheartedly?
How about the use of your gifts and abilities?
How about the use of your financial resources?
Where is Christ calling you to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him?
For Further Study
Chris Brauns (@chrisbrauns) is the pastor of the Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley, IL. He is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds, and Bound Together: How We are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices. He blogs at A Brick in the Valley.
Tim Johnson is a Regional Vice President for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Leader of Pinnacle Forum for Central Illinois.