Week 1, Connected Hearts

Join us for a 4-week journey toward “wholeheartedness.”
What does it mean to be wholehearted? What’s this journey all about?
In this session we’ll explore the biblical vision for humanity. Hint: it’s all about connection.

Week 1 Study - Connected Hearts

First steps

Start this time of study with prayer, whether you’re studying alone or with a group. Ask God to step into this time and bring about wisdom and understanding. Later in the study you’ll have a time to offer specific prayer and praise, but turn first to God before turning to his Word.

Then start with these questions:

  • We can often be distracted or simply wearied by life; but we've all had experiences that wake us up and draw us in. Can you think of a time when you pursued something wholeheartedly—fully present and aware, all-in, focused, and undistracted. Or is there a current pursuit in which your thoughts, will, emotions, and actions all tend to work toward the same thing? Write a few sentences about that or share it with your group.

  • What are some things that sap you of energy or get you off-track?

What Does the Scripture Say?

Read Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV)
27So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Read Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Read Psalm 15 (NIV)
A psalm of David.

1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

Read Matthew 22:34-37 (NIV)
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Read Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Read Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)
19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

  • What do Genesis 1:27-28 & Revelation 21:3 tell us about God's intent for humanity? How does Psalm 15 draw from this idea?

  • The word "blameless" in Psalm 15:2 is the Hebrew word "tom," which means "healthy, whole, sound," or "to have integrity." In light of that definition, how might you translate verse two differently? What does it mean to have a "tom" walk?

  • If righteousness is about being rightly related to God and others, how do you see this play out in Psalm 15:2-5?

  • Psalm 15:2 describes someone who "speaks truth to his heart." What lies might cause us to have a divided, distracted, or weakened heart? Where can we receive truth to confront these lies?

  • What does Jesus describe as the greatest commandment? How about the second? Why does Jesus focus on these two? How is this reflected in Psalm 15?

  • How does the Apostle Paul describe true worship in Romans 12? How often should we live this way?

  • What's the significance of the phrase "an undivided heart" in Ezekiel 11:19? Who is responsible for restoring our divided hearts?

How Can You Apply God's Word?

Take some time to reflect on how this week’s scriptures has affected your life. Focus especially on practical steps you can take to live out what you’ve learned.

  • Take some time to reflect on how this week’s scriptures has affected your life. Focus especially on practical steps you can take to live out what you’ve learned.

  • Wholeheartedness starts with our connection to God. What areas of your life feel disconnected from God?

  • How have you been blessed by the "righteousness" of others (see Psalm 15:3-5)?

  • What's one way that you can practice righteousness toward someone else this week?

  • Who speaks truth to you in a way that you can receive it?

  • When do you make time to receive truth from Scripture? From the Holy Spirit? From others?

  • It was Samuel Johnson who said, " “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Who reminds you of the truth of the gospel when you need to hear it?

  • After doing this study, who would you describe as someone who is wholehearted?

Next Steps

  • In Ezekiel 19, God promises to restore the hearts of his people. If this is the case, perhaps the best first step we can take toward wholeheartedness is to invite God to accomplish this in our own hearts. As you conclude with prayer, take a cue from David, who was not afraid to "speak truth to his heart" and lay everything out in the presence of God. If you feel weary, disillusioned, or distracted, let him know. Invite him to fulfill his promise in your own life.

  • What do you need to give God thanks for? What do you need from him this week? Conclude with a time of prayer, inviting God to lead you along on this journey toward wholeheartedness.

  • Consider memorizing this prayer from Psalm 86:

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths.

-- Psalm 86:11-13 (ESV)