Week 1: The Placebo Effect
Have you ever heard of the Placebo Effect? It’s the idea that you give a patient a gelatin capsule without any real medicine in it and the “patient” leaves under the impression they received the real thing. They may even believe it was effective in healing their bodies or relieving their ailments. As we discovered in Week 1 of Ghost Town, we have God-given desires and God-given gifts. When we idolize the gift instead of the Giver of the gift, it provides a “placebo effect” for our hearts. We think we are healthy, but inside, we are still a ghost town.
1. The message began with the question, “What’s really going on inside us?” As you reflected on that question and listened to the message, what did you discover about yourself? What’s going on inside of you?
2. In the message, the speaker said, “Jesus did not come to edit our behaviors but to transform our hearts.” Do you agree with this? Does Jesus want to edit your behaviors? Can you have a transformed heart without obedience? Talk about it.
3. Idolatry was defined as “anything you love more than God.” But we also learned that’s a hard thing to admit or even recognize sometimes. Do you feel like you really do love God more than anything? Do the actions of your life align with the commitment of your heart? Read John 14:15. What’s the connection between worship and obedience?
4. Sunday’s message asked a provocative question. Let’s answer it now: what do you run to the most when your heart feels empty?
5. We all have four core questions we are always asking: Who am I? Am I loved? Am I safe? And Am I important? Which question do you feel is most important to you?
6. Read Luke 14:26. Sunday, the pastor taught us that, “My greatest temptation is not to chase after what is ridiculously evil, but after what is deceptively good.” What are some good things in your life that might become an idol if we aren’t careful? How should you enjoy God’s gift while worshipping Him as the Giver of the gift?
It’s been said that our hearts are an “idol factory.” For me, it’s helpful to think about it in light of what I “hunger” for. Am I hungry for success? For acceptance? For approval? For safety? Or am I hungry to
know Jesus in a deeper way? Identify two or three things that you hunger for most in life. Then, in your times of prayer this week, tell God that your hunger for Him is greater than those things and ask Him to strengthen your resolve to earnestly search after Him.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you… Psalm 63:1