The Story & Way of Jesus: It’s More Than I Thought (11.14.21)
Processing and responding to the Sunday sermon
After the group welcomes one another, have one person open in prayer and then take 2-3 minutes of silence. As you sit in silence, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart in love toward God and your group mates.
The Three Parables
On Sunday, Ruthie Kim preached from Mark 4:21-34 where Jesus shifts from “showing” the Kingdom of God to using parables to teach about the Kingdom of God. Here there are three different parables that Jesus uses.
The three parables are:
- The Lamp on a Stand – The Kingdom of God Revealed
- The Growing Seed – The Kingdom of God is Fruitful (seed timing vs ours)
- The Mustard Seed – The Kingdom if God is Uncontrollable
It’s More Than I Thought
Ruthie helps us to understand that there is more to these three parables than we may have thought of. That is the way parables work. There is always more than we think…
The Kingdom is where God (as the Lamp) reveals hearts. Things that are concealed are revealed. God is always communicating with us. It’s whether or not we have our ears open to hear Him and let Him light up the shadows of our hearts with His love and light so we can be saved, healed and delivered.
The Kingdom of God is Fruitful– The farmer continues to toss seed and in the good soil it grows and becomes fruitful. The seed grows with the purpose of producing fruit in it’s own season (timing).. Ruthie pointed out that the seed has it’s own schedule, not the farmers, or ours. It can be so frustrating if we look at our lives and don’t see the fruit (yet). We need to be patient for the timing of the Kingdom seeds planted in our lives.
The Kingdom of God is uncontrollable. It starts with the smallest seed, but the seed grows into a large shrub. It will grow in ways that are not neat and tidy, but are disruptive, subversive and not what you expect. When the fullness of the Kingdom comes into our lives it may not be controllable, but it grows into a safe place for the marginalized, outsiders, and crosses boundaries.
“Jesus’ favorite speech form, the parable, was subversive. Parables sound absolutely ordinary: casual stories about soil and seeds, meals and coins and sheep, bandits and victims, farmers and merchants. And they are wholly secular: of his forty or so parables recorded in the Gospels, only one has its setting in church, and only a couple mention the name God. As people heard Jesus tell these stories, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. And then, like a time bomb, they would explode in their unprotected hearts. An abyss opened up at their very feet. He was talking about God; they had been invaded!”
― Eugene H. Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction
Reflection and Discussion
Read aloud Mark 4:21-34 and then prayerfully and silently reflect on the passage and these questions.
- Ask The Lord to reveal or highlight something in this section of scripture. “Lord would you show me what is on your heart for me as I read this?” As you read through these parables what do you sense the Lord showing you? Linger for a moment with what is speaking to you. More Lord… show me more..
- Are there areas of your life where you are frustrated with the timing of the Lord and where you’d like to see some fruit come up? Areas of unmet expectations, feelings of just giving up, or places where it seems like nothing is happening. Take a moment to get a sense of Jesus with you there in those feelings. Ask Him what He would want you to know and what His perspective is. (Some people are mad at God around timing issues…if that is you, would you share that with the Lord? He can take it)
- Is control an issue that you are struggling with? “Lord, show me where I am trying to control the way the Kingdom would grow in my life. I ask you to forgive me for not letting you have control.” Ask the Lord to help you in areas that may be guarded, protected and controlled. “I invite you into those places Lord. I give you control…”
After silently reflecting, take these thoughts into a time of group discussion.
- What came up for you during the prayer reflection time? What would you like to share with the group?
- Dreaming out loud together, what would it look like to be a community where the seed of the Kingdom is planted in rich fertile soil. The people understand and are patient with the Lords timing. Trying to control things is not a part of the culture. The the fruit grows and produces a place that is safe. The marginalized, unseen and hurting can feel included, seen, known and healed.
Pray for your group, our church, our city, and our world.
Special Note And Invitation To Reality SF CG Community and Congregants.
Immanuel Prayer is a beautiful way of experiencing a more intimate connection with Jesus. Reality SF has a team of Immanuel Prayer Coaches! To find out more or to sign up for an Immanuel Session – click here. You can also contact our Prayer Minister – David McKinney firstname.lastname@example.org