The Story & Way of Jesus: The Nature of Things (11.07.21)

Processing and responding to the Sunday sermon

Opening Prayer

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 Nature of Things

On Sunday, Pastor Dave preached from Mark 4:1-20 which is commonly referred to as the “Parable of the Sower”

Dave’s sermon takes this section of scripture and unpacks it. We discover that it is about the nature of 4 things:

Parables are simple and ordinary, and easy to understand. They are accessible to all, and allow our defenses to come down. Inviting us to think deeply, thoughts that take root and explode. Seeming to be harmless, they have a hidden depth. 

Parables don’t do the work for you. They draw us in, to ponder and to let our imagination do the work. They both reveal and conceal, depending on the character of the listener. Jesus even begins this parable with the word “listen”.

The Kingdom of God is like a seed.  It contains the power of life, renewal, and can bring life forth after it has been buried in good soil. The seed stays the same. The Farmer stays the same. The only thing that varies is the soil (the soul).

The potential of all organic life, and fruit, but it’s ability to achieve depends on the quality of the soul. The soil is the soul, and it must be ready and willing to receive. Is your heart in a place to receive?

The Nature of our Soul

The Worn Down Hard Soul: This is where the path is dry and hardened because of a lot of traffic. A hardened soul. Vulnerable to Satan and where he snatches away grace.

The Shallow Soul. Depth is needed to cultivate the seed; the word may be received but the depth is not cultivated. This is where rocks of regret, bitterness, unforgiveness don’t allow roots of love to grow. 

The Choked Out Soul : The weeds that choke out the life of the soul can be the competition of values- the worries if this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, desire for other things, chokes out the Kingdom.

The Receptive Soul: The Kingdom of God desires our willing cooperation. People who cultivate readiness. His definition of a “good” soil is as in ready, receptive to the things of God, rather than moral.

The farmer is always throwing seed. Extravagantly, lavishly and generously. He is a patient farmer, looking for receptive souls where the seeds can take root, grow and produce a 100x crop of love, joy peace and the other fruit of the Spirit

This week’s guide will provide space to dig in further, prayerfully process, and then discuss the sermon.

Reflection and Discussion

Read aloud Mark 4:1-20 and then prayerfully and silently reflect on the passage and these questions.

After silently reflecting, take these thoughts into a time of group discussion.

Closing Intercession

Pray for your group, our church, our city, and our world.