Breaking the Ice
Pictures of God
Each of us has a different picture of God that naturally comes to mind - and when it’s not informed by Jesus, it’s always at least a bit off. Mike mentioned things like old grandpa, genie, angry cop, talent show judge, buffet, and Santa Claus.
How we think about God
James Bryan Smith says, “If we think of God as a vague and impersonal force in the universe, we will probably have a vague and impersonal relationship with this God. That’s why it’s crucial that we have the right thoughts about God. It will determine everything we do.”
The Father lets the younger brother have exactly what he wants, which tells us that God lets us have what we want - he allows our rebellion.
The Father sees the younger brother coming home and immediately runs toward him - in fact, he was waiting for him. God initiates with love and runs toward our mess.
God loves putting the pieces of our lives back together - he restores us back to the position of much loved son or daughter.
What needs to be put back together in your life? Is it hard for you to trust that God can and will restore that area in your life?
How have you gotten in the way of or resisted God restoring parts of your life?
The Father in Jesus’ story shows us that one soul coming home is always worth a celebration. In fact, Jesus says that heaven explodes with a party every time a sinner comes home.
In Luke 15:28, the Father lovingly pleads with the older brother instead of being angry with him. God consistently reminds us that we are joining his story - not the other way around.
When have you felt the call of God to do something, and you’ve resisted? How did it feel?
Is it hard for you to know what God is calling you to, and how he wants you to help others find and follow Him?
The Father doesn’t hold back from lovingly telling the older brother he needs to be glad and celebrate that his younger brother was dead and is now alive. God is always loving, but He tells us the truth. And the truth isn’t always easy to handle.
When has God’s truth conflicted with your view of the world, yourself, others, or something else? How did you work through that conflict?
Our Privilege as Sons and Daughters
John 3:1 says “How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should called children of God! And that is what we are!” The problem is, we don’t always live up to that privilege, and we forget it’s true. In reality, coming home should never get old - and the incredible grace of God should never feel normal.
Does God’s grace ever feel stale, like old news, or too basic to you? How do you think you get to that place personally?
What can you do this week to reignite the excitement of the grace of God?
READ. PRAY. DO.