We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Mark Twain called it the "greatest story ever told". It's Jesus' most famous story and has inspired countless retellings. In this series, we are looking at Jesus' "Story of the Lost Son" from the vantage point of each character.
The Younger Brother starts the story by telling his father that he wishes he was dead. But he quickly squanders his wealth and finds himself wishing he even had the food the pigs ate. At rock bottom, he went back to his father, expecting the worst. But the father he finds waiting for him is not at all what he expected.
Breaking the Ice
- What’s the best story you’ve ever heard? What makes it so good?
Jesus the storyteller
In the four biographies of Jesus in the Bible, he tells almost 40 different stories (or parables) to illustrate life with God.
- What does Jesus’ storytelling tell us about how we grow and learn, or about what God is like?
- How could you relate to Keith’s video story at the end of the message? How did it impact you?
Throughout his life, jesus consistently ate with people that the religious leaders looked down upon.
- Who do you share your meals with? What does that tell you about your own priorities?
Luke 15:11-24 says,
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Asking for his inheritance early was essentially saying that he wished his father was dead. Jesus’ listeners would’ve expected the father to drive the son out of the family for this - but instead, the father lets him have what he asked for.
- When have you found yourself in the younger brother’s shoes, given access to everything that you wanted? How did it turn out?
Mike said that Self-Deception + Self-Reliance always = Self-Destruction.
- How have you seen this play out in your life or in someone else’s close to you?
- What’s harder for you to stay away from - Self-Deception or Self-Reliance? How do they often go together?
"He came to his senses"
Think about times in your life that you have “come to your senses”.
- What brought you there? How bad did it have to get before you turned around and “headed back home”?
The Father we expect
The younger brother is ready to accept his father’s anger when he comes home. No matter how long you’ve been following Jesus, we all find ourselves in the ditch and far from home at points throughout our lives.
- What kind of God do you naturally expect when you decide to turn around and come home?
Can't blame your way to freedom
Mike said that “I can’t blame my way to freedom.” Instead we need to say “I am the problem. I’ve had enough. I’m Heading home.” This is challenging for all of us, even if we’ve been following Jesus for a long time.
- Do you regularly go through the “come home speech” that the younger brother prepares in your relationship with God? How would that continual repentance help you connect with God?
- The "Come home" speech
1. I’ve sinned against heaven and you
2. I’m not worthy to be called your son
3. Will you take me back as a servant?
- The "Come home" speech
Running to or from
In his video, Keith said that “What you’re not running to, you’re running from.”
- Would you say that you are running to God? What other things do you run to that make it feel like you're running from God?
READ. PRAY. DO.
There are lots of parallels between the Prodigal Son story and the story of Jacob in the Old Testament! Read Jacob's stories and try to find the parallels!
- Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
Father, you are always ready to welcome me home! You run toward me when I feebly turn back toward you. You throw me a party when I deserve so much less. Over and over, your love astounds me and is more than I could ever hope for. Help me feel that love, understand that love, and give back that love to you and to everyone around me.
Confess! Come home!
There's always something attempting to wedge itself between us and God. And God is always ready to forgive us and throw that party - no matter what we've done or how long we've followed him. So confess what is wedged between you and God, and know that he forgives and loves you completely!
1 John 1
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.