ICE BREAKER (start here)

How accurate do you think your view of God actually is? Who has been the most responsible (for good or bad) for framing your view of God?

intro (read aloud before the discussion)

In arguably the greatest story ever told, Jesus reveals who God truly is. We often see God as controlling, calloused, stingy, or the one to blame. Let’s listen in and enter into this irresistible story.

SERMON DISCUSSION (Use as a guide for dialogue, let God lead, and read the verses aloud)

Read Luke 15:1-2. People who were not like Jesus liked Jesus! People who had given up on religion were still intrigued by Jesus. Do you think that is true today? Why, or why not?

Read Luke 15:11-12. How have you said, “God I would like to live my life the way I want to live my life, but I also want you to bless me!”? Can you think of an area in your life in which you have said something like that?

Read Luke 15:13-16. Can you think of a season in which you found yourself in a proverbial pigpen as a result of your strategy for something or someone in your life? Did you blame God?

Read Luke 15:19. The son clearly felt disqualified. Do you feel disqualified for anything– for God’s acceptance, for ministry, for self-acceptance, for going after your calling?

Read Luke 15:20. This is one of the most powerful moments in the New Testament. Has this reality of the “Irresistible Father” come home to you yet? Have you experienced the compassion of the Father running toward, embracing, and kissing you? What would be the result of a life that has experienced this reality?

MINISTRY TIME (Invite the Spirit of God to come – “Come Holy Spirit”)

Share with the group how you feel you have wandered away and set out to achieve in an area of life or relationship in your own way and strength. Express how you would like to come home, and invite the unbelievable compassion of God to come.

SPIRITUAL FORMATION (This is a weekly practice as we seek to become more like Jesus)

There is a spiritual practice of meeting Jesus in the gospels: quieting yourself in God’s presence and then imaginatively placing yourself in the story to watch, listen to, and experience Christ in all that is described in the story. This practice can allow us to encounter Jesus through the scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to take you into this parable this week to visualize Jesus telling this story and the Father that Jesus reveals through his illustration.

daily reading

Mark 11 | Psalm 114
Mark 12 | Psalm 115
Mark 13 | Psalm 116
Mark 14 | Psalm 117
Mark 15 | Psalm 118
Mark 16 | Psalm 119:1-24