Wilderness of waiting

intro (read aloud before the discussion)

In wilderness seasons, we generally experience an almost-felt darkness that can leave us disheartened, isolated, and cold. It is tempting to do anything at all within our means to escape this darkness and rush toward the light. Let’s explore what it might look like to consent to waiting for and in God instead.

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

1.  Read John 11:1-6. John makes sure the reader understands that Jesus loved the people who were left waiting in this drama, because Jesus’ delay does not seem particularly loving. Can you think of an example from your own life of a forced wait that was actually the more loving option than immediate gratification?

2. Read John 11:11-15. It is hard to swallow those two things in one sentence: 1. “Lazarus is dead”, and 2. “And I am glad”! What is Jesus’ explicitly stated reason for His gladness?

3. Consider the figurative deaths you have experienced–death of a dream, a vocation, a relationship, etc. Do you believe that Jesus may have the same scheme to bring belief from this “death”?

4. Read Hebrews 11:6. The writer of Hebrews insists that we cannot please God without faith/belief. Why do you think faith is necessary for bringing God pleasure?

5. Why do you believe the author mentions faith, not just in God’s existence, but also in His generosity and goodness toward those who run after Him?

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

Have you dared to hope that God will reward you for your willingness to seek Him? We so often shame ourselves for wanting to be rewarded, yet we serve a God who encourages us to hope for reward! Take some time to praise Him for His goodness and generosity toward you. Ask Him to give you hope that the particular circumstance of waiting you are currently experiencing will result in greater glory.

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

Read Psalm 127:1-2 three times, slowly and  out loud. The first time, let the words wash over you and “watch” for a word or phrase that particularly “glimmers” for you, catching your mind’s eye or heart. As you read and listen the second time, ask the Lord to reveal why this word or phrase caught your attention. What is He attempting to communicate with you? During the third reading, reflect on what that word or phrase might mean for you as you go forward into the week. Afterward, take time to journal what you “heard.” This spiritual formation practice is called Lectio Divina–Divine Reading. It can be done with any small group of verses as a discipline of coming to the word of God ready to listen to what the Spirit of God is saying in the present to your very own heart.

daily reading (Tune into the daily “Together On Mission” podcast here and let’s start every day with Jesus)

James 1 | Psalm 116

John 11 | Psalm 139

The Book of Jonah | Psalm 127

Mark 8 | Psalm 39

Isaiah 50 | Psalm 18

Catch up on daily reading, or choose a passage, any passage.

Tune in for Week 6 of our Wilderness series