Grace For The Good Soil

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Mark 4:1-20

Sermon 5_Good Soil

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Mark 4:1-20. In your own words, describe the situation facing the seed in the various soils.
  2. If the kingdom Jesus is bringing comes through hearing His word, what could this tell you about how Jesus’ kingdom works compared to other kingdoms?
  3. What seems to be the difference with the good soil compared to the other three soils? Can you relate to one of the soils more than another?
  4. How would “hearing” be different from “knowing”, “remembering”, “reciting”, or “studying” Jesus’ word about the kingdom?

Spiritual Exercise: Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through this parable. This could be a clear word, an inner impression, conviction or encouragement in your spirit, but, ask Him to speak to you. Read the passage until you hear His voice. What does He want you to do to become more fruitful in your relationship with Jesus?

 

Hope For Entangled Faith

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Mark 4:1-20; Hebrews 12:1-3

Sermon Four_Thorns

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Mark 4:7, 18-19; Hebrews 12:1-3 and James 1:13-16. What are some
    parallel thoughts between these passages. What images are used?
  2. What is a Bible story you can think of that highlights either the power of sin to tempt and corrupt, or the way to resist sin and overcome temptation?
  3. What are the categories of thorns Jesus lists? What are some sins within those categories? Is there an area you are struggling with now?
  4. Read these three passages: Heb. 12:1-3; Gal. 5:16-17; Phi. 2:12-13. What are you called to do? What resources do you have available? Where is your hope?
  5. Spiritual Exercise: Ask the Holy Spirit to expose an area of sin in your life, not an action, but a sinful belief or habit that is strangling your fruitfulness. Trust and obey God’s word. Confess the sin to God (1 John 1:9) and a mature
    Christian friend (James 5:16) and begin the work of putting this sin to death.

 

Hope For Withering Faith

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Mark 4:1-20

Sermon Three_RockySoil

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Mark 4:1-20. Focus on the rocky soil. Write a sentence or two describing the problem facing the seed in the rocky soil.
  2. Shallow could be a good word describe the problem of the seed. What does a shallow faith prevent a follower of Jesus from doing?
  3. What do you think the immediately joyful believer was expecting life with Jesus to be like? What did they find? Has this happened to you before?
  4. Read these three verses and explain how they relate to the rocky soil: 1 John 3:12-14; 1 Peter 4:12-16: John 16:33.
  5. Spiritual Exercise: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any “rocks” that are hampering your faith from flourishing. If He shows you one, what must you do to dig it up and let your roots down deeper? You are not alone… who can help?

 

Hope For Hardened Paths

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Mark 4:1-20

Sermon Two_Hard Path

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Mark 4:1-20.
  2. What are some different ways to describe hearing? What kind of “hearing” is Jesus talking about in this parable?
  3. How would you describe the problem of the path and the seed? Can you think of any examples from the Bible or your life that illustrate this?
  4. What are some ways Satan seeks to steal the Word from you or others?
  5. Putting aside thoughts of initial salvation, is the “path” a fitting description of your present spiritual life? Why or why not?
  6. Spiritual Exercise: In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to show you if an area of
    hardness has developed in your heart that is stopping you from experiencing God’s life-giving and transforming Word. If you become aware of an area of hardness, thank God for showing you this, confess the hardness to the Lord, and ask Him to help you break up that ground as you meditate on His grace and love for you, seeking to receive His Word in faith.

 

The Seed and The Sower

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Mark 4:1-20

Sermon One_Seed and Sower

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Mark 4:1-20 noting occurrences of the words “hear” and “word.”
  2. Who is with Jesus in vv.1-9? Who is present in vv.10-20? Who responded to Jesus’ exhortation to use their ears in v.9?
  3. What are some shared characteristics of Jesus’ “word” and a “seed”?
  4. How does the parable encourage you? How does it challenge you?
  5. If the “gospel” or “word” is so powerful, what is something you can do to help that word continue to be heard in your life?
  6. Spiritual Exercise: Ask the Holy Spirit to bring a verse, Psalm, Bible story, or biblical truth, to your mind this week. This “word” may be a verse you have known for years, something a friend shares with you, or a part of your
    devotional reading. When it lands in your heart, receive it and let it grow.

 

The Cadence of Christmas: Sharing

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Luke 2:8-18; Thessalonians 1-2; Various

Sharing_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Luke 2:8-18. How would you describe the sharing that was happening?
  2. Read 1 Thessalonians 1-2. Where are some places “sharing” is revealed as vital to the Christian life and ministry in these chapters?
  3. Consider a time someone’s sharing encouraged your faith. Give thanks to God for that moment, and, If you have not already, thank that person.
  4. Why must the message of Christ be filling your life if you are to practice the cadence of sharing with others?
  5. Spiritual Exercise: Spend time in prayer asking God to put two people on your heart— one who needs to hear the gospel and one who needs to be reminded of God’s love. Pray that God will give you the Word and opportunity to share with them in the next 2-3 weeks. Then practice the cadence of sharing.

 

Cadence of Christmas: Hospitality

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Leviticus 19:33-34; Psalm 68:6; John 1:1-5,9-14; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2

Hospitality_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Psalm 68:6 and John 1:1-14. As you read, reflect upon the theme of hospitality.
  2. How is hospitality different from entertaining or planning and preparing food?
  3. Do you think Jesus was a safe person to have as a guest? How about as a host? Why?
  4. When was a time that someone’s hospitality made an impression on your life?
  5. Read Romans 12:1-13. Verses 1-2 call the Christian to live in response to the gospel and describe the ongoing transformative work of God’s grace as we respond… we become non-conformists who do gratefully do God’s will. This non-conformity to the world finds expression in many ways (12:3 – through the end of the letter lists many ways). One way Paul mentions in verse 13 is “Practice hospitality.” How is biblical hospitality a non-conformist practice in our cultural moment?

Spiritual Exercise: Memorize Hebrews 13:2. Every morning until Christmas recite the verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see a “stranger” who may need an act of hospitality. Act.