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.

 

The Cadence of Christmas: Generosity

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Pastor Russ Richmond

John 3:16

Generosity_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Share a story that someone blessed you with a generous gift in your life? How about a time you were blessed by showing generosity to someone else?
  2. Review the reasons we have to be generous. What motivates you the most and why?
  3. Of all the ways to be give (time, talents, treasures), what is the easiest for you to be generous with? What is the hardest?
  4. What are some ways you need to develop the way you reflect the giving and generous nature of our God?
  5. How can we do all of this from hilarity and freedom , not guilt and grudging obligation?

 

The Cadence of Christmas: Stillness

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Psalm 46 & Mark 6:31-32

Stillness_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Consider what it will take to make stillness practice effective this Advent season.
  2. Do you find stillness comfortable? How about stillness before the Lord? How can Jesus’ invitation in Mark 6:31-32 help you anticipate stillness?
  3. Where will the threats to stillness during Advent come from in your life? How can you guard stillness?
  4. Consider the sources of busyness in your life? Any patterns or practices? Is there anything under the surface of the busy which you need to talk about with God?
  5. Stillness means solitude and silence for the purposes of connecting with God. What will you do to foster connection in your times of stillness this Advent? (Consider—reflect on scripture;  read a Christmas devotional; sing and/or reflect on Christmas carols; journal; pray; draw; paint; walk hike retreat to the beach, closet, or cabin; wake up early; turn your phone off; etc.)

 

Resurrection

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 10-12

Resurrection_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel chapters 10, 11, and 12. Then re-read chapter 12.
  2. Are there repeated words or phrases in the chapters? How are they significant?
  3. Where do you connect with Daniel’s experience in chapters 10-12?
  4. Read Genesis 2:7; 3:19 and Daniel 12:2. What does it mean that God will
    awaken some who sleep in the dust? What does this mean about death and life? (c.f. Isaiah 25:8; 1 Cor. 15:54 and 2 Tim. 1:10)
  5. What verses speak comfort or hope to you from chapter 12? Why?
  6. Read Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 13:36-43. What are some parallel ideas?
  7. Read Acts 1:6-9. What does it look like to “go your way” for Jesus followers? What is the “way” we should be going through life?

Spiritual Exercise: The authors of Scripture often refer to the Christian life as a
marathon or long journey. It takes perseverance and wisdom to finish the course. The writer of Hebrews tells us it is foolish to carry unnecessary weight and sin as we run, walk, or crawl toward Jesus. Read Hebrews 12:1-4. As your read, ask the Holy Spirit to expose any “weight” or “sin” that is hindering your journey. What do you need to do to get gain freedom in this area?

 

A Picture of Prayer

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 9

A Picture of Prayer_Sermon notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 9 straight through. Then, read the prayer (vv.4b-19) out loud.
  2. Are there words which you do not understand in this chapter? If so, look them up here: https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ved.html
  3. What surprises you about Daniel’s prayer? What might you have expected him to be praying about or for?
  4. What words does Daniel use to describe God and God’s people?
  5. What words would you use to describe Daniel’s prayer? How come?
  6. Verse 13 provides a great description of repentance. What is involved in repenting? The Apostle Paul talks about “godly sorrow” and “worldly sorrow” in 2 Cor. 7:10. What is the difference? Why is repentance necessary for a right relationship with God (or anyone)?
  7. Where do you find grace in this chapter? How is God’s grace the hope on which Daniel cries out to God?

Spiritual Exercise: Practice this prayer. Take time each morning and evening to practice prayers of confession and intercession for both your sins and those of God’s church. If you struggle drawing near to God because of your sin, read Hebrews 10:22-25. Rejoice in God’s grace and turn to His face.