Found by Randy Barneston and Cheryl Bear
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
Dr Darryl W. Darrell Johnson (Sr Minister at First Baptist Church in Vancouver and former associate Professor at Regent College. Sermon on "The Prodigal God" - House Church Resource Library.
Movie entitled Babette's Feast or movie entitled Chocolat (2000) starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche
Things to Ponder:
Ponder the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin and Lost Son. Do you know your own purpose, value and belonging in Christ?
Who do you relate to the most in the Prodigal Son story?
- Younger brother who squandered everything and is returning to the Father/or has a fresh taste of God's grace.
- Older Brother who knows God not as Father so much as Master. "You have obeyed him all your life" but have never experienced the joy of God as Father, only Slave Master.
- God. The One who is waiting. The One who is ready to run. The One who is willing to risk it all in order for the Lost Son/Daughter to return home.
Activites you Might Do as a Group:
1. You might as a group light your own Advent Candle before you start and read Luke 15. Ponder the idea of Advent - this idea of God coming close, and the picture of a Father God who looks for us, who sees us from a far way off, who runs to us, and who throws a party for us.
2. Play Hide & Seek as a group. Again, the purpose in the game of hide and seek is to be found. What fun is it if no one is actually found. Think about God finding us and the joy He found/finds in that!
3. Over the next two weeks you as adults might also want to have a movie night and watch the classic Babette's Feast or Chocolat and discuss the topic of God's Grace versus Legalism (older and younger brother syndrome as depicted in Luke 15).
Share: Personally share your experience of Advent. God as sometimes distant. Perhaps share your own experience of sometimes pulling away from God - distancing yourself from Him. If Advent is a time where we invite God to come close to us again, how might you be looking forward to God coming close this Christmas season?
You as a HC Facilitator might also share how the sermon spoke to you. Remember, keep this time brief. This isn't about you. The purpose of sharing from your own life isn't necessarily so the group now minister to you, it is so that others in your group are empowered to share from their own lives, and how they felt God speak to them through Sunday.
Review: Read the three stories, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son out of Luke 15. Read also John 10:9-18.
1) Have you ever felt at a place in your life where you felt alone? Lost? Without value or purpose? What was that like? Think about the game Hide & Seek. What do you do with the thought of you and God in a game of hide and seek? Are you being found? Have you been found?
2) Do you see what Randy sees in the text? That the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son are all depicting different aspects of what we find in Christ? Purpose, value and belonging? How have you experienced this in your own life?
3) Has God ever felt distant to you? Do you think God distances Himself from us? Or do you think we as people often get quite comfortable with God at a distance? Why might we do this?
4) All these texts communicate a God who is pursuing us far harder than we are pursuing Him. This is particularily highlighted in the idea of God as Shepherd (see John 10:9-18 also). Does this advocate us taking a passive role in this relationship? Just leave it up to God. Do you ever think God distances Himself from us to see what we will do? Whether we will pursue Him? Have you ever seen this pattern in your earthly relationships (interchangable roles of distancer and pursuer)?
5. This Advent Season, how might God be coming close to us in our time of need? Do you see evidence of Him pursuing you? Us as a church? Or in what ways are you pursuing Him afresh? How is that going?
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