Tag Archives: parables

Grass Sprouts

During our morning walk, the dogs and I passed by our neighbor’s house and noticed the grass seeds were sprouting. I am very OCD and keep the dogs from trampling over the grass seed the neighbors spread to get their lawn ready for the season. I noticed the neighbors were having a horrible time getting the grass to grow because of a few problems. I wanted so badly to assist as I have a bit of a green thumb.

First, my neighbors did not do anything to prevent the birds from running off with the seeds. Second, some of the places that the seed actually took included an area not meant for growth. The seed fell upon a small bit of dirt that accidentally moved onto the pavement during a rain storm. The seeds sprouted, but in time, the new sprouts will die off.

This grass growing process reminds me of Matthew 13, which discusses my favorite parable of Jesus, the Parable of the Sower or the Parable of the Soils. As we read, some seed fell upon the rocks, grew quickly and then died off. We also read that the birds flew off with some of the seed. Today, take some time to consider the soil of your heart. Consider the soil of those around you. Pray for God’s Word to spread. Pray for revival.

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More Than a Story: Humility

[Two Men Who Prayed: Luke 18:9-14]

“Be humble or you’ll stumble.” – Dwight L. Moody

  • I am the least of the apostles – 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • I am the very least of all the saints. – Ephesians 3:8
  • I am the foremost of sinners. – 1 Timothy 1:15

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14 [ESV]

Humbles HimselfTapeinoó – humiliate, abase, bring low, humble self

Exaltedhupsoó – raise on high, lift up, set on high

“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23 [HCSB]

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:6 [NIV]

We all fall short / Through Christ alone we are justified (Romans 3:23-24)

“Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.” – Job 9:20 [NASB]

You cannot fake it / God knows your heart

“And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NASB]

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” – John Riskin

Bible Study Questions:

1) What are some of the positive attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

2) What are some of the negative attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

3) How would you describe the Tax Collector who prayed? What were his good points?

4) What gets in the way of your humility?

5) What are some things you can do to help you live a humble life?

6) Luke 18:14 says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV).

What does it mean to be justified?

What does it mean that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled?

What does it mean that one who humbles himself will be exalted?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than A Story: Persistence

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

“Prayer is not an exercise. It is the life of the saint.” – Oswald Chambers

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17“Rejoice always; pray continually.” [NIV]

Pray without ceasing, pray constantly, never stop praying, continually be prayerful

     UnceasinglyAdialeiptós (ad-ee-al-ipe’-toce) – unceasingly, without remission, without intermission

Philippians 4:6“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” [NLT]

     Everythingpas (pas) – all, the whole, every kind of, each / every part that applies

Luke 11:8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” [NASB]

     ShamelessnessAnaideia (an-ah’-ee-die-ah’) – shameless persistence, no shame, unembarrassed boldness, without embarrassment, shameless audacity, impudence, importunity, sheer persistence, refusal to take a denial – used only in Luke 11:8

   “stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors” [MSG]

Luke 18:5Yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.” [HCSB]

Constant requests, continually coming, keep coming, constantly coming, unending pleas

     Beaten black-and-blue by her pounding [MSG]

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
– Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)

BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

1) In the parable of the Friend at Midnight, the friend in need knocked and his friend answered, “Do not bother me…”

                What were his excuses?

                How is this different from how God responds to us?

                Has there ever been a time when you felt like you were bothering God? Why?

2) In Luke 11:9, the Bible says—ASK and it will be given, SEEK and you will find, KNOCK and it will be opened.

                What does this mean to you? What does this say about prayer?

                 How can we apply this to our lives?

3) Luke 18:7-8 says, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

               What does this mean?

               How does it involve you? What can you do to take steps in the right direction? What does this look like?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Forgiveness

More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the second week: FORGIVENESS.

[The Unforgiving Debtor: Matthew 18:21-35]

Unforgiveness is the POISON we drink hoping another will die

When you hold tight to an unforgiving spirit you slowly die to TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS – PRISONER

Peter came and asked “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21b ESV)

He thought he was being extra generous with his forgiveness because Jewish law said to forgive a person three times.

Jesus answered “Seventy-seven times.”

“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:33 ESV)

Mercyeleeó (el-eh-eh’-o) – pity, have mercy on, show mercy, have compassion

These people begged for mercy:

  1. 26 says “the servant fell on his knees, imploring” the king
  2. 29 says “his servant fell down and pleaded with” the forgiven servant

Each of us is forgiven because of Jesus. Jesus paid the debt.

“But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”                – Matthew 6:15 [HCSB]

  • Remember how much you’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Don’t try to get even (Romans 12:19)
  • Respond to evil with good (Luke 6:27)
  • Pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6:28)

“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 [NLT]

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

1) In Matthew 18:21-22, we read about Peter approaching Jesus with the question – “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “Seventy-seven times.” What does that mean?

 2) Read Luke 17:3-4. This passage mentions something happening before the forgiveness happens. What does it mention? Should this be required to forgive something?

3) The passage from Matthew 18 says we must continue to forgive. What is hard about forgiving someone again and again?

 4) From where are we to forgive from? How can we do this?

5) Read Ephesians 4:32. How are we to forgive?

6) Share an example from your life when you needed to forgive.

            Were you able to easily forgive?

            What made it easier/difficult?

            How did you feel after you forgave the person/people?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Richness

More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the first week: RICHNESS.

Message Outline:

More Than a Story: Richness

[The Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-21]

BE ON GUARD AGAINST COVETOUSNESS

Covetousness – desire to have more than you have

LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST OF ABUNDANCE OF POSSESSIONS

Possessions are useless when life is gone

Cannot truly live when fixated on possessions

  • Focused on protecting what you have
  • Focused on getting more – never enough
  • Focus is idolatry – God doesn’t have 1st place in life

Rich man called a fool. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God(v. 21 ESV).             He’s not called fool for being productive or profitable.

Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [NIV]

Notice that the rich fool is not just called a fool; he’s a fool who loses his soul.

Our possessions: Time – Treasure – Talents

These can be hazardous or helpful. You decide.

Hazardous = It becomes your life <<OR>> Helpful = 1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. [MSG]

True Life — Eternal Life                                           Life is knowing God

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).

Bible Study Questions:

Discussion Questions

1) The brother who approached Jesus at the beginning of the passage was covetous. The “rich fool” in the parable told by Jesus was also covetous. Jesus said to “be on your guard against all covetousness” (v. 15).

What are some instances when we are covetous?

How can we be on guard against this covetousness?

2) When reading verses 17-19, what words stick out to you?

3) What was the focus of both the brother and the “rich fool”?

4) Can one be “rich” in possessions (“treasure” – money) and still be rich toward God? If so, how?

5) How can we be rich toward God?

6) John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. What does that mean? What is the difference between knowing of God, knowing about God, or truly knowing God? How does that look in our lives?

Download Message Outline

Download Bible Study Questions

Download Bible Study Leader Guide

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Victory with Christ

This week was a tough one for me. I couldn’t wait for the weekend, because it seemed like whatever could go wrong would go wrong. But along the way, I noticed that when I stood firm, did not waver and let the situation control me, that things all fell into place. Around every corner was a test. The devil was just waiting to get me to doubt and give up.

We have victory with Christ. He has already overcome. We still have a lot of obstacles set before us, but we also have a lot of promises. What kept me going this week was knowing that God has given us many promises and that He is faithful. When I was faced with a problem, I countered it with the Word. This is why the Israelites attached the Scripture to their bodies. This is why we are told to eat the Word, to have it in our heart to be reminded of it when it matters most. When Jesus was tempted, He used God’s Word to counter all three of the temptations used by the devil.

This week I was moving. Anyone who has moved knows that it is a grueling time period. Along with the moving, I had other situations arise. I felt like everything around me was collapsing. I also had to get my children enrolled in school and do all of the fun moving responsibilities like changing my address. Finally, along with all of the excitement, for my class on the Gospel of John, I had to memorise and recite the prologue.

Memorisation is not something that comes easy for me. I can paraphrase verses. I can give you summaries from Genesis to Revelation, including events, parables, etc. I can even play the “Name a character from the Bible” game for three days straight. Even so, the word memorisation causes me grief. Right away the devil whispered in my ear that I wasn‘t good enough, that I wouldn‘t pass the test. But right away I countered his tactics with God’s Word.

It’s important to remember that we are victorious. When you allow God to control the situation, the problem isn’t such a great weight. I made it through the week. I passed me test with flying colors. All the glory to God for His faithfulness through the week. It is so true that if you put His Word in your heart, the Holy Spirit will help you remember– He helped me remember each and every word. Praise God!!

“For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”

– Psalm 100:5 [NASB]