Conversation Starter

What is your most significant experience feeling really lost?

Scripture

Scripture: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

Sermon Insights:

We are the ones hiding…covered by our sin…and God is trying to “find” us to release us from the burden of our sin.

God wants to tell you that you have a purpose!

We are in uncertain times, but even through chaos, disease, and disaster, God is searching for you and for me.

Observation (5 minutes)

Take some time to click on the link and read the context of this verse (Ecclesiastes 3:1-14).

Application (5 minutes)

Wow…that’s a lot to think about! Perhaps it has already occurred to you how to apply your observations to your life. If you need a couple of ideas, perhaps these questions will help:

Do I feel really significant, and why or why not?

What does it mean that God has “set eternity in the human heart”? Are my dreams, desires, and hopes focused on something bigger than me?

Prayer (5 minutes)

You are encouraged to have a simple conversation with God. He knows what you need before you ask, so the purpose of prayer is not to inform God, but to build a trust relationship with him as you express what you are experiencing. We pray with the understanding that we humbly and confidently approach our Father, the one who created us and cares for us more deeply than we can fathom.

Conversation Starter

Is my desire to draw close to God increasing or decreasing and why?

Scripture

Scripture: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Sermon Insights:  

We have a hard time accepting and understanding God’s selfless love because our love is tainted. We give it conditionally.

You are of infinite worth to God who entered into human history to knock at the door of your heart and save you!

Observation (5 minutes)

It would seem that God’s ability to “find” people is limited by sin and hiding. It would also seem that God’s choice to send his Son crushes that limitation for those who choose to believe.

What observations do you make about the nature of God?

Does God provide any way outside of Jesus for us to be saved from the penalty for our sins?

Application (5 minutes)

What makes it difficult for me to trust God?

Why is my love limited?

Am I learning to trust?

Prayer (5 minutes)

Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus to take my guilt on the cross so I can have your forgiveness. Thank you for finding me. Now that we are on speaking terms, I want to get to know you better. The fact is, sometimes I do not trust you because I am not convinced you will see life my way. I have my desires, hopes, and preferences…and sometimes my willingness to trust and obey is directly linked to my stipulation that you will accommodate my plans. Forgive me for not trusting you more deeply. Help me recognize that you are present and you are not silent, even though sometimes I get distracted from seeing or hearing you. Thank you for using other Christians to reach out and help me feel your kindness. Help me to be filled with your love, patience, and kindness, so that others can see you through me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Conversation Starter:

What is your personal definition of a “leader”?

Scripture

Scripture: Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:7-18 (NIV)

Sermon Insights:  

God wants to give you life to the full – his redemptive love, his resurrected power, and hope for the future.

Observation (5 minutes)

How important is it for “sheep” to follow a “good shepherd” and not a “hired hand”?

At what point will the sheep realize which choice they made?

Application (5 minutes)

What “voices” am I following in my day-to-day life?

How am I influencing others with the voice God has given me?

Who is “shepherding” (leading) me, and who am I “shepherding” (leading)?

Prayer (5 minutes)

In your personal time of prayer, share your thoughts and feelings, as they are, with God. Perhaps you might express thanks for those who have led you well in the past and ask for strength, wisdom, and opportunity to lead others well! Ask for wisdom in discerning God’s voice among the many scrambling for your attention.

Conversation Starter:

What characteristics do you appreciate in a neighbor?

Scripture

Scripture: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14 (The Message, a “paraphrase”)

Sermon Insights: Eugene Peterson says John 3:16 means “God put on skin and moved into the neighborhood.”

God doesn’t sit and wait for you to come to him. God left the glory of his heavens for your sake and the sake of those you love. That is why Jesus came…you are that important!

Observation (5 minutes)

In a human relationship, the person who needs the relationship most is generally the one who pursues the other. You might say “need determines pursuit.” In God’s relationship with us, the one who needed the relationship the least (God) pursued the one who needed it the most (us). In God’s relationship with us, you might say “love determines pursuit.”

Does this challenge you to think differently about God?

Application (5 minutes)

Appreciating God means responding to him in a new way. What should change as a result of realizing that God pursues me for my benefit?

How can I be a selfless neighbor?

Prayer (5 minutes)

Dear Father, you are incredible. Your love is truly unconditional. You really are a generous giver. You need nothing. Yet you give the best of who you are and what you have for the benefit of others. Father, I am not like you, though I want to be. I struggle with attaching strings, fears, and conditions to my love. Fill me with your love so I can love like you. I know the world needs you. And I’m astounded…and a little fearful…that you’ve asked me to be a representative for you. I know the only way I can be faithful to that is to humbly rely on the power of your Holy Spirit. Thanks for being faithful. I love you! It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Conversation Starter

When you pass into the next life, and a pastor asks your family, “What is the one message (you) would want to pass along to the world?” what will they say? What will you want them to say?

Scripture

Scripture: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:19-21 (NIV)

Sermon Insights: If you are a Christ-follower, this Scripture is for you! God has placed his followers in homes, families, workplaces, communities…and he is sending us to be bearers of the Good News that God loves the world.

Observation (5 minutes)

As you read the context and develop your own observations, consider the following: Jesus said this to his disciples in between his resurrection and his ascension back to Heaven. The disciples would have recognized by this point that Jesus’ mission included not only his sacrifice but his victory over death.

To follow Jesus means giving our life as a “living sacrifice” for others.

What expectations was Jesus teaching his disciples to have about their purpose?

Application (5 minutes)

What are the similarities between God sending Jesus into the world, and Jesus sending me into the world?

What message am I dedicated to spreading?

What am I willing to learn, change, grow in, obtain, or lose for the sake of spreading the love of Jesus to the world?

Prayer (5 minutes)

Dear Father, this week I have considered how you put eternity in my heart, gave up your Son for me, and worked hard to find me and give me a purpose—not because I deserved your kindness, but because you are a great Giver. Thanks for not only working hard to find me but also for giving me a great purpose. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your great plan. When I come to the end of my life, I want people to know Jesus because they have spent time with me. There’s no greater purpose in this life. Thanks for sharing that with me; not only did you love me, but you made my life full of meaning and real purpose. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Scroll to Top