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May 8th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

Seeds, Soil, and Seasons

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 4:1-20 (NET)

Introduction

I vividly remember the feeling of when I finished reading Les Miśerables. I was maybe 12 or 13 and an okay student, but increasingly feeling more and more behind with each grade. I picked up the hefty tome - not so much because of anything I’d heard about the book or because I was interested in the history of revolutionary France - but because it was simply the thickest book I had ever seen other than a dictionary or encyclopedia  (SO glad I didn’t come across War and Peace before that). I needed something to boost my confidence and I told myself that if I could read a book that thick I could read anything. So I dove in, naively calling the main character “Gene Val Gene” throughout. When I finished it I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. More than that, I was affected by the story itself. Even though my early teenage self missed much of the complexity and depth of the story, I was able to get enough of it that it has continued to work for years to form my imagination of the nature of humankind, the mystery of redemption, and the wonder of sacrificial love.

 

The story was a seed that has produced much fruit.

 

This week we start four weeks of looking at the parables in Mark. Let’s dig in and see what we can find. 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team
 

The Big Idea: 

Parables are simple stories designed to illustrate a truth and invite us to act as a result of our encounter with it.

Take Away: 

The Parable of the sower invites us to consider the condition of the “soil” of our lives and respond with intention.

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

The experience of true belonging to any group or community involves being given room and permission to grow and change. At Grace we practice hospitality to people all along the journey of faith. This practice of offering hospitality in turn helps us become more and more like Jesus through the same growing and changing. These practices and experiences are guided by what we say we believe.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • Read the Text again carefully. Pay attention to your emotions as you consider each of the soils.

  • Who is responsible for sowing the seed?  Who is responsible for the condition of the soil? Who is acting and what is being acted upon? What other things do you notice about the one sowing the seeds?

  • What ways are you tending to the “soil” of your own life?

 

What's Next?

Mark 4:21-25 and the parable of the lamp

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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May 15th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

The Understanding is in the Doing

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 4: 21-25 (NET)

Introduction

In our teaching group this week Laura shared a story that rings true on so many levels, whether you have kids or not. Her son came to her dramatically complaining of his intense hunger, “I’m soooooo hungry mama!” Being the good and loving parent she is, Laura immediately started offering a remedy. “How about a peach?” No was the answer. “How about peanut butter?” Again, rejection, “How about some yogurt?” Not buying it. And this went on and on, the growing declarations of imminent starvation in the face of abundant food offerings. 

I have a huge hunch we do this all the time with God. We flail about asking for revelation, direction, comfort, deliverance and God stands ready with an abundance of help, answers, tangible responses yet we, like the hangry kids we all are, turn our noses up at what is offered. Most of the time we don’t even know why we do this. 

This week’s parable may hit a little too close to home for all of us. 
 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team
 

The Big Idea: 

“Light” is given to us for the benefit of all. True understanding comes from obedience. Enlightenment without action is toxic.

Take Away: 

We all have more “truth” than we know what to do with. So often our addiction to more information, among other things,  keeps us from acting on what we already know.

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

At Grace, we seek to practice hospitality from the core of our invitation to belong that God gives us, from the realization what has been given to us is not for just us. This practice helps form us more and more into the image of Jesus. These practices form and inform what we declare that we believe.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • When you think about what you know, know about God, about yourself, about life, do you think you know enough? Enough to live faithfully and honestly, generously and lovingly? 

  • What keeps you from acting on what you know?

  • Have you ever considered the idea that you might be given something just for the sake of others, that it might not be of any immediate benefit to you?

 

What's Next?

Mark 4:26-29 and the parable of the seed

Contact Grace Church NWA here