SENT: Week 3 Discussion Guide

CoreGroup Guide | Sent - Week Three

Welcome to Week Three of our Sent sermon series! We’re so glad you’re here.
This week we heard a message about the Parable of the Sower as told in the Gospel of Luke. This story reminds us that God is the ultimate farmer, sowing seeds in the hearts of all people. But we can’t always control what happens once those seeds are planted and that can be frustrating, discouraging, and disheartening. Today’s CoreGroup discussion will focus on what happens after we extend an invitation to others. You never know how God is working in someone’s heart!

Opening Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for bringing us all here today. Thank you for each person in this group and the unique ways you are working in each of our hearts and lives.Thank you for sending us out into the world as your witnesses of this good work! Please be with us today as we continue learning and growing together. Give us the courage to be authentic with one another and the openness to hear new perspectives. We pray all of this in your son’s name. Amen.

Circle Back:
Before we jump into the Week Three discussion, let’s circle back to our challenge from last week. In Week Two of this sermon series, Pastor Matt encouraged us to intentionally pay attention to what the people in our lives are going through. What have you seen and heard this week? What opportunities arose for connection and compassion? What invitations did you extend, or what invitations might you extend next time you have the opportunity?

Ice Breaker:
This week’s discussion is all about seeds, soil, and growth. If you could describe yourself as any fruit, vegetable, or other crop, what would it be? Are you sweet like a strawberry? Sturdy like an ear of corn? Stubborn like an artichoke? Share your selection with the group and a little bit about why you identify with that particular fruit, vegetable, or crop.

The Scripture:
According to Luke’s gospel, Jesus shares this thought-provoking story with a large crowd of people who had gathered from all over the place to hear him teach. This is Luke 8:4-8 —

The Parable of the Sower

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

The Head:
Why do you think Jesus used parables, or stories, like this one to share his message? In what ways is this metaphor of soil and seeds still relevant? If Jesus were here on earth today with crowds of people following him around, what parable might he use instead?

Metaphorically speaking, what do each of the different types of soil in this parable represent? In other words, what does it mean to have a heart that looks like the path, the rock, the thorns, or the good soil? How exactly do we define “good soil” in a spiritual sense?

In Luke 8:11-15, Jesus turns to his disciples and explains what he meant by the Parable of the Sower. If time allows, read through these verses. Does this change your understanding of the parable at all? How so? What additional questions does this explanation bring up for you?

The Heart:
Can you think of a season in your life when your heart felt like one of the options described above? If you feel comfortable, share what that period of time felt like for you. How would you describe “the soil of your heart” right now? What do you think prompts a person’s heart to change - both positively and negatively - throughout different seasons of life?

Have you ever offered an invitation to someone to join you in worship or some other church activity only to have them ignore the question, change the subject, or flatout turn you down? What was that experience like for you? What do you think was going on in that person’s heart or life at the time? How did that impact your willingness to extend future invitations?

On the contrary, have you ever offered an invitation to someone and they accepted? What was that experience like for you? Why do you think the invitation took root in a different way with this person? How did this impact your relationship with the person, and your own faith?

The Hands:
This week marks the start of Lent, the period of time in the Church calendar between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The Lenten season is a perfect time to reflect on the soil of our own hearts. The Lenten season is also a wonderful time to reflect more deeply on what it means to be God’s witnesses and where God is sending us next.

If you would like to receive The Gathering’s Lenten Devotional, simply click on this link to sign up. The daily devotion will arrive in your email inbox each morning during Lent. Although Lent is often considered a time for individual reflection, preparation, and prayer, your CoreGroup is also a great place to share your thoughts on the devotion each day. Over the next six weeks, check in with each other about the ways God is working in your heart during this season.

Closing Prayer:
God, thank you again for this day, for this group, and for the opportunity to reflect on the soil of our own hearts. As we go forward today, please remind us that it is not our job to control what is going on in the hearts of other people. You are the ultimate farmer, God, sowing seeds of love, joy, peace, and hope in the hearts of all people. We are sent into the world to be your witnesses, to offer an invitation, and that is enough! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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