Stories – CBR Discussion for 03.12.12

Exodus 1, 2 Samuel 20, Isaiah 51, Mark 4

Friendship: Stories Shape Our Lives

Jesus loves to tell stories to reveal the secrets of His Kingdom. In Mark 4, we get a clear picture of this. He doesn’t hit people over the head with truths or tell boring facts unattached from our daily life. He crafts amazing stories to get people thinking about a truth about and the way His Kingdom works that leads them to reflect on their own life. Jesus is a master storyteller. Jesus knows that stories shape our life. He programmed us to learn this way and we experience life this way.

Friendship Question: What are your favorite stories and/or storytellers? Think about movies, TV shows, books, etc. What do you love about them?

Repentance: Is your heart open to stories?

In Mark 4, the parable of the sower is a story of how our hearts interact with God sowing the story of the gospel. David Powlison once reflected on this passage and noticed that the three fields are like our hearts. Three hearts are presented: the path is a picture of a hard heart, the rocky ground is disappointed heart, and the thorny ground is a distracted heart. The hard heart is completely self-centered and doesn’t know how to let God or anyone else in to love and be loved. The disappointed heart gives up too easily when rocky parts of life come along. The distracted heart has too many worries and other interests that choke out our attention to Jesus. We all have a tendency toward each at different times, but we all should strive to be the fruitful heart that receive God’s story in the gospel in multiply it in others.

Repentance Question: Look at the characters of Exodus 1 and 2 Samuel 20, what type of hearts have they developed? Why? What does your heart tend to reflect as you think about the parable of sower? Turn to God and ask him for forgiveness and the mercy to change your heart.

Faith: The greatest story in all of history and we are a part of it.

As you read across the four chapters of CBR, you see the amazing story of God’s covenantal love for us through Jesus. It is a story of rebellion and rescue, recklessness and redemption, lawlessness and love. Jesus is the hero and we are the objects of His affection. If your heart is hard, disappointed, or distracted, there is hope. In Mark 4, Jesus continues and says that you only need only need a willing heart and a small seed in order to produce fruit in His Kingdom. Isaiah 51 is a great example of how to encourage yourself and each other to develop a fruitful heart.

Faith Question: How are you grateful that Jesus includes you in His story? How did Isaiah 51 encourage you to have a fruitful heart?

Focus/Mission: Spreading the seeds of God’s Kingdom

God is writing each of our stories, if you don’t see it you just need to slow down and pay attention. Your story is a great reflection of God’s gospel for his own. We are to spread the story as seeds on the heart of others. Our job is not to till their hearts or provide the rain; only the Holy Spirit can do that.

Focus Question: How will you take time this week to reflect on your life and where you see Jesus writing a story for you to share?  Who is someone you want to share that story of how God is working in your life and how you can lead them to reflect on their own life as a result?

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 2, 2 Samuel 21, Isaiah 52, Mark 5
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 3, 2 Samuel 22, Isaiah 53, Mark 6
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 4, 2 Samuel 23, Isaiah 54, Mark 7
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 5, 2 Samuel 24, Isaiah 55, Mark 8
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 31, Psalm 32, Psalm 33