Welcome Home Week 3: A Surprise Party
weekend in review
Gene continues look at the story of the Prodigal Son, emphasizing that we all need help sometimes, and that God, like the forgiving father in the story, loves us and welcomes us home.
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing. You can talk about whatever you’d like, but here is a potential question to get the conversation going.
Have you ever been offered free entree to an event or show? If so, did you accept, and how did you feel about it?
Select 5-6 questions from the list below to guide your discussion time.
What came to your mind when Gene asked the question: “Do you remember the last time you were in so much trouble, you were in a situation so deep, that you had no choice but to ask for help?”
We have all made some self-destructive choices during the course of our lives. Sometimes we’ve hurt people we love. Now and then we find ourselves in a situation that is over our heads. Why do you think we find it hard to admit those things?
Gene talked about guilt versus shame: Guilt says, “What I did wasn’t good,” but shame says, “I’m no good.” Discuss the differences and how they affect us.
Why is it necessary to admit there is a problem, to examine what’s wrong, before we can effectively move toward a solution?
Gene’s story about being offered free tickets to a Las Vegas show was an entertaining parallel to Jesus’ invitation to all of us. Gene described the anxiety he felt as he approached the venue, that he might be refused entrance. Have you ever felt that kind of anxiousness when thinking about God or approaching God in prayer? What have you learned about that?
What the prodigal son did was basically to surrender himself, with all his mistakes and troubles, to his father. What does surrendering ourselves to God look like as a daily practice?
When the prodigal son returned, his father gave him a robe, his ring, and sandals, symbolizing rest, security, and acceptance. Read Galatians 3:26 and 27. Gene explained that as followers of Jesus, we are “clothed” with Christ. What does that mean to you?
In telling the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus was explaining that God is like the forgiving father, full of love and great rejoicing over those who come home to him. Read John 3:16. What is one word that describes how you feel while you partake of the communion elements during our weekend services to celebrate this?
If anyone in your group would like to be baptized, you can find out more by going online to eastside.com/baptism. Offer to support them in their decision by looking into it now while you are all together.
Gene gave a list of many wonderful things the scriptures say we are in Christ. This week (or now), take some time to search “Who I Am in Christ” online and choose from one of the many lists that pop up. Save one or print it out so you can refer to it regularly to remind yourself.
WRAP UP & PRAYER
Share prayer requests and spend time praying for each other.
Pray for all the people who made the decision this weekend to be baptized.
Pray for our church, our communities, our nation, the world. Pray that as followers of Jesus, we will have opportunities to practice applying the fruit of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)—within our spheres of influence.