Beyond Sunday - Week 18

Beyond Sunday
Week of May 26, 2024
“Believing in and Investing in the Next Generation”
Next Gen Sunday, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 6:20-25, 30:19-20, 31:7-8
Thoughts: Thinking back upon Sunday’s message, I wondered, “What does it mean to ‘Impress them [God’s commandments] on your children.’ Is impress different than teach?” It turns out it is slightly different. To impress upon someone is more than simply giving them information. It is helping someone understand or be familiar with the importance or value of something. It’s really more life-oriented than it is information-oriented. Life-oriented. Isn’t that what God’s Word is all about, transforming lives? If we want succeeding generations to follow God, we must start by making God a part of our own everyday experiences—seeing God in every aspect of life—and sharing the stories of what we see, in our own lives and in theirs.
Jared’s comments reminded me of the scene from the movie “City Slickers” where the character Curly explains the meaning of life by holding up his index finger. Asked for an explanation, he says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that, and the rest don’t mean [nothing].” The other, younger character responds, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?” Curly says, “That’s what you gotta figure out.” The Scripture tells us that one thing is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” That describes a very passionate love.
Ally made the point that passion cannot be taught, it must be caught. Passion begs a “Why?” question. If we want others to be passionate about Jesus, we must be prepared to answer the question, “Why do I love Jesus?” The answer is our testimony, God’s story that He is writing in and through our lives. Let me emphasize that. God’s story, not our story. He is the central character, and He graciously and lovingly gives us parts in His story. Sharing that story with others reminds us of the why, the context of our living for Jesus, and can ignite in them a passion for Him as well. Let’s start some “fires.”

Discussion Questions:
• Jesus tells two short parables about the importance and value of being part of His Kingdom. And yet, we get to receive that freely because of His atoning work. That has been put this way, “The Gospel is free, but it isn’t cheap.” How would you describe what that reveals about God?
• In the story of the woman at the well (John 4:1-42), the Samaritan woman’s neighbors say to her, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” Her testimony, her story, opened for them the door of belief, and then they sought out and experienced Jesus for themselves.
o Describe the person or people who opened the door of belief for you and how they did that.
o For whom might your story, your personal experience of and with Jesus, open the door of faith?
• In the passage from 1 John, we are told that “…everyone born of God (Christ followers) overcomes the world.” Even more than that, we read in Revelation that “They triumphed over him (that is Satan, the enemy of God and His children) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” It pays to remind ourselves, and testify to others, what Jesus has empowered us to overcome already. We gain courage and confidence from those reminders, and we can encourage others by sharing.
o With the help of Almighty God, what have you overcome already?
o What challenges are you currently facing or anticipating?
o What specific things or people help you face those challenges with courage and confidence?

Pray: Praise God for who He is, mentioning His specific character traits that you value. Thank Him for what He has already empowered you to overcome, and talk with Him about specific challenges you now face or anticipate. Ask Him to use your testimony to open the door of faith for others, naming specific people you want to influence.

Next Steps:
• Prepare to share your story by using the Your Hope Story six-session resource from RightNow Media. That’s a free resource provided by RHC. If you don’t already have an account with them, you can sign up here.
• If you have put your faith in Jesus but have not yet been baptized, Sign up to go public with your faith in Jesus by getting water baptized.  
• Living the Christian life is not a “solo sport.” Check the website here to see what Summer small groups might fit your schedule.

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