500 Reasons Week 4 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Don’t let moments of invitation become memories of silence.

Discussion Starter:
Have you ever attempted to plant tomato plants or a flower bed? Share about how you prepared the soil before placing the plants into the ground.

God is doing something new in the lives of Promisors. God is pouring urgency and uncovering brokenness as He softens the hearts of Promisors for the real people with real problems in their lives who need real love. Jesus discussed the state of our hearts when telling parables. Parables are stories that relate kingdom (eternal) truths in a form ordinary people could understand.

Encounter God

Primary Scripture: Mark 4:1-20

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Mark 4:1-9. We notice that many variables contributed to the non-production and growth of the seeds sown. The most important aspect was the condition of the soil. How do we make our soil (hearts) more fertile?

2. Jesus says in verse 9, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Discuss what you think is meant by this phrase.

3. Read Mark 4:10-20. Seeds not producing can be blamed on several things such as the sower, the seeds, the birds, the thorns, or the scorching sun. Discuss what each of these represent.

4. If we are not sharing, inviting, or bringing people to church, we have a soil problem: our hearts are too hard. If we never sow, we will never reap. Discuss the following question. If you’re not leading people to find and follow Jesus, are you following Christ at all?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, Mark 4:1-20 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.

Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.

Share with the group ways to plant seeds everywhere you go this week. Pray for God to soften your heart and give you an urgency to see the people with real problems who need real love.

Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise:   Discuss ways to make this weekend’s Easter Services more inviting to first time guests.

Engaging in Community:   Use the Easter invitation cards to inform others about this coming weekend’s Easter services. Be creative in how you hand them out.

Engaging the World:   Pray about those you will share your faith with. Send a card, email, or make a call to them.

Expand God’s Kingdom

Pray for God to soften your heart for the people who need you to plant seeds in their lives. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to those with real problems needing real love. Be willing to be used as a sower in their lives.

Leader’s Notes

2. Try reading verse 9 in a different translation like the NET and read the footnotes. This phrase is also found in Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9 and 43, Mark 4:23, Luke 8:8, and Luke 14:35.

3. The sower is someone who shares God’s Word (that’s you!), the seed is God’s Word (that’s your Bible!), the birds are Satan’s distractions, the thorns are busyness and the worries of this world, the sun is meant to help a plant grow, but it scorches plants that have shallow roots (we must be firmly rooted in our relationship with Christ).

ALL groups at Faith Promise should participate in ALL 4 characteristics of a disciple of Christ (encountering God, embracing others, engaging the world, and expanding God’s Kingdom). However, each individual group may be primarily focused on one of these “Es” for a season, or for the life of that particular group. Below is an explanation of each type of group.

– Encounter Groups: the primary focus of Encounter Groups is the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– Embrace Groups: the primary focus of Embrace Groups is making friends and being friends on a deeper level.

– Engage Groups: the primary focus of Engage Groups is serving the people of our area through our local partners and through God-directed opportunities.

– Expand Groups: the primary focus of Expand Groups is the development and multiplication of disciple-makers to lead more groups at Faith Promise.