Pastor Trevor Johnston
Series: The Hand Off
Message 2: All By Itself?

1. At Community of Hope our mission is to interest others in our community in Jesus Christ, and to grow together into fully-devoted followers of Him. How will the addition of a service in Español at the East Campus in April help our mission? What can you do to support this new level of ministry (1 church in 2 locations & 2 languages) in our church?

2. We are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. Pastor Trevor shared how St. Patrick was actually not Irish, that he was kidnapped from England as a young man and enslaved as a cattle hand in Ireland, where he came to appreciate and love God as Creator, and Jesus as Savior. Patrick escaped Ireland years later and studied to go into ministry. During his studies he heeded God’s call to return to Ireland in order to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, and went on to plant 700 churches there! He ordained 1000 priests, and converted almost half of Ireland’s people to Christianity.

3. Imagine if we at Community of Hope were to ask God to breathe the spirit of St. Patrick into our hearts so that we would hand off our faith to our local community as St. Patrick did. Talk about the specific ways our community would change as a result of this kind of transformation for Christ.

4. Read our memory verse for this series together – 1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
As you have worked on memorizing this scripture verse over the past week, have you gained new insights about this verse? Share your thoughts.

5. Read Mark 4:26-29:
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.  

6. Share what you notice about this parable from scripture.
What is the seed? What is the soil? What are the crops?

7. Talk about what you think the phrase “all by itself” really means.

8. To help with this, read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have only one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
How do these two passages of scripture help us to know that God is already at work in the lives of his children to bring them to him?

9. Pastor Trevor talked about Prevenient Grace, that is, the grace God extends to all people before they even know Christ. Discuss “Prevenient Grace”, and share examples of times you have been aware of God already working in someone’s life before they even knew him.

10. How does knowing that God is already at work in the lives of those who you would love to see come to Christ help you know that it’s not all up to you to bring them to Christ?

11. Talk about the errors you (or anyone) are likely to make if you went about sharing your faith as if it were all up to you to bring someone to faith in Christ.

12. Read John 1:9
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
Now read 2 Samuel 14:14 
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devised ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
How do these verses help you know that you can trust that God is at work in the lives of others? In what ways will trusting God allow you to
share the reason for your hope with more ease, freedom and even risk?

13. This week, look for ways that you see God at work in the lives of others, especially in those that don’t yet know him. Consider ways you are willing and positioned to partner with God to plant or water the seed of Good news. Ask God to show you what your part is, and thank him that he is at work in the lives of the people you know.


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