The Church’s Culture and Core Story
- Humorous Stories (v. 15:1-3)
- Hard Stories (v. 15:11-19)
- Humbling Stories (v. 15:20-21)
- Happy Stories (v. 15:22-24)
- Cliff-Hanger Stories (v. 15:25-32)
- (v. 15:1-3) Some read the Bible and believe it is about them and how good they should be, others read the Bible and see its about Jesus and how good He is. Whenever we are the hero of the story we will become critical and condemning, whenever Jesus is the hero of the story we will grow in compassion and care. Where have you found a religious critical heart in yourself?
- (v. 15:11-19) All of us have hard parts of our story which contains failure, loss, rejection and estranged relationships. Why is there a tendency to hide and cover these parts of our stories? What would it look like to invite the Healer in instead of hiding it?
- (v. 15: 20-24) God’s core story is one of redemption and reconciliation. He loves to celebrate repentance, He says there is Joy in heaven over one sinner who repents (15:7,10). What things keep you from repenting and running to the Father to receive his grace and love? What we celebrate is what we will replicate – what do you celebrate?
- (v. 15:25-32) The Bible says that we are ambassadors of Christ, inviting people to be reconciled to God. Why do you believe it matters so much how the Church welcomes, invites, nurtures and creates a safe place for people to heal and grow? What role do you play in creating that culture and sharing that core story?
Luke 15:1-3; 11-32
1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2Both the Pharisees and the scribes beganto grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3So He told them this parable, saying,
11And He said, “A man had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.17But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” ’ 20So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’ ”