Gathering (choose one)

1. Think back to a time when your parent or grandparent used words or images from a bygone era that you did not understand.

    1. What did they say that mystified you?
    2. When did you overhear a story that sounded like it was about someone else, but then you realized, it was about you?



At this point in Jesus’ ministry, he must be very careful about how he taught. So, his pointed teachings are veiled with references to “trees,” “fruit,” and “building” (as in Matthew 7)—each with hidden or double meanings. He has already healed the incurable and has sent his students on their first test run (Matthew 9 and 10). To his inner circle, he spoke spiritual truth in images familiar to sailors and fishermen, so they would get it. Now, in addressing farmers, he speaks of “seed,” “soil,” and “crops”—in other words “fluent farmer.” But Jesus speaks with a spiritual truth much deeper and broader than first meets the eye or ear.


God’s Story

Have someone in the group read aloud Matthew 13: 1-23.


Finding My Story in God’s Story

2. In your mind, sit down in the crowd around Jesus as he tells this story. What do you see and hear from the people as Jesus tells them about planting seeds?


3. How old were you when you first heard stories about planting seeds or harvesting crops? (Tell us the story.)

    1. In school, perhaps in 4-H Club or scouts.
    2. Not until I was an adult, showing my child how to plant things.
    3. I’ve always had a green thumb, so everything I plant bears fruit.
    4. I have a brown thumb, so I support the use of plastic plants.
    5. Other ___________.

4. In God’s Story, as Jesus tells it, where are those good seeds falling and with what results? (“Where”—as in, what types of soil?)


5. In Jesus’ story, some seed was choked by thorns, burned by the sun, or gobbled up by birds. In YOUR story, who took away seeds of hope, preventing you from “bearing fruit?” (Can you share a little of the context you faced?)

    1. “Friends” who bullied me.
    2. Family members who ridiculed my faith.
    3. Teachers in school who held me back.
    4. A preacher who pounced on me for having doubts or questions.
    5. Certain co-workers who silenced me or vetoed my ideas.
    6. Other __________.


6. Where have you found good soil, that is well-watered and cultivated, thus producing a harvest of hope that surprises you?

    1. I take care to cultivate a sensitive heart in myself and my children.
    2. I scatter seed widely at school or at work, looking forward to “Harvest Day.”
    3. I “don’t cast pearls (gems of wisdom) before swine”; my outreach is more targeted.
    4. My outreach is minimal; I keep most seeds to myself.
    5. Other __________.


7. As you open yourself up to the gospel seed that Jesus is planting in your heart, what specifically did you hear that applies today? Write down what you think the first NEW step should be.


Our Story

8. Who in this group do you want to thank for sharing their story today? Why was it important to you?


9. How do you need the group to help you take your first NEW step as described above?


10. As your group closes in prayer:

    1. Pray for those spiritual farmers you know who are spreading good news—that is, the seeds of hope and care.
    2. Pray for yourself that God would speak to you in ways that you understand.
    3. Pray that the understanding God grants you becomes part of your ongoing story.