Editor’s Note: This daily Next Step resource is based on a four-part sermon series,
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go … with Jesus!”
from Trinity Lutheran in Clinton Township, Michigan.
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, sometimes it’s hard to ask for dependence.
I value independence. I want to be self-sufficient. I like to be strong.
But I want more than “the best I can do on my own.”
I want what only You can give me.
Teach me to depend on you, Jesus; not only for my eternal salvation, but for the needs of my daily life, and the faith that trusts You above all else.
Send your Spirit to give me the gift of dependence. Amen.
Read Luke 9:1-6
Talk about one thing you remember from the sermon on Sunday. Brainstorm together, check your sermon notes, or phone a friend.
For further discussion: How would you define dependence? Think of what you see in the media, reporting of current events, or your favorite movies or TV shows: is being dependent on other people for everything usually portrayed as a good thing or a bad thing? How does that shape what you experience in your relationship with Jesus?
Pray the Prayer for the Week.
Read Philippians 3:3-11
On a sheet of paper, list the things in the reading for today that Paul can be proud of. Why does he not boast in these things? What does he want?
On your own sheet of paper, list achievements in your life that you can be proud of. Hold that paper as you thank God for the gift of your achievements.
Then consider what is most important to Paul (and to you). Not because achievements are bad, but because they can get in the way of depending only on Jesus, crumple up your list and toss it in the garbage. Pray with empty hands that the Spirit would fill you with Jesus.
Read Judges 6:11-16
Talk about a time when you felt like the “weakest of the least,” like Gideon did, but you were still asked to do something important. What emotions did that feeling of inadequacy bring up? What happened next?
Are the feelings that go with dependence usually “good” feelings, or “bad” feelings? Can you think of a situation where dependence would feel good?
Talk to God about emotions you have experienced so far this week. Then pray the Prayer for the Week.
Read Judges 6:1-7:25
Look at the rest of Gideon’s story in Judges, chapters 6 and 7. In what ways does the story show Gideon’s dependence on God? On a half sheet, draw three boxes. Sketch three scenes from the story of Gideon that show his dependence, God’s action, and the result. (Don’t think of this as art; imagine story-boarding the plot of a TV episode.)
On a different half sheet, story-board something in your life that demonstrates dependence. In three boxes, sketch three scenes that show God at work in your life. Share your story-board with a friend.
Read Luke 18:15-17
Get out some baby pictures. Find one of you, or of your kids or grandkids, and share it—put it on social media or hand it around your group. If you are meeting with friends, have everyone bring a baby picture and put them all together: see if you can guess who is who.
When Jesus blesses the “little children” in Luke 18, people were literally bringing Him “babes in arms.” In Jesus’ time, children had potential, but little actual value, because they were so dependent on someone else for absolutely everything.
Jesus says, unless you come to the Kingdom needing absolutely everything from Someone else, you just can’t get in.
Talk about what it means for you to receive the Kingdom like a tiny child this week.
Pray the Prayer for the Week.
Have you ever had a favorite pet? What did they depend on you for? What’s your favorite animal? The Psalms talk about wild animals showing dependence on God. How do you see dependence when you observe the animal kingdom? What can we learn from these animals when it comes to our trust and dependence on God?
Explore the Bible and find some places that reference animals. (Psalm 104 is a good place to start; or Google “animals in the Bible.”)
Choose one animal that interests you. Do a little research on that animal. On the front of a 4×6 card, write the name of your animal, sketch or paste a picture of your animal, and list some of the facts about your animal’s habitat and behavior. On the back, write out the Bible verse that mentions your animal. Use that verse as a prompt for prayer.
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