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 compassion. Showing mercy is hard work. Having compassion makes me vulnerable; and I don’t like that!
Besides, I am so busy, and there is so much going on … but I don’t want to justify myself. I want to rely on You.
Please open my eyes to small, everyday acts of mercy that share Your heart with the people You have placed around me.
Send your Spirit to give me the gift of mercy and compassion in action. Amen.
On a sheet of paper brainstorm 10 ways you could love the Lord your God with all your soul and all your mind and all your strength this week. Then come up with 10 ideas for loving your neighbor in concrete ways in the next several days. Circle 3 from each list to implement this week, share with a friend, and check back in on Saturday to see how your Faith Experiment went.
Pray the Prayer for the Week.
Read Luke 10:25-37
Why do you think the expert in the law “wanted to justify himself?” Why did he ask, “And who is my neighbor?”
In the story Jesus tells, all of the “good guys” have legitimate, even holy reasons for avoiding an injured man who could already be dead. The Samaritan has to cross very ingrained and even violent racial and religious barriers to be a neighbor to the man.
In national coverage of current events, where have you seen people use legitimate or even holy reasons to justify not helping? In what ways have you seen people cross racial barriers to show mercy?
What does showing mercy mean right now?
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Print out Ephesians 2:1–10 (or use your own Bible). In one color, highlight or underline everything in these verses that we do or have done. Then in a second color, highlight or underline everything God does or has done. Go back and circle all the words that are synonyms of compassion, words like “mercy,” or “kindness,” or “grace.”
What did you learn from your Faith Experiment? Pray the Prayer for the Week.
Read Ephesians 2:1-10 (again)
How does the story of salvation play out in these verses? What was the old status of the world? What is the new status of those who are in Christ? How was that resolution achieved?
What kinds of things does Ephesians 2:1–10 lead you to confess? What does it lead you to rejoice in? What does it lead you to expect?
On Monday, you chose 3 ways to love God and love your neighbor this week; how does this reading make you think of those things differently?
Read Micah 6:6-8
Divide a half sheet of paper into three sections with a dark triangle. Label the sections, “act justly,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with your God.”
Add names of specific people or particular prayer requests to these sections, using dividing lines to distinguish each new thought. Your sheet will begin to look like a spider web or a stained glass window, one section for each of your topics for prayer. (You can see an example or even print your own copy here.)
Use colored pencils, markers, or crayons to shade in or add a design to each of the segments as you lift that petition up to God in prayer. Take your time. Come back to this half-sheet again later if you wish. Spend time praying about specific people or personal needs in each of the areas on your sheet.
Then pray the Prayer for the Week.
Read Luke 10:25-37 (again)
Did anything different strike you about this reading this time around? Discuss.
You chose 3 ways to love God and 3 ways to love your neighbor in concrete ways this week. How did it go? What worked and what didn’t? What did you learn? What was Jesus up to in this experiment?
As a family or with a friend, explore some of the options for compassion in your area. Talk about what kind of volunteer work sounds interesting or engaging. Sign up together for one day of service this summer; look for how those acts of compassion work in you and in your relationship.
Having trouble finding options? Check out https://trinityct.org/engage-the-world/impact-missions/.
© 2020, Next Step Press: We help you take a next step.