Following on from my previous posts about mission we used the Sundays leading up to Easter to run a short series called ‘Finding your way back to God’. This was based on the book by Jon and Dave Ferguson. However, as well as the book itself they produce sermon outlines, powerpoint sides, testimony videos to use in the sermons, videos to explain the main points to those preparing sermons, small group resources and other things.
It is very well put together, and although obviously produced in the US, has a feel that works well in the UK as well.
Week 1: Awakening to Longing.
We all have a longing to love and to be loved; we want to find purpose for our days and to make sense of life (even when it doesn’t seem to make any sense). That longing is from God and intended to lead us back to him.
Week 2: Awakening to regret
When we try and fulfil our longings for love, purpose and meaning on our own, we find disappointment. The regret we feel can either lead to more longing and regret, or inspire us to seek help. We don’t have to waste time on regret, self-condemnation or feeling stuck; we can let the disappointment move us in God’s direction.
Week 3: Awakening to help
Until we admit that we are powerless on our own to find fulfilment in life we will never truly find our way back to God. You might try to change but we need help to get out of the cycle of longing, disappointment and regret. You need help. Help has a name, his name is Jesus and every time you turn away from self-centeredness and pride, he will be there to rescue, strengthen and guide you.
Week 4: Awakening to love
We experience the irresistible love of God in Jesus when we return home to our Father. As we awaken to God’s love, we can trust in God and believe in his faithful care through the ups and downs of life. God’s love has the power to heal us, change us and motivate us to serve him with our whole lives. We never need to let doubt or discouragement take away what we know to be true of God or our identity in him.
Week 5: Awakening to life
You have turned around and asked the Father for help. The awakening to life brings with it unexpected influence and opportunities – because Jesus is alive in you, and that changes everything. Hope instead of despair, love instead of hate, purpose instead of confusion. Let’s work together to help others find their way back to God.
The heart of the series is to help those who have not become Christians to explore doing so. The first week invites participants to pray, “God, if you are real then make yourself real to me”. But as well as helping those on the edges of church life to discover more it is a great way to help a church develop a culture of invitation and mission. We may want to use a variety of ways to communicate God’s grace and love but we all want to help people find their way back to God.
If you fancy using the series you can find out more from the website and download the materials yourself.