Main Idea
Understanding grace is the key to moving from exploring God to knowing God.

Would you rather win a free all-expense paid vacation or be this year’s top employee and earn the prize trip?

This weekend we learned that a survey of the members of over 500 churches revealed four phases in the process of knowing God.

Exploring God   →  Beginning with God   →   Close to God   →   God-Centered

Which of these phases do you identify with most currently and why?

This week, we are focusing on the first phase of Exploring God. The key concept to understand in this phase is grace: receiving something that we have not earned and do not deserve. If people want to be offered grace so badly, why can it be hard to receive it?

If you have already been through this phase, what allowed you to receive God’s grace?

What does the Bible say?
Read Mark 4:1-9

What would be some words you would use to describe the sower in Jesus’s parable? What does this tell us about how God approaches people?

Read Mark 4:10-20

God’s word is “sown” generously in our lives. What are some common ways that you have ignored it or have had it “stolen away” from you?

Apply the message
Grace is central to every phase of our relationship with God. We were challenged as a church to memorize Ephesians 2:8-9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

If you’re having trouble receiving God’s grace, put this verse in plain sight this week and make a point to talk about it with someone you trust.

Just as we have been given grace, we should give it freely. What’s one way you can show grace to others this week?

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