In this message series, we look at God’s calling for us to sow for a great awakening in a valley of dry bones. In His Sovereignty, in His Power, in His Plan, for His Sake, for His Holy Name that the nations will know that He is the Lord when He is proven holy through His people (the Sanctuary Faith Family) before their eyes.

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Sowing for a Great Awakening | Ezekiel 36.23-28

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. Read Ezekiel 36.23-28 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this text?

2. How does God speak to you? When was the last time you felt Him speaking? What did He say? What did you do? What happened?

3. In your own words describe God’s Sovereignty.

4. Do a quick review of Scripture highlighting the different names used for God. Which Name means the most to you? Why?

5. How have you experienced the “holiness” of God?

6. In the text how does God say He will show His holiness?

7. God says He will show His holiness through you. In the last 48 hours, how has He displayed His holiness through you?

8. Reread verse 25. How is God bringing this text into being in your life? What idols is He removing? What idols are you fighting to hold onto?

9. What’s the difference between a “heart of flesh” and a “heart of stone.” How has your heart changed? Describe how a family member might testify to that change?

10. As you think about people in your life who are dry, weary, or even dead, how does this question impact you, “Do you think these dry bones can live?”

11. How will God be proved holy before the eyes of His enemies and those lost and far off? How do you see this happening now?

12. God is calling us to sow. Review the passages below. Which do you see happening now? Which do you feel God is calling you to step forward in faith?
Matthew 13
Galatians 6.7-9
2 Corinthians 9.6-9
2 Corinthians 9.10-11
Hosea 10.12
Psalm 126.5-6

13. Where, when, with whom have you sown with tears and experienced a harvest of joy?

14. When you watch the video of the baptisms how is your heart stirred? How does a video like this give you a clearer vision for the call to sow?

15. Is a Great Awakening possible in our land and in our day? Is it probable? If a Great Awakening were to occur, what would have to happen? What will your role be in sowing for a great awakening today?

Harvest is Plentiful | Matthew 9.35

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. Read Matthew 9 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in the story?

2. In the text, what was it that caused so many people to come to Jesus? What were they looking for from Him?

3. When you come to church, read your Bible, or do a devotional like this, what is your truest motive?

4. As you examine the people in the story, with whom do you most see yourself? How is Jesus engaging you right where you are?

  • Paralyzed Man
  • Men bringing the Paralyzed Man
  • Matthew the Hated Tax Collector
  • One of Matthew’s Friends at the Party
  • The Woman Who’s been Searching for aCure for 12 Years
  • Synagogue Ruler Looking for a Resurrection
  • Pharisees who didn’t like any of this
  • Disciples who Committed to Following Jesus,
  • Other Spectators along the Way

5. Jesus had “compassion” on them because they were “harassed and helpless.” What’s your best definition of compassion? How is compassion demonstrated in this story?

6. Describe a time when you felt “harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a Shepherd. How did Jesus show compassion toward you? How is Jesus showing compassion toward you today?

7. How do you see this text as being a potential starting point for the Church?

8. How does Jesus instruct His disciples to pray? How is the prayer answered?

9. In thinking about our call to travail in prayer and now to sow for a great awakening, what is the present implication for you?

10. What’s the difference between a disciple and an apostle? Where do you find yourself in this delineation?

11. Where do you sense you are being sent? To whom, when, where, why?

12. How do you see the harvest being made ready in your neighborhood? What’s your role in bringing in the harvest?

13. Review Psalm 126.5-6. What’s the implication of these verses in​ your life today?

Parable of the Sower | Matthew 13

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. Read the Parable of the Sower incarnationally, where do you find yourself in the story?

2. In the first few verses of the text, we see large crowds gathering around Jesus. Why were people gathering around Him? Why do you people gather around Him today? What prevents someone from coming to Jesus?

3. Why does Jesus speak in parables?

4. Jesus talks about the Kingdom in this parable, and in each of the parables in Matthew 13. What is the Kingdom of God? How does it operate? How do you see yourself as a citizen of His Kingdom? In the last week, how has the Kingdom dynamic been lived out in your life?

5. The message on Sunday highlighted four points Jesus made in this parable. What are they? What’s the implication of each?

6. Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about sowing for a great awakening. Answer and expound on the following:
Why are we doing this?

For whose benefit is a great awakening?

And what is an awakening anyway?

7. Read and respond to J.D. Walt’s description of awakening. Awakening is not a touch from God, as though all that was needed was a bit of healing and renewal. No, awakening is a totalizing invasion and infusion of Word and Spirit, the present in-breaking of the realm and ultimate reality of eternal life. We are not talking about the renovation of an old house into a better house. We speak not of renewal of life but the resurrection from death; dead bones coming to life. This is not a spiritual self-improvement program. This is a comprehensive shifting of the center of gravity in our lives, from sin and death to love and life.

The Word of God wills to be made flesh—to take on human skin. The Spirit of God wills to be made a breath, filling mortal bodies with miraculous life. No, awakening cannot be reduced to mere spiritual renewal. It happens when Word and Spirit come together to make gloriously visible the will of God in the working of human beings. J.D. Walt

8. Jesus takes the time to explain the parable of the sower. How does that in and of itself encourage you?

9. What’s your best definition of the “seed”?

10. Who was the primary sower of God’s Word in your life?

11. Who is the primary sower of God’s Word in your life today?

12. In the message, there was encouragement given to ensure that someone other than the pastors at Sanctuary being your primary sower. Why would that be so?

13. The soil is an important element in this story. There were three ways the soil was described, “hardened”, “shallow” and “cluttered.” Using the word “soul” instead of a “soil” describe the condition of your soul?

14. As you close this study read, reflect and respond to the following:
The Holy Spirit is not about creating cool environments for crafty religious experiences. The Holy Spirit creates corporate, collective, and even generational movement. Deeply personal? Yes. Profoundly communal? Yes. When enough of God’s people reach the threshold of honesty about their holy discontent, the movement begins to happen. Historians call it “revival.”…Revival begins not so much with lost sinners as it begins with saved sinners whose salvation has grown cold. True revival, given a wide berth, always holds the possibility of spilling into the broader culture. This is the stuff of awakenings.

Abide | John 15.1-8 | Acts 2

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. Read John 15 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in the story?

2. Describe a season in your life defined by abiding?

3. How practically do we abide in Jesus?

4. In what ways have you experienced “apart from Jesus you can do nothing.”

5. Our Faith Family seems pretty excited about “sowing for a great awakening.” In order for our neighborhood to be awakened,​ we are relying on God to move in and through our hearts into the hearts of those around us. Wouldn’t it be much easier if we could control the powers of awakening? How is not being able to control change actually changing you?

6. There is an “if” and “then” type progression in John 15. Describe.

7. In the last week, how has God’s Word been abiding in you?

8. Reread Isaiah 55.10-12. Note all the ways of God’s participation in awakening.

9. How have you witnessed God’s Word not returning empty? Are there relationships where you have planted seeds yet it appears they are empty? How do you wait patiently on His Word to bear fruit?

10. How are you experiencing fruit being produced in the places where you live, work, attend class, or play?

11. Read Isaiah 60. Summarize the passage using five words.

12. Read John 12.23-24. In what ways are you dying and yet experiencing new life?

13. What precipitates awakening? Give an example from your own experience.

14. Read Acts 2. Note at least five elements of awakening.

15. How do you see Peter as one who has been awakened? What died in him in order for fruit to be produced through him?

16. Read and reflect on John 15.7. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

17. If you abide in Him, and His Word abides in you, ask. What will you ask for? Who will join you in your prayer? How will you live while you pray?

Fallow Ground | Matthew 13.24-30 36-43 | Hosea 10.12-13

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. The weeds planted by the enemy looked very similar to the wheat planted by God. Has the enemy sown lies into your life that you have assumed are true?

2. What lies of the enemy have you overcome in your life?

3. Hosea 10:12 is a beautiful invitation for us to prepare our hearts for a greater awakening. What resonates with you about this verse today?

4. We talked about three realities we learn from fallow ground:
1) Break Ground Before Pulling Weeds 2) Dryness Precipitates Precipitation 3) Ancient Ways Are Key to Awakening. Which of these was most challenging to you?

5. Jeremiah 6:16 reminds us that breaking up our fallow ground is not something radically new or dramatic, but returning the “ancient paths” that have always led back to God. What are some of the spiritual disciplines that God has used to break up the fallow ground of your heart over the years?

6. What does it mean to you when you read Colossians 2:9-10 and are reminded that the fullness of God dwells in you? How does this truth shape your view of spiritual awakening?

7. How would you describe the spiritual awakening you have experienced over the years?

8. Only breaking up the surface of the soil can result in a “plow pan” being created below the surface that hinders future growth. Have you ever experienced spiritual plow pan in your life from going through spiritual motions instead of truly breaking up the fallow ground of your life?

9. Would God describe your life as a fallow life or a plowed life? Why?

10. How is God inviting you to break up your fallow ground this week?

11. How does the following quote from A.W. Tozer challenge you today? “The church that fears the plow writes its own epitaph; the church that uses the plow walks in the way of revival.”

Reap What You Sow | Galatians 6 | 2 Corinthians 9

By Sowing for a Great Awakening

1. As you begin this study, pray the prayer of awakening. “May it begin in me. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus.”

2. Read Galatians 6 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this text?

3. Do a quick overview of Galatia and the church of Galatia. Note when the church started, what it is known for, any primary challenges or strengths mentioned within the body. Also note why Paul wrote the letter, when and from where was it written.

4. Reflect and respond to our working definition for transformation: “A process of being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others.”

5. Where are you experiencing transformation? How is your transformation ‘for the sake of others’? Describe.

6. Reread verses 1-2. What’s the Biblical implication for us today, here and now? How do these verses get lived out in your life today?

7. Verse 4 mentions “comparison.” How were the Galatians comparing themselves to each other?

8. Tim Keller says the entire book of Proverbs can be summed up in verses 7-8. Is this an overstatement or absolute reality?

9. Describe a time in the last month where Galatians 6.7-8 played out. What were the consequences or implications of your sowing?

10. Dallas Willard said, “Every single case. The failure to attain a deeply satisfying life always has the effect of making sin look good.” Give an example from Scripture of how this statement is proved true.

11. What are the two primary ways you sow to the Spirit?

12. When/where/how are you most tempted to sow to the flesh?

13. How are you growing in your trust of our Faith Family when you are tempted to sow to the flesh?
Be specific.

14. Some writers believe that this portion of Galatians 6 deals primarily with church finances. Read verse 6 & 10.

15. Read 2 Corinthians 9.6-8. Where do you find yourself in these verses? What does “reap generously” actually mean in your life? What’s your greatest struggle in giving cheerfully? What is the ‘blessing’ that is promised in verse 8?

16. Reread verse 12-14. What are the inherent dangers Paul describes here?

17. Read and reflect on the writings of A.W. Pink. He wrote, “The greatest mistake made by people is hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone.”

18. The question was asked on Sunday, “Are we being in the world for God or are we being in God for the world?” What’s the difference? Isn’t this just semantics?

19. When have you ever said, or were motivated by the idea “I’m doing it all for God…”

20. It was said on Sunday that “The darkest of sin is boasting in the religious false self.” Is that true? If so, note how you have experienced this truth?

21. Review 1 John 4.17; Philippians 2.3-5; Philippians 2.17, 2 Timothy 4.6; Colossians 3.1-4. Using the tex,t what does it actually look like to be in God for the world? Describe.

22. Reread Galatians 6.15-18. What is Paul imploring?

23. Tim Keller writes, “The gospel changes what I fundamentally boast in – it changes the whole basis for my identity. Therefore, nothing in the whole world has any power over me – I am free at last to enjoy the world, for I do not need the world. I feel neither inferior to anyone nor superior to anyone, and I am being made all over into someone and something entirely new.”

24. When and how do you “boast” in Christ? How do you resist the temptation of boasting on what you are doing, vs. what Christ is doing in you and through you?

25. Will Willimon said, “Unable to preach Christ and him crucified, we preach humanity and it improved.” How have you seen this as truth in our world? How have you contributed to this kind of preaching or boasting? How is God leading you to a new truth of His Gospel?

26. J.D. Was writes, “Awakenings happen in eras when those of us who look out on the desperate need of our time finally realize the desperate need in ourselves. Awakening must begin with us. No, awakening must begin with me.” As you prepare to close this study, review the Sower’s Creed and spend a few minutes praying, “May it begin in me. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus.”

THE SOWER’S CREED

Today,
I sow for a great awakening.

Today,
I stake everything on the promise of the Word of God.
I depend exclusively on the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have the same mind in me that was in Christ Jesus.
Because Jesus is good news and Jesus is in me,
I am good news.

Today,
I will sow the extravagance of the Gospel
everywhere I go and into everyone I meet.

Today,
I will love others as Jesus has loved me.

Today,
I will remember that the tiniest seeds become the tallest trees;
that the seeds of today become the shade of tomorrow;
that the faith of right now becomes
the future of the everlasting kingdom.

Today,
I sow for a great awakening.