Greater Horizon

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In this week’s sermon, Andy Saperstein taught from the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4:1-42. He shared that God’s “horizon” is always greater than ours, and that it is this horizon that defines his plan for all people. In the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, we see a beautiful example of how to look at the world from God’s horizon. Today, we have the marvelous opportunity to love the modern-day Samaritans (people who look and sound different than us), but we are faced with fears and obstacles: We surrender to social and cultural expectations; we are bogged down by our own habits and routines; we fail to be watchful and attentive to the people and circumstances around us; we fear tainting our image and our doctrinal purity; and we fear growth and change. Opportunities may appear randomly or unexpectedly, but acting upon them is rarely “natural,” and it involves intentionality, inconvenience and vulnerability. Let us lift up our eyes and see who God sees beyond our default community and see the world from God’s horizon.

These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
2. Do you enjoy meeting new people?
3. Do you speak any foreign languages?
4. Briefly share about an experience where you got to experience another culture.
5. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were an “outsider”? Explain.
6. What are some reasons that it is often easier for us to be around people who are similar to us?

1. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.

2. Read Luke 10:25-37:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

  • What is the first question that the expert in the law asks Jesus? What do you think his motive was in asking this question?
  • How does Jesus answer this first question? How does his answer compare with your personal understanding of how one inherits eternal life?
  • Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan in response to what question?
  • Who are the main characters in the parable? What do we know about them?
  • Compare and contrast the Samaritan in this parable with the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42.
  • What can we learn from the words and actions of this good Samaritan?
  • How does Jesus define “neighbor” in this passage?
  • In light of this passage, have you been a good “neighbor”?

3. At the end of the sermon, Andy challenged the church to take the following steps to help us lift up our eyes and extend our horizon. Take a few minutes during group to read over each of these ideas. Which of these can you see yourself doing? Do you have any other ideas to add to this list? Can you commit to living out just one of these ideas this week?

  • Introduce yourself to someone you do not know when you come to church.
  • Invite someone outside your natural social circles and/or significantly different than you (in nationality, ethnicity, religion, education, income, values, background) over for a meal.
  • Go to places where people different from you shop, eat and congregate (ethnic restaurants, Salvation Army, etc.) and ask God to open your heart to the people you encounter.
  • Talk to someone who has served long-term overseas, support someone who serves overseas, or become someone who serves overseas.
  • Visit the tables in the lobby and look for specific ways to get involved with work that others have already begun. These tables will be available on the following weekends: 10/24-25 and 10/31-11/1.