Search Party

Day 1: I accept you.

Luke 15:1-2
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

________________________________________ 

As Jesus traveled and taught, he attracted many religious and cultural outcasts, such as lepers, people with disabilities, prostitutes, and the politically hated. He would often share meals with these people. In Jesus’ culture, to sit down and eat with someone was a sign of acceptance. Jesus was saying to these outcasts and sinners, “I accept you.” Everyone who followed Jesus would see the radical example he set. This ignited the religious teachers’ anger.

Today, examine your heart and ask God to reveal to you if there are people you have categorized as “outcasts” or too far gone for the love of God. Ask God to help you value them the way he does.

Day 2: Lost, but not forgotten.

Luke 15:8-10
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.”  In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.

________________________________________

As Jesus shared a meal with his followers, he heard the religious leaders discuss how they considered themselves more valuable than the sinful people Jesus accepted. In response, Jesus told a story that spoke a powerful truth about what the heart of God is like.

In this story, God is like the woman searching for the lost coin, and the lost coin is someone who doesn’t know Jesus. When one coin went missing, the woman left the nine coins to search, sweep, and clean until she found it. The coin was lost, but the woman never forgot about it. In fact, she dropped everything to find it and threw a party once it was found! In the same way, God has not forgotten you—you are searched after.

Where are you today? Do you feel forgotten by God? Share honestly with your group this week.

Whether you are close to Jesus, currently far from God, or somewhere in between, keep this truth in mind: You are not forgotten. God is searching for you. Ask him to help you see yourself through his eyes.

Day 3: A party for you.

Luke 15:9-10
And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.”  In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.

________________________________________

Jesus’ story about the woman searching for the lost coin is powerful because it is about real people and a real God. Jesus could teach about God’s heart for people because he lived it: he left heaven to start a search party for people who were lost. He became human, experienced all the pain people face, and gave his life up to save the very people who would reject him. He took on the worst darkness had to offer, and he won. Jesus began God’s search party so the lost would be found—including you!

When one person is found, heaven throws a party! God celebrates everyone who moves from lost to found, and he celebrates you. The search is on for more who are yet to be found.

Today, think about the party heaven threw for you when you were found. Ask God to remind you of the miracle and joy in moving from lost to found and to celebrate when others experience the same.

Day 4: Worth the search.

Luke 15:8-10
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.”  In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.

________________________________________

In Jesus’ story of the lost coin and the woman, the coin didn’t lose its value because it was lost. In fact, it was so valuable to her that the woman dropped everything to search for it.

In the same way, God never forgets the lost because they are so valuable to him. God doesn’t care how lost we are—our value is so great that we are worth sending a search party. It doesn’t matter the status society has placed on us—we belong to God. Just like the coin, our value isn’t determined by where we are or what we’ve done, but by whose we are.

Today, ask God to help you value yourself as he does, and also to value those people you may have written off as too far gone.

Day 5: Won't he?

Romans 8:32
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

________________________________________

It is tempting to let past rejections or perceptions of how a person could react keep us from sharing Jesus with others. Don’t buy into that lie! Don’t count anyone out. God will go to great lengths to reach people.

After all, didn’t God go to great lengths for you? Didn’t he drop everything to find you? Didn’t Jesus leave heaven, die, and rise again for you? Didn’t he meet you where you are? Didn’t he lead a search party to find you? Won’t he do the same for other people, too? Nothing is going to stop Jesus from fulfilling his mission!

What people in your life are you tempted to write off? If God was able to find you, won’t he do the same for others? Remind yourself how he found you. Then, ask God to help you persist in the search party for others who are lost.