UNIT ONE: THERE’S STILL SOMEONE
I WANT YOU TO MEET
OPENING: Just one
more. It’s a standard line of commercials and the death of
diets. Potato chips have famously been sold with the challenge that
you can’t eat just one, you’ll need more. The TV detective
show of the 1970’s Columbo had a staple line of the
detective Columbo turning at the door when you thought he was done.
Then he would ask, “Just one more thing.” Just one more clue
would solve the case.
Biblically, God loves this same pattern. In
our three part study we’ll see how often God turns back with just
one more. He has one more person for us to meet, one more
miracle to perform, one more day to spend. People, actions,
time, they’re all in abundance beyond what we expect.
Let’s start with one more person to
meet. My mother was never ready to leave any gathering. After
church, we were the last to go and literally turned out the lights
in the narthex. If there was one more person to talk with,
Mom would talk. By the way, my Dad left almost immediately
and would wait patiently in the car for Mom to get done.
Who have you known, or maybe you’re
that person, who is always ready to meet one more
What would that person’s favorite
place be to meet as many people as possible?
STUDY: READ LUKE
We would think the story is done. The prodigal
son has returned home and this third parable of the set in Luke 15
can end just as the other two did, the lost sheep and the lost
coin. But just one more. The younger son is back, so
let’s celebrate. But the father can’t celebrate without the older
son being with them. One son is still lost, the one who has
been with him all this time. But he is as lost as the
younger, lost in plain sight.
Who is still lost in plain sight today? This
one might even complain that he has been with the Father all this
time. But now there might have come a barrier of celebration,
or the unwelcome return of an old rival. It is fine when
there’s no one else, but the joy of God over someone else is too
much. Perhaps he is like a nervous child who worries that the
Father’s love can’t be multiplied, only divided. And division will
leave less for him or her.
What does this tell us about the
hunger of God for even those who are in plain sight but still
standing outside the celebration?
When might God find these older
brothers, so near, with such a long history of being with Him and
yet, so distant at this moment? Why is the celebration still
not complete without them?
The older son shows the closest relationship
in a family and is someone we had already met at the start of the
parable. We might have almost expected the son to join in the
celebration. But what about someone who is all new to us? God
has a wider range of friends than any Facebook champion. His
mutual friend list must be enormous and his list of friends
suggested to us would never end.
Imagine the one who is the connecting glue in
relationships. Who do you know is the middle ground
between people, the one who is always glad to connect two
READ LUKE 24:13-35
This is the great day, Easter! Think of
all that Jesus has to do, all the places to go, all the people to
see, and even the well-deserved time to himself. Who will he spend
his day with? Peter, James, John, his mother Mary, Mary
Magdalene, those all make sense.
But he introduces us to two more, two men we
have never seen before. We need the name of one, Cleopas, and the
other remains anonymous. But we have to meet them! Jesus can’t
spend this most crucial day with bringing these two into the story.
And, this is not a momentary meet-and-greet, ten-second photo
op. It appears that it takes hours for them to journey, talk,
listen to his thorough Old Testament commentary, and then eat. In
these hours, these words and the breaking of the bread, it all
finally comes clear to them. Their surprise confirms some of our
own expectations. Jesus, even if he is raised, wouldn’t be
here with these men!
What was so important about these men
and this opportunity that Jesus would spend much of his day with
What does their inclusion say about
God’s continuing desire to lavish precious time, special days, and
crucial moments on those who aren’t looking for
So far, we’ve had one angry son who may or may
not want to be found and two men who never imagined that God was
seeking them out. Let’s swing the pendulum the farthest now
and find a man who is dead-set on staying away from
READ ACTS 9:1-9
Did you expect God to find a thirteenth
apostle? After Judas died, we could expect God to fill the vacancy
as he does in Acts 1. But in seeking Judas’ replacement, note that
the qualifications are someone who has been with the disciples
since the beginning, obviously someone who has been for them, not
against them, Acts. 1:21-22. So even if you could imagine a
thirteenth apostle, wouldn’t he be someone who knows the story of
Jesus personally and has shown his servant’s heart?
But a murdering Pharisee? A man who
wasn’t personally acquainted with Jesus? A man who had seen
none of his miracles, heard none of his teaching, but had done his
utmost to destroy those who had? If we don’t need a thirteen
apostle, we certainly don’t need him to be this man, Saul/Paul.
Why would God choose a thirteen
apostle when twelve is such a biblically complete number, a perfect
parallel to the twelve tribes of Israel?
Why would God chose this thirteenth
to be one chosen so late, one who didn’t know Jesus or the other
apostles and was so violently opposed to the Gospel? (See 1
Corinthians 15:3-11 and 1 Timothy 1:12-16 for part of your
So God seeks one more. In a way, all of
these men are lost and then found. Consider how God seeks and
finds these men and how they share and also differ in their being
Did they all look to be found and
expect that the Father would look for them?
Did they immediately and clearly
contribute to the Father’s work so that finding them made
What does it say about God’s hunger
for one more person that he would seek to include these men in his
APPLY: When you think of
that person who is most eager to talk with someone new, do you want
to be that person yourself, or do you want to be the one they can’t
wait to talk with?
With God, the good news is that we are
both. We are the ones he truly wants to share with, to share
more words, more time, more change.
What does his appetite for more time,
teaching, and experiences say about the relationship He wishes to
have with you?
But we are also the people who can seek one
more. Consider the patience of the Father who left the party
to find his son, and the patience of Jesus who walked on that
Easter day with men who didn’t recognize him.
Who is waiting for your patient walk?
Who might be on the outside of the party, but yet reachable to
Blessings to you as you are both the one God
seeks and as the one who does his seeking.
UNIT TWO: DON’T YOU HAVE ONE
OPENING: Do it
again! Every three year old says it, every parent dreads
it. You pulled off a great trick, showed a little effort, had
a little danger even. And your three year old says, “Do it
again!” Maybe you do, with a prayer that it works
twice. But don’t fool yourself that two will be enough. There
is no “enough” for a three year old. The only safe answer is
“No, that’s enough.”
In our second session, we’ll be surprised that
God doesn’t just say, “That’s enough.” We want more. More
miracles, more drama, more steps in his story. It would make
sense that he would say, “NO!” After all, our ways are not
his ways, and our childish understanding of his thoughts are never
going to set his agenda. Yet our texts will show the several
times when he does more than we would have imagined.
To get started, discuss with your group this
appetite we have for one more act, one more song, one more
When have you wanted the performers
to keep on going—the concert should have one more song, the movie
should have another scene, and maybe a whole sequel, the TV show
should never have been cancelled but should have had at least one
If you had gotten one more song,
scene, or season, would it have been enough?
READ JOHN 20:30-31
John says, in essence, “I could tell you so
much more…” Well then, tell us, please! I can’t imagine
any Christian saying, “No, thanks, we’ve heard enough.” We
would be glad to hear more miracles, more Sermons on the Mount,
more confrontations with your enemies. Tell us!
Of course, John tells us why there’s no
more. He’s building faith above all. Faith is not an endless
appetite. Faith is trust that enough is enough. And so, we would
expect these to be the last words of the book.
But now, read John 21:1-14. Another
miracle! Just when we had given up hope and we weren’t even
asking, John volunteers one more. But this might not be
the miracle we expected, simply more fish. This had already
been done at the start of their life together, Luke 5:1-11.
Consider this parallel set of miracles:
Why might John include this last
miracle, even after he said that he had told us enough for our
Why might the disciples have
especially valued this miracle of fish as a return to the beginning
and a chance to start over?
READ ROMANS 5:1-5
I would be happy to stay at verse 1. All
is well with being justified by faith and surrounded by the peace
of God. Let’s just stay like this. But then, verse 3,
God says, “There’s more.” When a TV commercial promises us
there’s more, we usually get more of the same thing, a second,
smaller knife, another tube of the same caulk. But here God gives
us something completely different. We move from peace to
Why give us something more when we weren’t
asking for it? Why move us from relatively idle to very
active? In receiving grace and the gifts of justification and
peace, we do nothing but exercise the faith which is a gift in
itself from God. But now trouble comes and we are called to
rejoice, to endure, to demonstrate approved character.
Why would God make this key step
forward when we’re not asking for anything more?
Why would God make these such active
steps—endurance and demonstrating approved character—when we had
gotten used to receiving salvation as a gift?
We had it exactly counted. The 144,000 were
the whole number, the 12 tribes of the Old Testament times the 12
of the New Testament apostles times the number 1000, the number of
numerical completion for the Greeks. It all made sense and was even
a number that we could imagine.
It’s a bit like going on a bus trip in high
school where you have three buses, 144 students, and three
mother/chaperones standing in front of each bus. The mothers
are checking off the names on their checklist as students get on.
We’re not leaving until everyone is on the bus and the right
But then what happens when v. 9
comes? After all the neat organization, all the
symmetry and predictability, verse 9 says there are more. But
these are not a mere, single, forgotten tribe, or another neat
multiplied New Testament apostle. Here is a crowd such as we’ve
never imagined, beyond counting, from every nation and tribe.
Who would expected this? But perhaps it’s like
our bus trip again. Imagine that we have driven for four
hours and it’s time to stop for lunch as the combination truck
stop/McDonald’s in Ohio. You’re standing in line with a
stranger who asks where you’re going. He thinks this sounds
like a great trip and asks if he can go too. You bring him to
the mom/chaperone at the door of the bus and ask if your new friend
can come too.
What does every normal mom/chaperone
say when someone wants to take along a “friend” just found at a
But what different response might we
find from God when we bring a new-found friend to the doors of
faith and eternal life?
Why does God show us the company of
heaven as both a clearly known and counted number and also as a
number beyond all our knowing?
APPLY: When we have
asked for more, God has often said, “No, that’s enough.” But
here we’ve had three times when he has shown his work and power, in
and through us, and also beyond our doing.
When you have asked for God to do
more of what you have already seen? What might he have been ready
to show and do that is beyond our first request?
When might this something more change
us? How might we go from being those who receive his gifts by
the faith to being those who exercise these gifts?
UNIT THREE: THERE’S STILL
OPENING: An old
country song by Diamond Rio sings about One More
Day. It’s a wonderful idea that we might enjoy just one
more day together, one more meal, one more sunset to be
watched. We’ve all wanted that time and maybe we’ve even
In our last section of this study, we’ll focus
on the extension of time that God gives. He’ll surprise us
with time that comes to those who are looking for it and have no
reason to expect his extension. But perhaps that is the very
essence of God, the eternity of time and his lavish use of it.
To get started, let’s think about that one
When have you wanted just one more
day? Who was it with? What did you want to
On the other hand, when have you had
just enough of a time, a good time? For example, when did the
vacation end at just the right time and you were glad to go
READ LUKE 10:25-37
Here is a story that already has more than we
expect. Once the Samaritan stops to help the man, we’re already
impressed. Compared to the heartless priest and Levite, the
Samaritan has done more than we would have thought of him.
But then, wait, there’s more. He not only stops, but he dares
to dress the man’s wounds there in the dangerous spot of the road.
That could be enough in itself, and we wouldn’t fault the man for
getting out of a dangerous place as quickly as he can.
But this man has an abundance of mercy and
time. He loads the man on his donkey, knowing that this will
slow him down and prolong his time on the dangerous road. But
beyond that, he then goes to the inn and spends the evening caring
for him. Certainly caring for an injured stranger wasn’t on
his to-do list at the start of that day.
But there is even more. When he leaves,
he promises the inn keeper that he will return to pay for the
future debts of the man. What an amazing commitment of time
and money! Perhaps the wounded man, waking up in the inn, was
astonished and wished for one more day of such care, but who would
imagine that such a day would be volunteered by this stranger.
When have you seen this type of care,
this lavish abundance of time and effort?
Was the caregiver a professional
going beyond the call—such as a nurse who stayed beyond her
shift? Or, was the caregiver doing this just for the joy and
love of caring?
When is this limitless giving
especially needed? Will it be known and appreciated or, as
with the man here who might have been unconscious, will the help
come without any thanks?
READ 2 PETER 3:1-9
So far we’ve used the idea that we want one
more day, one more time. However in this text of 2 Peter, we
find people who want no more time. They are the scoffers asking
when this coming of God will be. They don’t want another day.
They are daring God to end time right now.
Imagine them standing before an empty, blue
sky, looking as far as they can into the heavens. To their mocking
stare, there’s nothing and no one there. But then note the
warnings in vv. 5-7, warnings that take us back to Noah and the
flood. Imagine how often scoffers mocked Noah under clear
skies, asking when the flood would come. Those scoffers died
under that 40 days of rain. However, the next coming won’t be with
the relative patience of 40 days and water, but with fire and that
in an instant. Be careful, scoffers, of complaining under
blue skies for a coming you think is past due!
But God has one more day. Note how the
abundance of time in v. 8 where one day is as a thousand years and
so also in reverse. Our sense of delayed time is nothing to
God who lives in the timeless eternity. This might leave us
worrying that God has no sense of time, no purpose for these
Verse 9 however makes it all clear.
There is a purpose for God’s timing. He is in a race with his
children, whether they know it or not.
How do you race a three year old? Race a
three year old a hundred feet—Ready, Set, Go! (They will always
cheat and go on “Set” but that’s racing a three year old for
you.) How do you run? What do you say to three year
old? How close do you stay to her? How much do you let her
So now this is the purpose of God’s delay, his
extended one more day. He is in a race with his children,
running at what seems like a slow pace, only to let his children
come ahead him.
When have you wished God would hurry
along and bring the end right now—no extra day
While we’re ready, at least some
days, for the end of time, who is someone that God is still waiting
How might that person come to know
that God is patiently pacing himself in order that she might be
saved child before the end comes?
APPLY: One more has
been our theme. One more person, one more miracle, one more
day. Put these three themes together with our desire for
When we want more from God—another
miracle, more time—what is His overall response: (It could
certainly be more than just one of the following four
You’ve got enough
already—stop asking and be thankful
Just wait—you’ll be
surprised by what’s coming
Look around, there’s more
already here than you’ve seen
Don’t complain—look at
how much you have than others.