Saturday, September 26, 2009

October 4, 2009

Scriptures for October 4th : Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26, Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

Job: Was Job a real person, or was he a character. Who knows, but what we do know is that he gives a lesson of faith. He gives us a lesson of learning to have faith in God in the midst of all circumstances. Actually we learn from all of the characters in the story. His wife, his friends, even the voice of God. For the next 4 weeks we will hear parts of this story. Perhaps for your study, you can read the entire story. Job loses everything that we deem to be important to life, his livelihood, his health, his family. I takes him a minute and some deep conversation, but he comes through it. Would we be so lucky?

Hebrews: We don’t know who wrote this book, or even who it was written for. But I would say that it is one of the best books of the new testament. It is some very powerful writing. It is a reminder of why Jesus is so great. Why should we worship his as the Christ. Because he loves us enough to reveal the nature of God in ways that we can understand. Jesus is the best thing that ever happen to the world. And there will never be anyone equal. So we need to get the most that we can out of the experience of knowing Jesus, and what and who he taught us to be.

Questions: Pay close attention to the words of Job’s wife – why don’t you curse God and die? Does that sound like something that we all feel in our heart about faith? If we were going to write a modern story of the wisdom of faith, what character would we use? What situations? How do you give praise to Jesus for your life? Is the book of Hebrews still important? Why or why not?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 27, 2009

Scriptures for September 27th: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

James:. The theme for this week and next week seems to be healing. A reminder that healing comes from God. So it is important that we pray for God to bring healing. James implores the elders of the church to gather around someone to pray for them when they are sick. But you don’t have to have any special gifts to pray – just a trust that God hears and that God will answer. James believes that God will answer your prayers because you are righteous, not because you are gifted. What are our notions of healing today? What role does the doctor play? What role does faith play in healing?

Mark: In the midst of Jesus awareness that he is making “the trip”. That is the trip to his destiny at the cross. Jesus has continued his ministry of healing. He had healed individuals, and now he is healing situations. He asks us to think of ways that we are a hindrance to healing. Not for ourselves, but for others. How are we unintentionally a stumbling block for others to listen to the word of God for themselves. How does our opinion of the church prevent others from coming to church. Jesus warns that it is very dangerous to let our judgments prevent others from coming to God. But how to we get in touch with the way we stand in the way of others?
Questions: How we do help others see God for themselves? What do we believe about healing? What role does God play in our healing? How is Paul’s view of healing different from what we see in James? When are we compelled to pray for others?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 20. 2009

Scriptures for September 20th: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1, James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a,
Mark 9:30-37

Unlike Paul who writes to a specific congregation about a specific issue, James writes to all Christians in general. This week we are reminded that there is always an internal battle within us between what is right and what it wrong. We are always having to ballet between doing what the Bible says and doing what the world says. When we listen to the bible, we get a message of peace, gentleness, willingness, and righteousness. When we listen to the world we get a message of envy and self ambition. How can we possibly choose between to the two sets of values?

Jesus continues to talk to the disciples about death, about his death. This is a hard conversation for anyone to talk about. But Jesus knows that when he dies, their work just begins. And he has a lot to teach them before that point in life comes. He disciples are fighting about who is the greatest among them. Once again Jesus helps them understand that greatness in the kingdom of God is not like greatness in the world. Children are the greatest in the kingdom of God, Are they the greatest in the church?

Questions: Who is not welcome in our churches? What barriers prevent them from coming? What barriers prevent us from realizing that they are excluded? How do we get in touch with our own jealousy and anger and self ambition? When we see it, what do we do about it?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September 13, 2009

Breaking Open the Scriptures
Scriptures for September 13th: Proverbs 1:20-33, Psalm 19, James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38

Proverbs: There are some people who have a problem with wisdom being depicted as a woman. Wisdom says that she has been around since the beginning of time. She was a playmate of logos – Jesus as the word of God. Wisdom is those things that we learn from experience in life. Things that you can’t be told, you have to learn for yourselves. Wisdom is the foundation of faith. This verse reminds us that wisdom is present everywhere, even in the streets, we just have to be astute enough to recognize it when we see it. If we do recognize it, we also recognize the presence of God everywhere we go.
Mark: Jesus has gathered the disciples together, and now he has completed his public teaching and it is time for him to journey to Jerusalem. But not without one final lesson. Who is the Christ, and why has he been doing these things? There are many rumors about Jesus and what he does. But is takes a true disciple to see his identity closely. Up until now, Jesus had told everyone to tell no one who has healed them. Now it is time for his true identity to be revealed. When Jesus says that he must suffer, it is too much for the disciples. Why would their hero suffer? Why would the chose as a hero someone who must die? Because it says so in Isaiah about the suffering servant. And Jesus must fulfill the scriptures in order to transform their meaning.
Questions: If you had to give wisdom a face, what would it look like? Do you see the presence of God in your day? What makes you recognize God’s presence? What do you think of having a suffering messiah? Does that make him more or less human? Who is Jesus Christ to you?