Sunday, October 31, 2010

November 7, 2010

Scriptures for November 7th – All Saints Day – Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149, Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31 Theme: Looking behind, Moving forward

Ephesians: This book reminds us that everything that we have comes from God: Our identity, our mission, our inheritance, our future. Where would we be now if it was not for the Lord? It is important for us to keep Christ first in all of our thoughts and decisions. The way you feel about Christ, determines the way that you feel about others. It also determines how you live out your life. Put Christ first, and everything else will fall into place. To be a saint, is not to be perfect, not to be dead, but to be willing to put Christ first.

Luke: This is the sermon on the mount, the most famous verses in the New Testament. It tells us the even though we suffer through life now, we will be comforted. Even though we mourn the loss of loved ones today, in time it will all make sense. We don’t have to rely on ourselves to do anything, God will take care of it in time. As we continue to think about what it means to be a saint, we can reflect on whether we have these qualities in our life: love, meekness, peace loving, willing to give in all circumstances. Only if we do, do we inherit the kingdom of God.

Questions: What inheritance has Christ promised us? What opportunities have you had to put aside what you wanted to do, to do what Christ asked you to do? If Christ is the head, what is our role as the body of Christ? What are the things in your life that you are waiting for Christ to change? What are your challenges in being able to love everyone?

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 31, 2010

Scriptures for October 31st: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4; 11-12; Luke 19:1-10 Theme: the time has come to see God’s vision clearly.

Habakkuk: It is a prophet’s job to pass on God’s word to the people. But a prophet’s job is also to pass on to God the concerns of the people. We don’t know much about who Habakkuk was, and we actually will only deal with his message this one time. What we do know is that he lived during the same time that Jeremiah was a prophet. He too understood the hopelessness and the violence of his age. He told the people that he would stand watch until God spoke the vision to him. And then he would make the vision plain for even the simplest person to see. Where is our vision present today?

Luke: Last week we all recognized the importance of humbling ourselves before God and being able to admit that we are sinners. How do we stand before God in the midst of our sin? We confess who we are, and accept God’s forgiveness. The story of the tax collector, Zaccheus, standing in a tree to see Jesus is a story of a sinner standing before God. Jesus enters into his life, even in the midst of all that he has done wrong and comes to Zaccheus’ house for dinner.

Questions: Do you see God’s vision for your life in the midst of the chaos? Who are the prophets who can voice the concerns of today clearly? What are the questions about the situation in the world that you would like to have answered by God? What would you do differently in your life if you knew that Jesus was coming to dinner? How do you stand before God and confess your sins? Do we stand in the way of those who are seeking a glimpse of Jesus?

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 24, 2010

Scriptures for October 24th: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Theme: We have to stand before God with all of our actions someday.

2 Timothy: We reach the last words of Paul’s advice to Timothy and all of the other elders of the church. In some ways it seems like he is giving up, saying that there is no hope, people will never change. He says I have “fought the good fight”. He has done all that he can do. But what he is really doing is passing on his duties. He wants those behind him to carry on his work. He says that he has poured out his life as a libation- he has giving all that he is to the cause. He will never give up on God and God’s mission

Luke: When we do our best for God, we can easily get mislead that that means something. We are good people, and we want our reward from God. We can lose track that is not how we get rewarded from heaven, and that is really not what God is looking for. Being Good is not being faithful. It is when we realize that we are sinners, and we have all done something wrong that we can come to God in humble prayer. Two men come to the temple to pray, one is looking for praise, one is looking for forgiveness – which one are you?

Questions: What does it mean to pour yourself out as a libation? How do you give your whole self to God? Who is there for you to pass your work onto? How do you pass it on, and still keep serving God yourself? What type of prayer life do you have? Do you pray daily or when you need something? Does God owe you, or do you owe God? Do you remember to ask God for forgiveness? Once again how often?

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 17, 2010

Scriptures for October 17th: Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8; Theme: Getting to know God for myself, not through someone else.

2 Timothy: We have one more week of advice from Timothy. This week Paul tells us to keep the faith that we have learned as a child. When we go out in the world, they will try to convince us that it has gone out of style. People will make up their own gospels and feel quite proud for doing so. They will create their own truth. There is only one truth, and that is God’s truth. Hold on to it. It may bring you suffering, but it will also bring you ultimate peace.

Luke: Life is unfair for so many people. Sometimes even the government is unfair, those who are responsible for helping us are unfair. What is our defense against those who don’t treat us as they should? Prayer; truth; being a witness for justice. A judge gave an unfair judgment against a poor defenseless widow, and then he disregarded her. She was able to stand up for herself in the name of God – and she got the justice she ask for. When we are right, God is always on our side.

Questions: God has no grand children, how do we keep the faith in our own lives? What are you doing in your life to have a closer relationship with God? How do you take the faith of your parents and not only apply it to your life, but to also pass it on to the next generation? When have you felt unjustly treated? How did you handle that situation? What role did prayer take in your actions? Did you feel that God was on your side?