Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 27, 2011

Isaiah 49:8-16; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34; Song: God will take care of you - UMH 130; Theme: God will reemmber us in all circumstances

Isaiah: this scripture is from second Isaiah. These are the final days of the exile before the Isrealites venture to go back home. They are discouraged and think that nothing that they do will make a difference. God has served them a blow in their faith, obviously God does not care what happens to them. these words remind them that God has not forgotten about them. God has written the names of each faithful person on the palm of God's hand. God knows what we need. but we have to make a conscious choice to trust God with our lives, and things eventually get better. The Isrealites chose God, and the strength to go back home and start all over again. what will happen when you choose God in your life?

1 Corinthians: We have all heard Jesus words to judge not and be ye not judged. But let's all face it, we do it anyway. we are constantly judging others. We especially spend a lot of time judging our leaders. Abraham Lincoln said that if you ever want to challenge yout character, become a leader. Paul always encouraged us to pray for those in leadership even when we don't always agree with them. Once people are put into positions, we need to engage them, but we also have to trust that God is doing the same. God will judge them for what they are doing, we have to take care of ourselves.

Questions: Has there ever been a time in your ilfe when you felt abandoned by your friends? or by God? what did you say to God about it? What did you do for support? What happened tht finally turned things around to realize that God was with you all of the time? Have you ever criticized church leadership or the pastor? What criteria are you using to judge? the Bible, the Book of Discipline? your expereince? Do you really undersatnd any of those things well enough to judge anyone else but yourself?

March 6, 2011

Scriptures for March 6th – Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9; song: Majesty, Worship His Majesty – UMH 176; Theme: Stay awake to experience a miracle! Transfiguration Sunday

Exodus: As we journey with Jesus to the top of the mountain, it is important to go back to the beginning. Moses was invited to go to the mountain to sit with God. He has no idea of what God would say, he knew that he could not see God face to face, but he loved to be led by God. They say that Moses went to Mount Sinai. He was with God for 40 days. Aaron and Hur stayed in the camp to lead the people, Joshua travelled with Moses, but did not go up on the mountain. As Moses climbed higher and higher, he was able to feel the presence of God in a better way. God has a message for the people, the TenCommandments on how to live as a community.

Matthew : Peter comes to realize that Jesus is special and has a message for the world. He, James, and John faithfully follow Jesus up a mountain to pray. But they fall asleep, as Jesus talks with God. As they wake up they see that they are in the company of Moses and Elijah – the law and the prophets. This was a sign that God was indeed leading Jesus for a purpose. He had a foundation of history behind him, and now it was time to go forward. But what was he going to when he went down the mountain? It was a trip to Jerusalem, scorn, crucifixion, and resurrection and salvation for us. Sometimes we too have to go through the worst, to get through the best. What do we need to do to know that God is with us every step of the journey?

Questions: God is with us all of the time, but at what point in your life did you recognize God? What times in your life has God been present in a special way? What do you do in a regular basis to talk with God? How do you get back on track during the times when you get bored and fall away from your relationship? How do you prepare for a difficult time in your life?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 20, 2011

Scriptures for February 20th: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40;
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48. Theme: faith is a personal commitment to holiness; Song: Take Time to Be Holy – UMH 395

1 Corinthians: Paul continues on his theme that we are God’s building. He is saying that the church is God’s building. But he goes even further to say that each of us is the temple of God. We, the people, are God’s building also, but not by ourselves. We are sort of like rooms. Each room has to be built on a firm and common foundation. Once we are a part of the foundation, we can decorate the walls as we want. The walls can be changed, but the foundation must remain the same. We must take care of ourselves and our lives, they are both valuable to God. They also do not belong to us, but to God. Being spiritual means living according to Christ’s words.

Matthew : Jesus is continuing the sermon on the mount. He is continuing to remind us how to go from an ordinary faith, to an extraordinary faith. We are to go out of our way to love others, even those who don’t love us. We are to live love, to breathe love, to practice love at all times to all people. Jesus knows that is not easy, but we have to remember that if God didn’t love us, we wouldn’t be able to love others. When we commit our lives to God, God gives us the strength to not necessarily be perfect, but to always strive to be perfect. John Wesley asks us – are we going on the perfection? Do we commit to letting love in all areas of our lives? If so, we can be better than our enemies.

Questions: How was your church founded? Do you still live according to those promises? Where is Jesus in your beliefs? Is Jesus the foundation of your life, or your life the foundation of your faith in Jesus? Is it really possible to love all people? What skills do we need to learn in order to love our enemies? What does it mean to go onto a perfect faith?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 13, 2011

Breaking Open the Scriptures
Scriptures February 13th: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37 Theme: We all have a part in God’s plan. Song: Freely, Freely – UMH 389

1 Corinthians: Paul comes to realize that this community of Christians in Corinth has many gifts, and they really are working to get it all right. But he also realizes that they are still working to be a spiritual people. At the moment, they are relying on their own understanding, and not the spirit of God. They are still dealing with life as someone in the world would deal. It is next to impossible for any of us to think like God, and to not be human. We all get stuck in our feelings and understandings. Human divisions and human concerns will always be a part of the church. But we have to trust to that God works through us, in spite of ourselves. We have to invite the Holy Spirit to move and free us from those things we are still clinging to.

Matthew: This text is still a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is telling us how to be Christians. He is telling us how to go above and beyond the righteousness of the day to be extraordinary people of faith. He is reframing the ten commandments. Deuteronomy is the book of the law. It describes how we should treat one another. Jesus is asking what happens when you add love to the law? When you have an extraordinary love for people, that is the beginning of compassion. We shouldn’t just obey the laws of the land, we should show the love of God.

Questions: Is the church an earthly body, a spiritual body, or in some way a combination of the two? What do we need to be to become more spiritual? How do you build upon the people who have come before you in faith? What ministries are you continuing and nurturing, that someone else started? Is it really possible to have an extraordinary faith? Can you go beyond the law? What happens when you are persecuted for doing the right things? Does that cause you to lose your faith?