Saturday, May 28, 2011

June 5, 2011

Breaking Open the Scriptures
Scriptures June 5th : Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53; Theme: Christ Ascending to heaven; song: My Hope is Built UMH 368

Acts: Acts is a series of sermons. Very powerful sermons, which convinced the masses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is also a testament to the power and majesty of the gospel. So it is fitting that we get our fullest account of the ascension in the book of Acts. Luke is telling the story of how this event affected the disciples. They still did not understand all that was happening, but were willing to pay attention and to witness. It was the angels who explained that they also needed to act – to tell others, to continue the work of Christ, to bring salvation to the world. They were asked why they were sitting and waiting for Jesus to come back down and finish- they realized that Jesus was waiting for them and to stop looking up and to get to work.

Luke: This is an account of the ascension, by the same author for a different reason. This story is Luke’s bridge for the two books. Jesus is giving his final advice to the disciples. What a gift to have a conversation with someone, after they have passed away. You don’t have to assume you know what they said, you can ask all of the right questions. You don’t have to go into the grieving process. Jesus wants to understand that the inevitable must happen, he must leave. But they will never be alone. The will still be able to get the answers to those questions, it will all make sense. The Holy Spirit will help them through. They have a reason not to grieve, but to be happy and celebrate. He was who he said he was, he did what he said he would do.

Questions: What does salvation mean to us? What are we expecting Christ to do in our lifetime? When you pray where to you look for Christ? Up above, or somewhere in your life? What does the fact that Christ ascended to heaven mean for us? What does it mean that he is coming back? What are we doing in the meantime?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 22, 2011

Breaking Open the Scriptures

Scriptures for May 22nd: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14 Theme: Our faith in Jesus Song: There is something about that Name – UMH 171

1 Peter: Peter is talking to those who have been newly baptized. But the message is for all who are a part of the body of Christ. We are living stones in many ways. Peter’s name means rock. Jesus said upon this rock I build my house. Jesus was telling Peter to go and to make disciples of other people. As living stones, we are told to do the same. We are to carry on the work of both Peter and Jesus. Jesus also talks of being the cornerstone of the building. As living stones we are a part of that building. We are God’s people, that God is proud of. But that is not just because of who we are, but because of what we do. How we live out our faith. Once we are baptized, the work just begins in our life.

John: This verse is a continuation of last week’s text. Last week Jesus says that he is to gate, the doorway to eternal life. He comes so that we can have life abundantly. This week he explains that he is preparing a place in eternity for us. He cares not only about us, but also about our lives. We can depend on Jesus for all that we need in life. All of the book of John explains that Jesus is a gift from God. He lived with God, he came onto this earth in response to God, and that he is still in heaven advocating on behalf of us to God. Calling on Jesus is not a magic formula, it is an invitation to live in the spirit of Christ.

Questions: What does it mean to be a royal priesthood of God? What are the advantages? What are the responsibilities? Is it okay to allow others into the family? How do we get them to come to the table? Jesus says that he is preparing a place for us – where is this place? It is in heaven, or can we find that presence here on earth? What do you think this place looks like? How can you tell when you actually get there?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 15, 2011

Breaking Open the Scriptures

Scriptures for May 15th – Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10 Theme: Good Shepherd Sunday; Precious Lord – UMH 474

Psalm 23: This psalm needs very little explanation, we all know the psalm. It is a very important part of our faith. It is a psalm that we learned as a child, and say all of the time. But is the Lord really the shepherd that we trust with all of our lives? Do we follow wherever we are led? Do we trust God to actually get us through all troubles? What are we doing to live in the house of the Lord throughout eternity? This psalm could be read on many levels, this is not just a song about shepherd, but it is also a song about leaders. It is also a song about disciples, we are called to take care of God’s sheep, to make sure they are safe well fed, and well taken care of. We can share what we have in order to help others – that is the Lord’s work.

John: All of our scriptures today talk about the qualities of a shepherd. We all know that Jesus is our good shepherd. But in this scripture, Jesus does not say that he is the shepherd, he actually says that he is the gate by which the sheep enter into a safe place. There is a shepherd who had the job of standing by the gate as the sheep are coming and going. The gatekeeper counts the sheep and vouches that all are traveling together. Jesus is the gate to heaven for us. He makes sure that we get where we have to go. But we are like sheep, we know the directions, but we don’t want to follow them. Jesus has to watch us to make sure the we do what we need in order to get into heaven. When we get caught up into the things of life, it is easy for us to go astray and forget to listen to the shepherd’s voice.

Questions: What does this important psalm mean to you? What are the times that you read it for yourself? How do you seek to be a shepherd for others? There are a lot of voices out there calling for our attention, how do you recognize the voice of Jesus? When Jesus calls you, how do you respond? In what ways is Jesus a shepherd for your life?