Saturday, May 26, 2012
Scriptures For June 3rd: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17; Theme: Trinity Sunday; Song: I am Gonna Live So God can Use Me - Faith We Sing #2153 Romans: Last Sunday Jesus told us to wait for the Spirit to come to help us understand what was really happening. Now that the spirit is here, what difference does it make in our lives. Romans 8 gives us instructions of what it means to live in the Spirit of Christ. Paul makes a distinction between living in the Spirit and living in the flesh. When we live in the flesh we are slaves, but God intended us to be free. When we obey God, we also inherit the Spirit of God. We are brothers and sisters of God, which means that we can live with Christ as our example for all things. Suffering does not stop us, because God has given us the Spirit to overcome. Jesus says that if we are baptized then we not only have the grace of water, but of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that saves us from the fate of the world, and helps us not to fear suffering or anything else. John: We have talked about this important chapter many times before this year. This is John chapter 3. Nicodemus comes to talk with the master to understand what he must do to be saved. He must be born again. He must be born of the Spirit (and not of the flesh). Jesus is alluding to what it means to be baptized, what it means to share in the death resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we cant help but to be a part of the world that we are born into. But if we are Christians, we realize that at some point if we continue to follow the ways of the world, we are going to die. We have to do something different. When we are baptized, the path to a new life is opened up to us. Not guided by flesh, but by Spirit. We truly can be born again, and we can accept what doing for us. But we have to remember, that door is not open just to us, or our friends, but all flesh. Questions: Have you read chapter 8 of Romans? What keys of faith does it offer? What does it mean to live in the Spirit? What does it mean to live in the flesh? What does it really mean to be a child of God? If that a gift or a responsibility? What does it mean to you to be born again? Has baptism made a difference in your life? How do you witness the spirit in your life?
Scriptures For May 27th: Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34,35; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:4-15; Theme: Pentecost; Song: Holy,Holy, Holy UMH 64 Acts: This is the classic story of the birth of the church. Jews from everywhere were in town to celebrate the fifty days after Pentecost. They gathered in the synagogue, and the Holy Spirit fell upon them. Jesus had told his disciples to just be patient and to wait for the Holy Spirit. If I am not mistaken he also told them that when it comes, they will know it. The Holy Spirit made itself known in a very mighty way. It was the birth of the church – when the spirit fell upon a group and people began speaking in different languages. The birth of a church was very sudden, because later, when the disciples told the gospel, 3000 people joined in one day. They did not do a lot of work, all that they did was to witness to what Jesus said. It was not what they knew, it was obedience to the will of God and the words of Christ. What would happen if we did the same? • John: This is the promise that Jesus makes – that the Holy Spirit is coming. And that things will happen when it comes. Jesus describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit: o To testify about Jesus (15:26) o To prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment (16:8-11) o To guide believers to the truth (verse 13) o To glorify Christ (16:14) o To declare the things of Christ to believers (16:15) It will give us the power to witness, and it will add power to our witness. God already has a plan for the salvation of the world. A plan so strong that there is nothing that we can do to sabotage it. There is reason for us to trust God and to trust his plan. Questions: How have you witnessed the Holy Spirit at work today? What difference does Pentecost make in your faith? When people are speaking in tongues, who is present to interpret what is being said? How is that a message from God? How do you wait on God? How do you know when the Holy Spirit has arrived? What gifts have you received from the presence of the Holy Spirit? Do you have hope for the future of God’s church? How are you preparing for that future?
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Scriptures for May 20th: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53 Theme: the Ascension of Jesus to heaven; Song: Swing Low Sweet Chariot – UMH 703 Acts: This is the beginning of the book of Acts. It is the story of how Jesus appeared to his disciples and the church began to take shape and grow. There were no special techniques in growth, the apostles just told what they saw, and the believers came forward. Perhaps we make things too difficult today. This is a retelling of the original story in Luke. The disciples are standing there watching as Jesus goes up to heaven. But after he is gone, they continue to look up at the sky. Jesus tells them twice and an angel repeats the advice, not to look “up there” for heaven. Heaven us not up there, Heaven is in our hearts. Jesus has not gone anywhere, he chose to live the rest of his life through us and through our hearts. Now that he is not with us, what does that mean? When is he coming back? And what is he doing? Useless questions according the advice we are giving. We just need to go on living, living as if Jesus never left. His presence is with us when we do things in his name. Luke: When Jesus was with them, nothing made sense to them, they could only speculate on what he was trying to help them to understand. But Jesus knew from the beginning that this day was coming. He prepared them for this day. And when he went up to heaven, he did not leave in secret, he left where those with eyes to see could see what was going on. The gift that he gives to each of us is power. But the power to do what? The disciples were still hoping to overthrow the government, and to be leaders. It was at this point that they realize the Jesus kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, not of this world. We have been given spiritual power! If we understand that power and how to use it – we can conquer the world. Not the physical world – but the spiritual world – which sometimes has a much stronger hold on us. Scripture says that Jesus led them to Bethany, blessed them, and ascended to heaven. Leaving them in complete joy and celebration of what they had been given. Finally it all made sense and they had the power to go out into the world and to proclaim the gospel. Questions: How can we get people to believe in the story of Jesus and come and stand with us? What do you think about heaven? Is heaven present with us now, or will it come in the future? How are we witnesses to the acts of Jesus today? What do you do with the power that Jesus gives you? Where do you look when you want to find Jesus? How and when you do feel the presence of Christ in your life?