Saturday, September 29, 2012

October 7, 2012

Scriptures For October 7th: Job 1:1,2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16 Theme: World Communion Sunday; Song: A Charge to keep I have – UMH 413 Job: We continue our journey into the exploration of wisdom literature. Job is perhaps the most well known example of wisdom. Job is a story that we can all relate to. We have all been touched by health issues, but money issues, and issues of our family being affected by problems of life. We have all at one time of another wanted to question why God is doing this to us, at the same time that we are trying to hold onto our faith. Theodicy is the study of what do we do when bad things happen to good people. Job goes through two sets of test. In the introduction, God is talking with Satan (the accuser) and he asks if he has considered the faith of Job. He gives Satan permission to take away everything from Job, except his life. Satan takes his family, his wealth, everything except his wife. The second affliction is a sickness – his wife remains. As Job sits mourning for himself, his friends tell him to blame this all on God. That does not seem right for Job. So he has to have his own conversation with God in order to get a better understanding. Hebrews: Who is this book written to? Who is the author of this book? We are not sure, but we can use the message that he has given to us. Hebrews helps us to understand who Jesus Christ is – especially in light of our faith. Jesus is ruler of all Jesus is not just someone to love, Jesus is someone to respect. He does not just rule our life, he rules all of life. We are reminded that the faithful have a pretty high place on the spectrum. He says that we are a little lower than the angels. God thinks very highly of those who follow his son. When we are faithful, we can almost be put on the level of Christ. We are his brothers and sisters. Hebrews teaches us about Christ, but it also teaches us about ourselves, and the investment that God has in us. But we have to put Christ as the center of our lives, or we are nothing much to ourselves, to Christ or to God. Questions: What test have you gone through that have really tested your faith? What did you say to God? How did you come to realize that God really loved you? How supportive were your friends during this time? Is there anything that can happen to you that would make you doubt God? How is Jesus the ruler of your life? How is Jesus the ruler of those who do not even believe in God? What does it mean to be a little less than the angels in heaven? What responsibility does that give you if God thinks so highly of you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 30, 2012

Scriptures for September 30th: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50; theme: If you love God it will change your actions; O Jesus I have Promised – UMH 396 James: This is the end of the book of James. James starts out with some very harsh words. James ends with words of peace. He tells us that we find peace by getting to close to God in prayer. James starts out with our personal behavior, James ends with group behavior. He tells us that we can make a difference in our world and in our church by praying together. He says that we can find healing by praying for one another. We can hold one another accountable and take responsibility for one another’s actions. James says that is our faithfulness that makes a difference. It is the faithfulness of the congregation that makes a difference. The power in our prayer lies in the righteousness of our lives, not how well we pray. When we are sick, we can some to church for healing. As we work together and are faithful to God, we find life and healing. Mark: Jesus was dismayed because his disciples were arguing about the greatness. He told them that it is more important to serve, then to lead. He continues that teaching on what it means to be humble. What it means to live a life of righteousness. Not only are we to let children into our lives and accept them. We also have to make sure that we do not mislead them. We will be help accountable for what we teach our children. Jesus reminds us that we are the salt of the earth. We are the flavor of the world. We are to be an example to others as to how life should be lived, and the advantages of life. Jesus and James tells us that life close to God is a life lived in peace. We have all that we need in prayer. And if God does not give it to us, then we can live without it. We all need a community of faith, in order to help us center our lives and ambition on Jesus. Questions: When you are feeling sick at heart, who do you call for relief? What are you in need of healing in your life? How can your church members make a difference? Do you trust the church to help you and make a difference in your life? How often to you pray to God? How do you get an answer? Who are the vulnerable in your congregation? Are you or your actions a stumbling block to others? How do you lift up others? What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sepember 23, 2012

Scriptures for September 23rd: James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; Mark 9:30-37; Theme: wisdom is living in the right way; song: I surrender all – UMH 354 James: James is considered the wisdom book of the new testament. He uses a lot of the themes from the Hebrew testament. In proverbs there is lady wisdom and lady folly. James says that there are two types of wisdom. A wisdom that comes from above and a wisdom that comes from the world. James is much more frank about the consequences of following folly. He is very frank about sin. It is not enough to have envy and want something you don’t have, when the wisdom of the world is present, you will murder someone just to get what they have. You engage in conflict out of jealousy. It is important to choose the wisdom of God. A life walking in the fear of the lord is a life in which you are at peace with God, with others and with yourself. Mark: The disciples are still confused about what their role is. They still think that the closer to Jesus they are, the more power they have. They are still striving for power. Jesus tells them that real power is not being close to Jesus, but being close to the least of these. To help those who are not able to help themselves. Children are of absolutely no value to this community, to be a child was to be nothing. Jesus tells his disciples to take care of the children. To create a safe space for children. We are to be servants of God, not leaders of God. We are not to go to the front of the line, we are to go to the end of the line. God will elevate us. God will show his power through us. Even Jesus who is the greatest, must undergo the greatest of punishment on our behalf. What do we need to do in order to day thank you? Questions: What ministries do you do personally to reach out to children? What do you think about children? How to you demonstrate servant leadership in your life? What reward do you think Jesus owes your for serving him? What reward do you think you will actually receive? When you are in a negative mood, what do you do to become positive? How do you draw near to God? How do you send the devil away? What does it mean to seek the wisdom from above?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 16, 2012

Scriptures for September 16th: Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38 Theme: The wisdom of God in our life; Hymn: Be Thou My Vision UMH 451 Proverbs: Legend has it that when God was creating the world, wisdom was at his side. Jesus says that he was present since the beginning of time. But in the book of John, it says that wisdom was there with Jesus, instructing him on the ways of God. In Proverbs, wisdom is crying out in the streets – trying to give humans the same advice. But she is having a hard time, because even though she speaks at the top of her lungs; no one is really listening. Wisdom is Sophia- a womanly form of God. In the beginning of the book of Proverbs, she is trying to tell people that there will be consequences for not listening. There are consequences for not living a godly life, there are consequences for not taking care of the earth, there are consequences for not following the directions of Jesus. But for those who stop and listen, there is eternal life. James: James also continues his words of wisdom. His message is not the same as the book of Proverbs. James message is about our mouths. The words that we use make a difference. What we listen to and see with our eyes, effects what comes out of our mouth. But once it is out of our mouth, we can’t take it back. Faith without works is dead- be careful how your faith affects what comes out of your mouth. Most of us don’t know how to control our mouths, especially when we are upset. We cannot do it alone, we need help. We need a group of people who hold us accountable, and tell us when we are wrong. James is not written to a specific congregation, and it is not written to address a certain situation. It is general advice that we all can use. James wants us to know that we are what we say, we can never say that we don’t mean it. Make sure that what comes out of your mouth is what you hear from God. . Questions: What voice of wisdom is out in the world, but we are not paying attention to? What words of wisdom did your parents give that you wish you listened to? How do we determine who to listen to for good advice? What do you do when you say things to people and you regret that you said it? Who has said positive words to you that have made a big difference in your life? Who is to that holds you accountable and watches what you say?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 9, 2012

Scriptures for September 9, 2012 – Proverbs 22:1-2,8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-17; Mark 7:24-37; Theme – If God is good, be good also; song: Open my Eyes that I might see – UMH 454 Proverbs: Every culture produces a set of wisdom sayings that are passed on from generation to generation. They are things that our mothers always told us as a child. The book of proverbs is a set of these wisdom sayings that a mother passes on to her son. He is preparing to be king. His mother wants him to be safe as he is going out into the world. In this message she is telling him that being rich is not everything. God loves the poor. She wants him to be the best that he can be, and to pursue as much education as possible. But to never lose touch with the poor. To make sure that he is helping, volunteering, treating everyone with respect. He may have power some day, but not to let that go to his head. Be more concerned about integrity, than money. James: How to deal with the poor is the subject of both scriptures. We are reminded that we need to remember that we are blessed so that we can be a blessing with others. James is very blunt to remind us that God wants us to be able to help others. And if we love God, then we will do God’s will in other’s life. The church is the place where all people are equal, we have to give everyone a chance, even if they are poor. As a matter of fact, God is always on the side of the poor, and holding you accountable for trying to help. This is the chapter where James comes out and says that Faith without works is dead. If we love God, then we will work to build God’s kingdom and help God’s people. Questions: What are the sayings that are important in your life? What do you know about proverbs? Is there a part that you remember to live by? How does the message to a future king help ordinary people like us? What do you think about the poor in this community? What are you doing to help them? How does your faith affect your actions? What lessons in life can you learn from the poor?