Saturday, March 30, 2013

April 7, 2013 - Second Sunday of Easter

Scriptures for April 7th: Acts 5:27-32; Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4-8; John 20:19-31 Theme: Easter is a Choice Song: We Meet You O, Christ UMH 257 Acts: Jesus says that those who die with me, shall also live with me. When we are baptized, we become a part of Jesus’ death, and we become a part of Jesus’ life. During the Easter season, our task is to make sure that we understand what it means to be a Christian, and to live out the responsibility of our baptism. During this time we will read from the book of Acts, so that we can learn what it means to be a witness to the living Christ. Peter and the other disciples are on trial for preaching about the resurrection of Christ. In Luke, he only speaks of witness who live around Jerusalem. But in Acts, they are trying to prove that the cat is out of the bag. More and more people are witnesses to Christ. As a matter of fact, he is everywhere! The defense of the disciples is that the power of God is so strong that it can’t be stopped. The gift of the spirit is given to those who are witnesses to the power of God and obey the Word of God. Revelation: This is a section of the letter that is addressed to the 7 churches in Asia. It is a continuation of the proclamation that the Spirit of Jesus is every where. The movement has been so strong that it was organized into churches. The church is the place where those who follow God gather. It is the place where we get our strength to be able to serve. It is the place where we learn in order to prepare ourselves to live out our baptism. John wants us to be reminded that it is not the power of humans that makes the church relevant, it is the power of the throne of God. We have no power over what we do as Christians. We are just following God’s plan for our life and for the world. The church is a community of priest, consecrated by God – but we have to be obedient to God. Questions: How have you witnessed the presence of Christ in your life? how do you see the word of God spreading throughtout the world? Where does the word need to go next? What educational activities does the church need to provide to help you grow in service? What do you think of the book of Revelation? How do we live out our role as priest of God? Is the church a human institution or a God institution?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 24, 2013

Scriptures for March 24: Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 22-23; Theme: Passion of Christ; Song: #286 – O Sacred Head Now Wounded Luke: Not everybody attends the Good Friday service, not everybody observes anything of Holy Week. They only come to church on Sunday, which is why it is so important to tell the story of the passion of Christ on Palm Sunday. There will not be a commentary on the scripture – we will just hear the story as it is written. Every year, we need to be reminded of what really happen. Every year we need to put ourselves in the story, In Jesus story. We need to be reminded that Jesus died for our sins. Jesus lives in our lives everyday. Jesus walks with us everyday. This is our chance to be present with him. To show that he died for a reason. Each gospel tells this important story for our faith. This year we will focus on what Luke has to say. He deals with the passion story in Luke 22 and 23. In chapter 19 Jesus makes his long awaited journey into Jerusalem. He comes in like a king, and leaves like a savior. Luke says that the people welcomed him in, but the people also turned him in, saying that he was inciting them. They took him to Pilate, who did not want to deal with it, so he sent him to Herod. Now we have to remember that this was not the same Herod who tried to kill him as a child. This is the grandson, who appears to want to meet this powerful man. Jesus is put on trial and convicted to die on the cross. Simon carries his cross. He is crucified between two thieves. He says his last words (many of which come from the Luke story) and he gives up the ghost. That is when we start to live, to realize what he has done for us. We now can celebrate, because all of the darkness and hard work is done. But life is not all sunshine. The story of Good Friday is the story of many of our lives – of struggle and eventual redemption. Questions: What does the passion story mean to you? How do you relive the story? How is your life a part of this story? How is his life a part of your story? How does Jesus incite you to take action? Why is this story more important than even the Easter story? What do you do to say thank you for what Jesus has done for you?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 10, 2013

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for March 10th: Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3,11-32; Theme: a life of forgiveness is the best way to be happy Song: What Wondrous Love is This – UMH 292 2 Corinthians : One of the major themes that has followed us since Ash Wednesday is the need for forgiveness. Lent is our time to be honest with God about who we are and about what we need to do better. Sin is the one things that separates us from God. We have to take the sin out of our life in order to be reunited with God. The theme for today is reconciliation. After we have confessed our sins, we can take the journey back to God. the pathway to reconciliation with God is Jesus. Paul says that when we live in Christ, we become a new creature. Christ makes all things new, including our relationship. We become a different person because Christ does not hold our past against us. But he wants us to remember that we should learn how to do the same for others. When we know the gifts of being forgiven, we forgive others. Luke: We have not only heard this story for many years, I think that many of us live as a part of it. This is the story of the prodigal son – the spoiled younger son who squandered his inheritance and realized that life was better at home. I don’t know about you, but I have spent my life as the prodigal older son. The son who felt unappreciated for faithfulness. The self righteous one who did not see what all of the fuss was about. The younger son deserved to be punished for his attitude and I needed to be acknowledged and loved for all that I have done. We have to remember however, that the focus of this story is really the father who was willing to love and accept his son in spite of all that he did wrong. We need to remember that God does the same for us. Remember, this is the season of reconciliation to God. Of realizing that no matter how faithful we think we have been we need to ask for forgiveness. No matter how familiar we are with this story, we need to read it with new eyes and new understandings. And to be grateful of the love that God has given us. And that we all have a role in bringing those younger sons through their time of trial, so that they too can know that God loves them through it all. Questions: How is God renewing your spirit right now? What parts of your soul still need to be renewed? How has God showed you mercy when you should have been judged? How can we through a party for those who are just coming to understand God’s love?