Friday, May 24, 2013

June 2, 2013 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures for June 2nd: 1 Kings 18:20-39; Psalm 96; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10; Theme: God is the source of good in our lives; Song: how Great Thou Art – UMH 77 1 Kings: Elijah is one of my favorite characters in the bible, and this is one of my favorite stories of Elijah. Elijah challenges Ahab and Baal to a friendly game of “My God is bigger than Your God”. Both religions believe in sacrifice to God, both believe that God is present at the sacrifice. Those who sacrifice to Baal do this all of the time, so they mistakenly believe that this is a battle that they can win. Since we don’t practice sacrifice anymore, it is easy to say that this is a story about history. But we still have contest where the faithful have to demonstrate and defend the power of God. People ask us every day “Where is your God and why is he so powerless against the events of the day?” Recently, as people sent prayers for the people of Oklahoma, an atheist replied that it is better to just do something to help, as opposed to praying. Today, as then, people don’t understand the true power of God. Those who serve the Lord, don’t just sacrifice to God, they also serve and do the work of God. God shows up when we show up. Our power is God’s power. Galations: This is another of my favorite books of the bible. I think that the message of Galatians is a message of freedom. As long as we live in grace, we are free to do whatever we want to do. But we do what is right, not because we have to, but because we want to. We want to be near God. We want to have a relationship with God and with his goodness. Paul reminds us that we should live according to the laws of God, not the laws of man. And whatever we do, we must do to please God and not man. When we live in this world, it is easy to learn to value the things that we see in the world. But Paul says that we should be in the world, but not of it. The gospel always teaches a new way, it always challenges the status quo. We have to have to strength to believe in the change that God brings to any situation. And we have to always let grace be enough to sustain us, when others want to judge our faithfulness. Questions: Have you ever encountered someone who challenged to power of God? how did you deal with the situation? Did you have the strength to stand up for God? Do you, yourself believe in the power of God? Why? What is the difference between following the ways of God and the ways of man? Do you believe that the grace of God sufficient for all people? Is grace deserved or freely given? What do you do in your life to please God?

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