Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 23, 2013 - 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for June 23rd: 1 Kings 19:1-15; Psalm 42; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 8:26-39; theme: Listening to God; song: As the Deer 1 Kings: At one time or another, we have all asked the question – “Where is God in the midst of this?” Many people in the world would prefer to tell us that there is no God. We are reading about the encounters of Elijah and God to remind us that God is always present, but sometimes we just have to look for him. And most of the time he is in a place that we are not expecting him. This is one of my favorite chapters in the bible – Jezebel has told Elijah that she is going to kill him for killing her priest. Elijah runs, but does not know where he can go and escape the threat against him. God leads him out of the danger and to a quiet place. Elijah was expecting to find God in the chaos, but instead he found God in the solace. He had to quiet his fears and expectations before God could really speak. The message for us is if God did it for Elijah, he will do it for us. But we have to be paying attention. In the midst of our doubts, we have to have a heart for God. Galatians: Sometimes when new people join the church, we feel that in order for them to have any responsibility, that there is a whole lifelong ritual that they have to go through in order to be where we are in the church. Paul reminds us that is not true. He fought hard to make sure that we did not have to become Jewish in order to become Christian. He reminds us that we are saved by grace and not by our works. That does not mean that we don’t have any responsibility. Our job is to love God with all that we are. We are not bound by the laws, but we are obligated to grace. We serve and give, but we serve and give because we love. The wonderful thing about grace is that is belongs to every body. If we live in Christ, then there is never a reason to divide ourselves between us and them. Our salvation is in Christ, so whether we are new or old, we are equal in the eyes of God. Questions: What Chaos is going on in your life that you need to escape? Where can you go to seek enough silence to listen to God? How do you respond to people who say that there is no God? Have you experienced God personally? Who do we need to extend the grace of God to in our lives? What walls need to be torn down in the body of Christ? How do you understand grace as opposed to living under the law? Does grace help you to serve more or less for God?

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