Saturday, July 27, 2013

August 4, 2013

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for August 4th: Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9;43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21; Theme: Be happy with what you have in Christ; Song: Great is Thy Faithfulness – UMH 140 Colossians: Paul wants us to remember that Christ is the center of our lives, and the center of our faith. Jesus intentionally made sure that we were able to escape our sinful life, and to live a life that is focused in the things of him. Last week we were told that baptism is the beginning of our new life. In baptism we die with Christ, but we also rise anew in Christ. But it is not enough to be given a new life, we have to be willing to live a new life. We have to strip ourselves of our old habits, and start all over again. It is like putting on new clothes, we put on a new Christ. In order to do that we have to take a good look at ourselves, and at our life. Are we really doing what Christ wants us to do? Luke: This story is a warning against material wealth. It does not help us when we are trying to get into heaven. In this story, a brother asked Jesus to correct his brother, who is not giving his fair share of the inheritance. Have you ever noticed that Jesus never gets in the middle of sibling disputes. He refuses to take sides. But he also reminds the person that the kingdom of heaven is not about how much we have physically. It is about where we are in the spiritual realm. And sometimes, the physical things that we are so concerned about can overshadow what God is trying to teach us. Jesus says that you cant get into heaven if you are storing up your treasure here on Earth. We in America, have more than we could ever hope for, we have so much more than the rest of the world. What is the message of riches and treasure for us today. Questions: What does it mean for you to clothes yourself in Christ? How are you different today than you were last year? Have you made an improvement for the sake of Christ? How to we make sure that Christ is the center of our lives? How is your spiritual relationship with God? What physical belongings are you attached to? How would getting rid of them help you have a better relationship with Christ? What does it mean to be rich in the things of God?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 28th - 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for July 28th: Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-19; Luke 11:1-13; Theme: staying close to Jesus is staying close to prayer; song: Close to Thee – UMH 407 Colossians: The city of Colossae was a lot like the city of Chicago. There were a lot of choices. There were a lot of churches, and a lot of competing theologies. And someone who was not grounded in Christ, would have a hard time understanding who Christ really was. Paul directs us all and reminds us that our differences should disappear, in the spirit of Christ. And the spirit of Christ should be obvious in everything that we do. Christ is the head of the universal church. And we should remember that. If we know who Christ is, then we should also be clear who we are. We are the body of Christ. We are initiated into Christ when we are baptized. Our baptism gives us all power in Christ. And we have to have our own relationship with God. If we do, then we don’t need to depend on others to define us. Let Christ and our baptism tell us all that we need to know, and always continue to grow in your relationship. Luke: Christ taught us to pray years ago, and many people are still uncomfortable with prayer. We can be grateful because Christ gave us the Lord’s Prayer. We don’t always have to come up with the words ourselves, the spirit will interpret to God what needs to be said. But God wants us to pray and to let prayer be a part of our relationship. We have to be assured that God always hears us, and gives us what we need, not what we want. He gives it to us in his time, not ours. Sometimes we think that God has betrayed our prayers, Jesus says that God will never betray us, but sometimes he does have to redirect us. There is never a bad time to pray to Christ. Prayer is an exciting relationship with God – that every Christian, every person should have. Prayer is a good exercise of our spiritual faith. Questions: Who is Christ to us? Who are we to Christ? How does our life change when we are baptized? How do we make sure Christ is the head of our lives? How is your prayer life? Do you trust in Christ in all things and in all answers to your prayers? Do you know the Lord’s Prayer? Have you been able to teach someone else? What does prayer mean to you?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 21, 2013 - 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for July 21st: Amos 8:1-12; Psalm 52; Colossians 1:15-28; Luke 38:42: Theme: Putting what we learn into action; song: It is well with my soul – UMH 377 Colossians: We are reminded that We can trust what Jesus tells us, he is more than a prophet, he is the Son of God. He was not only present at creation, if it was not for him, creation could not do his work. Christ is head of the church and Christ should be head of the church. There may be plenty of uncertainties in life, but there are no uncertainties in Christ. In life there is suffering, in serving Christ, there is more suffering. But in Christ we can know that our suffering is for a purpose. After the suffering is over, we will see the glory of God. We can rejoice in all that Christ has done for us. There is glory in becoming a mature Christian, who can see the joy of Christ in all things. Luke: This is a lesson that we learn a lot. Jesus has set upon the countryside and wants to teach as many people as possible as he goes along the way. Typically in his time, the men are the ones who drop everything to learn, and the women keep the world going with their work. Jesus stops at the house of Mary and Martha. Mary takes the time to learn, and Martha must fix dinner and clean the house. Martha scolds Mary for wasting her time, after all, as a woman, when will she ever get the chance to use her knowledge. And yet the bible is full of women who taught us lessons of faith. There were women who were able to be examples of faith. God can use the gifts of both men and women. How do we keep our lives in balance? So that we can do the work necessary, but also learn more about our faith? Questions: How do we work to see Christ in all things? Do we usually see Christ in our suffering? Do you represent Christ when you see others suffering? What does it mean to be a mature Christian? Are you more like Mary or Martha? What do you do to learn more about God? What things have to be done in order to keep the church going? Can you do the busy work and study at the same time?