Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 20, 2013 - 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for October 20th: Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8; Theme: Today is laity Sunday – speaker may not use lectionary text for sermon; Song: UMH 593: Here I am Lord Jeremiah: I don’t envy Jeremiah’s job or his position at all. He sees that destruction is coming to his people and to his land. God has told him that it is their own fault for the sins that they have committed. As a prophet, he has the responsibility to pass on to the people what God has told him. So he must tell them the truth about their own behavior. But he also has to comfort them in their pain. He has to be understanding of how they got in the situation and he need to be prepared to get them out of it. This text says just that. It starts out by saying the days are coming when things will get better. God will stop punishing them, and they will see growth. The animals will multiply, the food supply will get better, God will forgive them of their sins, and life will be a joy. The change will not only be around us, it will be inside of us. We will value our relationship with God and not need to sin against him. 2 Timothy: Paul continues to give advice to Timothy. Paul continues to use his life as an example. Paul continues to stress how important it is for us to live our lives directed to Christ and not to ourselves. In Christ we are a new person. In Christ, the old things pass away and a new life begins. Just as in Jeremiah – God has a new covenant with us because of Christ. Paul recalls that in his old life he persecuted Christ and those who followed him. But when Christ touched his heart all of that changed. I like this verse, because Paul points out that people don’t want to change. They like their life just as it is. And so the days are coming when people will not read the bible. So those who preach and teach the gospel will have to work twice as hard to get people to listen to them. It will be hard, but Christ gives us the strength to endure and continue in the work of God that needs to be done. Questions: when have you seen widespread suffering in your life? When have you seen life get better? How has your faith helped you to overcome the suffering? How has living in Christ made a difference in your life? How do you deal with trying to teach people who are not listening to you? How does Christ help you to endure suffering?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 13, 2013 - 21st Sunday of Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for October 13th : Jeremiah 29:1,4-7; Psalm 66:1-12; 2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19; Theme: Remember that we are servants, not masters. Song: 2144 – Someone asked the Question 2 Timothy: Paul is talking to Timothy and giving him encouragement as a pastor. But his advice is for anyone who is a teacher, evangelist, or a faithful servant of Christ. We all have those times in our faith journey when we are discouraged. When we feel we are giving people are hearts for God, and the people we serve could care less. Not only do they not care, they ridicule us for our faith. Paul is telling Timothy that these are not the times to water down the gospel, but to tell it just as we know it. To give it to them straight. It is times of our faithlessness, that God shows that he is faithful. If we say that we don’t believe in God, God will still believe in us. If we are not a servant of God, then what else are we. Don’t give up, keep your strength. Be determined as ever to serve. Luke: It seems that the most common sense thing for us to do every day is to thank God for what he has done for us. We are grateful to receive a blessing, but how many of us remember to say thank you. As a child, my father would be very giving, and give me most things that I wanted. He said that the only thing that he wanted in return was for us to remember to say thank you. In this scripture, Jesus is telling us that God is the same way. God has given us a priceless gift. The lepers were separated from their lives because of their disease. After they were healed Jesus says to go and show yourself to the priest, once you are declared clean then go and reclaim your life. Well we are separated from our lives because of our sin. And once we are forgiven, we should go to church and show that we have a new life. It is our faith and our ability to say thank you that makes all of the difference in the world. Questions: how can we reclaim our faith once we have lost it? What prevents us from fully claiming Christ to all of the world? How can we overcome our reservations? What do we do to say thank you to God? How can we make sure that we are able to say thank you everyday? How can we tell the world about what God has done for us to cleanse and save us?