Saturday, April 26, 2014

May 4, 2014 - Third Sunday of Easter

Scriptures for May 4th: Acts 2:14,36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35; Theme: Recognizing the face of God in Everyday life: Third Sunday of Easter - Blessed Assurance UMH 369 1 Peter: We will be looking at the words of 1 Peter for the entire season of Easter. Easter season is a time of discipleship. It is tradition to baptize new Christians over Easter. And once they are a part of the church, everyone looks at what it truly means to follow Christ. Peter is talking to people who are discouraged. He is trying to give them hope. Or he is trying to help them to understand that they should have hope in their faith, then there is nothing that can be done to them. God is the judge of us all. But the God who judges, also as mercy. If you have been baptized, then you have been given a second chance. Not only a second chance, but a third and a fourth chance. If you trust in God, then you cannot fail, God will give you a chance to redeem yourself. Your faith should give you unshakable confidence to do anything that is good. Luke: This is a beautiful story that I cannot get enough of. It is the story of the walk to Emmaus. The disciples are trying to regroup and decide what to do . Two of them are walking alone the rode when a man asks them what is going on. The man pretends he does not know. But he knows, and he helps the disciples to realize the truth. He reveals himself and his plan in the breaking of the bread. Today when we take communion, we should also be able to see Christ clearly. We should be able to see what is going on in our lives. We should be able to see the way forward in our service clearly. This is the season for sightings of Christ, before he ascends into heaven. In his earthly life he was Jesus, in his spiritual life he is Christ. Christ is alive and well. It is time for us to recognize him in our lives too. Questions: What are your fears about your faith? How would you become stronger if you knew that you couldn’t fail? How can you gain more confidence in your faith? How did baptism change your life? what do you feel when you take communion? Has there ever been a time when you clearly saw God’s intention for you after communion? How can you help others to see Christ in their lives?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 27, 2014 - Second Sunday of Easter

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for April 27th: Acts 2:14,22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31 Theme: New Life, New Hope; Song: To Thine be the Glory UMH 308 Acts: Throughout the Easter season, we will be reading from the book of Acts. It is a testimony of how knowing for themselves that Christ has arisen makes a difference. It totally changed the lives of these twelve men. The spirit was with them in order to change the lives of others. They needed to tell the world who Jesus was for them, so that others could see who Christ is for us all. So we start out with Peter’s sermon of how good God is. Peter was preaching hope to a hopeless world, and they needed to hear that message so badly that they responded. If Christ could overcome death, then surely we have to strength to deal with our lives also. If God showed his love for Christ, then he will show his love for us also. The good news is that the message of hope did not stop with those who witnessed Jesus for themselves. We witness the power of Christ for ourselves. We still have hope in a God who loves us. 1 Peter: It is customary for new Christians to be baptized just before Easter. They have been studying all year to understand what it means to be a Christian, and the first of Easter, they get their chance. But they, like all of us find that the test are not over, once you confess Christ. In many ways, the test just begin. That is why Peter is giving us words of encouragement in order to withstand the trials of life. To make sure that God gives the glory in all things – even the things that challenge us. the trials and temptations don’t change, but the way that we deal with them does. Because of Christ we have hope that things will always get better. Because of Christ we have to strength to endure when they don’t get better. Most important we have the faith to make things better for ourselves. Once we are baptized, our lives should be a witness to Christ to the rest of the world, our actions should demonstrate our trust in the Lord in all things. It is our faith that brings us salvation says Peter. Questions: When was the last time that you witnessed to others about what Christ has done for you and what Christ can do for others? Does springtime bring a renewal of your spirit? How do you pass that on to others? How does faith in Christ help you in times of trial? Do trials make your faith worse or better? What would those who see you think about the strength of your faith?