Sunday, May 25, 2014

June 1, 2014 Ascension Sunday

Scriptures for June 1st: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53; Theme: Ascension Day; Song: He is Exalted Ephesians: The church of Ephesus was a very intentional community. Paul uses them as an example of what it means to live our life in Christ. That is Paul’s major point to all of us. That we can be nothing without Christ. But we are everything with Christ. And if we take on Christ as our inner being it effects who we are and how we treat other people. Paul was proud that when people talked about the Ephesians, they talked about how loving there were to each other and to others. When visitors came, they always felt welcome. Paul wanted to encourage them to continue to use this power. To continue to go further in Christ power to change the world. And when Christ takes full power of all of the earth and heaven you will be rewarded. Luke: This is the Sunday that we remember that Christ did indeed ascend into heaven as he promised. This is he scripture that he does ascend. Jesus wanted to make sure that his disciples witnessed this event and were able to tell others what happened. He even called all of them together. Jesus reminded them that he has taught them all that they needed to know. He had empowered them to do their job. They can go forward in peace. He also wanted them to know that he had given them all that they needed. He did not want to be the center of his disappearance. He did not want them to be paralyzed in grief. He wanted tem to jump in and get to work. He wanted them to rejoice, not to cry. He reminds them that they have to power of God to change the world. We to have that power. Questions: What is the reputation of your congregation? What do people say when they leave? What does it mean to live in Christ? How does hope make a difference in your life? How do we witness to Christ today? What do we need the power to change today? How are you a witness to Christ’s rising?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 25, 2014 - Sixth Sunday of Easter

Scriptures for May 25th: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21; Theme: the presence of God is everywhere Song: Spirit of the Living God UMH 393 Acts: I love this verse. Paul is speaking to the Athenians about an unknown God. He point out that they worship God even though they don’t know God. God was there even when they did not know it. When people become Christians, we are not introducing something new to their hearts. We are naming a relationship that has always been there. We are created to worship, we are created to seek God. But this world does not always give us good directions to what is already with us. Paul is telling us that we don’t find God among the brick, morter or even gold. God is a living being. God is alive and a part of our lives. God has a mind of God’s own. Our task is to pray, to read the bible, to study so that we can identify the living God. It is not enough to have a relationship with God, we have to have a living relationship with what is truly an unknown God. He is not a figment of our imagination, he is truly real. 1 Peter: Where can you go where God is not in control? Where can you go that Jesus in not the Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He is always in control. There are indeed places where we wish God was not around, we wish that we had some privacy, but that is not the case. God is with us all of the time, and in every situation. Peter is trying to help us to realize that believing in Christ is not just about our head, but about our lives. When you hear the gospel, you should be prepared to live it. To let Christ in, and know that he makes a difference in our lives. The good news is that when we are at a lost of what to do, Christ acts on our behalf. That is the meaning of grace. Once we accept Christ in the midst of our dark hidden places, that is when we come to understand what it means to be saved. Christ does not take the darkness away, he makes the light more relevant. He changes our minds and our hearts, so that we don’t need to spend as much time in the darkness. But seek the light of God. Questions: Where do you go when you need to talk with God? How do you know that God is truly real in your life? In what places in your life do you try to shut God out? How does God help you to feel comfortable in your life? How can you help others to discover the presence of God in their lives? What does it mean to be a missionary, even when you are in your hometown?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 18, 2014 Fifth Sunday of Easter

Scriptures for May 18th: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14; Theme: We are chosen by God; Song: His Eye is on the Sparrow FWS 2146 1 Peter: The bishop Peter is trying to demonstrate to the church community what it means to be a Christian. I know that I seem to say that each scripture that we deal with is one of my favorite. This is my favorite message of the bible – that we are special. All who have been baptized are a part of God’s family. God is royalty, Jesus is royalty and so are we. We are special, and God gives us a special grace. But that does not mean that it is time to rest on our laurels and expect to be saved. God rolls out the red carpet for us, so that we can roll out the red carpet for others. That royalty comes with a responsibility. We have a responsibility to be witnesses to God to those who don’t know God. We acknowledge how we are sinners, and how God has brought us through. When we tell others about our life, we tell them about the goodness of God. We invite them to be a part of God’s royal family also. John: Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples. He has taught them all that they need to know, and now he must prepare them to do without him. This is a part of Jesus farewell speech after the Passover. He shows them what it means to be a servant. He was a servant of God’s will, and they should be a servant of him. Being at the top means no so much getting accolades, but having the humility to give accolades. Jesus us indeed showing them the face of God in his actions. They ask how to see God, and he says that God is in his actions, his love, his devotion. When we are the face of Jesus to others, then they too are able to see God through us. Our power is given to us by Christ himself. And if we ask Christ to be with us in our service, he always will. Jesus is in a place prepared for us that we cannot follow, but Jesus is always with us to do the right thing. Questions: What is it that makes you special? How do you feel special in the presence of Christ? Why is Jesus special to us? Does being special make a difference in your life? Just because you are special, are you better than others? How do you have to confidence to help those who can’t return the favor? How do you witness to others? Just because people are mean to you, does that mean that God does not love them? Sunday

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 11, 2014 - Third Sunday of Easter

Scriptures for May 11th: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25 ;John 10:1-10 Theme: the Good Shepherd; Song: Precious Lord UMH 474 Psalm: This is a classic Psalm that we have all known for years. But do we really take the time to think about what it means for us. What does it mean for the Lord to be your shepherd? If the Lord is a shepherd, then we are sheep. Sheep, who are not able to take care of ourselves, but who do have sense enough to understanding love and care when we see it. Who understand that the Lord can take care of us better then we can take care of ourselves. Life is not always easy for us, but when we look back upon it, we can see that we are indeed being led to a better place. That we were protected from danger. In this life, we get a little glimpse of what life would be like, if we were to take care of ourselves. We even have the power to be independent. In the end, the sheep makes the choice to live in the house of the Lord forever. John: This is mother’s Day, but the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also Good Shepherd Sunday. When we remember that Jesus is the good shepherd. In this verse, Jesus makes it clear that he is the good shepherd. Like a child who asks who is going to take care of me, the disciples are asking who is watching over them. Jesus explains that he is the good shepherd that watches over the sheep and keeps them safe. He also says that he is the gatekeeper. When it is time for the sheep to come home, only those who Jesus allows in will get home. This is to provide a safe environment for the other sheep. The wolf will always try to get in through the gate, and come into the inner sanctuary and destroy. A shepherd develops a special relationship with his sheep, so that even though they are free to roam, they know when it is time to come home. They know when their sheep is calling them. How do you recognize the voice of God in your life? Questions: When have you experienced the Lord delivering you from evil? Do you make a choice to follow God or to follow your own voice? What does it mean for you to be a sheep? What do you have to give up in order to obey God’s voice? How to you recognize when God is speaking to you? Do you actively seek out the voice of God? Do you have to practice in order to give up your will and to follow his? Why do we need to be reminded that we are indeed just sheep in God’s world?