Sunday, July 27, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for August 3rd: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7,15; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21; Theme: What Does it mean to be a blessing? Song: Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior UMH 351 Genesis: The faith journey of Jacob continues. He is an old man, but the consequences of his actions as a young man continue to follow him. As an old man he feels that he has all that he needs to go home, except the forgiveness of his brother. He is so scared of how his brother will react, that he cant sleep. He wrestles in the spirit. And comes to no conclusions, but he ask for a blessing from God. This the completion of his faith and his willingness to trust in God. He even changes his name to Israel – one who trust in God. Now he is prepared to live the life God has in store for him. He is prepared to be the foundation for his family. He is prepared to be a blessing to his family so that they can be a blessing to others. Al who take heed to Jacob’s story, who believe it and who vow to live in that same faith, will be blessed. Everything in life may not be perfect, but it will all fall into place. Romans: in verses 9-11 Paul tells us what it means to have the faith of Abraham. It is not about family ties, it is about actions. He says that the Jewish family assumes God’s love, but they forgot about their own actions. They took God’s love for granted. So God went into the world to find and create other faithful people. The grace of God covers us all. We too can’t take God for granted – we have to live as faithful people. In the end God will give grace to all who call on him. We too should be graceful and understanding. Jews have an opportunity for salvation just as we do. In Jesus Christ, we are all part of the same family. That is why it is so important for us to live our lives in Christ. Questions: How do you know that you are blessed by God? What is your faith journey? How did you learn to fully trust God? How do you treat Jews? Those who are not yet Christian? Are they brothers and sisters? What does it mean to live in Christ? How is Christ your messiah? What does grace mean to you?
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for July 27th: Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11,45; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33,44-52; Theme: God and our family life Song: Sweet Hour of Prayer UMH 496 Genesis: The story continues with the second generation. This is proof that God keeps his promises. This new generation has its own personality, and its own issues of faith. But they have been raised to have faith in God. and that faith makes a differences on their decisions. Jacob has worked hard to aquire a wife, but it is not the one that he wants. So he has to work twice as hard to earn the love if his life Rachel. After that he never trusts his father in law Laban. As a matter of fact, he says a prayer that only God will watch between the two of them. This is the beginning of the story of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob has so many children, because he has so many wives. This is the story of why he has those wives. And in a strange way, they all became family. We don’t choose our family members, in some ways our family members choose us through circumstances. We have to work where we are to become the people that God calls us to be. Romans: These are some of the most important words of the bible. These are the words that define our faith as Christians. If we live in the Spirit, the spirit will talk to God for us. If we live in the Spirit, the Spirit will help us to make the right decisions. If we live in the Spirit, we can trust that God will see us through all of our trials and tribulations. If we live in the spirit we can be confident that we can stand before God in all circumstances. If we live in the Spirit there is nothing that can come between God and us. But we have to make the choice to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We have to be willing to get to know the ways of God and to live by them accordingly. Questions: What are the stories of how your family got to be where it is today? How do those stories demonstrate faith? How important is faith in your family? What is the lesson you have to teach the next generation? What do you think it means to live in the Spirit? What are the things that separate you from the spirit of God? how can you overcome those barriers?
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for July 13th: Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9,18-23: Theme: family drama continues: Song:Let There Be Peace on Earth UMH 431 Genesis: Just as you can’t talk about family without talking about marriages, then come the children. And as the children grow they each have their own unique story and personality. They each have their own way of fitting into the family. In the last generation Isaac and Ishmael had their own lives and their own blessing. This generation, Isaac also has two sons, and they have their own lives and their own blessings, but they came into the world together. We can be grateful that God has enough blessing to go around. That there is no one child that God puts all of his faith in. but it takes us working together as a family. Unfortunately the first family of faith never learned that lesson, they worked against one another. But we can learn from their mistakes and know that God is with us all. The whole human family is just one family – God’s family. Romans: Paul continues in his conversation of life in the spirit and life in the flesh. Sometimes even Paul admits that there are physical things that we just cannot escape. It is easy for us to feel defeated and to feel that sin will always take over in our lives. There is no sense in avoiding sin, it will always be there. Chapter 8 is a word of hope in the midst of our humanness. It is not all about our will, it is about God’s love for us. God has done all of the hard work through Christ. Christ is a conqueror, so that makes us a conquerer. No matter how much we sin, Christ will not abandon us. the flesh does not have the final word, the spirit does. Sin is with us, but the Spirit of Christ is also with us. the Spirit of Christ is stronger. Questions: Do you know your family history? How does it uplift you? What is the relationship with your siblings? How do you overcome sibling rivalry? What does it mean to have life in the spirit? What brings you hope in the midst of despair? How do you know are you are child of God? What do you do to overcome the fleshly life?