Saturday, December 27, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scripture for January 4th: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12; Theme: yearly commitment to service; Song: This little Light of mine UMH 585 Isaiah : The exiles have been out of their land for years, and now that prophecy is that it is time to go home and to rebuild their lives. But not to forget, that God is the center of our lives, God is the center of our society. They were put out because they did not follow God. So it is critical to do it right them time. When God’s people are trusting in God, other people will take interest and want to be a part of the rebuilding. The prophecy is to arise, your light has come – it is time to come out and to celebrate, and to see what God has done for you and for me. God is making an example of what we do, so that he can attract the other nations. Ephesians: There is no division that God cannot heal. We as humans constantly find ways to separate ourselves. We make sure that there are insiders and outsiders. There is us and them. Christ can overcome those boundaries. It is important to realize that we are not one in Christ, we are united. We can come together and to find common ground. Paul says that the secret of our unity is grace. Christ reaches out to us all, and saves us in our place and in our lives. Christ wants the world to see that he their salvation to. We are know different from the people in the world. But when we believe in Christ, we can do anything and overcome all obstacles. Paul tells us to be confident and bold in our trust for God’s grace in our lives. Questions: How do you know that God’s light is shining in such a dark night? How do we know that the world sees the light of God? How does God’s light bring hope? What differences have we had to overcome to be united in Christ? How do you feel God’s grace? What does it take to be bold and confident in Christ?
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for December 28th: Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40; theme: what gift did you get for Christmas? Song: Away in the Manger UMH 217 Isaiah : As we read through the book of Isaiah, we are taken through a battle. The people are struggling and suffering, they are crying out to God for relief. But if God is up there, and we are down here, How does he get that help to us? He promises that he will send those who speak for him. That he will raise up a suffering servant. He becomes that suffering servant. As we come to the end of Isaiah, we learn that the battle is over. That the people has won. Isaiah starts to tell us what victory looks like, so that we recognize it when we see it. The earth will start to live again, the people will start to live again, We will celebrate. We will become new people. Let us celebrate what the Lord has done, but also what the Lord will do in our lives. Luke: We continue the story of the birth of our Lord. He has to be brought into the Jewish family. So his parents take him to the temple to be blessed and circumcised. But this is no ordinary baby, at this point only the parents know that. Jesus does not have a halo over his head. So how does Samuel know? Because the promise fulfilled is not just to Mary and Joseph, but to the people – to all of us. So the people, the elders bless that baby and put all of their hopes and dreams. The good news is that the child recognized his place in life, and he never stepped out of his purpose. HE grew, he sacrificed, and we have a chance to give our blessing to Jesus even today. Questions: What are signs in your life that things are getting better? How is God answering our prayers even today? Who is the suffering servant today? How do you bless the children of today and tell them they are special? How do you watch them grow into strong children? What do you do to teach them faith?
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Scriptures for December 21st: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46-55, Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38; Theme: God chose Mary to bring Jesus into the world; Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing Luke : This is the Magnificat of Mary. It is Mary’s celebration of all that God has done for her. She realizes that she is no one special, but that God was not concerned about the special. God realizes that most of his people are a part of the righteous victims. They have become a part of those who are struggling to make it is a world designed for others benefit. The point of the messiah is to make a difference, and to give the lowly a chance. So he would not appoint a prince in a castle to make a difference, but a baby in a manger. A baby that comes from parents who have nothing, but faith in a God that cares for them. Luke: This is the Magnificat that has been played out in reality. Mary did not understand how she would give birth to a son, when she accepted the prophecy from the angel Gabriel. But she trusted that if God gave her a message, then God would make a way for it to happen. She gets support from her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a lot older, but she was also pregnant. They could fulfil the prophecy of the future together. God works miracles in our everyday lives, with everyday people. Questions: How does your soul magnify the Lord? How do you live out God’s intention for your life? When God gives you a challenge, what do you do? Do you accept it? Or do you argue with God? Who has God sent in your life to support you in God’s plan?
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for December 14th: Isaiah 6:1-4,8-11; Psalm 126; I Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28; theme: The spirit of the Lord is upon you to do mission; Song: Come thou Long Expected Jesus – UMH 196 Isaiah : God has seen our pain, and God will bring about a solution. That solution is in the form of a leader who can truly make a difference. The jews are still waiting for that leader. And yet as Christians, we know that leader has come in the form of Jesus the Christ. In Luke, Christ proclaims that the spirit of the Lord is upon him to make a difference in the personal lives of God’s people. The spirit has given him the power to do what needs to be done. Isaiah 60 spells out what must be done, and who must be saved. We serve a God of righteousness, but in order for there to be righteousness in the world, there must be people who able to live according to that righteousness. This advent season, we not only serve our leader, but we live as he would live and we do as he would do. The spirit of the Lord is upon us! John: John the Baptist is the evangelist of advent. He is the one who spreads the good news. But the news he spread is not all good. In order for it to be good news, we have to be willing to repent. To turn our lives away from sin and to righteousness. When John stands up and speaks, people want to know who he is and why is he speaking. Are you a prophet? No I am a follower of Christ, I have been called not to be Christ for the world, but to follow Christ in all circumstances. We are not prophet, we are not the one who will change the world – but we are called to witness to the one who has come to make a difference. Questions: How do you know the spirit is upon you? Does the spirit make a difference in your life? In your attitude? How is God calling you to serve others? How are you a witness to the power of Christ?