Sunday, March 22, 2015
Breaking Open the Scripture Scripture for March 29th : Mark 11:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 32:9-16; Mark 14:1-15:47; Theme: the passion of Christ; Song: Were you there? Mark : The reading for today is the passion story. The story of how Jesus was betrayed, how he was led to the cross, and we hear every gory detail of how he was nailed to the cross and died. It is important for us to hear this story every year. And in some sense feel pain that Christ felt, because it was felt on our behalf. The year that the passion of Christ came out, I had a youth ask me if we needed to remember every detail of the cross. I used the example of a gift, when you give a gift to someone do you leave the price tag on the gift or do you take it off. We hear the story, but we don’t have to live the pain. That pain was a gift given to each of us freely. The correct response of getting a gift is saying thank you. Let us hear and read this story and say thank you. Be present to our sin and develop a determination to repent and sin no more. During lent we have journeyed with Christ. We have journeyed with him to the Cross and now we are invited to journey with him to death. That is the only way to get to true resurrection. Questions: How has lent been for you this year? What have you learned about yourself? What have you learned about God? What does it do to for you to relive the story of Christ? How are you affected by hearing the Christ story? What sins need to be forgiven? How can you repent in time for Easter? What needs to be resurrected inside of you?
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Breaking Open the Scripture Scripture for March 22nd: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33; theme: time for a new covenant; Song: Where he Leads me UMH 338 Jeremiah : All throughout lent, the Hebrew bible lesson has been about the promises of God. God made promises to the church fathers, and God does not break his promises, so they are still in effect today. And yet today’s passage is about a new covenant with God. the promises do not change, but the relationship that we have with God does. God says that the new covenant will not be written in stone, but will be written on our hearts. In order to make a covenant, something has to be cut. God says it will be our heart muscle. That hurts! Sometime being loyal to God hurts, but it is worth it. God makes this promise not just to individuals, but to all who are children of Abraham through faith. It is time to let go of the old and to embrace the new – our new hearts with a new master – God not our sins! John: The journey of lent is about following Jesus. We followed him to the cross, we followed him to be fishers of men, and now he invites us to follow him to death. In order to truly have new life, there has to be a death, there has to be pain. He knows that he is going to die, he asks us to die with him. He knows he will be resurrected, he asks us to be resurrected with him. Somehow things have got to change, and this is the process for change. When we hold on, things stay the same, when we let go and let God, it all falls into place. Jesus is asking su to trust him on a fantastic journey! Questions: What does it mean to have a covenant with God? How are God’s promises written on your heart? What instructions of God’s are written on your heart which you know automatically? Which ones do you still have to think about and read in order to do? How well do you follow Jesus? Are you willing to follow him to the death? Are you willing to follow him to resurrection?
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Breaking Open the Scripture Scripture for March 15th: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3,17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10;John 3:14-21; Theme: Our entire life is inside of Christ; Song: Because he Lives UMH 364 Ephesians : I think that this epistle is the best example of the good news that we have in the bible. I think that it’s message is so uplifting. It is a message total and complete grace. Paul explains to us that we are not bad people. But that there are forces inside of us that compel us to be selfish, to be unloving, and to do things that are not always in our best interest. God knows us, that is why he sent Jesus Christ. The work of saving us is in the cross, there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. God cares for everyone, even those who will never understand what love is. It is that mercy that saves those who do have a relationship with God. When we live a life in thankfulness, we become an accomplishment of God and demonstrate God’s glory. John: The gospel lesson is a throwback to the old testament lesson. Moses knew what he needed to do in order to help his people. He needed to do things in order to save his people. Jesus did what he needed to do to save his people. It is just that there are more people who need to hear the message of Jesus. In this crazy world, we need to have something to believe in. Moses knew that he needed to create a symbol for the people to look up to. The cross is a symbol that we can look up to. The cross is more than a symbol of salvation, it is the basis of salvation. God knew what needed to be done to make a difference in the world. We have to lift up the cross, so that others can truly see the light. Questions: What does it mean to be dead, while you are still alive? How does Christ give life to us today? How are you God’s accomplishment? How do you lift up Christ to others? Are you a child of light or a child of darkness? What is the real difference?