Saturday, September 26, 2015

October 4, 2015

Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for October 4th: Job 1:1,2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4,2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16; Theme: World Communion Sunday; Song: Through it All- UMH 507 Job: We continue with the lessons from wisdom. We begin to study the book of Job. Job deals with the biggest question of humanity: Why do bad things happen to good people? With all of the bad luck that Job is having, it seems that God is picking on Job unfairly. All those who he talks to for advice, tell him to just curse God and being mean and die. Others tell him that it must be something that he did – sin causes bad luck. Job struggles with all of his friends, Job struggles with what is happening to him. When he is able to put it all into perspective – and to worship God for what he has – that is when his life starts to change. He heals, and eventually all that he lost is restored. In the midst of it all he was able to thank God. would we do the same in the same situation? Hebrews: We will be looking at Hebrews for a while this fall. This book is not a letter to a church, it is an essay written for no one in particular. The theme is to honor Jesus as a high priest. He is the priest for all Christians. A priest in an intecessor for humans. He performs the necessary task in order to please God. He is not an angel. His mission is to bring salvation to mankind. Our task is to meet Jesus halfway in our life. As John Wesley would say – we are to go on to perfection. We will never be perfect, but we can give all that we can to God. We can give ourselves to God. We can be called children of God who live according to the precepts of Christ. As long as we put our faith in Jesus, everything else will be okay. Questions: What do you know about the story of Job? Can you bless God in all circumstances? Who are your advisors on matters of faith? Do you listen to them all of the time? If you could talk with God, what would you say? How are you a child of God? What has Jesus done in your life to make a difference? What does it mean to go on to perfect?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 27, 2015

Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for September 27th: Esther 7:1-6,9-10, 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50; Theme: our actions have consequences; Song: If it had not been for the Lord 2053 Esther: This is the one time that we will focus on this book. We are focusing on the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible – which we do not hear from very often. It is easy for us to dismiss these books of the bible, because they often do not focus on God, and there is no real lesson. They are in the form of short stories and poetry. They are often stories about women. But these stories are important. This is a story of a woman who stood up for herself, and her people. She did not ask for vengeance against the enemy of her people, she just told her husband, the king the truth about the matter. The king was able to make a just decision for himself. The wisdom in the story – do the right thing, always be who you are. Trust God to bring about justice and mercy in times of trouble. If you are on God’s side, God is on your side. Mark: This is an example of Jesus threats to us when he is angry. He can scare us into doing to right thing. But it is also an example of what it means to be a powerful Christian. You have to be worth your weight in salt. Jesus us telling us that there is no room for fooling around in the Christian life. We all sin, we all like to blame our sinful nature on the devil and keep on sinning. Jesus says that whatever it is that you are blaming your sin on, get rid of it. Make the right choice and once again do the right thing. There is a reason why God needs us to be wise people – it is our wisdom, it is God’s wisdom that encourages others to do right to. We cannot control other people, but we can control ourselves. We change others by changing ourselves. There is too much work in the kingdom to do for us to slack off now! Questions: When had there been a time in your life when you have had to stand up for your faith? What was it that gave you the strength to stand? What difference did it make to others? What are the things in your life that need to be improved for God’s sake? Who is watching your every move to see what it means to be a Christian? How are you an example to them?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 20, 2015

Scriptures for September 20th: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13-4:3,7-8; Mark 9:30-37; Theme: the wisdom of God; Song: Lord I Want to Be a Christian UMH 402 James: Last week we talked about what it means to be a teacher, today we talk about being a student. In order to be a teacher, you have to learn from someone. James reminds us that the master teacher is in heaven. We all have a choice to make. James makes a distinction between life guided by the spirit, and life guarded by flesh. There are a difference set of emotions that comes from each. The emotions of the flesh lead us to conflicts with other people. When we find that we are feeling empty in life, it is important to think about our desires. Do we desire the things of earth, or the things of heaven. Are we following the master in heaven, or the master of earth (which is the devil). It is a constant battle, a constant balance to follow God to the path of heaven. Mark: Jesus comes back from vacation and returns to his people. He is now traveling through Galilee, but he wants to take a retreat and spend some time with his disciples. It is time for them to learn the ultimate lesson – that the messiah must be tortured and die. The world is not ready for salvation. Our job is not to be in charge of the world, it is to serve the world. It is to be ready to help the least. Those who others ignore, we have to pay attention to. Specifically we have to remember the children. Help them and to be a voice for them and to always take care of them in everything that we do. Jesus is preparing us for the future. And our future task – take care of the children. Questions: What does wisdom mean? Where do you think wisdom comes from? Where does the bible say that wisdom comes from? When you are in conflict, what are your motives? How are you a servant of Christ and other people? What are you doing to help the children? When you are in conflict, do you need to win? Or do the right thing?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 13, 2015

Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for September 13th: Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38; Theme: obeying the rules of goodness; song: Be thou my vision UMH 451 James: We are in our third week of lessons from James. This is a timely message because it about teachers. As school starts, we need to pray for our teachers. That they do not take their role in vain. When we take on the mantle of being a Christian, we are all teachers. Someone is watching us as an example of what it means to follow God, so we all need to take heed to James message. Mind what you say and know that it makes a difference. Small words can make all of the difference in the world. Small words can make a difference in our relationships. Small words can make a difference in the people we are around. As a teacher we have to be in tune with the small words that we say – and make sure that they are words of love. Mark: This is a continuation of the lesson from last week. Last week Jesus shows us what it means to love and heal others. Today Jesus gives another message to his disciples. A much harsher word – that yes he is the messiah, he does everything well, everyone loves what the messiah does. And yet these same people will kill and crucify the messiah. When we do good for others, we cannot always wait for the good to be returned. We cant expect that we will be appreciated. If they did not appreciate Jesus, they will not appreciate us. But if we are able to endure, we will receive Christ reward in heaven. He will call us his followers and his friends. When we don’t do the right thing he will be ashamed of us and leave us hanging. Questions: Who considers you to be a teacher in their life? Are you careful in your words to that person? Who had said words that really hurt you? How have you been able to heal from that experience? What does it mean that Jesus is the Christ? How are you following him? How are you taking up your cross today?