Thursday, September 22, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for October 2nd: Lamentations 1:1-6; Psalms 137; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10 2 Timothy: For the last 3 weeks we have been looking at 1 Timothy. For the next 4 weeks we will look at 2 Timothy. October is a very good time to think about what it means to be a Christian leader, since this is the time that we also celebrate lay leadership in the church. In first Timothy, we looked at what it means to be ordained. 2nd Timothy is about leaders in general. Paul has sent his protégé Timothy home to be a minister. Now he is worried that Timothy has gotten bored and has started to slip in his faithfulness. So Paul tells him that he needs to rekindle his faithfulness. He needs to return to the faith that he learned from his mother and grandmother. He needs to be reminded of the power of Jesus Christ to light any fire. The fire of faith is most important in all parts of life. He reminds Timothy of all that Christ has done for our lives. When we are feeling defeated, we can recount what Christ has done for us and be revived. Luke: This week, the gospel demonstrates the words of the epistle. The disciples also seem to be in a low point in their faith. The first thing that they ask Jesus is to increase their faith. Jesus says that if you have the faith the size of a musdtard seed, you can work miracles and do powerful things. God is not be dependent upon our energy to make a difference. God can make all of the difference in the world all by himself. He also reminds us that we should not do good for a reward, but because we are faithful to what we are told to do. We do what we are told by the master. This is not just a lesson for leaders, but for all Christians. We all have a job to do, no matter how insignificant we think we are. God has need of us all. There is nothing that can take God’s faith away from us. There should be nothing that can take our faith in God away. We never give up. We never have an excuse not to obey the rules of God. Questions: What leadership positions do you have in the church? What leadership positions do you have in the world? What rules do you follow when you are in charge? Who has the ultimate authority in your life? What are some things that happen in life that make you feel discouraged? What do you need to do in order to get your faith back in order? What is going on in your life that requires a little more faith from you?
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for September 18th: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; Psalm 79:1-9; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13; Theme: pray for everyone: Song: This is my song UMH 437 Jeremiah: Last week was a warning. Today is the real thing. The destruction has happened. People are at a lost and disillusioned with their leaders. But this is not just about the leaders. When things were going well they went along with it, not that things are bad they are devastated. All Along Jeremiah feels their pain, their pain is his pain. When we are in pain, we look for relief, but sometimes there is no relief. The only way out of the crisis is through the crisis. We have to remember that God loves us. We have to remember that God does not take away the suffering, but he will suffer with us. God’s presence is our balm in Gilead. 1 Timothy: Timothy spells out what it means to be a Christian. A Christian will pray for everyone, including our leaders. We lift all people and all situations in prayer. We all need some kind of prayer. Prayer comes in many forms. We pray individually, but it is important for us to pray as a congregation. God hers the cries of the faithful. When we come together in community, it is prayer that should unite us. Even in the midst of many voices, there is only one God, so there should only be one faith. Sometimes our common prayer is all that holds us together. Questions: What trials are you going through? How do you feel God’s presence with you in this difficult situation? Who do you pray for? Who do you not pray for? When was the last time when God answered a prayer for you? What difference did that make in your life?