Sunday, October 30, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for November 6th: Daniel 7:1-3,15-18; Psalm 149, Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31; Theme: Remembering our Saints; Song: Holy, Holy Holy UMH 64 Daniel: Many people are afraid of this book. It is the precursor for the Book of Revelation. And Daniel forsee’s a very definite future for both his captors and his own people. But this is more a book of visions. Daniel receives a vision of the future from God and he is just passing it on. As we think of our ancestors on this day, let us remember their visions. We are the people who are intended to make those visions come true. Our forefathers and mothers may have a better incite on the world and its events then we do, they have seen it all before. They more disturbed by what they see, but we in the living world have the power to change it. Luke: Luke is talking about the promise of heaven. Those who are qualified to go to heaven are those who follow in Jesus footsteps in any circumstance. Heaven is for those who earn it. The life that we live on earth is not meant to be ideal and perfect. It is full of challenges that prepare us for heaven. Heaven is for those who dare to be different. We can be grateful for the rules and discipline that our parents taught us. Many children are not learning those same values. But those values come straight for this verse, to do the right thing in all circumstances, you will be blessed in the end. Questions: Who is your family always had visions of the future? How did you live out those visions? How do those visions inform our actions? What important values were present in your family? Why were those values important? Do you believe in heaven? How does your belief affect the way in which you treat people?
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for October 30th: Habukkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4, Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12; Luke 19:1-10; Theme: God loves the sinner; Song: UMH 451 Habakkuk: The prophet is living in a world that is wrought with violence and destruction. Not only does he see the destruction of everything that he and his family care about, but he also sees the destruction of everything that God cares about. He can’t help but ask God how long will He allow all of this to go on. Perhaps God is not really paying attention to what is going on, or perhaps God does not care about what it going on. God does speak, and God says to wait, be patient. God does see and God will give you a vision to make a change, and if God gives a vision, it is important to make the vision plain to everyone around you. They are waiting also. Luke: Election Day is coming up, and it is important for us to pray for our politicians and to remember that God loves them too. Like Zaccheus, it is common for us to use crooked and politician in the same sentence. Some deserve that reputation, and some don’t. but perhaps Jesus chose to visit Zaccheus’s house to help us to understand that God wants all people to be saved. God didn’t just come for our friends, he came for everyone. And if Jesus can turn around the crooked politicians, then God can save anyone and everyone. Sometimes they want to do right, they just need some encouragement from the Lord. Questions: What destruction of your neighborhood do you see now? What do you wish God would do to make it different? What vision has God given you to make a difference? What and who do we need to pray for this election season? How can you encourage your politicians to do the right thing?
Friday, October 7, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for October 16th: Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119: 97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8; theme: Laity Sunday ; Song: This is a Day of New Beginnings Jeremiah: This is the last week that we will deal with Jeremiah this year. Jeremiah has a way of turning our understanding of life upside down. He encourages us to see the good in the bad things of life and to realize the bad we bring on ourselves by trying to feel good. He encourages us to come out of our skin and to think of others. And to find hope in the darkest of situations. Our text for today starts out by saying that the day is coming. It is not hear yet, but it is coming. We will realize all that we have been striving for. Not only will things get better, but God will make a new covenant with a new people. People will live right, because they think right and praise God right. We can look forward to that day. Jeremiah ends his message with the most popular verse in the bible – This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Luke: This is another word of hope and trust in the Lord. The widow prays and prays, and the judge gives her justice. I heard a story of a mother who walked into a dealership and prayed over a car every day. The dealer gave it to her. If a dealer who does not go to church can do that, imagine what God can do if you pray to him every day? There is a lot going on in our world that we need to pray about. God wants us to pray, God wants to answer our prayers. But the world has gotten so far away from prayer. When Jesus comes will he find us on our knees or standing on our own two feet. Luke encouraged us to stay faithful and to pray. Questions: If you could pray for a perfect world, what would it look like? How do you rejoice in the present? What gives you hope? What signs of hope do you see in the world? What are you praying for now? What discourages you from praying?