Sunday, December 25, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for January 1, 2016: Isaiah 63:7-9, Psalm 148, Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23; theme for today: Epiphany light; Song: Hark the Herald angels Sing Isaiah: It is amazing how God always sends the right word for the right time. This verse tells us that God sent a messenger in times of distress to tell the people that they would be okay. He also told them what they needed to do and reminded them of God’s promises. Christmas is the right time for us to celebrate. For us to know that we are saved, and to go through the darkness without knowing that it was intended for us. So on New Year’s let us testify how good God has been and how we intend to allow God’s blessing in the new year. Let us know that God is still speaking to us to his people and to the world. That is what worship is all about sing, praise pray. Matthew: This is also epiphany – the time when that star made a difference and the wise men finally got it. There is a lot going on in our world this holiday season. This reminds us to pray for the children, to protect them and to guide them. May we be the stars that they are seeking, may we make a difference in thir lives. May we comfort the mothers who are crying. But more importantly may the star rise in your heart, and others see the light of Christ. Questions: What message do you need to hear this Christmas? What message do you need to pass on? How do you praise God in your ordinary life? What great light are you looking for, where do you see light in today’s darkness?
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for December 18th: Isaiah 7:10-16;Psalm 80: 1-7,17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew1:18-25; Theme: Dare to Dream; Song: 240 Hark the Herald Angles Sing Isaiah: This is the time of year that we start to look at messages from God. We want to know how things are going to change. The bible says that we should not get stuck on signs, but that is all that we can think of. We want some sign, that things are about to get better. The signs are all around us. God is always present in our lives, God is always working to bring about the world that he intended. God himself gave Ahaz a sign that things were getting better-a baby would be born, and the baby would be named Emmanuel - meaning God is present. The child will grow and learn as any other baby, but he will do special things as he grows. And eventually, you will see that it was God who bought you through all along. Matthew: Matthew is the only gospel where the birth of Jesus is portrayed. This story starts with a dream. Joseph could have stopped all of this. He could have put Mary on the street when he found out she was pregnant. But he had a dream where an angel told him to be understanding. Perhaps he had studied Isaiah in bible study that night,where he learned that salvation comes through a child. This was some story that Mary told. She did not mess with another man, she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. What would have happened if Joseph did not get his own message? How would the world be different. Where would our hope be, how could have think of anything ever changing? We can be grateful that God has a way of leading us and telling us what his will is. We just have to learn to listen to your dreams. Questions: How do you know that God is present in your life? What messages has God given you in your dreams? How do you live the Christmas story today? What hope do you have as you see all of the new babies coming into the world? What promise will they bring? Do you believe in miracles? What miracles have been present in your life?
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Breaking Open the Scripture Scriptures for December 11th: Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:46b-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11; Theme: What do you see?; Song: 196 Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Isaiah: Isaiah gives us an idea of what the world will look like when God is present. We are all hoping for things to change. For life to be better. But we are reminded that the only way for God to be present is for us to live as if he is already here. For us to make sure that the scripture is written in our hearts and we are actually living according to the principles set out in the bible. When that happens, not only will our community change, but everyone around the world will flock to the city to see how it is done. God’s plan can happen in Englewood, just as well as in Jerusalem. We can vow to live in peace. But we have to convince others the live in our dream. That is what Christmas is all about – spreading God’s vision to the rest of the world who does not go to church. It all starts with Imagine if….. Matthew: How many times in your life have you asked Jesus if he is the one, or should I expect another? The truth is we test Jesus each and every day. We try to make sense of our lives and circumstances everyday. Who is Jesus to you? Do you even recognize your savior when you see him? Do you see Jesus as that baby crying while you are trying to concentrate, or the little child running around needing discipline, or the friend in the hospital needing a visit, or the homeless man asking for food right now. Jesus comes to us in all shapes and sizes. We have to be prepared and ready. People started to see salvation in a man in the wilderness, crying out to repent. He got so popular that he was put in jail. People knew that a change was necessary. And they pursued it. When you look at other people what do you see? You should see Jesus giving you a message, to love, to understand to help, to participate. Questions: What would Englewood look like if God were present in the way we treated one another? How can you give God’s vision to others this Christmas? What has to change before God can get through to the world? How can you recognize Jesus in this modern age? When you see the people in front of you, what do you see? What do you need to repent of?