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Friday, October 17, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (10/19/14)

2 Samuel 11:26-12:16 (ESV)  
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband.  [27] And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. 
[12:1] And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.  [2] The rich man had very many flocks and herds,  [3] but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.  [4] Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."  [5] Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,  [6] and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." 
[7] Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.  [8] And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.  [9] Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.  [10] Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'  [11] Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  [12] For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.' "  [13] David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  [14] Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die."  [15] Then Nathan went to his house.
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick.  [16] David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.  

Questions for Reflection

  1. In what ways do you agree or disagree with the adage “Power corrupts”?
  2. To what extent do you believe public officials should be accountable for their private behavior?
  3. How did Nathan use the story to convict David? (12:7-9)
  4. According to Nathan, what would be the consequences of David’s sin? (12:13-14)
  5. Why was the parable Nathan told to David so effective?
  6. In what sense can a definite “no” from God in response to our request actually be a relief?
  7. Why is our sense of outrage easily sparked against strangers but difficult to muster in relation to our own actions?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (10/12/14)

Joshua 24:1-22 (ESV)  
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. [2] And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. [3] Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. [4] And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. [5] And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and afterward I brought you out. 
[6] " 'Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. And the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. [7] And when they cried to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness a long time. [8] Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. [9] Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, [10] but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. [11] And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. [12] And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. [13] I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.' 
[14] "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. [15] And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 
[16] Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, [17] for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. [18] And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God." 
[19] But Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. [20] If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good." [21] And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the Lord." [22] Then Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him." And they said, "We are witnesses."  

Questions for Reflection
1. What would you list as the three most significant events in your life?
2. What benefit do you see in remembering important events from your past?
3. Why was it necessary for Joshua to remind the Israelites what God had done for them? (24:1-14)
4. What did the Lord give to Israel, and what did He ask in return? (24:13-14)
5. What choice did Joshua present before the Israelites? (24:15)
6. What decision had Joshua made about his own faith? (24:15)
7. How did the Israelites respond to Joshua’s challenge? (24:16-18)
8. Why did Joshua say that the people of Israel were not able to serve the Lord? (24:19)
9. When is it most helpful for you to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the past?
10. What are the most significant things that you have seen the Lord do in your life?
11. When did you make the decision to serve the Lord?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 2014 Newsletter

Click on the link to view this month's newsletter.

October 2014 Newsletter

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (10/5/14)

Exodus 19:3-7 (ESV)  
while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel:  [4] You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.  [5] Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  [6] and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel." [7] So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 

Exodus 20:1-17 (ESV)  
And God spoke all these words, saying, [2] "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. [3] "You shall have no other gods before me. [4] "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  [5] You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  [6] but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. [7] "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. [8] "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  [9] Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,  [10] but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  [11] For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. [12] "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. [13] "You shall not murder. [14] "You shall not commit adultery. [15] "You shall not steal. [16] "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. [17] "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's." 

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you feel when you tell someone something and he or she completely ignores what you say?
  2. Why do governments establish laws and policies?
  3. What are things our society tends to worship?
  4. How did God describe Himself? (20:2)
  5. What are we commanded not to put before God? (20:3)
  6. What did God tell us not to make? (20:4)
  7. What is the consequence of bowing before false gods? (20:5)
  8. To whom does God express His love? (20:6)
  9. How are we to consider using the name of the Lord? (20:7)
  10. How do you think God feels when we worship things other than Him?
  11. Why does God not want us to commit sins against Him and others?
  12. What people, things, and other loyalties sometimes captivate your attention more than God?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (9/28/14) ~ Baptism Sunday evening

This Sunday at 4:00 PM we will gather on Curt and Jennifer Kneese's river bank to celebrate the sacrament of baptism for 1 adult, Joey Freeman, and 3 youth, Grayson Bannowsky, Chet and Chainey Weitz. Please come join us.  We will have a reception following if you would like to please bring some cookies to share.

Exodus 14:10-14 (ESV)  
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. [11] They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? [12] Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." [13] And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. [14] The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." 

Exodus 14:21-31 (ESV)  
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  [22] And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. [23] The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. [24] And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, [25] clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians." 
[26] Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen." [27] So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. [28] The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. [29] But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 
[30] Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. [31] Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. 

Questions for Reflection
1. What did the Israelites cry to Moses when the Egyptians came after them? (14:10-12)
2. How did Moses respond when the Egyptians were bearing down on the Israelites? (14:13-14)
3. What miraculous events took place at the Red Sea? (14:21-31)
4. How do you think Moses felt when God gave him specific directions?
5. How is it hard to follow God when we know He wants to direct us to safety?
6. How do you imagine God felt when the Israelites cried to return to Egypt?
7. How is listening to God tied to our safety and protection?
8. What might the Israelites have felt about their bad attitudes after God rescued them?
9. How can bad attitudes and not listening to God get us in trouble?
10. What do we have to do to be obedient to God even when we don’t feel like it?
11. How has God performed amazing “Red Sea” miracles in your life?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (9/21/14)

Genesis 39:1-23 (ESV)  
Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. [2] The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. [3] His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. [4] So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. [5] From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. [6] So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. [7] And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me." [8] But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. [9] He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" [10] And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. 
[11] But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, [12] she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. [13] And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, [14] she called to the men of her household and said to them, "See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. [15] And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house." [16] Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, [17] and she told him the same story, saying, "The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. [18] But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house." 
[19] As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, "This is the way your servant treated me," his anger was kindled. [20] And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. [21] But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. [22] And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. [23] The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. 

Questions for Reflection
1. What’s your favorite example of “an offer you can’t refuse”?
2. Who were the main people in these events, and what kind of people were they? (39:1-40:23)
3. What did Potiphar observe about Joseph, and what did he do as a result? (39:2-6)
4. What did Potiphar’s wife ask Joseph to do, and what was his response? (39:7-12)
5. How did Potiphar’s wife react when Joseph refused her? (39:13-18)
6. How did Potiphar respond to his wife’s story? (39:19-20)
7. Why is it difficult to trust God when bad things happen?
8. How did Joseph make the most of the bad situations in which he found himself?
9. How can we honor God in our employment?
10. How do you respond when you are mistreated by another person?
11. What attitude do we need when our situation seems hopeless?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (9/14/14)

Matthew 18:21-35 (ESV)  
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" [22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. [23] "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [24] When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. [25] And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' [27] And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' [29] So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' [30] He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. [31] When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. [32] Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. [33] And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. [35] So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Questions for Reflection
1. What makes forgiveness difficult?
2. What acts of mercy have you seen or heard about recently?
3. What are some situations others have faced that you would find difficult to forgive?
4. How did the king graciously respond to the indebted servant’s desperate plea? (18:27)
5. What did the servant go do after his debt was cancelled? (18:28)
6. How likely are we to forgive someone once, twice, or even three times?
7. In what ways has God shown mercy in forgiving our sins?
8. If God is so willing to forgive us, why are we sometimes unwilling to forgive others?
9. How do we sometimes forgive with strings attached?
10. What should we do if we don’t feel like forgiving others?