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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 2014 Newsletter

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December 2014 Newsletter

Friday, December 5, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (12/7/14)

  • Men's Breakfast tomorrow morning at 8 AM. Lots of good food bring a friend with you.
  • Children and youth need to be at the church at 9:45 to practice for the Christmas program.

Esther 4:1-17 (ESV)  
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. [2] He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. [3] And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. 
[4] When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. [5] Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. [6] Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, [7] and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. [8] Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. [9] And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. [10] Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, [11] "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days." 
[12] And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. [13] Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. [14] For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" [15] Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, [16] "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish." [17] Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. 

Questions for Reflection

Esther’s struggle with identity and risk raise critical questions for Christians today, including these:

  1. How do we maintain our witness of faith in a culture dominated by material consumption and political brinkmanship?
  2. What power does any one of us really have to make a difference?
  3. What kind of risks are we willing to take on behalf of those vulnerable and threatened?
  4. Which of our identities ultimately shape our lives? Am I first and foremost a parent? An American? A Christian? An employee?
  5. What complicit agreements do we make with cultural or political powers to maintain our own status and privilege?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (11/23/14)

The Hanging of the Greens will be Sunday at 5:30 chili and cornbread will be provided please bring a dessert to share.

Jeremiah 1:4-10 (ESV)  
    Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
    [5] "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    and before you were born I consecrated you;
    I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
    [6] Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth."  [7] But the Lord said to me,
    "Do not say, 'I am only a youth';
    for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
    and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
    [8] Do not be afraid of them,
    for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord."
    [9] Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
    "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
    [10] See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
    to pluck up and to break down,
    to destroy and to overthrow,
    to build and to plant."

Jeremiah 7:1-11 (ESV)  
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  [2] "Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord.  [3] Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.  [4] Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.' 
[5] "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another [6] if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm,  [7] then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. 
[8] "Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.  [9] Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,  [10] and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'—only to go on doing all these abominations?  [11] Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.  

Questions for Reflection
1.    What does it feel like to bring news that you know will be unpopular?
2.    When have you been chosen for a task for which you felt totally unqualified?
3.    How did God announce to Jeremiah that he was chosen as a prophet? (1:5)
4.    What was Jeremiah’s assessment of his own abilities in relation to God’s call? (1:6)
5.    How did God respond to Jeremiah’s reservations? (1:7)
6.    What promise did God make to Jeremiah from the outset of his ministry? (1:8)
7.    What difference can it make to know that God knew us and set us apart even before our birth?
8.    What reservations do you have about your ability to serve God according to His call?
9.    When we tell people about Christ, whose words do we speak?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (11/16/14)

Isaiah 36:1-3 (ESV)  
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. [2] And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. [3] And there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

Isaiah 36:13-20 (ESV)  
Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! [14] Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. [15] Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, "The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." [16] Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, [17] until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. [18] Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, "The Lord will deliver us." Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? [19] Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? [20] Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?' " 

Isaiah 37:1-7 (ESV)  
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. [2] And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. [3] They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. [4] It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.' " 
[5] When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, [6] Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, 'Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. [7] Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'" 

Questions for Reflection

  1. When have you seen high or low morale determine the outcome of a challenging situation?
  2. When have you been persuaded that it is fruitless to fight against some group of people, trend, or opposing opinion?
  3. What message did the commander address directly to the people on the wall of the city? (36:13-15)
  4. For what reasons did the Assyrian urge the people of Jerusalem to surrender? (36:16-17)
  5. Why was the Assyrian field commander convinced that God could not help the people of Jerusalem? (36:18-20)
  6. What was the Assyrian field commander’s purpose in approaching the city ahead of the army?
  7. How can Christians stand firm even when they are aware of their own weakness and the strength of an enemy?
  8. According to the prophet Isaiah, how did God view the words of the Assyrian field commander? (37:5-7)
Readings for the Week of Nov. 17-23

Nov. 17 Monday          Isaiah 36:4-12
Nov. 18 Tuesday          Isaiah 37:8-13
Nov. 19 Wednesday  Isaiah 37:14-29
Nov. 20 Thursday          Isaiah 37:30-38
Nov. 21 Friday  Isaiah 38:1-22
Nov. 22 Saturday          Isaiah 39:1-8
Nov. 23 Sunday  Jeremiah 1:4-10; 7:1-11

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (11/9/14)

The youth will be having a bake sale at Hill Country Sporting Goods Saturday 10am to 1:00pm. If you would like to bake something please drop it off at the church Friday. 

Please Read Micah Chapter 6 and 7

My sermon will focus on:
Micah 6:6-8 (ESV)  
    "With what shall I come before the Lord,
        and bow myself before God on high?
    Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
        with calves a year old?
    [7] Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
        with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
    Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
        the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
    [8] He has told you, O man, what is good;
        and f what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
        and to walk humbly with your God?

Questions for Reflection

  1. When faced with difficult circumstances, on whom can you most depend for help?
  2. What was God’s indictment against Israel? (6:1-5)
  3. How did Israel propose to make up for its sins? (6:6-8)
  4. What did God desire from His people? (6:8)
  5. What were some of the sins in which Israel was involved? (6:9-12)
  6. What does it mean to act justly? love mercy? walk humbly with God?
  7. In what way does God want us to be a force for good against evil in the world?
  8. If all Christians were spiritual people who always obeyed God faithfully and acted justly, how might our society be different?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 2014 Newsletter

To view this month's newsletter, click on the link below.

November 2014 Newsletter

Monday, November 3, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (11/2/14)

Please read all of 2 Kings chapter 4

Questions for Reflection
1. What are the feelings that go along with debt and financial hardships?
2. Whose prayers do you want when you are facing life’s most daunting problems?
3. What was the predicament of the widow of one of the prophets? (4:1)
4. How did Elisha make use of what little the widow had to provide for her by faith? (4:2-6)
5. When did the oil stop flowing for the widow and her sons? (4:6)
6. What circumstance have you faced in which you were afraid to hope?
7. What were the evidences of faith in how the Shunammite woman behaved after her son’s death?
8. In what different ways did Elisha show compassion in this set of incidents?
9. When have you hesitated to ask someone to pray for you because you felt self-conscious?