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Thursday, September 11, 2014

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

Scripture
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?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 2014 Newsletter

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September 2014 Newsletter

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (9/7/14)

Men of the Church Breakfast – Saturday, Sept 6th ~ 8 AM.

Sunday School Kick-off Breakfast on Sunday, Sept 7th ~ gather at 9:45, eat at 10:00 AM.

Scripture
Romans 14:1-12 (ESV)  
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. [2] One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. [3] Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. [4] Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. [5] One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. [6] The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. [7] For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. [8] If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. [9] For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. [10] Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; [11] for it is written,
    "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
        and every tongue shall confess to God."
[12] So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:17-22 (ESV)  
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. [18] Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. [19] So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. [20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. [21] It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. [22] The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.  

Questions for Reflection
1. When have you refused to eat something that was put before you?
2. What reasons did Paul give for not judging people on disputable matters? (14:1-12)
3. What issues did Paul believe were not worth fighting over? (13:2, 5)
4. What should be the primary motivation for a person’s decision to eat meat or celebrate a sacred day? (13:6-8)
5. What will each person do when standing before God’s judgment seat? (14:12)
6. What is a Christian’s responsibility for building peace among the other believers? (14:19-21)
7. How should concern for other believers affect our personal choices? (14:21)
8. What responsibility do you have to be a good example for others?
9. What practice would you be willing to give up if it proved to be a bad influence on others?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (8/31/14)

Scripture
Romans 13:8-12 (ESV)  
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  [9] The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  [11] Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  [12] The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  

Questions for Reflection

1.    What sort of actions communicate love to you?
2.    In what area of life is a Christian to maintain a continuing debt? (13:8)
3.    What is the sign that a Christian has fulfilled the Law? (13:8)
4.    What one command sums up all the other commands? (13:9)
5.    What act and attitude is the fulfillment of the Law? (13:10)
6.    What “hour” had arrived for the Roman Christians? (13:11)
7.    How did Paul encourage his audience to live godly lives? (13:11-12)
8.    What does it mean that love is the fulfillment of the Law?
9.    What specific acts of love can Christians show to friends, family, neighbors, and strangers?
10.  What are the signs that the present age is nearly over?
11.  How would you live if you knew the world would end in six months?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (8/24/14)

Scripture
Romans 12:9-21 (ESV)  
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. [10] Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. [11] Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. [12] Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. [13] Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
[14] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. [15] Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. [16] Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. [17] Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [18] If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. [19] Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." [20] To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  

Questions for Reflection

1. What might a friend do to you that you would have trouble forgiving?
2. What advice would you give to someone who wanted some practical wisdom on how to get along with others?
3. What should we hate? (12:9)
4. What is genuine love like? (12:9, 13, 18-21)
5. What attitudes should we strive to have? (12:9-16)
6. How can a Christian learn to love others as God loves them?
7. In what ways is Christian love more than emotion?
8. What does it mean to honor one another?
9. In what ways can you honor someone above yourself? Who?

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (8/17/14)

Scripture for Sunday
Romans 12:1-8 (ESV)  
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [3] For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. [4] For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, [5] so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [6] Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; [7] if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; [8] the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 

Questions for Reflection

1. How do people properly worship God? (12:1)
2. What is the most reasonable response to God’s great mercy? (12:1-2)
3. How is the Christian to be different from unbelieving people? (12:2)
4. How should the mind of a Christian be changed? (12:2)
5. How should Christians think about themselves? (12:3)
6. What are the gifts of God? (12:6-8)
7. How should each person use his or her gifts? (12:6-8)
8. How can a Christian renew his or her mind?
9. How does understanding God’s love raise our self-esteem?
10. How does understanding God’s love reduce our selfishness and conceit?
11. How do people united in Christ act toward each other?
12. How can the gifts God bestows on Christians help others in the church or community?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Scripture & Questions for Sunday (8/3/14)

Scripture
Romans 9:14-33 (ESV)  
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!  [15] For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."  [16] So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.  [17] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."  [18] So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 
[19] You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"  [20] But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  [21] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?  [22] What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  [23] in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— [24] even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?  [25] As indeed he says in Hosea,
    "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,'
        and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.' "
    [26] "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,'
        there they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
[27] And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,  [28] for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay."  [29] And as Isaiah predicted,
    "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
        we would have been like Sodom
        and become like Gomorrah."
[30] What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;  [31] but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.  [32] Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,  [33] as it is written,
    "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
        and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

Questions for Reflection

  1.  How did Paul defend the accusation that God is unjust in His treatment of people? (9:14-15)
  2. What determines how God bestows favor on people? (9:16)
  3. What examples from history did Paul use to demonstrate God’s choice of blessing? (9:17-18)
  4. What right do we have to question God? (9:19-21)
  5. Why does God show great patience with us even though we deserve His wrath? (9:22-24)
  6. What did the prophets Isaiah and Hosea tell us about God’s patience and justice? (9:25-29)
  7. On what basis does God choose people to inherit His promises?
  8. How have you experienced God’s mercy and patience in your life?