Salt & Light
March 10, 2019
Theme: You are salt & light. Through these metaphors, Jesus makes it plain – those who call themselves disciples are those who Jesus entrusts to do his work on the earth. Therefore, as salt is to remain salt (with its saltiness) then the disciple community must remain faithful to Jesus’ call-to not do so means the church is purposeless. The disciple community is also is the visible community of Christ. A light that is hidden does not fulfill its purpose of scattering the darkness. In order to be salt and light, we must give up apathy. What we need to give up: Apathy
Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16 NRSV “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
March 17, 2019
Theme: Jesus equates anger with murder. Anger, like murder, seeks to hurt and destroy another by severing the bonds of relationship or annihilating another. Jesus however, calls his disciples to the hard work of reconciliation. In order to find true reconciliation, we must give up destructive anger. What to give up: Anger
Scripture: Matthew 5:21-26 NRSV – You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
Love For Enemies
March 24, 2019
Theme: In our world where it is easier to pick sides and be enemies with those who are different than us, Jesus calls his disciples to another way of life. He tells us we must love our enemies and those who harbor hostility toward us. We show love by offering blessings, doing good, and praying for them. In order to truly love our enemies, we must give up revenge.What to give up: revenge.
Scripture: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentilesdo the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Giving, Prayer & Fasting
March 31, 2019
Theme: The good works or means of grace that we adopt in our lives to grow in our faith are not to are not to be done to receive the attention of others. For to do so is to miss the point. Anytime we pray, give to others, or fast-we don’t display it for the world to see, but we do them for the right reasons-to love God and love others. In order to practice our faith rightly, we must give up pride. What to give up: Pride.
Scripture: Matthew 6:1-18 NRSV – Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way:Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
April 7, 2019
Theme: So much in our lives can come between us and discipleship. What we treasure or hold most important in our lives is where our hearts are, and as such are the things we serve. The love of money or material possessions are two of the things that most often turn our hearts away from Jesus. We cannot serve both Jesus and money. In order to serve Jesus, we must give up greed. What to give up: Greed.
Scripture: Matthew 6:19-24 NRSV – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Road to Life
April 14, 2019
Theme: Jesus gives a warning that very few find and follow the road that leads to life. The narrow Gate is the path to Kingdom living, and too many choose the wide gate that leads to death. What to give up: Road to Death.
Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14 & Luke 19:28-40 NRSV – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.'”
So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.
April 18, 2019 (Maundy Thursday)
Theme: The source of a disciple’s life is always founded in fellowship with Jesus. Jesus in the sermon on the mount, and at the last supper with his disciples taught us the importance of life together in community, that is expressed through our love for one another through acts of service, giving good gifts, and being committed to our fellowship with one another. In order to live in community, we must give up selfishness. What to give up: Selfishness.
Scripture: Matthew 7:7-12 & John 13:31b-35 NRSV – Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
April 19, 2019 (Good Friday)
Theme: Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”. In a world where truth seems trivial, it is easy to give into self-deception. We may trick ourselves into believing we know the way and are following the way of Jesus-but we are just following our own way.In order to know and follow truth, we must give up self-deception. What to give up: Self-Deception.
Scripture: Matthew 7:21-23 & John 18:28-38 NRSV – Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you. “Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.) Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world.
If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him.
Build Your House Upon the Rock – Resurrection
April 21, 2019 (Easter)
Theme: The rolled away stone from the tomb of Jesus points us to the rock upon which we build our faith: Jesus, the resurrected One.Jesus’ teachings, life, death and resurrection reveal to us the foundation of the new life offered to us through Jesus. It is a life that is lived according to the way of the Kingdom of God. It is a life built upon the Rock, Jesus.
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29 & Luke 24:1-12 NRSV – “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.