August 18, 2019: The Groaning of Creation

Discussion Questions

What natural disasters have you personally experienced?

What do you think of the idea that nature/creation can suffer and groan?

How do you care for creation?

 

Acting on the Word

Do something this week to care for creation. Some ideas:  spend time in a garden, pick up trash, recycle.

 

Daily Readings

Sunday:         Genesis 2:4b-9

Monday:       Genesis 2:15-17
Tuesday:       Joel 1:10-18

Wednesday:  Joel 2:12-19
Thursday:      Joel 2:21-27

Friday:          Psalm 8

Saturday:       Romans 8:18-25

 

What do these verses say about our relationship with creation?  Where do we find hope?

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July 28, 2019 Growing Old Takes Faith

Discussion Question

How did/does your family talk about age and aging?

How do you feel about birthdays and turning another year older?

What do you miss from your younger years?

What aspects of your life are better/more enjoyable now than when you were younger?

Acting on the Word

Spend some time in prayer this week seeking the tasks God has for you in this stage of your life.

Daily Readings

Sunday:          Genesis 7:1–7

Monday:        Genesis 9:28–29

Tuesday:        Hebrews 11:7
Wednesday    Genesis 12:1–4
Thursday:       Hebrews 11:8
Friday:           Genesis 17:15–19

Saturday:        Hebrews 11:11–12

Read the passage out loud, slowly, at least twice.  Then spend a few minutes pondering a word, phrase, or image that stands out to you.  What does it evoke within you? How old were these saints?

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Do Not Worry: Book Suggestions

This morning I preached on Jesus’ instruction not to worry, and suggested that one way to let go of worry is to pay attention to the present moment and to what God is doing in that moment.  Here are some books that address paying attention and/or anxiety and worry.

 

Right Here Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness by Amy Oden.  The prayer exercise that I led at the end of the sermon comes from this book.  The book is a good introduction to mindfulness from a Christian perspective.

 

Morning B.R.E.W.: A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul by Kirk Byron Jones

This book outlines a four step prayer practice (Be Still, Receive God’s Love, Embrace Self & Others, Welcomes the Day). It doesn’t use the term mindfulness or address worry directly, but the prayer practice is one that focuses on the present moment and on God’s presence. I’ve used this practice in the past and found it very meaningful.

Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety by Robert Gerzon

This is the book I mentioned that talks about “Natural Anxiety,” “Sacred Anxiety,” and “Toxic Anxiety.” Written by a therapist with long experience addressing anxiety, it offers perspectives and exercises to reduce Toxic Anxiety, freeing us up to be more present. It is not a specifically Christian book, but it does address spiritual issues. One chapter offers new way of looking at the Adam and Eve and Cain and Able stories as examples of anxiety at work.

Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

If you are of a scientific bent, this book may be for you. It is a secular, not a religious book, so there are few if any references to faith and spirituality. It lays out the research behind the effectiveness of mindfulness, and sets out a fairly ambitious eight-week plan for developing mindfulness. I didn’t feel I had time to do everything they recommended, but the meditation practices were useful and I appreciated the scientific background. The meditations are available as audio downloads.

 

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July 21, 2019 Do Not Worry…Seriously, Jesus?

Discussion Question

Who are the worriers in your family or friend group?

What kinds of things do you worry about?

What things ease your worries?

Acting on the Word

When you find yourself worried this week, try to release that worry to God.

Daily Readings

Sunday:          Matthew 6:25-34

Monday:        Psalm 94:16-19

Tuesday:        Mark 4:18-20

Wednesday:   Mark 13:9-11

Thursday:       Luke 10:38-41         

Friday:           Luke 12:22-32

Saturday:        1 Peter 5:6-8

Read the passage out loud, slowly, at least twice.  Then spend a few minutes pondering a word, phrase, or image that stands out to you.  What does it evoke within you? What does it say about worry?

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July 14, 2019: Salty Language

Discussion Questions

Is food usually too salty or not salty enough for you?

Have you heard “salty” used to describe people or language?

If so, what did it mean?

As Christians, how can we have “salty” language?

Acting on the Word

Make an effort to speak graciously to strangers this week.

Daily Readings

Sunday:          Colossians 4:2-3

Monday:        Colossians 4:5-6

Tuesday:        Colossians 4:7-9
Wednesday:   Colossians 4:10-11
Thursday:       Colossians 4:12-14
Friday:           Colossians 4:15-17

Saturday:        Colossians 4:18

Read the passage out loud, slowly, at least twice.  Then spend a few minutes pondering a word, phrase, or image that stands out to you.  What does it evoke within you?

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July 7, 2019: Dwelling in the Word

Discussion Questions

What kinds of books or stories do you most like to read?

What are your favorite books of the Bible?

What is your experience reading the Bible?  Do you enjoy it? Avoid it? Are you confused or intimidated by it?  Why do you think this is?

What does it mean to you do Dwell in the Word?

 

Acting on the Word

Do the Daily readings as suggested below.  Take some time to reflect on what that process is like for you.

 

Daily Readings

Sunday:          Colossians 3:1-4

Monday:        Colossians 3:5-8

Tuesday:        Colossians 3:9-11
Wednesday:   Colossians 3:12-17
Thursday:       Colossians 3:18-19
Friday:           Colossians 3:20-21

Saturday:        Colossians 3:22-4:1

Read the passage out loud, slowly, at least twice.  Then spend a few minutes pondering a word, phrase, or image that stands out to you.  What does it evoke within you?

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June 30, 2019: Sing to the Lord

Discussion Questions

What are some of your favorite hymns?  Why?

What are some of your favorite secular songs?  Why?

How do you feel when you sing?  When you listen to music?

Acting on the Word

As part of your prayer time this week, listen to music.

Daily Readings

Sunday:          Isaiah 49:13

Monday:        Colossians 3:16

Tuesday:        Revelation 7:9-12

Wednesday:   Ephesians 5:18-20

Thursday:       1 Chronicles 16:23-2

Friday:           Isaiah 55:12

Saturday:        Psalm 98:4

Read the passage out loud, slowly, at least twice.  Then spend a few minutes pondering a word, phrase, or image that stands out to you.  What does it evoke within you?

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