Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stop Doubting and Believe!

John 20.19-29

1. What are the implications that the disciples locked themselves in the room in fear of the Jewish leaders.
2. What does it mean that Jesus came and stood among them? Why were the disciples overjoyed when they saw the Lord? Why is Jesus referred to as the "Lord" here? What is the signficance that Thomas calls Jesus "My Lord and My God"?
3. Why does Jesus say, "Peace be with you", and why does he say it twice?
4. Why was Thomas needing proof?
5. What are the implications that Jesus knew to go to Thomas and knew what Thomas needed?
6. What are the implications that Jesus told Thomas to "Stop doubting and believe". How could Jesus' command be applied to us?
7. What does Jesus mean when he says, "Blessed are thoss who have not seen and yet have believed"? Is this us, or is this the other disciples?
8. Why does John's account stop here in light of what he says in verse 30?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Passion Week

John 19

The Crucifixion

25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus
28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"[b] 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."[c]

The Burial of Jesus
38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[d] 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

1. I thought we could begin tonight with storytelling. What is one impactful or formative story you have from a past Passion Week? Is there an experience from Good Friday or Easter that is more memorable than others?

2. Who is Mary the wife of Clopas? Why is it important that she was there?

3. What does Jesus teach us in verses 26 and 27 in the way he treats his mother?

4. 'It is finished.' What does this stir up in you?

5. What do you notice about loyalty to the Law?

6. Read verse 38. Do you see any comparisons / contrasts to the story that has been unfolding?

7. For Keith: Do you recognize any 'wilderness theology' in these passages?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Captured in a Song

I think I caught a glimpse of
Life without friends
Bitter, empty, hollow, dark and lonely
We never meant to hurt each other
So Can’t we trust again
And take it as a chance
To keep on growing

I don’t know why it doesn’t come easy
But I know that we could be happy
If we’d only learn to love

Life revolves around the need
Of having someone
Causing every complicated feeling
And I don’t want to loose you
And there is nothing wrong with
Telling me what you need
To keep our love strong

It’s just a part of being a family
Taking the good with the bad and the ugly
If we could only learn to love

We need each other
So what’s the fighting for
We need each other
Please don’t close the door
We need each other
Through all the highs and lows
We need each other
Cuz no one’s meant to live alone

We need each other
Fathers and Mothers
We need each other
All your sisters and brothers
We need each other
We need friends and lovers
We need each other

Well I need you
You need me
Cuz that’s the way
It’s meant to be
I need you
We need each other
I don’t want to be alone

Sanctus Real - We Need Each Other
From the album We Need Each Other

As I've heard this song over and over again (cause I listen to air 1 a whole lot) I can't help but think about our small group. It takes life from being about just me and what's going on in my life to being about how we do life together. Of course there is always room to grow in relationship, and I pray that we continue to do just that, but I am so thankful for the Fellowship! I appreciate your prayers over the next few days!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

John 21: 1-15

John 21:1-14

21After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

As I read this I have a couple of questions arise.

1. Why would a lone man, on the beach, be randomly yelling at people in a boat a 100 yards away? Why would they respond?

2. When they notice that "it is the Lord" is it because he is recognized or because they realized his mighty acts?

3. Could you swim 100 yards wearing your bath robe?

4. Where did Jesus get the fish? He was fully divine--did he fish them out of the water, or did he zap them onto a stick?

5. How do you suppose B-Fast went...was it calm and sullen or where they shocked...?

6. Was this the first meal with disciples after the last meal? Does his choice of fish and bread hold significance?

see yall tonight

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Continuing on in Confession -

As Jeremy lead us in our last time together we began to talk about confession. As something we have practiced before, I think our goal in these discussions is to say how can we go deeper and how can we carry a life of confession into ministry with us, teaching those we may be privileged to disciple.

This week, we'll discuss the 22 questions of the Holy Club and what if any relevance they have for today. Please come fully prepared to give an account for each detail...ok, in my own conviction of probably 19 of the 22, we'll talk more about them than where we are with them right now. Really, though, I encourage you to read through each question before coming together on Wednesday.

Let's pray come Holy Spirit and see where He takes us.

The 22 Convictions, I mean, Holy Club Questions -

1.Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2.Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3.Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
4.Can I be trusted?

5.Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
6.Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7.Did the Bible live in me today?

8.Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
9.Am I enjoying prayer?
10.When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?

11.Do I pray about the money I spend?

12.Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?

13.Do I disobey God in anything?

14.Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

15.Am I defeated in any part of my life?

16.Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?

17.How do I spend my spare time?
Are Jeremy and Ryan studs?
18.Am I proud?
19.Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?

20.Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?

21.Do I grumble or complain constantly?

22.Is Christ real to me?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Life of Confession...A Life of Holy Communion

"I believe in Christianity
As I believe that
the sun has risen
not only because I see it
but because by it
I see everything else"
- C. S. Lewis

Meditate on the words below, and may it inspire our time together.

Jesus Is Condemned: Jesus stands before Pilate. He is silent. He does not defend himself against the many charges made against him. But when Pilate asks him, “What have you done? He says, “I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice” (John 19:35-38) The truth of which Jesus speaks is the very relationship, the life-giving intimacy between himself and the Father of which he wants us to partake. Anyone who enters into communion with Jesus will receive the Sprit of truth—the Spirit who frees us from the compulsions and obsessions of our contemporary society. Jesus is the freest human being who ever lived because he was the most connected to God. Pilate condemned him; Pilate wanted to make him one of the damned. But he could not. Jesus death, instead of being the execution of a death sentence, became the way to the full truth, leading to full freedom.

Jesus Carries His Cross: Pilate handed Jesus over to be scourged. Jesus undergoes it all. The time of action is past. He does not speak any more; he does not protest; he does not reproach or admonish. He has become a victim. He no longer acts, but is acted upon. He has entered his passion. He knows that most of human life is passion. People are being starved, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. People are being imprisoned, driven from their homes, separated from their families, put into camps and used for slave labor. They do not understand the cause for it all. Nobody explains. They are poor. When Jesus felt the cross put on his shoulders, he felt the pain of all future generations pressing on him and he loved the least of us with an immense compassion. . . .
I have to act in any way possible to alleviate the pain I see. But there is an even harder task: to carry my own cross, the cross of loneliness and isolation, the cross of rejections I experience, the cross of my depression and inner anguish. . . . We must each take up our own cross and follow Jesus, and so discover that we are truly brothers and sisters who learn from him who is humble and gentle of heart. In this way only can a new humanity be born.

[Excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s Walk with Jesus:]

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Discussion for Tonight

I thought we could build off of our movie night and discuss what we watched together. These hard hitting questions should spark some heated debate / spiritual breakthrough.
1. Who is cooler, Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?
2. What exactly is longweed and why is Gandalf always smoking a long ol' pipe of it?
3. If you were a talking tree, what would your name be? And would you have a nickname?
4. In your own life, who is your Gandalf? And who is your Sam?

Just kidding guys. The real questions are below in the next post. Much love!