We Had Hoped – April 29, 2019

Judges 9.22-10.18; Luke 24.13-53; Psalm 100.1-5; Proverbs 14.11-12

Have you ever had your hopes dashed? By “hopes,” I don’t mean things that may or may not have come to pass. I mean things that you put all your dreams into, everything you were about was focused on the possibility of this thing coming true. You absolutely knew it would happen. Only it didn’t. While the comments of the two men on the road to Emmaus were sad, perhaps even sadder was the fact that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, they just had to go through a time of doubting that it was true. When have you thought Jesus was not going to provide salvation for you?

Questions:

Describe a time when you have spouted off brags and boasts, only to have it come back to haunt you.

Why do you think it was through the breaking of the bread that Jesus’ followers finally recognized him?

What are ways we acknowledge that the Lord is God today?

Why would a seemingly right path lead to death?

Dead – April 28, 2019

Judges 8.18-9.21; Luke 23.44-24.12; Psalm 99.1-9; Proverbs 14.9-10

We often arrive at worship on Easter morning dressed in our finest, big smiles on our faces, ready to celebrate a risen Lord. Don’t forget, however, that first Easter morning was filled with sad disciples making a painful journey to where they were certain their friend and their Lord lay dead. How does the pain of Saturday or early Sunday morning make the joy of Easter Sunday complete?

Questions:

How can we be people who assume that we are not leading others, but that God is?

How do you think you would have reacted if you had been standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus died?

What does it mean for us today to say that God is our king?

In what ways do we make fun or belittle the idea of guilt? How can we make certain we are not doing this?

Forgiveness – April 27, 2019

Judges 7.1-8.17; Luke 23.13-43; Psalm 97.1-98.9; Proverbs 14.7-8

Jesus is hanging on the cross, slowly dying for the sins of the world. Below him are all of the people shouting insults and derogatory comments to him. The people responsible for his death are watching on with glee. The people who swore they would die with Jesus are nowhere to be found. How would you respond to your enemies if you had been in Jesus’ situation? How does Jesus respond? How can we move to be able to respond in this way to our enemies?

Questions:

What sort of moments do we have today when our enemy’s armies are huge and ours are tiny, well, tiny plus God? How can we trust God more in these circumstances?

What do you think the early readers of Luke’s gospel would have have thought when they read that Pilate declared Jesus innocent?

What new song do you sing today as a result of God’s wonderful deeds?

How can we love others while still staying away from fools?

I Don’t Know Him! – April 26, 2019

Judges 6.1-40; Luke 22.54-23.12; Psalm 95.1-96.13; Proverbs 14.5-6

We get Peter. In reality, he may the disciple most like us – quick to say something, even when it is wrong. Quick to jump to an action without ever thinking through where the action might lead us. We are too much like Peter not to like him. Which means, of course, had we been there with Jesus, we might also have sworn to Jesus that we would follow him anywhere and sworn at others that we didn’t even know him. Why is it so easy for us to say one thing, but then act in a way that is totally contrary?

Questions:

Why do you think Gideon was so intent on testing to see if God was really calling him? How do we do the same thing?

How hard do you think it would have been for Jesus not to defend himself when he was being accused?

Why does Psalm 95 say we should praise God?

Why are people prone to not be completely honest with their witness, with the way they describe things they have seen?

Joyful Discipline – April 25, 2019

Judges 4.1-5.31; Luke 22.35-53; Psalm 94.1-23; Proverbs 14.3-4

I have been disciplined, if truth were to be told, more than my fair share in my life. I deserved it, as long as we are being truthful. And continuing in the truth telling vein … I do not ever recall feeling joy as a result of any of the discipline I received. How then can the psalmist claim: Joyful are those you discipline, Lord?

Questions:

Why is it God who is given the credit for defeating Jabin, the Canaanite king? How do we be sure to give God credit for what he has done for us?

The priests and Temple guards come to arrest Jesus as if he were a revolutionary. Was this overkill? Why do you think they brought so many people to arrest him?

How have you seen God’s justice shine forth?

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” What does this proverb even mean?

The Greatest – April 24, 2019

Judges 2.10-3.31; Luke 22.14-34; Psalm 92.1-93.5; Proverbs 14.1-2

It is interesting to me that a conversation about someone going to betray Jesus leads to one about who is the greatest. Not only are we not content with NOT being the worst, we have to prove our worth as the greatest. There is such an irony that those squabbling over greatness were sitting sharing a meal with the one who was the greatest and was about to prove it in the most dramatic of ways. Why do get caught up in the greatness argument, all the while missing those who are great around us?

Questions:

What can you do to ensure that the generation you are a part of does not grow up to forget the Lord?

How well do you think the disciples understood the significance of the Passover meal they shared with Jesus? Do you think they had any clue as to what was about to happen?

List reasons you have to give thanks to the Lord.

How does following the right path demonstrate our fear of the Lord?

No Big Deal – April 23, 2019

Judges 1.1-2.9; Luke 21.29-22.13; Psalm 90.1-91.16; Proverbs 13.24-25

It seemed like such an innocent plan: the descendants of Joseph making a deal with a man who helped them win the battle in return for them sparing his life. Without his help, the tribe may not have gained victory, or so it seemed. Yet God had told them: Do not make a covenant with the people of the land. They disobeyed and were punished for it, even if their actions seemed like “no big deal.” Why is following God’s directions always a big deal?

Questions:

Why do you think Judah goes to get Simeon’s help in conquering the nations? Why was this a problem?

Why do you think Judas agreed to betray Jesus? Was it just about the money or do you think there may have been other motivations?

God’s view of the universe, including his concept of time, is so completely different than our own. Why is it a blessing to follow a God who does not operate by the same understandings we do?

Why is discipline so important for raising children?