Hide it under a bushel? No! – February 19, 2019

Leviticus 7.28-9.6; Mark 3.31-4.25; Psalm 37.12-29; Proverbs 10.5

While we may know the children’s song that we are not to hide our lights under a bushel, too often we do. Why are we at times hesitant to shine our lights? How does knowing everything will be brought out of darkness into the light affect our reluctance to shine our light?

Questions:

How does presenting an offering “with your own hands” bring more value to that gift for both you and the one receiving the gift?

When you think about your church family, in what ways do you use “doing the will of the Father” as part of your criteria? How should you use this as your criteria?

“It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.” Do our lives demonstrate we understand this idea? In what ways?

What are ways we might be guilty of “sleeping during harvest?” What are ways we can avoid doing this?

The Apostles – February 18, 2019

Leviticus 6.1-7.27; Mark 3.7-30; Psalm 37.1-11; Proverbs 10.3-4

How do you think these twelve felt when Jesus calls them to follow him? And how different would their life become after accompanying him for the three years he was involved in public ministry? How different is your life when you dedicate it to following Him?

Questions:

One of the results of sin in the Israelite community is that people were cut off from the community. How do our sins cut us off from community today? Do we at times–erroneously–assume that sin is nothing more than a personal matter between me and God?

How would you like to have your own family (He’s out of his mind!) and the religious leaders (He is from Satan!) turn against you as you tried to share the good news of God? In what ways have you experienced that in your own life?

When we encounter evil people, how can we work to get our first response to be being still before God, versus worrying about those who are evil?

In what ways do we think of laziness as being related to (not) following God?

Who do you hang out with? – February 17, 2019

Leviticus 4.1-5.19; Mark 2.13-3.6; Psalm 36.1-12; Proverbs 10.1-2

When we think of Jesus, the image of someone holy comes to mind. A natural extension of this thinking would be that the people around him would also be “holy” people, meaning people who do good and act good, etc. Mark paints a different picture for us: Jesus hung out with tax collectors, sinners, and in the words of the Pharisees, scum. So when you begin to think about living like Jesus, who are the people you think of to go to first?

Questions:

Our entire OT reading today is about what to do about sins that were unintentionally committed. How concerned should we be about those sins, particularly in light of a culture that seems to be very unconcerned about the notion of sin in general?

The only time Jesus is ever mentioned as being “angry” is this story we read today. What makes you angry? How does this compare to Jesus?

How does sin compare to God’s unfailing love?

If you are a parent, you certainly relate to the writer of Proverbs and the comparison between wise and foolish children. How do we work to help our children remain wise, rather than foolish?

Shhhh – February 16, 2019

Leviticus 1.1-3.17; Mark 1.29-2.12; Psalm 35.17-28; Proverbs 9.13-18

Jesus often tells individuals he has healed to not tell anyone what he has done. It happens so often scholars have a name for it: The Messianic Secret. Most likely, Jesus does this so people will not make wrong assumptions about his role as the Savior. But you have to wonder, who WOULDN’T want to tell everyone what Jesus had done for you?

Questions:

Leviticus is a bunch of laws that seem crazy and out of touch with where we are today (understandably so). What sort of understanding do we gain about God form reading through these?

What does it take for us to see people in need and be “moved to compassion?” How can we have a clearer vision to see those in need better?

Do you ever feel like God is sitting around and doing nothing for you? How does this psalm resolve that tension?

What would you mother say if you brought home someone like Folly?

Camel Hair and Locusts – February 15, 2019

Exodus 39.1-40.38; Mark 1.1-28; Psalm 35.1-16; Proverbs 9.11-12

If John the Baptist showed up at a worship service today, we probably would think he was some sort of kook … if we even let him stay. You have to ask yourself: What’s with the crazy outfit? Yet the people came from all of Judea to see him. They saw something in him–and his outfit–that perhaps we miss when we are focused on his outfit too much. Maybe a better question is this: What does it look like for someone to appear as a messenger for God in such a way that “all the people” want to hear the message?

Questions:

Why is it significant that the writer of Exodus says at least three different times in this section that Moses did “just as the Lord commanded him?”

All throughout the Bible, demons recognize and state who Jesus is: the Holy One of God. Do we recognize this?

Have you ever felt like the writer of today’s psalm? How do we seek God’s retribution on others in holy and healthy ways, versus vindictive and evil ways?

How have you experienced the benefit of Godly wisdom?

Just as he said… – February 14, 2019

Exodus 37.1-38.31; Matthew 28.1-20; Psalm 34.11-22; Proverbs 9.9-10

In hindsight, it seems so clear, doesn’t it? All of the things Jesus said about what would happen to him … his death … his resurrection … his being the sacrifice for us … they actually happened, just as he said. It makes you wonder: What sort of things has he told us that we have to be reminded of after the fact?

Questions:

When you read about all of the furnishings for the Tabernacle, what sort of sense do you get about the attitude of the people as they gather to worship? Have we lost some of this awe in our own worship? If so, how do we regain that sense of being overwhelmed by the presence of God?

How well does Matthew 28.18-20 serve as an organizing principle for how you live your life?

In what ways do you gain comfort from hearing that God is close to the brokenhearted? How have you experienced this in your own life?

How do you sense God as the foundation of all wisdom?

Simon – February 13, 2019

Exodus 35.10-36.38; Matthew 27.32-66; Psalm 34.1-10; Proverbs 9.7-8

Simon was a man who was in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time. I guess which it was all depends on your perspective. Right or wrong, Simon’s life was most likely never the same after this encounter with Jesus. How has your life been changed by an “accidental” encounter with Jesus?

Questions:

Why do you think the writer of the book of Exodus was so certain to detail the steps the builders undertook in constructing the Tabernacle? Why is following instructions so closely such an important thing to those who follow God?

Why do we, much like the people of Jesus’ day, find it so east to pile on and laugh at someone who has “failed?”

The psalmist says: “I will boast only in the Lord.” In whom do you boast?

Rebuking a mocker, according to the writer of the Proverbs is a wasted effort, leading to insults and pain. When then is it so easy for us to do this anyway?