Monday, April 27, 2015

Blogging through May

Blogging through May

"Pentecost" via Google Images

In preparation for worship during the month of May, I hope you will set aside time to reflect on the Scripture readings for each Sunday. Personally, I am really looking forward to our Pentecost worship service May 24th. I hope you are, too!

For May 3, 2015: Using the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina, slowly and prayerfully read John 15:1-8. After a moment of silence, reflect on what touches you most about this passage. Read through the text a second time, followed by a moment of silence. Then ask yourself these questions: "Through this reading, what is God revealing to me about my own spiritual life? Is a change needed? If so, what?"

For May 10, 2015: Read John 15:9-17 at least two times, and reflect on what speaks to you from this passage of Scripture. Then consider the following:
  1.  How do we abide in the Father’s love?
  2. What is Jesus’ commandment to his followers?
  3.  How is God’s grace made evident in this text?

In preparation for worship May 17, 2015: Read Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 and John 17:6-19. Keeping in mind that this is the Sunday before we celebrate Pentecost, reflect on the following:
  1. From Acts, after Christ’s ascension, what “business” do the disciples take care of and how do they do it?
  2. From John, in this prayer to his Abba Father, Jesus prays for his disciples. What requests does he make?

For May 24, 2015: Read Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Acts 2:1-21. This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. As you prepare for worship, consider how you have witnessed the Holy Spirit working in your life, in the life of others, in the life of CHPC. Then, in a time of prayer and thanksgiving, ask God for eyes to see the Spirit working in ways, in people, and in places you might be overlooking.

For May 31, 2015: Read Psalm 29 and John 16:12-15. On this day the church celebrates Trinity Sunday. 
  1. When you consider the doctrine of the Trinity, how do you imagine God as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? 
  2. How might you explain the Triune nature of God to a child? 
  3. Do you find yourself more comfortable with one person of the Trinity? If so, why?
As always, I look forward to being with you each Sunday to worship our Great and Holy God!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Blogging through April

via Wikimedia Commons
As we journey through the Season of Easter, I hope that you will set aside some time to prepare for worship each week by reflecting on the appropriate texts and instructions that follow.

April 5, 2015
The Season of Lent has passed and it is time to celebrate! In preparation for worship, read Isaiah 25:6-9 and Mark 16:1-8. Likely you know in the liturgical calendar, Easter is not just one day—it’s a season—and the Season of Easter is 50 days long. As you consider this most wondrous time of the church year, what you might do in the next 50 days to keep the joy of the season alive in your heart, mind, and soul?

April 12, 2015
This marks our first celebration of Holy Humor Sunday. Take a moment to reflect on Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 and Psalm 2 and then consider the following:
1.    What do you learn about laughter from these texts?
2.    How many other verses can you find in the Bible that concern joy and laughter?
3.    How important is laughter in your life?
4.    Do you feel God calling you deeper joy in your faith journey? If so, how might you act upon this calling?

April 19, 2015
At a recent day retreat, our Music Director, Louise Daniel, provided an opportunity for us to consider that many of the songs we sing come directly from Scripture. Sunday, we will continue along this line of thinking with the theme for morning worship, “Sing the Word.” Louise will lead us in singing some wonderful music and I will preach a short homily. Come prepared to sing! In addition, this would be a perfect time to flip through our new hymnal and note your favorite hymns. Write them down and share your list with me so that we might sing them in upcoming services.

April 26, 2015
As part of CHPC’s goal to become designated as an Earth Care Congregation through the Presbyterian Church (USA), we will gather to celebrate Earth Day on April 26th. The church will be filled with wonders of God’s creation and we will reflect in particular on how we eat as it impacts God’s creation in the face of a changing climate. In preparation for worship, read Matthew 14:13-21. In our day and time, do you think there can be enough food for everyone? If so, how might we might help in this endeavor? Then read Luke 24:36-43 and consider why Jesus asked for food to eat in this passage.  

Each and every Sunday, I look forward to worshiping with you but during the Season of Easter, it is even more joyful to sing, pray, and celebrate together as a worshiping community. And this year, April is filled with so many wonderful worship opportunities designed to continue the celebration. Make plans to attend each service and bring along a friend.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Blogging through March

Photo via Google Images

In preparation for worship each week, please take time to read and reflect on the texts for each Sunday. In addition, during the Season of Lent, I hope you will be in prayer for the church and for your pastor and elders. It is good to be the church—in prayer—in worship—in life.

(Due to bad weather, church was canceled on March 1st.)
March 8, 2015  
Read Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 and Mark 8:31-38 and reflect on the following:
  1. What is the covenant that God makes with Abraham?
  2.  In the gospel reading, why does Jesus reprimand Peter?
  3. Jesus asks his disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him. How do you practice self-denial for the sake of the gospel?

March 15, 2015
Read the story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-21.
  1. How are the images of light and darkness played out in this text?
  2. How might you describe “the Kingdom of God” to an unchurched person?
  3. Are there parts of your life that you wish to hide from God?
  4. Can you imagine what it would be like to live completely transparent to God’s piercing light?

March 22, 2015
Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 and John 12:20-33 and consider the following:
  1. Using the metaphor of a seed, what is Jesus describing?
  2. What in your life must die so that you may flourish?
  3. What does the voice from heaven say?
  4. Whom does Jesus wish to glorify in all that he says and does?

March 29, 2015
Read Mark 11:1-11.
  1.  What are we celebrating on Palm Sunday?
  2. What do the disciples get for Jesus?
  3.  How do the people respond to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem?
  4. In less than a week, the people will respond differently. Why?

May the Lord bless you on your Lenten journey. I look forward to our time of worship each Sunday. Come along—and bring a friend.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blogging through February

As you prepare for worship each week, please set aside some time to read and reflect on the texts for the upcoming Sunday. In addition, during the Season of Lent, I hope you will spend some additional time in prayer for the church and for your pastor and elders. Then, as a loving, welcoming community, let us gather and give our Holy God all glory and honor and praise.  

February 1, 2015
Read Deuteronomy 18:15-20 and Mark 1:21-28 and consider the following:

  1. Who do you imagine is the "new prophet" of whom God speaks in the Old Testament reading?
  2. In the gospel reading, what "new" thing does Jesus do? 
  3. How do the people respond?

February 8, 2015
Read Isaiah 40:21-31 and Mark 1:29-39. Then reflect on the following:

  1. Take a few moments to make a list of God's qualities that are mentioned in the Old Testament reading. 
  2. What quality resonates most with you? Why?
  3. In the gospel reading we find Jesus hard at work. What is he doing that demonstrates his particular authority?
  4. How do the people respond?
February 15, 2015
The readings for Sunday include 2 Kings 2:1-12 and Mark 9:2-9. After reading them, take a moment to reflect on any relationship you see between the two texts. Then consider what Jesus' transfiguration meant in the context in which it happened and what it might mean to you today.

February 22, 2015
Read Genesis 9:8-17 and Mark 1:9-15 and consider the following:
  1. What covenant does God establish in the reading from Genesis?
  2. How do you feel whenever you see this sign today?
  3. The gospel reading concerns Jesus' baptism and temptation. What makes this text significant for this first Sunday in Lent?
I look forward to being with you in worship each Sunday. Come along and bring a friend!


[Illustration via Google Images.]

Monday, January 5, 2015

Blogging through January

After completing the Advent Sermon Series, we return to the Lectionary as our guide. In preparation for worship each Sunday, be sure to refer back to this post each week and reflect on the readings and questions / comments. Then, let us gather on The Lord's Day to sing, pray, listen, and commune with our Holy and Loving God. 

Photo of Statue in Germany by Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons
January 11, 2015 
Read Genesis 1:1-5 along with Mark 1:4-11 and consider the following:
  1. Do you notice a common theme between the two texts? If so, what?
  2. How might you describe John the Baptist to someone who is un-churched?
  3. How might you explain the importance of baptism to someone?

"Calling of Samuel" by Joshua Reynolds via Wikimedia Commons
January 18, 2015
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and John 1:43-51. 
  1. A theme common to the Old and New Testament readings is being called to do the work of our Abba Father. What does this mean to you?
  2. What derogatory remark does Nathanael make about Jesus' potential?
  3. What is the invitation Philip offers to Nathanael?

 Reinhardhauke via Wikimedia Commons
January 25, 2015
Read Jonah 3:1-5 along with Mark 1:14-20 then respond to the following:
  1. What is the entirety of Jonah's "sermon" to Ninevah?
  2. What happens as a result of Jonah's final obedience to God?
  3. In the reading from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee. What happens beforehand?
  4. How might this be significant?
As always, I look forward to being with you in worship. Until then, may each day and each week be filled with courage, wisdom, and blessing upon blessing.