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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lesson 4

Lesson 4
Day 4 of Holy Week-Wednesday

There is a great deal that happens on this Thursday of Holy Week. It begins early in the morning and there is a lot of information in John 13: 21- 16:33


In order that we get the most out of this week; we need to read this.
John 13:21-16:33
This week’s reading is very long, but it tells us so much about how Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for the days ahead.   

I would encourage you to go back to the beginning of chapter 13 and begin reading from there…after all, my first question comes from there. J

Jesus begins to wash the disciple’s feet.  Have you ever had your feet washed as a part of a repentance service or a Maundy Thursday service?

If so, what did you experience?

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Vs. 31-38 tells us that Peter will deny Jesus before the crowds of people:

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”


Have you ever found yourself in a place in your life that you became afraid and wondered about denying your faith in Jesus?  If so, pray about that time and ask God to reveal why you were afraid.  If not, thank God during your prayer time that you were able to rely on the strength given through the Holy Spirit.

Take time to journal your thoughts on this passage and your walk with God.
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How about this Scripture:
     Hebrews 12: 1-3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”


Who might be your cloud of witnesses? Do you think everyone will list the same ones?
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Isaiah 50:4-9
This reading begins to share a prophecy about what Jesus would suffer at the hands of the Roman soldiers. If this interest you look up other passages in the OT that prophesy about the coming of a Messiah and what will happen to Him. That would make a good blog note.

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me,
 my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face
 from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
 I will not be disgraced. Therefore, have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.”


How would you handle this kind of physical torture? Can you even imagine not saying anything? Yet Jesus did not say a word through his entire ordeal. How do you think He was able to do that?
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We need to take time this week to reflect on our own ability to see this day as Jesus saw it … First, he shared with his disciples by washing their feet…then moved (moving) toward Peter’s denial…and that just gets us through chapter 13! 

Finally, you still have John 14 through 16 to contemplate.  Please blog about thoughts and questions from these chapters.




John 14 and John 15 and John 16
So much material to reflect on!!! What are 3 things that resonate with your heart?

1.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________2.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________3.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


I would ask that you think about this.  Don’t stop there.  Journal it or talk about it with someone else.  Putting it into actual words either shared with someone else or written is more powerful than your thoughts alone. 

If you are a FB fan, ask me to join our closed ACC Bible Study FB group. We will be discussing our thoughts there.

Until next week! Ask God to show you how to worship Him freely and openly or, maybe, you will need to go for a walk and hear the rocks singing!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lesson 3

Lesson 3
Day 3 of Holy Week-Tuesday

There is a great deal that happens on this Tuesday of Holy Week. It begins early in the morning and you can read about it in Matthew 21:18-21.

You need to begin this week let by reading the following Scripture:
Matthew 21: 18-21
This passage about how Jesus cursed the fig tree might have left you a little puzzled!   

So now that you have read this, what came to your mind as you read the first three verses? You probably had some questions. What did you learn from this? How did your reaction compare to that of the disciples?

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Vs. 21 tells us that Jesus is teaching the disciples about faith. If you have faith and do not doubt, then you have the ability to ask many things in prayer and believe they will happen.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”


When you pray, do you have the strength of faith to believe that your prayer will be answered?  for answered prayer?
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How about this Scripture:
     Matthew 17:20
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Do you see any similarities between Matthew 17:20 and Matthew 21:18-21?  If so, what are they? If not, why not?
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I think sometimes it is hard for us to understand that we really can believe that God will answer our prayer. Maybe we do not think we are worthy, maybe it is because we don’t read our Bible enough (do enough reading our Bible) or we find ourselves not being truly kind to one another, or we act on one of a host of other things that we know would not please God.
Paul teaches us in Hebrews 11:5
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”


As Jesus moved through the day…..

We need to go back to Matthew and do some more reading:
Matthew 21: 23 - 27

Here the temple chief priests and elders are questioning Jesus’s authority to be teaching.  Why do you think they were doing this?

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Jesus’ response to the questioning was to ask the chief priests and elders about John’s baptism and where it came from.  What prompted them to say they didn’t know?
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Take a few moments to reflect on what your thoughts are regarding baptism today. What does it mean to you as a believer and follower of Christ? Do you know what it means according to our UMC faith tradition?

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Let’s side track for a moment regarding Baptism, since Jesus spoke of John’s baptism.  Sometimes people are not clear about the why and when of it. 

This is what came to my mind about baptism:

1.    That when we are infants we cannot understand the meaning of the water and the Spirit that is active in the sacrament.

2.    That as we grow older, we begin to say, “Baptism does not mean anything to me because I was so young”.


3.    Baptism is the very first step in our journey to become a follower of Christ. That the sin, (which is) called original sin, which, as a result of Adam and Eve, all humankind is born into, needs to be washed away.

4.    As United Methodists we believe that Baptism is a sacrament.  In this sacrament “God uses elements – in this case, water – as a means or vehicle of divine grace. Baptism is administered by the church, which is (as) the Body of Christ. It is the act of God through the grace of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.” (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/faqs-about-baptism-membership-and-salvation. March 4, 2017)



Before you go on, stop and write down any thoughts and questions that you might have.
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These readings in Matthew are bringing up many questions.  We started out with a passage about faith, which we struggle with then there was the question about Jesus’ authority and now we read that Jesus was given great authority by God to do many things.
 
Matthew 28:18 tells us this:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (NIV)

My final questions for this week are…

Where is your faith right now? Is it strong, is it weak? Does it need to be renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit?

I would ask that you think about this.  Don’t stop there.  Journal it or talk about it with someone else.  Putting it into actual words, either shared with someone else or written, is more powerful than your thoughts alone. 

If you are a FB fan. Ask me to join our closed ACC Bible Study FB group. We will be discussing our thoughts there.

Until next week! Ask God to show you how to worship Him freely and openly, or maybe you will need to go for a walk and hear the rocks singing!