Monthly Archives: November 2017

Life in God’s Creation

Week 11 (19-25 Nov.) – How to Connect in Grace and Truth

Sunday – Future Hope

Scripture Reading: Revelation 22:16-21

As we began looking at life in God’s creation with “In the beginning so we look to the end of the Bible for the ending to the Study.  Christ’s purpose is to call all people to come to their life to God in God’s creation (tree of life and holy city.)  The Church as the body of Christ is to be about issuing that call also to those in the wilderness.  How are we to do it?  With not only the good news of the way, the truth and the life but with the same grace that Christ extends to us in love.  That makes us useful as the saints perfectly forgiven in Christ.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it look like to share Christ in grace and truth?

Monday – Worship – Know Christ  

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:18-36

As we look to the stories of Peter’s confession, taking up the cross, and Christ’s transfiguration we find the starting point for us to share our hope in life in God’s creation.  It is knowing Christ which is our worship.  To know Christ is to confess our faith in Christ.  It is to know that his death and resurrection was for us.  It is to know Christ’s ability to bring new life replacing the old life which makes us shine when we share God’s Grace in action and speak the truth of Christ.  That is our true worship and knowing Christ in our lives.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Tuesday – Bible Study/Small Group/Church – Grow in Christ

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:37-47

As we look again to the first church in its purist form and their sharing the hope we can have in our life in God’s creation, we find that they were gathered together in the Spirit, focused on growing in Christ through learning God’s word, being accountable to each other, worshipping and dining together in their life in God’s creation.  This created a community that others saw and in curiosity found themselves drawn to and becoming a part of knowing and growing in Christ and their life in God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Wednesday – Put Love into Actions – Share Christ

Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-10

The next step in bringing hope to people living life in the wilderness is for the Church to put love into action in grace and truth.  For Peter and John, it is to reach out in grace and give the man what they had to offer – healing in the name of Jesus.  God calls us to reach out to others and offer grace in the practical way that God provides.  It is then to share the truth of Christ’s name and love that opens us to share in our lives in Christ together in God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Thursday – Put Love into Words – Share Christ

Scripture Reading: Acts 3:11-26

Just as with Peter and John, when we put love into action in Christ then it will open us up to opportunities to share Christ by speaking with grace and truth.  This means sharing about life in Christ without being judgmental or with condemnation but with love and the desire to share with them about the possible life in God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Friday – Using Gifts – Share Christ

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16

In this teaching from the Apostle Paul, it is about the unity of the church in sharing Christ and life in God’s creation.  We all have different gifts and opportunities to reach out to those living in the wilderness.  Through these gifts and opportunities, we are to share Christ with “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Saturday – Outreach – Share Christ

Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:11-24

As we look to sharing Christ through the Apostle John’s teaching it starts with being an Abel and not Cain.  We are to be one who is focused on love and not on murder.  To reach out is to love in truth and action.  If we do not have the actions of love then people will not hear our words of love in reaching out in Christ.  If people don’t see Christ in us then they will not listen about Christ in us.  If people don’t see us living life in God’s creation then they won’t see their life in the wilderness.  If people don’t feel the love from us then they won’t listen about the love Christ has for them and the life they can have in Christ and in God’s creation.  Lord, may they see the Love in us.  Amen (So let it be).

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Life in God’s Creation

Week 10 (12-18 Nov.) – God’s Law for Life in Creation/Kingdom

Sunday – Purpose of Law

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-3; Matthew 22:34-40

Just as in God’s creation where there are certain natural laws, systems and conditions that exist to keep life going so there are certain laws, systems and conditions that are to exist to keep our life going.  This is all rooted in God’s love.  These are given to us in God’s Word/Law and are to be lived and taught to our children.  Jesus condenses them all to Loving God with our everything and Loving others not just as we want to be loved but more importantly as God loves us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How is God’s Law essential in our lives together?

Monday – Love God Commandments 1-3  

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:6-11

The first three commandments of the 10 commandments from God teach us how we might Love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  It is about putting God first and foremost in our lives.  It is about not confusing creation for the creator and loving God so much that even God’s name would only be spoken reverently and with love.  This has to be the starting point in our lives so that we might know and grow in God’s love as it comes to us in Jesus Christ.  Without God’s love first in our lives then our love for others will be a distortion at best.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Tuesday – Love God/Others Commandment 4 -Keeping the Sabbath

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Exodus 20:8-11

The fourth commandments transitions from loving God to/and includes loving others.  God desires for us to spend one day a week focused on our relationship with God.  This is the Sabbath.  God commands us to take one day a week to spend at rest with God.  It is about resting and about being together in rest.  This goes for our relationships with each other as well.  The Sabbath day is a day a week when all God’s people stop from their daily pursuits to rest together and remember our life in God.  Just as God rested after creation and redeemed his people so we are to take a day a week to rest and reflect on God’s redemption which is why it is on Sunday, the day of resurrection for Christians to experience the Sabbath day together.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What should this look like in life?

Wednesday – Love Others Commandment 5 Honor Parents

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:16

When it comes to loving others it is to start with honoring our parents as they are the first to love us as God loves us.  They are the first ones to care for us like God cares for us.  They are the first ones who are to teach us about God, God’s love, Loving God and loving others.  We, ultimately, are to honor them by loving them in return, respecting them, and when needed help to take care of them.  In so doing, notice the outcome – long life in the land that God is giving you.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Thursday – Love Others Commandments 6-8

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:17-19

When it comes to loving others it is not just feeling love but more importantly putting that love into practice.  That means never wanting to murder, to push someone completely out of your life.  Never loving someone else like your spouse.  Never taking someone’s property from them without just compensation.  All of these things if done come from another place than God.  These identify those temptations that when committed tear apart relationships in life together.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Friday – Love Others Commandment 9

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:20

The next commandment is about not telling falsehoods about people with people as it puts a big strain not just on personal relationships but also in group dynamics of relationships.  We are to be focused on building each other up and when we falsely talk concerning people it says more about ourselves as it does the person that we are talking about.  It also damages the trust that people would have of us.   Bearing a false witness ruins the life that we can have together.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Saturday – Love Others Commandment 10

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:21

The last commandment is about spending our lives fretting over what we don’t have compared to our neighbors and not appreciating what God has provided for us.  This last commandment is over a sin that seems innocent enough but distracts us from loving God (how can we love him when we are fretting about what God hasn’t done for us) and from loving others (when we are focused on what the person has instead of the person themselves).  Coveting distracts and can disable us from loving.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Life in God’s Creation

Week 9 (5-11 Nov.) – Life in Wilderness: Prodigal Son Story

Sunday – Family/Society

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

As we look to the story Jesus tells of the prodigal son it is told as an analogy to life in God’s creation.  We are all created as children of God to be children of God in the world that God created.  But, to freely abide in God’s family, we have the freedom to walk away from God, God’s family and go our own way.  This is life in the wilderness.  This story teaches us the connection between life in the wilderness and life in God’s creation.  This week we explore the particulars of life in the world that God created.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Who are the characters in this story and in our lives?

Monday – God as the Father  

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

As with the two sons, we all are created as God’s children.  God is our Father whether we recognize it or not.  The basis of our practical relationship with God is not based on God’s love for us but based on our love for God.  As Father, God loves us all.  For those like the eldest son, God lives out the love in their life together.  God eats with them, works with them, teaches them, cares for them and provides for them.  For those like the younger son, who live their lives in the wilderness, God laments for them, looks for them, waits for them and in their return home, celebrates with them and restores them to their place in the family.  This is God as our Father in this story.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Tuesday – World/Wilderness Christians as Prodigal Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

The prodigal son is about all of us until we come to God in Jesus Christ and, yes, even as Christians, those who may wander in the wilderness after coming to God in Christ.  Whenever we are separated from God and God’s ways, we find ourselves being tempted to squander our inheritance and sinning.  In doing so, we find ourselves initially enjoying the thrill of that life in the world but eventually find ourselves in a pit, digging ourselves in a hole, in a miry bog and yes, in a pig pen wanting to eat pig slop!  It is at this point that looking at the life we had/can have as God’s servants/workers would be better than our current situation that we can return to God, find him waiting for us, receiving us in celebration and as children once again.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Wednesday – Faithful Christians as Older Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

As Christians actively living in God’s kingdom with God as our Father we do run the danger of becoming like the Eldest son.  Even though we have our life in God’s creation and an inheritance ahead of us knowing the joy of life with God as Father, we can look at the prodigal children with envy, jealousy, and/or judgement.  This takes away from the joy we can have focused on our father’s love and begin to replace that with spite against our father for the grace and love he has over His lost children.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Thursday – Celebrating Return

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

When a person becomes a Christian or a Christian who has wandered away from Christ and the Church returns there is much celebrating in heaven.  God celebrates.  The angels celebrate.  Do we celebrate?  The focus of the eldest son in the prodigal son’s leaving has been on how it left him with more work, how he is the more responsible son and how he is the better son.  When the prodigal returns, this all comes out in jealousy and feelings against the father for his unjust and unwarranted actions in killing the fatted calf to celebrate the return.  Yet, the Father lovingly reprimands the eldest son for these feelings and reminds him to love as He loves.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Friday – Continue as Family

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

As we see God the Father’s purpose is for us all to continue as family in our life together in creation.  This requires love.  This requires forgiveness.  This requires God the Father.  This requires God’s word.  This requires Christ.  This requires something supernatural.  This requires the Holy Spirit.  This requires us to live life in God’s love to be family together forever.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Saturday – Looking for the Souls in Wilderness

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

Finally, the overall teaching of this story and of the story of the lost coin and lost sheep is that we are to be looking for the prodigal sons, coins, sheep, souls that have left creation for the wilderness.  We are not only to be looking for them but sharing with them God’s love come to us in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in God’s Word, and in God’s people.  We are to be looking, loving, and longing for those in the wilderness to return home to be with God, our Father.   Amen (So let it be).

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?