Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 LIFT Lenten Series on the Small Catechism (Week Five: April 5-11)


SMALL CATECHISM LENTEN SERIES
10 Commandments
March 29 - April 4


Throughout our sessions of LIFT, we will be using our Faith 5 model of discipleship:  Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless.

Share Highs and Lows for the week, day, month (whatever you choose)


Read our weekly scripture

Exodus 12:1-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

1 Corinthians 11:23-27

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is foryou. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture or reading captured your imagination this week? 

2) When did you first receive Holy Communion? Bethel has started giving Holy Communion to children, even before they have received instruction.  How do you feel about this? Why might Bethel have made this decision?

3) Weekly Holy Communion has not always been a part of our tradition.  However, we have been moving toward weekly Holy Communion for a couple of decades now.  Why do you believe that we did this as a denomination? Does it matter? If so, why? 


Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)



Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 LIFT Lenten Series on the Small Catechism (Week Four: March 29 - April 4)


SMALL CATECHISM LENTEN SERIES
10 Commandments
March 29 - April 4


Throughout our sessions of LIFT, we will be using our Faith 5 model of discipleship:  Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless.

Share Highs and Lows for the week, day, month (whatever you choose)


Read our weekly scripture

Exodus 20

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
  You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything   that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the   water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship       
  them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for 
  the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those   
  who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth 
  generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house,

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.


Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture or reading captured your imagination this week? 

2) Discuss the commandments from the perspective identity.  How did the commandments set Israel apart from those around them.  Why is this still important to this day?

3) Discuss the commandments from the perspective of being "boundaries", i.e. laws and rules are made to keep us safe.


Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)



Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 LIFT Lenten Series on the Small Catechism (Week Three: March 22-28)


SMALL CATECHISM LENTEN SERIES
Baptism
March 22-28


Throughout our sessions of LIFT, we will be using our Faith 5 model of discipleship:  Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless.

Share Highs and Lows for the week, day, month (whatever you choose)



Read our weekly scripture


2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.



Mark 1: 9-13

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved;* with you I am well pleased.’

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.


Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture or reading captured your imagination this week? 

2) What do remember or know about your baptism? Talk about a memorable baptism in your life or in the life of your congregation?

3) Discuss that immediately following Jesus' baptism he spent time in the desert being tempted? What might this say about our own lives of faith? 




Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)



Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 LIFT Lenten Series on the Small Catechism (Week Two: March 15-21)


SMALL CATECHISM LENTEN SERIES
The Apostle's Creed
March 15-21


Throughout our sessions of LIFT, we will be using our Faith 5 model of discipleship:  Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless.

Share Highs and Lows for the week, day, month (whatever you choose)



Read our weekly scripture



The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,born of the Virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried;he descended to the dead.On the third day he rose again;he ascended into heaven,he is seated at the right hand of the Father,and he will come to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic Church,the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting. Amen.







Matthew 28: 16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’


History of the Apostle's Creed


Although not written by apostles, the Apostles' Creed reflects the theological formulations of the first century church. The creed's structure may be based on Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In a time when most Christians were illiterate, oral repetition of the Apostles' Creed, along with the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments, helped preserve and transmit the faith of the western churches. 


In the early church, Christians confessed that "Jesus is Lord" but did not always understand the biblical context of lordship. The views of Marcion, a Christian living in Rome in the second century, further threatened the church's understanding of Jesus as Lord. Marcion read the Old Testament as referring to a tyrannical God who had created a flawed world. Marcion believed that Jesus revealed, in contrast, a good God of love and mercy. For Marcion, then, Jesus was not the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets, and the Old Testament was not Scripture. Marcion proposed limiting Christian "Scripture" to Luke's gospel (less the birth narrative and other parts that he felt expressed Jewish thinking) and to those letters of Paul that Marcion regarded as anti-Jewish. Marcion's views developed into a movement that lasted several centuries.

Around A.D.180, Roman Christians developed an early form of the Apostles' Creed to refute Marcion. They affirmed that the God of creation is the Father of Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was buried and raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven, where he rules with the Father. They also affirmed belief in the Holy Spirit, the church, and the resurrection of the body.

Candidates for membership in the church, having undergone a lengthy period of moral and doctrinal instruction, were asked at baptism to state what they believed. They responded in the words of this creed.

The Apostles' Creed underwent further development. In response to the question of readmitting those who had denied the faith during the persecutions of the second and third centuries, the church added, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." In the fourth and fifth centuries, North African Christians debated the question of whether the church was an exclusive sect composed of the heroic few or an inclusive church of all who confessed Jesus Christ, leading to the addition of "holy" (belonging to God) and "catholic" (universal). In Gaul, in the fifth century, the phrase "he descended into hell" came into the creed. By the eighth century, the creed had attained its present form.




Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture or reading captured your imagination this week? 

2) What does it mean to "believe in" something? What makes this important to a life of faith?

3) Why does the "history" of the Creed matter? What does it tells us about a living faith? 




Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)



Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

2017 LIFT Lenten Series on the Small Catechism (Week One: March 8-14)



SMALL CATECHISM LENTEN SERIES
The Lord's Prayer
March 8-14


Throughout our sessions of LIFT, we will be using our Faith 5 model of discipleship:  Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless.

Share Highs and Lows for the week, day, month (whatever you choose)



Read our weekly scripture



I Thessalonians 5: 15-18

See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.



Luke 11: 1-13



He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
   Your kingdom come.
   Give us each day our daily bread.
   And forgive us our sins,
     for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
   And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for* a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit* to those who ask him!’



Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture captured your imagination this week? 

2) Describe your prayer life? What do you value about prayer? What would you like to improve about your prayer life? 

3) Name people who have prayer lives that you would like to emulate? Why? 




Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)



Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"


Saturday, October 15, 2016

LIFT Session Three: Week Six (October 16-22)


Throughout this session of LIFT, we will be focusing on the six marks of discipleship: Prayer, Worship, Read the Bible, Serve, Relate and Give.  The word that helps us remember these marks is the word PoWeRSuRGe (with the initial letter of each mark capitalized).  Indeed the marks give us the surge of power we need to live our lives of faith.

Share Highs and Lows


Read our weekly scripture

Malachi 3:10

Bring your full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

II Corinthians 9:7

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.



Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture captured your imagination this week? 

2) The following comes from our liturgy: We offer with joy and thanksgiving, what you have first given us; ourselves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of Him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Reflect on these words as group.

3) What might be some of the meaningful benefits of tithing in your life? 



Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)


Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

This week, offer some time or treasure to someone or something important to you.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

LIFT Session Three: Week Five (October 9-15)


Throughout this session of LIFT, we will be focusing on the six marks of discipleship: Prayer, Worship, Read the Bible, Serve, Relate and Give.  The word that helps us remember these marks is the word PoWeRSuRGe (with the initial letter of each mark capitalized).  Indeed the marks give us the surge of power we need to live our lives of faith.

Share Highs and Lows


Read our weekly scripture

I Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore, encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Matthew 18: 20

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.



Talk about the scripture and the discussion questions below

1) What about the scripture captured your imagination this week? 

2) Where have you experienced meaningful Christian community? Why have these been important and helpful for you? Do you feel that it is vital to walking the Christian life to have community with others? 



Pray for and with each other (or share the Lord's Prayer together)


Bless each other with a sign of the cross on each other's forehead, saying "God loves you and so do I"

This week, enjoy an intentional gathering with friends.