Tag Archives: journey

With the Word online Bible study–Call – Answer

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mark 7.24-30

From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

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What pops out at you in this story? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

This woman is calling out to Jesus from the depths of her distress, and Jesus answers her with a derogatory racial slur. How does that make you feel, as a follower of Christ? If you were the woman, how would you respond? What do you think of how she does respond?

Jesus has been calling people to repent and believe, to trust that the kingdom of God is at hand. This woman answers his call…but she wasn’t who he expected to answer. How do we respond when people we do not expect show up to answer a call?

This can be read as a story in which a quick-witted woman is a conduit for the Holy Spirit, opening Jesus’ eyes and calling him to a broader, more generous ministry than he had envisioned for himself. He clearly changes his mind about who he is here for…how does that affect your understanding of Jesus, that he learned and changed throughout his life and ministry?

What are our lines in the sand that the Spirit might be calling us to erase, what circles are we called to broaden? Are there situations when we are like the woman? Like Jesus?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

 

with the Word online Bible study–seeing-believing

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Mark 8.27-33

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

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What pops out at you in this story? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Have you ever felt like Peter–getting it right and then immediately wrong in the next sentence?

In our world today, who do people say that Jesus is? who do YOU say that Jesus is? and who does JESUS say that he is? How do these three descriptions go together?

What does it mean that Jesus is the Messiah? What connotations does the word “Messiah” have for you/in our culture? How does Jesus meet those expectations (if at all)? What expectations does Jesus meet (if any)?

When have you, or we as a church, set our mind on human things instead of divine things? How do we get back on track?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

With the World online Bible study–Golden Age-Promise

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When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’

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What pops out at you in this story? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Statues of gods were common practice in the ancient world, but the God of the Israelites did not have a statue representation. How does that make it easier or harder to be faithful?

The Israelites are impatient waiting for Moses to come down the mountain–have you ever felt impatient waiting for God? What did you do while you were waiting?

The choice to make statues to stand in the place of God (and to carry attributes of God, like “brought you out of Egypt”) is in many ways a look back at the good-old-days, as the Israelites tend to do (you can often find them whining about how great Egypt was, compared to the wilderness…never mind that they were slaves in Egypt!). When you are tempted to idealize the past, what helps you to look forward at God’s promise instead?

It can be hard to look mystery in the face and still walk into it…sometimes the past we know (however good-bad-mixed it may have been) is easier and more comforting than the wilderness of promise and mystery. How do we discern which is the right way, and how do we then walk that way?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

With the Word online Bible study–familiar-unknown

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Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

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What pops out at you in this story? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Can you imagine (or have you ever) leaving everything you know and heading out into the unknown? What might that be like (or what was it like, for those who’ve done it)?

Why was Abram chosen for this journey?

What choices did Abram have to make? Could he have heard this call and chosen to stay where he was? To go back to where his father had come from? To go somewhere else? What might have been the consequences of those choices, compared to the consequences of choosing to follow this call?

How do we make choices when we hear the call? How can we be certain it’s God calling, and what do we do when we think God might be asking us to go into the unknown? Does God ever call us to stay in the familiar?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

Saturday spirit space–entrance-exit

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Psalm 32

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Selah

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’,
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Selah

Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
You are a hiding-place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
Selah

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.

Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

genesis 2.15-17, 3.1-7

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

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You speak, Lord, but we are not always listening.
Sometimes other voices are louder or more persuasive.
You show us your way, Lord, but we are not always looking.
Sometimes other ways seduce us with their ease or power.
You give us choices, now help us to learn your will.
Lead us, Lord, to walk your way on any road we travel.