John 13:1-35. It is early in the week (before Sunday worship on March 16) and I’m just beginning to take on the Bible reading, praying and thinking what message might be there for us at Saint James. My first impressions are of Jesus as servant, waiting on the disciples, and of Jesus telling the disciples (us included) that there is a new commandment: Love one another. I am never certain early in a week where the Bible will take us by Sunday but I offer these early thoughts. Comments are welcome!
John 11:1-44. I don’t believe we’ll be taking on the entire text this coming Sunday but it is certainly a good read. Jesus shows up too late for what his friends think would have been an easy healing. Instead, his friend Lazarus dies. Lazarus’s sisters are disappointed/angry and unafraid to direct those feelings at Jesus when he finally arrives. Part of Jesus’ response to Mary and Martha includes another personal declaration: I am (the) Resurrection and I am Life. Sounds pretty cool but what does it mean for us today? We will take on that question on Sunday.
I keep looking for a magic formula on “talking to God.” Last week we talked about how everyone prays differently, in their own way. Drawing on various examples of prayer from the Bible, we will talk about praying! Conversations take on a whole new look when we Just Do It.
The last time I remember anyone saying “Can we talk?” to me, it wasn’t a good conversation. Someone called those words “the kiss of death.” In the case of prayer, I want to call them the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Prayer can become a connecting point for each of us, with God and with one another. Come and hear about prayer as we begin a short series Conversations.
John 6:56-69. Maybe not everyone is cut out to follow Jesus? Certainly that is not the premise under which I’ve been operating for all the years I’ve been trying to follow. I regularly make it clear that following is not easy; that truth is not lost on me. I’ll be working on figuring out what this means in the coming days… read the passage and throw your thoughts in a comment.
John 4:46-54. It’s not always clear what we’re looking for when we seek a connection with God in Jesus. When we’re driving on the highway, it’s all about paying attention to the signs to get where we’re going. This week we’ll take a look at this story of Jesus performing a miracle, a “sign.” Maybe it’ll help us figure out some of the signs in our own lives.
We knew when we began the Forgiveness Series that there was simply too much to cover. This week we “bring home” the series with some final thoughts about forgiving. What are your last questions about forgiveness?
Matthew 18:21-35. Having talked a bit about what forgiveness is and is not last week, this week we move on to the hard work of figuring out how to forgive. What steps can we take in the direction of forgiving? Against the backdrop of Jesus’s parable about forgiving, we will talk about it for ourselves.
Beginning on Sunday, January 12 we are taking up one of our core values as Jesus-followers: forgiveness. In a world more focused on retribution and revenge, we are called out to a life of forgiving and receiving forgiveness. There are, however, a number of misconceptions about forgiveness, about what it is and what it is not, about how to give it. We even imagine that withholding it keeps us in the power seat. We imagine giving forgiveness is a sign of weakness and can lead to continued destructive behavior toward us.
We will spend three weeks on what forgiveness is, the beginnings of learning to forgive, and even talk a bit about forgiving ourselves and receiving forgiveness from God. Join us January 12, 19, and 26 for window into forgiveness.