Thursday, May 31, 2012

1 Samuel 8.4-20 & 11.14-15

This coming Sunday we will be focusing on 1 Samuel 8.4-20 & 11.14-15. In these passages we get a glimpse at why the people of Israel decided that they wanted a king. This was something that displeased the prophet/priest Samuel. For he felt that the people were turning away from the Lord as their ruler, and instead were following the path of the surrounding nations. Up until this point the people of Israel had not been ruled by a centralized government. Instead God would raise up judges to help set free the various tribes of Israel from outside forces. But, when Samuel (the last judge) begins to get older, the elders of Israel (1 Samuel 8.4-5) thought this was as good of time as any to introduce the monarchy.

Interestingly, the Lord does not seem to be quite as mad as Samuel is about introducing the monarchy. Instead, the Lord tells Samuel to "listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you" (1 Samuel 8.7). As we then turn to chapter 11 we find the king installed ----- King Saul.

As we read these verses we understand that the people rejected the Lord in their desire for the monarchy (1 Samuel 8.7). But, we have read about how King David was a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13.14). How do those two things go together? Do we know what God has in mind when it comes to the monarchy?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ezekiel 37.1-14

This coming Sunday we will be focusing on Ezekiel 37.1-14. In this passage the prophet Ezekiel is taken out to a dire scene ----- it was a valley that was full of bones. The Spirit of the Lord then leads him all around this valley ---- stepping in between those who had been slain and killed. It was full of bones ----- and they were dry. And then the Lord asks the prophet a ridiculous question: "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel, the one-dimensional character that he is, answers: "O Lord God, you know." The Lord's imperative comes upon Ezekiel with power when he says: "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel obeys the Lord's imperative and the bones are formed together ---- the sinews came ---- the flesh came ---- the skin came. Then the prophet called forth the breath to fill them, and they stood on their feet. In the midst of death ---- the Lord calls us forth to prophesy life and life more abundantly. For the Lord can even open up the graves to produce a multitude. How are you prophesying to death today?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

1 John 5.1-6

This Sunday we will be focusing on 1 John 5.1-6. In v5 John says: "Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Notice here that conquering the world has to do with believing that Jesus is the Son of God. The world is an environment of hatred (1 John 3.15) and is based on the works of the devil (1 John 3.8). To conquer this we are to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. This believing is lived out through trusting in the incarnate God. This letter of 1 John reminds us to trust in the God who humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. This trust overcomes the world because the love of God overcomes the world, and the love of God is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Are you loving God and trusting in God's grace through faith? This abandonment to the God who is worthy of our trust is the the thing that overcomes the world. This abandonment overcomes the works of the devil and the hate that tempts us to put up walls against our brothers and sisters. What are ways that you have overcome the world?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Amendment One - Let's Talk About It

On Sunday, May 6th at 5:30pm you are invited to a discussion on Amendment One. On May 8th North Carolina voters are invited to vote on Amendment One that states: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." This has become an issue that is causing folks to yell and scream at each other. We are seeing the talking heads on TV getting caught up in vitriolic anger toward one another. In the midst of that I have seen folks that legitimately want to have an intelligent conversation about this subject. We are going to try to provide a platform for such a topic. But it is going to be a platform that is based on Christian love and kindness. A place where we can be safe to talk about this tough subject. As Christians we ought to be able to listen to one another and let other people complete their sentences. I want to invite you to come and be a part of putting love into action as we discuss Amendment One. This will be held in the fellowship hall at Warren's Grove United Methodist Church in Roxboro, NC. We are located at 1511 Wesleyan Road, Roxboro, NC 27573. If you need directions please call 336.592.3400.

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