Year B, Lent 1 (2009_Mar_1) – Daily Meditations

For Sunday, March 1st through Saturday, March 7th:

Genesis 9:8-17  (NIV)  (The Message)

Psalm 25:1-10  (NIV)  (The Message)

1 Peter 3:18-22  (NIV)  (The Message)

Mark 1:9-15  (NIV)  (The Message)

Prayer of the Week: Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Crossgroup Study – March 1st, 2009 (Year B, Lent 1)

Today’s scripture focus:  Genesis 9:8-17 (NIV) (The Message)

Background:

Genesis is the first book in the Bible.  The word “genesis” means “beginnings”, and that’s a good name for this book.  It contains a lot of firsts – first man, first woman, first sin, first murder.  Genesis is the first of five books known to the ancients as “The Law” or “Torah”.  Moses is the traditional author of these books, but modern scholars trace their origin to several sources, now lost to us.

Noah is the first person in scripture’s genealogy to be born after the death of Adam.  By the time the first man dies, the Story tells us that the world had grown so wicked that no one ever did anything loving, but everyone acted selfishly all the time.  Basically, all of creation had descended into chaos, and God has decided to act before the world completely destroys itself.  By placing Noah, his family, and the animals on an ark, God is actually sparing creation, rather than destroying it.

After flood waters recede and Noah is allowed to disembark, God makes a promise.  This is another “first” in Genesis – the first covenant.  In ancient times, a king could make a royal grant to an especially loyal subject, giving him land that could be passed down to his descendants.  This is the covenant God makes with Noah.  God promises to never wipe out creation with flood waters again, and makes a sign of this promise with a “bow in the clouds.”  Bows were symbols of war, but God uses it as a reminder of peace.

Today’s sermon will focus us on the sign God gives us of new beginnings.

Five Questions:

1.  Do you keep up with current news and events?  How (paper, television, internet, etc.)?

2.  How many days this week did you read your Bible and pray?

3.  If you could go back in time and visit yourself as a teenager, what is the one thing you would tell yourself NOT to do?

4.  Has God ever given you a sign?

5.  What areas of your life do you need God’s help to just wipe out and start over?

For further reflection, check out the corresponding Crossview Community sermon here.

Year B, Transfiguration (2009_Feb_22) – Daily Meditations

For Sunday, February 22nd through Saturday, February 28th:

2 Kings 2:1-12 (NIV) (The Message)

Psalm 50:1-6 (NIV) (The Message)

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (NIV) (The Message)

Mark 9:2-9 (NIV) (The Message)

Prayer of the Week: O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Crossgroup Report – February 22nd, 2009

Attendance:  12

Praises:  John and Sandy and Stuart and Regina have their fences repaired from the tornado last month!  Also, Sandry shared some good news regarding one of her students.

Prayer requests:  John and Sandy [decisions for the future], Regina [TAKS tests - pray for all students, teachers, and parents] Dave [church finances and the economy], Tracie [her great grandmother].

Assignments:  Remember, we have commited to read our scripture and pray for at least three days this week, and we’re going to ask next Sunday how we all did!  Get together with your crosstable at some point this week.

Happy Following!

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Crossgroup Study – February 22nd, 2009 (Year B, Transfiguration Sunday)

Today’s scripture focus:  2 Corinthians 4:3-7 (NIV) (The Message)

Review –

Corinth was a major port city in the Roman Empire, strategically located on a narrow strip of coast, fifty miles west of Athens.  In New Testament times, it was the center of worship for Aphrodite, the goddess of sex, whose temple was served by over 1,000 priestess-prostitutes.

There is quite a lively “conversation” going on between the followers in Corinth and Paul, who founded the church there.  Letters are being sent back and forth, delegations are coming to and fro, arguments are made, instructions given, and misconceptions clarified.  I and II Corinthians are the only two surviving letters of this exchange.

2 Corinthians was probably written about six months after 1 Corinthians.  Paul had moved on from Ephesus (Turkey) to Macedonia (Southeastern Europe).  He had planned on making a two short visits to Corinth, but had instead settled on one longer one.  His enemies used this as an opportunity to attack his character by insisting his word couldn’t be trusted.

Paul reminds the Corinthians the he is not interested in man’s opinion of him.  He uses the story of Moses, who covered his face with a veil to keep the Israelites from knowing that God’s glory had faded from his face, to remind the believers at Corinth that he has nothing to hide.  If anything is “hidden”, it is the truth of the gospel from those blinded by the powers at work in the world.

Today’s sermon will focus on allowing the light of God’s love to shine in our hearts, bringing to light anything that is not like Him, and revealing God’s love to others.

For further study, go here.

Five Questions:

1.  What do you typically do on Friday nights?

2.  How could this group help you be a better follower?

3.  Is what other people think of us important?  Why or why not?

4.  Can other people tell that you follow Jesus?  How?

5.  (for thought)  What are some areas of your heart that need the light of Jesus?

For further reflection, check out the corresponding Crossview Community sermon here.

Year B, Epiphany 6 (2009_Feb_15) – Daily Meditations

For Sunday, February 15th through February 21st:

2 Kings 5:1-14 (NIV) (The Message)

Psalm 30 (NIV) (The Message)

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) (The Message)

Mark 1:40-45 (NIV) (The Message)

Prayer of the Week: O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Crossgroup Report – February 15th, 2009

Attendance – 9

Prayer requests – Regina P [mother has been diagnosed with Parkinsons', father is serving as her caregiver], Stuart P [nephew serving on the mission field, is traveling to Zimbabwe], Sandy R [student, Parker, is experiencing health problems, and family is going through a rough time.]

Assignments – read the daily meditation scriptures and prayer each day.  Keep meeting with your cross table.

Announcement – Kevin K will be leading the Wednesday night service beginning March 4th.  He will be teaching from Psalm 23.

Happy Following!

Crossgroup Study – February 15th, 2009 (Year B, Epiphany 6)

Today’s scripture focus:  I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) (The Message)

Background:

Review –

Corinth was a major port city in the Roman Empire, strategically located on a narrow strip of coast, fifty miles west of Athens.  In New Testament times, it was the center of worship for Aphrodite, the goddess of sex, whose temple was served by over 1,000 priestess-prostitutes.

There is quite a lively “conversation” going on between the followers in Corinth and Paul, who founded the church there.  Letters are being sent back and forth, delegations are coming to and fro, arguments are made, instructions given, and misconceptions clarified.  I and II Corinthians are the only two surviving letters of this exchange.

Paul is continuing to answer the question of whether or not it is ok to eat “idol meat”.  He deals with the real issue behind this controversy:  selfishness vs. love.  He uses a metaphor from athletics to make his point.

The city of Corinth played host to the Isthmian Games, from which our modern day Olympics evolved.  Atheletes competed in running, leaping, boxing, chariot racing, and other feats of agility and speed.  Winners of these competitions were rewarded with a wreath of pine.  Paul makes the point that if people are willing to work so hard for temporary prizes, followers of Jesus should be just as strict in obtaining eternal rewards.

Many Corinthian believers were under they impression that as long as they continued to worship by taking part in the Lord’s Supper, they could sit back and take it easy.  This lead to using the Lord’s Supper as an opportunity for gluttony and drunkenness, and caused division.  Paul reminded the Corinthians that if they truly loved God, they would discipline and deny their bodies in order to spread His love to others.  Paul had only one focus in life – spread the Good News of God’s love.

This Sunday’s sermon will focus on how we can live a “strict” lifestyle of love.

Five Questions:

1.  What is your favorite sport to play?  To watch?

2.  Other than spiritual needs, what is the greatest need in the community of Denison right now?

3.  What lessons can Christians learn from sports?

4.  Is it important for followers of Jesus to be self disciplined?  Healthy?  Debt-free?

5.  What area of your life needs the most discipline right now?

For further reflection, read the corresponding sermon here.

Year B, Epiphany 5 (2009_Feb_8) – Daily Meditations

For Sunday, February 8th through Saturday, February 14th:

Isaiah 40:21-31 (NIV) (The Message)

Psalm 147 (NIV) (The Message)

1 Corinthians 9:16-23 (NIV) (The Message)

Mark 1:29-39 (NIV) (The Message)

Prayer of the Week: Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which You have made known to us in Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.