LENT DEVOTION (WEEK 5)
Last week we allowed ourselves to embrace Christ’s light and practiced shining that light in our communities. What was it like? What steps did you take to live with the light and love of Christ? This week, as we move closer toward Passion week, our text today reveals to us both the agony and the necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection.
SCRIPTURE: John 12:27-33
What are some things that happen in the world that don’t seem loving or kind? How do you feel when you see them? Which of these unloving things feel remote or out of reach (something that happens “over there”)? Which of them are a part of your daily lives? What are some ways that we participate in these broken systems? What kind of life-giving action could you make instead?
As your act of fasting this week, we encourage you individually or as a family to choose a “system” in this world that is in need of God’s love and redeeming power. For example, you could fast from video game technology and create a family game that fosters family interaction. You could decide to not watch any TV, always call instead of text, eat at home instead of restaurants, only purchase fair trade items, etc. At the end of the week, share how you, with God’s help, actively challenged that system this week.
God of all creation, We come to you this week with mournful hearts. Hearts that are heavy. Hearts that are broken. Hearts that are disconnected from each other. We see the daily challenges of our world. We admit that we participate in systems that benefit us yet exclude or harm others. Forgive us for the ways in which we do not help as you do, work as you do, love as you do. Help us to see ways in which we can draw others to you and challenge us to commit to working towards a more just world. AMEN.
LENT DEVOTIONS (WEEK 1)
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:9-15
• What do you think it means to repent and believe in Jesus’ Good News?
• Have you ever had to prepare for something big in your life (a project at school, a new job, a new school, a new sport or activity, a big test)?
• What are some things you had to do to prepare?
• What are some things you had to give up to be ready?
• In what ways can you prepare yourself to live into the identity that you are a beloved child of God?
• Do you have a word or phrase that has become a part of you during your life that has been negative or painful/hurtful?
• How has that kept you from your identity of one who is loved and is called to love?
Supplies needed: a glass or clear plastic bowl, small stones, water
First, fill the bowl three-quarters of the way full of clear water. Place the bowl in the middle of a table or another place where you can sit or stand around the bowl. Take a moment to go around the table and touch your hand to the water. Take some time to share memories of participating in or witnessing a baptism. If you have not had this experience, talk about what it might have been like for Jesus to be baptized. What would the water have been like? How would it have felt? This week, your act of fasting is to practice mindfully living into your identity of one who is loved and is called to love others. Invite everyone to choose a stone from the ones you have gathered. Think of that word or phrase you discussed earlier which has become a part of you during your life that has been negative or painful. Hold the stone in your hand when you think of this. Then take that stone and place it in the bowl and say, “I am no longer ________. I am a beloved child of God.” For younger participants, they can simply say “I am a beloved child of God.” Each morning or evening (or time of day that works for your family or group) this week, gather around the bowl. Take another stone and repeat the phrase “I am no longer _______. I am a beloved child of God.”
To the One who calls us by name, Thank you…
• For being a God who wants to know us and desires to claim us
• For being a God who gives us new identities and is close to us
• For being a God who guides us in our growth
Beloved God, who calls us Beloved, help us believe and live as
your children. In your name we pray, AMEN.
1. Character profile – Jonathan
Write down your observations of Jonathan’s actions and character traits from this passage (1 Sam. 14:1-15).
2. Character profile – Armor Bearer
Write down your observations of the armor bearer’s actions and character traits from this passage.
a. What kind of relationship did Jonathan have with his armor bearer?
b. What did the armor bearer think of Jonathan?
3. Is there anything extraordinary about Jonathan’s leadership in verses 11-13? See17:41 (clue: where’s the armor bearer?).
4. Character profile – Discipler
Write down the characteristics that Jonathan exemplifies that would be valuable to you as a discipler.
5. Character profile – Disciple
Write down the characteristics that the armor bearer exemplifies that you would look for in a prospective disciple.
6. The commitment of an honest disciple: “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” Do you have that kind of a commitment to someone?
Are you willing to make that kind of commitment?
7. How would you state the commitment of an honest discipler?
Do you have that kind of a commitment to someone?
Are you willing to make that kind of commitment?
MEMORIZE 1 Samuel 14:7
1. How am I drawing near to others in sincere Community?
2. How am I helping others connect in community at Grace Point?
3. What is an Opportunity I have to partner with others to help them achieve their vision?
4. How have others helped me to achieve a goal or dream? Maybe take time to call or write to them to express your gratitude.
5. How are we as a fellowship demonstrating love as the cure/Immunity in a world filled with hate, bitterness and division?
6. What new ideas can we add to what we have done? Or, what new challenges are rising that we need to prayerfully seek wisdom in how to address with God’s love?