resurrection: a new life of love

Resurrection is not merely existence after death. The resurrection of Jesus inaugurated among the people of God a new life of love. The living presence of Jesus among and within his followers is best seen in attitudes and acts of love. This Easter Season our Scriptural engagement will be in 1 John. John was known as the apostle Jesus loved. Receiving such love, John became known as the apostle of love. John’s first letter lets us in on his experience of the love of God, how it transformed his life, and how John came to see love as the best and truest mark of following the resurrected Jesus.  Todd Hunter

Ordinary Time Readings: Sunday, October 12

Reading:  Genesis 25:19-34 and Matthew 4:1-11

  1. Reading the story of Esau as he sells his birthright to Jacob to satisfy an immediate craving offers us a moment to pause and reflect with God on our own quick fix solutions or desires for immediate gratification. As you listen in on the brothers’ exchange, put yourself in their shoes. What do you discover about their character weakness and desires to go after their primal cravings? What resonates with you? What challenges you?
  2. Where in your life are you tempted to take a short cut in your spiritual growth, comprise your character development, or devalue your true identity and birthright in God?
  3. Spend moments observing Jesus’ own temptations in life as you read Matt.4:1-11. What do you see? What do you hear? How does Jesus’ big picture perspective, strength of inner character, embrace of God’s intentions, and faithfulness to his own God-centered identity and birthright help you in your own present-moment life circumstances and temptations?
  4. Speak honestly with God as you process these stories and examine your own heart and life. Name your struggles, weaknesses, temptations to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help.  Maybe you need someone to come alongside to encourage you. If you desire prayer, to talk with someone, connect with a pastor or ministry leader at church. We are here to serve you and walk with you through life’s struggles.

Ordinary Time Readings: Sunday, October 5

Reading: Genesis 11:1-19 & John 10:14-18

  1. As you sit with the story of God’s invitation to Abraham to offer his son Isaac, the child of promise, (Gen.22:1-19) place yourself in Abraham’s shoes. It’s a familiar story analyzed, preached, and used both as meaningful icon of the sacrificial life of faith and Christian “jargon” through the generations.  Read it slowly. Envision the sights, the sounds, the emotions, the tensions, the struggles of these two human beings, one old, the other young as they journey together to Mount Moriah. What do you observe? What do you feel? What thoughts pass through you? Where do you find your focus?
  2. Read it again. Listen for God’s invitations to you. What emerges in your heart? How does this story and Abraham’s choice resonate with you and your own life? What does trust and surrender look like for you right now as you journey with God?
  3. Now sit with Jesus as you listen to his own words, his own choice to lay down his life for the sake of God’s will and for others (John 10:14-18). What do you hear or see in Jesus as you sit with the passage? How do you view or understand life blossoming from sacrifice with regard to your own growth in the Spirit-life?
  4. Spend time conversing with God. Talk about your own struggles of faith, invitations to surrender, challenges to let go of outcomes and abandon into trust.