Ordinary Time Readings: Sunday, October 19

Reading: Genesis 28:10-22 and Matthew 11:25-30 (MSG)

  1. Jacob’s Ladder! An iconic story, a rock ‘n roll song, stuff of dreams. Sit with the narrative in Genesis 28:10-22. What do you hear or discover about Jacob? God? The Divine in-breaking upon the human, material world? Can you remember a time in your life when God came so near it was as if you were standing, sleeping, on holy ground? How did it impact you? How did it change the course of your life or the kind of person you have become?
  2. Jacob was a fugitive and a sketchy character up to this point. His story includes two nocturnal intrusions, this one recorded here and another in Genesis 32. From this story, what do you notice about God and his intentions to bless the whole earth and all of creation, including sketchy characters like us? Have you ever experienced God’s intrusions into your life when you least deserved it, when you felt most alone or “on the run”? How did you respond to God in those moments?
  3. Take a few moments now to engage with God. Open to whatever God might want to disclose, give, bless you with. Just become aware, alert to the Presence of God without agenda or need. This might be a moment when unbeknownst to you, God is here, with you, present to you and the particular dynamics going on in your life. This could be your own Bethel moment when hard, uncomfortable or unexpected places in your life, become monumental blessings of Divine intervention and life-transforming experiences.

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.