Sunday, July 5th

The Book of Joel: “The Reality of God in our Midst”
Readings: Joel 3:1-3, 14-21 and Mark 2:13-17

Reflection Questions

A Suggestion: Read the entire chapter of Joel 3 in one sitting. You might want to use The Message version as a parallel to the version you usually read.

  1. In Joel 2:19 we heard the prophet, on behalf of God’s people, pray to God, “To you, O Lord, I call.”  How do you hear and understand God’s answer to his people in Joel 3? What immediate and future help does God offer his people? How have you found God answering your prayers in crisis? Have you experienced answers to prayers unfolding over time? What was that like for you? How did it foster faith? Did it every create frustrations? Why?
  2. Read Mark 2:13-17. What invitations from God are presented to you in this narrative? Take moments to talk to Jesus about your followership: those things and dynamics involved in the way you follow Jesus in the world. Is there recognizable sin or struggle? Is there a type of “ailment” of soul that challenges devotion, prayer, obedience to Jesus? How do Jesus’ words in verse 17 draw you into prayer or draw you close to his side?
  3. Read Joel 3 again. Are their words of hope that help or encourage you? Is there any comfort, any aspect of God either explicitly declared or implicitly felt that resonates with you? What are you receiving from God through your reflections in God’s word? If you journal, respond to God through a written response. If you do not, find a creative way to respond to God.

Complete your contemplation with this psalm-prayer:

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
Let me never be put to shame;
In your righteousness deliver me…
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God…
I trust in you, O Lord;
I say “You are my God; my times are in your hand…”
Make your face shine on your servant;
Save me in your steadfast love!

From Psalm 31

Cheek to Cheek

What lies behind human evil? It's simple yet profound – nearly all evil doing is done under the guise of necessity.

Sunday, June 28th

The Book of Joel: “The Reality of God in our Midst”
Readings: Joel 1:1-2, 4, 10, 14-15, 19; Joel 2:12-14, 18-19, 26-32 and Mark 2:1-12

Reflection Questions

  1. The prophet’s voice beacons people to “awake” to God in the face of an epic plague of locust that swept through the land destroying crops, land, livelihood. The one plague set off a chain of other subsequent disasters: fire, drought, etc. What epic disasters have you witnessed in your life-time? Can you recall how you felt as you either experienced it or saw it on the news? What were your thoughts? What were your questions? How did you pray? How did you respond? What did you notice about your faith in God during these times? Is there some great crisis or circumstance that seems overwhelming, out of your control, that is affecting your life or livelihood at the moment? Take moments to awaken to your greatest need, deepest emotions, or the questions you have that seem unanswerable.
  2. Spend time listening deeply to the plea of God and offer of mercy found in Joel 2:12-14, 18-19. Read and sit with Joel 2: 26-32 as the promise of God’s Spirit poured out upon his people is described. What do you ascertain from these words? How do you see God through this prophet’s perspective? What invitations for your own life do hear? How might you respond in prayer or deed?

Steadfast Love: Learning to Return

Hosea 4:1-3, 6; 5:13-15; 6:1-3, 6-7 and Mark 1:21-34