Reflections Week of 4/24/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Proverbs 2:1-6

This passage talks about seeking for silver, searching for hidden treasure, and finding the knowledge of God. This sounds more like a job for Indiana Jones than it does for us. This imagery is how we should seek the wisdom and instructions God has given us. This is the mind we should have toward learning and growing in our walks with God. This week’s sermon boils down to our need to trust that God knows better than we do. Seeking after God’s wisdom and treasuring up his commandments can help us to be more in line with God. Maybe if we think about studying the Bible as the epic treasure hunt that Solomon describes in this passage we’d be more willing to see what God has to offer.

Questions for Reflection: How do you view the Bible’s influence in your life? Is there anything that is stopping you from pursuing the wisdom of God like a hidden treasure?

Read Psalm 91

The Israelites went through a long history of forgetting the things God had done for them. They stopped trusting God which lead to them rejecting his leadership. In this Psalm I’m encouraged and reminded not only is God in control but he is our protector. Not only does God know what’s best for us but he will cover us and be our fortress. Too often I try and do everything myself, I try and rely on my own strength, this Psalm reminds me to trust that God is a shield to protect me. It’s a Psalm I need to read and re-read, I need to remember he is our refuge and fortress. That means I don’t have to be the strongest or best, I need to just let God be who he is. It’s a lesson I have to continually be reminded of, maybe I am more like the Israelites than I’d like to admit.

Questions for Reflections: Is there something in your life that you are anxious about? Have you asked God to step in and be your fortress and protection? Where do you struggle with trusting God in your life?

Reflections by Pastor Tim Gioia

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Reflections Week of 4/17/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Genesis 17:1-9

God makes Abraham an incredible promise here. He is already giving this ninety nine year old man a son, but now He says Abraham will have a multitude of nations as his descendants! God promises that Abraham and the generations after him will be exceedingly fruitful and will forevermore by given the land of Canaan! It even says that kings will come from him. All of this is promised as well as the amazing offer to still be led by this all powerful and miraculous God! And all God wants in return is for Abraham to keep this covenant. It is so easy for me to look at this passage and say, “What was Abraham thinking? He could have had this land!” However, I know that it is all too common for me to doubt the great promises God makes as well. This passage is a reminder of how faithful God is. We know now that Abraham lacked trust, but we ourselves often need to reflect on God’s promises in our own lives, and trust that they are true too.

Questions for Reflection: Think of some promises God has for you. What stops you from believing them to be true?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-14

It is often said that people learn best by example, but this is not always done. More often than not, people learn by making their own mistakes instead. This passage is a plea to avoid that. We are given clear examples of sin and its consequences and told not to repeat the. Sounds easy right? The Lord says to flee from idolatry. I used to think this was pretty obvious-I mean who had a huge golden calf in their house anymore? But as I reflected this week, I was reminded that idols can come in many different forms. A common one today in America is football. When was the last time you got so excited about God that you painted your face and wore a foam finger for Him? We constantly put other worldly things before God. This is idolatry and temptation! But this passage is also comforting, because we know that there will not be anything so tempting that we cannot resist it. God promises that he will provide escape when we need it, and He is faithful, so we an trust this promise to be true.

Questions for Reflection: What hidden idols are there in your life? How can you overcome the temptation to put them before God?

Reflections written by Bailey Carlson

Reflections Week of 4/10/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Jeremiah 17:5-10

This passage shows a clear contrast between those who trust in the Lord, and those who turn away from Him. Those who turn away are doomed to a place of death. They are compared to a bush in the desert with no hope of finding the nourishment they need. But those who trust in the Lord are compared to a thriving tree with roots planted firmly near the water. We should strive to be like the tree who bears fruit firmly planted by the living water. The last two verses here tell us that the Lord alone knows our hearts and minds. This is both comforting and a little bit scary. We can never fool God into thinking we are good Christians. He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. But He is just to those who are sincere in their faith. They will be rewarded for their trust in Him.

Questions for Reflections: What is the first thing you turn to in times of need? Does that show confidence in the Lord? Are there areas of your heart that you need to search and turn over to God this week?

 

Read 1 John 1:5-10

We cannot have fellowship with God while we are in darkness. This is an intense thought since all of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory. But as we learned at Easter, Christ’s blood has covered all our sins! That sacrifice allowed us to be forgiven. We should not say that we are sinless, but that our sins are no longer counted against us because of that forgiveness. This passage reminds us that we can walk in the light of God if we confess our sins. God is faithful and just and removes all darkness that sin has put in our lives. Nobody is perfect. In fact, these verses say that if anyone claims that, they are calling God a liar. But we are not bound to that sin anymore. We are free to have fellowship with one another and we are free to have fellowship with God.

Questions for Reflection: Have you confessed all your sins to God? Do you feel free from darkness? Have you accepted the forgiveness that is offered through Christ’s sacrifice?

Reflections written by Bailey Carlson

Reflections Week of 4/3/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read 1 Cor 13
  This is the famous “love” chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Before you flash back to the last time you were at a wedding and heard this passage read, think about this: we have nothing without love. Paul talks about spiritual gifts, and faith to move a mountain, and without love these things are nothing. And it’s because of the way love acts (v4-8). Paul says everything else will fade away but real, true, love will never fade away. And how could it? The Gospel is love, and the Gospel will never diminish. Love is vital to living more like Christ on a daily basis. Because, if we don’t have love, we have nothing.
Question for Reflection: Think of ways this week you didn’t act in love. Why didn’t you? What could you have done differently? Starting today how can you show love more regularly?
Read Joshua 1:1-9
  #spoilers ahead… After Moses passes away Joshua is called on to lead God’s people. In this opening chapter, God commissions Joshua and tells him how he will be successful. In verses 7-8 God tells Joshua to focus on the law which Moses gave, it will be the best way to lead the people. The best way for Joshua to be strong and courageous, is to live according to the law. It’s in living out the law that Joshua will be able to lead God’s people to the promised land. God reminds Joshua that he will be with him always as he strives to lead. It’s that encouragement we need to do the same thing Joshua was called to do: be strong and courageous and pursue living out the heart of the law, which is to love God and love our neighbors.
Question for Reflection: What are the things that keep you from being “strong and courageous”? Do you think that God’s advice to Joshua could help you this week?
Reflections written by Pastor Tim Gioia