Thoughts: For those of us who were required to memorize Bible verses, Ephesians 4:5 was a winner. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Six words – three of them the same word! It memorized itself.
Did we ponder the profound theology in those terse words? Are you kidding? Bobby Force had already recited 233 verses, and you were six behind. What other short verses did Paul write?
The best writing is often brief and unadorned. We pray to one God. We believe in Christianity. We revere baptism as the “. . . outward and visible sign of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . . “
Discussion: Why does the United Methodist Church accept three different forms of baptism?
Activity: Write a note to someone who was present at your baptism and ask for his/her memories of this sacred ritual.
Thoughts: In these 21 verses, Jesus speaks briefly four times. He asks one question; he issues two directions; he give reassurance to his frightened disciples.
First, he asks Philip a rhetorical question. He already knows the answer. “How are we going to feed these people?”
Next is the first direction. “Tell the men to sit down.” If the men in the crowd sit down, the women and children would follow suit. Food could be distributed more efficiently and more evenly.
The second directive pleases those of us who were reared with thrift as a guiding principle. “Collect the leftovers.”
Jesus leaves to have some time alone in the mountains. Left to their own devices, the disciples get into a boat to go to Capernaum. A sudden storm erupts over the Sea of Galilee, and the disciples are frightened.
Jesus has miraculously fed thousands of people. Now he walks across the sea to save his chosen twelve. With meticulous grammar, he reassures them, “It is I; be not afraid.”
Discussion: In the course of a day, how many questions do we ask? How many directions do we issue? How many assurances do we give?
Activity: Remember the words of the hymn: “Let me no wrong nor idle words unthinking say.”
Thoughts: Abram lived very comfortably in Haran. But God had other plans for him. “Go to a land that I will show you,” he told Abram.
Where? What land? How far away is it? Who lives there? Surely these are questions Abram wanted to ask. But he didn’t. He departed. After all, he was young – only 75 years old.
When Abram arrived in the plain of March, God said, “I’ll give this land to your descendants.” Again, Abram wanted to say, “But God, I have no descendants.” But he didn’t. He built an altar and prayed to the Lord. What unquestioning faith!
Discussion: Would we go to an unknown land if God directed us there? Sharper question – would we hear the direction?
Activity: God promised Abram he would be a blessing in this new land. Be a blessing today to someone in your own land.
10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God. 33 Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved. 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Thoughts: Whatever you do, do it to honor God. Does everything that pleases God have to be boring? Is ambushing Rev. Hal with squirt guns honoring God? Is having dinner together as a family of Worktrippers pleasing God? Is laughing and possibly getting paint on each other honoring God?
We all have our own definition of that glorifies, pleases or honors God, but I can tell you that squirt guns, dinner and drips of paint brought our youth together as one family, the crews together as one body and God was glorified in the work that was completed in Racine, WI on our Senior High Worktrip.
Discussion: How would we act and what would we do or NOT do if we did everything for the glory of God?
Activity: Decide how you will honor God today and DO IT! Also, come hear our Worktrip report on July 12 at 10:00am in worship.
Writer of the Word @ Home. Sign up to receive these via email HERE
UNITED METHODIST SPECIAL SUNDAYS:
These are the days that our worldwide United Methodist churches take offerings for special projects for our worldwide church.