Archives for posts with tag: Sunday School

Chapter 3 -- cover pic

Last Sunday we followed the twisting story of Joseph, from dreams, to being sold into slavery, to becoming the Vice Pharaoh of Egypt to, at last, coming face to face with his brothers when they came begging for food in the midst of famine.

It took getting through to Genesis 45 before we saw that the story wasn’t what we thought it was.  It wasn’t about Joseph.  Or his brothers.  Or their betrayal.

It was about God.   The nature of God.   And how God chose to work through this fledgling people of Israel to reveal God’s self to the world.

A key question that we began (and only began) to engage was how do we understand the will of God?  The Joseph story was turned on its head when Joseph tells his brothers, “So it was not you who sent me here [Egypt], but God” (Gen. 45:8).    And then the verse that has been the catalyst for how many understand God, and God’s relation to evil:  “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.”

This verse, for many, has “solved” the problem of God and evil.  God doesn’t cause evil or use evil on purpose — God just turns the evil that happens to good.   The cross, of course, is the ultimate example of this.

And yet.

As we probe further into God’s word, we will find occasions where it appears as though God uses violence to further God’s ends.  This Sunday, we will encounter in Chapter 4 of The Story the many occasions when God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.   And the trail from Egypt to the Promised Land will feature many acts of conquest, often brutal, in God’s name.   How do we square this with the Prince of Peace and God’s act of self-sacrifice on calvary?  Just a few questions as we continue this walk of faith together through our study of God’s story.

 

 

Welcome to my blog on The Story!

As we go through this experience of reading through the Bible as a congregation and Scripture 6exploring issues in our Sunday School classes and worship, I want to offer this as a forum for further discussion.  Today, we launched The Story and focused on Chapter 1 — Creation.  Did you have questions or comments as you read Chapter 1?  Was there something raised in this morning’s Sunday School class or in worship for Chapter 1 that surprised you, puzzled you, tickled you, challenged you?   Share those thoughts in the comment space below!

Peace and grace,

Pastor Pat

Prayerimages (5)

Dear Lord,

As we sit here, the day before we launch The Story, we give thanks.   We give thanks, Lord, for all the ways that you have already blessed us in life.   We give thanks for your church and for the people you have placed in our lives to guide us in the way of faith.  And we give thanks for the opportunity – are we ready to seize it? – to encourage others in the study of your Holy Word as we grow in faith together.   Amen.

Scripture

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.  Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.   – 1 Peter 4:8-11

 

Prayerimages (5)

Dear Lord,

We give thanks to you for beginnings.  So often, we may think that a door is closed, that a dream is lost, that there’s no way out of a particular situation.  Or we may just be tired and feel as though we don’t have the energy or ability to set out on a new venture.  But you, Lord, are our creator.  And we are never done in your hands.  As we peek ahead to this Sunday and the launch of our 31-week program with The Story, we pray that we would be open to you doing a new thing in our lives and in our congregation.  Fill us with expectation, hope, curiosity and devotion as we approach you in this new endeavor!  Amen.

 Scriptures

 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.   — Genesis 1:1-5

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?   — Isaiah 43:19

Prayerdownload

Dear Lord

We pray that as we participate in The Story at BRPC, that we will develop spiritual habits that will nurture our lives and faith well beyond the 31 weeks that are before us.  Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.   Amen.

Scripture

 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” —  Romans 12:2

 

Prayerimages

Dear Lord,

We pray that as we enter into this time of study of your word through The Story, that you would lift us up through your scriptures as a people of hope.  If we feel tired in life, let us be restored through your chapters.  If we hunger, feed us verse by verse.  If fear grips us, allow the words of the patriarchs and matriarchs, prophets and poets, Savior and disciples to comfort, steady us and affix in us renewed purpose with new found resolve.  Amen.

Scripture

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.   — Romans 15:4

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Dear Lord

We pray that our upcoming study of The Story in Sunday School and in worship will draw us together as a congregation.  May the experience of reading and discussing and praying over the same passages strengthen the bonds we share in the body of Christ.  Amen.

Scripture

“ I have given them [believers] the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:  I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”    —  John 17:22-23