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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The Written Word (Bible), the Incarnate Word (Jesus), and the Spoken Word (Preaching) all receive their power from the Holy Spirit. For the next couple of weeks we will focus on the Spirit's work through the Word. This week's lesson focuses on the Holy Spirit's connection to the Word. We will look at how Satan will subtly try to twist God's Word until he can break us off from the Spirit's power. This will show us that without the Holy Spirit the Word will not be able to do its work. How comforting it is to know that God puts himself into his words, so that we know his promises are true! (This lesson like many others will draw heavily upon John T. Pless's book Word: God Speaks to Us in the Lutheran Spirituality Series [Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis, 2006].)
1) Read Hebrews 4:12-16
What does God's Word do? (Pless, 2006) Who makes the Word living and active?
Hebrews 4 gives us a powerful reminder that it is God's Word that judges us. We do not judge God's Word. We live in light of the Word, because God has given it to us and we are to revere it by keeping it in its pure form. In that form, the Holy Spirit makes it living and active. The Holy Spirit gives it life so that it can call us back to God, forgive our sins, strengthen our faith, and give us eternal life.
2) Read Genesis 3:1 (Pless, 2006)
Notice how Satan is trying to twist God's Words. Adam and Eve rejected the Holy Spirit when they wanted be like God. Have you ever been tempted like this? Have you ever wondered if God really meant what he said? This is Satan and our sinful nature trying to cut us off from the Spirit in God's Word. In these times we have a Savior who has been tempted in every way, just as we are tempted. When you start to question cry out to God for help! Thank God that Christ has conquered Satan and the sinful nature so that we can be forgiven for the times when we pull ourselves away.
3) Read Matthew 4:1-17 (Pless, 2006)
Satan is using the same strategy that he used against Adam and Eve. How does Jesus defend himself against these temptations?
What does this tell you about God's Word?
God has given his children a powerful weapon. The Holy Spirit brings us under God's Word. This Word becomes a shelter against Satan's attacks. The Spirit uses these words to repel even the strongest pitfalls. Satan and the sinful nature aren't strong enough to separate God's Word from the Holy Spirit.
4) Is it possible to have the Word without the Spirit? (Pless, 2006)
No, if you lose one you lose them both. You cannot obey God on your own, and you cannot sanctify yourself. God has graciously given us both his Word and his Spirit in the fullest measure to redeem us, and sanctify his church.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Welcome back! Now that we are finished with Thessalonians it is time for something new! This Bible Study will focus on the value of the Word of God in the life of a Christian. We will look for ways to develop a consistent approach to personal devotions. Also, we will search God's Word for the comfort of the Gospel. This will lead us to look at how we need to apply both Law and Gospel, we will look at biblical examples of the faithful in difficult times, and how the Spirit builds up our faith through the Word. These are just a few of the topics we will study! We will rely heavily upon a Bible study from the Lutheran Spirituality Series called Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis: 2006)
First we will look at how God is speaking to us. Then we will examine the importance of God's Word to believers.
- There are times when the church seems to have its own language. For example, we use the phrase "The Word of God" or the "Word", but what is it? What is the Word of God? How would you describe it to someone who did not know?
The Word of God is simply what God says to us in order that we would be saved. Typically, the Word of God is broken up into three categories: the written word (the Bible), the Word Incarnate (Jesus), and the spoken Word (preaching).
Read 2 Timothy 3:15-16- What are some uses for the Written Word of God? How has the written Word affected your own life?
Jesus is the Word Incarnate, because he fulfilled everything that was prophesied about him in the flesh. Also, he came to earth full of grace and truth proclaiming the gospel, and did nothing but his Father's will. Read Luke 24: 25-27- On the "Road to Emmaus" Jesus, the Word Incarnate, told the disciples about how he was the fulfillment of prophecy. Many Christians are envious of the disciples, but where do we encounter the Word of God in the flesh? We encounter it at the Lord's Supper, and when we hear preaching that proclaims Christ as the fulfillment of prophesy, and salvation.
Consider the Spoken Word. Usually, we think of Pastors in the pulpit giving their sermons. Jesus has commissioned Pastors to faithfully preach the Word of God. However, he has also given responsibility to every believer to tell the world about the forgiveness of sins, the law, and the work that he has done. Read John 17:13-19- How have you used your authority to speak the Word of God to others?
2. God is still speaking through the Written Word, the Word Incarnate, and the Spoken Word. What things get in your way of hearing God's Word? (Pless 2006, 7) What can you do to avoid those things?
3. Think about how you have grown in your faith since you were baptized. Can you name at least one way that each category of the Word of God has helped you? (i.e. How has the Written Word helped you grow?, How has the Word Incarnate…) Look back to 2 Timothy 3:15-16 if you need a little direction.
Every week I will post a spiritual exercise that might help you in your devotional life. This one comes from Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. Pray Psalm 119:33-40. By praying this psalm you will be asking God to instruct you in his Word, and to confirm his promises.
Please post any comments or questions below!
Friday, January 9, 2009
IN ATTENDANCE: Matt McCauley, Debra McCauley, Rex Pagani, Vicar Zach,
Janet Frisch, John Musser, Steve Peterson, Pastor Pingel, Bob
Trimble, Patty Dauer, Kathy Brown, Scott Rodenbeck, Ann
Emge, and Marilyn Huber
1) Matt and Debra McCauley reviewed social events for ’09. 1/24/09 @ 5PM will be the Chili cook-off. 3/25/09 is the wine tasting event. 5/31/09 is the 2nd annual Ice Cream Social event. Sometime in 09/09, they want to plan a tail gate party in the church parking lot for a Steelers game. They are looking for help to plan the Octoberfest this year.
2) Bob Trimble continues working of the Stewardship program. He believes they are more than ½ ways done.
3) Patty Dauer reported the Evangelism committee visited 3 Nursing Homes in Beaver County. They went the Friendship Ridge, Franciscan Manor and Elmcrest and felt they were very well received. They entertained the residents with singing and visiting.
4) Steve Peterson reports the last Elder’s meeting was 12/10/08 and discussion surrounded the dismissal of the Vicar program for a couple of years and how helpful the program has been to us. The LCDF fund will provide $7,000.00 to help pay off the past 3 months of bills. He past out copies of the 08-09 Budget to the Committee that was already approved by the Elders. Pastor turned down a raise. Instead, the church will match his retirement fund. The ’09 budget reflects a $12,000.00 savings from this year.
5) Ann Emge announced the teachers received their gifts today.
6) Scott Rodenbeck confirmed the Stewardship program is ongoing.
7) Kathy Brown discussed MOPS events. They will have the Ladies Tea party the 1st Sat. in May. There is a Craft & Hostess fair later in 1/09. They continue fund raising for their yearly convention. They are planning to start a Night time MOPS program in ’09.
8) Vicar Zach is looking into developing a Calendar of Events for the whole year to post so non-members attending church will know when events are upcoming.
9) Janet Frisch discussed work with the Publicity committee and ways to increase the hall rental and using photos to promote the hall. Posters will be put into store front businesses.
10) Pastor Pingle mentioned that Deb Leveto continues to work on the Transitional Kindergarten program. Also, plans are in the works for the Youth Group to hold a servant event at our church in July.