Just a reminder that worship at both churches will be changing times beginning this coming Sunday through the month of August. Peace United Church will have worship beginning at 9:00 AM and Grey Eagle UMC with start worship at 10:30 AM. Please remind your friends and neighbors who attend our churches about the time change.
This week we continue with our readings about King David, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John concerning the “Bread of Life”.
2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a – Last week we read about King David’s affair with Bathsheba and his orders to have Uriah killed in battle. In the verses not read this happens. In verse 11:26 what is Bathsheba’s reaction to the news of Uriah’s death. Then what does David do in verse 27? The verses in chapter 12 are God’s, through the prophet Nathan, reaction to what David has done. What does Nathan tell David about a poor farmer, his only lamb, and the rich neighbor? How does David react to the story? What does Nathan tell David beginning in verse 7? What was David’s main offense against God? Notice the order of the offenses in verse 9: killed Uriah with a sword, taken Uriah’s wife, and used the Ammonites to do the killing (see 11:16-17). Notice though in verse 10 the serious offense is the taking of Uriah’s wife. What does Nathan say David’s punishment will be? Who seems to be the ones that will suffer the most in verse 11? What is David’s reaction to Nathan’s accusation? Also notice that throughout this reading and last week’s reading that the only time Bathsheba’s name is mentioned is when David asks a servant who this woman was. She is always referred to as “Uriah’s wife” or “the wife of Uriah”. Why do you think this may be? The assigned reading cuts the story off prematurely. Who is the one that ultimately suffers (verse 14 and verses 15b-19)? How do you and we deal with a verse that says “The Lord struck the child” who was a newborn?
Psalm 51:1-12 – There are several well known verses in this Psalm including one or two in the unread verses 13-19. Check out verses 1, 6, 10, 16, and 17. As I look at these verses, maybe they all seem familiar because I have read this Psalm numerous times. What is the anguish that the psalmist, David, is expressing. What does the heading indicate? (Note: in the TANAKH, the Jewish scriptures, the headings are given verse numbers, thus verse 1 in our Bible is verse 3 in the TANAKH Psalm 51.)
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 – The Israelites are wandering in the desert and have run out of food. What is their complaint in verse 3? Where would they rather be? What will God do for them in verse 4? What will be given to the Israelites in the evenings? What is given to them in the mornings? What is the meaning of the word “manna” (you may have to check your footnotes)?
Psalm 78:23-29 – The entire Psalm is recitation of the history of Israel. This section concerns the gifts of food God gave in our Exodus reading.
Ephesians 4:1-16 – These verses begin the second half of the letter which might be called an “ethical” teaching. Last week’s reading was Paul’s prayer for the church that we would all be “rooted and grounded in love.” This love is the starting point for Christian living. In verse one, who is Paul writing to? You may have to refer to the beginning of the letter, verse 1:1. What does Paul want the church to do (verse 1) and how are we do do that (verses 2-3)? Name all the “ones” in verses 4-6. How is God described in verse 6? What were we given? List the various offices that some are called to in verse 11. What is the ultimate goal of those gifts and callings in verse 12 and 13? What are we not to be in verse 14 and what should we be in verse 15? In essence we should become Christ, or the body of Christ since Christ is the head. We can only be the body of Christ if we, the Church, work together with Christ.
John 6:24-35 – This story picks up the day after Jesus fed the 5000 and the morning that he walked out to the disciples’ boat and stilled the wind (6:1-21). You may as well read verses 22 and 23. What do the people want from Jesus according to Jesus? What should the people (and by extension, we) be looking or working for (verse 27)? According to Jesus, what is the work God performs in us (verse 29)? What miracle do the people mention in verse 31? According to Jesus, what is the true miracle that God gives to the people?
Some possible sermon topics: From 2 Samuel - What is the consequence of desire that leads to sin? From Ephesians – What does it mean to live a “Christian life” rooted and grounded in love? From John – What do we desire, how is that desire misdirected, and what does God give us for what we truly need? Maybe they can all be worked into a sermon?
Have a great week serving the Lord!