Hello Everyone, Grace and Peace to you.
This week I will be finishing up the current sermon series, "The Outsiders". This week's focus is on "The Neighbor". Beginning on Sunday, July 17 and running to September 25 our sermon series will be "A Future with Hope" based on Jeremiah 29:11. "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." This new series is not based on the Lectionary but I will continue to send out this email with the appointed Lectionary readings.
This week our lessons are:
Amos 7:7-17 - Verses 7-9 is the last of three visions that the Lord gives Amos: locusts eating all the crops, fire consuming all the land, and the plumb line set in Israel by which God will judge. (Amos is a prophet during the time of King Jeroboam of the northern kingdom of Israel.) A priest at the temple in Bethel named Amaziah complains to Jeroboam about Amos' prophesies of the destruction of Israel. Amaziah then orders Amos to go back to Judah but Amos responds with some pretty tough language. I will leave it up to your imagination about what Amos said, OR, you could read it for your self.
Psalm 82 - This is an odd little psalm. In it God calls together all the gods in council (verse 1). God then charges the gods with ruling unjustly (vs. 2). God gives the evidence against the gods (vss. 3-5). God then renders judgment against the gods (vss. 6-7). Finally, God alone is the judge of the earth and all nations belong to God.
OR Deuteronomy 30:9-14 - The last half of verse 10 is the theme of this passage: "because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." This commandment is not too hard because it is not in the heavens or beyond the seas; it is in our hearts (vss. 11-14). The result of turning to God will be "abundant prosperity". Please read carefully because this passage, along with a handful of others, can lead to "prosperity thinking" and eventually to a "prosperity gospel."
Psalm 25:1-10 - The answer to the reading in Deuteronomy is in this psalm. "Let me know again your ways, God. Teach me your truth. Love me with your steadfast love, forgive my sins, and remember me." All the ways (paths) of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness. Amen.
Colossians 1:1-14 - For the next four weeks we will be reading portions of Paul's letter to the Colossians. There is some dispute about whether Paul wrote this letter or if someone used his name and authority when writing (this was not unusual in the ancient world). Also, Paul did not start the church in Colossae or in nearby Laodicea. In these opening verses, Paul mentions that when he heard of their existence and ministry he began to pray for them. He prays for them to be filled with spiritual and understanding from God. In his prayers he also gives thanks to God for them.
Luke 10:25-37 - This is the passage where Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan and is unique to the Gospel of Luke. We all, I hope and pray, know the story. In fact the phrase "good Samaritan" has entered our vocabulary referring to someone who has done a good deed for another person, usually someone she/he doesn't know. Rather than retelling the story here are some questions for you to ponder. A lawyer challenges Jesus. What does he want to know (verse 25)? Jesus in turn asks him what questions (verse 26)? What does the lawyer answer (verse 27)? After Jesus told him to go, do that, and live, the lawyer asks him the question that leads to the parable. What was his question (verse 29). At the end of the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer one final question. What was it (verse 36)?
Have a great week serving God by serving your neighbors.
Peace in Christ,