Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bible Challenge 10/19 - 10/25

Greetings All!

This week's reading has us finishing the Old Testament and heading back into the New Testament. We will finish up the book of Habakkuk and read through Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi before reading the first three chapters of Matthew's Gospel.

Here is more background information to help you in your readings.

ZEPHANIAH - The great-grandson of one of Judah's kings (Hezekiah), Zephaniah prophesied during the days of King Josiah in Judah and was one of Jeremiah's contemporaries. His book contains many warnings about the "day of the Lord," a judgment that will extend beyond Judah to other nations including Assyria. And Assyria did collapse in 625BC when Ninevah burned to the ground.

HAGGAI - Haggai was one of the prophets who ministered after the return of the people from exile to Jerusalem. Both chapters of this book urge the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the temple.

ZECHARIAH - Like Haggai, Zechariah ministered to the exiles after they returned to Jerusalem. His name means "Yahweh has remembered" and he was of the priestly line. The first six chapters deal mainly with the nation's past history told through a series of eight visions. Two years elapse between that and chapters 7-8 which deal with the question of whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be kept any longer.

MALACHI - The last of the books of the Old Testament, Malachi is named for a prophet. And the name means "My messenger or God's messenger." There is virtually no biographical information concerning the author in this book and very little historical information for placing it as well. We can infer that Malachi was a prophet in Jerusalem at some point after the return of the exiles and probably before Nehemiah. He speaks out against lax religious and social behavior of the Israelites, in particular the priests.

GOSPEL OF MATTHEW - Matthew is the first of the Gospels recorded in the New Testament and is also one of the three "synoptic Gospels" (meaning similar or together because they include some of the same stories in the same sequences and the same words - John is the exception). This Gospel is attributed to one of Jesus' disciples, Matthew the tax collector. And from the information and perspective he includes we can tell that he was writing to a primarily Jewish audience: he stresses Jewish law, he doesn't explain Jewish customs, and in the beginning of the Gospel he includes a genealogy which takes Jesus' ancestry all the way back to Father Abraham.

Here is the schedule:

19, Sunday: Habakkuk 2 - Zephaniah 2

20, Monday: Zephaniah 3; Haggai 1-2; Zechariah 1

21, Tuesday: Zechariah 2-5

22, Wednesday: Zechariah 6-9

23, Thursday: Zechariah 10-13

24, Friday: Zechariah 14 - Malachi 3

25, Saturday: Malachi 4 - Matthew 3

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.

 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Laity Sunday - A congregation is more than its pastor. It is more than any one member. A congregation, the Church, is a collection of God's grace filled people, working as one, to usher in the Kingdom of God here on earth. To mark the wonderful diversity that is our church family, we are celebrating Laity Sunday this week, October 19th. The laity will lead us in worship, pray for our concerns, and bring us the message. I encourage you to come and hear what God is doing through this church and through it members. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2. Bible Study and FAD Night - Our Bible Study and FAD (Faith and Discipleship) Night are both in full swing and we would love to have you be a part of this time of fellowship! Our Bible Study class, which meets on Thursdays at 10am and during FAD Night, is currently doing an immersion study with the Gospel of Luke. This class will run through October 23rd, it is never too late to join, and you are always welcome.

FAD Night is a time for us to share a simple meal together and then break off into our groups; children, youth, and adults. After that we come back together for a time of music and prayer. Please consider coming and being a part of both of these opportunities as we grow together in faith and fellowship.





3. Car Ride - We have a member of this congregation that is need of a ride to church on Sundays. She lives in the neighborhood east of Greenway Park, near Baseline Road. If you would be willing to offer her a ride once a month or so, please let me know so I can put you in touch with her. Thanks for your consideration!





4. Advent Challenge - We are at just about at the half way point of our challenge this year and we are just about half way to our goal of $5,000. This year the monies raised will be split between a local and global charity. Of our goal, $2,900 will go to our global charity, Stop Hunger Now, as we strive to host another meal packaging event to help those children around the world that are suffering from malnourishment. The other $2,100 will go to our local mission, a Church Has Left the Building event, scheduled for early 2015.

Please prayerfully consider how you might give, above and beyond your normal giving, to support this challenge so we may reach out and share the love of Christ with other people. If you want more information about this challenge, including updates for how much you have raised, please click here.





5. Charge Conference - Our Charge Conference this year will be on October 19th, at 6pm, at First UMC, Ocala. We will begin with a time of worship, transition into the business portion of the gathering and after the charge conference business, we will have a teaching and break-out discussion session. I want to invite and encourage you to come and be a part of this time of growth and vision planning for our church and our District. Once again, let us have a wonderful turnout of family members representing Druid Hills.





Bonus 5 - Tomorrow, Saturday, October 18th, from 9am-2pm our SOS (Sisters of Soul) group is having a yard sale here at the church. The proceeds will go to help benefit the homeless children here in our county. I want to encourage you to come and be a part of this time and see what treasures you many find. Thanks for the support!



Have a great weekend and I will see you soon!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bible Challenge 10/12 - 10/18

Greetings All!

This week's reading has us reading the books of Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum and reading the first chapter of Habakkuk.Below is a bit of information to help you in your readings.

JOEL - Joel was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah. This book deals with a lament over problems of plague and drought, the promise of future blessings and also a reminder of coming judgment. Part of the book of Joel is quoted by Peter in his sermon in Acts 2.

AMOS - This prophet was from the southern kingdom but his message was for the northern kingdom of Israel before their exile. The basic message of this book is that God puts his people on the same level as other nations - he expects purity of them all. Israel and Judah will not be exempt from judgment over their sins.

OBADIAH- Obadiah is said to have been a convert to Judaism, as originally he was from Edom (those descended from Esau). This makes him the perfect person to go back and prophesy against Edom for their arrogance and wickedness.

JONAH - Jonah and the whale right? But the best part of this story is that this prophet really understands the heart of God and wrestles with that. For he is reluctant to pronounce judgment because he knows God's heart of mercy and love and he doesn't want to see the Ninevites forgiven.

MICAH - The name of this prophet means "Who is like Yahweh?" and he hails from the southern kingdom of Judah. This book has three major divisions (1-2, 3-5, 6-7) and each alternates announcements of doom with expressions of hope. He reproaches unjust leaders, defends the rights of the poor against the rich and the powerful, and preaches social justice while looking forward to the time of the Messiah (the world of peace under a new king from the line of David).

NAHUM - Nahum means "comforter" and yet his book is not about comfort. This prophet followed Jonah in prophesying to Ninevah around the time of the invasion of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. Ninevah was the capital city of the Assyrian empire and this book deals with prophecies regarding its complete and final destruction.

HABAKKUK - Not much is known about Habakkuk. Because the final chapter of his book is a song or psalm, many scholars believe that he was from the tribe of Levi which served as musicians in Solomon's Temple. One of the interesting features of this book is the conversation between God and Habakkuk.

Here is the schedule:

12, Sunday: Joel 1 - Amos 1

13, Monday: Amos 2-5

14, Tuesday: Amos 6-9

15, Wednesday: Obadiah - Jonah 3

16, Thursday: Jonah 4 - Micah 3

17, Friday: Micah 4-7

18, Saturday: Nahum 1 - Habbakuk 1

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sermon Series - This Sunday we are continuing our preaching series entitled, The 11, based upon a book by Rev. Leonard Sweet. To live our life alone not only robs us of wonderful experiences and fellowship, it is almost impossible. We need to people to walk with us, support us, and absolutely love us along the way. We need others to help us be the best person we can be, the person God intends for us to be. For the next several weeks we are going to look at the types of people we need in our lives as a way of helping you identify who in your life fills those roles for you. It is sure to be an exciting time of discernment and maybe even a bit surprising. For a schedule you can click here. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2. Bible Study and FAD Night - Our Bible Study and FAD (Faith and Discipleship) Night are both in full swing and we would love to have you be a part of this time of fellowship! Our Bible Study class, which meets on Thursdays at 10am and during FAD Night, is currently doing an immersion study with the Gospel of Luke. This class will run through October 23rd, it is never too late to join, and you are always welcome. FAD Night is a time for us to share a simple meal together and then break off into our groups; children, youth, and adults. After that we come back together for a time of music and prayer. Please consider coming and being a part of both of these opportunities as we grow together in faith and fellowship.





3. Car Ride - We have a member of this congregation that is need of a ride to church on Sundays. She lives in the neighborhood east of Greenway Park, near Baseline Road. If you would be willing to offer her a ride once a month or so, please let me know so I can put you in touch with her. Thanks for your consideration!





4. Advent Challenge - We are at just about at the half way point of our challenge this year and we are just about half way to our goal of $5,000. This year the monies raised will be split between a local and global charity. Of our goal, $2,900 will go to our global charity, Stop Hunger Now, as we strive to host another meal packaging event to help those children around the world that are suffering from malnourishment. The other $2,100 will go to our local mission, a Church Has Left the Building event, scheduled for early 2015.

Please prayerfully consider how you might give, above and beyond your normal giving, to support this challenge so we may reach out and share the love of Christ with other people. If you want more information about this challenge, including updates for how much you have raised, please click here.





5. Charge Conference - Our Charge Conference this year will be on October 19th, at 6pm, at First UMC, Ocala. We will begin with a time of worship, transition into the business portion of the gathering and after the charge conference business, we will have a teaching and break-out discussion session. I want to invite and encourage you to come and be a part of this time of growth and vision planning for our church and our District. Once again, let us have a wonderful turnout of family members representing Druid Hills.






Bonus 5 - Saturday, October 18th, from 9am-2pm our SOS (Sisters of Soul) group is having a yard sale here at the church. The proceeds will go to help benefit the homeless children here in our county. I want to encourage you to come and be a part of this time and see what treasures you many find. Also, donations are still be accepted for this event. You can drop them off on Sundays or at the office, Monday-Friday from 9am-Noon. Thanks for the support!




Have a great weekend and I will see you soon!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Midweek Moment

This past Sunday when I got home from church, Davis greeted me with a question; “Baba, did you miss me at church?” I thought what a sweet question and placed my hands on his cheeks, gave him a kiss, and told him I missed him very much at church. His response was even better, “Thank you Baba, I missed you too.” What a wonderful way to be greeted by another person!

I have thought about that question over the last several days and it occurs to me Davis may not be the only one asking that question of each and every one of us. I wonder at times if God asks the same question of creation. How many people that do not know God, talk to God, or spend time with God have that question asked of them by God? I also wonder how many of us could help those same people answer that question asked of them by God.

People of strong faith, people with little faith, and all of us in between will have that question asked of us at some point. I do not know of any person that has not had their faith wane, even if just for a moment, at some point in their life. For some, they regain their faith quickly. But for others that little wane may just be the beginning of a long slide. That is where we come in. We are called to be those agents of hope, those friends of light, those vessels by which the power of the Holy Spirit can be make known.

It is our pleasure and privilege to be God’s representatives in this world to help the rest of creation come to know God or come back to God. I have shared in this space before, that I do not feel walking up to a stranger and asking if they know Jesus is always the best way to be that representative. I think witnessing within our current relationships can bear much more fruit for the Kingdom.

I want to encourage all of you, to be open to those opportunities of faith and encouragement in your daily life. When you see that opportunity, walk gently but go boldly. Go knowing your God goes with you and help another hear the question asked of them by God, “Do you miss me?”. That may be all the encouragement they need to answer yes, so they may hear those glorious words from God, “I missed you too!”

A reunion is a wonderful thing, but a reunion with God is a blessed thing. To help usher in those blessed moments in this life is a treasure you will never forget. It is a time when that veil between heaven and earth is thinned and we truly are in the presence of the One that loved us first.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bible Challenge 10/05 - 10/11

Greetings All!

This week's reading has us finishing up the book of Ezekiel and reading all the way through Daniel (the last of the major prophets). We will also read the first of the minor prophets, Hosea. Remember though the designation about major and minor has nothing to do with the substance of their message - and everything to do with the actual size of the book of the Bible.

The first two chapters of Daniel are the introduction to Daniel, his friends and their circumstances in exile. Daniel was one of the young men from Judah carried off to Babylon along with three of his friends. While there they were selected for leadership and given new names. We don't call Daniel by his foreign name (Belteshazzar), but we do call his friends by their exile names (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). The second section to this book (2:4-7:28) deals with the court tales of Daniel and his friends living among the Babylonians and the final section (8:1-12:13) contains Daniel's prophetic visions about Israel's future.

The book of Hosea is an interesting one. Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel before its fall. His ministry as a prophet is talked about in the context of his marriage to an unfaithful wife - a way of demonstrating the nation of Israel's unfaithfulness in their commitment to God.

Here is the schedule:

05, Sunday: Ezekiel 47 - Daniel 2

06, Monday: Daniel 3-6

07, Tuesday: Daniel 7-10

08, Wednesday: Daniel 11 - Hosea 2

09, Thursday: Hosea 3-6

10, Friday: Hosea 7-10

11, Saturday: Hosea 11-14

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.