All of you who are thirsty, come to the water!
Whoever has no money, come, buy food and eat!
Without money, at no cost, buy wine and milk!
Why spend money for what isn’t food,
and your earnings for what doesn’t satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is good;
enjoy the richest of feasts.
Listen and come to me;
listen, and you will live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful loyalty to David.
Look, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a prince and commander of peoples.
Look, you will call a nation you don’t know,
a nation you don’t know will run to you
because of the Lord your God,
the holy one of Israel, who has glorified you.
Seek the Lord when he can still be found;
call him while he is yet near.
Let the wicked abandon their ways
and the sinful their schemes.
Let them return to the Lord so that he may have mercy on them,
to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness.
My plans aren’t your plans,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my plans than your plans.
Just as the rain and the snow come down from the sky
and don’t return there without watering the earth,
making it conceive and yield plants
and providing seed to the sower and food to the eater,
so is my word that comes from my mouth;
it does not return to me empty.
Instead, it does what I want,
and accomplishes what I intend.
Yes, you will go out with celebration,
and you will be brought back in peace.
Even the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you;
all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
In place of the thorn the cypress will grow;
in place of the nettle the myrtle will grow.
This will attest to the Lord’s stature,
an enduring reminder that won’t be removed.
This week’s theme: Simplifying ____________________.
The basics: If you don’t __________ then you get __________.
Looking in the right place: __________ comes from __________.
The result: What does God intend? ____________________.
- Introduction: How is it with your spirit?
- Application: How have you experienced the scripture/practices of the past week? Have they prompted any thoughts/questions in you?
- Scripture: What might it mean that God offers food and drink “at no cost” (v.1)? What might be the food and drink that God offers?
- Scripture: What might the food that “isn’t food … [and] doesn’t satisfy” (v.2) be for us? Where do we look for fulfillment in life?
- Scripture: What might it mean that God’s words “does not return empty” (v.11)? How have we been changed by God’s words?
- Application: How would you characterize a “simplified mind”? Do you know anyone who exemplifies this? What are they like?
- Application: How do you allow space in life to hear God speak? Is there anything you’d like to try to create more space for listening?
Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
that you don’t already know completely.
You surround me—front and back.
You put your hand on me.
That kind of knowledge is too much for me;
it’s so high above me that I can’t reach it.
Where could I go to get away from your spirit?
Where could I go to escape your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would be there.
If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!
If I could fly on the wings of dawn,
stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—
even there your hand would guide me;
even there your strong hand would hold me tight!
If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me;
the light will become night around me,”
even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you!
Nighttime would shine bright as day,
because darkness is the same as light to you!
You are the one who created my innermost parts;
you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put together in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,
before any one of them had yet happened.
God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
Their total number is countless!
If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand!
If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you.
At first glance: __________ is __________.
Natural Response: We focus on __________ and __________.
Remember this: God _______________ us and _______________ us.
- Introduction: How is it with your spirit?
- Application: What have you learned about yourself from the spiritual practices of the past week?
- Scripture: How does being fully examined by God make you feel? Does it incline you to give thanks, flee, or both? Why?
- Scripture: What might it mean to be “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v.14)? Do you often live as though this were true?
- Application: Are you challenged or comforted when encouraged to love yourself as God loves you? What might it mean to love ourselves as God loves us?
- Application: How might we allow ourselves to live as who God knows us to be instead of the image we want others to see? How might we allow others to do to the same when they’re with us?
As he was teaching, he said, “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets. They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets.
They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.”
Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”
Common Understanding: Be like the widow and ______________________________.
John Wesley’s Money Management Principle: _______ all you can, _______ all you can, and _______ all you can.
Reinterpretation: Don’t be a ____________ to money.
- Introduction: How is it with your spirit?
- Application: Have you participated in any of the practices so far? Which suggested activity caused the strongest reaction, positive or negative, within you? Why might that be?
- Application: What is your personal relationship with money? How does it feel to devote a week of practices to examining it?
- Scripture: How did the reinterpretation of the widow’s story sit with you? Do you feel it loses anything important? Does it enrich the story for you?
- Application: Do you consider Wesley’s money management principle helpful? Why or why not?
- Application: Do you see yourself adopting any of these practices on an ongoing basis? Why or why not?
Deuteronomy 18:17-22 (March 3, 2019)
21 Now, you might be wondering, How will we know which word God hasn’t spoken? 22 Here’s the answer: The prophet who speaks in the Lord’s name and the thing doesn’t happen or come about—that’s the word the Lord hasn’t spoken. That prophet spoke arrogantly. Don’t be afraid of him.
Psalm 67 (February 17, 2019)
67 Let God grant us grace and bless us;
let God make his face shine on us, Selah
2 so that your way becomes known on earth,
so that your salvation becomes known among all the nations.3 Let the people thank you, God!
Let all the people thank you!
4 Let the people celebrate
and shout with joy
because you judge the nations fairly
and guide all nations on the earth. Selah
5 Let the people thank you, God!
Let all the people thank you!
6 The earth has yielded its harvest.
God blesses us—our God blesses us!
7 Let God continue to bless us;
let the far ends of the earth honor him.
Psalm 44 (February 10, 2019)
9 But now you’ve rejected and humiliated us.
17 All this has come upon us,
23 Wake up! Why are you sleeping, Lord?
The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven,
whose sin is covered over, is truly happy!
2 The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty—
in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—
that one is truly happy!
3 When I kept quiet, my bones wore out;
I was groaning all day long—
every day, every night!—
4 because your hand was heavy upon me.
My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. Selah
5 So I admitted my sin to you;
I didn’t conceal my guilt.
“I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said.
Then you removed the guilt of my sin. Selah
6 That’s why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times,
so that a great flood of water won’t reach them.
7 You are my secret hideout!
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of rescue! Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you
about the direction you should go.
I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.
9 Don’t be like some senseless horse or mule,
whose movement must be controlled
with a bit and a bridle.
Don’t be anything like that!
10 The pain of the wicked is severe,
but faithful love surrounds the one who trusts the Lord.
11 You who are righteous, rejoice in the Lord and be glad!
All you whose hearts are right, sing out in joy!
|Mark 2:18-22 (January 27, 2019)|
18 John’s disciples and the Pharisees had a habit of fasting. Some people asked Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but yours don’t?”19 Jesus said, “The wedding guests can’t fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they can’t fast. 20 But the days will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.21 “No one sews a piece of new, unshrunk cloth on old clothes; otherwise, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and makes a worse tear. 22 No one pours new wine into old leather wineskins; otherwise, the wine would burst the wineskins and the wine would be lost and the wineskins destroyed. But new wine is for new wineskins.”
John 2:1-11 (January 20, 2019)
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.” 4 Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.” 5 His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold about twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,” and they did. 9 The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. The headwaiter called the groom 10 and said, “Everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second-rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You kept the good wine until now.” 11 This was the first miraculous sign that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
|Luke 3:15-22 (January 13, 2019)|
15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” 18 With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people. 19 But Herod the ruler had been criticized harshly by John because of Herodias, Herod’s brother’s wife, and because of all the evil he had done. 20 He added this to the list of his evil deeds: he locked John up in prison. 21 When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit came down on him in bodily form like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”