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OUT (with neighbors)
Coming Next: Meeting and Caroling next week. Meeting at 5pm with brief meal and discussion. Caroling from 6-8. Afterparty at Arby's.
- Flyer prep
Door hangers after the meeting today
- Online service (1 of 6 team members)
- Calendar Items
- Prayer for neighbors
Gratefulness and Generosity (see GIVE below)
UP (with God)
Call to Worship
Songs (go to lyrics page)
Message (Brick) & Response (Rock) (see below for Notes)
IN (with each other)
Sync to the Calendar
More sync options on our calendar page.
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more on our reading plan: My Daily Muse
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our weekly practices
CARVE OUT TIME TO HEAR THE HOLY SPIRIT
coming Jan 2015
Commit to at least one hour per week of listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Some may choose to take a prayer walk or a once-per-week time of solitude and listening to God. Others may segment their hour into daily increments of ten minutes per day for six days of the week. The point is to have a specific time of just listening in silence, not speaking or asking for anything, just letting the Lord speak to you. What is He asking you to do? Who is He putting on your heart? Take note or journal what you hear, verify with scripture and those in church community with you, and immediately put His words into practice.
READ A CHAPTER A DAY FROM THE BIBLE
introduced Fall 2013
Pay special attention to learn more about Jesus, his ways and means. Ask God to speak to you as you read, and do what He says. Discuss what you read with others. Write what you are doing and learning in a journal. Sometime we read sections of a book together. Invest in your personal and family growth by reading and attending things will help you grow into who God created you to be. Sign up for the daily reading at http://mydailymuse.org.
#GARDEN #LAB #UP
introduced Summer 2014
Eat 2 meals each week with others. 1 with someone IN your faith community, 1 with somone OUT who, as far as you know, is not a Christ-follower from the places you live, work, or play. Practice generous hospitality and invite people into your life. Around the table, gospel things happen. Your IN meal is a great place for a Huddle conversation, where you share about your life, what God has been saying to you, and what you've been doing about it.
#GARDEN #LAB #IN #OUT
ACT AS A MISSIONARY
coming Feb 2015
Act as a missionary every day. God has sent you. As a faith community, we are a collective of missionaries. We want to stay mindful of opportunities to engage in mission on our day-to-day journey. To do this keep a daily journal of how you have worked with Jesus during the day. Ask yourself how you responded to his promptings and if there were any instances or opportunities where you resisted Jesus during the day.
#LAUNCHPAD #LAB #OUT
TELL YOUR STORY
Tell your story to someone this week. Listen to others' stories. Be humble and vulnerable. Telling your story doesn't mean to tell your whole life story, rather it means to tell the truth about who you are, and use words to share things about your life that will help people see the work of Jesus in your life. The listening side of this is the drawing out of other people's stories. Ask great questions. Listen intently. Don't "one up." Pray for others, and tell them you are praying for them Be present in your relationships and conversations, and be aware that God is already at work in your lives and desires to help you go one step forward into your story.
#LAUNCHPAD #LAB #OUT
EXTEND A BLESSING
You are blessed to be a blessing, so give something that would be received as good news to 2 people each week – for 1 person in your Christian community and to someone who is not following Jesus from where your live, work, or play. Blessings can range from a simple encouragement to a small gift or gesture. Recommended is finding a something to do with someone that would be a blessing. Use great discernment and transparency with your loved ones when extending blessings to someone of the opposite sex.
#LAUNCHPAD #LAB #IN #OUT
Some people don’t trust politicians all that much, because we believe that many politicians will do anything to win. But even the most cynical or skeptical of us wouldn’t predict that a politician would do anything to win a marathon. That’s what a Mexican presidential candidate named Roberto Madrazo did. Roberto’s Industrial Revolutionary Party had a reputation for using fraud and breaking campaign-spending laws to win elections, but apparently Roberto crossed those tactics over to running.
He won the over-55 category in the 2007 Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:41:12, crossing the finish line while grinning and pumping his fist. But it was a little strange, however, that he crossed the finish line wearing a windbreaker, a hat, and long, skintight running pants – far more clothing than most runners in the marathon. That caused race officials to check the information from the tracking chip Roberto wore, and when they did, they realized that it said he had covered nine miles in just 21 minutes, which would have been half of the world-record time for that distance. He obviously took a shortcut to try to win.
Mexicans who had observed Roberto’s political career weren’t surprised. “If he’s a cheat at one thing, he’ll cheat at anything,” a Mexican cabdriver said.
(Citation: “Mexican politician DQ’d from Berlin Marathon for taking shortcut,” Associated Press via espn.com, 10-9-2007)
Connecting the illustration
We all know what it’s like to be cheated. Maybe a vending machine took your money without giving you a drink. Maybe you bought a car that turned out to be a lemon.
But even worse than being cheated is being cheated on. When a spouse or a boyfriend or a girlfriend cheats on you, it’s a heart-wrenching thing. You feel betrayed, used, and worthless. You want revenge, and at the same time you want to crawl in a hole and die. It’s devastating.
If you’ve ever watched the TV show Cheaters, you have experienced the effects this kind of betrayal have on people.
These feelings are what Joseph must have had to battle in the situation we find in today’s story, because his fiancée looked like a cheater. But Joseph chose to break the rules of law and follow God instead of divorcing his suddenly pregnant bride-to-be (betrothal commitment engagement, didn't sleep with each other), and in doing so he provided a picture of how Jesus breaks the rules of law to show us what the spirit of the rules really is.
SPLIT UP INTO GROUPS of 3-5 people
Break the ice into a delicious blended drink
- Say your names and quickly share how many speeding tickets you have received.
- Pick a Discussion Mover (DM) for today. This person's job is to (1) be vulnerable (2) keep discussion moving (3) make the "do it" section as impactful as possible. You can nominate a DM, spin something to choose someone at random, or ask the group if you can volunteer.
- DM: Ask right now what the group's expectations are for this discussion. Is this a place where we can be honest with each other? Do we want Jesus to speak to us? Are we willing to follow Him? Pray for God to speak with you and guide you.
TAKE TURNS READING the following SECTIONS AND ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS
In the our discussion of Rulebreaker last week, we saw how an angel came to Mary to tell her that she was going to give birth to the Son of God. While the gospel of Luke focuses on Mary’s perspective, Matthew looks at this story from the view of Joseph, who was engaged to marry Mary.
As we consider this story, we need to understand what the laws of Joseph and Mary’s day said. In that day, a betrothed husband like Joseph could divorce his wife-to-be if she committed adultery. In fact, not only could a husband do this – the law actually required him to do so.
Even more, the husband had financial incentive to do this publicly, because by doing so, he would get back the expensive dowry he had paid for the right to marry his wife. So the fact that Joseph had decided to divorce Mary quietly early in this passage indicates that he was willing to break the rules of law and forgo financial gain in order to lessen her shame.
But God had an even more rule-breaking idea in mind for Joseph.
Read Matthew 1:18-25
- How difficult do you think it was for Joseph to do what the angel commanded? What consequences for his actions do you think he faced?
When people saw Mary pregnant, they would have had one of two thoughts. Either Joseph and Mary had slept together before their wedding day, or Mary had been sleeping around on Joseph. Either way, the scandal would have made her unacceptable in society. Joseph knew he wasn’t the father, so he was left to believe the second option. So while Mary’s parents sent her away to an aunt’s house — possibly to avoid as much scandal as possible — Joseph decided to take care of things quietly.
We see in this decision the kind of person that Joseph was. He was hurt, but he didn’t want to lash out in revenge and disgrace Mary. He didn’t want to shame her publicly just so he could recover his pride and his money. Instead, he just wanted to turn this painful page in his life so that maybe someday he (and Mary) could move on.
But while Joseph was trying to find a way out, God stepped in and told Joseph to break the rules of law and stick to his marriage plans. As a result, instead of following the law by divorcing Mary, Joseph demonstrated a scandalous love for Mary by believing an unbelievable story and marrying her anyway.
The scandalous love that Joseph showed for a rumored cheater like Mary is the same scandalous love that we see demonstrated throughout Jesus’ life.
- Unacceptable exiles found love and grace and purpose when they encountered Jesus.
- Jesus often challenged the laws, both secular and religious, to show the spirit of love behind the rules.
Let’s figure out why Jesus did this and why it’s important.
Read from today's My Daily Muse chapters Matthew 15:1-20
The United States is a country that’s obsessed with rights. We have a Bill of Rights that ensures us freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the right to bear arms, and many other freedoms. And those of us who live in the USA love to assert these rights.
But sometimes, having the right to do something doesn’t make it right.
In this story, Joseph had a lot of rights. He had the right to divorce Mary, and to do it with great fanfare so he could protect his own honor and get the expensive dowry refunded. But Joseph sensed that asserting his rights wasn’t the right thing to do. Even though it cost him money and reputation and much more.
We are not people who focus on doing what we can do. We do not test every limit of every possibility before us. Instead, those of us who follow Christ are people who focus on doing what we should do. After all, rightness is not a fruit of the spirit — goodness is. We live out the goodness that God has put in us by imitating Jesus and considering others above ourselves.
By marrying Mary, Joseph became a part of the scandal. He saved her from scorn and financial hardship, even though it meant he too had to take on the consequences for a supposed sin. This is an incredible foreshadowing of how Jesus enters into our sin, takes on the consequences that should be ours, and offers us salvation. Joseph (and Jesus) could have gotten out of the scandal, but instead he chose to do what’s right and enter into the scandal on Mary’s (and our) behalf, even though he had not sinned. (Of course, Mary had not sinned either, but it certainly looked to the world as if she had.)
Jesus steps into our scandal, breaks the rules of law, and gives us life instead of the death we deserve. He who knew no sin became sin so that we can become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Christmas story points us to the truth that salvation is here and available for us. So let us follow Joseph’s example and break the rules of Law to do what’s right because Christmas reminds us of what’s really right.
- What is the difference between having rights and claiming rights?
- Under what conditions would you lay down your rights?
- What rights did Jesus give up in order to save us?
- What rights do we cling to that might keep us from following Christ?
- Do you know someone made a decision to follow Christ even though that decision didn't match up with the pursuit of these rights?
- What does the Matthew passage tell us about the difference between rules and what’s really right?
We will learn more about why Jesus broke the law when we read the book "The End of Religion" in January.
let' DO IT
1) IN: WITH EACH OTHER
- One of our practices is "extending a blessing" to another person. How is giving a blessing a denial of one's rights? Think of someone to bless this week. Don't tell anyone, but you may want to write it down. Let the DM know when you have decided something to do this week. Do it as soon as possible so you don't forget.
2) OUT: With neighbors
BREAKING THE LAWS OF CULTURE
In 2009 prison guard Kenneth Moon, age 64, was alone at his station when a 24-year-old inmate attacked him. The inmate put Deputy Moon in a chokehold and pulled tight. That’s when a bunch of other inmates stepped in. Several inmates began fighting to free the deputy by pulling the attacker off of him. Then one of the inmates actually picked up the guard’s radio to call for backup. The inmates held the attacker down until other guards came, and one of them helped the deputy back to his feet. A prison official said these inmates “saved the deputy’s life.” (Citation: “Inmates come to guard’s aid in jail attack,” aol.com, 10-4-2009)
Reflect for moment about who in your life needs help right now. Share and what kind of help he/she needs.
Plan to "step into the scandal" and break the cycle of law to show this person that salvation is here. Take a moment to pray for this person (The DM can decide how to do this prayer time).
3) UP: WITH GOD
Let's take time to repent of the ways that we’ve asserted our own rights and done what we could do instead of what we should do.
Each person take a piece of paper and write a way you have focused or insisted on your own rights on it. To show our desire to follow God's right ways instead of our rights, we will throw these pieces of paper in a trash can. Someone pray that we don't insist on our rights at the expense of what’s really right anymore.
Coming March 2015
The world is changing fast. Are you equipped to make a Jesus-like impact in your world? Go on a 3-month mission trip quitting your job, leaving your neighborhood, or hanging up your hobbies. This is a chance to invest time in the lab of learning and start to launch out in love with your neighbors.
A full 9-month mission trip starts September 2015.