At-Home Study:  Week 4

These workbook pages can be printed if you prefer a hard copy.

SUNDAY, FOURTH WEEK

Jesus said:  No one puts new wine into old wineskins (Mark 2:22).

READ MARK 2:18-22

The new life of the kingdom of God that Jesus wants us to have is alive and dynamic and growing.  It is a life that shapes interaction between a people who are spiritually alive and a living God.

Something that vital cannot adequately be contained within brittle old forms of piety or stale ways of life.

If our relationship with God is alive, it will push us to discover new and exciting ways of expressing our faith and living it out.

A growing faith will require a changing life.

Where is the growing edge of your faith?

How can that take shape in your life?

 

Where is the growing edge of your life?

What part does your faith play?

 

Where do you know you need to be growing?

 

How will you become intentional about your growth?

 

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Prayer:  Lord, I know that I am a child of yours now, and I am excited about learning what I can become.  Amen.

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MONDAY, FOURTH WEEK

 

First John said:  Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed

(1 John 3:2).

READ 1 JOHN 3:1-3

 

Being a follower of Jesus means that we should be intentionally trying to become more and more like Jesus.

 

That is an adventure in faith, because we cannot know where it will lead us.

 

Some spiritual growth happens accidentally and spontaneously, as we live in relationship with God.  We must be sensitive and responsive to what God is doing in our lives.

 

There are some disciplines of “spiritual formation” that we can use to keep us sensitive and responsive, and growing intentionally.

 

What will you do to be on a growing edge in your interaction with God?

 

Here are some possibilities:

______ Attend worship weekly

______ Join a Sunday school class

______ Meet weekly with a prayer and sharing group

______ Have a daily family or personal devotional time

______ Go on a weekend spiritual-growth retreat

______ Undertake an intensive Bible study course

______ Other plans ____________________________________________________________________

 

Prayer:  Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.  Amen

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TUESDAY, FOURTH WEEK

 

Jesus said:  The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed . . . it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches (Matt. 13:31a-32).

 

READ MATTHEW 13:31-32

 

Here is another parable that describes the kingdom of God as something alive and growing.

 

Would you like for your

church to be alive and growing?

 

Would you like for your church

to be reaching out to more people?

Would you like for your church to

be enlarging its ministries to

meet more human needs?

 

What is your vision for the future of your church?

 

Dream a while, and list some things you would like for your church to be doing that it is not doing now.

 

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Are you willing to commit yourself to helping your church to grow in those ways? _______

 

Are you willing for your church to change so that this growth can happen? _______

 

Do you need to increase the amount of financial and personal support you promised to give your church in the Third Week, so that it can do more? _______

 

What will be your new plan for giving? _______

 

What will be your new plan for serving? _______

 

Prayer:  Lord, is your church waiting for me to rise up and make her great?  Help me to do it, Lord.  Amen.

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WEDNESDAY,FOURTH WEEK

 

Jesus said:  The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.

READ MATTHEW 13:33

 

It is the purpose of our faith to change our lives.

 

It is the purpose of the church to change the world.

 

Christians are called to mix with the world around them and change it, as yeast changes dough.

 

The work that Christians do together in the church is a very important way of serving God.

 

But the work Christians do as they live day by day in the world can serve God, too:

  • By living a life in business and community that is shaped by the Christian faith, thus redeeming our part of the world.

  • By influencing others to live by the highest standards they know.

  • By witnessing through word and example to people who need a faith.

 

Or we may undertake to serve God’s purpose in some special way beyond the program of the church.

 

How will you serve as leaven to change the world?

 

                                          

How can you serve God in your everyday situation? __________________________________________________________

                                            

 Is there some special mission you will undertake beyond your church program? ___________________________

 

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Is there something your church could do to help you find your ministry in the world, or to support you in it?

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Prayer:  Lord, help me to serve you always and everywhere.  Amen.

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THURSDAY, FOURTH WEEK

 

Jesus said:  Just as you did it to one of the least of these . . . you did it to me (Matt. 25:40).

READ MATTHEW 25:31-46

 

The new life of the kingdom of God

is a life in which we live by

trusting God and serving God.

 

But how can we do anything that really serves God?

 

What we do for any person whom God loves, we do for God.

 

Christ calls us to serve through the needs of our neighbors.

 

One of the best ways to live in growing interaction with God is to live in sensitivity and responsiveness to the human needs around us.

     Our world is full of injustices and hurtful conditions

     that stifle the life and well-being of some of God’s

     children.  Christians should work to change that.

          There are people you know who are poor or lonely

          or hurting from the injuries of life.

          you can reach out to them in love.

               Some of those who need your love may not be poor

               or conspicuously needy---but they may be hurting

                for a caring relationship.

You will not have to look far to find them.

 

Being responsive is not easy.

     It can disturb your sleep.

          It can make demands upon you.

               Besides, it is not always easy to know

                how to make a loving response.  It may not

                always be best just to give what is asked for.

 

But we do not want to fail to answer Christ’s call.  Living in loving responsiveness can become a fulfilling adventure in faith.

 

To which of God’s people will you reach out in love?

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Prayer:  Lord, help me to hear you calling through the needs of my neighbors, and guide me as I try to respond.  Amen.

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FRIDAY, FOURTH WEEK

 

Jesus said:  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37, 39b).

 

Trust and love are the two most important shapers of the Christian life.

 

If we learn to live by trusting God’s love, we will be set free to live our lives in love.

 

Love is a basic commitment of life to life.

 

To love God is to love life.

     To love God is to love yourself.

 

          To love God is to love your neighbors.

               To love God is to love all the people of the earth.

                    To love God is to love the world we live in.

 

When we love God with our whole being, other loves do not compete with one another.  They are parts of one all inclusive love.

 

But what is Love?  Our world has some funny ideas about that.

 

To learn how to love, learn how God loves us.

     God accepts us as we are.

          God affirms our value as persons.

     God wants what is best for us.

          God expects good things from us.

God respects our freedom to decide.

     God forgives us when we make wrong decisions.

God becomes involved in our lives

in costly ways to help us make life good.

     God rejoices with us in the goodness of life.

 

Learn more about God, and you will learn more about love.

 

Love keeps us moving toward new horizons in life.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 13, and think about it.

 

Prayer:  Lord, teach me to love.  Amen.

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SATURDAY, FOURTH WEEK

 

Jesus said:  The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found . . . then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matt. 13:44).

READ MATTHEW 13:44-45

 

We started this series of devotional exercises by saying that we were searching for something better, for a freer, happier, more meaningful life.  Where will we find that better life?

 

We will find that better life where we least expect it.

 

The fellow in today’s parable probably went out into the field to plow, not to look for treasure.  But he found the treasure there.

 

In the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12), Jesus said that blessedness---real happiness---is to be found in the very places where most people least expect it.

 

Jesus said that those who lose their life in the service of Christ and of the gospel will truly find their life and save it.

 

The life that is truly something better slips up on us and surprises us, while we are looking the other way.

 

People who are preoccupied with making their own life better may miss the better life.

 

But if we learn to live:

     Trusting God’s love,

          Loving all that God loves,

               And serving the purposes of God,

We eventually will discover that the very best of lives has materialized around us.

 

Something better is there for you, right where you are.

 

Prayer:  Thank you, God, for putting fullness of life within my reach.  Amen.

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MY COVENANT TO GIVE

In grateful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to me, I plan to give $________________ (per week, month, year) to do the work of God through my church.

Check here if your pledge represents a tithe: _______________

 

Check here if you plan to step up toward tithing: ____________

 

                                                                        Name _______________________________________________

                            

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MY COVENANT TO SERVE

Count on me to commit the following amount of time to serving God through the church:  ____________

 

I am good at:  __________________________________________________________________________

 

I would like to try:  ______________________________________________________________________

 

I would like to serve on the _____________________________________________________Committee.

 

Call on me to serve in one or more of the following ways:

___________________________ ______________________________  ___________________________

 

___________________________  ______________________________  ___________________________
 

I would like to talk with someone about how I can serve. _______________________________________

 

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MY COVENANT TO GROW

I would like to do the following things to be on the growing edge of my faith: ______________________

 

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I would like for my church to enable me or support me in my ministry in the world in the following ways:

 

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                                                                        Name _______________________________________________

 

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MY COVENANT TO PARTICIPATE

I would like for my church to enlarge its ministries in the following ways: __________________________

 

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                                                                        Name _______________________________________________

 

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ABOUT OUR CHURCH

Port Huron First

United Methodist Church

  • PHFUMC Facebook

828 Lapeer Avenue

Port Huron, MI 48060

(810) 985-8107

phfumc@gmail.com

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