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The Story - Exodus 1:1 - 2:22, TS pp. 43-47 Moses was a double exile - called from his native Hebrew culture and his adopted Egyptian culture, living in a foreign land, tending his father-in-law's sheep. No power, no money, no influence. Why would God choose Moses to confront Pharoah? When have you felt inadequate to respond to God's call? Does thinking of yourself as an instrument in the hands of the Master Artist (God) change your response?
Posted: September 28
The Story - Genesis 46:1-7; 49:29-33; 50:15-21; TS pp. 41-42 Jacob has joined his sons in Egypt. Before he dies he blessed each of them, though the blessings are sometimes a bit more like curses. When Jacob dies, the brothers are again afraid of what Joseph might do. They lie, telling him Jacob commanded him to forgive them. Joseph tells them not to worry. What they did for evil, God has worked out for good. It can be really hard, especially in the midst of suffering, to see God's hand at work for good. Some people try to make senses of evil by assuming that God authors evil for good purposes (there is always a reason/God always has a reason). There is another way to look at this. Evil happens. Sinful behavior happens. Even natural disasters happen in a broken world. None of these can stop God's overall plan of redemption. When evil things happen, how can you see God at work redeeming, comforting, healing?
Posted: September 24
The Story - Genesis 42:1 - 45:28, TS pp. 34-40 This is our longest reading of the week - but it is an engaging story. Joseph's brothers come to Egypt seeking food. They do not recognize Joseph, but he recognizes them. Joseph does not condemn them, but he does toy with them a bit. Finally he reveals himself to them. They are stunned, and mortified. What will Joseph do? Joseph welcomes them and takes care of them. How does it feel when you realize someone might have made your life more difficult but helped you instead? When have you felt this way about God? Does God's occasional delay in revealing how God is acting help you to see God better? Why might this be so?
Posted: September 23
The Story - Genesis 40:1 - 41:57, TS pp. 32-34 While in prison Joseph interprets the dreams of two of his fellow prisoners. His interpretations prove correct. The one prisoner who is freed forgets to advocate for Joseph until two years later when Pharoah has dreams his advisors cannot interpret. Joseph interprets correctly and is set over all the grain production and much else. He rises to great power when famine hits the whole region. God's timing is not our timing. Have you ever felt frustrated with God's timing? How do you use your time while waiting for God? How can God's patience (or slowness in acting) be to your advantage - and/or the advantage of others?
Posted: September 22
The Story - Genesis 39:1-23; TS pp. 31-32 Joseph is sold into slavery, to Potiphar, a powerful man in Egypt. Joseph does every thing right - and proves his wisdom and trustworthiness. Joseph is raised to a rank of authority in Potiphar's household. Then his master's wife takes a fancy to him, and when rejected accuses Joseph of stalking her. Joseph is thrown in prison. It is tough when you get falsely accused; even harder to be convicted of what you didn't do. You could feel abandoned by God. Joseph, however, turned to God for strength. How do you reach out to God when life is unjust? What kind of relationship with God are you developing so that you can hear God in times of trouble?
Posted: September 21
The Story - Genesis 37:12-36; TS pp. 29-31 Joseph's brothers let their jealousy get the best of them and sell their brother Joseph to traveling traders. Technically they didn't kill him, but they assume that, or slavery, will be his fate. Have you ever let jealousy or resentment rule your actions? (I certainly have) Did it have the intended results (removing the problem) or make things worse (Jacob's grief)? How might it make a difference if instead of acting on these impulses we set our concerns before God?
Posted: September 20
The Story - Genesis 37:1-11; TS pp. 26-27 Joseph is the favored son among 11 sons (Benjamin is born later to make 12 sons in all). He has a fancy coat to make sure everyone knows he is favorite. Then he dreams dreams - dreams of everyone bowing down to him. Some say it was in his innocence that Joseph shared these dreams with his family. I think it is more likely that it was his spiritual immaturity, and a bit of spoiled arrogance, that caused him to share. Sometimes we have trouble handling all the revelation which God gives with the humility which God desires. Have you ever experienced spiritual pride? How does spiritual pride affect your relationships with others?
Posted: September 19
CHURCH PICNIC tomorrow Sunday Sept. 18! Join us for the celebration of worship at 10:30 a.m. followed by our annual Church picnic! Members please bring a covered dish or dessert. Guests are always welcome!
Posted: September 17
The Story - Genesis 28:10 - 33:20, TS pp. 22-27 Jacob heads back home with his wives and children. He strategizes about how to approach Esau. He struggles with God. In the end a prosperous Esau welcomes him home. The brothers agree to live and let live. (By the way, did you know the Ishmael returned to help bury Abraham? But I digress). How do you prepare to meet with someone you have wronged, or who has wronged you? Have you ever ruled out forgiveness, only to find it coming in unexpected ways? How does the concept of forgiveness work when you are dealing with close friends or family? How does your approach to forgiveness of these reflect your understanding of God's forgiveness of you?
Posted: September 17
Church Picnic on Sunday! Join us for worship as we continue our journey through THE STORY, then stay for our Fall Picnic. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and drinks provided! Members, please bring a covered dish or dessert. Guests are always welcome!
Posted: September 16
What To Do
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