Monday, November 28, 2011

Live Free or Die

Read Galatians 5:13-15

From what fears are we freed when we are freed from the law?

What are the twin enemies of freedom? (It may be helpful to remember Ryan’s wording: losing our freedom via ___________ and abusing our freedom via ______________.)

How does Paul portray our freedom as a gift? Who is the primary actor in this process? How did Ryan describe the story of God’s people from cover to cover of the Bible?

According to Paul, do we have to keep the law? Why ought we to?

How is our freedom in Christ a “burden”? Hint: It may help to think through the paradox that Ryan gave us regarding self-control.

What is the primary focus of the burden? What is our freedom to be used for, in these verses? What is “responsible use” of Christian freedom?

What does our culture consider the best use of our freedom? What would the result of this use of freedom be—what sort of people might it turn us into, according to the text?

What is the shame of Christians using their freedom for themselves—what sort of people does it turn us into? What is the tragedy of Christians using freedom for themselves—what does it exchange true freedom for?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24 - December 1

Readings can be accessed in full by clicking on the links below:   
Nov 24: Gal 1-3
Nov 25: Gal 4-6
Nov 26: Acts 17-18:18
Nov 27: 1/2Thess
Nov 28: Acts 18:19-19:41
Nov 29: 1Cor 1-4
Nov 30: 1Cor 5-8
Dec 1: 1Cor 9-11

Monday, November 21, 2011

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Please read Galatians 5:2-12.

Reflect and share with each other: where does your life feel like a race?

Copy and paste the following if you’d like to hear a live version of the song that inspired the title of the sermon: How is this a picture of Christian life?

Ryan suggested that often the places we run to when we run away from God are places we feel we are doing great. What is the motivation behind going to these places? What do we think they will accomplish for us?

When/if we do run from God, what reasons or motivations does Paul give for coming back?

If the Galatians turn to circumcision, what else do they have to do? Why?

Copy and paste the following to see a video of the subway ad Ryan referred to in the sermon: What significance did Ryan draw from this image? What does it mean for the Christian life?

The good news, Ryan said, is that our standing before God depends not on ourselves. This leads to _____ hope, as opposed to  ______________hope.

What does it mean, then, as Paul says, to eagerly wait? How do we sometimes lose sight of what is our highest vocation? Why?

Return to the opening reflection on running a race. Paul uses this imagery too. Why does he use it? What are the connotations and associations of running that Paul is drawing on? (Leisure, competition, exhaustion, drive, etc.?) How can we use this notion of running a race as we pursue our primary vocation? How does it change the way we view our vocation(s)?

Ryan said that we often schew one of two ways when we consider our vocation: What are those two ways, and how do these two camps often pursue each other?
How does turning to the cross remind us how we are to run this race? What motivation does it supply?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Freedom Fighting

Please read Galatians 4:21-5:1.

What did it mean for the Galatians to have either Sarah or Hagar as their mother? What would be the implications of either of those?

Eric said that for those with Sarah as mother were free and could rest in the promise of God’s work. What about those with Hagar as mother?

Paul quotes Isaiah in this week’s passage. Who is the “barren woman” he addresses? How is the prophecy being fulfilled among the Galatians?

Like practicing a musical instrument over and over, for hours and hours so we can play by feel or intuition, where do we as Christians go, what do we do, to “preach the gospel to ourselves”?

Who were trying to strip the Galatians of their freedom and how? How might your freedom in Christ be threatened today?

Eric suggested we could discover those hidden things that our hearts would try to add to Christ by filling in the following blank: “The only good Christian is a ______________ Christian.” For example, the Judaizers would have put “circumcised” in the blank. What are you tempted to say, or have said in the past?

November 17 - 24

Readings can be accessed in full by clicking on the links below:   
Nov 17: Acts 4-6
Nov 18: Acts 7-8
Nov 19: Acts 9-10
Nov 20: Acts 11-12
Nov 21: Acts 13-14
Nov 22: James
Nov 23: Acts 15-16
Nov 24: Gal 1-3

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adoption, Gal. 3:26-4:10

Does God want you? Does he begrudge having you in his church? Do your heart and head sometimes disagree in response to this question? Why?

What does baptism stand for in verse 27? What does it have to do with the statement in v. 28? How do we now see one another?

Given your answers above, why is diversity valuable in the church?

For a largely homogeneous congregation, where does its oneness come from? What about a highly diverse one?

What do you inherit as one of Abraham’s heirs? (It may help to consider how it may have been originally understood: the land of Canaan, the nation of Israel, and a relationship with God)

What does this phrase from the Puritans means: “Living below our privileges.” Explain it, with reference to the passage and sermon.

What is meant by the term “basic principles”? (Other translations, “elementary principles”) What was Ryan referring to when he talked about being a 35-year-old in kindergarten?

What does it mean to live as a slave? What about as a son/daughter?

Finally, consider this thought from J.I. Packer: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child.”  Share your response to this quote: How much have you previously made of being called God’s child? What factor has it played in your own conception of your identity? How will you respond to and act upon this knowledge? What difference, if any, will it make in your personal life, or family, or church life? How will you keep yourself in this truth?