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Sunday/Monday

Check out this week's Faithlens.  You can find it here:
Really interesting (and hard) intro questions on consumerism and statistics about how much we Americans use...and don't use.    Yikes!  Surprised
  

Watch the video DUST by Rob Bell

Dust  Discussion Questions:

  1. Why are the “small and unnoticed” things such a big deal?
  2. Have you ever thought about Jesus as your rabbi? Would you consider yourself a disciple?
  3. Have you ever thought about your faith as being an interpretation? Is it okay to have different interpretations of the Scriptures?
  4. What message was Jesus sending us by not choosing the best of the best?
  5. What impact are Christians today having on the course of human history?
  6. How big of a role do your insecurities play in your life? Do they ever affect your faith?
  7. Do you believe that God believes in you?
  8. What does it mean to be like Jesus? Can you do it?
  9. Additional revelations or thoughts?
Wednesday

Scripture Verse: 

17And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for

people."  18And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  Mark 1:17-18;

  • What do you think this passage is saying? How does it speak to you?


Read the entire scripture passage Mark 1:14-20

  • Additional observations?
  • This passage  is one that we have read several times, with us often identifying with the disciples. Who wouldn’t follow Jesus when he is standing right in front of you?  Think about the disciples, their livelihood, their lives, and the fact that they just saw Jesus for the first time. Would it be difficult for you to follow like they did? Why?
  • God opened the disciples’ hearts to who Jesus is. Still, even as we know Jesus is our Savior, it is hard to follow as it requires giving up our own control to trust Jesus completely with our lives, knowing he will provide for us, he will guide us, even when another path is easier or more appealing. Think about a time that you were faced with choosing between following Jesus and going along with the crowd? What happened?   How did you feel about it afterward?  
  • What do you think “fish for people” means? How can we do this today? Are there  ways to do this without initially saying a word? How? 
  • When sharing our faith, can our actions contradict our words when we “fish for people”? How? When the disciples dropped their nets to follow, they did it with their actions rather than their words. What does this mean for us?
Thursday

Old Testament Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5;10

  • Read the scripture verses. What are your thoughts, reactions?
  • When we read this particular passage, it sounds like Jonah was like the disciples: God spoke and immediately he followed. To some extent that is true, God spoke and Jonah did do as God asked, but there is a much deeper context at play in this story. In chapters 1 and 2 of Jonah, it tells how God asked Jonah to go tell the people of Nineveh to repent, and Jonah defied God, ran the other way and was swallowed by a fish only to be spit out 3 days later. Then he obeyed and did what God asked.
  • What is often overlooked is Jonah’s motives for running away. He was not afraid, he was not feeling insecure, he refused to do what God wanted him to because he didn’t like the people of Nineveh! He knew God would be merciful, and he did not want him to! Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. Assyria had been a feared enemy of the people of Israel, defeating the northern kingdom of Israel and forcing many of its people to leave their homes, so when God called Jonah to deliver the message to the hated Assyrians in Nineveh, Jonah wanted no part of it! (Lutheran study bible p. 1496) He wanted God to punish them! Jonah questioned God and wanted his own will to be done and not God’s. Ultimately after his “time out” in the fish, Jonah followed.
  • Have you ever felt this same way? Is it hard to help those you dislike? Your enemies?   Do you struggle with thinking you know better than God?  
  • What about as a society~do we sometimes want to punish those who hurt others? Do we want mercy for them?
  • Jonah’s prophecy in verse 4 is the shortest in the bible. Why do you think it may have been so short? Did Jonah want them to listen? Jonah obeyed God, but he certainly didn’t put any extra effort in, yet God used Jonah’s efforts to turn the hearts of the people of Nineveh. What might this show us?  [When God asks us to follow and calls us to a task, we are merely the tool, how it is received and the outcome is not within our control—that is God’s.]
  • What are some ways you might identify with Jonah’s actions? [i.e. Wanting to do our own thing instead of what God wants, Wanting to be in control,  wanting God to “punish” those who hurt us (and not forgive).  Jonah was human, and we can see many of our own actions and reactions in his—both the positive and negative. God was patient and merciful with Jonah and he is with us too!
Friday

Reflection in Our Own Lives:

  • Reflecting back on the two stories read this week, how are they similar? [God does the work; God calls, and each must respond; both Jonah and the disciples were obedient; the world was changed because they all responded to the call.
  • How were the two stories different? [Disciples responded without hesitation (immediately); Jonah tried to control the situation first and then responded; the disciples responded without question, Jonah responded, but was not happy about it.]
  • What do these two stories teach us about obedience?
  • Jonah’s story teaches us about loving all and God’s mercy for all people, not just those we feel deserve it. 
  • Who might the people of Nineveh be to us in today’s world? Have you ever felt yourself wishing for the harm of another who hurt you, your friends, or your family?   Be honest!
  • This story points to Jesus’ command to “love  your neighbor” even when they do not love us. Is this sometimes difficult? Thoughts?
  • In reality, we too need to drop our nets and follow, trusting that God loves us and will take care of us. As Jonah points out, as we are human, this is not always easy. God loves us and wants us to be obedient, so we can share in the fullness of life with him.