Grow • pray • study

"Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise." - Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Taking time to pray and meditate on the Scriptures daily is vital to spiritual health! The Grow • Pray • Study (GPS) guide is one way to stay in Scripture and follow along with the weekly messages.

Grow • Pray • Study Guide

12/2/19 - 12/14/19, Christ UMC

MON 12/2/19: Isaiah 11:1-10, When the King Comes

What do we expect from God? In this reading we get an idea of what Israel expected: a good king -- following God, having integrity, and judging well. But something surprising comes along with this king. Not only will Israel be at peace, but all of creation will be at peace. Animals who hunt each other will lay down together; children will be safe around snakes; and the knowledge of the Lord will in everything like water is in the ocean. As Christians, we believe this peace has come in Christ, but it is still coming also. Think how Christ is calling us to bring peace. 

TUE 12/3/19: Luke 24:1-12, Women at the tomb

The good news of Jesus’ resurrection was first given to the women. This fact adds to the validity of the story. If this story was fictional, certainly the author, for the time and context, would have had men receive and report the news of Jesus’ resurrection. Not only does it add to the validity, but it also affirms women in the life of Jesus and the early ministry of the church. Christianity, from it’s earliest moments, was breaking boundaries for women and other marginalized people. How have women been influential in your faith?

WED 12/4/19: Psalm 80, Listen, O Shepherd of Israel

Here is the cry out for salvation, for the Shepherd of Israel to come and save them. Notice the remembering of faith. Notice how the psalmist recalls God’s rescuing in Egypt, and now they look forward to God’s coming salvation. While this psalm could be seen as a complaint, it is a request rooted in faith, and God welcomes it. 

THU 12/5/19: Jonah 1:1-17, Asleep during the storm

Our journey through the Minor Prophets take us to a familiar story! Jonah is avoiding God’s call and gets on a boat. They get caught in a storm, but Jonah is asleep. Open up Mark 4:35-41, and you’ll see a similar scene. Only this time it is Jesus who is asleep. In Jonah, the crew “sacrifice” Jonah to calm the storm. In Mark, Jesus calms the storm himself. What do you think Mark is trying to tell us about Jesus, as he tells this story with obvious Jonah allusions?  

FRI 12/6/19: James 4:1-12, Sit down; be humble

What does humility look like in the Christian community? When we criticize one another, grumble, or complain, we do so out of pride. We do so because we often think we know what is good and right. Humility reminds us that we might be wrong, and that we need each other to come closer to God’s truth, and to grow in grace and love. What do you hear in this Scripture that is speaking to you today?

SAT 12/7/19: Matthew 3:1-12, A Preview of Light

This Advent season, we are expecting God to do something amazing in our lives and our world. With hope, we wait for God. Throughout Scripture, God tends to send a “forerunner” before God does something big. Like an appetizer for an amazing meal, or a preview for an incredible show. John the Baptist is that preview of Jesus. What does John’s message indicate about Jesus? Join us in worship as we continue expecting great things from God! 

MON 12/9/19: Luke 3:7-20, Whoever has two coats

John the Baptist challenged the whole religious order of his day. When the crowd asked, “How should we live?” notice the emphasis on generosity and justice. Look closer and see that tax collectors and Roman soldiers are included in John’s movement. How do you hear this message today? How is God calling you to live? 

TUE 12/10/19: Luke 24:13-35, The travelers to Emmaus

On the day of resurrection, there are two disciples (probably a couple) walking home dismayed by the death of Jesus. Jesus then appears next to them as a fellow traveler. When they arrive home, Jesus reveals himself as they break bread together. What do you make of this revelation? How does Jesus reveal himself to people today? How does Jesus reveal himself to you?

WED 12/11/19: Luke 1:46-55, Mary’s outlawed song 

Do we see the revolutionary nature of Mary’s song? Different governments through history certainly have! The public reading of this song that Mary sings, traditionally called the Magnificat, has been banned in British-ruled India, Guatemala, and Argentina at different times in history. As you read it today, ask why people in power would see this as dangerous? Now, what are the implications of this song for us and our lives?

THU 12/12/19: Jonah 2:1-10, Sunken down to hell

The second chapter of Jonah is his prayer while in the belly of the fish. The major theme of Jonah’s prayer is God’s deliverance. God delivers people from the darkest pits! It’s interesting that this is Jonah’s proclamation while he is in the darkest of pits. I doubt any of us have been swallowed by whales, but are there moments in your life when you’ve felt in the pit? Know that God hears your prayers and delivers!

FRI 12/13/19: James 5:1-20, Warning and call to prayer

James is considered the Wisdom literature of the New Testament. The book concludes with several comments on a few topics: the exploitation of laborers, patience in suffering, being truth-tellers, praying for healing, and caring for people who wander from the faith. These comments are timeless. As you read, how can we apply these wisdom sayings in our lives today, personally, in the church community, in our world?

SAT 12/14/19: Mat. 11:2-11, Should We Wait for Another?

The text this week takes us into Jesus’ life and the moment when John the Baptist asks, “Are you really the one?” What are the people hoping for? What do they want Jesus to be? Join us in worship as we look at who Jesus comes to be, with us and for us. You matter to God.