Checkout the bible readings for this week.
One of the ways we can all participate in the Church Renewal Lab on an ongoing basis is through reading one chapter of the Bible each day, five days out of seven, and pondering a question intended to help us think through what we’ve just read and how it applies both to our life together and our life as part of our broader neighborhoods and community. Imagine what God might do through us as we ponder and pray together! With that in mind, here are the readings and questions for the week of Aprl 15-22, 2018
Read: Ephesians 4:20-24
Questions to ponder: What has it meant for you personally to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self”? Where have you seen progress in your walk with God? Where do you feel you still have a long way to go?
Read: Ephesians 4:20-24
Read: Refusing to clean up his back yard has landed George Hartsuff in jail. He can’t say he wasn’t warned. Officials in his Maryland town have been asking him to clean up the mess since 2000; court action to force compliance began in 2002. Hartsuff was given 30 days to remove old boats, crab pots, vending machines and other junk that littered his yard. When he failed to complete the work, he was sentenced to 60 days behind bars. Though Hartsuff and his lawyer insist they’re doing their best (they’ve already removed four 30-yard dumpsters full of junk), city officials had had enough. “This cycle will keep going until the property is cleaned up…[and] brought into compliance,” says county spokesperson Tracie Reynolds.*
Question to ponder: What “junk” still needs to be removed so that your life is “brought into compliance” with “the truth that is in Jesus” (v 21)?
Read: Ephesians 4:25
Question to ponder: The Heidelberg Catechism (Q/A 112) says that “falsehood” includes not only outright lying, but also giving false testimony against anyone, twisting words, gossip, slander, and condemning anyone rashly or without a hearing. Instead, we are called to “love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.” Where are the places in your life where you need to do better at speaking truthfully?
Read: Ephesians 4:26-27
Questions to ponder: How does out-of-control anger “give the devil a foothold” in our lives? What benefits or blessings would come to us if we made a commitment to never “let the sun go down while [we] are still angry? What example would that give to our classmates, coworkers or neighbors?
Read: Ephesians 4:28
Read: “Anyone offered large quantities [of chocolate] via unconventional channels should report it to the police immediately.” That’s a real statement given by police in Germany last year, after a truck’s refrigerated trailer, filled with more than 20 tons of Nutella, chocolate candy and more—was stolen. According to The Two-Way on NPR, “Police believe the confections [that were] stolen are worth close to $80,000.” To make matters worse, on the same weekend that the trailer full of chocolate vanished, another trailer—this one packed with 30 tons of fruit juice—also disappeared.**
Question to ponder: We may laugh or smile at a story like this, or wonder what someone is going to do with 20 tons of chocolate, but stealing is stealing, whether it’s $8 or $80,000. Maybe we wouldn’t do such a thing, but how far might we go to justify our desires or follow our cravings? And by the way, Proverbs 20:17 tells us that “food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel”!