Check out 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 June 10 - June 16, 2018
Read: Colossians 2:6-15
Question to ponder: How can we continue to live our lives in Christ Jesus, and how can we help others do the same?
Read: Colossians 2:6-7
Questions to ponder: What does “living in Christ” (v 6) entail (see also 1:10-12)? What does the phrase “rooted and built up” imply?
Read: Colossians 2:6-7
Consider: William Barclay, the late Scottish Bible scholar, once said that "a saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God,” and author William Woodfin wrote that “the proof of Christianity is not a book but a life. The power of Christianity is not a creed but…Christian character; and wherever you see a life that has been transformed by the grace of God, you see a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.”*
Questions to ponder: Do you agree with Barclay and Woodfin—if so, why? If not, why not? How might these quotations help us understand vv 6-7?
Read: Colossians 2:8-12
Questions to ponder: What does Paul mean by “the basic principles of this world” (v 8, see also v 20ff) and the “powers and authorities” (v 10, see also v 15)? Where do we see these things active in our world today? How has Christ given us complete victory over these things?
Read: Colossians 2:13-15
Consider: Several years ago, a controversial billboard appeared in downtown Chicago—in big letters it said: “Are you good without God? Millions are.” The message was put there by an organization called the Chicago Coalition of Reason, whose coordinator said that “the billboard aims to hearten humanists, atheists, and agnostics….” The question on the billboard begs for an answer: Can a person who rejects God’s very existence, let alone His authority, do good? Well, of course! They can be honest and kind, pay their taxes, give money to the poor.
But from a Christian point of view, that misses the point. It makes
me think of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz—remember him? The Tin Man’s quest was to find a heart. When he finally came face-to-face with the Wizard, the Wizard warned the Tin Man that hearts can be broken. The Tin man replied, “But I still want one.” And do you remember what the Wizard said next? “Back where I come from,” he said, “there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called…good-deed-doers. And their hearts are no bigger than yours, but they have one thing you haven’t got.”
God would say something similar to the “good without God”
billboard people. He would say, “When Christians do good deeds properly, their hearts are no bigger than yours. But they have one thing you haven’t got. That one thing is found in Colossians 2:13: “…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins….”**
Questions to ponder: What concrete, tangible differences does being “alive with Christ” and forgiven make in your life? How can we convey this to our near neighbors?