[Beyond Sunday] And So We Give Thanks…

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.
Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

-Deuteronomy 8:7-18

Fortune makes us complacent.  As far back as ancient Israel, they understood that hardship fosters reliance and gratitude and that those attitudes are difficult to hang on to when times are good.  Yet gratitude is the thing that keeps us connected to God and our better selves.   [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect on your own life and community.

Texts to read:

  • Deuteronomy 6:10-11:32

Questions to ponder:

  • What is the virtue of self-sufficiency?
  •  What is the danger of self-sufficiency?
  • How can reliance on God and gratitude make us more attuned to the needs of others?

Do and share:

  • Take a picture of something for which you are grateful and share it to our Facebook or Twitter(@dpumc) with the tag #ongoingthanks
  • Start a “Gratitude Fund” in an envelope.  Every time you buy a Christmas gift for your family put at least 10% of the cost into the envelope.  The week of Christmas, use that money to bless someone in need.

 

[Beyond Sunday] Give Up “I’m Right”

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

-Philippians 2:1-11 (selected)

Living with other people will involve conflict.  But disagreements can be handled with grace if we remember we all have the same goal in mind and if we approach one another with humility.   [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect on your own life and community.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • Describe an issue of conflict you are experiencing right now?
  • Why do you hold your position? (Why are you right?)
  • Try to describe an opposing position of integrity.
  • What do you have to risk being wrong about to bridge the gap?

Do and share:

  • Find someone who disagrees with you on an important issue. Ask them “Can you tell me what you think about [issue] and why you think that way?”  Just listen; offer no comment or rebuttal.  Later, Try to write down their argument without editorializing.  What do you notice about yourself in those moments?   How could God be using this conflict to help you grow?