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March 13th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

Seeing Across the Table

Worship Lyrics

Text

Luke 24:13-35 (NET)

Introduction

“Have you ever wanted to slug an old woman? Someone who looks a lot like your grandma? I’m not proud of it, but I have. But please, let me explain. The whole situation with what’s going on in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine has my thoughts returning to our time there in the nineties. One of the toughest things for me to get used to was how rough and “rude” I perceived people to be on the street, moving through the subways and on buses. People who cut in front of you, shoulder their way past without so much as an “excuse me” and go through a door letting it swing behind them even though they obviously knew you were following closely. It was this last thing that almost pushed me over the edge. After a long day of navigating the capitol city of Minsk, I was following a babushka into a subway station and in a brief minute of distraction didn’t see that she’d let the heavy glass door swing back behind her. I narrowly avoided a broken nose by catching it at the last second. She must have heard my expletives as she glanced over her shoulder a gave me a look that said, “sorry, not sorry”. Experiences like this were more the norm that the exception for me while there and I never got used to it. 

But here’s the thing, once you got invited into a Belarussian’s home, everything changed. Once you sat around the table and in the cramped living rooms, Belarussian hospitality was on full display. The level of joyful sacrifice strangers would go to to serve us, make us comfortable, fill us with food stood in such stark contrast to everything we experienced on the streets. 

This week we wrap up our study of tables with the story of two disciples trying to understand their experiences with Jesus as they walk along the road to Emmaus. It’s not until they get around the table though, that things become clear. Let’s dig in and see what we can find this week. 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team 
 

The Big Idea: 

Revelation comes in the breaking of the bread.

Take Away: 

It’s not enough to just to know, or even to see, but we must imitate Jesus to know Jesus.

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

At Grace Church, showing hospitality, the act of inviting someone to belong, is an essential element of our individual and collective coming to clearly understand who Jesus is. We practice this as part of our own becoming more like Jesus. This in turn forms and is formed by what we confess to believe.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • As you think about the two disciples walking and talking before Jesus showed up, how do you think they were feeling?

  • Think of time you may have had a similar experience of disorientation or disappointment. What changed from that experience?

  • Describe a time in your life when you thought you understood something, but then later had an experience that radically deepened or expanded your understanding.

  • When you think about your apprenticeship to Jesus, where to do put great emphasis on, studying about Jesus or serving others as a way of knowing?

 

Resources

A great article (and art) about who was with Cleopas

 

What's Next?

We start an in depth look at the Gospel of Mark.

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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March 20th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

Pickled

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 1:1-13 (NET)

Introduction

We have a running joke in my family about pickles. You see I really love all kinds of pickled things, pickled peppers, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, ginger, red onions, all of it. I love kimchi and repollo and sauerkraut. There’s just one pickled thing I really cannot stand, and thats pickled cucumbers, what most people just called “pickles’. So if anyone asks if I like pickles, lots of clarification follows and my family makes fun of me for it. But pickles and pickled things aren’t just good to eat (most of them anyway), but also have a deep theological import. Let’s dig in this week and you’ll see what I mean. 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team 
 

The Big Idea: 

Baptisms are a serious thing.

Take Away: 

Our baptisms, both with water and with the Spirit, are often the signal that significant change is about to happen.

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

Being welcomed to belong is not the same thing as never being challenged to change. Instead it provides the necessary community for all good and true transformations to happen. This is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus. The language of our faith is also being transformed as we experience the movement of God the Holy Spirit in us, among us and through us. 

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • What was your baptism like?

  • What other “baptism experiences have you had?

  • What are your thoughts about baptism being immediately followed by being “forced in the wilderness”?

  • Where in your life do you need a new baptism? 

 

What's Next?

Shannon leads us though Mark 1:14-28

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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March 27th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

What is This?

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 1:14-28 (NET)

Introduction

History, and most Disney movies, tells us that Kings and Queens come to power through war, manipulation, marriages, or zealotry. These royals surround themselves with all powerful armies, unimaginable wealth, and politics to ensure their reign. But what do we know about Jesus and his reign? We know that Jesus supersedes the culture of his day, turning commonly held beliefs and tradition about reigns upside down. Let’s dig in this week to see how Mark accounts for Jesus’s continued subversion.

Grace and Peace,

Shannon and the teaching team
 

The Big Idea: 

The Christian Gospel isn’t just good news, it’s a revolution and declaration to those in power.

Take Away: 

Jesus has an agenda with his gospel: to declare that the Kingdom of God is here, a new reign that is for everyone.

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

Regardless of our beliefs, the Kingdom of God has come through Jesus. A new reign unlike any human ruler we have seen before or is to come. A King who welcomes us to belong just as we are, with no minimum qualifications or requirements. Ever.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • How have you traditionally understood the word ‘gospel’?

  • In what ways does your view on the word ‘gospel’ change knowing it was a Greek word/common Gentile practice proclaimed by rulers?

  • While traditionally used in the ruling context, what personal gospels do you see in our present day culture, including in yourself?

 

What's Next?

John leads us through Mark 1:29-2:12

Contact Grace Church NWA here