CBR Discussion for 05.28.12

Monday’s Readings: Leviticus 161 Chronicles 4, Jeremiah 40, Acts 11
Tuesday’s Readings: Leviticus 17, 1 Chronicles 5, Jeremiah 41, Acts 12
Wednesday’s Readings: Leviticus 18, 1 Chronicles 6, Jeremiah 42, Acts 13
Thursday’s Readings: Leviticus 19, 1 Chronicles 7, Jeremiah 43, Acts 14
Friday’s Readings: Leviticus 20, 1 Chronicles 8, Jeremiah 44, Acts 15

In honor of a friend’s request I’m going to try something different. I am going to give you over arching insights and questions across the week’s reading. As always, I would love your feedback.

Acts 11-15: The Affects of Following Jesus

This week in Acts, we focus on the out-working of Peter’s vision to eat what is against Hebrew tradition. People directly connected to Peter and Peter, himself, experience extreme suffering because they broke one little rule. At face value, it isn’t worth it. Just eat what the rule says.  But they are not bucking authority for the sake of breaking down authority. This work is a symbol of the inclusion of the Gentiles. Clean behavior does not equal salvation. Jesus equals salvation. He can save anyone. Even someone who eats a bird. The week crescendos with James and Peter fighting for the Gentiles to be included in the church with great success. Praise God for their work which directly impacts our inclusion in the church. Remember, we are Gentiles too. So, as you read is week, remember every stone and imprisonment directly affects your ability to be in the community of the church. Also, consider who you are called to advocate for as Peter, James, and others advocated for. Who are the people today that are too sinful or untouchable by the community of the church because of their self righteousness? What can you do in your position to promote inclusion of the modern day Gentiles? Think about the non Christians in your life. How can you love them this week?

Leviticus 16-20: The Measuring Stick

Moses goes through some high standards this week in Leviticus. At the end of chapter 20, he summarizes the 5 chapters quite clearly and says. You must be holy. Why? Because God is holy. Oddly enough these very rules are what incited the Jewish Christians in Acts to deep self righteousness. What rules to you see in Leviticus that are the very rules that are being confronted by the apostles? The rules are not bad. This would be a beautiful life. The real problem is our inability to achieve the life described by God through Moses. The other problem is that all these rules are rooted in an over arching rule: love your neighbor. As your read this week, how do you see yourself convicted by your sin? As you read this week, how do you see yourself focusing too much on rules and therefore disqualifying people from deserving your love? Praise God that He saves us from both of those sins.

1 Chronicles 4-8: Our Family Tree

In 1 Chronicles 4 and through the rest of the week, the reading focuses on long lists of names. The reading in this section at face value is quite boring. No real story or insights exist at first read. But, imagine if the reading was the geneology of your family and how you were connected to the great history of God’s kingdom. Now you are paying attention. Where do I fit in? Who am I connected to? This is what it was like to read this when it was first written. So, as you read this week consider how your life fits into God’s kingdom. Consider your family and who you are proud of and who you are ashamed to be connected to. What is God doing in both of those relationships?

Jeremiah 40-44:

Last week we finally saw Jerusalem fall at the hands of Babylon. This week Jeremiah tries to lead a defeated people back to the Lord and away from the temptation to become like their captors or like the people where they will go and exile.  So as a result, two things happen. First, the people fight against Babylon and die. Second, the people worship the idols of Egypt where they are in exile. We are just like The Hebrews. So as you read this week, consider how you don’t honor authority, regardless of their deserving it. Also consider how you are bent towards the habits and rituals of the world and how that cause you not to worship God.

Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 64, Psalm 65, Psalm 66

CBR Discussion for 05.21.12

Leviticus 11, 2 Kings 24, Jeremiah 35, Acts 6

Friendship: Food Fight

In Leviticus 11, God is setting the menu for Israel. God isn’t trying to be high maintenance. He is keeping them from danger physically. Though, I can imagine that people would only eat some of the things he forbid if they were desperately hungry.

Friendship Question: What is something crazy that you ate out of experimentation or desperation?

Faith: The blessing of obedience

In Jeremiah 35, the Rechabites have been given huge blessings for their obedience. We have not measured up to this level. We’ve never keep all the requirements of God for a single hour. Praise God for Jesus. Because of his obedience we get the benefit of his blessings!

Faith question: Share one way that you are personally grateful for the work of Jesus in your life where you get the blessing. Name an area of life that you have recently seen the the benefit of the gospel: marriage, parenting, friendships, work?

Focus: Bringing the Gospel

In Acts 6, the disciples assign 6 people to bring it: to intentionally and personally bring prayer and scripture into all parts of their life and community.

Focus Question: Think about your positions in the community, family, work, etc. What is one place you can bring prayer and scripture to one of those areas this week?

Tuesday’s Readings: Leviticus 12, 2 Kings 25, Jeremiah 36, Acts 7
Wednesday’s Readings: Leviticus 13, 1 Chronicles 1, Jeremiah 37, Acts 8
Thursday’s Readings: Leviticus 14, 1 Chronicles 2, Jeremiah 38, Acts 9
Friday’s Readings: Leviticus 15, 1 Chronicles 3, Jeremiah 39, Acts 10
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 61, Psalm 62, Psalm 63

CBR Discussion for 05.14.12

Leviticus 6, 2 Kings 19, Jeremiah 30, Acts 1

Friendship: The Huddle

We have entered Acts 1. Jesus has left his disciples, but has promised to be with them through the Holy Spirit. They are still nervous and huddle in the upper room where they pray and try to encourage one another.

Friendship Question: When is the last time in your life that an event caused you to huddle and pray with your friends. Who was there? How were you encouraged?

Repentance: A Strategy for Repentance

In Leviticus, Moses is given a great strategy for repentance. How to talk to God about it and how to talk to the offended person about it.

Repentance Question: What do you notice particularly that shows God’s character in how He is calling them to repent in Leviticus 7? Do you interact with your sin this way?

Faith: Faith for Battle

In 2 Kings, Hezekiah displays amazing faith in the face of opposition. His prayer is amazing. The goal? That all would know God.

Faith Question: Where in your life are you battling and this encourages you faith?

Focus: Outdoing Evil

In Jeremiah, God is promising to out do evil and restore the broken. This week’s memory verse is Romans 12:9-10:

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Focus Question: How can you outdo evil this week by loving and honoring? What is one small way you can do that?

Tuesday’s Readings: Leviticus 7, 2 Kings 20, Jeremiah 31, Acts 2
Wednesday’s Readings: Leviticus 8, 2 Kings 21, Jeremiah 32, Acts 3
Thursday’s Readings: Leviticus 9, 2 Kings 22, Jeremiah 33, Acts 4
Friday’s Readings: Leviticus 10, 2 Kings 23, Jeremiah 34, Acts 5
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 58, Psalm 59, Psalm 60

CBR Discussion for 05.07.12

Leviticus 1, 2 Kings 14, Jeremiah 25, Luke 20

Friendship: Snappy Comebacks

Today we are focusing on Luke 20. Jesus always seems to have the right things to say at the perfect moment. This chapter has at least 3 situations where Jesus just nails it. He has the perfect come back. No hesitation. There are those moments in life where you walk away from a conversation, disagreement, or general circumstance and say “I should have said that.” It happens to all of us.

Friendship Question: Think back to a time when you thought of the right things to say after a conversation or confrontation. What was it? What does that feel like?

Repentance: 2 Types of People

In Luke 20, there are two types of people. The teachable students of Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees were putting constant confrontations and traps in front of Jesus. They sat back and critiqued. As the saying goes, “It’s much easier to critique than create.”

Repentance Question: Think back to a recent time where you were critical of someone or some thing. What was it? Why were you critical? Where do you see your sin in it like the Pharisees? Cry out to God and ask Him to send His spirit and break the cycle.

Faith: 2 Types of People: the right ones

The first type are the faithful. Humble, teachable and hungry for more of Jesus. What a great disposition. What do they get as a result? The secrets to the kingdom. Amazing insights into Jesus’ work and identity and how to deal with Rome and their money.

Faith Question: What is the latest benefit you have experienced or gained as a result of studying and relating to Jesus in His word and scripture?

Focus/Mission: Avoiding Long Robes, Sweet Words, and Seats Of Honor

Jesus closes the debate with a stark warning. Don’t be like the Pharisees and wear long robes, flatter each other, and claim the good seats. The cost is clear: great condemnation. Not convinced? Hope over to Jeremiah 25 and 2 Kings 14 to be convinced. The goal? Giving yourself as a sacrifice. The best worship to God. Humble yourself and He will exalt you. Leviticus 1 is a great picture of sacrificial worship.

Focus Question: what is one way you can make a smaller deal about yourself and a bigger real about Jesus this week?

Tuesday’s Readings: Leviticus 2, 2 Kings 15, Jeremiah 26, Luke 21
Wednesday’s Readings: Leviticus 3, 2 Kings 16, Jeremiah 27, Luke 22
Thursday’s Readings: Leviticus 4, 2 Kings 17, Jeremiah 28, Luke 23
Friday’s Readings: Leviticus 5, 2 Kings 18, Jeremiah 29, Luke 24
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 55, Psalm 56, Psalm 57

CBR Discussion for 04.30.12

Exodus 36, 2 Kings 9, Jeremiah 20, Luke 15

Friendship: What are You Dreaming About?

It is great to dream big dreams about the things or relationships that can make your life easier and more fun. Big or small, this is the mother of innovation, invention, and success. The combination of dreams and the desperation of a situation. It’s a beautiful equation that causes people to break through and redeem God’s design.

Friendship Question: What is one of your favorite inventions? Finish these statements. If they would only invent a (fill in the blank)? If someone would only become more (fill in the blank)?

Repentance: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

The motives of the characters that are dreaming about a different life in today’s CBR are the same. Different than inventors, they are recklessly chasing a different life. In Luke 15, The prodigal son is saying that his way of life is better than his father’s. The sheep is saying that the grass he wants to eat is better than where the shepherd is leading it. In 2 Kings 9, Joram is saying that Jezebel’s care and wisdom is better than God’s. When we hope for something other than what God is currently giving us and that cause us to turn from God and to other answers that provide what we want, we are saying that those solutions are better than God. It is the classic thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side. We think that people have it better than us and we are a special case.

Repentance Question: Think back to a time recently where you thought, “if I only could solve this problem” or “if i was only able to have what someone else had.” How are you convicted in that thinking and want to repent?

Faith: The Fertilizer for the Grass on Our Side

Contentment is a tricky thing to grasp. To live in the tension of God’s will is perfect and the brokenness of a circumstance that you are begging to be changed. How do we react? Submission. Faithfully do your chores. Exodus 36 and Jeremiah 21 are perfect examples. The people building the tabernacle knew their role and submitted to it. Everyone couldn’t be Moses. They showed up faithfully with the skills and talents God gave them and gratitude for the work. Jeremiah is learning contentment in persecution. It’s a difficult position but he believes God has him there for a reason and he submits to God in it.

Faith Question: Where are you grateful for God’s blessing in your life in light of difficulties or ordinary work?

Focus/Mission: How can You Garden on Your Side?

It could be surprising that the Pharisees would call Jesus, the shepherd, the women looking for the lost coin, and the father in the prodigal son story the reckless ones. They are expending all their resources and capital to save one small lost item; a soul, a sheep, a coin, and a son. God has done that for us in the Gospel. He killed his favorite person for us. That is amazing love. Some would say reckless love.

Focus/Mission Question: What is one thing you can do this week to show this kind of radical love for someone in your life?

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 37, 2 Kings 10, Jeremiah 21, Luke 16
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 38, 2 Kings 11, Jeremiah 22, Luke 17
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 39, 2 Kings 12, Jeremiah 23, Luke 18
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 40, 2 Kings 13, Jeremiah 24, Luke 19
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 52, Psalm 53, Psalm 54

CBR Discussion for 04.23.12

Exodus 31, 2 Kings 4, Jeremiah 15, Luke 10

Friendship: The Buddy System

In Luke 10, Jesus is officially beginning to multiply His mission. He chooses the seventy-two and sends them out two by two. It would have been an amazingly exciting time. Imagine being sent out by Jesus with a buddy to go invite others into God’s kingdom. The atmosphere must have been electric. On top of that, they were sent out with nothing, no money, no food, no transportation, no clothes. It was like a Christ centered amazing race.

Friendship Question: Imagine you are given this opportunity to go out and play a Christ centered amazing race. Would you be excited or nervous? Who would you want to be paired with? What creature comforts would you miss the most? What would you most look forward to in the adventure?

Repentance: Success and Failure

2 Kings 4 and Jeremiah 15 are a deeper window into what it looked like for the seventy-two out in the field. 2 Kings 4 shows Elisha in a time of impressive success, but Jeremiah 15 shows Jeremiah trying to figure out why he is failing and lamenting over it.

Repentance Question: We all succeed and fail at some point and time in our life. How do you react when you succeed: do you brag, boast, or give God the Glory? What about when you fail: do you have a pity party, blame shift, get angry, quit, or truly lament and seek God for guidance? What are you tendencies? Ask God to change your heart.

Faith: Seeing God Work

Continuing in Luke 10, The Seventy-two come back to Jesus buzzing with storiesof where God has worked through them and for others. They saw things that very few people in all of humanity see, the power of God in action. Even Jesus states the rarity of this in vs.24. Just like the seventy-two,God is working in and through you right now. Here is the problem. It isn’t as obvious. Sometimes it even looks like failure as we see in Jeremiah 15. To grow our faith we must grow the skill of seeing how God works and to do that we must learn how He works.

Faith Question: Take a moment to reflect on your past week, where did you see God work through you to encourage and love those around you? What does that do to you faith?

Focus/Mission: Who are you being sent out to serve?

It’s the million dollar question, where can I draw the line? When can I take a break and not love? In Luke 10, a lawyer asks that very question after Jesus confirms the goal of life as love of God and love of neighbor. The lawyer then asks, “who is really my neighbor?” You can almost read the lawyer’s motives likes book. The lawyer is obviously asking we’re do I draw the line? Jesus takes a grenade launcher and destroys the line with one story, the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is a masterful story. The Samaritans were the black listed of society: dirty and untrustworthy. He not only tells the lawyer that they are to be loved as a neighbor but that they are capable of loving as a neighbor better than a lawyer. It is a game changer. It blows through our self righteousness and judgement. Jesus literally equalizes the playing field.

Focus/Mission Question: Think about how you go out and love like those seventy-two. Who do you quickly disqualify as someone to love as a neighbor? Who do you quickly disqualify as someone that you never receive love and help from? It could be a specific person or a type of person. What is one thing you can do this week to allow Jesus to work through you to love or receive love from that person better?

 

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 32, 2 Kings 5, Jeremiah 16, Luke 11
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 33, 2 Kings 6, Jeremiah 17, Luke 12
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 34, 2 Kings 7, Jeremiah 18, Luke 13
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 35, 2 Kings 8, Jeremiah 19, Luke 14
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 49, Psalm 50, Psalm 51

CBR Discussion for 04.16.12

Exodus 26, 1 Kings 21, Jeremiah 10, Luke 5

Friendship: The Nesting Phase

In Exodus 26, God is actively building His nation. He has His people and now He is setting up how they will live. In this chapter, He is literally and  figuratively setting up His living room in the tabernacle.  In adulthood, we have all had this experience. Whether it was your first apartment, first house, or first kid, we have all “nested.”  We have all set up how we will live and what it will look like.

Friendship Question: Name a time recently where you, your spouse, your roommate, or a family member has hit a nesting phase. What was it like? What were you/they worried about creating? How intent were you/they to get it done?

Repentance: The Decorations of Life

Jeremiah 10 is another home and garden experience, but in a much different light. The House of Israel has been decorated by God’s people but God is not impressed with the motif. The Isrealites are following the fads of the nations around them. They have adorned their homes and the temple with the images of idols made with wood, metals, silver, and gold. God is calling them out on their foolishness. What’s worse is that they aren’t just using it as decoration, the ornaments are beginning to define what they do and how they live. What a mess!!

Repentance Question: What are the “ornaments” in your life that distract you from following and worshipping Jesus? Ex. Money, people, entertainment, success, pleasure, etc. Why is it so distracting and attractive and how is it a lie?

Faith: The Call of Discipleship

Luke 5 gives us great hope and faith. Jesus is calling us away from the world. In the disciples’ case, Jesus is calling them from the work of fishing to the work of the gospel. It seems like a scary calling: away for the security of a job and to the great frontier of Christ’s work. Jesus shows them a different expectation. Jesus show the disciples that He isn’t just the master of souls but fish and all other things too. The disciples failed at fishing that day and Jesus succeeded and won them a huge abundance of fish. We see the unknown and unseen of the Christian life as a scary consideration. In reality, we care being called to cling to the one that is the King of all and can meet our every need. He is calling us to follow Him not the “ornaments” of our life.

Faith Question: How does God deliver so much more at that the “ornaments” that we’re attracted to above? What is God calling you to instead?

Focus/Mission: A Case Study in “Ornament” Killing

1 Kings 21 is a perfect case study of this work. Ahab is going through this exact process. He is attracted to earthly ornaments, God convicts him through his friend, Elijah, and Ahab repents beautifully. Elijah causes Ahab to think about the future implications of his actions. What will happen to the idol? What will happen to Ahab and all those under Ahab’s care? It is a frightening scenario that makes Ahab so upset that he tears his clothes.

Focus/Mission Question: What does true repentance look like for you as you run from the ornaments of you life and to Jesus? Is God calling you to be Elijah to a friend? What can you do to lead that friend to repentance as Elijah did for Ahab?

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 27, 1 Kings 22, Jeremiah 11, Luke 6
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 28, 2 Kings 1, Jeremiah 12, Luke 7
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 29, 2 Kings 2, Jeremiah 13, Luke 8
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 30, 2 Kings 3, Jeremiah 14, Luke 9
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 46, Psalm 47, Psalm 48