Friday, December 22, 2017

Advent 2017 - Fourth Sunday

December 24th is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent in 2017.
The Annunciation. Doré.
Engraving from La Grande Bible de Tours (1866)

These are the readings for this week:
  • 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
  • Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

The study guide is here. Our celebration prayer from the guide is this:

Ever faithful God,
through prophets and angels,
you promised to raise up a holy child
who would establish a household of peace and justice.
Open our hearts to receive your Son,
that we may open our doors
to welcome all people as sisters and brothers,
and establish your household in our time. Amen.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Advent 2017 - First Sunday

December 3rd is the first Sunday of Advent in 2017.

These are the readings for this week:
  • Isaiah 64:1–9
  • Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:3–9
  • Mark 13:24–37
The study guide is here. It starts like this:

Prepare. Advent is the season to anticipate the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. During the week, use this guide as your preparation — both for daily personal study and reflection, and as preparation for the Sunday gathering. The elements in this guide include: the Sunday readings; space to respond to the readings; questions about the readings; activities for group sharing; and a program for the Advent celebration during the Sunday gathering.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Philemon and OIA

We're taking advantage of our three-week study of Philemon to add to the tools in our Bible study toolkit. We're going to be using a variation of the inductive study method (so-called) presented by Peter Krol in his book, "Knowable Word". The method is straightforward in its approach and very accessible to anyone wanting to learn to study on their own.

The acronym, OIA, stands for three steps in your study:

Observation - what does it say?
Interpretation - what does it mean?
Application - how should I change?

These could also be defined as "what", "why", and "so what"; or as "what the original author said", "what that meant to the original audience", and "what it means in our context".

While I generally organize my study a little differently than Peter Krol has presented it, I think we'll benefit from trying this out.

You can purchase the book, but Peter has kindly provide a summary guide that you can use as a reference. We handed out a few in class today, but you can print it from here.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Some New Testament Prayers

This is the first post for the new Sunday Community study on the Disciples' Prayer. Posts for this study will be available sometime during the week for the following Sunday and may contain supplemental information for the study that isn't in the study guide. And sometimes they may just be placeholders where you can post comments.

This week, as part of the study you were asked to look for a prayer from the New Testament and compare it to the Disciples' Prayer. Here are some possible passages you could choose.

  • Acts 7:59-60
  • Ephesians 3:14-21
  • Colossians 1:9-12
  • Ephesians 1:15-23
  • Philippians 1:3-11
  • Jude 1:24-25
As is true of every post, you are welcome to post a comment for me or for other members of the Sunday Community.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I'm sitting at my computer this morning, and the sound of the rain is heavy on the metal roofs that cover the cars in the parking lot outside my window. "Lotta rain. A whole lotta rain." For a moment, the sound is pounding down on my perspective as hard as the rain on the roofs.

As the tribes of Israel prepared to cross the Jordan into Palestine, Moses preached the Law to them. In a passage on loving and obeying the Lord your God, he delivered these words: "For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year." (Deuteronomy 11:10-12 ESV)

I try to imagine how the Old Testament might read if the Willamette Valley was the promised land. For those who came west in the 1800s it was the promised land. Would the images of soil, trees, rivers, mountains, and sea have been the dominant ones? Would it have been a land flowing with fish and farmland? Would sunshine have been the asked for blessing? Or would rain have remained high on the list of God's blessings?

Sitting here at the computer, where the rain this morning feels more nuisance than anything else, I need a promised land perspective. My life is like the land that God cares for. His eyes are always upon it. I need to drink the water from heaven.

That's the perspective I need. With so much that I am thankful for on this day, I can add the sound of the rain to my thanksgivings. And relish the soaking it portends.

- Thanksgiving 2016.