Entries by Crossroads Presbyterian Church

Sustenance Despite Sin – Mark 2:23-28


“David and Ahimelech” by James Tissot

Read Mark 2:23-28

What do you most remember from the sermon?

How does Jesus use the story of David and the bread of the Presence (1 Samuel 21:1-6) to argue for the kingdom of God being established despite human disregard for God’s holiness?

Why is that such an important thing to keep in mind?

How can things go wrong if we think that the kingdom of God is sustained by our Christian practices rather than Christ’s person?

How can things go right for a local church when they realize that sustenance for the kingdom is provided despite sin?

Tim said that for the Pharisees the Sabbath had become Lord, rather than Jesus. Have practices and habits of the Christian life become Lord of any churches you have gone to or individuals that you’ve known?

What is beautiful about a person who relates to Jesus Christ as Lord rather than to prayer, Bible Study, attendance to Sunday worship, etc. as Lord?

Mark 2:1-12 – Jesus God-Identifies as Lord

mosaic Jesus heals paralyticRead Mark 2:1-12

What motivated Jesus to respond to the paralytic’s plight was his friend’s faith (2:5). Why do you suppose their faith made such a difference?

In order to get a sense for what it means to put your faith or trust in somebody share a time when someone has put their faith in you. What was it like? How did it make you feel? How about a time when you have put your faith in someone else? Describe what that was like. What adjectives come to mind (ex. exhilarating, scary, etc.)?

Read James 2:14-26

How do the paralytic and his friends display the kind of faith that James is speaking about here?

“Saving faith,” writes Douglas Moo, “reveals itself in works.” That is, if we truly trust Jesus for the forgiveness of all our sins (past, present and future) on the basis of his death then our lives will reveal that faith by how we live.

How do we see this in our relationships with other people or things? When we trust them how does that naturally impact how we live? Give an example.

Read Mark 2:13-17

What about Jesus from these two stories intrigues you about him? Is there anything in these two stories that leads you to look up to him?

Why might Mark choose to tell us this story about Jesus right after the story of the healing of the paralytic? Do you see a connection between these two stories? What is the flow or thought or the connection?

Accrediting Authority, Widening Horizons – Mark 1:29-34

Did last week’s sermon prompt any questions or trains of thought?

The main point of the sermon was that Jesus certifies his authoritative right to disciple the world and thereby broadens our horizons for what it means to come under his authority as disciples.

Read Mark 1:21-34

How did Jesus certify or accredit his authoritative claims in Mark 1:21-34?

Watch A.J. Miller claiming to be Jesus during his interview with “Mary Magdalene”.

How does he certify the authority he claims? On what basis does he claim we should believe he is Jesus?

With every word or miracle of Jesus Peter’s horizons are broadened regarding what following Jesus means.

How has Jesus broadened your horizons regarding discipleship? In the area of scholarship, religious or otherwise? In the area of the invisible creation? In the arena of the visible creation? In the area of seasons or time?

The Passionate Spirit-ual Practices of Prayer

What are your present habits of prayer?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

John Donne an English poet from the same period as Shakespeare wrote,
“No man is an island, entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of a continent, a part of the main.”

How does this reflect the Bible’s teaching about the Church being the Body of Christ?

How does this influence your perspective on praying alone? Praying with others? Praying with not-yet-Christians made in the image of God?

Tim mentioned several forms of prayer: the daily office, prayer-walking, and intercessory. Have you ever practiced other forms? What were they? Did you find them helpful? Would you commend them to others? Would you be willing to help another to learn how to pray in that way?

Crossroads always includes prayers for other nations in the bulletin. Why do you think this is an important topic for the church to be praying about?

Gathered Worship Has a Flow (No Audio Recording)

flowThe Flow of Gathered Worship at Crossroads
What stood out to you from the sermon Sunday?

Have you worshiped at churches that had a flow somewhat like the revivalist movement? (Prayer –> Song –> Song –> Prayer –> Sermon –> Altar Call –> Prayer –> Song). What did you like about it? What are the positives? Why did Tim say that worship in this tradition can feel like going round and round in a turn-style? To see the video he referred to visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o0dUAhSFB4.

The beginning of worship at Crossroads highlights the majesty of God and his act of creating and sustaining all things. (Those mighty deeds of God are traditionally referred to as Creation and Providence). If you invited your not-yet-Christian friend to Crossroads worship service how would you explain why we focus on God as Creator and the world as his creation?

The next movement in the worship service is about God’s people confessing their sins and receiving God’s grace afresh. This highlights that God is not only a Creator but a Restorer of his creatures. Why is it important that we continue to confess our sins as the Church? What kind of a relationship with God does this help to develop? How could our confession of sins be a good thing for non-Christians to see us do?

The next part in the flow of Crossroads gathered worship is “God Instructs Us”. Read Acts 2:41-42. After Peter’s evangelistic sermon and baptism of 3000 people the people began to meet together for worship. Which activity of theirs corresponds to “God Instructs Us”? Why put this part of the worship service here? How does it’s placement highlight the logic of the gospel (grace –> law and not law –> grace)?

Next in the service is “God Communes with Us” which we celebrate on the second and fourth Sundays of the month at Crossroads. Read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. Paul is describing what’s known as Communion or the Lord’s Supper. Why is it appropriate that we celebrate this together at our regular gatherings on Sundaflowing streamy? Why would it be inappropriate to celebrate it by ourselves as individuals?

The last movement in Crossroads worship service is “God Commissions Us” to be participants in his restorative mission. God addresses us as our Covenant King and Lord through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and Benediction and we address him (and one another) in song. Do you think that God’s commissioning of us is a part of the gospel, the good news? How is this good news along with all of the rest of the worship service? How does it help us to understand God and ourselves better?

H.O.A.’s in Conflict – Haggai 2:1-9

darius relief

Darius, King of Persia at the time of Haggai’s ministry

What stood out to you from Sundays sermon on Haggai?
Have any of you ever had good or bad experiences with a Home Owners Association (HOA)?
On Wikipedia it is noted that, “In the United States, a homeowner association (or homeowners association) (HOA) is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision.” So, an HOA is about real estate development.
The LORD’s HOA dictates that he will always have a home within his real estate and among the other home owners. Positively he will enjoy being with his neighbors and bring blessing to the entirety of the real estate through them. Negatively, he will not be kicked out of his own neighborhood.

Israel under Saul, David and Solomon

Israel Under Saul, David and Solomon

How does the LORD’s possession of a house among humanity influence the development of his real estate (creation) in the Garden of Eden? What about among Israel during the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon?
What was the building of the temple communicating in the days of the post-exilic prophet Haggai (520 BC)?

Read Ephesians 2:11-22
In 2:20 it says that Christ is the cornerstone of the temple being built by God today. John Stott writes that, “the cornerstone is of crucial importance to a building. It is itself part of and essential to the foundation; it helps to hold the building steady, and it also sets it and keeps it in line…As a building depends for both its cohesion and its development on being tied securely to its cornerstone, so Christ the cornerstone is indispensable to the church’s unity and growth. Unless it is constantly and securely related to Christ, the church’s unity will disintegrate and its growth either stop or run wild.”

The world we live in has several conflicting HOA’s with God’s HOA. Tim mentioned several ways our local HOA is in conflict with God’s HOA:
– We may have houses for gods but they must remain general so therefore the cornerstone must be something other than Jesus Christ OR we need to have several cornerstones that include all gurus, religious leaders, etc.
– The houses of gods will not be at the center of the neighborhood because they will not serve as the main resource for real estate development.
– Greater attention will be given to the construction of commercial buildings that to religious buildings because they bring in more money which is ultimately the source for greater real estate development.
– The houses for gods will not have any say regarding the development of the government, education, economic endeavors or any other aspect in the neighborhood.
– Attendance at the house of gods is completely voluntary and non-attendance will not warrant fines from the HOA (in contrast to non-attendance to school).

Can you think of other differences between the world’s HOA and God’s HOA regarding the building, location and importance of God’s international temple in Christ?
What most bothers you about the world’s HOA?

How are you, in Christ and by the Spirit, disregarding the world’s HOA?

What would happen if you used the Word of God as a resource for planning, executing or evaluating at work? Would you receive “a fine” from the HOA? How could your flouting the HOA at work actually help to develop God’s real estate despite the fine you receive?

God’s Tricky but He’s Good – Genesis 32:22-32


Jesters by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1885

Questions for Conversation

  1. What has God already promised Jacob according to chapter 28:13-15?
    1. Who else did God make these promises to in prior chapters of Genesis?
    2. How do these promises line up with the way God set up human life at creation (see Genesis 1-2).
  2. Read chapter 32:1-21.
    1. Who is Jacob afraid will attack and kill him? Why would Jacob be afraid of this? (Hint: see Genesis 27)
  1. Read 32:22-24
    1. Who do you think Jacob assumed the man was who attacked him in the night (see v. 24)?
  2. Read 32:25-30
    1. Who does Jacob realize it is in v. 30?
  3. Some people wonder how God, who cannot be seen and is a Spirit, can physically wrestle Jacob. Hosea 12:2-4 explains that an angel wrestled with Jacob. This is common for an angelic emissary of God to be God’s representative
  4. This was tricky of God to lead Jacob (and the hearers of Genesis) to think that it was a man who wrestled with him. But through this tricky attack God accomplished a few things:
    1. God can and does act shrewdly (withholding information) – he can be tricky.
    2. God is committed to his ancestral covenant promises to Jacob and is willing to act tricky to make that known. Do you remember how the putting Jacob’s hip out of joint indicated God’s commitment to keep his promises? (hint: see Genesis 24:1-3).
    3. Jacob’s tricky ways can be employed for the sake of God’s mission too.  Do you remember how God helped Jacob to act shrewdly with Esau? (hint: see Genesis 32:1 and the meaning of “Mahanaim” in the ESV margin note and compare with what Jacob does in 32:7
  1. How was Jesus’ crucifixion the greatest trick that God ever played?
    1. How did that shrewd move by God fulfill his ancestral covenant promises to Abraham?
  2. How is God tricky in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11?
    1. How is God’s trickiness employed for the sake of the covenant promises he has made to Christ’s people? How is his action performed for the sake of good?
  3. C.S. Lewis wrote of the Christ character in the Narnia series that “God is not safe but he’s good”. What do you think he meant by that? Does that help you understand how God can be tricky but also good?
  4. Why do we need the Bible to constantly expand and re-align our understanding of who God is toward us and others?
    1. Can you tell the group a story from your life when having your horizons expanded regarding Christ or the gospel really made a difference?
  5. God is obviously very serious about keeping his promise to Jacob, even giving him the enduring reminder in his hip joint.
    1. Do you believe that he is as committed to bring about salvation in the life of the church today? Where are you encouraged by what you see happening in the global, national or local church?