DISCOVER MORE : TOGETHER

Christian faith is best encountered together in community, and Lent is a traditional time for us to give an extra focus to our faith; and the faith of others in our church community. Join in one of our daily small groups, either in-person or on-line, to walk the journey towards Easter together.


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    Together in Community


    Check in with one another. If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.
    • (High) Share something good or eventful that you give thanks and praise for?


    Open in Prayer


    We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen. 


    Five Minutes with God

    (Optional)

    Introduction: Our lives often feel like we are trying, like Peter, to walk on water, hoping that Jesus is meeting us, and feeling like we are sinking with waves washing over our heads. Life can be frightening, and stepping out into its rocky waves takes a lot of courage. Peter helps us understand that keeping our eyes on Jesus is the most important thing we can do in the storms. 


    Spiritual Practice: How can you keep your eyes on Jesus when the waves are big and the wind is strong? A touchstone can keep your spiritual eyes on him. You could keep a small, solid stone in your pocket. You might have a word or phrase from scripture that you can speak within your heart or perhaps a simple prayer you whisper. Anything that can bring your heart’s eyes back to Jesus is your touchstone, your reminder of his love and presence with you. This week, find your touchstone. When the waves get rough, let it bring you back to Jesus. And if you lose your focus, if the waves get scary, remember that Jesus reaches out in love just like he did to Peter.  


    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: When our eyes are focused on Christ and his mission we can do amazing things as a church. In our families we can give like we never have before, trusting God will provide for all of our needs while we do. When we focus our eyes on our difficult physical surroundings we get scared and hold on tight to our possessions like Linus's security blanket in Peanuts. As Christians we know our security and well-being is all provided by the Lord. We trust that God will always reach out his hand and guide us through life if we but trust in him and keep our eyes focused on Jesus.


    Matthew 14:22-33

    Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."28Peter

    answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


    2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:5-7

    So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — 7for we walk by faith, not by sight.


    Opening Discovery

    1. When it comes to taking risks, how would you describe yourself? Cautious, impulsive, calculating, procrastinating, apprehensive, sure footed. Are there areas in your life where you are more willing to take a risk? What are they? Less Risk?
    More about the Scripture
    1. The disciples first imagine seeing a ghost. Why a ghost?
    2. What was Jesus saying when he cried out, “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid”? Was he encouraging them? Chastising them? Comforting?
    3. When Peter said, “If it is you, bid me come.” What was Peter asking for?
    4. When Peter looks at Jesus, he is fine. When he looks at the waves, he begins to sink. Why is that? Or rather, what application does this have for you?
    5. When times are challenging, what does it mean to keep you eye on Jesus? What does it mean to get lost in the waves?
    6. What was the tone of Jesus voice when he said to Peter, “You of little faith.” Disappointment? Concern? Reassurance?
    7. Do you think Jesus knew that Peter would sink? Why invite him out anyways?
    More about Life
    1. How is stewardship like this story of Peter?
    2. What does it mean to get out of the boat? In like manner, what does it mean never to get out of the boat? When is it necessary to move?
    3. Where do you feel that God is inviting you to “get out of the boat” right now?
    4. Where is God inviting First Lutheran to “get out of the boat” right now?
    Together in Prayer
    1. As you look to the coming week, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.
    2. Do you have any prayer concern that you would like to share? What is it?

    Closing Prayer

    Pray for the concerns shared in the group. Close in the Lord’s Prayer.

    You may also use this prayer.

    O God, we thank you for this time we have shared. We bring before you the joys and concerns of our heart. We pray especially for….. Grant us your healing and peace, in Jesus name. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer

    Lord remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

  • Print

    Together in Community

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: When our eyes are focused on Christ and his mission we can do amazing things as a church. In our families we can give like we never have before, trusting God will provide for all of our needs while we do. When we focus our eyes on our difficult physical surroundings we get scared and hold on tight to our possessions like Linus's security blanket in Peanuts. As Christians we know our security and well-being is all provided by the Lord. We trust that God will always reach out his hand and guide us through life if we but trust in him and keep our eyes focused on Jesus.



    Matthew 14:22-33

    Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."28Peter

    answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


    2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:5-7

    So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — 7for we walk by faith, not by sight.


    Question—Choose 1 (If there are 6 or more in the group, breakout in groups of 2 or 3.)


    1. When Peter looks at Jesus, he is fine. When he looks at the waves, he begins to sink. Why is that? Or rather, what application does this have for you?
    2. Do you think Jesus knew that Peter would sink? Why invite him out anyways?
    3. What does it mean to get out of the boat? In like manner, what does it mean never to get out of the boat? When is it necessary to move?
    4. Where do you feel that God is inviting you to “get out of the boat” right now?
    5. Where is God inviting First Lutheran to “get out of the boat” right now?

    Together in Prayer


    Connect with one another before prayer. Choose one of these options.


    Option 1: One word—As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.


    Option 2—Share High’s and Low’s—If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.


    Prayer—We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • Print

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: When our eyes are focused on Christ and his mission we can do amazing things as a church. In our families we can give like we never have before, trusting God will provide for all of our needs while we do. When we focus our eyes on our difficult physical surroundings we get scared and hold on tight to our possessions like Linus's security blanket in Peanuts. As Christians we know our security and well-being is all provided by the Lord. We trust that God will always reach out his hand and guide us through life if we but trust in him and keep our eyes focused on Jesus.



    Matthew 14:22-33

    Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."28Peter

    answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


    2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:5-7

    So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — 7for we walk by faith, not by sight.


    Questions for Reflection


    1. When Peter looks at Jesus, he is fine. When he looks at the waves, he begins to sink. Why is that? Or rather, what application does this have for you?
    2. Do you think Jesus knew that Peter would sink? Why invite him out anyways?
    3. What does it mean to get out of the boat? In like manner, what does it mean never to get out of the boat? When is it necessary to move?
    4. Where do you feel that God is inviting you to “get out of the boat” right now?
    5. Where is God inviting First Lutheran to “get out of the boat” right now?

    Discover More about the Message


    Reflect on the message you heard in person or on-line. You can listen to the message online here.

    https://firstlutherancr.org/resources/sermons


    1. What is something you heard that was interesting or engaging?
    2. Is there anything that raised a question or needed more explanation?
    3. What is one thing you take with you? It may be something to do, something to trust, or a wisdom of insight to have. 

    Together with God in Prayer


    OPTION 1—ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?


    OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours


    Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.


    Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a

    High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?


    Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.


    Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?


    Prayer—Who or What can you pray for today?


    Close in the Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


    Five Minutes with God


    Introduction: Our lives often feel like we are trying, like Peter, to walk on water, hoping that Jesus is meeting us, and feeling like we are sinking with waves washing over our heads. Life can be frightening, and stepping out into its rocky waves takes a lot of courage. Peter helps us understand that keeping our eyes on Jesus is the most important thing we can do in the storms. 


    Spiritual Practice: How can you keep your eyes on Jesus when the waves are big and the wind is strong? A touchstone can keep your spiritual eyes on him. You could keep a small, solid stone in your pocket. You might have a word or phrase from scripture that you can speak within your heart or perhaps a simple prayer you whisper. Anything that can bring your heart’s eyes back to Jesus is your touchstone, your reminder of his love and presence with you. This week, find your touchstone. When the waves get rough, let it bring you back to Jesus. And if you lose your focus, if the waves get scary, remember that Jesus reaches out in love just like he did to Peter.  

  • Print

    Five Minutes with God


    Introduction: Our lives often feel like we are trying, like Peter, to walk on water, hoping that Jesus is meeting us, and feeling like we are sinking with waves washing over our heads. Life can be frightening, and stepping out into its rocky waves takes a lot of courage. Peter helps us understand that keeping our eyes on Jesus is the most important thing we can do in the storms. 


    Spiritual Practice: How can you keep your eyes on Jesus when the waves are big and the wind is strong? A touchstone can keep your spiritual eyes on him. You could keep a small, solid stone in your pocket. You might have a word or phrase from scripture that you can speak within your heart or perhaps a simple prayer you whisper. Anything that can bring your heart’s eyes back to Jesus is your touchstone, your reminder of his love and presence with you. This week, find your touchstone. When the waves get rough, let it bring you back to Jesus. And if you lose your focus, if the waves get scary, remember that Jesus reaches out in love just like he did to Peter.  


  • Print

    Together in Community

    Check in with one another. If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.
    • (High) Share something good or eventful that you give thanks and praise for?

    Open in Prayer
    We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen. 

    Five Minutes with God

    (Optional)


    INTRODUCTION: Jesus tells us that we “must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” We usually think he is referring to his second coming, but what if we understood him as meaning all the ways he comes to us now in our daily lives? Because, really, Jesus comes to us and is all around us all the time: in beauty and goodness, in the needs of the person right in front of us, in someone meeting our needs. Our busyness and inattention are what make us not “ready” and Jesus’ coming “unexpected.”



    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Our practice this week is: STOP, BREATHE, and BE AWARE. Periodically throughout your week, STOP what you are in the middle of and BREATHE. Breath, that constant filling and releasing, is our bodies’ constant, natural way of praying, of God’s Spirit being present with us. BE AWARE of that connection as you slowly and intentionally breathe. Then BE AWARE of how Jesus is coming to you in that quirky-looking cloud, a problem resolved, someone in need of a hug, someone giving you a hug—and so much more!


    Discover Scripture and Life

    Introduction: We can only truly anticipate and look forward when we have slowed down enough to turn our attention away from ourselves and our busyness and turn to God, to the one who is coming. Slowing down to breath provides space to hope, to look forward to Christ who comes and restores all things.


    First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

    The visionary message presented in this reading focuses on a future day when God establishes a universal reign of peace.


    1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

     2In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills;

     all the nations shall stream to it.

      3Many peoples shall come and say,

     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;

     that he may teach us his ways

     and that we may walk in his paths.”

     For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

      and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

     4He shall judge between the nations,

      and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

     they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

      and their spears into pruning hooks;

     nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

      neither shall they learn war any more.

     5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk

      in the light of the LORD!



    Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

    Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware.


    [Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”


    Opening Discovery

    1. What do you look forward during the Advent season?
    2. Are you more of an Advent person or a Christmas person? Why so?
    3. Even in the busyness of December, are there ways that you seek to slow down, as well?

    More about the Scripture

    1. What does it mean, practically, to be ready for Jesus’ return if we do not know when he will come? How ready do you feel?

    2. Have you ever not been ready for something? A crisis? A Surprise? A change of plans? What was that like? Were you ready for the Derecho?

    3. There are three preparations in Advent. We get ready to celebrate Christmas. We get ready for Christ’s second coming. We get ready for Christ who is with us today. Which preparation is easiest? Hardest?

    4. Why do you think Jesus talks about his coming in such disruptive terms? What is it about this world that need such drastic change?

    5. Isaiah offers another picture of God’s coming. The mountain of the Lord refers to the site on which the temple was built. What picture does Isaiah envision?

    6. Why are so many coming to the mountain? What will God do for them? (vs. 3 and 4). How does that make you feel?

    More about Life

    1. Which of your swords and spears (anger, sarcasm, envy, etc) has God transformed into tools for peace in your life?
    2. How might Isaiah’s vision for peace shape your prayers?

    Closing Prayer

    Pray for the concerns shared in the group. Close in the Lord’s Prayer.

    You may also use this prayer.

    O God, we thank you for this time we have shared. We bring before you the joys and concerns of our heart. We pray especially for….. Grant us your healing and peace, in Jesus name. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer

    Lord remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • Print

    Together in Community

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: We can only truly anticipate and look forward when we have slowed down enough to turn our attention away from ourselves and our busyness and turn to God, to the one who is coming. Slowing down to breath provides space to hope, to look forward to Christ who comes and restores all things.


    First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

    The visionary message presented in this reading focuses on a future day when God establishes a universal reign of peace.


    1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

     2In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills;

     all the nations shall stream to it.

      3Many peoples shall come and say,

     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;

     that he may teach us his ways

     and that we may walk in his paths.”

     For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

      and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

     4He shall judge between the nations,

      and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

     they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

      and their spears into pruning hooks;

     nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

      neither shall they learn war any more.

     5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk

      in the light of the LORD!



    Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

    Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware.


    [Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”


    Question—Choose 1 (If there are 6 or more in the group, breakout in groups of 2 or 3.)


    1. Are you more of an Advent person or a Christmas person? Why so?
    2. There are three preparations in Advent. We get ready to celebrate Christmas. We get ready for Christ’s second coming. We get ready for Christ who is with us today. Which preparation is easiest? Hardest?
    3. Why do you think Jesus talks about his coming in such disruptive terms? What is it about this world that need such drastic change?
    4. Which of your swords and spears (anger, sarcasm, envy, etc) has God transformed into tools for peace in your life?
    5. How might Isaiah’s vision for peace shape your prayers?


    Together in Prayer

    Connect with one another before prayer. Choose one of these options.


    Option 1: One word—As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.


    Option 2—Share High’s and Low’s

    (If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.)


    Prayer—We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • Print

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: We can only truly anticipate and look forward when we have slowed down enough to turn our attention away from ourselves and our busyness and turn to God, to the one who is coming. Slowing down to breath provides space to hope, to look forward to Christ who comes and restores all things.


    First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

    The visionary message presented in this reading focuses on a future day when God establishes a universal reign of peace.


    1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

     2In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills;

     all the nations shall stream to it.

      3Many peoples shall come and say,

     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;

     that he may teach us his ways

     and that we may walk in his paths.”

     For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

      and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

     4He shall judge between the nations,

      and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

     they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

      and their spears into pruning hooks;

     nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

      neither shall they learn war any more.

     5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk

      in the light of the LORD!



    Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

    Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware.


    [Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”


    Questions for Reflection


    1. Are you more of an Advent person or a Christmas person? Why so?
    2. There are three preparations in Advent. We get ready to celebrate Christmas. We get ready for Christ’s second coming. We get ready for Christ who is with us today. Which preparation is easiest? Hardest?
    3. Why do you think Jesus talks about his coming in such disruptive terms? What is it about this world that need such drastic change?
    4. Which of your swords and spears (anger, sarcasm, envy, etc) has God transformed into tools for peace in your life?
    5. How might Isaiah’s vision for peace shape your prayers?

    Discover More about the Message

    Reflect on the message you heard in person or on-line. You can listen to the message online here.

    https://firstlutherancr.org/resources/sermons


    1. What is something you heard that was interesting or engaging?
    2. Is there anything that raised a question or needed more explanation?
    3. What is one thing you take with you? It may be something to do, something to trust, or a wisdom of insight to have. 

    Together with God in Prayer


    OPTION 1—ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?


    OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours


    Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.


    Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?


    Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.


    Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?


    Prayer—Who or What can you pray for today?


    Close in the Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


    Five Minutes with God


    INTRODUCTION: Jesus tells us that we “must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” We usually think he is referring to his second coming, but what if we understood him as meaning all the ways he comes to us now in our daily lives? Because, really, Jesus comes to us and is all around us all the time: in beauty and goodness, in the needs of the person right in front of us, in someone meeting our needs. Our busyness and inattention are what make us not “ready” and Jesus’ coming “unexpected.”


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Our practice this week is: STOP, BREATHE, and BE AWARE. Periodically throughout your week, STOP what you are in the middle of and BREATHE. Breath, that constant filling and releasing, is our bodies’ constant, natural way of praying, of God’s Spirit being present with us. BE AWARE of that connection as you slowly and intentionally breathe. Then BE AWARE of how Jesus is coming to you in that quirky-looking cloud, a problem resolved, someone in need of a hug, someone giving you a hug—and so much more!


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    Five Minutes with God


    INTRODUCTION: Jesus tells us that we “must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” We usually think he is referring to his second coming, but what if we understood him as meaning all the ways he comes to us now in our daily lives? Because, really, Jesus comes to us and is all around us all the time: in beauty and goodness, in the needs of the person right in front of us, in someone meeting our needs. Our busyness and inattention are what make us not “ready” and Jesus’ coming “unexpected.”


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Our practice this week is: STOP, BREATHE, and BE AWARE. Periodically throughout your week, STOP what you are in the middle of and BREATHE. Breath, that constant filling and releasing, is our bodies’ constant, natural way of praying, of God’s Spirit being present with us. BE AWARE of that connection as you slowly and intentionally breathe. Then BE AWARE of how Jesus is coming to you in that quirky-looking cloud, a problem resolved, someone in need of a hug, someone giving you a hug—and so much more!