Archive for July

July 2011 Crosstalk & Calendar

The July issue of the Crosstalk has information about the Special Congregational Meeting on Sunday, July 10, a copy of the lyrics to Pastor Blair’s All These Years tribute song to his father, pictures from this year’s preschool & kindergarten VBS, and a special page introducing our new members. You will also find the usual look at the upcoming worship series, Pastor Kevin’s Faithlife article, news and info on discipleship, youth events and the June council meeting. You can access downloadable and printable PDF files at the following links:

July 2011 Crosstalk Newsletter

July 2011 Calendar of Church Events

Daily Walk July 26-Aug 1, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010 Revelation 10
The purpose of this mighty angel is clear: to announce the final judgments on earth. What do you suppose his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land mean in contrast to the seal and trumpet judgments? What is the “mystery of God” (7; see also Romans 11:25-36, 16:25-27, and Ephesians 1:9-14)? John was stopped from revealing certain parts of his vision. Why? John is instructed to eat the scroll. It was sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach. How has God’s word been both sweet and sour to you in your life?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Revelation 11
What is John commanded to do in this passage? Why? Who will be measured, or protected, and why? What do the two indestructible witnesses represent? The beast from the pit makes war on the witnesses and kills them (7), but they are resurrected. What results from their death and their resurrection? What do you learn from this passage about being a witness? What part of living out your faith and witnessing to others has been toughest for you? Why? The seventh trumpet reveals that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord. What does that tell you about God’s power? Verses 15-18 tell us of God’s sovereignty. God will judge evil, reward faithfulness, and rule forever. Does this bring you hope or fear in your life right now?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Revelation 12
Some scholars believe that the woman represents God’s faithful believers who have been awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, and the crown of 12 stars represents the 12 tribes of Israel, the nation that gave birth to the Messiah. The large red dragon has been interpreted as Satan, and the stars that fell to earth have been interpreted as the angels who fell with Satan. What do you learn here about conflict between the Christian church and demonic evil? When has Satan seemed very real to you? How do you overcome the powers of evil (12:11)? What do you need to become stronger for spiritual battle? (Also see Ephesians 6:11). We need not fear if we truly serve God, who alone brings us victory (Romans 8:34-39). Spend some time in prayer.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 Revelation 13
Chapter 13 introduces us to two evil accomplices of Satan: the beast of the sea (1) and the beast of the earth (11). What is the source of power for these two beasts? “The whole earth” worships the beasts. What impact do each of these beasts have on Christians? How should they respond? Why? How are true government and true religion connected by these two beasts? What are some of the “beasts,” or idols, in your life? What tests your allegiance to God? How do we recognize false prophets? Pray that God would give you wisdom and discernment in these matters.

Friday, July 30, 2010 Revelation 14
Following chapters 12 and 13, what comfort do you find in verses 1-5? What do the sights, sounds and emotions in these verses make you feel? Who is the Lamb, and who are the people following him? What is the essence of the eternal gospel proclaimed by the angel? What response is called for? By contrast, what message does the angel of doom spread (8)? Verses 14-16 present an image of judgment. Christ is separating the faithful from the unfaithful, just like a farmer harvesting his crops. This is a time of joy for Christians; it tells us that Christians should not fear the last judgment. Are you awaiting or fearing Christ’s return? Why? This is the day to be sure your values are right in line with God’s values. Decide today to produce fruit that will last forever.

Saturday, July 31, 2010 Revelation 15
The seven last plagues are also called the seven bowl judgments. Why does John say these are the last plagues? Compare Moses’ song of deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 15: 1-18) with the song sung by those delivered from the beast (3-4). In verse 8, John sees the temple filled with the power and the glory of God. How does this passage make you feel? What mighty and great deeds has God done in your life for which you desire to praise him and thank him? Spend some time doing just that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 Psalm 49
This psalm reminds us of the futility of worldliness: riches, pride, fame. You cannot take your possessions with you when you die, and they cannot buy you forgiveness. This psalm is echoed in Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:25-34. How do both teachings challenge your current lifestyle and your priorities? How can you avoid being like the “beasts?”

Daily Walk for July 19-25, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010 Revelation 5
In John’s day, books were written on scrolls: pieces of papyrus or vellum up to 30 feet long, rolled up and sealed with clay or wax. What do you think makes the scroll so significant? (See Jeremiah 36:2-32.) Why is Christ the only one worthy enough to open it (4, 9; also see John 1:29)? What does it mean that he is both a lion and a lamb? Does that have meaning for you? Review the three songs (9-13). How is the lamb described? Who are the three singing groups? Who are the true kings and priests on earth? Develop your own prayer and praise to offer God in singing and in word.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 Revelation 6
This is the first of three judgments. The trumpets (8-9) and the bowls (16) are the other two. Four horses appear as the first four seals are opened. How are the horses and the horsemen alike? How are they different? How do the second and third lead to the fourth? What is revealed when opening the fifth seal (9)? How is this related to the suffering of the Christians in John’s day? In our day? What occurs when the sixth seal is broken (12-13; see also Mark 13)? How does this make you feel about end times? Why? How might these words affect your actions this week?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Revelation 7
The sixth seal has been opened and the big question is this: Who can stand the wrath of God? How? Do you think the four angels are a new “woe,” or an affirmation of chapter 6? What sense does chapter 7 make after chapter 6? What is the message of the angel (3)? Is the number 144,000 a symbol or a statistic (4)? Why? (see 7:9 and 14:1-5). When the multitude cries out, how do the angels, elders and four living creatures respond (10)? What qualifies those robed in white to stand before God (14)? Is the safety and service of these Christians a present-life experience, or a promise to be realized in the distant future? Or both? Why? What sort of seal has God placed on your life? How is this seal evident to other Christians? To non-Christians? Does this chapter bring you comfort and hope in your sufferings and tribulations?

Thursday, July 22, 2010 Revelation 8
When the seventh seal is opened, the seven trumpet judgments are revealed. Chapter 8 reveals the judgments of the first four trumpets. What events follow the sounding of each of the first four trumpets (8: 7-12)? What parallels, or repeated patterns, do you see between the opening of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets which suggests that these two scenes are, in reality, two sides of the same coin? The trumpets reveal what will happen to the unbelieving world, while the seals focus on what will happen to the church. Do you think these seals and trumpets refer to datable, sequential events, or to aspects of the world’s condition, which may be true at any point in history? Are you finding that all this imagery seems far removed from you? Pray that God would give you eyes and ears to hear what he is saying to you through his Word.

Friday, July 23, 2010 Revelation 9:1-12
What happens when the fifth trumpet sounds? What does the abyss represent (1)? What power do the locusts have? Who are they allowed to torture? (Most likely the locusts are demons, evil spirits ruled by Satan. God limits what they can do; they do nothing without his permission.) But these verses tell us that God’s judgment on the world will be so severe that people will desire death over life. God’s people know that he has sealed us from his final judgment. Knowing that, what is your fear level right now? Your trust level? Pray about that.

Saturday, July 24, 2010 Revelation 9:13-21

Are the angels in 14 good or evil? What is God’s role in their actions? How does the power of the locusts differ from the power of the horses? What events are implemented by the sounding of the sixth trumpet? Immorality and evil don’t happen to us suddenly; we slip into their grip a little bit at a time. Any of us allowing sin to take root in our lives will end up in the same predicament. Temptation becomes sin, sin becomes habit, and the result is separation from God forever (see James 1:15). Take time to acknowledge your sins before God and to thank him for his grace and forgiveness.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 Psalm 36
In this psalm, the righteous seem to be those who may do evil, but are generally seeking to please God. The wicked are those who, despite the good that they may do, are generally rejecting God’s ways. What aspects of your life do you see in these verses? To what do you compare God’s love? God’s faithfulness? God’s justice? (Refer to verses 8-9.) Have you tasted of God’s feast lately? How has God refreshed you? Thank God for how he pours out his love on those who know him!

Daily Walk June 28 – July 4

Monday, June 28, 2010 Matthew 27:32-66
An account of Jesus’ death is found in 45-46. In verse 46 Jesus is not questioning God; he is quoting the first line of Psalm 22. This prayer reveals the fact that God had forsaken him when he took on the sins of the world, which caused him to be separated from his father (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, 21). Jesus suffers death so that we will never have to experience eternal separation. For whose sins did Jesus die on the cross? Is Jesus’ death and resurrection a dispassionate fact or an emotional experience for you? Why? What is significant about the centurion’s words (54)? What might the disciples believe about Jesus now? Is Jesus truly the Son of God in your life? How do you live that out in your daily life?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 Matthew 28
Verses 1-10 describe the resurrection. After Jesus was crucified, the Jewish religious leaders persuaded the Roman governor to make sure the tomb was sealed and guarded. Despite this, Jesus couldn’t be kept in the tomb. He arose! How do the women react to the news of the resurrection? How do the guards react? The chief priests? The disciples? Why do the chief priests and elders want to spread rumors that the disciples came and stole Jesus’ body (11-15)? Has the reality of the resurrection dawned upon you? Are you a quick believer or a slow doubter? Verses 16-20 reveal the great commission. What is it? In what ways can you fulfill it in your family? Work? Community? Are you ready for your assignment? Why or why not?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 Galatians 1
Paul is accused by some Jewish Christians of diluting Christianity to make it more appealing to the Gentiles. They even tell some of these Gentile converts that they have to be circumcised. In response to this, Paul writes a letter. What does Jesus do voluntarily for Paul, and the Galatians, and us (4)? What is Paul called to do (15-16)? How does Paul view his Jewish traditions? Which church traditions help you in your faith? Which ones hinder you? How does your past affect your present life? What do you need to put behind you, knowing that you are forgiven? Pray that God will empower you to share his message with others.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 Galatians 2
In verses 11-21 we read about Paul confronting Peter. What disagreement does Paul have with Peter? Why is Paul so adamant about not demanding that Gentiles follow Jewish customs? What does the concept of justification mean to you? How is a person justified in Christ (16-17)? Have you ever been guilty of double standards, a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of thing? Applying the spiritual concept in verse 20, who is alive in your life right now: “I” or “Christ in me?” If you are a self-made person, how does the gospel of undeserved grace strike you?

Friday, July 2, 2010 Galatians 3
If we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (15-29). How is the human covenant of a will similar to God’s covenant-promise with Abraham (15-16)? Who is the seed that fulfills this promise to Abraham? Since the law does not replace the promise, what is its purpose (24-25)? Do Christians today fall prey to legalism? What kind? How is your faith liberating you from this bondage? Where do you need to have more faith in your life?

Saturday, July 3, 2010 Galatians 4
Paul shows his concern for the Galatians (8-20). How does Paul express the following emotions in his letter: Concern (11)? Nostalgia (13-15)? Self pity (16)? Jealousy (17)? Compassion (19)? Anxiety (20)? To which weak and miserable principles do the Galatians revert (9)? Paul says that their joy is no longer evident (15). What takes the joy out of our Christian life? Have you slipped back into any bad habits or old ways? Which ones? What can you do about it? Spend some time in prayer.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 Psalm 66
God continues to answer prayers, individually and as a body of believers. We should always praise and worship God. This writer recalls God’s rescue of the Israelites by parting the Red Sea during the exodus. God saved the Israelites then, and he continues to save his people today. The writer reminds us that God listens to prayer and our confession of our sins. We must live with an attitude of confession and obedience. What could you say that God has done for you lately? What sacrifices will you make this week for the Lord? What will be your equivalent of bulls and goats? Lift up your voice in prayer and confession!