What’s Happening, February 28, 2019

McKENDREE MINISTRIES!

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES  are regularly at 9am and 11am.  This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday.  We invite everyone to attend!

NEW SACRED SPACE TEAM  Information Session this Sunday at 10 am.  We are looking for artists, poets, people with an eye for design, photographers, people who like to create spaces of beauty, people who pride themselves in yard sale or online finds, and more who would love to use their creativity in worship.  Or even people who don’t have any of those gifts, but just believe worship can (should) be more than just singing and speaking.

We believe in curating worship…which means that Jesus uses all our gifts to create engagement with Him.  We are building a team to create and curate worship experiences and help create experiential worship, meaning praying with all our senses.

Join us Sunday morning at 10am in the fellowship hall to learn more!

BAPTISM  If you are interested in joining the church or in being baptized, please contact Ruth Baggett in the church office at 615-271-2600 or mckendreeinfo@gmail.com.

ENCOUNTER MINISTRY    Our Encounter Ministry is an alternative service for those who feel “church” is not for them.  We meet at 12:30pm at the offices of the United Methodist Publishing House, at 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.  We are meeting on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month.  For more information on our Encounter Ministry, you may contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES   March 6 is Ash Wednesday.  We will have two services – at 12:00 noon, in our first floor chapel, and at 6:30 pm, in the sanctuary.  Everyone is welcome!

CHANGE FOR RWANDA  McKendree Church is sponsoring a United Methodist Pastor in Rwanda for a year.  Currently the United Methodist pastors in Rwanda do not receive an adequate salary to support their families.  It takes only $34 (U.S. money) a month to support a pastor in Rwanda.  Thank you for your generosity!

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LENTEN STUDY

As we move toward the season of Lent, many Christians around the world prepare their hearts and minds for forty days of contemplation and preparation for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  We remember Jesus being tempted for 40 days in the desert as we reflect on our own spiritual wellness and our interactions with the world around us.

This year through the Lenten season, a group will gather weekly to learn more about our relationship with Judaism as Christians—our shared roots, our tumultuous history, and the possibility of reconciliation and interfaith collaboration.  To support our study, we will use Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi.  Over the course of our five sessions, we will be hearing a brief history, learning about the Jewish context of Jesus’ parables, scoping out obvious and not-so-obvious anti-Semitism in our world today, and talking about how all of this affects us as Christians.  We will also focus on rituals and practices that come out of this shared history and may enrich our own spiritual lives.  Many of the rituals we practice in the church today, including Baptism and Communion, have their roots in Judaism!  We will learn a new spiritual practice each week, hearing about its origins and having the opportunity to practice together and on our own.

We can enrich our lives as Christians by seeking to build bridges of understanding and reverence with our neighbors of different religions.  Join us at 6pm on Mondays during Lent to begin our immersion into this rich and exciting topic.

We will meet the following dates: March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 8.  We will gather at 6pm at the United Methodist Publishing House (2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228).

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McKENDREE GROUP MINISTRIES!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  We will be celebrating on Saturday, March 9th at 10am in Fellowship Hall:

  • That women, children and youth have found faith, hope and love through this wonderful organization for 150 years (1869-2019)!
  • That the first Women’s Foreign Missionary  Society in Tennessee was formed by six ladies here at McKendree in 1872!
  • That only five years later over 100 women at McKendree were members!
  • That by 1878 they sent a missionary to China.
  • That the determination and effort to make missions happen has never ceased at McKendree United Methodist Church.
  • That on the National level the ministry of United Methodist Women’s organization has extended to missions throughout the United States and in many countries.

Now that is one way the love and spirit of Jesus Christ is being spread “into all the world.”  And that is why we are excited and have so much for which to be thankful for and to celebrate!  Come celebrate and share our excitement and joy with us on March 9th!  Please RSVP to Shelley Handy, 615-545-3008, if you are planning to attend.

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CHILDREN’S EASTER EGG HUNT, MARCH 31, 11am
ON McKENDREE CAMPUS

Can you fill some eggs with candy?  We have bags of eggs on the table in the sanctuary.  The eggs need to be returned by Sunday, March 17th.  (No later than March 24th!)

IMPORTANT NOTE: NO PEANUTS OR PEANUT BUTTER!
We have some children with severe peanut allergies and want to be sure
the candy is safe for them.  So please, no Snickers, Reese’s, Peanut M&M’s, etc.

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ADULT STUDY GROUP—10am Sunday mornings  We meet in the Community Room (near garage entrance).  We invite everyone to join us as we grow together in Christ!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT   Our Adult Bible study group meets each Wednesday at 6pm in Pastor Stephen’s office.  NOTE: We will not meet on March 6, as we will attend the Ash Wednesday Service.

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WE NEED MEN’S WINTER CLOTHING!

            sweat shirts/pants                flannel shirts                     jeans                         shoes/socks
jackets and coats                 hats and gloves                 blankets

Also we need men’s black dress pants, solid black shirts/t-shirts and white button down shirts (many jobs require these.)

If you have any of these items, please consider donating them to the church clothes closet.  All donations are greatly appreciated!  Items don’t have to be new, but clean and in good condition.

*********************************

CHURCH FAMILY NEWS

PRAYER WALL  Our prayer wall is located on the table at the back of the church.  You may take a tag (in a box on the table), write out your prayer need, and place it on a nail in the wall.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays the Lead Team and Prayer Team pray over all the concerns submitted.  We welcome people from our congregation to submit concerns and to read and pray over the concerns of our church body.  You may also share your concerns with the church staff by phone (615-271-2600) or email (mckendreeinfo@gmail.com).

*********************************

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER  Remember that we as a church are praying the Lord’s Prayer every day at Noon.  Wherever you are at noon, we invite you to join us in prayer.

PASTOR’S SERMON  You may hear Pastor Handy’s latest sermon by going to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mckendree-united-methodist/id962978531?mt=2

McKENDREE GIVING  Your financial gifts and donations are always appreciated.  Consider adding McKendree UMC to your bill pay account.  Our address is: 523 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219.  Online giving is available at www.McKendreeNashville.com/give/financialgifts/.   You may also text your giving!  Just text the amount you would like to give to 615-375-4049.

Be shalom,
Pastor Stephen

What’s Happening, February 22. 2019

McKENDREE MINISTRIES!

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES  are regularly at 9am and 11am.  Our current sermon series, “The Evidence of Grace!”  is in two parts.  Using the Prodigal Son parable, we will explore how grace is evident in three ways: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace.  These three descriptors of grace are distinctively Wesleyan.  Each one offers a helpful understanding of how God’s grace works in our lives and how grace worked in the lives of both sons of the Father.  We will conclude the series this Sunday.

NEW SACRED SPACE TEAM!– Information Session at 10 am on March 3.  We are looking for artists, poets, people with an eye for design, photographers, people who like to create spaces of beauty, people who pride themselves in yard sale or online finds, and more who would love to use their creativity in worship.  Or even people who don’t have any of those gifts, but just believe worship can (should) be more than just singing and speaking.

We believe in curating worship…which means that Jesus uses all our gifts to create engagement with Him.  We are building a team to create and curate worship experiences and help create experiential worship, meaning praying with all our senses.

Join us Sunday, March 3 between the services in the fellowship hall to learn more!

BAPTISM  If you are interested in joining the church or in being baptized, please contact Ruth Baggett in the church office at 615-271-2600 or mckendreeinfo@gmail.com.

ENCOUNTER MINISTRY    Our Encounter Ministry is an alternative service for those who feel “church” is not for them.  We meet at 12:30pm at the offices of the United Methodist Publishing House, at 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.  We are meeting on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month.  For more information on our Encounter Ministry, you may contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES   March 6 is Ash Wednesday.  We will have two services – at 12:00 noon, in our first floor chapel, and at 6:30 pm, in the sanctuary.  Everyone is welcome!

CHANGE FOR RWANDA  McKendree Church is sponsoring a United Methodist Pastor in Rwanda for a year.  Currently the United Methodist pastors in Rwanda do not receive an adequate salary to support their families.  It takes only $34 (U.S. money) a month to support a pastor in Rwanda.  Thank you for your generosity!

*********************************

LENTEN STUDY

As we move toward the season of Lent, many Christians around the world prepare their hearts and minds for forty days of contemplation and preparation for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  We remember Jesus being tempted for 40 days in the desert as we reflect on our own spiritual wellness and our interactions with the world around us.

This year through the Lenten season, a group will gather weekly to learn more about our relationship with Judaism as Christians—our shared roots, our tumultuous history, and the possibility of reconciliation and interfaith collaboration.  To support our study, we will use Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi.  Over the course of our five sessions, we will be hearing a brief history, learning about the Jewish context of Jesus’ parables, scoping out obvious and not-so-obvious anti-Semitism in our world today, and talking about how all of this affects us as Christians.  We will also focus on rituals and practices that come out of this shared history and may enrich our own spiritual lives.  Many of the rituals we practice in the church today, including Baptism and Communion, have their roots in Judaism!  We will learn a new spiritual practice each week, hearing about its origins and having the opportunity to practice together and on our own.

We can enrich our lives as Christians by seeking to build bridges of understanding and reverence with our neighbors of different religions.  Join us at 6pm on Mondays during Lent to begin our immersion into this rich and exciting topic.

We will meet the following dates: March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 8.  We will gather at 6pm at the United Methodist Publishing House (2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228).

*********************************

McKENDREE GROUP MINISTRIES!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  We will be celebrating on March 9th in Fellowship Hall:

  • That women, children and youth have found faith, hope and love through this wonderful organization for 150 years (1869-2019)!
  • That the first Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in Tennessee was formed by six ladies here at McKendree in 1872!
  • That only five years later over 100 women at McKendree were members!
  • That by 1878 they sent a missionary to China.
  • That the determination and effort to make missions happen has never ceased at McKendree United Methodist Church.
  • That on the National level the ministry of United Methodist Women’s organization has extended to missions throughout the United States and in many countries.

Now that is one way the love and sprit of Jesus Christ is being spread “into all the world.”  And that is why we are excited and have so much for which to be thankful for and to celebrate!  Come celebrate and share our excitement and joy with us on March 9th!

 ADULT STUDY GROUP—10am Sunday mornings  We meet in the Community Room (near garage entrance).  We invite everyone to join us as we grow together in Christ!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT   Our Adult Bible study group meets each Wednesday at 6pm in Pastor Stephen’s office.  We are currently studying the book of Matthew.  On February 27 our reading and study will be on Matthew chapter 17.  We have some great discussions as we go through the Word of God.  We’d love to have you join us!  NOTE: We will not meet on March 6, as we will attend the Ash Wednesday Service.

*********************************

WE NEED MEN’S WINTER CLOTHING!

            sweat shirts/pants             flannel shirts                    jeans                        shoes/socks
jackets and coats                hats and gloves                blankets

Also we need men’s black dress pants and white button down shirts (many jobs require these.)

If you have any of these items, please consider donating them to the church clothes closet.  All donations are greatly appreciated!  Items don’t have to be new, but clean and in good condition.

*********************************

CHURCH FAMILY NEWS

PRAYER WALL  Our prayer wall is located on the table at the back of the church.  You may take a tag (in a box on the table), write out your prayer need, and place it on a nail in the wall.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays the Lead Team and Prayer Team pray over all the concerns submitted.  We welcome people from our congregation to submit concerns and to read and pray over the concerns of our church body.  You may also share your concerns with the church staff by phone (615-271-2600) or email (mckendreeinfo@gmail.com).

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER  Remember that we as a church are praying the Lord’s Prayer every day at Noon.  Wherever you are at noon, we invite you to join us in prayer.

PASTOR’S SERMON  You may hear Pastor Handy’s latest sermon by going to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mckendree-united-methodist/id962978531?mt=2

McKENDREE GIVING  Your financial gifts and donations are always appreciated.  Consider adding McKendree UMC to your bill pay account.  Our address is: 523 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219.  Online giving is available at www.McKendreeNashville.com/give/financialgifts/.   You may also text your giving!  Just text the amount you would like to give to 615-375-4049.

As always, remember God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Lenten Bible Study, Week 6, Final Study

March 25-31   Mark 15-16

Mark 15  As part of the Crucifixion, the scene is absent of many of the disciples, but the women are present.  The women were willing to publicly affiliate with Jesus all the way to the cross.  What compels you to follow Jesus even when it’s extremely difficult?

Mark 16  Mark’s gospel originally ended with verse 8.  “They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.”  What fears keep you isolated and afraid from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection with others?

Later verses 9-20 were added over time which includes Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene.  She goes to the disciples and shares that Jesus has risen from the dead, but they don’t believe her.  Then Jesus appears to the disciples and instructs them to believe, to be baptized and to share the good news.  Where is God calling you to go and the share the good news of Jesus Christ?

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This year for Lent we have been encouraging everyone to read through the Gospel of Mark.  Each week we will have reading suggestions and questions for you to think about.  This is for your personal devotional time and spiritual growth.  This is the last week of our Lenten study.

Thanks again to Stephen Handy, Robert Johnson and Rick Quinn for our study questions!

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Week 1, February 18-24 – Mark 1-2

Mark 1  Mark’s gospel appears to want to keep the secrecy of Jesus as the Messiah until the appropriate time.  Every time Jesus performs a miracle or makes a claim, Mark tries to keep it quiet.  During this Lenten Season, how are you preparing for Jesus Christ to shine through you at the appropriate time?

Mark 2  The observance of Sabbath is a commandment from the Old Testament as a time for rest and reflection.  For followers of Jesus Christ, the Sabbath is also considered a spiritual practice.  Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus is the LORD even of the Sabbath.  How will you intentionally incorporate the Sabbath as a spiritual practice during this Lenten Season and beyond?

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Week 2, February 25-March 3 – Mark 3-5

Mark 3  This chapter begins with the story of a man with a withered hand.  What would it look like for you to “stretch out your hand” toward God?  How can healing happen for you during the next 5 weeks of the 2018 Lenten season?

In Mark 3:13-19 Jesus makes an “investment” in the lives of 12 people by appointing them as apostles.  In whose lives have you invested in the past year?  Celebrate this!

Mark 4  Jesus directs us to plant seeds in anticipation of fruitful outcomes.  Whom do you see yourself planting seeds for, and what growth do you hope for this year?

Mark 5  As you read Chapter 5, get out a piece of paper and make a list of words you would use to describe the character of Jesus.  After you finish, look at your list.  Meditate for a few moments on 1) who God is and 2) your commitment to “let your light shine”!

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Week 3, March 4-10 – Mark 6-8

Mark 6  This chapter begins with the story of Jesus visiting his hometown, only to face rejection of his authority.  When have you recently felt rejected by others?  When have you rejected someone’s advice and then regretted it later?  Pray a short prayer for patience, knowing that God understands your needs.

In Mark 6:30-44 we hear the miraculous story of the feeding of the five thousand.  In addition to helping our brothers and sisters alleviate physical hungers, think of another, invisible hunger that you can help others with.  Make a commitment to explore an opportunity to help someone in this way.

Mark 7  The opening of Chapter 7 includes these stirring words: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Can you think of a spiritual goal in your life that you’ve paid “lip service” to, but have yet to put into action?  How will you put more “heart” into it next time?

Mark 8  In the second feeding miracle, once again the disciples seem more focused on roadblocks to success instead of trusting in God’s plan.  What negative attitudes most often hold you back?

In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus gives his iconic command to “take up your cross and follow me.”  Did you promise to “give up” anything for the season of Lent?  If so, reflect on your progress and how these words of Jesus might inspire you.  If not, think of a sacrifice that you can make between now and Easter that helps renew your focus on what’s truly important in your life right now.

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Week 4, March 11-17 – Mark 9-11

Mark 9-11  This week’s reading starts with two contrasting stories.  The first is the Transfiguration story.  Transfiguration moments happen in life when, in the journey of discipleship, our stories become one with the story of God’s Kingdom.  The second, and contrasting story, is the disciples’ failure to help a young boy afflicted by demons.  Each of us as followers of Christ probably has a similar story of experiencing failure or defeat.  How has your discipleship been impacted by moments of transfiguration and/or moments of defeat?  What is God calling you to in the midst of these experiences?

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Week 5, March 18-24 – Mark 12-14

Mark 12-14  What does it mean for us to discern the times today and to retain hope in the face of so much violence and discouragement?  In the midst of the troubles of our world, where is God calling you to deeper prayer, new or renewed action, or to particular changes?

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What’s Happening, March 22, 2018

HOLY WEEK

 

STATIONS OF THE CROSS – Palm Sunday through Easter
The Stations of the Cross is a series of fourteen stations that travel through Jesus’ final steps to the cross.  They begin at his condemnation by Pilate and go through to his crucifixion and burial.  Our version of the SOTC is a self-guided tour with a devotion, prayer, and activity at each station.  It will be open from Palm Sunday through Easter in the narthex by the office during church hours.

HOLY WEEK SERVICES

March 29, 6:30pm — Maundy Thursday Service

March 30, 12 Noon and 6:30pm — Good Friday Services

April 1, 6:30am — Sunrise Service, CLC Rooftop

April 1, 9am and 11am — Easter Worship Services

We invite everyone to join us!

 

McKENDREE MINISTRIES!

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES  are regularly at 9am and 11am.  (On Fifth Sundays we have one combined worship service at 10am.)  Our Lenten sermon series is “Believe Like Jesus!”  This series calls us to walk daily the journey toward the cross with Jesus’s every step.  Every step that Jesus takes is a step in belief regardless of his circumstances.  The reality of belief is that it is one of the most powerful spiritual forces that believers possess.  Are we willing to follow Jesus Christ close enough to gain a deeper awareness and wider eyes to see and deeper ears to hear God speak?  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26   This Lenten season let’s be led by the Spirit of God to Believe Like Jesus!  It’s possible to live as fully devoted believers in the body Christ!

BAPTISM  If you are interested in being baptized, please contact Ruth in the church office at mckendreeinfo@gmail.com.

ENCOUNTER MINISTRY  We invite you to join us Sunday afternoons at 12:30pm at the offices of the United Methodist Publishing House at 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd, for our Encounter service.  The Encounter is an alternative service for those who feel “church” is not for them.  We are disrupting the passive model of Christian gathering and building bridges of hope around tables where we encounter God in and with our neighbor and engage the neighborhood.  For more information on our Encounter Ministry, you may contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

REFRESH! is our mid-week gathering.  We meet in the first floor chapel each Wednesday, 12:00-12:30pm.  Our worship includes prayers, music, a message and Holy Communion.  Everyone is invited to attend.

LENTEN BIBLE STUDY!  This year for Lent we have been encouraging everyone to read through the Gospel of Mark.  Each week we have reading suggestions and questions for you to think about.  This is for your personal devotional time and spiritual growth.  Next week will be the last week of our Lenten study.  Check your email for the week’s reading assignment and study questions, pick up a study sheet at the church or the Home Page of our website for the last study guide.  Thanks again to Stephen Handy, Rick Quinn and Robert Johnson for writing this Lenten study.

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McKENDREE GROUP MINISTRIES!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY  We are in a study of the book The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Of the more than 60 books by Lewis, this is one of his most well-known classics.  We are finding this book to be humorous and enlightening.  It pushes us to think from a different perspective.  We will NOT meet on March 28.  On April 4, we will discuss Letters 13-14, on Personal Pleasure and Humility.  We welcome everyone to join with us for this study series.  We meet each Wednesday at 6pm in Pastor Stephen’s office.

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  Come and join the United Methodist Women for the monthly meeting which will be this Saturday, March 24 at 10am.   Shelley Handy will lead the program on “Call to Prayer and Self-Denial.”  A special self-denial offering will be taken.  All women, girls, children are welcomed.  Women can make a big difference for others when we join together.

NOTE: We are meeting at Willodene Brodrick’s home this Saturday.   Call Willodene if you need directions or have any questions.

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McKENDREE GIVING  Your financial gifts and donations are always appreciated.  Consider adding McKendree UMC to your bill pay account.  Our address is: 523 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219.  Online giving s available at www.McKendreeNashville.com/give/financialgifts/.   You may also text your giving!  Just text the amount you would like to give to 615-375-4049.

PASTOR’S SERMON  You may hear Pastor Handy’s latest sermon by going to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mckendree-united-methodist/id962978531?mt=2

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER  Remember that we as a church are praying the Lord’s Prayer every day at Noon.  Wherever you are at noon, we invite you to join us in prayer.

As always, remember God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Lenten Bible Study, Week 5

March 18-24 – Mark 12-14

What does it mean for us to discern the times today and to retain hope in the face of so much violence and discouragement?  In the midst of the troubles of our world, where is God calling you to deeper prayer, new or renewed action, or to particular changes?

__________________________________________________________________

This year for Lent we are encouraging everyone to read through the Gospel of Mark.  Each week we will have reading suggestions and questions for you to think about.  No quizzes, no tests — you won’t be graded or asked to write an essay!  This is for your personal devotional time and spiritual growth.

However, since everyone in our congregation is receiving these study guide questions, you are welcome to share your thoughts with someone in your Life Group, Bible Class or the person in the next pew on Sunday morning.  Or share the Lenten Bible study with a friend, neighbor or family member!

Thanks to Stephen Handy, Robert Johnson and Rick Quinn for our study questions!

__________________________________________________________________

Week 1, February 18-24
Mark 1-2

Mark 1  Mark’s gospel appears to want to keep the secrecy of Jesus as the Messiah until the appropriate time.  Every time Jesus performs a miracle or makes a claim, Mark tries to keep it quiet.  During this Lenten Season, how are you preparing for Jesus Christ to shine through you at the appropriate time?

Mark 2  The observance of Sabbath is a commandment from the Old Testament as a time for rest and reflection.  For followers of Jesus Christ, the Sabbath is also considered a spiritual practice.  Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus is the LORD even of the Sabbath.  How will you intentionally incorporate the Sabbath as a spiritual practice during this Lenten Season and beyond?

__________________________________________________________________

Week 2, February 25-March 3
Mark 3-5

Mark 3  This chapter begins with the story of a man with a withered hand.  What would it look like for you to “stretch out your hand” toward God?  How can healing happen for you during the next 5 weeks of the 2018 Lenten season?

In Mark 3:13-19 Jesus makes an “investment” in the lives of 12 people by appointing them as apostles.  In whose lives have you invested in the past year?  Celebrate this!

Mark 4  Jesus directs us to plant seeds in anticipation of fruitful outcomes.  Whom do you see yourself planting seeds for, and what growth do you hope for this year?

Mark 5  As you read Chapter 5, get out a piece of paper and make a list of words you would use to describe the character of Jesus.  After you finish, look at your list.  Meditate for a few moments on 1) who God is and 2) your commitment to “let your light shine”!

__________________________________________________________________

Week 3, March 4-1
Mark 6-8

Mark 6  This chapter begins with the story of Jesus visiting his hometown, only to face rejection of his authority.  When have you recently felt rejected by others?  When have you rejected someone’s advice and then regretted it later?  Pray a short prayer for patience, knowing that God understands your needs.

In Mark 6:30-44 we hear the miraculous story of the feeding of the five thousand.  In addition to helping our brothers and sisters alleviate physical hungers, think of another, invisible hunger that you can help others with.  Make a commitment to explore an opportunity to help someone in this way.

Mark 7  The opening of Chapter 7 includes these stirring words: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Can you think of a spiritual goal in your life that you’ve paid “lip service” to, but have yet to put into action?  How will you put more “heart” into it next time?

Mark 8  In the second feeding miracle, once again the disciples seem more focused on roadblocks to success instead of trusting in God’s plan.  What negative attitudes most often hold you back?

In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus gives his iconic command to “take up your cross and follow me.”  Did you promise to “give up” anything for the season of Lent?  If so, reflect on your progress and how these words of Jesus might inspire you.  If not, think of a sacrifice that you can make between now and Easter that helps renew your focus on what’s truly important in your life right now.

__________________________________________________________________

Week 4, March 11-17
Mark 9-11

This week’s reading starts with two contrasting stories.  The first is the Transfiguration story.  Transfiguration moments happen in life when, in the journey of discipleship, our stories become one with the story of God’s Kingdom.  The second, and contrasting story, is the disciples’ failure to help a young boy afflicted by demons.  Each of us as followers of Christ probably has a similar story of experiencing failure or defeat.  How has your discipleship been impacted by moments of transfiguration and/or moments of defeat? What is God calling you to in the midst of these experiences?

__________________________________________________________________