Archive for July, 2011

GA2011 Devotional – Wednesday

Posted: July 13, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Isaiah 43:1-7, 10

“1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth – 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 

 “10 You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am God. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.”

If someone would ask you, “What is your testimony to God-what is your witness?” How would you answer?

Do you know the exact moment when you knew you were a loved and beloved child of God? Can you share your witness of the power of God through Jesus Christ because you have experienced God’s miraculous hand in your life?  Did you grow up in the church and always know of the love of God and experienced the presence and power of Jesus Christ in a completely different way than others you know? Are you still struggling to find the answers? It is amazing how God works through so many different kinds of people. Not one person’s story is more important than another; we are all called-witnesses, servants whom God has chosen.

Regardless of how you came to your faith, you have a story to tell about the things God has done or is doing in your life! The prophet Isaiah reminds us, as he reminded the people of Israel; we have been called witnesses for God. God has chosen us! What a responsibility! How do you share your witness? How do you live the testimony of your faith? Whatever your story, wherever you are on your journey of faith remember you have been chosen- a witness on God’s behalf! Go tell God’s story!

God you have called us out of our comfort zone to be witnesses for you. Guide us as we share your story and our faith with others. Amen.

Submitted by: Andrea Brownlee

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

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GA2011 Devotional – Tuesday

Posted: July 12, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Romans 10:11-15

11 The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Nothing finishes off an outfit like a great pair of shoes! “How beautiful are the feet . . .” OK, so shoes are not what either Isaiah or Paul had in mind when they talked about beautiful feet. They were making a more metaphorical statement, I suppose.

The feet of a messenger, in fact, are not likely to be beautiful. A runner’s feet will be tired and sweaty and swollen – not really things of beauty. And yet when the message is one of good news, that messenger will seem gorgeous from head to toe!

The good news in this passage – making beautiful the messengers who bring that good news – is the news of God’s love for all God’s children. In a time of a growing division between “Jews” and “Greeks”, between synagogue and church, Paul was at pains to point out that “the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call upon him.” People need to know this. And to know there needs to be a messenger – one who is sent to proclaim the good news so the people can hear and believe.

At the end of this General Assembly many of us have tired, tired feet – from walking the assembly hall to the exhibit hall to our hotel rooms to the many places we have met with friends, old and new. We have changed from our pretty shoes to our most comfortable, and we are ready to go home.

But this scripture calls us to go as messengers. To be the ones of beautiful feet (no matter what shoes we wear) who let the world know that “the same Lord is Lord of all.” This passage invites us to care, as God does, for all God’s children who do not yet know that they can call on a God of love.

Paul’s words here send us forth, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, to proclaim God’s love, so those around us who are lost in a world of division and hate, can hear the good news of love and wholeness and be saved!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Submitted by: Sharon Watkins

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

GA2011 Devotional – Monday

Posted: July 11, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

LUKE 10:1-28

I was flipping through a teen devotional the other day at the bookstore, trying to get a feel for the topics it covered. It contained many entries on love, justice, and faithfulness, but the topic with the most entries was not one of these. The topic with the most entries was obedience.

We learn obedience early, in our first Sunday School classes. We learn to listen to God. We learn to do what God tells us. And it’s in the scripture, this obedience. It’s in the Great Flood and the (Almost) Sacrifice of Isaac. It’s in David and Solomon’s story and in many places in Proverbs, the Prophets and the letters of Paul. And, really, this command of obedience is alright to share with children if what we really want them to learn is be good, be quiet, and, for heaven’s sake, sit still.

But is it really what’s there?

A leader in my local Jewish community told me, “Our story begins with Jacob at the river. We are Israel, the people who wrestle with God.”

Jesus was one of these people. Not one of the entries on obedience in that devotional used a Gospel text. At first glance, we might find it in our reading today. Your will be done.

And while this is no doubt important, in the context of the rest of the passage it is a more an addendum. Jesus not suggesting we simply sit quietly and wait to see what God will do. No, Jesus is suggesting we join the conversation.

He teaches us to ask for the radical hospitality of the Kingdom, bread enough for all, peace and justice on earth as in heaven. In fact, his parable implies that we demand this hospitality persistently from God and, perhaps, our neighbor.

The type of relationship with God that this prayer requires is not one of thoughtless obedience. We cannot just be good, be quiet and sit still. This type of relationship with God requires us to shake loose, stand up, and say something. It requires an entirely different kind of obedience, one that wrestles, one that speaks and one that acts.

Submitted by: Alex McCauslin

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

GA2011 Devotional – Sunday

Posted: July 10, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Mark 2:1-12

1 When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3 Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son your sins are forgiven’ 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning their hearts, 7 “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?

9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he said to the paralytic – 11 ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’

Forgiveness is a huge concept. But sometimes it is largely ignored in the amount of time we spend studying it. Sure…we mention forgiveness every time we gather during worship when we say the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” We participate in the Lord’s Supper, where we come to know ourselves as forgiven. And we hear the words of Jesus on the cross saying “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” But how much time do we really think about the concept of forgiveness? We understand that it is a central concept to the Christian tradition, but we also know that it is one of the most difficult processes we face. Perhaps, today’s scripture passage teaches us that a Christian understanding of forgiveness is not about feeling good inside, or an action that occurs once. Instead, forgiveness is a favorite hat that we should wear constantly so we can practice it continuously, and link forgiveness to community and justice. The ultimate example of forgiveness is found in Christ, he embodied forgiveness so that we can now practice it.

We are forgiven, now let us forgive. Amen.

Submitted by: Rebekah Krevens

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

GA2011 Devotional – Saturday

Posted: July 9, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Deut. 6:6 

When I was little girl in Sunday School at First Christian Church in Bloomington, IN, we were often encouraged to learn certain Bible verses “by heart.”  I remember learning Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, and even the text from a few Bible story books “by heart.” I had friends that spoke of inviting Jesus into their hearts and knew that God could speak to my heart. My favorite hymn, Be Thou My Vision alludes to  God as “heart of my own heart.” Moreover, this heart language isn’t just limited to church.  I also learned my multiplication tables and James Whitcomb Riley’s poem Little Orphant Annie “by heart.” And when I arrived in Lexington, KY for college, I learned that one could “bless your heart” as well as having experiences that touched my heart.  And when my grandmother died, I learned that the people you lose do indeed live on in your hearts.

So when I hear Moses telling the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:1-12 that God commands them to love the Lord with all their hearts and to keep these words in their hearts, I feel as though I know exactly what God means.  It doesn’t seem to be only about memories or pieces of text you can recite at will, but rather about truths which frame your life, giving meaning to human experience.

Having left Egypt and kept wandering in the desert for 40 years, the Israelites were finally on the brink of entering the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey where God intended them to flourish for generations.  The excitement must have been palpable, with relief so very near.  And yet in this frenzied state, God takes time out to remind Israel that they owe their lives to God, that they are God’s people from whom God expects something both very easy and extraordinarily hard.  God expects them to keep God’s presence in their hearts, to hear God’s wishes as if they were their own.  God expects Israel to let God shape its communal life. After all isn’t that what happens when something becomes ingrained into your heart? It becomes a part of your very being, giving birth to new meaning again and again.

And doesn’t that strike you as something very Disciples’? That rather than assume we know what God’s words mean, what God intends, we let the scripture continue to shape-shift, continue to form new meaning within us as our lives get longer? And despite our modern sensibilities, aren’t we in the end merely Israelites anticipating the Promised Land, continually writing God’s commandments upon our hearts?

Submitted by Heather Godsey

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

Nashville Eats & Drinks

Posted: July 7, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in General Assembly