Devotional Guide: Preparing for 9/18/11

In case you did not pick up the new Northlake Devotional Guide or if you just left it about home, here is the devotional exercises for this week as we prepare for Sunday, September 11th – week three in our season of reflection on following Jesus as His apprentices in the Kingdom way of life.

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Meditative Reading: This section is beyond the ideal size for a practice of Sacred Reading (p26).  Read the whole thing once, and then choose either 2:13-17, 2:18-28, or 3:1-6 for your time of meditative reading.

(Part 1 and Part 2 can be done on separate days.)


Personal Reflection: When passages are listed, reread that section, and then write out your honest, personal reactions to the questions.

Personal Reflection: When passages are listed, reread that section, and then write out your honest, personal reactions to the questions.

  1. 2:13-17. Notice the crowd Jesus ate with.  Think about the last few fellowship meals (or parties) in which you have participated.  How was your circle different? How was your presence in that circle different from Jesus’?
  2. 3:1-6. Jesus reveals in this little story the make up of the Kingdom versus the anatomy of religious systems.  The purpose of Sabbath (and other portions of religious observance) are for redemption, healing, and love.  What practices are we engaging in today – like their Sabbath keeping – that might just be missing their intended purposes?  How can we restore these to their rightful use?  
  3. 2:21-22. All four of the stories in this section reveal that Jesus has new wine and the religiously devoted had old wineskins unable to accept what Jesus offered.  What fundamental differences existed between Jesus’ Way and the way of the religious community in His day?  Have we come full circle?  Do we have wineskins capable of holding Jesus’ teachings today? Why?

 COMMUNAL DAY: Conversation Starters

(For discussion with your family, roommates, or a group of friends.)

1. From your reading and reflections this week, what did God teach you?

2. As Jesus eats with sinners we see Him avoid two extremes of which we are often guilty.  One is keeping too much distance from “sinners” and “the world.”  The other is in becoming like the world and following its ways.  How can we be both distinct from the world and intimately engaged in missional relationships with the world? 

3. In 3:5 Mark reveals that Jesus was clearly annoyed (“angry” and “grieved”) by the lifelong religious (translation: people like us).  He was upset at their “hard hearts,” but what does that mean? Why/how were they hardened? How do you see this same religiously justified hardness of heart at work today? In your own life?


Prayer of the Week: God, make the door of my house wide enough to receive all who need human love and friendship, but narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride, and malice. Make the threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to straying feet, but strong enough to turn away the power of evil.   ~Thomas Ken

Jesus Experiment: Throw a Jesus party!  Invite folks from work, the neighborhood, from the street corner, from wherever you can find them!  Eat, drink, converse, laugh, and love.  Experiment with a few other Christian friends in being like Jesus by feasting with those that may cause others to raise an eyebrow in judgment.  Can you do this while being BOTH holy and distinct AS WELL AS loving and close?

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