12.7 2 Thessalonians

12.7.2020

2 Thessalonians

Like, 1 Thessalonians, Paul’s 2nd letter to the fledgling church in Thessalonica is unique because we know the immediate context for the letter. Acts 17 tells us that Paul had to flee the city after only being there a few weeks because of a riotous mob that got the house church leader Jason arrested. Paul moved onto Berea but the trouble from Thessalonica followed him so he was forced to go alone to Athens. He is very worried about this new church, planted in great turmoil, which he did not have sufficient time to instruct in the gospel. 1 Thessalonians is in response to Paul finding out that the church is thriving despite it’s rough start! 2 Thessalonians is written soon after and seems to clarify some of the parts of the first letter that the young Thessalonians may have mis-applied.

Key Verse:

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15

This verse sums up Paul’s intent with the young church. There’s so much that can knock us off course – we have to stand firm with right teaching.

Vision of God

I’m so thankful to God that he gives us his word and a great church to help us persevere and grow.

Vision of Self and Others

I want to see the power my words have. Paul was very aware that his words (spoken and written) would have great impact. All of our words have impact so we should be prayerful as we speak the truth in love.

Go With God

I appreciate Paul’s humility and attention to the needs of the church. He’s not afraid to send a letter to clarify things that were confusing. I want to be clear and considerate in my speech.

Jesus

Jesus is the word made alive so it’s ultimately about him.

1 Thessalonians

Michael and Latrease Standback

12.5.2020

1 Thessalonians

Along with Silas and Timothy, Paul sends a tender admonishment to the disciples in Thessalonica. He informs them of the resounding impact of their efforts in exemplary repentance and surrender to Christ. He reminds them of  the nature of their relationship in the family of believers, commanding them on their unity with their fellow churches, sharing the suffering of Christ. In the spirit of a loving father, Paul urges the disciples to let their lives shine all the more as to increase their impact on those noticing their example. Paul closes with assuring the believers with hope of salvation through our Lord Jesus, pushing them to continuously love one another with the full grace of God our father. 

What is one key verse? Why?

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 These verses capture the heart of Paul and the fellow leadership’s message to the disciples in Thessalonica. In love and admiration as fathers in faith, the brothers use these words to steer the church to fan the flames of their love and faithfulness. 


How does what you read change your vision of God?

What I have read enhances my vision and faith of how mighty and faithful God is.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

Through reading this letter, I can better see that as a faithful disciple, I become a true ambassador of the kingdom of Christ. Though others may notice the differences between us, through us faithfully holding to Christ’s example, our lives will have an impact on those around us. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

What I have read has encouraged me to dive more into the Bible consistently. To stop procrastinating with my walk with God, and truly study out areas in my life that I need to improve in. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters (What made you think about Jesus?)

In chapter 2 the nurturing  love of Jesus permeated throughout the words of Paul as he reminds the disciples of the shared experience they had when their leadership was physically present. He shares how Jesus manifests himself through their own lives through following the pattern of self-sacrificial love set before them to witness.  

12.4 Colossians

Brian & Chantal Schwebach

12.4.2020

Colossians 1-4

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

A letter of Paul to the Church in Colosse.  Even though Paul has never met them, he is grateful for them and prays continually for them.  Paul explains how Jesus is the ruler over all things and all things hold together in Him.  We are reconciled to Christ through His death.  Because we died to our sins and are united with Him, our lives will look different as a result.  Paul goes on to give examples of how our lives should look in Christ.

What is one key verse?

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  

How does what you read change your vision of God?

We are reminded just how much God trusted the Son to fulfill His plan for reconciliation. All of God’s fullness dwelled in Jesus (Col 1:19). We were once enemies of God because of our evil behavior, but Christ reconciled us through his death (Col 1:21-22). God believed in Jesus to fulfill His plan for salvation, and now he has charged us to Go and make disciples of all Nations (Matt 28:18-20). God is calling us to carry out His mission for the Kingdom of God. He is entrusting us to further His Kingdom.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

We want to follow Paul’s example in how he prayed for others.  We want to pray continually for other believers, even those we don’t know personally.  We should pray for spiritual growth and fruit for God’s churches around the world. If you haven’t started yet, you can start by praying for the churches who are participating in this Bible Vision reading:  Lansing, Dekalb, and Fort Wayne Churches of Christ.

How will you Go with God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

There are so many actions steps in this book!  But the one that stands out most to our family is this:  Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

This is how we try to live our lives every day and something we strive to teach our children. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Colossians 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross. 

12.3 Philippians

Rebekah Weidner 

12.3.2020

Philippians

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Paul writes this letter from prison to the church in Philippi. They have sent a gift to him through Epaphroditus. Paul is sending this letter back to them through this brother to express his gratitude for their gift and encourage them to stay unified and to place their joy and confidence in Christ.

What is one key verse?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:3

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Simply put: if God himself humbled himself to death on a cross for the sake of others, I have no grounds for being selfish! 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It is easy to get in a self-focused mindset especially with everything going on and all the losses we are experiencing this year, whether big or small. This letter helps me to refocus on spiritual things and not earthly things, humble myself for the good of my brothers and sisters and rejoice always knowing my hope is not in this world. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I see that I need an attitude adjustment! Being alone at home for so long with too much time to myself has not been good for my mental state and led me to become very self-focused. I want to have the focus that Paul talks about in chapter four – that is focused on what is excellent and praiseworthy. Whatever happens, I can choose to take on an attitude that keeps the things of heaven in mind.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Ummm…EVERYWHERE! He is the ultimate example of considering others above yourself and keeping a big picture, heavenly purpose – to the point of suffering death on the cross.

12.2 Ephesians

McKenzie Mitchell

12.2.2020

Ephesians

Summary

Doctrine occupies the greatest portion of the Book of Ephesians. Half of the teaching in this epistle relates to our standing in Christ, and the remainder of it affects our condition.

Paul’s writing breaks down into three main segments. (1) Chapters one through three introduce principles with respect to God’s accomplishment. (2) Chapters four and five put forth principles regarding our present existence. (3) Chapter six presents principles concerning our daily struggle.

What is one key verse:

Ephesians 5:15-16

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

I chose this verse because in view of how awesome God is, and the opportunities that we have to be filled with light are limited to only the time that we have on this earth.   We only have a finite amount of time to do good.  Therefore the call to make the most of every opportunity isn’t a threat, it’s an encouragement to make the most of your chances to build up the church, love others, be an example and a testament to the power of God and repent.

How does what you read change for your vision of yourself or others? And…How does what you read change your vision of God?

I think I picked it because I feel like I wasted so much time being self focused and miserable.  Understanding the brevity of life gives an urgency and passion to grow and do good.  The days are evil, make the most of them and stop wasting your time on fruitless endeavors.  I think I had previously read these verses as a threat and admonishment, but in the context of the entire letter, it shows me how God wants for us to live life to the full, vibrantly and filled with light.  It changes my perspective of God from being disappointed with me to being full of grace and wanting all that is good for me.

How will you go with God because of this reading?

It makes me see God’s great plan for my life isn’t to be stagnant and boring, but rather dynamic and growing.  An opportunity rather than an obligation, because the days ARE evil.  But our eternity is with God where the days will no longer be against us.  What a cool picture of his plan.

I am getting up and making the most of every opportunity.  Realizing that, I have put God first, Got deeper into the word, repented of sin in my life, resolved conflict, and have been purposefully sharing the love of God with anyone I meet.  Because I don’t know when I will no longer have those opportunities.

Where did you see Jesus in this reading?

I think seeing the love for one another and the church that Paul calls us to.  The goal is the character of Jesus.  And the church is built on him as the chief cornerstone  There is no other example to aspire to.  Also, realizing that it is the light of Christ that fills us and resides in us from our past sins is incredible.  The same man that our salvation is is also the light that fills us and gives us purpose within our short days here on earth.

12.1 Galatians

Jake and Deb Monroe

12.1.2020

Galatians

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Paul wrote a letter to Galatia because they were being deceived by others to turn back to the old law rather than the new law of Salvation in Christ.   He gives them his background as a testimony to glorify Christ.    Paul also explains his meeting with the disciples in Jerusalem and their acceptance of his teachings.   Paul gives examples that the new covenant needs to be held by faith but the old law is works of man.  Later in the book Paul explains that the law will lead them back to slavery but as heirs of Christ we are free.  Paul pours his heart out in this letter that the Galatian church would not fall into this temptation to satisfy the flesh but serve Christ and love one another in faith.

What is one key verse?

Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Looking at how people back then were torn to serve the flesh and how we do this today still.  This gives us a greater appreciation of the love, patience and grace of God.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

To be more patient and loving with others and ourselves as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling as it is so easy to slip back into our old ways.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

To challenge our actions for if they are in the right place and if we are trying to satiate our love to God through our flesh or with the right heart.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

In Paul’s heart to love the church he labored so hard over and to not write them off but to keep offering the love of Christ and glorifying Christ in his body.

11.30 2 Corinthians 10-13

Lezlee Worthington

11.30.2020

2 Corinthians 10-13

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth.  He is concerned about his own apostolic status.  There were some trouble makers in the church, challenging his authority.

My KEY VERSE:. 12:7-10, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

This calls me to change my view of my weaknesses.  To see them as God sees them.

I will draw nearer to God when I feel weak, to gain His strength.

Crown of thorns – Jesus.

11.28 2 Corinthians 6-9

Derek Neises

11.28.2020

2 Corinthians 6-9

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Paul first starts with going over all of the hardships he endured in order to not put any stumbling block in front of everyone. He then warns the church not to yoke themselves with non-believers. After that Paul praises the church for their repentance after the first letter he wrote to them. Finally, Paul gives further instruction, encouraging the Church to be even more generous in their giving.

What is one key verse?

“But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

How does what you read change your vision of God?

The Corinthian Church had an ample amount of issues as we have seen in the first letter to them. However, even through all those issues, God still accepted them as his people. No where do we get the sense that God abandoned the Church due to their many transgressions. Rather we see God working through Paul to sanctify his church and build it up to be more God centered and righteous.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

This section made me realize how much more grace I need to have both for myself and others. It would be easy to get judgmental and critical of a Church that had so many issues and sins. However, Paul did not stop trying to encourage the Church and still regarded them as fellow Brothers and Sisters.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will go with God more confidently that he is with me and continuing to sanctify my life even through all my failures.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

 I see the grace that is found in Christ in these scriptures. Sins that deserve death are pardoned due to the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross. Not only are the sins of the Church forgiven, the Church has the opportunity to repent and change due to the Holy Spirit that dwells within each believer.

11.27 2 Corinthians 1-5

Chiedu Okonmah

11.27.2020

2 Corinthians 1-5

Summary:

In 2 Corinthians 1-5, Paul continues with another letter to the people of Corinth. In these first 5 chapters, Paul talks about the New Testament Church and the importance of Jesus in all of it. A lot of what Paul discusses has to do with forgiveness, reconciliation and the grace of God. Paul really makes It evident that, through the grace of God, Jesus was sent to die for us in order to recreate or reconcile the relationship between us and God.

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It can be so easy to detach from having a personal relationship with God, but scriptures like these remind me of the amount of love God has for me. He wanted me to be connected to Him so much, that He sent down His one and only Son to die for me. This really puts into perspective the unconditional love that God has for me, and all of us.

How will you Go With God because of this reading?

I will Go With God by trusting His will in my life over my own. My pride can get in the way of me seeing that His will and plan is better than anything that I can come up with. By doing this, I will no longer live for myself, but for Him.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?

I saw Jesus in every part where Paul was talking about Jesus’ Church. I especially saw Jesus in the key verse. Without Jesus, we would not have the faith that we profess today. It’s Christ’s love that provided the lives we live now.