Our guiding verse this past Sunday was 1 Timothy 4:13. Paul the Apostle is instructing a young pastor friend about the details of healthy church life, when he says:

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 

This short verse helped us consider three ways that the words of God need to be present in our worship gatherings. We need to read them, teach them, and respond to them.

Questions for Reflection & Discussion

1. We looked at a few passages that describe the public reading of Scripture in the Old Testament:

  • Exodus 24:3-4, 7
  • 2 Kings 23:1,3
  • Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8 

How did God’s people respond to the readings in each case? What can we take away from those accounts?

2. Can you remember a time when you were impacted by the public reading of Scripture? If so, how were you impacted? 

3. The Gospel is repeated news with limitless implications. How have you experienced this in your life? In other words, how have you seen the “old news” of the gospel recently apply to the details and circumstances of your life?

4. “Exhortation” involves calling upon people to respond to God’s words. How have you responded to God’s word recently, especially when it has been preached?

5. What steps can I take (or am I taking) to actively listen to God’s words and respond to them intentionally?

 

On Sunday we asked the question, “Why do we gather?” In other words, why do we get together as a church for corporate worship? We’ve just begun answering this question, but here’s what we saw about the gathering:

I. It’s God’s ancient idea

II. It reorients us.

III. It forms us.

Over the past several years author Paul David Tripp has been sharing, via books and social media, reflections on what corporate worship is designed for. With each entry he encourages us to approach the gatherings of the church with humble, expectant hearts, trusting that the Holy Spirit has good intentions in mind for us as we form the habit of meeting week by week.

I’ve collected below 19 (!) entries from Tripp below. Consider choosing a few, dwell on them for a while, and ask a few questions:

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John 12:1-11 is a stunning scene. A family hosts a dinner to show appreciation and love to Jesus. But it’s Mary who goes one step further to honor her guest. In a memorable act of lavish worship, she anoints Jesus with expensive oil and wipes his feet with her hair. It’s a humbling act — embarrassing even. Who pours out a year’s worth of income like this? Who lets down their hair to dry the feet of their guest? It’s not just extravagant; it’s socially unacceptable! But what does it all mean?

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Questions for Reflection & Discussion

1. In John 11:45-57, the council views Jesus as a threat to national security. More deeply, they probably saw Jesus as a threat to their own authority, comfort, and power. Are there ways in which you see Jesus as a threat? In other words, are there areas of your life that you fear will be affected negatively if you acknowledge him as Lord over all your life? What do you fear? In what ways do Jesus’ words and authority threaten your own authority, comfort, and power?

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