May 21, 2023 – Navigating Ambiguity: Follow the Course/Create Your Own Path – by Lia Scholl

Lesson from the Epistles                       Romans 8:5-15 (The Inclusive Bible)

Those who live according to the flesh have their mind set on the things of the flesh; those who live by the Spirit, on things of the Spirit.

The mind of the flesh is death, but that of the Spirit is life and peace. The mind of the flesh stands in opposition to God; it is not subject to God’s law—indeed, it cannot be, since those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Those who do not have the Spirit of Christ do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit lives because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then the One who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through the Spirit dwelling in you.

Therefore, we are under an obligation, my sisters and brothers [and siblings]—but not to the flesh or to live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if you live by the Spirit, you will put to death the evil deeds of the body and you will live.

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. For the Spirit that God has given you does not enslave you and trap you in fear, instead, through the Spirit God has adopted you as children, and by that Spirit we cry out, “Abba!”

May 14, 2023 – Navigating Ambiguity: Speed Up/Slow Down – by Lia Scholl

Lesson from the Epistles: Romans 3:38-30; 5:1-11 (The Inclusive Bible)

We maintain that one is justified by faith—apart from keeping the Law. Does God belong to the Jews alone? Isn’t God also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles too. And because there is only one God, it is the same God who will justify Jew and Gentile through the same faith. Now since we have been made right in God’s sight by our faith, we are at peace with God through our Savior Jesus Christ. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us to the grace in which we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to the day on which we will become all that God has intended. But not only that—we even rejoice in our afflictions! We know that affliction produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and character, hope. And such a hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

At the appointed time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for us godless people. It is not easy to die even for a good person—though of course for someone really worthy, there might be someone prepared to die—but the proof of God’s love is that Christ died for us even while we were sinners.

Now that we have been justified by Christ’s blood, it is all the more certain that we will be saved by Christ from God’s wrath. For if we were reconciled to God by Christ’s death while we were God’s enemies, how much more certain that we who have been reconciled will be saved by Christ’s life! Not only that, we go so far as to make God our boast through our Savior Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

April 16, 2023 – Managing Resurrection Expectations – Sara Beth Terrell

      Managing Resurrection Expectations

Lessons from the Gospels: Matthew 13:33 (NRSV)

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

March 26, 2023 – Keep the Rest – Lia Scholl

Lesson from the Gospels                   Matthew 26:6-13 (The Inclusive Bible)

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon, who had leprosy, a woman approached Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment. She poured it on his head while he reclined at the table. The disciples, witnessing this, were indignant. “What a waste!” they said. “This could have been sold at a high price, and the money given to needier people.”

Jesus, aware of their concern, said, “Why do you upset the woman? She has done me a good deed. You’ll always have poor people with you, but you won’t always have me. When she poured the oil on my body, she was preparing me for burial. The truth is, wherever the Good News is proclaimed in the world, she will be remembered for what she has done for me.”

March 19, 2023 – Up Where We Belong – Lia Scholl

Lesson from the Gospels                                                  Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had left the Sadducees speechless, they gathered together, and one of them, an expert on  the Law, attempted to trick Jesus with this questions: “Teacher, which commandment of the Law is the greatest?”

Jesus answered:

“‘You must love the Most High God

with all your heart,

with all your soul and

with all your mind.’

That is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law is based—and the Prophets as well.”

March 12, 2023, All the Rage – Lia Scholl

Lesson from the Gospels                      Matthew 21:12-22 (The Inclusive Bible)

When Jesus entered the Temple, he drove out all those who were selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. He said to them, “Scripture says, ‘My house is called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of thieves!”

Those who were blind or couldn’t walk came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. When the chief priests and teachers of the Law saw the wonderful things Jesus did, and heard the children shouting “Hosanna to the Heir to the House of David!” Throughout the Temple area, they became indignant.

“Do you hear what the children are shouting?” they asked him.

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of children and nursing babies, you have brought forth praise’?” After leaving them he went out to Bethany to spend the night.

When he returned to the city early in the morning, Jesus grew hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he walked over to it but found only leaves. So he said to it, “You will never bear fruit again.” And immediately the tree withered.

The disciples were amazed when they saw this. “How was it,” they asked, “that the tree withered on the spot like that?”

Jesus answered, “The truth is, if you have faith and don’t doubt, not only can you do what I did to the fig tree, but you can even say to this mountain, ‘Get up and throw yourself into the sea!” and it will happen. Everything you pray for in faith, you will receive.