Study for All Ages

 

Grace Spurs Us Forward!

2017-2018

Remember & Keep Moving

Study of the Book of Exodus

Discovery Presbyterian Church

Omaha, NE

9:15 AM Sundays – Study for all ages

10:30 AM Sundays – Worship

 

September 17 2017

September 24 2017

October 1 2017

October 8 2017

October 15 2017

October 22 2017

October 29 2017

November 5 2017

November 12 2017

November 19 2017

November 26 2017

December 3 2017

December 10 2017

December 17 2017

December 24 2017

Grace Spurs Us Forward!

Your way goes straight through the sea

Your path goes right through mighty waters

You lead your people with light and cloud and flame

You send leaders and guidance

You will not abandon us when we misstep

You hold us in your care

You listen with love to all our concerns

You heal us

And then you urge us to move forward again

To become not just a new person

But to become a new people

Shaped and formed by the risk of grace

We will not fear

We are prepared for discomfort

Because we trust you completely

Lead us

Spur us forward

When we look back we see your footprints

When we look ahead we see your face

Guide our journey, Lord

Through the mighty grace of Jesus Christ.

Amen

Inspired by Psalm 77:19, 20 & The Book of Exodus

Welcome to

Remember & Keep Moving

Study of the Book of Exodus
Fall & Advent, Christmas Epiphany 2017

Are you ready for freedom? Are you ready to break out of Egypt and then live as a traveler in wilderness for 40 years?
Probably none of us is ready. But all of us, when we trust in the Lord, can keep moving away from oppression and toward new land, even if it means uncertain and bumpy terrain.

Welcome to the Book of Exodus where we can get wisdom for the journey.

The Book of Genesis, which we studied last year, featured a particular family across several generations (recall Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob & his wives (Leah, Rachel, Bilhah & Zilpah) & his twin Esau; and Joseph & his brothers.

The Book of Exodus, by contrast, features the formation of a people, a community. The people are in collective hardship at first and then in collective adventure. We follow their drama and foibles from the landscape of Egypt to the terrain of wilderness under the leadership of Moses.

A lot happened between Genesis and the start of Exodus, the second book of the Bible. Last we knew, Joseph was Pharaoh’s right hand man and his family was reconciled and prosperous. But now years have passed. While the Hebrews/Israelites have flourished as immigrants in Egypt, the Egyptian government and society has grown wary of them. This breakdown of trust and relationship has resulted in the enslavement of the Hebrew people.

Exodus chapter 1 offers reasons why the people became enslaved, but the rest of the Book of Exodus focuses on the journey out to freedom, new life and the rigors of community.

This journey is difficult for many reasons. As we will see in Exodus chapters 1-14, Pharaoh is a powerful and stubborn opponent with vast military, social and economic resources. And as we shall see in chapters 15-40, the Hebrew people have a lot to learn about freedom.

At several junctures in the story of Exodus the people grumble and be-grudge their freedom. Slavery was easier it seems.Or,perhaps their sense of memory is poor. And it takes time to develop freedom and community muscles.

As the Hebrews, amid the devastating 10th plague, prepare to flee Egypt iconic rituals are set in place, including “Passover,”a holy day for Jews today and one that Jesus celebrated with his disciples which became the foundation for the Christian sacrament of communion. These profound rituals attempt to mark human memory with who God is. They seem to convey that if God is known, then the way forward is clear. Children are to be taught these things so that their lives might be better.

Some patterns mark the Book of Exodus. One is that of a God who will not let the people go, whose heart overflows with love and desire for freedom for them. God also desires that the people choose to love God in return. A second pattern is the peoples’ regular lapses of faith and judgment. But with memory and good leadership the people are poised in the end to journey on with God’s light in the lead.

Courageous midwives, a burning bush, plagues, crossing the Red Sea, life & rituals in the wilderness, the 10 Commandments, a Golden Calf. Enjoy the stories, but don’t get too comfortable. Grace is constantly calling us,spurring us, to move forward together. The move goes better when we remember the God who loves us dearly.

 Grace Spurs Us Forward 2017-2018

Grace: Celebrate 500-year anniversary – Protestant Reformation
Spurs: Celebrate our Nebraskan context -150 years of statehood
Us: Discovery church is a community
Forward: Our church 5 years old & on the move with Christ!

September 17, 2017

9:15 AM Study for all ages begins!
Meet in Lower Level Study Room off Fellowship Hall
10:30 Worship

Call the Midwives

Exodus 1:15

The Egyptian King (Pharaoh) has declared that the Hebrew immigrants are a national problem. They are tasked with hard labor and harsh measures are taken in an attempt to reduce their population. It is an oppressive and terrifying situation. Who ya gonna call? Shiphrah & Puah, of course.

Focus Text: Exodus 1:8-19

Other Reading: Exodus 1 – whole chapter
The Book of Exodus Begins
    • Note how 1:1-14 sets the stage for the book of Exodus. It is quite a contrast to how the book of Genesis concludes. In Genesis the Hebrew people are well-represented in Pharaoh’s right hand man, Joseph. But now the relationship is years in the past and a fear-mongering king goes after the Hebrews.

      • Ex 1:6 Has the Hebrew population grown in Egypt since Genesis 50? Do they have power?
        Ex 1:8-14 What does the king propose doing? How does it work out? What does the king’s action result in? Do things escalate?
        Ex 1:15-16 What does the king ask the midwives to do?
        Ex 1:17-19 What do the midwives do?

Connecting with the text:

      • What do you think of Pharaoh & the Egyptians?
        What do you think of the midwives?
        Would you do what the midwives did?

Prayer
Gracious God, Give us the knowledge to know who you are and what you care about. Give us the wisdom to know what is right and wrong. Give us hearts to hear you and the will to do what is right even when it is not easy, popular or safe. Amen

 

September 24, 2017

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Baby Moses

Exodus 2:3

The Midwives aren’t the only ones who stand up to Pharaoh. Moses’ own mother hides him, defying Pharaoh’s command to drown baby boys in the Nile. Moses’ mother, sister and Pharaoh’s own daughter collaborate in raising this Hebrew boy right under Pharaoh’s nose.
Focus Text: Exodus 1:22, 2:1-10
Other Reading: Just the above reading

Moses Basket

  • Have you ever heard of a “Moses Basket”? The term comes from this story.
  • Have you ever felt so powerless that you had to release yourself and a situation into your environment and then hope and trust?
  • Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 has wisdom for uncertain times. It says in part: Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.

Moses’ Rescue & Upbringing:

  • Ex 2:6 Did Pharaoh’s daughter know what she was doing?
  • Why did Pharaoh’s daughter act as she did all the while knowing her father’s decree (Ex. 1:22)
  • Has compassion for someone else ever changed your mind?

Prayer
Gracious God, Help us to trust you when we face situations that seem impossible. Help us to keep moving and do things that may seem futile or foolish, not out of anxiety but from an unconscious faith that somehow we are being led to do the right thing. Help us cooperate with your way of grace being spurred by mercy for people in helpless situations. Use us to challenge evil in the world and bring about good. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

 

October 1, 2017

World Communion Sunday!
Blood Drive
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Young Adult Moses

Exodus 2:11

Despite growing up in Pharaoh’s household (Ex. 2:10), Moses knows he belongs to another people. In his young adulthood he sees how the Hebrews are treated and this stirs a flame of righteous anger in him. Moses has a way to go before becoming an effective advocate for justice! But first, so much for “thou shall not kill.”

Focus Text: Exodus 2:11-21
Other Reading: Exodus 2:11-24

Moses’ emerging sense of justice

  • Ex 2:11-12 Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. What does he do?
  • Ex 2:13-14 Moses sees fellow Hebrews fighting. He spots the one who was in the wrong and calls him out. But what does the wrong-doer say?
  • What happens next to Moses?
  • Ex 2:15-16 When Moses flees to Midian he arrives at a well. If you have read the bible before you know this probably means one thing.
  • Ex 2:17-19 For a third time in our reading Moses stands up against an injustice. How is his action received this time?
  • Ex 2:21-22 Moses gets married and has a child.
  • Ex 2:23-25 Meanwhile, back in Egypt things are deteriorating for the Hebrews. God hears their groans and remembers the covenant made with the people in the book of Genesis.

Prayer
Gracious God, Help us to know we aren’t perfect. Give us the grace to know it’s OK to make mistakes. Give us patience with others as they struggle and grow just like we do. Through all of our experiences you teach and form us to be the people you desire. For this we give you thanks! In Christ we pray, Amen.

 

October 8, 2017

CROP Walk Extravaganza: Sandwich lunch
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Burning Bush

Exodus 3:2

Moses encounters God amid a bush with an eternal flame. Thus begins the first of many profound and heart-rending conversations between the two. This reading includes the call of Moses and the revealing of the divine name, I AM.

Focus Text: Exodus 3:1-15
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 3 & 4

Moses’ Call

  • Ex Ex 3:1  What is Moses doing when he sees the burning bush?
  • Ex 3:2-4  Can you picture what the bush is doing, what Moses is doing and what the Lord thinks Moses is doing?
  • Ex 3:5  What is “holy ground” for you?
  • Ex 3:6  Who is God? How does Moses regard God?
  • Ex 3:7-9  What has God seen?
  • Ex 3:10-15  What does God want Moses to do? How does Moses feel about it? What prompts God to share God’s name?

Moses’ Reluctance (and ours)

  • Is Moses gung-ho about his new job? Read all of chapters 3 & 4. It starts to get a bit comical. What does God
    have to do to convince Moses?
  • Have you ever been reluctant or been dragged “kicking and screaming” into something? Is that kind of experience
    part of “Grace Spurs Us Forward”? (Our theme this year.) Do
    you think God sometimes warns us that we have a task that needs doing, but it won’t be easy and nevertheless, it
    remains our call?

Prayer
Gracious God, What will it take for us to notice you? Will we see patterns? Will we hear your call? Will we feel a nudge – or was that a spur? Help us keep up a conversation with you to get the help we need for tasks ahead. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

 

October 15, 2017

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

“Pharaoh, Pharaoh: Let My People Go
Or: What Next? Locusts?!

Exodus 5:1

Moses returns to Egypt and together with his brother Aaron they take on Pharaoh. The situation becomes very dramatic: Worsening work conditions for the Hebrews and the onset of plagues for the Egyptians.

Focus Text: Exodus 10:1-20
Other Reading: Exodus Chapters 5-11
(all 7 chapters)

Moses & Pharaoh, round 1

  • Chapter 5: Moses and Aaron start with a simple request for the people to leave for a short time in order to worship. Crazy, insecure Pharaoh responds by saying no and making the people work harder by having to gather their own straw for the bricks. The people blame Moses and Aaron for their troubles.
  • Chapter 6: God gives Moses further instructions. God declares that God remembers the covenant and will free the people from slavery. 6:7 You are my people and I am your God.
    But, the people are so beat down, they won’t listen.
  • Pattern: God instructs Moses to do and say certain things to Pharaoh who typically doesn’t listen. The writer of Exodus says that God is behind Pharaoh’s hardening of heart – which is theologically troubling. Sometimes Pharaoh seems to relent, but then his heart hardens again. God’s aim is to show Pharaoh who is boss.
  • Pattern: God instructs Moses to talk to the people. God not only wants Pharaoh to know who God is, but also for the people to know who God is. The people sometimes get it, but sometimes not.
  • Chapter 7: Moses & Aaron have a staff turn into a snake, but Pharaoh’s magicians can do the same thing.

Study on Your Own

  • We will be focusing on one plague in particular: #8 Locusts.
  • Read each plague story on your own. What details do you notice? Which plague (1-9) would bother you the most?
  • We’ll study the final plague along with Passover next week.
  • Exodus Chapter 5: Have you ever worked in a terrible setting?

Ten Plagues

1. Water to Blood 7:14-25
2. Frogs 8:1-15
3. Gnats 8:16-19
4. Flies 8:20-32
5. Livestock disease 9:1-7
6. Boils 9:8-12
7. Thunder, hail 9:13-35
8. Locusts 10:1-20
9. Darkness 10:21-29
10. First Born 12:29-32

Prayer
Dear God, We pray for all the people of the world who are in oppressive situations. We pray for leaders who are called to challenge those who oppress others. Help us remember how much you love people and desire liberation and well-being for all. Help us to be wise, good and patient. Through Christ the Healer we pray, Amen.

 

October 22, 2017

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Passover

Exodus 13:3

The 10th and final plague is the one that is remembered and celebrated today. For Jewish people it is the sacred time of Passover. For Christian people we remember, especially on Maundy Thursday, that Jesus was celebrating Passover with the disciples when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. It is a time to remember who God is and what God does. From this knowledge people are positioned to move ahead.

Focus Text: Exodus 12:21-27, 29-34; 13:21
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 12 & 13
Passover instructions

  • Notice the steps in preparing for the final plague: A lamb is prepared, the lamb’s blood marks doorposts, how one is to eat the lamb (from how it is prepared to how the people are dressed while eating it).
  • When we later read about Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), recall this text.
  • 12:26 Passing this tradition on to children is essential.
  • 13:3-10 The Festival of Unleavened Bread is also associated with the Passover tradition.
  • 13:11-16 Consecration of the first born is also part of the Passover tradition.
  • 13:21 A cloud pillar by day and a fire pillar by night—these will guide the Israelite’s now and across the wilderness journey ahead.

Connecting with Passover

  • Have you ever celebrated Passover?
  • How is communion meaningful to you?
  • Do you have traditions that remind you of sacred times?

Prayer

Gracious God, Thank you for traditions, rituals and sacraments that remind us of who you are and how your holiness is a part of ordinary life. Help us remember you and keep moving on. Through Christ our guide, Amen.

October 29, 2017

500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
No Fear Sunday – Costumes Welcome at Church!
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Red Sea Crossing  and 500 Years+ of Faithful Trouble-makers

Exodus 14:21

What picture is in your head for when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground while their Egyptian pursuers become lost in the waves? This is one of the most epic scenes of the entire Bible. But the Israelites (14:10-11) almost didn’t make it across due to their own fear and lack of vision and faith for pursuing freedom and new life.

Focus: Exodus. 14:5-7; 10-14, 19-27; 15:20-21
Other Reading: Exodus Ch 14 (all) & 15:1-21
Let’s go back to Egypt

  • 14:10-12 The Israelites here and in the wilderness (15:22-26, 17:1-7) frequently lose their nerve and doubt Moses and God.

Moses’ pep talk

  • 14:13-14 Moses, despite his chapter 3 & 4 hesitations that he wasn’t a good spokesperson, delivers a stirring message. It seems God uses a variety of messages and messengers to “spur” people forward through uncomfortable and unfamiliar terrain.

Miriam & Moses’ song & dance

  • 15:20-21 Get out your tambourines! Sing with Moses (:1-19)

500th Anniversary: Protestant Reformation

  • It’s not just Reformation (No Fear) Sunday, it’s 500 years of it! In 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on a church door.
  • Discovery Presbyterian Church is part of a tradition that is “always being reformed by the word of God.”
  • How does God’s word spur you from fear to moving forward?

Prayer
Thank you, Lord, for our living tradition. Thank you for stories that inspire wonder, faith and courage. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

 

November 5, 2017

No ExcuseSunday! – “Fall Back

Set clocks back 1 hour, Get extra sleep, See you in church!

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Manna from Heaven

Exodus 16:31

Reality now sets in. The Israelites have broken away from enslavement to the Egyptians. But now they face water and food crises in an unknown wilderness. They are ready to throw in the towel. Moses thinks they might stone him (17:4). God is ready to provide for them, but God is not an enabler. God provides with healthy boundaries in order to demonstrate a vital covenant collaboration with the people.

Focus Text: Exodus 16:2-3, 11-20, 31
Other Reading: Exodus 15:22-27, Chapter 16 (all), and Chapter 17 (all)

Feeding Stories (amid complaints)

  • 15:22-25a Bitter water turns sweet
  • Chapter 16: Quail & Manna; Manna collection guidance, especially for Sabbath awareness
  • 17:1-7 Massah & Meribah – water from the rock

Extra notes:

  • 17:8-13 Joshua appears! We see a foreshadowing of the book of Joshua and interactions with the people indigenous to the lands they travel across. This first encounter is with the Amalek.
  • 17:11-12 Moses’ hand gets propped up!

Is freedom hard?

  • Americans are proud to live in “a land of the free.” Do we take freedom for granted? Do we care about the freedom of all people or just our own?
  • These stories seem to show that after the jubilation of being set free, people still need to learn what it takes to live a free life.

Prayer
God, you are our provider. You feed us your bread of heaven daily. Teach us to partake of your spiritual food each day so that we are nourished. Fortify us so that we are able to offer grace, mercy and wisdom in the hungry situations around us. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

 

November 12, 2017

Congregational Celebration Lunch!
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Jethro’s Leadership Seminar

Exodus 18:21

And you think you are busy. Moses, who is leading people across an unknown wilderness and finding them water and food, also works dawn to dusk as the community’s only counseling and court system. Moses’ father-in-law Jethro has wise insights for him.

Focus Text: Exodus 18:5-9, 13-24
Other Reading: Exodus all of chapter 18

Jethro: Moses’ father-in-law & Priest of Midian

  • 2:18-20 Jethro may also be named “Reuel” and “Hobab”
  • As a priest of Midian he has religious sensibilities. In these passages he really gushes about the God who rescued the people from enslavement and provided for them in the wilderness.
  • Jethro closely observes Moses’ practices and then asks questions. He then, with God-inspired counsel, offers Moses some leadership insights. Fortunately, Moses listens!

“Ministry Oriented”

  • The above term is part of Discovery’s covenant. We don’t seek to serve as “lone rangers,” but as part of a coordinated team. This may take some extra time at the get-go and requires “teaching” and “identifying skills” (Ex. 18:20-21) (and not micro managing!). See 1 Corinthians 13:4-27 – The Body of Christ. And consider a value from the Protestant Reformation, “the priesthood of all believers.” This is a sustainable and servant-oriented model that our Session and Deacons hope to emulate! This model sustains those who serve and those needing care (Exodus 18:23)

Wise Counsel

  • Who in your life has offered wise counsel to you – as in the Jethro/Moses relationship?

Prayer
Gracious God, You use people to perceive what you are doing and then to help one another out. Help us hear your voice and speak up with humility to help our systems and community prosper through the way of shared commitment. Thank you for the many gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Christ we pray, Amen.

 

November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving Sunday

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Guidance from Mt. Sinai

Exodus 20:3

There in the wilderness God gives the gift of communal guidance.

Focus Text: Exodus 19:18-20; 20:1-21
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 19 & 20

Prelude to the 10 Commandments

  • Exodus chapter 19 sets up a mystical scene: God and Moses are talking. God asks the people to obey the covenant and they agree. There are thick clouds, the people do ritual washing and are warned to not get too near to the God cloud. Hear the blast of the ram’s horn and get ready for the 10 Commandments of Mt. Sinai.

Studying the 10 Commandments

  • The 10 Commandments are printed on the next page.
  • Can you figure out the numbering? Presbyterians and Lutherans number them differently! Clue for Presbyterians: Our tradition is particularly wary of idolatry.
  • Which commandment is the longest?
  • Commandments 1-4 and 6-10 are often grouped together. Can you see why?
  • What are your experiences of the 10 Commandments?
  • What commandment helps you? What commandment(s) in particular might help culture/society today?
  • In addition to the commandments there is a lot of “case law” – we will look at a piece of that next week.

Prayer
Gracious God, Thank you for your guidance in the wilderness of life. Help us honor you and respect others. Help us appreciate that beyond the 10 Commandments there are many stories and situations that require nuance and interpretation. Help us always to remember Christ’s new commandment to love one another. In his name we pray, Amen.

 

10 Commandments: Exodus 20:1-17

 Then God spoke all these words:

  •  I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
  •  You shall have no other gods before me.
  •  You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  •  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing
    children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me.
  •  But showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  •  You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone
    who misuses his name.
  •  Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
  •  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
  •  But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
  •  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the
    seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.
  •  Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
  •  You shall not murder.
  •  You shall not commit adultery.
  •  You shall not steal.
  •  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  •  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave,or ox,or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
NRSV Translation

 

November 26, 2017

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Law & Humane Treatment

Exodus 23:9

Is the Law there to boss and shame? No. The Law is God’s gift to people for the purpose of life and well-being for all.

Focus Text: Exodus 23:1-12
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 21,22, & 23
Case Law – The Book of the Covenant

  • These readings may make you snooze in their obscure specificity or they may alarm you with what seems brutal by our modern measures. It is very important to understand and recognize that the Bible reflects the culture of its times and for its times it was more ordered and humane than abject lawlessness.
  • Cringe-worthy: Striking or cursing parents means death (21:15, 17)
  • “Lex Talionis” – an eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth (21:24). This was found in Hammurabi’s code also and limited escalating violence.
  • “Premeditated” violence (21:13) – some categories persist today in helping us sort out justice
  • 22:21 Vineyard? Aren’t they on the move? Yes: These laws were written by a settled people across time and not just in the wilderness.
  • 22:21-24 God’s care for resident aliens (and why); God’s care for widows and orphans.
  • 21:2-11 It’s excruciating to see that the formerly enslaved now have slaves. At least the guidance seems to protect slaves. Fortunately, slavery is now seen as wholesale morally repugnant. This is yet another reminder that law is not fixed but tied to moral culture and times.

The Law’s Trajectory: Well-being esp. for the down-trodden
Case law here seems to recognize that humans can get carried away by their emotions, ego or their own success. Offering no-interest loans (22:25) and helping an enemy’s ox (23:4) help people realize that life is a venture of not personal gain but communal well being with an eye out for those who are most weak and vulnerable (22:-21-24; 23:10-12 – rest the land for others, rest animals)

Prayer
Forgive us Lord when we do not use your Law for the well-being of all. Help us think creatively about how we respond to problems and injustices. Restrain unkind words. Inspire us with generous actions that inspire others to transcend themselves. In the power of Christ we pray, Amen.

 

December 3, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent  Potluck & Workshops
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Builders of the Lost Ark

Exodus 25:10

Moses is now up in the cloud and glory of Mount Sinai; his ear to God’s lips. God gives elaborate and detailed instructions for the making of holy spaces and items. God sets up a priesthood through Aaron and his sons. God directs Moses to Bezalel and Oholiab as artisan builders.

Focus Texts: Exodus 24:3, 7, 17-18;

25:1, 8-10, 17-18, 30-31;
26:1, 27:20; 28:1-2; 31:1-11
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 24-31
40 days of blueprints?

  • The focus readings this week give us a taste of all the elaborate planning that went into the making of the Ark of the Covenant (25:10-22) as well as the tabernacle and all its furnishings. This traveling “camp” tabernacle bears striking resemblance to the future temple built by King Solomon (1 Kings 6).  The material here is duplicated somewhat in chapters 35-38.

Hey, is this a set up?

  • 24:3 & 7: Feature the people agreeing to follow the Book of the Covenant (chapters 21-23) and a blood ritual (24:1-8) to mark the covenant agreement.
  • 24:9-15 Moses and key leaders go up the mountain and hang out with God. God promises stone tablets. Moses is bidden farther up the mountain and leaves Aaron & Hur in charge. Moses is there 40 days and nights receiving the guidance (chapters 25-31).
  • What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned for next week.

Prayer
Gracious God, We know that worship of you is not worship of things, yet in our finery, in our careful work, in our mindful dress, in our attention to detail we can glorify you. Prosper the work of our hands and use all our goods as testimony to who you are. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

 

December 10, 2017

2nd Sunday of Advent
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

The Golden Calf

Exodus 32:4

h4>Focus Text: Exodus 32:1-7, 15, 19-22, 25-26, 30
Other Reading: Exodus chapters 32, 33 & 34
Chapter 32: Israelites Gone Wild

  • 32:1 When the people see that Moses is delayed, their darker natures arise. They lose faith in God and Moses.
  • Compare 32:4-6 to 32:22-24. Of all people, Aaron, Moses’ brother and head priest, aids and abets the people’s evil. He later minimizes his involvement and omits a big part of the story. But the editors of this story aren’t partial to Aaron’s account (32:25).

Moses’ interactions with the people & God

  • 32:8-14 depicts God’s fury and Moses’ first round of placating
  • 32:19-20 Moses gets furious; “breaks all 10 commandments”
  • 32:26-35 shows Moses’ first round of atoning for the wrong
  • 33:1ff God says for the people to leave Mt. Sinai and head for a land of milk and honey which has people in it that need driving out (ouch).
  • 33:7-11 Tent of Meeting: Moses and God hold regular chats in a special place outside of camp. A cloud marks the spot and Joshua is in training as Moses’ assistant.
  • 33:12-23 Moses asks for God’s presence and glory; he stands on a rock and gets quite a show!
  • 34:1 New set of commandments.
  • 34:5-27 Covenant renewal and instructions for life in new land
  • 34:29-33 Moses emerges “glowing”; needs a veil.

Prayer
Gracious God, you are forgiving and just. Help us not let impatience, fear, compulsions, or nerves determine our actions. But when this happens, and it will for we are human, help us confess, learn and grow in deeper relationship with you. Through Christ our redeemer we pray, Amen.

 

December 17, 2017

3rd Sunday of Advent
9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Generously Journey On

Exodus 40:38

Our study of Exodus concludes with the priestly literature of setting up the tabernacle and its accoutrements. The main idea is honoring God’s presence among the people.

Focus Texts: Exodus 35:21-29, 36:2-7; 39:32; 40:12-15; 33-38
Other Reading: Exodus 35-40

  • Chapters 35-39 are a bit of a repeat of material found in chapters 25-31. Note our study on December 3.
    The holy project concludes
  • 35:21-29 It’s interesting to see how a special offering was done. Look at all the detail! What unique offerings (materials, skills, character) have you been gifted with that you share in the Lord’s community?
  • 36:2-7 The offering takes on a life of its own! What happens? Does this ever happen at church?
    This material would have been interesting to read amid our building project two years ago!
  • 40:12-15 Setting up the Aaronic priesthood.
  • 40:33-38 Exodus concludes with a flourish – the cloud and the glory of God and the journey continuing!

Exodus Concludes

  • What do you think of this study of Exodus?

Prayer
Gracious God, help us remember the lengths you go to for your people. Help us remember, cooperate and be ready to move forward, spurred by your mercy and compassion, to try new things and care for your people. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

 

December 24, 2017

A special invitation to:

SUNDAY DECEMBER 24

10:30 AM Morning Worship
Celebrating the 4th Sunday of Advent
Light & Life
(But will anyone understand?)
Focus Text: John 1:1-13

Christmas Eve Worship
4:00PM & 10:00PM

Celebrating Christmas
Candles & Carols
Grace, Grace, Grace

Focus Text: John 1:14-18

About every 7 years the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve land on the same day.
So in the morning we celebrate and prepare for the coming of Christ
by lighting the 4th Advent candle.
In the afternoon & evening service we celebrate his birth and presence in our lives with our traditional Christmas Eve service.
We will look at the gorgeous opening to the Gospel of John – part 1 in the morning, part 2 in the afternoon & evening.

Family, Friends, Neighbors, All—
Welcome to this day of Celebration!

Bible Study groups on Christmas Break through January 3.

 

John 1:1-18

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was in the beginning with God. 3. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing cae into being. What has come into being 4. in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13. who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15.  (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16.  From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

NRSV Translation

Looking Forward:
Study of the Gospel of John

December 31, 2017
Welcome 2018!
Focus Text: John 1:19-28
Other Reading: John 1:19-34
New Year’s Eve Worship 10:30 AM
9:15 Study on Break

January 7, 2018
Come & See
Focus Text: John 1:35-51
Other Reading: Just the above
Epiphany Snack Luck and Celebrating our Call

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

January 14, 2018
Wedding at Cana
Focus Text: John 2:1-12
Other Reading: All of John Chapter 2
Martin Luther King Day Weekend

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

January 21, 2018
Nic at Night
Focus Text: John 3:1-21
Other Reading: All of John Chapter 3
Tropical Mix Sunday

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

January 28, 2018
Woman at the Well
Focus Text: John 4:1-32 excerpt
Other Reading: All of John Chapter 4
“Souper Bowl of Caring” Lunch
Discovery’s 5th Birthday & Annual Meeting

9:15 AM Study for all ages and 10:30 Worship

Remember & Keep Moving
The next sacred season

Lent 2018
Ash Wednesday – February 14
1st Sunday of Lent February 18

Lent Wednesdays
Wednesday Evening Gatherings
6:15 Communal Meal followed by study
February 14 – March 21
Alphabetic Flocks take turns hosting

Holy Week 2018
Palm Sunday – March 25

Maundy Thursday – March 29
6:15 Communal Meal, Communion, Reading of sacred text

Easter Sunday – April 1
(Yes: April Fool’s Day!)
Sunrise Service 7:00 AM
Celebration Services 8:30AM 10:30AM
Breakfast after Sunrise service
Egg Hunts after each service

Eastertide 2018
April 8 – Some kind of fun theme Sunday
April 29 – Youth Sunday
May 20 – Pentecost
May 27 – Summer Worship Schedule begins – 9:30

Let God’s Grace Sustain Us All!
Experience the Grace of Communal Study
Sundays 9:15 AM Thursdays 12-1 Fridays 1:30-2:30

All Are Welcome and Texts Celebrated in Sunday Worship

 

Discovery Presbyterian Church
4622 Monroe Street Omaha, NE 68117
402-731-7222; www.discoverypc.org
facebook.com/discoverypres @DiscoveryPC #takeanotherlookatchurch

Booklet Printed – September 2017
Cover art: Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-6)
Flames also symbolize the dynamic power, presence and call of the Spirit