Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Doubting Thomas

This week we took a look at Thomas...better known as doubting Thomas.  Thomas was one of the named 12 disciples of Jesus.  We know from Scripture in John's Gospel that Thomas was willing to follow Jesus, even to the point of death (see John 11:1-16).  We probably know Thomas better by the story of him asking to see Jesus' hands and side as proof that it was actually him after Jesus had been crucified.

We often think of doubt as a bad thing.  In reality, though, if doubt helps lead us to asking questions, it can be a very good thing.  It is difficult to grow in our faith if we never ask questions about things that confuse or concern us.  Asking questions and seeking answers helps us better understand our faith and what it means to be a Christian.  And I would venture to guess that each of you has at least one person you know that you can go to with your questions.  It is so important to have these people in our lives.  Without them, doubt can sometimes start to overcome our faith.

We did a little experiment to visualize this.  Some of us filled a balloon with air and tied it off.  Others of us filled up a balloon with water and tied it shut.  When we have faith without any support like the balloon with nothing in it but air, and expose it to something difficult (in our experiment, a candle flame) it pops!  But when we have support in our faith journey, like the balloon filled with water, and we run into a difficult situation, our faith survives and helps get us through!  Those balloons didn't pop when held over the flame.  Who do you have in your life that supports you in your faith and you can ask questions to when you have concerns or are confused?

Don't have someone like that in your life?  Let's talk!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Look at Pontius Pilate

This past Sunday we continued our "Ancestors" series with a look at Pontius Pilate, "the troubled politician".  Pilate served as the governor of sorts for the province of Judea.  With that title came much power and authority over the people.  We are not really sure what exactly was going through Pilate's mind when he chose to follow the people's cheers to release Jesus Barabbas and crucify Jesus Christ instead.  Maybe Pilate was trying to keep peace among the people and follow what they wanted.  Maybe he had some agenda of his own which he wanted to make happen.  We are not really sure.  We do know from Matthew 27 that Pilate's wife had a dream and told Pilate to not have anything to do with Jesus Christ, but Pilate followed the voices of the people instead.  So once Barabbas was released and Jesus was sentenced to death, Pilate washed his hands to try to signify that Jesus' death was not his fault.

We all make mistakes.  We have all done something we regret doing.  The amazing thing about the God we worship is that we are forgiven for those things.  Jesus' died that we might all have life and live our lives as forgiven and reconciled people...not matter how many times we screw up.  We spent time writing down some things we struggle with--sins we do or things we should do but don't.  Then we took a permanent marker and wrote "FORGIVEN" over top of that sin.  Together we washed our cloths clean, leaving only the proclamation of God's forgiveness there!  What is it that you struggle with?  Do you know God's forgiveness?  I pray that you do!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Adventure Park

If you have not yet gone to The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat in Rice, you must!!!  The youth had a blast climbing and swinging in the trees on Sunday.  We are already planning a trip back there in the spring.  Check out pictures from our great afternoon.