Monthly Archives: April, 2015

Something Outta Nothing

[Elisha and the Widow’s Oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7]

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (ESV)

This woman:

  • Lost her husband
  • Was about to lose her kids into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-41)
  • Would then have no one to work the family land which would leave her deeper in debt

Humility – go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors

Faith – empty vessels and not too few

Solitude – then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons

I HAVE NOTHING … NOTHING EXCEPT A JAR OF OIL

God of the impossible – Luke 18:27

  • Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” [NIV]
  • “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” [MSG]

See beyond the nothing… except a jar of oil

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. – Ephesians 3:20 [MSG]

 Study Questions:

1) The woman who approached Elisha was the wife of one of the sons “of the prophets.” This is similar to a disciple. The students were known as the “sons” and the instructor would be called “father.”

When the woman asked Elisha for help, what was Elisha’s response?

2) Considering this interaction between Elisha and the widow:

How do you respond when someone approaches you with a need?

How do you respond when you have your own need?

What could you do differently?

3) In tonight’s passage, we read about many different problems this widow had to overcome. Not only did she have to overcome the loss of her husband and potential loss of her children and her income stability, she had some inner obstacles to overcome.

What were some of those obstacles?

How did Elisha direct the widow through those obstacles?

4) What obstacles are you facing?

Puddles of Life

During our morning walk there was quite a lot of water puddles to make our way around because of the crazy weather during the night. Being a Labrador, Max has no issue making his way through the puddles. I try to encourage him to walk around but sometimes he just walks right on through. With Marci it is a different story. She is a Shih Tzu. Some of the puddles we encountered this morning were like lakes to her.

As we made our way home, Max went ahead and Marci found herself right in front of a large puddle. She was frightened. She tried to run in the other direction but could not get far as she was attached to Max’s leash. I reached down to grab her and save her from the puddle. She did not know what was going on. She ran away from my hands because I think she feared we would start giving her a bath right there in the puddle. I tried to calm her. Finally I was able to get a good hold on her and I carried her over the puddle and placed her safely on dry ground.

We often reach puddles in our own lives. We are fearful to go through. We don’t know what direction to go and we can’t get very far no matter which way we turn. Sometimes we just need to walk up to the water’s edge in faith, understanding that God is right there. Our loving Father is always there. He reaches out and carries us across the turbulent waters in life. He holds us with His great strength. He guides us through the deepest waters and the darkest valleys. There is no safest place to be than in the hands of our Father. Stop squirming. Rest in Him. Let yourself be carried where He made you to be—to a place beyond our understanding. Step forward. It’s time.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2 [NLT]

Shipwrecked

Jonah [Jonah 1-4] and Paul [Acts 27]

“Where [God] is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final thing.” – William James

Acceptance of God

Paul was all about joy, so joyful to take the message of Christ anywhere – even wanted to build on a new foundation and reach those who haven’t heard

“And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’” – Acts 26:29 [NASB]

Jonah angry that God showed mercy – Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because He knew God would have mercy – Jonah had a covering from Lord and then it died and he got angry, had mercy on plant but not happy with mercy God showed to those who he didn’t believe deserved it.

“But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?’” – Jonah 4:10-11 [NIV]

JOY OR ANGER

Boldness for God

Both knew what to do on the ship. Jonah slept & kept silent until late – Paul tried to vocalize what to do Are you vocal or quiet?

“Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 [NASB]

SPEAK UP OR KEEP SILENT

Closeness to God How close are you to God? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT] Always moving toward or moving away. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2-3) – Paul wanted to go to Rome (Acts 19:21)

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 [ESV] “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. – John 14:21 [NIV]

CLOSE OR DISTANT

Message Outline

Bible Study Questions

Bible Study Questions – Leader Guide

Bible Study Questions:

Shipwrecked

[Jonah 1-4 & Acts 27]

Tonight we discussed two different people (Jonah and Paul) who both were called by God to deliver His message. Fully understanding our calling from God requires a lot more than biblical knowledge.

Acceptance of God

1) Accepting God for Who He is includes accepting that He is merciful. What is mercy?

2) How does mercy differ from grace?

3) How do Paul and Jonah differ in their degree of acceptance of mercy?

4) Do you find some people more difficult to show mercy?

5) Read Jonah 4:10-11. What do you think God telling us?

Boldness for God

6) Paul knew what to do on the ship and he spoke up. When is it easy for you to speak up and to be bold for God?

7) Jonah slept and was silent about the truth until he was approached by others. What keeps us from stepping forward and speaking up?

8) Has there been a moment in your life when you kept silent? How did you feel?

Closeness to God

9) Who determines how close we are to God?

10) What are we supposed to call on Him in?

11) What does John 14:21 tell us about the results of calling upon God?

12) What keeps you moving away from God? Toward God?

Feeding the Five Thousand Lesson

Feeding the Five Thousand

[Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:4-13]

Beyond the Text

  • What fish did Jesus feed to the people?
    • The Bible doesn’t say and scholars don’t know. Legend has it that the fish was Tilapia, also known as “St. Peter’s Fish.”
  • What about the Feeding of Four Thousand? Is it the same?
    • Matthew 15:32-38 and Mark 8:1-9 contains a story of the Feeding the Four Thousand in Decapolis. Though some people believe this is another account of the Feeding the Five Thousand, most agree it is a different event. This event describes seven loaves of bread and two fish.
  • The Feeding the Five Thousand is the only miracle to appear in all four Gospels besides the Resurrection.
  • The Bible says there were 5,000 men. This number does not include the women and children. Most scholars believe there was likely 15,000 people fed during this miracle.
  • What was eight months of a man’s wages?
    • The eight months of a man’s wages is about two hundred denarii. A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.

Discussion

When it was getting late, what did the disciples want to do with the crowds?

What was Jesus’ response to the disciples?

When Jesus told the disciples “You give them something to eat,” what was the response from the disciples?

The boy provided five loaves and two fish. What did Jesus do? What did the disciples do?

When you have a need, do you try to meet the need? Do you trust God to meet the need? Do you trust God to do the impossible?

This event shows us Jesus provides to the disciples and then they provide to the crowd. How is that similar to what we do as good stewards? As ministers of the Good News? How is this similar for both physical needs and spiritual needs?

The disciples wanted to send the people away but Jesus wanted to take care of their needs. The passage before the Feeding of Five Thousand speaks about something Jesus had for the people. What was this trait? How does it help us to meet the needs of others?

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