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This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector found in Luke 18:9-14.

 

May 13

  • Read Luke 18:9-14
  • This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumptions of pride and humility and offers a way of living as a Christ follower in active devotion to God.

 

May 14

  • Read Luke 18:9
  • In today’s world, who would be those who trust in themselves that they are righteous and who regard others with contempt?

 

May 15

  • Read Luke 18:10
  • With whom do you identify in this scripture: the Pharisee or the tax collector?

 

May 16

  • Read Luke 18:11-12
  • How do you show your obedience to God? Through your daily prayer and scripture reading? Through your giving? Through your service? What does it mean to say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I?”

 

May 17

  • Read Luke 18:13
  • How do you show your reverence to God? Through your daily prayer and scripture reading? Through your giving? Through your humility? What does it mean to say, “God, be merciful to me a sinner?”

Note: “God, be merciful to me a sinner” is the prayer of the person who knows he/she is not righteous. But it was also a standard element of the synagogue prayer prayed regularly by Pharisees and all who worshiped at the synagogue. The Pharisee would pray the prayer because he was righteous.

 

May 18

  • Read Luke 18:14
  • What does it mean to be justified? Are you justified?
  • God’s grace is always amazing grace. When it is calculated, even as “grace to the humble,” it is no longer grace. Who goes home justified?

 

May 19

  • Read Luke 10:36-37
  • Have you ever prayed, “Thank God I’m not like that Pharisee?” Have you ever thanked God you are not like the people you named on Monday?

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Here is a plan to read, reflect, and respond to the Parable of the Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-32.

Missed Part 1? No Problem!

Return to Part 1: Luke 15:11-23

 

 

Day 1     
Focus on Luke 15:24-32.  The entire parable begins at verse 11. If you missed part 1, start here.

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumption of being good and earning our salvation. It offers us an alternative understanding of what it means to be a Christ-follower.

prodigal son transforming mission

Day 2

  • Read Luke 15:25-27
  • Reflect and respond: How do you react when you feel like you are not important to the people around you?

 

Day 3

  • Read Luke 15:28-30
  • Reflect and respond: When have you been angry because someone gets something (especially if you have determined they don’t deserve it) that you feel like you have earned or deserve?

 

Day 4

  • Read Luke 15:31
  • Reflect and respond: Can you think of a time you were the center of your own goodness? You never strayed from what you were supposed to do, you never broke the rules, and you deserved to get a little more or better than those around you?

 

Day 5

  • Read Luke 15:32
  • Reflect and respond: Who is included in God’s grace? Is there anyone not included?

 

Day 6

  • Read Luke 15:25-32
  • Reflect and respond: After reading the story of the older son again, how do you respond to God’s compassion?

 

Day 7

  • Read Luke 15:11-32
  • Reflect and respond: Both sons are welcomed home; one who went off to the “far country” and the other who has always been with his father. As the older son, would you go to the party for your younger brother?

 

What Parable is Next?

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

Over the past several weeks, I have asked you to pray that I am a faithful witness to the resurrection of Jesus. I have asked you to pray that I become the resurrection, that the presence of Jesus be seen and experienced in the life I live. The following story helps to illustrate my desire to be that faithful witness.¹

God’s Invitation

    Many years ago, there lived a young and gifted woman named Sophia. She had received a vision in which God spoke to her as a dear friend. In this conversation, God asked Sophia to dedicate her life to the task of translating and distributing the Word of God through her country.

    Now, the printing press had only recently been invented, and the only Bibles to be found were written in Latin and keep under lock and key within churches. Sophia was from a poor farming village on the outskirts of the city, so the task seemed impossible. She would have to raise a vast sum of money to purchase the necessary printing equipment, rent a building to house it, and hire scholars with the ability to translate the Latin verses into the country’s common language.

    However, the impossibility of the task did not sway her in the least. After having received her vision, Sophia sold the few items she possessed and left the village to live on the streets of the city. She began to beg for the money that was required, as she dedicated herself to any work that was available in order to help with the funds.

    Raising the money proved to be a long and difficult task. There were only a few who gave generously, most only gave little, if anything at all. In addition to this, living on the streets involved great personal suffering. Gradually, over the next fifteen years, the money began to accumulate.

    Shortly before the plans for the printing press could be set in motion, a dreadful flood devastated a nearby town, destroying the homes and livelihood of many people. When the news reached Sophia, she gathered up what she had raised and spent it on food for the hungry, material to help rebuild destroyed homes, and basic provisions for those who had been displaced.

    Eventually, the town began to recover from the natural disaster that had taken place. Remembering the vision that God had planted deep in her heart, Sophia left and returned to the city to start over again.

    As the years passed, the task of making and saving money took a toll on the beautiful Sophia. Many were impacted by her love and dedication, even though the people were poor, the money began to accumulate once again.

    However, after nine more years, disaster struck again. This time a plague descended upon the city, taking the lives of thousands and leaving many children without family or food.

     By now Sophia was tired and ill. Yet, without hesitation, she used the money that had been collected to buy medicines for the sick, homes for the orphaned, and land where the dead could be buried safely.

    Never once did she forget the vision that God had imparted to her, but the severity of the plague required that she set this sacred call to one side to help with the emergency. Only when the shadow of the plague had lifted did she once again take to the street, driven by her desire to translate the Word of God and distribute it among the people.

    Finally, shortly before her death, Sophia was able to gather together the money required for the printing press, the building, and the translators. Although she was, this time, close to death, Sophia lived long enough to see the first Bibles printed and distributed.

    Even though she got the Bibles translated and printed only once, it is said that Sophia accomplished her task of translating and distributing the Word of God three times during her life. The first two were more beautiful and radiant than the last.¹

The Resurrection is the Presence of Jesus

Using the Word of God as a focus, this story reveals the reality of the resurrection with this question: “Is the resurrection something to be proven or is the resurrection the presence of Jesus lived out in and through my life?” The reality of the resurrection cannot be heard or received without the incarnated presence of the living Christ.

For me to say I believe in the resurrection apart from being the place where the resurrection becomes a living, breathing act is inconsistent with my witness. The resurrection is reflected in what I say, in what I do, how I relate to people, how I respond to the social, political, economic, global structures in which I live.

If I attempt to explain the resurrection or to prove the resurrection, I will always end up describing something less than the reality of the resurrection. To say, “He is Risen” is not a statement to be repeated as much as it is an act of faithful living. He is Risen exists in the world only when we live it out by engaging fully in the world in which we live.

Please continue to pray that I am fully engaged in the world in which I live, the communities in which I work, and the lives in which I experience God’s love. It is my hope that one day, you will say, he was a faithful witness to the resurrection of Jesus. We could tell by experiencing the preaching, teaching, healing, caring, loving of Jesus in and through him.

  1. Story adapted from The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins, pages 13-15.

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-31. Part 1 focuses on Luke 15:11-24.

Day 1         
The parable of the Lost Son – Luke 15:11-31 – Part One. Focus on Luke 15:11-24.

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumption of who is good and who is bad, who is in and who is out, in relationship to God’s acceptance and offers an invitation to all people. It also challenges our understanding of what it means to be and do good and offers an alternative understanding of what it means to be good and on the inside.

 

Day 2

  • Read Luke 15:11-12
  • Reflect and respond: Have you ever demanded something that you decided was yours? Have you ever wished ill upon someone so you could get what you wanted?

 

Day 3

  • Read Luke 15:13-16.
  • Reflect and respond: Think of the far country in this way: a time/place when you were disillusioned with who you had become. Is there a time where you were disappointed with the world and said, “Is this all there is?”

 

Day 4

  • Read Luke 15:17-19
  • Reflect and respond: Today’s passage leads to change. The transformation he experiences moves him from “give me my inheritance” to “make me like one of your hired servants”. Repentance and returning are movements that bring us closer to Jesus and one another. To what or whom do you need to return?

 

Day 5

  • Read Luke 15:20
  • Reflect and respond: When have you experienced God’s compassion and/or forgiveness?

 

Day 6

  • Read Luke 15:21
  • Reflect and respond: How do you respond to God’s compassion?

 

Day 7

  • Read Luke 15:22-24
  • Reflect and respond: How do you feel when you know you are important to the people around you? What does it feel like to be celebrated?

Take Note:

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What Parable is Next?

We haven’t finished the Parable of the Lost Son. Continue to Part 2 as we focus on Luke 15:25-32

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin found in Luke 15:1-10

 

April 22

These Reflections on Reality reveal the extravagance of God’s amazing grace. Jesus not only does not reject sinners; he does more than merely tolerate or condescendingly accept them. They are guests at his table.

 

April 23       

  • Read 15:1-2
  • Reflect and Respond: With whom do you identify? Tax collectors and sinners? Pharisees and scribes?

 

April 24          

  • Read Luke 15:3-6
  • Reflect and respond: When have you risked your reputation and security to care for someone who cost you both time and money?

 

April 25  

  • Read Luke 15:7
  • Reflect and Respond: When have you celebrated when someone has experienced God’s amazing and extravagant grace? Have you ever been offended by God’s amazing and extravagant grace?

 

April 26 

  • Read: Luke 15:8
  • Reflect and respond: How much time and effort do you put into caring for people who are considered outsiders

 

April 27   

  • Read: Luke 15:9
  • Reflect and respond: What are you rejoicing about today?

 

April 28     

  • Read: Luke 15:10
  • Reflect and respond: Can you imagine the joy over one person whose life is transformed by the grace of God?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

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What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Great Banquet found in Luke 14:15-24.

 

April 15

Introduction of Luke 14:15-24

This Reflection on Reality challenges our understanding of entitlement and inclusion. It offers a picture of including the poor and marginalized as well as including the Gentiles.

To accept the invitation beforehand and then to refuse it when the day came was a serious insult. We are all occupied with legitimate concerns, but to give those concerns priority over God and God’s way of living is called into question.

 

April 16

  • Read: Luke 14:15-16.
  • Reflect and respond: What would it be like to be invited to God’s party?

 

April 17

  • Read: Luke 14:17
  • Reflect and respond: What an experience of grace! How do you respond to the following scenario? You’re an invited guest and you’re not expected to offer anything.

 

April 18

  • Read Luke 14:18-20
  • Reflect and respond: What excuses have you made for not participating in God’s way of living?

 

April 19

  • Read: Luke 14:21
  • Reflect and respond: Who do you think will be invited to God’s party?

 

April 20

  • Read: Luke 14:22-23
  • Reflect and respond: Who would be at your table if the invitation was open to all?

 

April 21

  • Read Luke 14:24
  • Reflect and respond: How have you answered the invitation?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

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What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 22: Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin – 15:1-10

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Rich Fool. Read Luke 12:13-21

April 8 – Luke 12:13-21 – Introduction

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumptions that life consists in what we have or what we own. It offers a way of living as a Christian disciple in relationship to affluence and responsibility. The way of God is the way of living responsibly with things. Your identity is not in how much you have. You are a fool to be consumed by your possession. Your identity is in the God who has provided what you have. Wealth or lack of wealth is not the issue. Your identity in God is the issue. You might be “rich” in wealth but not rich toward God and God’s work.

 

April 9     

  • Read Luke 12:13
  • Reflect & Respond:
    • Assumption – Life consists in how much I have i.e., our possessions.
    • How did you live responsibly with what you own today?

Be reminded: Today, attempt to give more than you take. Then, let us know how you do.

 

April 10    

 

April 11   

  • Read Luke 12:15
  • Reflect & Respond: 1) Where did you witness greed today? 2) Do you consider yourself a person who has a little, enough, or a lot?

Be reminded, life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.

 

April 12     

  • Read Luke 12:16-19
  • Reflect and Respond:
    • How much is enough?
    • What do you do when you have more than enough?

April 13

  • Read Luke 12:20
  • Reflect and respond:
    • True or False?: I tend to think of others more than myself.
    • What did you experience today that reminded you that your identity comes from Christ, not from your possessions?

Be reminded, affluence brings responsibility.

 

April 14  

  • Read Luke 12:21
  • Reflect and respond: Is your barn filled with self or filled with God? Be reminded: God has already been generous to you. What does “being rich toward God” look like?

 

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 15: Parable of the Great Banquet – 14:15-24

April 22: Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin – 15:1-10

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

I grew up listening to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio. I remember placing my transistor radio under my pillow and listening to Waite Hoyt call the play by play. Over the years I have listened to Al Michaels, Joe Nuxhall, Marty Brennaman, and “The Cowboy,” Jeff Brantley. Today, I still wait to hear Marty say, “This one belongs to the Reds.”

In recent years, I have had the opportunity to attend several Reds’ Caravans. I have met some of my favorite players, talked with new prospects, gotten autographs, and listened to the hopes and expectations of those in the front office.

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