Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recap Week 2: Generalizing the Questions

This week and next will focus on moving our discussions and personal thoughts into a package that could be shared with entire groups of Christians and would be adopted by them all. In other words, what are things that all Christians would agree on as far as "What's the least we can do?"

Then more specifically for the Utica church of Christ, how can we communicate the process of the past several months to the rest of the congregation that has not been coming on Wednesday nights and participating in this Bible study?

Recap Week 1: Personalizing the Questions

Through "the least we can do" study, we have focused on three main areas: the least we can do, core values and everyday practices.
The least we can do often resulted in answers that were bigger and broader concepts of how we should live this life in response to God's command and love.
For example: "be willing to give up anything that might come between me and God."
Core values look at the beliefs and ideals that are most important to us. In order to actually do, "the least we can do," what values are essential?
Example (in keeping with the example above): If I am going to be willing to give up material possessions, I must value simplicity. If I am willing to sever relationships and commit to ridding myself of bad habits, I'll have to value God's wisdom.
Everyday practices are the "least we can do" concepts broken down into "easy" assignments. So if the least we can do is eat a six foot long partysubmarine sandwich, the everyday practice might be to take one bite.
Example (in keeping with the example above): Reflection. I can read and pray Psalm 139:23-24 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; 
   test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, 
   and lead me in the way everlasting.
Keep in mind the everyday practice is just one "bite." It may not fully accomplish the least we can do concept but it will be a start in the direction. It will be one piece of the puzzle.

The idea here is that each individual would be able to develop a goal or two that are manageable tasks that will for them be "the least they can do"
What is it for you?

The Lost Week: Whats TLWCD to imitate God?

Ephesians 5:1-2
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's the Least We Can Do to reach the lost?

This week we looked at Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8 and Colossians 4:2-6 to see the least we can do to evangelize and make disciples.

July 13, 2011 - What's the Least We Can Do? In the home and at work?

For this week we looked at Ephesians 5:21-6:9 and Colossians 3:18-4:1 to see the least we can be doing in the home and at work.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TLWCD to enter God's Rest...

This Wednesday we looked at 3 Scriptures: Hebrews 3:7-19; Hebrews 10:19-25 and I Thessalonians 5. Again we asked the question... What's the least we can do?   to enter God's rest... to enter the Most High place... to be a child of the light/day?
Step 2 of the exercise forced us to come up with some things that we can do as everyday/any day, practical, real-life activities for God.
The results of the 3 groups/3 Scriptures will be posted as replies to this post.
Feel free to add your own thoughts, comments and questions!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Everyday Practices for Luke 9 and 14

OK. This past week we re-examined Luke 9:57-62 and Luke 14:15-35 to see how we could translate those Scriptures (the least we could do) to follow Jesus into everyday practices. This proved to be a difficult task as many of us were able to identify common themes and concepts but had a more difficult time with the concrete.

Some things I remember from Wednesday... please add your own ideas
1. Make yourself available to God and to serve others
2. Invite (bring, drag) ALL people to the feast/banquet of the Master
3. Pray for wisdom, guidance, clarity, etc. (Psalm 139:23-24)
4. Seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)
5. Read the Bible

What's the least you can do to follow Jesus? What does that look like in your everyday life and practices?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Week 4: Luke 14:15-35

This week we divided into three groups and looked at three different aspects of Luke 14:15-35.

Section 1: Luke 14:15-24, The Parable of the Great Banquet
1. Overall, how does this parable relate to the call of an individual to the, "banquet" of God?
2. What is the least they could do to get to the banquet? (The people in the parable who were invited to the banquet)
3. Did the master do enough to get people to come to the banquet? What is the least He could do?
4. What's the least we can do?

Section 2: Luke 14:25-27
1. Did Jesus say things like this to intentionally thin out His crowd?
2. What is hyperbole? Is Jesus using hyperbole with His "hate" comment? Is this a comparative statement?
3. Explain how we can process this statement. Is the least I can do, hate my family? My own life?
4. What does it mean to hate your family?
5. What does it mean to hate your own life?

Section 3: Luke 14:28-35
1.Why is it so important to count the cost?
2. How does vs 35 connect to the rest of this passage?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week 3 Updated Questions

Some questions and notes for thought and discussion...
whenever you can, use Scripture to support your answer.
1. What do you think Jesus meant by His answer to the first man? Where did Jesus finally lay His head? John 19:30…
2. Matthew Henry says, "If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of great things in the world." How are my thoughts involved?
3. What does it mean if I do have a place to lay my head?
4. How does your perspective change regarding the first "prospect" in light of Mark 4:16-19 and John 6:26-27? Do you think he may have been seeking to follow Jesus for the benefits only and was not aware of the costs?
5. What does, "wherever you go" mean to us? For us? From us?
6. What does it mean to go and bury one's father? Is Jesus anti-funeral?
7. What is Jesus' perspective on family? Mark 3:35; Mathew 19:29; Matthew 10:34-36
8. What are some ways that family can come between a person and following Jesus?
9. Why was it different for Elisha? I Kings 19:19-21
10. What would happen if you started plowing and looked back?
10. How do priorities and procrastination relate to these encounters?
11. Can I be in the kingdom of God and just not be fit for it? What does it mean to be fit for the kingdom? Why is the NIV the only major translation to add the word "service" to this verse? Why do you think they would do that?
12. What other Bible examples can you think of in which a person or people, "looked back" and what was the consequence?
13. What do we see Jesus do in His ministry? Does He set the example and obey His own teaching?
14. What's the least I can do?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 3: May 25, 2011

This Wednesday we will be searching Luke 9:57-62

Some questions for thought and discussion... whenever you can, try to use Scripture to support your answer.
1. What do you think Jesus meant by His answer to the first man?
2. What does it mean if I do have a place to lay my head?
3. What does it mean to go and bury one's father? Is Jesus anti-funeral?
4. What would happen if you started plowing and looked back?
5. Can I be in the kingdom of God and just not be fit for service?
6. Whats the least I can do?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Week Two

This week, May 18, 2011, we will revisit the rich young ruler from Matthew 19:16-30 and our answers regarding the least we can do.
We will extract two things from our conclusions: core values and everyday practices.

Giving credit where credit is due: the idea for this exercise came from a book called The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass.

Questions for thought and discussion 2011.05.11

For Matthew 19:16-30.

Try to find other Scriptures to back up your answers as much as possible. It is important to avoid "I think."

1. This man said that he kept all the commands that Jesus listed. Why did he ask, "What do I still lack?"
2. What was the least that the rich young ruler could have done to get eternal life?
3. Was Jesus' request specifically for the rich young ruler (vs 21)? Was it just for the rich people (vs 23-24)? Does it apply to all of us?
4. Are you rich? How does one measure riches? What determines if someone is rich or not? How do average or even poor Americans measure up to most of the rest of the world?
5. What if you were to sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor but not follow the commands Jesus listed?
6. The original question that is asked is about getting eternal life and found in verse 16. Jesus does not mention eternal life again until the end of verse 29. Why does Jesus answer with terms like "perfect" or "complete" or having "treasures in heaven"? The disciples use the term "saved" and "follow you". How do these terms relate?
7. Are we expected to do as much as the 12? Are they the standard or are they exceptional? Did they go above and beyond the call?
8. What is the least we can do to get eternal life?
9. What consequences do we face if we do not do the least we can?

***General answers and answers to the big question are welcome, if you want to add your opinion to anything from 1-7, please begin your post indicating which questions you'll be addressing, thanks ***

Week One

On week one we studied Matthew 19:16-30: the account of the rich young ruler.
Again, the objective is to learn from Jesus' interactions with the young man and Jesus' conversation with His disciples that ensued to find out the least we have to do to "get eternal life"

Matthew 19:16-30 (New International Version)

The Rich and the Kingdom of God
 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”   17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
 18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
   Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]
 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Description

At the church of Christ in Utica, NY, we are starting a Bible class that will meet on Wednesday nights at 6:30PM that will ask the question, "What is the least I can do to follow Christ?"

What is the least I can do ... to honor God? to get to heaven? to have eternal life? etc. etc.

We will examine some familiar Scriptures on discipleship and work together to determine what the bare minimum is that we can do to escape the fire of hell.

We will then look at the answers and results we agree upon and come up with some practical, everyday practices that can (and will be) adopted by us.

This blog will track the progress of the class and serve as a connecting point for those who wish to participate but cannot make it to our Wednesday night meetings.

Rough Start

I started this blog on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 which just happened to be the same day that had some technical issues which resulted in the blog being completely wiped out and lost. Thankfully I had only 3 posts and not to much work lost.

I will try to re-create the original posts and move on