Day 1

Read Matthew 14:13-21
I am guessing, but it really seems like Jesus has just faced a pretty long day before this moment.  He was just rejected at Nazareth, spent a lot of time teaching, and was just hearing about the death of his friend and cousin, John the baptizer.  His response is why I can relate to the moment captured here, he was drawing away to get some time to himself…or maybe just to feel things.  But then they all started showing up again.  The thing he was trying to escape became the thing he couldn’t escape.  He had a choice at that moment and his compassion drove his choice.  So he got some bread, he blessed it, he broke it, and then he gave it out.  That is the part I need to be reminded of.
Do you think that there is anything to learn in the fact that Jesus gave the bread to the disciples to give to the people?  Why did he not just give the bread to the people or let them come and get it?

What would it have been like to be a disciple at this event?  What would you remember most and what do you think it would have taught you?

What is the point of the story mentioning that there are twelve baskets worth of leftovers and how does it teach you about how God gives?

  Why not share some of your thoughts on this story with those in the messaging app?

Day 2

Read Luke 14:12-34

This is one of those many passages where Jesus uses the idea of a banquet or family table to illustrate the Kingdom of God to us.  It may not fully fit the format of all of the other ones we have looked at, but consider it in light of all of the conversations we have had recently.  The excuses are comically lame, for the most part…considering the context.  Maybe that is the point, that excuses, when it comes to the things of the God’s Kingdom really are comically lame?  Which makes sense when you see where Jesus lands the plane talking about the cost of discipleship.  

In my bible, verse 34 is just kind of put off to itself and not really seeming to be attached to the previous thought.  So how would you explain how it fits into all of the other thoughts from this section?

If you were trying to explain it to someone new to the Bible, how would you explain what Jesus is trying to say in verse 27?

How do these thoughts make it into your prayers today?

Day 3

Read Acts 27:13-38
Are you ready for some Bible study that will involve your mind and imagination?  Luke, the guy that wrote Luke, also wrote Acts.  In Luke, we saw the blessed, broke, gave concept of Jesus with the bread happen so many times.  So it is not a small thing that when we get to this story, Paul does exactly that in this situation.  So how are they connected?  That is where your imagination is needed.  Follow the story of this boat full of prisoners, and other people just working, and they just happen to have Paul onboard.  Boat storm stories are so obvious in the gospels that it seems trivial to overlook this one and pretend like it is not meaningful.  Paul sees an opportunity to live out the gospel, from the position of a prisoner to all of these people watching, not as an Apostle or Pharisee leading from the temple.  In that moment, he uses bread to share his faith in God’s words…that they will be ok.  Later when they were, don’t you think this whole display carried some weight and opened the door for some questions?

How can you learn from how Paul handled this situation?  What should you see here about your life today?

What is the most creative way that you have shared your faith when others were listening?

What is a unique way that you heard about Jesus because someone took an opportunity that was not a church service but something unique?

Why not share on the app some of the thoughts you are having about this story with the others studying it with you?

Day 4

Read 2 Corinthians 9

The principle that we have been talking about this week from the sermon is the idea of being givers because we were given to.  We have not even talked about money in this and I don’t know if your mind has even gone there, but this passage certainly brings it up.  We understand that God has all that He needs at His disposal and that He is capable of bringing the very most of abundance from the very least of situations.  That is what we saw in stories like the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand.  The thousand doesn’t really matter, it is just a number…the feeding is there.  So carry that over to the idea of giving financially and let’s see what we can learn here.

If God is capable of supplying all that is ever needed, why does He ask and teach us to give?

What do you think the phrase a “cheerful giver” means and why does God love this?

Where have you experienced verses 10-11 in your life before?

What does this remind you to remember next week and the weeks to come?

Day 5

Read Psalm 36

There is this cheesy hymn that always gets stuck in my head.  Some of you will be offended that I called it cheesy, but stay with me.  The tune is awful and the lyrics are not that great.  But it is the hymn “Count Your Blessings” and we used to sing it all the time in church down south.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done

The absolute best solution for the heart that has closed off to giving more is the realization of where everything came from.  I have nothing original to my own ability or design.  All is a blessing.  I was given everything…therefore I am capable of giving everything.

What are the blessings you have not thanked God for this week?

What are five things you have never thanked God for?

How does meditating on this idea encourage you to be a giver of time, talents, effort, heart, money, etc?

How does this become your prayer today?

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