Month: February 2018

February 28, 2018

Luke 2018-02-28

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 16:1–15 (ESV)

    1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

    10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

    14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 16:3-8
    • In this parable, the manager “could no longer be manager”; however, for a season, he still had some use and control over the master’s property.  What does this period of time represent?

    Luke 16:9-12

    • What does it mean to “make friends” using “wealth” so that I will be received into “eternal dwellings”?
    • According to this passage, what constitutes being “faithful” with money?  Have I been trustworthy in this sense?

    Luke 16:13 

    • Why is it impossible to serve both God and money?

February 27, 2018

Luke 2018-02-27

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 15:11–32 (ESV)

    11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.                  14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

    17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

    25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 15:13
    • When does the prodigal son come to his senses?
    • What is the attitude of the prodigal son as he returns home?
    • What does genuine repentance look like, as depicted in the prodigal son’s return home?
    • What does the father’s surprising response reveal about the essence of our relationship with God?

    Luke 15:28-30

    • Identify the reasons for the older brother’s anger.
    • How can obedience (“never disobeyed your command”) produce bitterness and resentment?

    Luke 15:29-32

    • What makes for a “celebration” for the older brother?  Who is there, and who is not there?
    • How do my causes for “celebration” compare with those of God?  What lessons can I learn from this?

    Luke 15:31

    • What might have been the older son’s response to the father’s statement, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours”?

February 26, 2018

Luke 2018-02-26

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 15:1–10 (ESV)

    1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

    3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

    8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 15:1-2
    • Compare and contrast how the “tax collectors and sinners” and the Pharisees approached Jesus.  What does this reveal about the Pharisees’ attitude toward “sinners” and their view of themselves?
    • How does my view of myself affect how I will approach Jesus?

    Luke 15:3-10

    • What are two ways you can see the value of the lost items in these parables?
    • What is God’s view of me?
    • How should this parable change my view of myself and others?

February 23, 2018

Luke 2018-02-23

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:25–35 (ESV)

    25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

    34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

  • Reflection Questions
  •  Luke 14:25-27
    • What does it mean for a person to “hate” his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, and even his own life?
    • What lessons can I learn from the parable of the Great Banquet about why Jesus asks for such radical commitment?

    Luke 14:28-34

    • Jesus does not hide the cost of discipleship.  Why does he tell the crowd to count the cost of following him before they follow?
    • Compare the salt that loses its saltiness (v. 34) with the fellow who began to build but was not able to finish (v. 30).
    • What warning does this provide for those who claim to be disciples of Christ but have not counted the cost? What would be the outcome?
    • In this passage, Jesus says, “You cannot be my disciple,” three times. Given that every Christian is by definition a disciple of Christ (cf. Acts 11:26), what does this reveal about the nature of Christian discipleship?
    • Have you counted the cost of following Christ?
    • What cost have I paid since following Christ? Is following Christ worth the cost?
    • What is the cost of not following Christ?
    • What have I gained in Christ?


February 22, 2018

Luke 2018-02-22

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:15–24 (ESV)

    15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 14:15–24
    • Reflect on the fact that in this story that Jesus told, he shows the primary impediment to responding to God’s invitation to be things that everyone recognizes as good. What are some “good” things that I am seeking (or experiencing) that get in the way of responding to God’s invitation to fellowship with him at the banquet?
    • What good thing can potentially deafen my ears to God’s calling?
    • Think about how the owner of the house might have felt in v. 17, v. 21, and then v. 23.
    • What does this reveal about his heart?
    • What did these people who did not come to the banquet gain?
    • What did they lose?

February 21, 2018

Luke 2018-02-21

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:1–14 (ESV)

    1 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away.

    5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they could not reply to these things.

    7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,

    8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 14:1-6  
    • The Pharisees and experts in the law use a man suffering from dropsy to scrutinize Jesus.  What does this reveal about them?
    • What did the Pharisees and experts in the law maintain by not answering Jesus’ questions?  What did they forfeit through their silence?

    Luke 14:7-11  

    • How is the scene of the guests vying for the place of honor at the table a portrait of the world today?
    • How much do I value status and reputation?  How is this manifested in the way I relate to people around me?

    Luke 14:12-14

    • Who are “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” that God is asking me to take care of without being repaid?
    • What does it mean to be “repaid at the resurrection”?


February 20, 2018

Luke 2018-02-20

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:22–35 (ESV)

    22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

    31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:22-24
    • Jesus says being saved is like entering through a narrow door.  Why would this be the case?  Or, in what ways is this true in my life?

    Luke 13:25-30

    • To Jesus’ audience who believed that only Jews could enter the kingdom of God, what would be their response to what Jesus said in v. 29?
    • Who are the “last who will be first” and who are the “first who will be last” in v. 30?

    Luke 13:34-35

    • Who are the “prophets” sent to me today?
    • Do I welcome or resist Jesus’ longing to gather me under his wings?

February 19, 2018

Luke 2018-02-19

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:10–21 (ESV)

    10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

    18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

    20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:14-15
    • What can we conclude about the state of the synagogue ruler’s heart?
    • The synagogue ruler became indignant at Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath.  Is there a relationship between what angers a person and what “cripples” a heart from functioning as God intended?  How does this apply to me?

    Luke 13:10-16

    • What is revealed about Jesus—his heart, his power—from this incident?

    Luke 13:18-21

    • What is the similarity between the mustard seed and the yeast?
    • How has this parable worked out in history and in my life?

February 16, 2018

Luke 2018-02-16

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:1–9 (ESV)

    1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:1-5
    • What false notion was Jesus addressing by asking two rhetorical questions about the victims of these tragic events?
    • “Unless you repent…”  With these words repeated twice, Jesus emphasizes that the issue of ultimate importance is that they repent.  In what ways do I need to heed this warning?

    Luke 13:6-9

    • Why was the owner’s reaction to the fruitlessness of the fig tree appropriate?
    • The gardener represents Jesus, whose intervention helps us avoid judgment. The gardener says that he’ll dig around and fertilize the tree.  What would it look like for me to respond to these efforts of the gardener?

February 15, 2018

Luke 2018-02-15

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 12:49–59 (ESV)  

    49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

    54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

    57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 12:51-53
    • Why would living a life for Jesus cause division?
    • Why does Jesus use the family context to describe the division he brings?

    Luke 12:54-59

    • What is the proper interpretation of the present time, according to v. 58?
    • If going before the judge refers to the final judgment at the end of one’s life, what does settling with your accuser “on the way” to the judge refer to?

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