January 24 – January 30

Weekly Reading for January 24 – January 30

Preparing for Next Week’s Message

Sermon Series: Pathways
Sermon Title: Exploring the Pathways of Contemplation

This reading plan will get your heart and mind set for the next message on January 31, 2021:

Reflecting on the Most Recent Sermon

Sermon Series: Pathways
Sermon Title: Discovering the Pathways of Wonder
Delivered On: January 24, 2021


Memorize and Reflect

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20

Prayer Direction

Thank God for the unique and beautiful way He has made each person in your small group. Give God praise for His amazing plan to create a wonderful array of pathways so that we can each find joyful and fruitful ways to draw near Him. Thank God for the beauty of His creation and ask him to help you notice his presence, beauty, and glory in what He has made. Express gratitude to God for the variety and wonder of your senses. Pray for a deeper awareness of how God can draw near to you through sights, smells, sounds, touch, and all that is around you.

“Live It!” Challenge

Walk the Pathway of a Naturalist...Literally! Take a Walk in Creation. If you have the courage to do so, turn off your phone or even leave it in your car or house. Slow down, notice, and thank God for His infinite creativity. You might want to ask God questions while you walk, look closer at some things in creation you often rush past or write down observations of how you see God and experience His presence.

Small Group Discussion

  1. Describe a time in your journey of faith where you hungered for God more than anything else, even your own desires and dreams.

  2. How were you taught to meet with Jesus? What methods, practices, and attitudes were taught to you as a young or new Christian?

  3. Tell about a time you were struck by the wonder of God when you saw, heard, or experienced something that displayed His glory.

  4. Read: Psalm 19:1-4 - Naturalists encounter God and draw close to Him through engaging with His creation. How does God speak through what He has made and how can this pathway connect us to the heart of God?

  5. Read: Psalm 23 - Slowly and reflectively. This Psalm paints an inviting and inspiring picture using images from creation. If you experienced God in ways reflected in this Psalm, how might this draw you closer to your Creator?

  6. Read: Ezekiel 1:4 ; Ezekiel 1:5-15; Ezekiel 1:26-27 - Take note of what Ezekiel feels and sees.

    Read: Ezekiel 1:24 and Ezekiel 3:12-13 - Notice the engagement of his ears and sense of hearing.

    Read: Ezekiel 3:1-3 - be amazed at the use of his taste buds. How did God engage Ezekiel's senses and what example does this give us as we encounter our God?

  7. Smells can trigger memories or sweep us away to a whole different place in our minds. Tell about a time you smelled something that triggered deep memories and feelings. Describe a time this happened in a way that drew you into the presence of God.

  8. Rituals, rhythms, symbols, and familiar liturgies draw many people right into the throne room of God. Religious traditions can be dangerous if they are empty and mindless. But, they can be powerful and deeply valuable when they are sincere and meaningful. How has a ritual you have taken part in many times or a symbol you have seen often over the years helped you turn your heart toward God?

  9. Symbols, sacred places, and holy routines can act as triggers to bring God's presence and goodness to mind. Talk about each of these possible rhythms and how each might deepen your faith. Then, take time as a group and add a few more ideas to this list:

    - Every time you drive by a church building in your community, say a prayer for the congregation and the leaders to experience God's grace and love in a fresh new way.

    - Each time someone engages you in a political conversation, invite those you are with to join in a simple prayer taught by Jesus, Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

    - Each time you leave a gathered time of worship with God's people, quietly ask the Holy Spirit to help you take one thing you learned and carry it into the coming week.