4 Things: Community pt 2

This Week's Texts: Philippians 1.1-10, Galatians 6.9-10, Hebrews 10.24-25 (The Message)

Teaching Link: 4 Things: Community pt 2

For Further Study: Legacy Mennonites and Anabaptist Camp Followers: A Conversation

Study Questions:

What are the different communities that you belong to?


How does membership in these communities shape your identity?


How can we be inventive in our attempts to maintain relationships and community, while at the same time being “Salt and Light” to a world that needs the gospel?

4 Things: Service pt 2

Reedley Peace Building Initiative: Restorative Justice Project of Mennonite Central Committee West Coast and the City of Reedley, CA

This Week's Texts: II Corinthian 5.17-21

Teaching Link: 4 Things: Service Part 2

Special Guest: Bureau Chief, City of Phoenix Prosecutor's Office, Will Gonzalez

For Further Study: Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), Reedly Peace Building Initiative

Study Questions:

What is the greatest debt that you have had forgiven?


For you, who would be the hardest person  or group of people to forgive?


How have you been shown mercy?


In addition to restorative justice,  what are some tangible ways that you could be involved in the  “ministry of reconciliation?”

4 Things: Service pt 1

WARNING: The above video has images of profanity and hate.  May not be suitable for some who visit this page.  It shows Members of Trinity Mennonite CHurch supporting their neighbors in an act of love and service.

This Week's Texts: Matthew 20.20-28

Teaching Link: 4 Things: Service Part 1

Study Questions:

Why was it so important for the Rabbi to have someone ask him who he was and what was he doing?

What does it mean for you to be a servant?

Who'd do you serve?  Who serves you?

What are some ways that we, as a community, can engage the world in a way that will show the nature of Jesus and his kingdom?


This Week's Texts: Jeremiah 17.7-8, Psalm 1.1-3, Deuteronomy 6.1-4, Isaiah 40.24

Teaching Link: Rooted

Study Questions:

In what areas of your life do you need to be nourished and filled up? 

In what areas of your life do you need to be anchored? 

What parts of you do you need to give away to others?  How can you reproduce yourself 
 by sharing your story?

How can you share your roots (story) so that the roots (story) of this community are nourished, filled up,  anchored and moving forward?

The Story: "East of Eden" Genesis 4.1-16

Resources for Further Study:

Nachum Pachenik's organization  Eretz Shalom,   'Tomorrow, God will ask us why we didn't make peace' The Times of Israel,  Sami Awad's organization, Holy Land Trust


Questions for reflection: 

Who is your Brother?  Our Brother?

What causes you to be dejected and lose heart?  

How can you “do right and be uplifted?”

To Whom do you need to be reconciled?


The Story: "Out of Eden" Genesis 2 & 3

This Week's Texts:  Genesis 2 & 3, 2.18-20Luke 15.11-24

Teaching Link: The Story: "Out of Eden" Genesis 2 & 3

Things from the teaching to think about:

In the context of the terrible experience of the exile, a number of questions arose:

  1. Why are we here?  What went wrong? Did Babylon’s gods defeat our God?  Is YHWH trying to teach us a lesson?
  2. Will we ever go back?
  3. Are we Babylonians now? How do we maintain our identity and teach our children who we really are?

There are two creation accounts in Genesis

A comparison between the two creation stories is full of interest, largely because of the striking differences between them, which though more apparent in the Hebrew, may still be recognized in the English translation.”

Look at Genesis 1-2.4a and 2.4bff  and list as many differences as you can find between the two stories.  What do you see?  What are the similarities?

Genesis 2  has traditionally been referred to as a support for the traditional view of marriage.  Jesus quotes it in his teaching on divorce and Paul refers to it in his teaching about family.  Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian suggests there may be a different way to look at this text as we discuss the issue of same gender relationships.

In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive. (Full Transcript)

What do you think about this reading of the text?  Are there things that make you think?  Are there things that trouble you?

Genesis 3 gives expression to what we instinctively know-things are not the way they are supposed to be.  The world is broken and in need of repair.  We are alienated from God.  But God is alienated from us as well.  What does the story of the Prodigal Son tell us about God's separation from his beloved?

Questions for reflection: 

We all have a sense that things are not right, that there is something greater, something more? When do you most feel that?


When have you felt alienated from god?  From others?  Is it possible that you still feel that way?


As God is awaiting us like a father on a porch or a wife who misses her beloved, how can we respond to that love?


How can we be part of God’s work to overcome the alienation of the world from him?