Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 3

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 3

Questions for Reflection:
1. God’s grace is amazing, offering us forgiveness for all of our sins.  The argument that Paul addresses here is that more sin would actually make God’s grace that much more great, that God’s good would be seen all the more.  How do you feel about this argument?  Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever ignored your sin because of your forgiveness?  How does Paul respond to this?
2. Paul lays out the true reality of humanity as well as the true purpose for the law in verses 9-20.  How does this impact your view of the law?  Does it change the way in which you think about the Law in your life?  In what ways do you think you can better apply it?
3. The final section of Romans 3 is really the crux of the whole first three chapters: all have sinned… all are justified freely by the grace of God through redemption in Jesus Christ.  After these three days directly addressing sin, how does the truth of Romans 3:23-24 make you feel?  In what ways does it impact your life?

Prayer

Take time to give God praise and glory for what He has done for us!
Pray for yourself, that you would both see the sin that is present in you and also receive the forgiveness available for you.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may proclaim the truth of God’s love in Jesus Christ boldly and clearly.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that God’s love would be made known and received, that lives would be changed and the community transformed.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 2

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 2

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul points out, very directly, that we have no excuse for sin and that no one is exempt from sin.  How does Paul’s treatment of sin in chapters 1 & 2 differ from the way we talk about sin in the Christian community today?  Do you think that these differences are beneficial or detrimental to us?  Why?
2. The Jews relied heavily on their heritage, their location, circumcision, and the fact that they had the Law as their reason and position as “the people of God.”  Paul challenges this in Romans 2.  What things in our lives do we rely on (other than faith) that we think makes us a “good Christian”?  How do you think Paul would respond to those things?
3. There is a warning embedded in these verses (17-24), about those who would teach others about faith, but not observe the life of faith themselves.  What does this say to us as followers of Christ who are called to be disciples that make disciples?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that the Holy Spirit will work in each of our lives to convict us of the sin that is present within us and work to bring about freedom from it.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would boldly proclaim the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ and speak the truth of the presence and impact of sin in our lives and in the community without being judgmental or condemning.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that the message of God’s love would be received and that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, would be seen through the darkness!
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 1

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 1

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul begins his letter by focusing his life, his calling, and his purpose for writing solely on Jesus Christ.  Do we tend to think about Jesus Christ in this way in our lives?  Do our identity and the way that we see ourselves come from God?  How can the way we see ourselves be more in line with how God sees us?
2. There is a reference to multiple “people groups” that Paul is “obligated” to.  Culturally, this would have been very difficult, especially for the Jews who considered non-Jewish people as unclean.  What does this tell us about those to whom we have been called to in our lives?
3. The latter part of Romans 1 has been considered one of the most “brutal” treatments of sin in Scripture.  It is brutal in the sense that he does not mince words, taking the reader down the natural path of depravity.  What are we to make of all this?  How do we take this teaching in and learn from it (especially in a cultural context that resists discussions on sin)?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that your eyes would be open to schemes of the devil and that God would break down the sinful strongholds that are present in your life.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may proclaim boldly the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including its treatment of sin, in a loving, discerning, yet non-judgmental way.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that the true message of the grace of God would be heard, including our failings and need for a Savior, and that hearts would be opened to it.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 16

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 16

Questions for Reflection:
1. The angel tells the women to “tell the disciples and Peter” the news that Jesus rose from the dead.  Why this distinction?  What is the significance of including Peter?  How does this speak to the reconciliation that is made possible in Jesus Christ?
2. Mark’s “official” ending is somewhat confusing; all of this great news and then the run away in fear and don’t tell anyone.  How do we often relate to this though?  Have there been times in your life where you have been fearful to share the Good News of Jesus?
3. Jesus speaks of signs that will accompany His followers in verses 15-18.  Do we see things like this anymore?  Do we expect to?  Are these things that happen in today’s world?  How do you think our expectation of such things limits their presence in the lives of believers?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that you would boldly and courageously proclaim the Gospel of Jesus through both words and actions.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would preach the Gospel of Jesus here and that we would see new believers come to faith through the ministries of the church.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that there would be an open door to the Gospel here and that we would see a revival in Jesus’ name!
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 15

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 15

Questions for Reflection:
1. There is a parallel between the release of the convict instead of Jesus and the work which Jesus was going to the cross for, did you see it here in verses 1-15?  How does that impact the narrative of Jesus’ death for you?  What thoughts or emotions does it bring up?
2. The irony of the soldiers mocking Jesus with words like “hail, king of the Jews” cannot be overstated.  Read Galatians 6:7 reminds us that God cannot be mocked.  How do you respond to this?  What are we to make of the allowance of evil here to accomplish God’s ultimate will?  In what ways does this change your perspective on the evil in the world around us?
3. It is impossible for us to imagine what Jesus must have felt in His last breaths, calling out to His Heavenly Father and hearing nothing in return.  He has spent an eternity with Him to this point, never being apart.  Reflect on this for a moment; what emotions rise to the surface?  How do you respond to it?
4.  What do you think is the significance of the curtain in the Temple of God being torn from top to bottom?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 
Who Do I Say That I Am? (45ish minutes)

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that as you reflect on the death of Jesus today, you would be moved once again to repentance and gratitude for what God has done for you.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would be a place where “the curtain is torn” and God’s presence is clearly seen and felt.
Pray for those in your life who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, that God would open a door for you to share the Gospel with them.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 14

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 14

Questions for Reflection:
1. What do you make of the indignance of those present at the home in Bethany?  What does their reaction say about their hearts and motives?  Do you think you would have had the same reaction?
2. Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane reveals a wrestling that is taking place in His heart about what is going to happen.  He is grappling with the implications of His obedience to the Father; He isn’t changing His mind.  Have you ever been in a difficult situation where your decision yielded less than desirable implications?  What did you do?
3. What do you think the significance of the fact that the testimonies against Jesus did not agree is?  What is it that finally gets Jesus convicted?  Is there a bit of irony here?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 
Who Do I Say That I Am? (45ish minutes)

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that you may be vigilant and alert in your faith, neither denying Jesus when asked or “falling asleep” while waiting.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we can proclaim the testimony of Jesus and the good news of the Gospel here in the Hopkins community.
Pray for the community of Hopkins, especially the students, that in this week of rest, there would be peace, refreshment, and that boredom would not lead to temptation or bad decisions.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 13

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 13

Questions for Reflection:
1. One of Jesus’ disciples makes a really big deal about the size and scope of the Temple structure.  How does Jesus react?  What can we learn from His reaction?
2. Jesus teaches about the Spirit’s work in giving word to say in difficult, even deadly situations, specifically about defending one’s faith.  What things stand out to you about this teaching?  What are your reactions to it?
3. Talking about the end times has become a “hot subject” in Christianity.  What things can we learn from Jesus that will help us be better prepared for these times?  How do you think Jesus is trying to prepare His followers for these days?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that God may open your eyes to the times that we are in and also instill the trust and hope of His promises in your heart.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may be a witness to the grace and goodness of God in Jesus Christ in our community and in the world.
Pray for the community of Hopkins, that the love of God would be exposed here and that barriers to knowing God and coming to Him would be broken.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 12

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 12

Questions for Reflection:
1. The chief priests and teachers of the law always seem to go after Jesus in an effort to discredit Him.  How do you see that happening to Christ followers today?  Do we have a tendency to do this to each other as well?
2. Jesus’ responses to the religious leaders find their summary in verses 28-34.  How do the two greatest commandments apply to Jesus’ teachings and responses throughout this chapter?
3. In talking with the man that asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus responds to him by saying “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.  What do you think He meant by this?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that God would open your heart to His love and build within you a deeper desire for His presence in your life.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we can truly live into these greatest of commandments, loving God first and then loving our neighbors here.
Pray for the community of Hopkins, that there would be an opening for the Gospel and awakening to God’s love in this community!
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 11

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 11

Questions for Reflection:
1. Read Zecharia 9:9 and Matthew 21.1-9. What do you think is the significance of Jesus riding on the colt?  What does it tell us about who Jesus is?
2. Mark records Jesus’ actions in the Temple as a part of His teaching.  What do you think He was intending on teaching them that day?  How do His actions inform what we do in our place of worship?
3. Again the religious elites question Jesus about His authority.  Why?  What do you think they are seeking to accomplish here?  How does Jesus’ answer teach us about our answer to those who would question us?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that we would learn to recognize and clearly see God’s work in our lives and in the world around us.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would be about the work of God in the community of Hopkins, bearing much fruit for the Kingdom of God.
Pray for those home on spring break who depend on the schools for childcare and/or food, that God would meet their every need in this week off.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 10

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 10

Questions for Reflection:
1. Why do you think the Pharisees were testing Jesus and what do you think their goal was?  What does Jesus’ response teach us about the law and its application today?
2. The phrase “child-like faith” comes from this passage.  What do you think this actually means and what are the implications to your own faith walk?
3. Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler, as he is referred to in the other Gospels, is pretty stark.  What do you think Jesus means when he tells the man to sell everything he has?  What is the point Jesus is trying to make to him and how does it impact how we handle the money God has blessed us with?
4. What do you make of the request of the sons of Zebedee?  Where do you think that came from?  How about Jesus’ response to them?  What can we learn from this?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that we could hear the teachings of Jesus, see our need for Jesus, and receive the grace of Jesus.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may speak the truth in love and proclaim the Gospel of God’s grace and love in Jesus, and be guarded from pride 
Pray for everyone impacted by the change of schedule on Spring Break, that they would remain committed to the challenge and that God would bless them in that commitment.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 9

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 9

Questions for Reflection:
1. Peter, James, and John were the three disciples that witnessed Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead.  Why do you think that Jesus only took these three with Him up to the mount where He was transfigured?  Is there anything we can learn from this seeming exclusivity?
2. Jesus makes both a profound and confusing statement at the end of the narrative of the boy with the impure spirit.  “This one can only come out by prayer,” Jesus said.  What do you think this means?  What does it say about the power of prayer?  What are the implications for our prayer life?
3. We often think about things in this world as being neutral, neither being good for us or bad for us.  Jesus, however, makes a very clear statement about “neutrality” in verse 40.  What does this mean for us?  What does it mean for the “neutral” things in your life?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that the Spirit would give us eyes to see through the things in our lives that we should question or even be rid of, and give us the courage to act.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that the Spirit would awaken people to the need for prayer both as individuals and as the body a church. 
Pray for all those who will be on spring break, that God would grant them rest and refreshment in this time.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 8

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– LISTEN: Podcasts responding to Mark 8:27-30 will be available this week.  Add them to your devotional practice.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 8

Questions for Reflection:
1. There were 5 loaves & 2 fish with 12 basket fulls left over for the feeding of the 5,000.  There were 7 loaves and 7 basket fulls left over for the feeding of the 4,000.  What do you think the significance of the numbers in the two narratives of Jesus’ feeding the large crowds?
2. Think about the contrast Jesus makes in verses 14-21.  What do you think Jesus meant here?  How can we apply this warning to our lives today?
3. Isn’t it interesting how, when Jesus spoke plainly about His death, Peter rebuked Him, not wanting to hear of it?  Do we engage in reactions similar to Peter when we are confronted with hard truths?  How should we react?

Listen

Jesus asks the questions in Mark 8: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  As an additional challenge this week, you are invited to listen to a podcast by Chip Ingram from the series Who is Jesus Really – Man Myth or Messiah?  Click on one of the following links to listen!
 
 
or if you would like to listen to the whole thing at once:
 

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that as we enter into the second week of this challenge, you would experience the transformation of the Holy Spirit and that God would instill in you a desire for His Word.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would have the courage to speak and hear God’s Truth, even when it is difficult or challenging.
Pray for those who will be traveling on Spring Break, that they may have safe travels wherever they go.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Left Reading Challenge: Mark 7

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 7

Questions for Reflection:
1. We all have traditions that we follow.  Do any of these traditions get in the way of our worship of God?  How can we identify such traditions in our own lives and in the life of the church?  What should we do about them?
2. The Syrophoenician Woman was a Gentile and, in that day, had no right to even be in Jesus’ presence.  What can we learn from her faith and her persistence?
3. So many people bring their friends to Jesus to receive healing.  Do we do that?  When there are people in our lives who are struggling, do we invite them to meet Jesus?  Do we pray with them?  Why or why not?

Prayer

Pray that our hearts would draw near to God in the coming week of his Lent challenge and that in reading, praying, and listening, we would find more than religion, we would find a relationship with God.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would have the wisdom to discern which “traditions” bring glory to God and build the church, and which ones do not.
Pray for the impact of the Holy Spirit both in and after church today!
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge: Mark 6

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 6

Questions for Reflection:
1. The people from Jesus’ hometown had a reaction of “who does this guy think he is?”  They knew his family, his past, and what likely was the cultural expectation for someone of his class and upbringing.  How do we do this to others in our lives?  How do you see this happening in the church?
2. After Jesus’ disciples returned, Jesus instructs them to go and rest.  We see this rhythm a great deal in Scripture.  In what ways does this inform/instruct us in how our lives should be lived?  How do you make time for rest in your life?
3. Jesus’ disciples were “completely amazed” at His ability to walk on water because their hearts were hardened.  Can you think of other places in Scripture that the people of God had hardened hearts in the face of God’s miraculous power?  How do you find this to be true in your own life?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that your heart may be softened to the work God is doing in you through this challenge.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would recognize the redemption and renewal present in each other’s lives rather than judging each other (and those around us) by their past. 
Pray for our ability to rest, that we may find times to take part in it and be refreshed by the Holy Spirit.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


Lent Reading Challenge – Mark 5

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  Start with Mark, then read Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

 Read Mark 5

Questions for Reflection:
1. Why do you suppose that the people from the town were afraid when they found the demon-possessed man in his right mind?  Why do you think they wanted Jesus to leave their region?
2. The faith of the woman who had trouble with bleeding was so great for something so simple; she just wanted Jesus, to touch Him for just a brief second.  How do you think we can apply this to our own lives?
3.  Jesus didn’t let anyone in the room with him except His “inner circle” of 3 disciples.  Then He tells them not to say anything about it either.  What do you think the reason is for this?  Wouldn’t it have been more powerful if everyone had seen?  

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that your eyes may be open and heart receptive to the power and working of God in your life and in the world around you.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would seek Jesus above all else and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, not on our programs, reputation, or any other human-created things.
Pray for our mission trip group and for the fundraiser they will be having tonight (March 22).
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10