Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 11

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 somewhat of 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 11

Questions for Reflection:
1. We may not often think about grace in this way, but when we strive to earn our way into God’s favor and earn our own righteousness, we actually deny God’s grace and the work of Jesus Christ.  How does this reality strike you?  Does it change your perspective on what God has offered you by grace?
2. The word picture that Paul uses here of being “ingrafted,” cut from a wild tree and grafted into a cultivated one is stunning.  One of the words that Paul often uses in reference to this is “adoption.”  In what ways do these words challenge or amplify your understanding of your identity in Christ?
3. Paul speaks a great statement of equality in verse 32.  What does this say about salvation?  What does it say about earning righteousness?  Does this change your perspective on the Gospel?

Prayer

Pray for yourself and thank God His adoption of you and the salvation you have in Jesus Christ!
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may be a place where people find Christ and can grow and thrive as newly engrafted branches of His vine.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, God would work through the churches here, bringing unity amongst the congregation and that our united witness would amplify the message of the Gospel.
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 10

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 somewhat of 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 10

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul has a great desire to see the people of Israel come to know Jesus.  He even contrasts the massive coming to faith of the Gentile who didn’t have the law with lack of faith and disobedience of the people of Israel who had it in their hands all along.  In what ways have you experienced a similar scenario in your life?  How have you approached it?
2. Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20.  Paul draws on the words of Moses, pleading for the people of Israel to follow God as they enter into the promised land.  Do the words of Moses here seem more “law” driven or “faith” driven?  How does Paul apply these words to faith in Jesus Christ?
3. One of the greatest arguments for the need for preaching and sharing the Gospel is present here in Romans 10:14-15.  Take a moment to reflect on them.  How have you thought about the command in the Great Commission to “preach the Gospel” and “make disciples”?  In what ways have you heeded this command?  In what ways have you avoided it?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that you would have the boldness and courage to share the Gospel with someone and invite them to church in the next week before Easter.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would proclaim the reality of the resurrection boldly and clearly on Easter Sunday, that no one would be able to leave here having not heard the Gospel message.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that in these final days of Lent leading up to Easter, that the Spirit would move and drive people to ask questions and seek answers about who God is.
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 9

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 somewhat of 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 9

Questions for Reflection:
1. Why do you think Paul has such great anguish in his heart over Israel?  Can you relate to his struggle over his people having all the opportunities but taking none of them?  How have you experienced this?
2. Paul begins a conversation on “election” in verses 6-29.  How do you understand this theological term?  Read Ephesians 1:3-14.  How does this clarify what Paul is saying in Romans 9?
3. Ultimately, it was both unbelief and the pursuit of righteousness by works that is Israel’s downfall.  How have/do we tend to fall into this same struggle in our lives today?  Are there places you have seen this in the church?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, thank God for His calling on your life and the grace that He has shown you and that you have accepted!
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we, as the people of God, can shine His light in the world and lead others to Christ!
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that opportunities would be presented to tell people about Jesus and that the Spirit would work to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ!
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 8

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 somewhat of 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 8

Questions for Reflection:
1. In Jesus Christ, we no longer stand condemned under the law because of God’s grace.  What does this mean for you?  How does Paul say it should change the way we live?  How does it change the way you live?
2. Paul talks again about suffering and perseverance; we will always be in a battle against sin, both inwardly and outwardly.  How do the truth of the Spirit’s presence and intercession impact you?  Take some time to reflect on verses 18 and 28.
3. Reread verses 31-38.  What assurance do you see here?  Where is the emphasis of God’s work?  How does the truth that nothing can separate us from God rest with you?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that you would hold onto the assurance that God offers us in Christ and that you would find freedom in your life because of it.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would be a witness to the love of God and powerfully proclaim it in every facet of ministry that we do.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that the chains and bondages of sin would break in Jesus name and that freedom in Christ would be realized those here!
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 7

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 somewhat of 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 7

Questions for Reflection:
1. What do you think Paul means when he says “You also died to the law through the body of Christ”?  Read Galatians 5.  How does this impact your understanding of what Paul is saying here?
2. Paul talks again about the purpose of the law in our lives.  How are we to interact with the law as those who are in Christ?  What place does the Law have in our lives?  How has the law brought a desire for righteousness in your life?
3. Referencing a struggle between good and evil inside of him, Paul realizes his need for a Savior in verse 25.  Have you come to this point in your life?  How and where?  How has Jesus rescued you?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that the Holy Spirit would convict you where you need to be convicted in your life, and give you the strength to face the sin in your life and cling to the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would seek to walk with people struggling with sin rather than judge or exclude them.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that God would bring revival to this place!
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 6

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 somewhat of 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 6

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul discussion on our union with Christ in both His death and resurrection is one of the key images that we see in baptism as well.  Particularly in adult baptism, when a person is submerged the going under signifies dying and the coming up signifies rising again.  How does this talk of being united with Christ in both death and resurrection impact the way you think about your life of faith?  What things does it change or challenge for you?
2. As we continue in Romans, Paul continues his treatment of sin in the lives of those who belong to Christ.  Here he says that we are literally to be “dead to sin” (v1) and that we should no longer offer any part of our body to sinful acts.  What does this mean to you when you read it?  Is the Holy Spirit convicting you of any sin that might need to “die” in your life?
3. The notion of being “set free” from sin is a popular thing to say and also an important part of our understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.  What do you think it means to be “set free” or no longer being “slaves” to sin?  How does that impact your daily walk with Christ?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that the Holy Spirit would give you the confidence and conviction to confront the sin in your life and seek repentance and restoration in Jesus Christ.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would not sugarcoat the reality of sin in our lives nor the greater reality of God’s great love and grace that is available through Jesus.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that God would open doors for the message of His love, mercy, and grace to be proclaimed and that it would be received with open hearts.
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 5

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 somewhat of 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 5

Questions for Reflection:
1. Jesus didn’t die for us because of anything that made us worthy; we were God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21-22) before we placed our faith in Christ.  For many of us, growing up in the church, we have never thought of ourselves as God’s enemies prior to accepting Christ.  Does this fact change anything for you?  How does this amplify God’s grace and the reality of the work of Jesus?
2. Paul doubles down on his emphasis that sin impacts everyone; there is no point in a Savior if there isn’t something we need to be saved from.  God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ is available for everyone and is effective for all who believe.  Reflect on this.  Do you tend to want to ignore the reality of sin?  How does this minimize your need for Jesus?  How could you, in a healthy way, keep sin and, therefore, your need for Jesus in perspective?
3. The concept of suffering and its purpose in the lives of Christ followers is introduced here.  How do you tend to think about suffering in your life?  How does what Paul says here confirm or challenge your understanding of suffering?

Prayer

Take time to thank God for His great love and sacrifice for you!
Pray for yourself, that you would understand the reality of sin and grace in your life and that your eyes would be opened to God’s work in you, especially during the difficult times.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we can be a church where both the realities of sin and grace can be proclaimed in a way that reveals God’s love and not human judgmentalism.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that doors would be opened to the message of the Gospel and that hearts would be softened to the work of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming Christ’s love.
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 4

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 somewhat of 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 4

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul, at the beginning of chapter 4, makes the point that faith is the critical aspect of receiving God’s grace; this has been true since even the time of Abraham.  What do the words “faith” and “belief” mean?  How does (or should) our faith impact the way that we live?
2. The example of work for pay is applied to faith and our relationship with God.  Read Isaiah 64 (particularly verse 6); how does this passage speak to Paul’s discussion on works and the wages we “deserve”?
3. Abraham’s story is, as Paul says, our story as well.  What God credited to Abraham because of faith He will credit to us through faith as well!  What does Scripture say God credited to Abraham?  How does this reality strengthen your faith and impact the way you live?

Prayer

Take time to glorify and honor God for His incredible gift of grace!
Pray for yourself, that you would both understand and accept God’s free gift of grace by faith, not striving to earn it on your own.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would be those who proclaim God’s free gift of grace and not those who guilt people into striving to earn their salvation.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that hearts would be softened to God’s love and grace, that barriers would be broken in Jesus’ name and people would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
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 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