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


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