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Jesus speaks to a large crowd whose overly enthusiastic zeal may prevent them from seeing the serious nature of what following him requires. This journey toward Jerusalem does not parade to the castle; it processes to the cross. Following Jesus is no easy path, so the word of teaching cannot...
Lord God, give me the courage and strength to follow Jesus and place him first in my life. Amen.
The Gospel lesson stresses the cost of disci- pleship. One of the costs involves family, but the implication is that there are compensations as well as costs. Belonging to God affects the way in which one belongs to others. Traditional pat- terns, kinship and otherwise, are transformed. This insight lies at the heart of Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Philemon’s slave, Onesimus. Without directly requesting that Philemon set Onesimus free, Paul clearly suggests that the ties that bind per- sons as brothers and sisters in Christ transform traditional social patterns, including slavery. Both Jeremiah 18 and Psalm 139 af rm our belongingness to God, individually and corporately.
• Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. How has the “word of the Lord” come to you? What obstacles prevent you from placing your- self entirely in God’s hands?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. How does your life evidence God’s handiwork?
• Read Philemon 1-21. What person or group needs your advocacy in the name of Christ?
• Read Luke 14:25-33. How have you counted the cost of fol- lowing Jesus?
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"I lead a small group of about 12 women, and we were looking for a great Advent study. I had used While We Wait years ago and remembered how beautifully written it was.
I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.
Everyone is enjoying it so much and loving the insights that Mary Lou Redding offers for each character in her study. While We Wait has been a great study for us!"