Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Faith & Leadership Recap: What are you listening to?

For the past few weeks on Sunday evenings we've been having a discussion on communication with God.

How do we communicate with God?  

How does God communicate with us?

Two weeks ago, we started by talking about distractions.  Before we can talk about how we can listen to God, we must first talk about what we're already listening to instead.  What's distracting us?

We created an entire list (actually two!) of things that we consider distractions:

During our discussion on this past Sunday evening, we talked about the fact that distractions aren't necessarily bad things, and that sometimes distractions can even allow us to hear God.  Sometimes we use things to distract us from our normal life stresses and release our minds, like sports, music, art, or reading.  But even if distractions in general aren't always negative, what does it say about our lives that we need distractions from our distractions?!

This topic brought up a new question: how do we know when we're actually hearing God?  What about that voice inside our heads that keeps talking even when we finally find silence?  Is that God, or is God at least connected to that in some way?

That's where we'll pick up next week, on February 9th, during Faith & Leadership.  Sunday evenings, 5:45-7:00 p.m. in the Youth Suite.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Faith & Leadership: Sunday, 9/23

We began our discussion series for "Faith & Leadership" last night over the story of Cain and Abel that can be found in the fourth chapter of Genesis.  We'll be continuing our discussion of what we can learn from this story next Sunday evening, and we've posted the NRSV version (from below for each of you to read at your convenience before next weekend.  Read through a few times, and bring any questions, thoughts, or wonderings next week for our discussion together.  

(Genesis 4) Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have produced a man with the help of the LORD." 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it." 8 Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And the LORD said, "What have you done? Listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." 13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me." 15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives: "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold." 25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him." 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the name of the LORD.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week(end)

Just a few reminders of what's going on at Second this weekend for Holy Week.  I would encourage any of you to attend any of these services (regardless of whether you're a member or not, or even if you've never been to Second for anything) as they are amazing reminders of what Easter is really all about.  I heard it said earlier this week that we "shouldn't be so quick to celebrate Palm Sunday and immediately jump to celebrating Easter" without realizing that one of the darkest and most introspective moments in the world's history happened during that week.  I hope to see you at Second at one of these services.

Thursday evening [8 p.m.] -- Maundy Thursday Service of Tenebrae and Communion.

Friday afternoon [12 p.m. - 3 p.m.] -- An open service (come and go as you please) that rotates every 20 minutes and focuses on "The Seven Last Words of Christ", including a string quartet with Haydn's Seven Last Words.

Sunday morning [8 a.m./9:30 a.m./11:15 a.m./5 p.m./6 p.m.] -- Join us for our Easter Sunday services.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vulnerability: A Case Study

Just in case there are any of you left out there that haven't already been forced by me to watch this video (sorry to my fiance and roommate), it's an amazing piece of work from a TED conference in Houston a while back.  A little background info:
Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she has spent the past ten years studying a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the questions: How do we engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to embrace our imperfections and to recognize that we are enough -- that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy?"

The video is poignant and thoughtful; great reflection material for anyone.  But more specifically, we'll be watching it together on Sunday evening for our Faith and Leadership curriculum and using it as a basis for some discussion on the topic of vulnerability in our own lives.

If you're a high school student, join us on Sunday evening in the youth suite at Second Church from 5:45-7:15 p.m. for the beginning of what's sure to be a deepening and enlightening time spent together.  And keep your eyes open as the rest of this process unfolds on this blog as well.

Trek: Moving Forward

Moving forward with Trek this semester, we'll be looking at student-offered topics as our subjects for each weekly meeting.

If you have any specific ideas, questions, or subjects that you as a Trek student would be interested in having as a lesson in the next 8-12 weeks, post a comment on this blog or text/email/facebook me!  All ideas are welcome, and we'll pick some to use as the basis for our future lessons for the remainder of the semester (with some surprises thrown in, of course!).

See you all next Wednesday evening!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Neglect Your Gifts

Picture this...

It's the night before Christmas, and everyone is soundly asleep in their beds, awaiting the arrival of the 25th day of December and the gifts that will be under the tree.  Tomorrow is the day that children have been waiting for all year.

In the morning, the family is up at 6 a.m., wishing they were still in bed but knowing that the kids would surely be up as early as possible to open their presents and play with their new gifts.  

But no one runs in screaming with joy...and they wait.  And they wait.  And they wait.

The kids finally get up, around noon, and walk into the family room to see all of the presents under the tree.  However, they just walk past them and sit down in front of the TV to watch their normal favorite show on Netflix.  Or maybe play a little bit of their current video game flavor.  

The gifts sit under the tree, with seemingly no interest from those whom they were given to.  Money, time, and love spent to find, wrap, and place each gift for each specific person...yet none of them accepted, utilized, or appreciated.

An unlikely story, right?!

Maybe.  Maybe not.

On Sunday evening, we read 1 Timothy 4:11-16, which has been a focus passage of scripture for us recently in our Faith and Leadership curriculum.

We focused specifically this week on 1 Timothy 4:13-14 -- discussing our gifts and our role in receiving them.

1 Timothy 4:14 says,
"Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders."

Often, we're the children in the unlikely Christmas story when it comes to our spiritual gifts.

My question to you is this:

What gift(s) have you been neglecting?

For next week, we will continue the discussion of 1 Timothy 4:11-16, finishing with the last segment of verses 15-16.  If you're a high school student, join us in the Youth Suite at Second Presbyterian Church on Sunday evenings from 5:45-7:15 p.m. to be a part of our discussion on Faith and Leadership.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sunday Preview: Q&A

Following up from last week during Thanksgiving weekend, we will continue this Sunday morning with a Question & Answer session!

The two questions we discussed last week were:

"Prove heaven and/or hell is real without involving the word faith."

"Why is it that when we pray most people look down?  Why not up?"

There are many more questions from last week that we will try to get to this Sunday morning, so come prepared for discussion and with any other questions you might like to add into the pile!