View bulletins: 8:15, 9:30, 11 a.m. Pamphlets are handed out at the entry to the 11:05 Contemporary Worship Service.
Faithful Presence Living in a Strange New Land (Jon Wasson, Contemporary Service, October 8, 2017) Sermon Discussion Guide available at covenant.org/covenantgroups
View bulletins: 8:15, 9:30, 11 a.m. Pamphlets are handed out at the entry to the 11:05 a.m. Contemporary Worship Service.
October Covenant Lab The Psalms, taught by Sandy Kress SESSION FOUR New Psalms 1. Psalm 126 – read the whole psalm. This psalm is one of the 15 songs of ascent. What are ascents? What does it mean to plant seeds with tears of sorrow and then be able to reap with joy? Even going out, weeping, we are seed carriers? What does that mean? What does it mean that we come back with joy and sheaves? Do these verses remind you of the verses from which we rise out of the Valley of Baca to pools or blessings? How? 2. Psalm 104 Read verses 1-4. What does it mean that God is cloaked in light? What do you make of God’s making messengers of the wind? His ministers, glowing fire? Note verses 10-18. Note images of watering, nurturing both the tame and the wild, the birds in their homes singing their songs, grass for cattle, wine/oil/bread for human beings. What does all this teach us? 3. Psalm 133 – read whole psalm. What is the Divine expectation of us in verse 1? What do we get out of the verse about the oil pouring down on Aaron? Who was Aaron? What does Aaron signify to and for us? Like the dew from the mountain? God’s command? Blessing of life forever more? Can you piece this together? 4. Psalm 86 Verse 4 is best translated as: “Gladden the soul of your servant for to you O Lord I lift up my soul to You.” What does it mean to lift up our soul to God? Once we do so, how does God gladden our soul? Verse 11 is nicely translated as: “Unite my heart to be wondrous of Your name.” What does that mean? How do we unite our hearts to and for God? Conclusion – what are our takeaways from our study? When you think of the Psalms we have examined, how do they inform you about what it means to dwell with God? What does God seek from us? And how are we blessed in the encounter? SESSION TWO I. Review and recap of the first session – discussion 2. Consider new psalms A. Psalm 48 – introduction Note key words in the early verses that are descriptive of God’s dwelling place: holiness (kadosho), beautiful (yepay), joy (mesos), refuge (mishgav), loving-kindness (chesed) and righteousness (tzedek). How do you understand these words to fit what you see as the place where God lives? Read verses 12-14. This was the psalmist’s entreaty to the reader (or listener) to mark and remember the sights and the experience of the Temple. Do you have similar reflections on your experience of sacred space – in church, for example – going all the way back to your childhood or even just to this past week? What of these memories do you believe to be enduring, that you would want children and future generations to know about and sustain? Please share. B. Psalm 77 – read verses 1-15. This psalm is, in many ways, a consoling psalm. It is a teaching psalm. The psalmist feels desolate at the beginning but finds ways to respond to the desolation. Number and name each and all of those ways. What effect does such thought/action have for a person of faith? C. Psalm 73. After a short introduction on verses 1-20, read verses 21-28. What do we learn about God’s nearness in these verses? Have you felt this nearness in such moments? There’s a name of God I will reference that may trigger further reflections D. Psalm 84 Read verses 1-4. How does the image of the sparrow help us understand the beauty and meaning of dwelling with God? Read verses 5-7. We’ll look at the Hebrew words here and unpack the flow of thought in these beautiful verses. What do they say to us? Has this progression been something you’ve experienced in your lives? SESSION ONE I. Overview of the Sessions The Psalms respond to the deepest needs of the human spirit. For this reason, this book of the Bible has spoken powerfully for centuries to a vast array of peoples – in the form of words used in prayer, meditation, and song. Why? What is it about these Psalms that has created such deep resonance for so many? We’ll consider in our introduction the history of the Psalms, its purposes, its author(s), its uses. We’ll look at form as well as function. I’ll ask what views of the Psalms folks bring to our study. And then I’ll lay out a hypothesis for a possible understanding of the book’s deepest purposes. II. Focus on Several Psalms to Start A. Psalm 1 — Read the whole psalm. Why might this psalm have been placed first? What’s with all the verbs at the outset? What does “Torah” mean?Why is a “happy” person compared to a tree planted by streams of water, that bears its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither? What do we believe is meant by the saying that “in Why is a “happy” person compared to a tree planted by streams of water, that bears its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither? What do we believe is meant by the saying that “in all he does he prospers?” What might it not mean? So, what then is happiness, from the psalmist’s point of view? B. Psalm 22. — While those reading ahead should read the whole psalm, we’ll read verses 1-6, 12-15, 24- 31 in class. You know the first line. Let’s discuss it at some length. Jesus certainly knew this psalm. Do you have thoughts about why he mentioned these first words on the cross? Was it just these words? Or, after having read the psalm, do you think the whole of the psalm was on his mind? If so, why? What are the lessons of the psalm? After its painful beginning, how do we find hope in the end? With what vision […]
Faithful Presence A Life Worth Living (Thomas Daniel and Ross Baird, Contemporary Service, October 1, 2017) Sermon Discussion Guide available at covenant.org/covenantgroups See a video of this sermon here.
View bulletins: 8:15, 9:30 a.m. Pamphlets are handed out at the entry to the 11:05 Contemporary Worship Service. *There is no 11 a.m. Traditional Service this week. Covenant will host a dialogue sermon between Thomas Daniel and Ross Baird.
Do you know someone who would be a great Deacon, Elder or Trustee? Please pray about members who can serve in these roles and submit confidential recommendations to the Congregational Nominating Committee (CNC) by Oct. 22. Download the form below to get more information and to nominate someone. Information and nomination form. For more information contact CNC chair Regina Schlotter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trunk or Treat is Oct. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Covenant parking lot. At the event, volunteers park their cars side-by-side as kids go from trunk to trunk listening and learning stories from the Bible. At the end of the story, kids receive a treat. To ensure this year’s event is a success, we need your help! It’s easy and fun, and is a great opportunity for families, small groups, friends and neighbors to come together! Simply select a story from a list of Bible stories, and then get creative, decorating your trunk to help bring the story to life. We need you to host a trunk! Volunteer If you are interested in learning more, look for a table on the patio or contact Deon Wright.
From https://adrn.org/portarthur/ – “What if the Lord was inviting the whole Church in Greater Austin to mobilize to Port Arthur for one day, to reveal God’s great love for a whole city? Well, it’s happening. As churches, pastors, and leaders have gathered over these last few days, we believe the Lord is leading us to go…together. Only God could orchestrate such a magnificent thing, a whole Church in a city serving alongside of the whole Church in another city! And on short notice, but we serve a God whose works are wondrous! Will you be a part of the 1,000+ we hope will go?” ADRN is calling for as many people as possible to help in Port Arthur this Saturday. You don’t have to be ADRN trained! Read more and sign up at https://adrn.org/portarthur/.
Formed How Big Life Can Be (Thomas Daniel, Contemporary Service, September 24, 2017) Sermon Discussion Guide available at covenant.org/covenantgroups