Here is a message from Reilly Jones and the youth at Sunday School this past Sunday (April 17th):
God has put on our hearts that we need to expand our youth/young adults ministry at FBC. Please be praying this week about how we can successfully run an end of the school year/summer kick-off party that includes those who may not normally go to church. Be thinking about dates for the event as well as effective activities/games, and publicizing the event. Text Reilly @ 812.350.9170 for more details if you've been gone and please try to be here next Sunday (April 24th) to continue sorting out details.
It sounds like God is tugging on our hearts to help us discover how we are "Made to Make a Difference."
Here is the link to last Sunday's video. Remember to use my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the password "media123" if you've never accessed rightnowmedia.org.
Here's some follow up devotionals from last weeks "Blast the Walls" lesson.
Let's take a closer look at the nation of Samaria, and
specifically the walls that went up between the Jews and Samaritans. Why did
they hate each other so much?
The history goes back nearly to the time of King Solomon. That wise king
oversaw a golden age in Israel’s history, but after his death, the nation split.
The southern part, which became known as Judah, maintained its capital
at Jerusalem and continued to worship at the Temple there. Spiritually, they
had their ups and downs, but there were a fair number of ups. The northern
part became known as Israel, but sometimes also known as Samaria, after
its capital city. Spiritually, there were very few good times and many bad
times. Because they were cut off from the Temple in Jerusalem, they had to
improvise, setting up different sites for worship. But they also experimented
with worshiping other gods like Baal, a deity of rain and sex.
In the year 722 BC, the mighty nation of Assyria sent its armies through the
region, conquering the northern kingdom of Israel/Samaria. The southern
kingdom, Judah, was miraculously spared. When the Assyrians conquered a
nation, they tried to completely erase them. They did that by carrying off the
inhabitants and dispersing them to other countries and then bringing people
from other countries to inhabit the conquered land. So if there were any
Israelites left in Samaria, the bloodline quickly vanished as they mingled with
the new settlers who came from all over. They were a very mixed race.
Religiously, they maintained some of the old traditions. They revered Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, who had once lived in these lands, but they often strayed
from Moses’ leadership. They had a basic faith in the God of Jacob, but they
didn’t study the Jewish law. So their religion was also shaped by other local
traditions, like Baal-worship.
Over the years the whole region, north and south, was conquered by several
invaders—Babylon, Alexander the Great, the Romans—and there were regular
skirmishes between Judah (now known as Judea) and Samaria. This added to
the resentment between the two nations.
Read Nehemiah 4:1-2.
Nehemiah was a Jewish governor trying to rebuild
the wall of Jerusalem. Sanballat was the Samaritan governor.
How did Sanballat feel about Nehemiah’s project?
How do you think this would make the Jews feel about the Samaritans?
By the time of Jesus, there had been five more centuries of this kind of
bickering. Jews scornfully viewed Samaritans as half-breeds who practiced a
phony religion, with just enough Jewish background to be dangerous.
Read Luke 9:52-56
Jesus is traveling through Samaria. Here’s one
geographical detail. Many Jews had settled around the Sea of Galilee in the far
northern part of Israel. In fact, Jesus’ home town of Nazareth was there, and
he did most of his ministry in that region. So now Samaria was in between two
Jewish areas, which caused some trouble whenever Jews had to travel from
one to the other. Some Jews would take the long way around, crossing the
Jordan River. Jesus just went through.
Why do you think the Samaritan village didn’t welcome him?
What did James and John want to do?
How did Jesus feel about that?
Isn't it interesting that after the incident we read in Luke 9:52-56, Jesus soon after tells the story of the Good Samaritan.
Turn to Luke 10:25-37
You probably know this story, but I challenge you to read it as if it were the first time.
So in this story, one man is lying on the side of the road bleeding.
Another man helps him. One of them is Jewish, the other Samaritan.
Jesus was telling this story to a group of pretty strict Jews. How would
they feel about the fact that the hero of the story was a Samaritan?
This is one of the coolest things about this parable. We think Jesus is saying
we should reach out to help the poor victims of racial prejudice. But he’s
actually showing them reaching out to help us. The Jewish religious leaders
walked right past their own countryman, for fear of being tainted by his blood
(and remember that Jesus was talking to a group of religious leaders). It was
the Samaritan who had nothing to lose. No one in those parts considered him
“holy” anyway, so he could bind up the wounds of a sufferer.
Jesus told this story in answer to a question. What was the question?
Based on this parable, and whatever prejudices exist in our world, how
would you answer that question? Who is your neighbor?