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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Alive in Christ

30 March 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior

Theme: Revive Us, O Lord

Topic: Alive in Christ

Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

We celebrated Easter, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, this past Sunday.  However, the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour is an event we should remember and celebrate everyday of our lives, not just during Easter or the Holy Eucharist.  Easter reminds us of several powerful elements of our faith in Jesus Christ especially that we who were once dead in our trespasses have been made alive in Christ.  The debt we owed God has been paid in full.  This is important because we can easily continue to live in sin, guilt, fear and/or regret, forgetting that whomever the Son has set free is free indeed.  The message of Easter is that we should no longer live in condemnation but in the new life that Christ has given us.

1)   How will you describe the message of Easter,
      and what does it mean to be made alive in Christ? 

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Refrain: On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever. Let Israel now proclaim, "His mercy endures for ever." R The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. There is a sound of exultation and victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the Lord has triumphed! the right hand of the Lord is exalted! the right hand of the Lord has triumphed!" R I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death. R Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord. "This is the gate of the Lord; he who is righteous may enter." R I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation. The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. R This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. R

Isaiah 65:17-25
17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice for ever
   in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
   and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
   or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
   an infant that lives but a few days,
   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
   they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain,
   or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord
   and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
   while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
   the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
   but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
   on all my holy mountain, says the Lord

1 Corinthians 15:3-7, 19-26
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

2) What are the lessons for us in Luke 24:1-12 regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

3) How do we live as those that are made alive in Christ? 
Romans 6:1-14
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Ephesians 2:1-10
You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Ephesians 4:17-32
Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity. 20That is not the way you learned Christ! 21For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.


We who were once dead in our trespasses have been made alive in Christ.  The debt we owed God has been paid in full, and we should no longer live in condemnation but in the new life that Christ has given us.         

Closing Prayer (Collect for Sunday of the Passion)

Lord of life and power, through the mighty resurrection of your Son, you have overcome the old order of sin and death and have made all things new in him. May we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, reign with him in glory, who with you and the Holy Spirit is alive, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


23 March 2016

This Bible Study is On-Line only. Participants are encouraged to attend the final service in the Prince Street Lenten Series at St. Dunstan’s Basilica at 7:00 pm, March 23rd.

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Let Us, With a Gladsome Mind

Theme: Revive Us, O Lord

Topic: Humility

Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9A
4 The Lord God has given me
   the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
   the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
   wakens my ear
   to listen as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
   and I was not rebellious,
   I did not turn backwards.
6 I gave my back to those who struck me,
   and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
   from insult and spitting. 
7 The Lord God helps me;
   therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
   and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8   he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
   Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
   Let them confront me.
9 It is the Lord God who helps me;
   who will declare me guilty?

Humility is a character trait that is commonly misconstrued as weakness or low self-esteem.  The opposite of humility is arrogance or pride.  According to Scripture, the Lord hates arrogance to the same depth that He loves humility.  This week leading up to Easter is popularly known as Holy Week or Week of the Passion of Christ.  During this period, we remember the suffering and crucifixion of the Son of God, the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of the world.  Easter is a celebration of God’s victory over death and the evil one, but this season is also a time to remember the culmination of the greatest acts of humility.  The creator, who took human flesh, suffered immensely in the hands of His creatures, and died a shameful death, death upon a cross.  Had Christ not humbled Himself, He would not have saved us from our sins.  God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us; however humility played a crucial role in the manifestation of God’s immense love for us.  May the good Lord inspire us to be humble in all our ways.

1) How will you describe humility?  
Philippians 2:5-11
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross. 
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
   and gave him the name
   that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father. 

James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1 Peter 5:5-7
In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
‘God opposes the proud,
   but gives grace to the humble.’
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

2) What are the lessons for us in Luke 22:13-30 regarding humility?
Luke 22:13-30
So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ 17Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 20And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ 23Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this. 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

3) Discuss some of the benefits of being humble. 
Psalm 31:9-16
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
   my eye wastes away from grief,
   my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
   and my bones waste away. 
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
   a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
   terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life. 
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
   I say, ‘You are my God.’
15 My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love.

Matthew 23:11-12
The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 14:7-11
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. 8‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’


God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us; however, humility was crucial in the manifestation of God’s immense love for us.  May the good Lord inspire us to be humble in all our ways.         

Closing Prayer (Collect for Sunday of the Passion)

Almighty and everliving God, in tender love for all our human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take our flesh and suffer death upon a cruel cross. May we follow the example of his great humility, and share in the glory of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A New Thing

16 March 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Jesus, Meek and Gentle

Theme: Revive Us, O Lord

Topic: A New Thing

Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21
16 Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters, 
17 who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 
18 Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old. 
19 I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert. 
20 The wild animals will honour me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people, 
21   the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise. 

We all love new stuff, for several reasons… new office, house, car, clothes and so on, and God is always in the business of doing new things for us.  This is why He tells us in the Book of Isaiah to forget the former things and to not consider the things of old?  Although we love new stuff, we find it difficult sometimes to forget past experiences, especially unpleasant ones.  These would include regrets, mistakes, setbacks, unkind words and the things we wish we can go back and undo.  Dwelling on the past can be a major hindrance to enjoying the things God is currently doing in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.  The rear-view mirror is way smaller compared with the wind shield in cars for a reason!  What lies ahead is way more important than where we have been and what we have been through; the steadfast compassions of the Lord are new every morning.  Whichever way we look at it, the present and future are by far more important than the past.  

1) What makes it hard to forget the past?
Genesis 19:15-26
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.’ 16But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city. 17When they had brought them outside, they said, ‘Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.’ 18And Lot said to them, ‘Oh, no, my lords; 19your servant has found favour with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. 20Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!’ 21He said to him, ‘Very well, I grant you this favour too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.22Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.’ Therefore the city was called Zoar. 23The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Exodus 15:22-27, 16:1-5
Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went for three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah.24And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ 25He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. 26He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.’ 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.
The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’

2) What are the lessons in John 12:1-8 regarding focusing on the present?
John 12:1-8
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ 6(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)7Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

3) Discuss some of the benefits of forgetting the past. 
Psalm 126:1-6
Refrain: The Lord has done great things for us.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. R Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed. R Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses of the Negev. R Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves. R

Joel 2:21-27
21 Do not fear, O soil;
   be glad and rejoice,
   for the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not fear, you animals of the field,
   for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
   the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 
23 O children of Zion, be glad
   and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
   he has poured down for you abundant rain,
   the early and the later rain, as before.
24 The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,
   the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 
25 I will repay you for the years
   that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
   my great army, which I sent against you. 
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
   and praise the name of the Lord your God,
   who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
   and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
   be put to shame. 

Philippians 3:4b-14
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more:5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own;but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.


What lies ahead is way more important than where we have been and what we have been through; the steadfast compassions of the Lord are new every morning.         

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fifth Sunday in Lent)

Most merciful God, by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, you created humanity anew. May the power of his victorious cross transform those who turn in faith to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.