Week of May 6th, 2018

Acts 10: 34-48

Today’s reading is a powerful reminder that God works to bring people together in His time for His purpose. Cornelius was a Centurion (Roman soldier), who was religious, and was known for taking care of those in need. God sent an angel to him one afternoon, instructing him to send for Peter, in nearby Joppa (about 30 miles away, a long walk on foot or donkey). 
Meanwhile in Joppa, we find Peter on a rooftop (roofs were flat and used as living spaces back then) resting and praying...and probably dozing off.  Suddenly Peter has a vision of a large tablecloth being lowered from heaven that held all sorts of animals Jews did not touch or eat, and God told Peter to take and eat. Peter objected! But God told him not to call unclean what He has made clean. This vision happened twice more. When the delegation from Cornelius arrives, Peter is getting the drift of God’s vision to him, that Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean. Consequently, Peter travels to Cornelius’ house. Keep in mind, a ‘good’ Jew would not travel to and enter a Gentile’s house (unclean). 
Cornelius invites Peter to share about Jesus. So he gives a brief history of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and why it had to take place. Then, to the astonishment of Peter and those who came with him, everyone in Cornelius’ house  begins speaking in tongues and the Holy Spirit comes upon them, same as what happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost. In the end, all present get baptized to the surprise of Peter and His friends. Cornelius then invites Peter to stay longer, no doubt to teach more!.

Read Acts 10:34-48 (v. 1-33 if you want)

What do you see as most powerful and cool about this story?

What part of this gives you most reason to praise God?

How does the decision to baptize this household go against 

How does this text make you aware of anything you need to repent of?

The humans involved are missionaries (Peter) and those being reached (Cornelius house). Take time now to pray for 1 of these groups of people.

Missionary: Anyone with Christ
Mission field: Anyone without Christ
What are the implications for you?

Share someone who is seen as ‘unclean’ (unpopular) at school or work. Talk about a way you will love them this week. 

1 John 5: 1-8

As St. John winds down his letter, he summarizes discipleship this way:
 if someone has truly been born of God, that person will
Trust that Jesus is the one whom God sent to accomplish God’s plan,
Love God and listen to His commands
Love others.

John observes that those who have faith in and believe that Jesus is the Son of God overcome the temptations of the world and that our trust and confidence will bear fruit in our lives by how we love others.

To close St. John roots our confidence in the story of Jesus, His baptism in water that began his ministry, and his blood that concluded His ministry-this is where our confidence is!

Read 1 John 5:1-8

How do the three items above fit together?

How is trusting something more than knowing about it? Give some modern examples.

How does Jesus’ baptism help us have confidence in God’s plan (Both Mark and John have Jesus baptism as the first significant event).

Just like this reading, how does our love for God and others begin and end with Jesus? 

When is loving others or God burdensome? How can John say it is not burdensome?

John mentions loving others who have been born of God. Why does the way we love other Christians matter so much?

Share someone who is seen as ‘unclean’ (unpopular) at school or work.... Talk about a way you will love them this week. 

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