We are in a sermon series called “What God is Like”. It is based off of Exodus 34:6 where God gives a description of God’s character:
6And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
- You can watch the first sermon here: What God Is Like Sermon 1
- You can watch the second sermon on compassion here: Compassionate
- You can watch the third sermon on God’s grace here: Gracious
- You can watch the fourth sermon on how God is slow to anger here: Slow To Anger
These 5 descriptions of God’s character reveal to us who God has been, is and will be!
- Slow to Anger
- Abounding in Love
We see throughout the metanarrative (story of the Bible) these aspects of God’s character in the stories told, and we see all of these character attributes in Jesus – God in the flesh.
First we receive from God and then we are able to reflect God’s character to the world around us.
We have resources below in this email to go deeper and to engage with a group or conversation partner. However, we also know that these topics may bring up the need for some to have prayer support or referrals for counselors and/or spiritual directors. See our care resources: Mill City Church Care Resources
PRAXIS GATHERINGS – We are also going to have a gathering time for all ages every Wednesday from 6:30-8pm at the church 4/19 4/26 5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24
This is a time to put into practice what we are learning from scripture each week. There will be a discussion and then a spiritual practice to do together. You can join any week you are able – no need to sign up, just come to door 3 at the church by 6:30pm any Wednesday.
All ages are invited to come! Mill City Youth group will be engaging the same topic and there will be space for Elementary kids to participate and a childcare option for little kids.
*no dinner provided but feel free to bring your own
GOING DEEPER IN STUDY:
- Bible Project Video Shown on Sunday
- Podcast From The Bible Project
- Notes on Scripture Focused on Grace
GOING DEEPER IN A GROUP OR WITH A PARTNER:
- Opening “Community Time” Question: How would you answer the question, “What was a favorite gift you have ever received?”
- Get paper and a pen for this next time of reflection
- Watch 5 Minute Bible Project Video
- Discussion Questions (pick which ever resonate with you and you have time for)
- To say that God is “long of nose” is to say that he is patient—it takes him a long time before he becomes angry. He gives people time to respond to his gracious warnings. In your culture, what expressions are used to describe a patient person?
In 2 Peter 3:9, we read one of the reasons behind God’s patience. How would you interpret this passage? What does it suggest to you about God’s character, and how does that change the way you see yourself and others?
- Let’s consider how Jesus took the consequences of evil upon himself as we read Romans 5:6-11. Does Jesus’ self-giving love help us see God’s anger toward evil and his patient love for people at the same time? If so, how?
- Take time to discuss other themes or key takeaways from what you read together.
- SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
- Visio Divina
Below are the steps for Visio Divina. This is an artistic twist on Lectio Divina, which is a traditional practice that involves Scripture, Reflection, and Prayer. Visio Divina, involves reflecting on an image in addition to those three elements. This could be an art piece, or it could be walking outside in creation.
For this week we are focusing on Rembrandt’s interpretation of the parable of the Prodigal Son. This story is a beautiful illustration of God’s response based on God’s mercy and love. Link to the art work here.
1) Prepare Your Heart for Prayer
Have the image visible – either have it printed out or have the image pulled up on your phone or computer.
Begin your time in prayer by reading or listening to the passage: Luke 15:11-32
Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind, and ask God to enter into this time of prayer with you. Ask God to speak to you through this image.
2) Allow the Image to Speak to Your Heart
Open your eyes and look at the image. Let your eyes pause and focus on the part of the image they’re first drawn to.
Gaze upon just that part of the image for a minute or two. Then close your eyes, still seeing that part of the image in your mind.
3) Reflect on the Entire Image
Open your eyes and now look upon the whole image. Gaze upon all of the image, allowing it to draw forth a word, an emotion, or an image in your heart.
What do you imagine? What thoughts or questions is this image raising? What emotions do you feel?
Continue to gaze and reflect as long as you need to, then briefly close and rest your eyes.
4) Pray Through the Image
Open your eyes. While looking upon the image, respond to God. Pray through the words, images, emotions, questions, and thoughts that are now on your heart.
Continue to look upon the image as you pray. Then, close and rest your eyes briefly.
5) Rest and Reflect in God
As you close out your time in prayer, open your eyes and gaze again upon the image. Rest in God’s presence as you reflect upon this prayer experience.
Consider how you’ll take this into your life. How is the Spirit inviting you to respond? You may choose to journal about your experience.
If you are unable to access an image, you could just do Lectio Divina. The steps are:
1) Prepare your heart for prayer.
Close your eyes. Take a moment to inhale and exhale. You may consider praying this prayer,
Exhale: I belong to you
2) Read or listen to the passage the first time: Luke 15:11-32
3) Take a couple minutes to pause and reflect:
What do I imagine? What questions do I have? What emotions am I feeling? You may consider setting a timer to help engage the practice.
4) Read or listen to the passage a second time: Luke 15:11-32
What does this passage say about God?
What does this passage say about myself or those around me?
How is the Spirit inviting me to respond?
You may choose to journal, or discuss with others.
6) Pray to close:
Close your eyes. Take a moment to inhale and exhale.
Exhale: I belong to you
- Visio Divina