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GPS Week of October 20, 2019

Children’s Sabbath

Sermon – Growing Up Together

Scripture Readings: Luke 2:39-47, Luke 2:48-52
When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. (Luke 2:48-52)

Monday October 21 — Psalm 92
The message of the Scriptures is consistent: to live is to grow. Both the Old and the New Testaments use the natural world to understand and explain the ways of God. Just like the trees put down roots in order to grow and flourish (see Psalm 1:3), God’s people put down roots in God’s grace and love in order to grow, flourish, and bear fruit in the world. Prayerfully read Psalm 92:12-15. What do you think about these words? Have you “been planted” in the house of the Lord? Is righteousness growing and flourishing in you? Is your life bearing fruit?
• Prayer: God of Creation, thank you for the beauty of the world around me. Help me grow in righteousness and bear the fruit of love. Amen.

Tuesday October 22 — Isaiah 53:1-12, Luke 2:25-35
The 53rd chapter of Isaiah is often read in worship services on Good Friday, recognizing that Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the suffering servant who poured himself out in death and bore the sins of the people. Even when we read the stories of Christmas, we are aware that Jesus grew up to be a “man of suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). This is why Simeon said to Mary, “and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35). Think about the person Jesus grew up to be and what his life would accomplish. Compare the image of the manger with the image of the cross. How would you feel if this were your child?
• Prayer: God of Salvation, help me to understand how both Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ death are Good News. Help me trust you fully. Amen.

Wednesday October 23 — Luke 2:34-40
Matthew and Luke are the only Gospel writers that tell us anything about Jesus’ early childhood. Matthew tells us about the holy family’s escape to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-23), and Luke tells us about Jesus’ dedication in the temple. Luke also emphasizes that as Jesus grew up, he grew in wisdom and strength. Not only does this summary (in Luke 2:40) teach us that Jesus will be strong and wise, but it reminds us that we should also be growing in strength and wisdom as Jesus’ disciples. Reflect on your life today. In what ways are you continuing to grow in wisdom and strength?
• Prayer: Gracious God, I commit my life to you today. Help me to love you in worship, grow in my faith, and serve you more fully. Amen.

Thursday October 24 Luke 2:41-52 

This scene in Jesus’ life serves as a transition from his birth to his adult life and ministry. Luke wants us to know that Jesus grew up in a faithful Jewish household and that he had a special relationship with God. Luke 2:42, like Luke 2:40, summarizes Jesus’ growth, emphasizing that he increased in wisdom—his understanding of God’s Word and God’s ways. Reflect today on your role in helping future generations increase in wisdom and understanding of God’s ways. Are you setting a good example? Are you personally growing in your own faith and wisdom? In what ways do you practice your faith?
• Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to grow in wisdom and understanding of your ways. Teach me how to live and practice my faith. Amen.

Friday October 25 — Mark 4:26-32
Not only did Jesus grow in wisdom, he used images of growth from the natural world to teach his disciples about God’s Kingdom. He wanted them to grow in their understanding and their ability to live faithful and obedient lives. He wanted his teaching to bear fruit in their lives. If we are faithful disciples of Jesus, we will grow, not only in our ability to trust in God’s promises, but also in our obedience and our desire for our lives to bear fruit in the world. Reflect back on the last 12 months of your life: what is different about you? How have you changed? How have you grown in your discipleship?
• Prayer: Merciful God, plant the seed of your Word in my heart today. Grant me the courage to trust you to change my life. Amen.

Saturday October 26 — 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
The second letter to the Thessalonian church begins with a word of thanksgiving. The author gives thanks to God because the Thessalonians, “faith is growing abundantly, and the love . . . for one another is increasing.” He goes on: “Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4). Could someone boast that your faith and love for others is growing abundantly? What needs to change in your life right now so that you experience abundant growth in faith and love?
• Prayer: Loving God, I am thankful for your presence in my life. Give me the desire and the ability to grow in faith and love in the coming days. Amen.

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