Week of April 25–May 1, 2016 – Visions of Transformation by George R. Graham
Scripture Overview: The heart of the gospel is that God so loved the world, and the Easter proclamation is that Jesus Christ died and rose for the sins of the world. The texts warn us against the persistent temptation to make our God too small. In Acts, Paul takes the gospel to Macedonia, which fulfills Jesus’ commission to the disciples “that repentance and forgiveness of sins...be proclaimed in his name to all nations.” Psalm 67 also reminds us of the wideness of God’s mercy. Revelation states that the immediacy of God’s presence will be recognized by “the kings of the earth.” In John 5 the unsolicited and undeserved healing expresses the “unprovoked grace” that flows from God’s limitless love for the world and all its people
Selected Questions and Thoughts for Reflection:
· Read Psalm 67. When have you been aware of God’s transforming you or your community of faith?
· Read Acts 16:9–15. When have you acted promptly on a “nudge” from God? How did your action affect your life or that of another?
· Read Revelation 21:10–22:5. When have you been transformed by someone different than you?
· Read John 14:23–29. When do you struggle most to lead with love? To whom are you called to serve as mentor?

Week of May 2–8, 2016– Moving from Ending to Beginning by L. Cecile Adams
Scripture Overview: The continuation of the church when Jesus is no longer present is an acute issue. This fearful, waiting community, which is anxious and bewildered, has no power of its own. And yet, oddly, power is given that causes this fragile little community to have energy, courage, imagination, and resources completely disproportionate to its size. How can one speak about this changed situation that can only be attributed to the inscrutable generosity of God? The psalm breaks out beyond reasoned explanation into wonder, awe, amazement, and gratitude. God’s new rule is beyond our logic. We only see its effect in a transformed community. That community is not certain what has happened but is sure enough to affirm its identity and embrace its proper work.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
· Read Acts 1:1–11. When have you actively awaited God’s work in your life? How did your active waiting affect the outcome?
· Read Psalm 97. How does your worship of God find expression?
· Read Revelation 22:12–14, 16–17, 20–21. Jesus acknowledges and describes his imminent return. How do these words lead you to make changes in your life?
· Read John 17:20–26. Reflect on a time when someone prayed aloud for you in your presence. How did this experience help you acknowledge the unity of believers?

Week of May 9–15, 2016 – Creation in All Directions by Brad Gabriel
Scripture Overview: The very nature of the Spirit defies our attempts to explain or control. In the account of the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit gives new life to a dispirited band of disciples. The church is born. Birth imagery is present too in Romans 8 where “all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” In John, the Spirit or Advocate’s presence will continue to make life possible for the disciples in the absence of Jesus’ physical presence. In Psalm 104 the Spirit of God is responsible for the origin and sustenance of all creation. The life-giving power and presence of the Spirit is a gift—unsolicited, unexpected, undeserved. But life in the Spirit is life as God intends, to know a peace that the world cannot give.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection:
· Read Acts 2:1–21. On the day of Pentecost, creation is filled with God’s purpose and promise. Where do you see this purpose and promise in your everyday experience?
· Read Psalm 104:24–35b. In what ways can you add your voice to the universal chorus praising the Lord’s name?
· Read Romans 8:14–17. Where in your life do you need to trust God more fully? How will this help bring to fruition God’s new creation?
· Read John 14:8–17, 25–27. When in your life have you been reminded that God is in control rather than you?

Week of May 16–22, 2016 – Aligned with God by Rachel G. Hackenberg
Scripture Overview: The lessons for Trinity Sunday offer an additional opportunity to consider the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5 refers to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Through their mutual work, the believer experiences peace. In particular, it is through the Holy Spirit that the love of God “has been poured into our hearts” (Rom. 5:5). The lesson from John is another passage in Jesus’ “farewell discourse” that mentions the Spirit’s role as teacher. Proverbs 8 opens the way to consider the feminine dimension of the Godhead. Psalm 8 suggests that the God-given “glory” of humanity is compatible with suffering. Romans 5:1–5 reinforces this conclusion. To “boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2) means to “boast in our sufferings” (v. 3). As the Romans lesson from last week suggested of the relationship between the believer and Christ: “We suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (8:17).
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection:
· Read Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31. Where in your life do you struggle to listen to Wisdom? How can you be more open to the understanding Wisdom brings?
· Read Psalm 8. What practices enable you to understand and experience God’s love for you in particular?
· Read Romans 5:1–5. How can you attend to your alignment with God in a more purposeful way?
· Read John 16:12–15. While Jesus still had more to give to the world, he left the responsibility of carrying on his mission to the disciples. How can you take on this mission in your daily life?

Week of May 23–29, 2016 – The Lord Reigns by Kevin M. Watson
Scripture Overview: Who has power? Elijah has no power. He is but a “troubler of Israel.” Yet Elijah’s prayers summon the power of God. Paul has no power. The churches in Galatia have learned that Paul neglected to teach them to observe the law of Moses. He can only insist that there is one and only one gospel, no matter who preaches it. The centurion of Luke 7 does have power. The centurion himself knows his power, but he also knows its limitations. He is not worthy to have Jesus, the powerless one, enter his home. For this acknowledgment of where real power lies, Jesus demonstrates once again the power of God. The question of who has power finds its most direct answer in Psalm 96: “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.”
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection:
· Read 1 Kings 18:20–39. List the voices that attempt to pull you off-center and out of the range of God’s voice. What can you do to set aside these voices and hear God’s voice loudly and clearly?
· Read Psalm 96. How do you proclaim God’s salvation daily?
· Read Galatians 1:1–12. What actions does your belief in Jesus encourage you to take?
· Read Luke 7:1–10. Recall a time when you allowed God’s authority to influence your decision making.

Week of May 30–June 5, 2016 – Embodying God’s Compassion by Heidi Grogan
Scripture Overview: God intercedes powerfully for God’s people. The reading from 1 Kings 17 continues the story of God’s protection of Elijah from the wrath of Ahab, but God’s protection here extends beyond his prophetic messenger to a non-Israelite widow. Psalm 146 reminds us that God alone may be trusted, for God is the one who cares for the outsider and the powerless, those rejected by human society and neglected by the “normal” standards of the world. In the Gospel lesson, Jesus encounters a woman whose position closely parallels that of the widow of Zarephath. For her also God intercedes, this time in the person of Jesus, whose own power restores the life of her son. Galatians 1:11–24 reminds us that God’s intercessions do not always supply the pleasant fulfillments of our needs; sometimes they lead us where we would be happier not to go.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection:
· Read 1 Kings 17:8–24. The woman in the narrative gives to Elijah even though she has next to nothing. How can you demonstrate this kind of hospitality?
· Read Psalm 146. In what ways can you embody compassion and take action to relieve the suffering of others??
· Read Galatians 1:11–24. How can you grow in your willingness to allow God’s compassion to humble you? How will this allow you to claim God’s authority?
· Read Luke 7:11–17. When in your life have you linked your words with action to bring about change in another’s life?