August 27 – September 2
Week 2 – Wimpy Formation
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 3:11
Ancestrally, I have a very firm faith foundation. One of my great-grandfathers was a Lutheran pastor as were all four of his sons. Some of his nine daughters married pastors, and there are pastors throughout his lineage. Three of my grandparents were raised in Lutheran homes; the fourth was Catholic. Both of my parents were raised in Lutheran homes and, in fact, met at church.
But heritage alone, although important, doesn't keep a foundation from becoming wimpy. My parents provided a firm foundation during our formative years and beyond as they continued to put into practice the disciplines that they learned in their Christian homes. Those disciplines were woven into the fabric of our family by keeping God at the center of our lives. We went to church and Sunday school, attended Lutheran schools, and had nightly family devotions. We were very involved in the church, school, and other agencies as we served God and His church through volunteer positions and activities. When our children came along, my husband and I continued this foundation building. In fact, I remember Pastor’s noting our family’s volunteer service one time when he commented, “You don't just get one member of the family, you get four.” I see many families and adults at Webster Gardens who encourage me and my family as they, too, are intentional about building a strong faith foundation in their own lives and families.
Our readings this week focus on practical discipleship and the forming of faith habits. We will experience Moses as he delivers and teaches the Ten Commandments to the Israelites; Jesus as He teaches His disciples how to pray; Paul as he mentors and encourages a young Timothy; and we will discover the value of faith celebrations and traditions as we read parts of God’s rescue in Esther. As you read, look for ways that God is teaching you how to build a firm foundation in your own life and the lives of your family.
Sunday, August 27
Read: Luke 6:46-49
Jesus knew about foundations; He was a carpenter. In this passage, He is again using a familiar, everyday picture--a house that is built on a firm foundation--to share a spiritual truth. The strength of our spiritual foundation rests on the choices we make to be led by God’s purpose or by the whims of the world.
Reflect: How does Jesus tell us to build a firm foundation? What happens if we don't? Ask God to show you one thing your family can do together to build a firm foundation (serve together, have family devotions at dinner, pray together … ).
For the Family: The Rock in this story is a person, not a thing. Who is it? Why is it important to read the Bible? Think of one way you can show that you are a follower of Jesus.
Monday, August 28
Read: Galatians 1:1-10
Although the Galatian Christians had not completely deserted God, they had begun to follow a perverted version of the Gospel. Paul admonishes them and defends the Gospel, using himself as an example for them to follow. He affirms his own commitment to follow Christ and to make decisions and choices based on the truth of the Gospel.
Reflect: What happens to those who preach contrary to God’s Gospel? How can we avoid the confusion they attempt to cause? Whose approval should we be seeking? Pray that God will open your eyes to the truth of His Word. Pray for discernment to recognize teaching that is contrary to His truth.
For the Family: Everything in the Bible is true, so we can trust what the Bible says. As a family, talk about one thing the Bible teaches you that is important for you to remember and practice every day.
Tuesday, August 29
Read: Deuteronomy 5
God’s people were in the wilderness for 40 years and were about to enter into a land that was inhabited by people who were entrenched in sinful behaviors. In this section of Scripture, Moses, for the second time, delivers and teaches God’s laws for living in the midst of such a society. Still today, the Ten Commandments provide a foundation for holy living in our sin-ridden world.
Reflect: God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel thousands of years ago. Times have changed. Are they still relevant today? If you do not know the Ten Commandments by memory, take time this week to learn them.
For the Family: God chose Moses to deliver and explain the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Who has taught you about God’s Word? Say thank you to someone who has shared God’s Word with you.
Wednesday, August 30
Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
In this letter, Paul reminds Timothy that his faith and calling are part of who he is. In the same way, this passage of Scripture serves as a reminder to each of us that our faith and calling are part of who we are … both individually and corporately as a congregation.
Reflect: Timothy had faith formation poured into him by his mother and grandmother, but it didn't end there. Who was his mentor beyond childhood? Who has been a faith mentor to you? How do you or can you serve as a mentor to someone?
For the Family: Timothy’s grandmother and his mother were the first people to share the Gospel with him when he was a small boy. What faith habits does your family share together (i.e., read the Bible together, pray before meals, pray at bedtime …)? Choose a Bible story you haven’t heard or don’t know well and read it together as a family.
Thursday, August 31
Read: Esther 9:20-28
The Book of Esther is a story of God’s rescue. In this chapter, we are brought to the time when God rescued His people from the plot by Haman to destroy them. The Feast of Purim was an annual celebration to commemorate God’s rescue. We do not celebrate the Feast of Purim in our culture today, but we do celebrate God’s rescue in our worship.
Reflect: The two-day celebration commemorating God’s rescue was a rock in the faith foundation of the Israelites that was passed on from generation to generation. What faith events does your family celebrate? How do those celebrations strengthen your faith? How do faith events that we celebrate corporately as a congregation help to strengthen your faith?
For the Family: Who has rescued you from your sin and promised you eternal life? What holiday do we celebrate each year to remind us of this rescue that changed our lives forever?
Friday, September 1
Read: Matthew 6:1-21
In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us some practical lessons for foundation building. He focuses on giving and praying. Why? Perhaps because most of us want to be recognized and appreciated. As a result, we can sometimes become prideful when it comes to our giving and our spiritual maturity. Still, the Bible is clear that our motives should be to please God!
Reflect: What is one thread that runs through these verses? The Lord’s Prayer was taught by Jesus to His disciples not only as a prayer that can and should be used on its own, but also as a prayer to be used as an outline for expanded prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as a template for an expanded time of prayer today.
For the Family: Jesus took time to pray to His Father in heaven. It is a faith habit for followers of Jesus like you! Remember, pray with J-O-Y. First, tell Jesus you love Him and thank Him for listening; pray for Others; pray for Yourself and your own needs. Try it now and trust God will answer!
Saturday, September 2
Read: Psalm 1
In this first Psalm, we get a word picture of the ungodly—the wicked, the mockers, and the sinners—compared to the righteous. The Psalmist gives us a picture of the consequences of a life that is self-centered and the rewards of a life that is centered in God.
Reflect: What happens when we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it? What if we do not? Jesus is our perfect example. How do the words of the Psalmist point us to Jesus?
For the Family: The Bible tells us to “delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it.” What does it mean to “delight” in the law of the Lord? How does reading the Bible every day help us to “delight” in the law of the Lord?