Read or review the “Weekly Emphasis” each day. Read the daily study and answer the reflection questions on your own or with someone else.
Week 1: May 31, 2020 – “Okay, But Not Really?” | Jonah 1:1-3
When we say that we want a new life in Christ but don’t want to experience the changes.
CORE WORD: “Repent”
The Greek word for repentance is “metanoeo” it comes from the words “meta” which means “with, among, after; in the company with; behind, beyond, after” and “noeo” which means “to perceive, think; understand, consider, conceive”.
Most translations (KJV, NIV, NLT, ESV, NASB) utilize the word “repent” when translating “metanoeo”. Although, the Common English Bible utilizes “change your heart and life” instead of “repent”.
This week we focus on the beginning narrative sequence in Jonah. The prophet receives an invitation from God and responds by fleeing God’s presence. The intent of repentance is similar to the intent of sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which one is made holy and set aside for the work of God. Repentance is a willingness to be changed through exposure to a relationship with God. So, one experiences repentance as an exercise of free will and as a simultaneous encounter of divine grace. The point of repentance is not to foster guilt, contrary to popular representations in culture and the church. God’s invitation is to be changed in the core of our being as we spend time with God. This week we will examine invitations to repentance in Luke-Acts in order to have a Christian perspective on Jonah’s story and so God can speak to us through this Scripture.
Monday: Luke 10:13-16 (CEB)
13 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin. How terrible it will be for you, Bethsaida. If the miracles done among you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have changed their hearts and lives long ago. They would have sat around in funeral clothes and ashes. 14 But Tyre and Sidon will be better off at the judgment than you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be honored by being raised up to heaven? No, you will be cast down to the place of the dead. 16 Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
In this passage, Jesus has sent out a group of 72 followers to witness to the Kingdom of God. He rebukes the cities that he and his disciples have taught and ministered in. Because though they have experienced the Messiah they have not been changed. He says that famous cities of wickedness that have been destroyed will be better off when they are judged than those who have had this experience of God and chosen not to be changed by it.
Where have you experienced God in your life?
What opportunities to change are in front of you?
Reflect on the consequences of not being changed by your present relationship with God.
Tuesday: Luke 15:1-7 (CEB)
All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. 2 The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.
3 Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
Here we see Jesus’ obsession with those who have sinned. A reminder that the word “sin” means “to miss the mark”. Jesus is literally spending time with those who have missed the mark and the religious leaders are grumbling about it. Jesus says that God is enthused by those who are motivated and changed by spending time with God than those who are focused on changing by “doing th right thing.” Both lead to life change, but God would rather we be changed by being connected to the Spirit.
What are ways that you are connecting with God?
Who is God inviting you to connect with?
Reflect on how you have been changed by being in God spaces.
Wednesday: Luke 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin. 3 Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them. 4 Even if someone sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I am changing my ways,’ you must forgive that person.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
God does not call us to be individuals. The Christian invitation is to community. Therefore, we look to others to help us as we journey with God. Repentance is the ability to be changed in heart and life by spending time with God. God dwells with us through the presence of others.
Who can you depend on to help you see moments when you need to change your heart and life?
What is an area that God is working on in your heart or life right now?
Reflect on ways you can be connected with those who will keep you connected to the heart of God. How does that shape your faith?
Thursday: Acts 2:36-41
36 “Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” 40 With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day.
We are getting ready to celebrate Pentecost. This is one of the unofficial birthdays of the church. When we celebrate that God has chosen to make each one of us a temple for the Spirit. Therefore, each of us has the opportunity to be changed in our hearts and lives by allowing the Spirit to dwell within and guide us. Peter preaches to those who are gathered in Jerusalem and speaks openly about the human condition and the reality that each of us has, at times, chosen to live apart from the presence of God. What can we do? Be baptized and receive the Spirit!
When God invites us to a relationship it is not just 1:1, God invites us to be baptized into the church. How does the call to be baptized into the church impact your faith if repentance means being changed by being in a relationship with God?
How is Jesus inviting you into relationship with God and the church?
Reflect on the ways you can use your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness in ministry with God. How does that invite you to life change?
Friday: Acts 17:22-31
22 Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples made with human hands. 25 Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn’t far away from any of us. 28 In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29 “Therefore, as God’s offspring, we have no need to imagine that the divine being is like a gold, silver, or stone image made by human skill and thought. 30 God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives. 31 This is because God has set a day when he intends to judge the world justly by a man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
I love that Paul’s invitation to the people of Athens to have a change in their hearts and lives comes after he invites them to know the “unknown God”. This is a perfect example that true faith is about a relationship. Following Christ is not centered on knowing about God but rather KNOWING God.
Where have you experienced God in unexpected ways this week?
How is God inviting you to reveal God’s presence in the life of someone else?
Reflect on your relationship with God, focus on the spaces and practices that make you the most aware of God’s presence.
How has spending time with God changed your heart and life?
Saturday: Jonah 1:1-3
The Lord’s word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: 2 “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their evil has come to my attention.”
3 So Jonah got up—to flee to Tarshish from the Lord! He went down to Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went aboard to go with them to Tarshish, away from the Lord.
Reflect on Jonah’s decision to flee God especially in light of this week’s focus on repentance (change in life and heart by spending time with God).