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Past Fun, Fellowship, and Ministry at Troy First

By: Sue Oleson

Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16

Thoughts:
Micah: When did you start working here in the vineyard?
Haggai: Oh, about an hour ago.
Zephaniah: I’ve been working here since noon.
Habakkuk: You’ve been here since noon, but how many grapes have you picked?
Hosea: The owner should pay us according to how many bags we fill.
Obadiah: Oh, good idea! Maybe he’ll hire you to manage his vineyard.
Malachi: Here come the owner and his steward now.
Zechariah: Quitting time, guys.
(The laborers are paid.)
Amos: I got $10.
Nahum: You didn’t start working until three o’clock this afternoon!
Micah: I started at nine this morning, and I just got $10.
Jonah: Catch me working for that joker again!

Discussion: What do you think of the vineyard owner’s pay scale?

Activity: Think about the owner’s statement: “Is your eye evil, because I am good?”
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By: Sue Oleson

Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35

Thoughts: My high school English teacher had a simple plan for filling class time. Each week he required the 30+ members of each class to memorize a lengthy poem. Each student recited this poem in class. One week done – another long poem assigned for next week. (Not that anyone cares, but I can still recite many lines of “the Deacon’s One-Hoss Shay.”)

What does nearly everyone know by heart? The pledge to our flag, the lyrics of a few songs popular in our youth, and the Lord’s Prayer. How many times have we mindlessly murmured, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

Discussion: How do we understand the connection betwwen our forgiving ond our being forgiven?

Activity: Forgive a small slight.
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By: Sue Oleson

Scripture: Psalm 149

Thoughts: Mrs. Ceola Hawkins was an elderly widow who lived alone in a small cottage. Money was scarce, but visitors were frequent. Mrs. Ceola poured steaming tea from her prized Wedgewood teapot and served homemade sweet rolls, fragrant with cinnamon. But even better than the refreshments was the hostess’ delight in her company. Everyone who visited Mrs. Ceola felt better and happier.

Psalm 149 tells us “the Lord takes pleasure in his people.” We are blessed.

Discussion: What causes you to take pleasure in people?

Activity: Take care to see that our families know we take pleasure in them.
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By: Sue Olesen

Scripture: Romans 12:1-8

Thoughts: “Gifts and graces” are often tossed off as a pair in answer to a question such as “Why did you become a scientist?”

“Oh, I thought I had the gifts and graces for that profession.”

Paul does not name gifts and graces as equal endowments. He says that each of us has different gifts “according to the grace that is given to us.” We are given grace to use the gifts to the glory of God.

In II Timothy 1:6, Paul tells Timothy to “stir up the gift that is within you.”

Discussion: What is your most prized possession?

Activity: Ask yourself if there are ways you can share this prized possession.
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Scripture:         Matthew 13:31-33, 44.52

By : Sue Olesen


 

Thoughts:         In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne named his heroine Hester Prynne.  Because she had borne a child out of wedlock, Hester was condemned to wear a scarlet A upon her bosom for the rest of her life.  She was also condemned to a life of utter loneliness, for no one would speak to her.  She had only her baby.

 

Hester named her daughter Pearl, because she had cost a great price.  She was her mother’s greatest treasure.

                            

Discussion:      What is your most prized possession?

 

Activity:            Ask yourself if there are ways you can share this prized possession.

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Scripture:         Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

By: Sue Olesen

 

Thoughts:         For most of us, darkness and light are very different.  We usually dispel darkness as soon as we can.  We remember that darkness was one of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians.  We do not feel as Ebenezer Scrooge did in A Christmas Carol.  Although it was very dark in the hallway of Scrooge’s lodgings, he went steadily up the stairs, “… not caring a button for that.  Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”

 

Psalm 139:12 says that “… darkness and light are both alike to thee.”  John Ellerton repeated this in his hymn, “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name.”

                             “Grant us thy peace, Lord, through the coming night;

                             Turn thou for us its darkness into light.

                             From harm and danger keep thy children free,

                             For dark and light are both alike to thee.”

 

Discussion:      How did you feel about darkness when you were a child?

 

Activity:            Make a list of positive adjectives for night.  Restful?  Comforting?  Velvety?

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Scripture:         Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

By: Sue Olesen

 

Thoughts:         The parable in Matthew 12:1-9 makes farmers shudder.  Seed is precious.  It is not to be wasted.  Either seed has been carefully culled from previous crops – labor instensive – or it has been bought – expensive.  No sower worth shooting would fling seed about so irresponsibly.

 

Seeds do not choose where they fall.  So this parable must have been directed toward sowers.         

 

Discussion:      What seeds may fall near us that we do not want to nurture?

 

Activity:            The old hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves” admonished us to sow seeds of kindness “in the morning, at noontide, and the dewy eve.”

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Scripture:         Romans 7:15-25a

By: Sue Olesen        

 

Thoughts:         This is not one of Paul’s finest literary moments.  Was he interrupted while he was writing this and, when he returned to his work, forgot what he had already written? 

 

In summary, Paul wants to do right but often does wrong.  He concludes that sin within him causes him to do wrong.  So he declares himself a wretched man, who yearns for deliverance from this “body of death.”  He thanks God that Jesus Christ will deliver him.

 

Discussion:      What may have been the Romans’ reaction to this passage?  Impatience?  Sympathy?  Understanding?

 

Activity:            Homespun advice said that each day you should do one thing you didn’t want to do and one thing you wanted to do.

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