St. Luke's United Methodist Church


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Your Week with St. Luke’s Podcast

Posted on January 24, 2023 at 11:53 am in .

Our weekly podcast, “Your Week with St. Luke’s,” is now available wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also find it on Podbean and YouTube. Listen here or click any of the icons below to subscribe!

View weekly episodes below:

Current Series:

dysFUNCTIONAL Relationships – Family relationships are complicated – even in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, siblings quarrel, bicker, and jostle for blessing and spouses deceive their partners in moments of crisis. What do we with biblical figures who are far from perfect? How does God factor into these complex family dynamics? How might these stories guide how we live and lead in relationship with one another today? Learn on Mondays through our weekly lectures (available on-demand wherever you get your podcasts) and then participate in a live discussion on Wednesday nights starting September 6 with Dr. Ryan Bonfiglio & Rev. Dr. Ebby Arnold from the Candler School of Theology as well as some of our pastors!

Click below for Discussion Questions:

Rebekah & Isaac (Communication)

  1. What are some possible reasons that Rebekah did not tell Isaac about God’s revelation of the twins’ destinies?
  2. Are there certain situations, relationships, or contexts in which you don’t feel as free to be yourself? What results (good, bad, or otherwise) come from your acting, speaking, or thinking against your nature? What do you do instead?
  3. Is it more difficult or easy for you to see events and relationships “from the Lord” as neither essentially good nor essentially bad? Why?
  4. Isaac and Rebekah are both products of their families of origin and shapers of their future descendants. In what ways (positive and negative) can you see yourself as both in keeping with and distinct from your own family?

Abram & Lot (Generosity)

  1. In Genesis 12, Abraham is called to leave his family and kin in order to go to the land God had promised him. Much later, Jesus says “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake … will inherit eternal life” (Matt 19:29). To what extent has your own faith journey involved moving away from your family of origin? Was this helpful, painful, or both?
  2. In Genesis 18, Abraham enters into a back-and-forth negotiation with God on behalf of the innocent people of Sodom. Rabbi Jonathan Sachs suggests that this is the first time in Scripture that someone challenges God. Describe a time when you have challenged God. What were the circumstances, and what did the ‘challenge’ look like or entail?
  3. Christians often think challenging or negotiating with God is a sign of doubt or disbelief – and so, it’s something we should avoid. Has this been part of your experience? Why might challenging God be a positive dimension of faith?
  4. Sadly, Genesis 19 is often cited as an example of why the Bible is against homosexuality. Drawing on what you’ve learned in Ryan’s lesson, how would you respond to this reading of Genesis 19? What do you think is the take-away lesson from this story about Lot and the visitors?
  5. In this lesson, Ryan cites studies that suggest that beyond a certain base level, an increase in wealth does not usually lead to an increase in happiness. To what extent does this track with your own experiences? Why do you think wealth is not a reliable indicator of happiness?

Cain & Abel (Personal Responsibility)

  1. In this lesson, Ryan introduces the idea that the stories in Genesis are not primarily about the great faith of the ancestors but rather God’s faithfulness (or hesed) to the ancestors. What is your reaction to this idea? How might it change the way you read these stories?
  2. Which brother do you more naturally identify with in the story of Cain and Abel? Why, and what might that reveal about your experiences within your own family system?
  3. Describe a time in your life when you, like Cain, were more focused on getting attention rather than being accepted. What was motivating you? What were the effects? Why was it hard to embrace the truth of your acceptance with God at that particular moment?
  4. In Genesis 4:15, God puts a “mark” on Cain so that no one would retaliate against him for the crime he committed. What do you make of this ending to the story? Is it fair? If you could write an alternative (or extended) ending to the story, how would it go?
  5. Rabbi Jonathan Sachs suggests that the central theme of the Cain and Abel story is that of a failure to take responsibility. Why is taking responsibility for failures so hard? What attitudes or habitats do we need to cultivate in our own lives in order to be a people who have the courage to step forward and take more responsibility for our own failures?
  6. In this lesson, Ryan points to the example of King Wilhem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who in the summer of 2023 issued an apology for his country’s failure to act against slavery, even though slavery was abolished in the Netherlands over 100 years ago. What good do you think an apology like this does? What values does it communicate? Do you have any push back or concerns about such apologies?

Freed from Sin – Romans 6

1. Think about words that you use to identify yourself. What actions and postures accompany that identity? What behaviors or attitudes necessarily cannot be part of that identity?

2. Remembering that Paul was speaking in his own ancient context, what other metaphors (beside slavery) would you use instead for humans and their need to serve something?

3. We often think that church is a way of coming together in similarity, but Paul emphasizes that the family of God is actually based on and requires difference! What would it look like if we leaned into the necessity of difference?

Children of God – Romans 8

1. Does it make you more or less comfortable being adopted into God’s family for a particular job? Why?

2. Where are the spaces in the world (both in human systems and in the natural world) that seem to be groaning loudly for redemption?

3. Paul says that the world waits for the children of God to be revealed—to come out in the open and stop hiding! What hides God’s children? What must they do differently or set aside in order to be seen as part of God’s “family business?”

Many members, many gifts – Romans 12

1. What is a gift you have that requires someone else’s that you don’t have? When have you experienced synergy between two people’s gifts?

2. How does who you are individually reflect who you are corporately? And the reverse?

3. In what ways can the body of Christ transform “our mind?” What tools, resources, rituals, etc. are available to us to help us orient ourselves in the same direction?

Love for one another – Romans 13

1. Look at Leviticus 19. What are the different circumstances of “neighbors” that the reader is told to pay attention? How do these translate into our current context?

2. What behaviors do we engage in—“rights” that we enjoy—that could or do harm our more vulnerable neighbors?

3. How does this chapter correspond to Romans 8, where the whole creation groans for the revelation of who God’s children are?

Download Study Guides from previous studies

The Characters of Your Life’s Story – Discovering David – Click here to view/download the study guide PDF for the Sunday Night Bible Study

My Story – Job: A Resurrection Story – Click here to view/download the Study Guide for My Story: Job

Acts: Our StoriesActs: Our Stories – Study Guide

The Gospel of MarkMark Discussion Questions

The Gospel of MatthewThe Gospel of Matthew – Discussion Questions

The Gospel of JohnThe Gospel of John Discussion Questions

The Gospel of LukeLuke discussion questions

Re:Vive – The Resurrection Stories according to the GospelsThe Resurrection Stories

Renovate – 1 Peter1 Peter Discussion Questions

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