Category Archives: Bible Leads

Bible Leads: Genesis 3:1-13

TEXT

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’

COOL LINKS
  1. How to DeSeed a Pomegranate
  2. Jewish Interpretations of Eve
  3. Sin
  4. What I Learned from 2000 Obituaries (TED Talk)

REFLECTION QUESTIONS
  1. What good are you glad you know?
  2. Would you rather have a world with death or a world without children?
  3. In what ways was the serpent right?
  4. What does it mean to know BOTH good and evil?

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KEY WORDS

Good, evil, wisdom, serpents, eyes opened, like God, delight to the eyes, Where are you?, afraid, naked, What is this you have done?, I ate, life, death

SOUNDTRACK

Spotify Playlist featuring The Mountain Goats, Prince, The Neighbourhood, Sufjan Stevens, Iron Maiden and more.

HAIKU

It tastes good,
evil, powerful,
scary, sweet.

Bible Leads: John 4:5-42 (Samaritan Woman at the Well)

TEXT

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’


REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. In what ways has God showed unexpectedly in your life?
  2. What does it mean to you that God knows even your secrets?
  3. When have you been outcast in your life? What caused your outcastedness?
  4. What does it mean that this woman had multiple husbands?

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SOUNDTRACK

  1. Find the Cost of Freedom, by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  2. Helplessly Hoping, by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  3. Morning Papers, by Prince
  4. Walking on Broken Glass, by Annie Lennox
  5. Lonely People, by Jars of Clay
  6. Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, by Nanci Griffith
  7. Time to Run, by Lord Huron
  8. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen
  9. Human Touch, by Bruce Springsteen
  10. Lost and Found, by Phoenix
  11. Second to None, by Phoenix
  12. Unforgiven, by Beck
  13. Defriended, by Beck
  14. Under the Westway, by Blur
  15. City on a Hill, by Desepericidos
  16. So Much Water, by M. Ward
  17. In Its Infancy (The Waterfall), by My Morning Jacket
  18. Man Named Truth, Monsters of Folk
  19. Bring on the Ending, by Matt Pond PA
  20. Running Wild, by Matt Pond PA

HAIKU

Well runs deep
kin finds kin along
healing road.

Bible Leads: John 3:1-17 (Nicodemus)

TEXT

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. What does it mean to you to be born again?
  2. In what ways does the ‘lifting up of Jesus’ reveal the nature of God?
  3. What does eternal life even mean?
  4. What does it mean that salvation applies to “the world”?

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Meryem Yildirim, 7, left, sitting on the shoulders of her father, Fatih, of Schaumburg, and Adin Bendat-Appell, 9, sitting on the shoulders of his father, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell, of Deerfield, protest President Donald Trump’s immigration and refugee order at O’Hare International Airport on Jan 30, 2017. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

SOUNDTRACK

  1. Old Chunk of Coal, by Johnny Cash
  2. I’ll Bet on You, by Toad the Wet Sprocket
  3. All Things in Time, by Toad the Wet Sprocket
  4. Save Your Day, Jose Gonzalez
  5. To Save Me, by M. Ward
  6. Resistance, by Queensryche
  7. Turn My Head, by Live
  8. Cranes in the Sky, by Solange
  9. When the Night Turns Cold, by Tobias Froberg
  10. A New Law, by Derek Webb
  11. Lifted Up, by Passion Pit
  12. Believe (Nobody Knows), by My Morning Jacket
  13. Believe You’re Mine, by Nada Surf
  14. Heaven Knows, by Miner
  15. I Don’t Know, by Nick Hakim
  16. She Only Knows, by Starflyer 59
  17. Night Sky, by CHVRCHES
  18. I Can’t Stand You Anymore, Sleigh Bells
  19. The Ghost of You, by My Chemical Romance
  20. New Awakening, by Mortification

HAIKU

This freedom
kills apathy dead
to love all.

Bible Leads: Genesis 32:9-32

TEXT

And Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, “Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good”, I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children. Yet you have said, “I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number.” ’

So he spent that night there, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. These he delivered into the hand of his servants, each drove by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Pass on ahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.’ He instructed the foremost, ‘When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, “To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?” then you shall say, “They belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behind us.” ’ He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, ‘You shall say the same thing to Esau when you meet him, and you shall say, “Moreover your servant Jacob is behind us.” ’ For he thought, ‘I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.’ So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himself spent that night in the camp.

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. What unresolved strife exists in your family?
  2. In what ways has God been revealed to you through other people?
  3. In what ways is God still changing you?
  4. What does your name mean?

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SOUNDTRACK

Spotify Playlist

  1. I Believe I Can Fly, by R. Kelly
  2. Going Home, by Mary Kahl and Mark O’Connor
  3. Take Me Home, Country Roads, by John Denver
  4. Brothers, by Ennio Marricone (from Soundtrack to The Mission)
  5. I Feel Better, by Frightened Rabbit
  6. Changes IV, by Cat Stevens
  7. Changes, by 2Pac w/ Talent
  8. When It Hurts So Bad, by Ms. Lauren Hill
  9. Whatever I Fear, by Toad the Wet Sprocket
  10. Afraid, by Neko Case
  11. Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson
  12. Don’t Wanna Fight, by Alabama Shakes
  13. Whose Authority, by Nada Surf
  14. I Like What You Say, by Nada Surf
  15. Not a Robot, but a Ghost, by Andrew Bird
  16. Simple X, by Andrew Bird
  17. Holocene, by Bon Iver
  18. I’m Here Now, by Motopony
  19. Trance Manual, by John Vandeslice
  20. Ledges, by Noah Gundersen

HAIKU

Reunited
but never the same
as we were.

Bible Leads: Genesis 24:62-67

TEXT

Genesis 24:62-67

Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. What has comforted you in your grief?
  2. What does it mean to love your spouse?
  3. What have you given up for love?
  4. What is new life after grief?

IMAGE

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SOUNDTRACK

  1. I Found Out, by Alabama Shakes
  2. Rise to the Sun, by Alabama Shakes
  3. Lover Lay Down, by Dave Matthews Band
  4. Lover to Lover, by Florence + the Machine
  5. Love to Get Used, by Matt Pond PA
  6. I Thought I Saw Your Face, by She & Him
  7. Don’t Look Back, by She & Him
  8. I Could’ve Been Your Girl, by She & Him
  9. Look for Me (I’ll Be Around), by Neko Case
  10. I’m From Nowhere, by Neko Case
  11. Local Girl, by Neko Case
  12. Involuntary, by M. Ward
  13. Blake’s View, by M. Ward
  14. To Go Home, by M. Ward
  15. Requiem, by M. Ward
  16. Comfort, by Basement
  17. The Seasons, Op. 37a: III. March, by Milana
  18. Closest (Look Out), by Matt Pond PA
  19. Heart is a Drum, by Beck
  20. End of the Day, by Beck

HAIKU

To love her
when I thought love died
is heaven.

Bible Leads: Mark 6:30-44

TEXT

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii* worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
  1. Tour the Kitchen of India’s Golden Temple
  2. Cafe 458–delicious dignified meals for the poor in Atlanta (click, then scroll down)
  3. Clay Street Table (Portland, Oregon)
  4. Eucharist and the Hunger of the World

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. Where do hungry people in your town go for food?
  2. What is the free/reduced lunch rate at the nearest public school?
  3. Who helps seniors get the nutrition they need?
  4. In what ways might your church be more involved in matters of hunger?

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SOUNDTRACK

  1. We Don’t Eat, by James Vincent McMorrow
  2. Blindsided, by Bon Iver
  3. For Emma, by Bon Iver
  4. Rich Young Ruler, by Derek Webb
  5. Come With Me, by Echosmith
  6. Here’s to Feeling Good All the time, by Miracle Fortress
  7. Vincent O’Brien, by M. Ward
  8. Get to the Table On Time, by M. Ward
  9. Magpie to the Morning, by Neko Case
  10. City Swans, by Neko Case
  11. The Right Place, by Monsters of Folk
  12. All This and Heaven Too, by Florence + the Machine
  13. Tired, by Adele
  14. When We Were Young, by Adele
  15. One and Only, by Adele
  16. Ants Marching, by Dave Mathews Band
  17. Warehouse, by Dave Mathews Band
  18. Cry Freedom, by Dave Mathews Band
  19. Galileo, by Indigo Girls
  20. World Falls, by Indigo Girls

HAIKU

Wants as needs
as needs go unmet
we complain.

Bible Leads: Romans 5:1-11

TEXT

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. What does it mean to have “peace with God”?
  2. How can sin and goodness live together in the same soul?
  3. In what ways does being reconciled to God direct the purposes of my life?
  4. What can we do to discover the redeemable elements of suffering?

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SOUNDTRACK

  1. New Constellation, by Toad the Wet Sprocket
  2. Look at You, by My Morning Jacket
  3. Sec Walking, by My Morning Jacket
  4. Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt.1, by My Morning Jacket
  5. Comeback Story, by Kings of Leon
  6. Wait for Me, by Kings of Leon
  7. Over My Head, by Alabama Shakes
  8. Guess Who, by Alabama Shakes
  9. Empty, by Ray LaMontagne
  10. Out of My Head, by Desert Noises

HAIKU

So I wait
in my suffering
for some hope.