Category Archives: Bible Study

September Devotional from D.S. Foster

September 2018 – Bite Your Tongue

Read Together:  “He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.”  Proverbs 11:13

The United States government has a branch called the Central Intelligence Agency, better known as the CIA.  This agency is responsible for conducting top secret missions of the United States. In order for anyone to become a CIA operative, they must undergo severe testing and training – everything from physical fitness and reaction time to IQ tests.  After four weeks of very intensive training, the applicants are unexpectedly tested.

These men and women are captured by those who they believe are the enemy.  They are interrogated intensely for days to see if they will reveal the secret of who they are. If they withstand this final test, they officially become a CIA operative.  If they reveal their secret, they will never have the opportunity to become an operative.  They have proven themselves to be untrustworthy – unable to keep a secret!

Proverbs tells us that a talebearer reveals secrets, but a trustworthy man conceals them.  A recruit’s grueling weeks of giving it everything he or she had to become a CIA operative are all in vain if that recruit is unable to keep a secret.  Just as a tiny spark can set an entire forest aflame, the book of James reminds, an untrustworthy tongue can spoil an entire friendship or bring intense hurt to a person we love.

Discussion Starters:  How do you feel when someone shares a secret with you?  Why is it difficult to trust someone who gossips?  Who are people you know you can trust?  Why?

Lifeline:  Ask God to help you think before you speak, to put a guard on your mouth.

Reflections

Blessings Always, (Numbers 6:24-26)

Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.

“Bible Study” Fall 2017

The after church study group will be reading Robert Shchases’s  Five Practices of Fruitful Living,  starting Sunday the 29th with the introduction.  November 5 the study will be set aside for the fall work day but will continue through subsequent chapters for the rest of November.  Please join whether you’ve read the book or not.  There is always a fruitful discussion.

Thoughts for Sunday, the 4th

A TIME TO BLESS

The first verse of Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes declares: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

David Spangler asks: When is the time to bless? (p. 79)

For reflection: Think about all the times you encounter some form of blessing ie public occasions, worship, ceremonies etc.

When are the times you are most likely to encounter a formal blessing?

Blessings are asked at beginnings and endings, and at many points in between. Indeed, any time we feel a situation or a person needs the benefit of divine providence we ask for a blessing. This is how we normally understand a blessing in our culture. It’s an invocation of the presence and the power of the sacred upon a person’s life or upon the function of an object.”

BUT as much as a blessing is an invocation, it is also an act of discovering the part of us that moves in harmony on the dance floor of creation. In fact,

the art of blessing is not only about the act of blessing, but about an attitude towards the world, a way of seeing things that go beyond our ordinary perceptions.”

On Sunday we talked about somehow being in harmony with the greater mystery. We had difficulty naming it (which is as it should be!). Spangler uses the metaphorical language of flowing energy, of obstruction, and of openness.

Our tradition might use the term “grace” – the continual flowing of divine energy in our behalf.

Here are a couple of questions to ponder: Can you identify a time when you have felt yourself in “the flow” of blessing? of unexpected grace? (be careful not to censor your insight or understanding when something comes to mind).

As you recall, were you able to be in a state of openness – receptivity?

Did anything in you “obstruct” the flow? or were you able to receive and let it pass on through you in some way to its next “destination?” ie: can you identify a time when you were “blessed in order to be a blessing?’

The real power of blessing is that it awakens us to the power of spirit. A blessing is an energizing of our sense of the sacred: the more we attune ourselves to that presence, the more we live in its midst.”

The Blessing Way : Study group

THE BLESSING WAY

Adult Bible Study and Discussion

Chilmark Community Church

Autumn 2016

BEGINNING ON SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27 FOR 3-4 WEEKS

In spiritual communities here and there around the country the idea of “blessing” is coming into the foreground. More and more books are appearing on the theme. Some writers simply lift up the possibility that we could live lives of blessing; others devise exercises to be used in small groups or between two people to practice blessing each other; still others create poetry and daily meditations to help seekers develop a sensibility for “blessing.”

The notion of “blessing” is a central theme in our scriptures. In the book of Genesis alone, the word is used more than 50 times as the earliest narratives of our beginnings unfolds. So, it seems we could be in a “blessed movement” as we explore the idea of blessing.

I’d like to propose 3-4 sessions, beginning on November 27 (Sunday after Thanksgiving).

Genesis seems to be a good place to start since the notion of blessing is so prevalent there. Across the narrative, blessing happens in many ways. God blesses creation. God blesses humans. Humans bless God. Humans bless each other. Sometimes blessings move the narrative along in a happy and generous way, but sometimes blessings backfire.

For the 1st session:

Read several selections from the following:

CREATION

Genesis 1:22 and 28

Genesis 2:3

Genesis 5:2

NOAH

Genesis 9: 1-10

ABRAHAM

Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 14:19

Genesis 17: 15-16

These are the verse where a few blessings are named. You will need to read a bit on either side of these verses to get a feel for the context.

Keep in mind several questions: Who is blessing whom? How is the blessing received? What is the possible outcome of the blessing? Notice what effect the blessings have on you.

Would you want to be on the receiving end?

This will help us get started. Hope the topic and the timing will work for you.

As always, with abundant blessings, Vicky