Month: March 2019

03.31.2019

GOING DEEPER

03.31.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Week 4: Isolation”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What is one of your favorite memories when it comes to hanging out with a group of friends?

 

The Dig

There is a difference between solitude & isolation. Solitude is the spiritual practice of taking intentional time to be alone, in order to reflect, pray, & hear God in silence to grow spiritually. This is a healthy & important practice.

Isolation, on the other hand, is detaching (by personal choice or by another person’s actions) from community or relationships due to feelings of fear, shame, pride, or insecurity. It is hiding from community by removing yourself from the voices, care, love, advice, & honesty. It is spiritually destructive & devastating for human beings.

Can you think of a time when you isolated yourself from people for the wrong reasons (shame, fear, insecurity, etc.)? Why did you do it? How did it make you feel? Did it help?

Read Matthew 8:1-4

In this story, Jesus heals a man with leprosy. In the Bible’s context, this was an extremely serious infliction. On a physical level, lepers could not touch other people because it was so contagious & destructive. On a spiritual level, lepers were forced to leave their communities because they were considered religiously unclean. This meant they could not participate in worship, live around other Jewish people, or touch another person. Also, anyone who touched them would be considered unclean as well.

Take a moment to see life through the leper’s eyes. How are you impacted? What would you feel?

There are two very important elements to this story. First, Jesus is willing to associate with & heal this person. What does it say about Jesus (who he is, why he came, what he seeks to do) that he is willing to do this?

Second, Jesus heals in many different ways in the Bible (by word, with physical elements, etc.). Thus, HOW Jesus heals is used by him to teach important lessons to his followers. Here, he intentionally heals this man by touching him – something this man wouldn’t have experienced in a long time AND something that would have made Jesus “unclean” in the eyes of religious leaders. Rabbis were not supposed to do this.

What does this say about Jesus & his ministry that he goes out of his way to touch this person to heal them?
How would this have impacted the man with leprosy? (Think: more than just physical healing)

As Christ-followers, we are called to live & work as Jesus did. What does this choice by Jesus tell us about how WE are supposed to care for & help broken & isolated people?

Who (individual, group of people, or type of person) is the “leper” in your life? Where can you heal someone in isolation with a compassionate touch or act of kindness?

What is one step you can take this week to ease & help heal another person’s isolation in your community or world?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Review the “response cards” for the week. Pray the prayer and meditate on the words, Explore the topic, and choose a way to Act on your response.

 

Additional Resources:

NAMI Tallahassee, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will be providing a training at E3 on Monday, April 1 at 6PM. During this educational and engaging presentation attendees will hear from a diverse group of people who are managing life while dealing with mental health issues. There will also be information on how to get involved as well as resources for leaders, family members and friends who are impacted by a loved one’s mental health. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about how we can lead and serve in this area! Dinner will be provided. There will NOT be childcare available.

Jesus Wept: Mental Health Resources

See below for some recommended support groups and meetings around Tallahassee for dealing with different kinds of mental health issues. For more information, contact Elizabeth Wilkes: elizabeth@element3.org


Celebrate Recovery Tallahassee

Celebrate Recovery, a program designed and launched by Saddleback Church, is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. We all have issues that may be interfering with our relationship with God, so the program is for anyone and everyone.

Local Meeting


Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

Local Meetings


Narcotics Anonymous

N.A.is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using.

Local Meetings


Al-Anon Family Groups

If someone close to you, such as a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor, has or has had a drinking problem, Al-Anon may help.

Local Meetings


Co-Dependents Anonymous

A fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.

Local Meetings

03.24.2019

GOING DEEPER

03.24.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Week 3: Creation”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What is your favorite outdoor activity? Share a story about your favorite trip, experience, or activity in the outdoors.

 

The Dig

Read Jeremiah 12:10-11 and Isaiah 5:8-10. Both passages are included in sections where prophets are pronouncing judgment on Israel for failing to honor God in how it acts in the world (adding it to common biblical judgments over things like violence, idolatry, etc).

Did you know that the Bible spoke this way about how we treat in Creation (i.e., including agricultural practices, land use, and conservation alongside more recognized “moral issues”)?

Do you think of these kinds of activities as things that fall under the category of sin? Why or why not?

Read Romans 8:18-30.

In this section of Romans, Paul talks about how God will use His people (the Church) to take part in the restoration and salvation of all things – including creation.

In terms of your experience with Christianity, have you ever been taught that Creation – not just human beings – is included in God’s definition of, and plans for, salvation? How does this impact how you understand the concept of “salvation”?

Notice, Paul calls the Children of God to live out God’s salvation NOW – as representatives and first fruits of God’s plans for all of creation.

How do you respond to the idea that we – as the Church – are called to be “first fruits” of God’s salvation plan for Creation?

Does that change the way you think about your role in the world and your relationship with Creation?

To take part in healing Creation, we must:
Change the way we think about Creation (what it is, what our relationship is to it, how we treat it), and
Change our lifestyle and actions in response to that change.

What are some ways you can change in these two areas? Which do you find hardest?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Review the “response cards” for the week. Pray the prayer and meditate on the words, Explore the topic, and choose a way to Act on your response.

 

Additional Resources:

READ:
The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age, by Norman Wirzba

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction, by David Quammen

WATCH:
Planet Earth: Season 1 & 2 – documentary (Netflix)

Chasing Coral – documentary (Netflix)

ONLINE:
Yale’s Online Environmental Magazine: e360.yale.edu

A Florida Specific Environmental Resource: fl.audubon.org

SUPPORT:

(National Organization) The Nature Conservancy – https://www.nature.org/en-us/

(National Organization) National Wildlife Federation – https://www.nwf.org

(Local Organization) Apalachee Audubon Society – https://www.apalachee.org/

(Local Organization) Magnolia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society – http://magnolia.fnpschapters.org/

 

Coming Up This Week:

Sunday, March 31: Our Lent sermon series for Lent, continues with: Isolation.

03.17.2019

GOING DEEPER

03.17.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Week 2: Hunger & Poverty”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What do you think it means to be poor? Have you ever experienced it?

 

The Dig

Jesus’ emphasis on helping the poor is not simply some new idea that he has. It is (a) thoroughly Jewish, and therefore, (b) what God consistently wants for his people.

Read Leviticus 19:9-10.

In one of the earliest descriptions of worship, God seamlessly connects rituals of worship (read: Sundays) with providing food for the “poor and the immigrant.”

Read Deuteronomy 10:16-19

Moses tells the people here to care for the marginalized and outsiders among them: how does he define them?

What might the modern versions of these people be?

What is the reason that God (through Moses) gives for caring for outsiders and marginalized?

Read Galatians 2:9-10

In the New Testament (after Jesus’ teaching), Paul notes how the early church leaders encouraged him in his work, and asked him to pay attention to just a couple things.

What were they?

Do you agree that the Bible consistently encourages God’s people to care for the poor? Why or why not?

What is the relationship for HOW WELL we care for the poor and God’s reputation in the world?

Do you think the church in our community is known for feeding the hungry?

What can we do to be known more for feeding the hungry?

What would it mean for you to “turn away” from ignoring hunger in your neighborhood or community?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Review the “response cards” for the week. Pray the prayer and meditate on the words, Explore the topic, and choose a way to Act on your response.

 

Additional Resources:

The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill

The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel
* Also see the “Explore” section of this week’s response.

 

Coming Up This Week:

Sunday, March 24: Our Lent sermon series for Lent, continues with: creation.
* Please see mye3.org for details.

Jesus Wept, Week 1: Injustice

Pray

God of Justice, forgive me for turning a blind eye toward those who have been unjustly accused or imprisoned. Give me, and all people, wisdom and courage to champion Your justice in our community and in the world.

Protect those who are wrongly imprisoned today. Also, give courage to those who are working diligently to free the captives, and to those who are ministering to individuals in prison systems worldwide.

Amen.

 

Explore

To explore what injustice looks like in our world, read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It is a powerful, convicting examination of the death penalty, mass incarceration, and juvenile imprisonment in the United States.

Stevenson is a renowned lawyer who has tried cases in the Supreme Court and across the Southern US.

To see Stevenson’s TED talk outlining what Injustice looks like in America, visit bit.ly/bryantedtalk.

To order Just Mercy, visit bit.ly/e3justmercy.

 

Act

1 – Become a mentor to help steer kids at risk from becoming victims of injustice and into empowering and fulfilling life situations. To find out more about becoming a mentor, visit bit.ly/bigbendmentor.

E3 has partnered with WT Moore and Leon County Schools to provide local mentors; stay tuned for opportunities in mid-late summer.

 

2 – Kairos Prison ministry offers spiritual and emotional help to people in and out of prison. They are always in need of more volunteers. For more info about volunteering, visit bit.ly/kairosvolunteer.

 

3 – In addition to general volunteers, we’re partnering with Kairos Prison Ministries to write letters for inmates as part of their Agape Letters Ministry. We need at least 42 inspiring letters for women inmates to read.

  • The letters should NOT be addressed or sealed.
  • Include lots of love and encouraging words, plus an encouraging Bible verse.
  • The unsealed, unaddressed letters must be returned to E3 by Sunday, March 17th.
  • For more details, email lori@element3.org.

03.10.2019

For this week’s response cards, click here.

GOING DEEPER

03.10.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Week 1: Injustice”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What is your concept of “justice”, especially as it might relate to people of faith?

What do you think about when you hear the phrase “God’s justice.”

 

The Dig

Read Micah 6:6-8

Do you see the connection (or, more accurately, the DIS-connection) between Sunday worship and Monday through Saturday life, especially as it relates to issues of justice and mercy?

Put another way, do you see your Monday through Saturday life as being as important to God as your Sunday worship? Why or why not?

If you struggle to make that connection, what are some ways in which you can make some progress in that area?

On Sunday, Eric mentioned that often what we mean by “justice” is the idea of MERCY for me, and JUSTICE for everyone else.

Is this true of you? How have you seen this play out in your life?

Who are some people/groups that you struggle to extend mercy to?

What would it mean to see them as God sees them?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Review the “response cards” for the week. Pray the prayer and meditate on the words, Explore the topic, and choose a way to Act on your response.

 

Additional Resources:

The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill

The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel
* Also see the “Explore” section of this week’s response.

 

Coming Up This Week:

Sunday, March 10: Our Lent sermon series for Lent, continues with: poverty and hunger.
* Please see mye3.org for details.

03.03.2019

GOING DEEPER

03.03.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Introduction & Invitation”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Have you ever participated in the season of Lent, either at E3 or at another church? What is your recollection of that experience? Was it meaningful?

Take a few minutes sharing your understanding of Lent (or take a few minutes to Google “Lent” for some explanation).

 

The Dig

Read Leviticus 16:21-22. Consider what Eric said about the Biblical concept of sin:

  • That it’s not merely individual
  • That it’s not just based on our feelings or perception
  • That it’s not just based on intention
  • That it is anything that breaks “Shalom”

How does this change your understanding of sin, or brokenness?

In regards to what could happen in these upcoming 40 days of lent, what is holding you back in your spiritual journey? What is in your way?

What would it look like to turn from it, to surrender or abstain from it, during this season?

Think about the end of this season (which will be on Easter Sunday): What would your life look like if you made spiritual progress? What changes could take place in your life?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Prayerfully consider what you might surrender or abstain from during this season of Lent. Without broadcasting it publicly, share it with someone, and ask them to help hold you accountable to it.

Attend Ash Wednesday gatherings (Noon and 6PM).

Commit yourself to E3’s journey of Lent.

 

Additional Resources: Food Fasting Guidelines

Abstaining from food is a powerful form of fasting. However, there are health considerations. Please be wise, seek counsel, and prayerfully consider what God is calling you to if you choose to fast from food.

Some basic options for fasting around food include:

Abstaining from something specific. Consider this if you sense that a specific food or drink (candy, soda, alcohol, etc.) has control over you.

Skipping a meal. Simply going without lunch, or breakfast. (See guidelines below.)

“Dinner-to-Dinner”. A 24-hour fast (could also be based on lunch or breakfast, depending on your life and context; see guidelines below.)

“The Daniel Fast”. Based on the fast mentioned in the book of Daniel, this fast is based on fruits and vegetables and excludes meat, and sweeteners, dairy products, processed foods and alcohol.

Anything more intense than this should be done only if you are experienced with fasting, and after research.

Here are some tips for a basic daily fast:

  1. Fast from dinner to dinner. Fast for 24 hours from after dinner one evening to just before dinnertime the next (or lunch or breakfast).
  2. Consider an alternate fast. Some people can’t skip multiple meals because of medical conditions. An alternative to a 24-hour fast is a single meal fast, a liquid only (juices, teas, broths) fast, or a fast from TV, internet, sweets, coffee, or a favorite activity for a longer period of time.
  3. Drink water constantly. Fasting (particularly from caffeine or sugar) is often initially accompanied by headaches. Staying well hydrated can prevent or minimize headaches.
  4. Drink herbal tea with a little sweetener. This can help alleviate hunger pains and lift your energy level
  5. Substitute eating with prayer. Use your phone to remind you when lunch should be, and begin to pray and meditate during that time.
  6. Use a prayer guide for focus and direction. Develop a journal where you list different things you want to pray, including your family, friends, your church, the world.
  7. Use your hunger or cravings as prompts to pray. Whenever your tummy grumbles or you desire what you’re fasting from, pray instead. Instead of trying to ignore your cravings, use them as prayer prompts.

Expect spiritual and physical opposition. You will be tempted to give up or abandon your fast (especially if you stumble). Endure it! Just start again, and treat the voices that encourage you to quit as a spiritual distraction or opposition.

 

Coming Up This Week:

All Week: Lobby closed this week for renovation!

Wednesday Mar 6 (12PM and 6PM): Ash Wednesday gatherings.

Saturday, Mar 9

  • (8:30AM): A Woman’s Pregnancy Center Walk for Life.
  • (9AM): Service Project: Fire Escape Construction.
  • (9AM): Service Opportunity: E3 Food Pantry Open.

Sunday, Mar 10: Our sermon series for Lent, titled “Jesus Wept,” continues with “Injustice”. Daylight Saving Time begins.
* Please see mye3.org for details.