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Summary: In this month’s issue we contemplate the connection between heaven and earth. We begin with a discussion on the pairing of ideas; especially highlighting that God Himself has brought heaven and earth together.
1. What has been your experience with the idea of heaven and earth? Do you talk about it at church? Specifically, what impact do you believe it has on your day-to-day life?
2. The authors propose that we often can’t see how we have impact in uniting heaven and earth. Has that been your experience? How might you be able to step into the “micro-decisions” despite not being able to see the “macro-outcomes?”
3. Spend some time praying about heaven and earth and meditate on Matthew 6:10, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Homo The Greatest Divorce Recovery Ever
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Summary: Bishop David Kendall lays out the divorce of heaven and earth in the actions of Adam and Eve, Israel, and us. He also gives the recovery process though, in the form of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
1. Spend some time meditating on the time before the fall of man. What would the reality of what Bishop Kendall lays out be like?
2. Jesus brings the two parts back together “through dying and rising.” How can we live in the “peace” that Jesus declares? How does that “peace” reflect question 1?
3. “Israel’s calling and mission in the world” is very similar to our call in the kingdom of God. What might it look like for you to step in to the kingdom in the truth that “in Jesus, there will be the greatest divorce recovery ever?”
Further reading: Matthew 13:1-52, John 18-20
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Summary: David Kessler details three meals to walk us through the separation, rejoining, and celebration of heaven and earth.
1. What is the importance of the three meals the author describes?
2. Why does it matter that God is working to reunite heaven and earth?
3. What practices can you implement in your own life to remind yourself of this reality, in particular around meals?
The Final Sacrifice
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Summary: The book of Leviticus often feels dry and outdated, but James L Mueller brings it to life and richness in its connection with the sacrifice of Jesus.
1. Discuss some of the reasoning for the Hebrew people’s need for Leviticus. What was Leviticus supposed to do for their culture and the world?
2. How did Jesus reshape what Leviticus offered to God’s people?
3. What does it look like for us to continue to live freely, rather than as slaves, and to live into Jesus work as “finished”?
When Heaven Met Earth: Creating a Community Garden in Compton
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Summary: In the feature this month, Deb Walkemeyer tells the story of the community garden she started at God’s calling and the impact it has had in the community and in her own life.
1. Describe how the author connects gardens and their impact to the kingdom of God.
2. Are there spaces where you have tasted God’s shalom in your own story? Describe those spaces and what you felt there.
3. How does getting to know people’s stories change our experience of them and God?
4. The author describes how she’s had to fight some of her own culture and comfort to bring the light of Christ to a dark place. Spend some time asking God to reveal what in your own life might be interfering with Him being seen in dark places.
5. What are some everyday places where God has equipped you and might be calling you into His mission of bringing God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven?
Bringing Heaven to Earth
To read the article, click fmchr.ch/Heaven-Earth
Summary: Katie Bergman serves as the director of operations and communications for the Set Free Movement. Go to setfreemovement.com for more information about the movement and for ways you and your church can get involved.
1. God often uses people, like Julia in the author’s story, to create a catalyst for change in our lives. Write down a few people who have impacted you in this way and how God has used them in your story.
2. “Heaven is when hope is brought to dark places.” Where are the dark places to which God is calling you? How might you carry hope in to those places?
3. Spend some time praying for the people who work for the Set Free Movement and ask God to show how you or your church could get involved.