SELAH SUNDAYS: **Online Only Worship**
No In-Person Worship for the month of August!
Sundays @ 8:30 am PST | THROWBACK WORSHIP!
Sundays @ 10:45 am PST | ONLINE ONLY JOINT WORSHIP
Guest Preacher: Rev. Mark Nakagawa
The Reverend Mark M. Nakagawa is a Los Angeles native who was born and raised in the Crenshaw area. He was ordained an Elder in The United Methodist Church (UMC) in 1988 by Bishop Leontine Kelly, the first African American female elected to the UMC Episcopacy in 1984.
He was appointed as the West District Superintendent in 2016, where he oversees approximately 80 congregations in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area. Prior to this appointment Rev. Mark pastored congregations in Sacramento, West Los Angeles, and most recently Centenary United Methodist Church in Little Tokyo, the church he attended as a child when it was located on the corner of Normandie Ave. and 35th Street in South-Central L.A.
Mark is a graduate of UCLA (B.A.-1978) and the Pacific School of Religion (M.Div.-1985) and has served the United Methodist Church on the local, regional and national levels.
Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak in to your life! Expect great things!
We gather here today to grow, learn and change as a group. As we begin our Bible study, we ask that you help all of us to gain a better understanding of your truth. We lay down our hearts, minds and lives before you. We ask that you move among us and help us to feel safe with one another: to think, ask for help and to question. Helps us to share our life with you and grow in our knowledge of your Word. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-3; 8-16 (Common English Bible)
Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. 2 The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith.
3 By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he lived in the land he had been promised as a stranger. He lived in tents along with Isaac and Jacob, who were coheirs of the same promise. 10 He was looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith even Sarah received the ability to have a child, though she herself was barren and past the age for having children, because she believed that the one who promised was faithful. 12 So descendants were born from one man (and he was as good as dead). They were as many as the number of the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore. 13 All these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth. 14 People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it. 16 But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a city for them.
With human eyes, we see life with a limited perspective, but with a “holy outlook” we can see life and the world as God sees it. With a divine outlook, we “walk by faith and not by sight!”
In this scripture, the writer of Hebrews reminds us of Abraham’s dynamic faith. If we have faith like Abraham, we can experience relief from anxiety, for we trust God’s plan for our lives and the lives of our descendants.
- What is a word, phrase or image that comes to mind when you read or hear the text?
- The text says “All these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them.” Must we receive the “promise” in order to have faith in it? Why do you think God is pleased when we refrain “thinking on the country we left behind” and “long for a better, heavenly country?”
- What does this scripture teach you about faith?
- What does God invite you to do, change or be through this passage?
Discipleship Huddle Questions:
- How is it with your soul?
- How does your soul prosper?
God of all nations, you call your church to be a light on a hill. Empower us to be the church you call us to be. Give us not only the words to speak life but also the hands of comfort and the arms of care that others might discover they are known and loved by you. Amen.