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Here’s how it works:

Read – Read the passage for the week.  In addition to being posted below, on what I call the "virtual board," it is posted on the  "material board" in the Fellowship Hall and is attached to the Dan's Dialogue sheets in each week's bulletin.  If another passage interests you more, go ahead and use that one instead.

Listen Take some time to listen to God in prayer.  I suggest doing this while you go for a walk, lie in bed, or take a trip around the Labyrinth.  It can take 10 seconds, or 1 hour – that part is up to you.  Listen for what God is saying to Zion in this passage.  Vicar Dan also offers some questions in the “Listen” section on the virtual board and on the material board.

Tell If something interesting strikes you, share it with us.  Email your response to Vicar Dan (vicar_daniel@zioncg.org), or fill out a sheet that should be in your bulletin or on the material board in the Fellowship Hall.  Responses will be ANONYMOUSLY posted unless you ask that it not be posted. 

These responses will also be made available to the Visioning Team (anonymously) to help them in the visioning process.  We encourage you to take part in the visioning of the Church by listening to God while reading the Bible and then telling us what you hear God saying.




The Virtual Board

The final passage to think about:

Read —  

"I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be harmony among you so there won't be divisions in the church."  - 1 Corinthians 1:10


Listen
—  This Week’s topic: Unity

How could Zion respond to Paul's appeal?





Here is what you have said about previous passages:

(Browse by month: June, May, April, March February, January December 2006, November 2006)

On July 29  …
 I suggested reading:  

“Let us aim for harmony in the Church and try to build each other up.”  - Romans 14:19


and I asked:   In what ways could Zion be proactive about building each other up and not tearing each other down?  Is harmony an aim for Zion?

          And you said …

          "Let's get committees and groups to work together on projects, not caim theings as our own."

          "I hear God asking Zion to love and accept everyone!  Keep any evil thoughts outof your mind, invite others to Jesus!"
         



On July 22  …
 I suggested reading:  

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him.”  - Romans 10:14


and I asked:     Paul says that it is faith which saves us, but that the good news which brings and inspires that faith must be delivered. How does Zion bring the good news?

          And you said …

         
[Re. Chronicles] "Trust in God and pray - Leadership (and all of us) must trust in God and be focused on Him!"
          [Re. Romans] "We are God's spokespeople.  Let's get on with spreading His Love here and abroad especially with our ties to a growing faith in Tanzania."


On July 15  …
 I suggested reading:    David said: “Solomon, my son, get to know the God of your ancestors.”  - 1 Chronicles 28:9

and I asked:     For David it was important that his son knew God, and how God was active in the life of his ancestors. How do we teach our Children about God and God's activity in our lives?

          And you said …

         
"Take them on a mission trip!"


On July 8  …
 I suggested reading:    "Lord you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them.”  - Psalm 10:17

and I asked:     In the Bible we read that God's concern is first and foremost for the oppressed, the poor, and the helpless. How do Zion's concerns imitate God's?

          And you said …

         
"The first thing we give is benevolence, but do we give enough?"


On July 1  …
 I suggested reading:    Ananias said to Paul: “You are to take [Jesus'] message everywhere telling the whole world what you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? ” — Acts 22:15-16

and I asked:     
How has Zion seen and heard Jesusí message? Should we delay it bringing that to the world?

          And you said …

         
"Zion has heard Jesus' message each week in worship."
On June 24 …
 I suggested reading:    Paul says that the work of his life was to tell others the “Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.”  - Acts 20:24

and I asked:     
What is the work of the life of Zion?  How does Zion do that work?  How could we better do that work?

          And you said …

          "I still think sharing God's love is a good description of what Zion is called to do."


On June 17 …
 I suggested reading:    “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.” - 1 Kings 22:14

and I asked:      The prophet Micaiah has decided to follow God, even if the what God asks for is difficult.  Is Zion ready to listen to God, even if it gets difficult?

          And you said …

          "Individually we are ready to listen to God, even if it gets difficult.  Now is the time for us to do that as a congregation."


On June 10 …
 I suggested reading:    “May [God] give us the desire to do his will.” - 1 Kings 8:57

and I asked:      In his wisdom, Solomon prayed that God give him and his people the desire to do God’s will.  Do you think Zion is ready to pray this prayer?

          And you said …

          "Yes!"


On June 3 …
 I suggested reading:    Jesus said: “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you … you will tell people about me everywhere.” - Acts 1:8

and I asked:     The Holy Spirit encourages us and gives us the ability to bear witness to Jesus.  How does Zion bear witness?  What more could we do?

          And you said …

          "Zion could host event which make it easier to invite people to church."



On May 27 …
 I suggested reading:   “[God] does not sweep away the lives of those he cares about – and neither should you!”  - 2 Samuel 14:14

and I asked:     The wise woman’s reason for being merciful was that God is merciful to those he cares about.  What are our reasons for doing things at Zion?  What should they be?

          And you said …

"We should base what we do on what God is calling us to do.  Let's listen to God."


On May 20 …
 I suggested reading:  "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.” - John 13:34

and I asked:     How has Zion heard this commandment to love each other?  What more could we do?

          And you said …

"We care for each other when there is a death in the family.  We could extend this care to non-Zion members."


On May 13 …
 I suggested reading:  “I am the light of the world.” - John 8:12

and I asked:     The Gospel of John has a lot of titles for Jesus.  Looking at what God has done through Zion, what title would you give Jesus?

          And you said …

"Jesus is present in times of transition."


On May 6 …
 I suggested reading:  “I am the bread of life.” - John 6:35

and I asked:     We confess that we are to bring Christ to people.  How does Jesus being “the bread of life” impact our ministry as a congregation?

          And you said …

"We fall down in the areas of actively evangelizing and following up when people happen join.  They get all kings of attention if they get sick, but then are ignored again when they get better."

"We need to remember that in briging Christ to the world we are bringing life to the world."


On April 29 …
 I suggested reading:  “Jesus replied … ‘I would give you living water.’”  - John 4:10

and I asked:     As the body of Christ, how does Zion give living water?  To whom do we give it?  How could we do more?

          And you said …

Reading Psalm 101:2: "I think we need to follow the example of Christ in our homes and at Zion."

"By providing Kiddie Kampus, we offer life giving water to God's little children."

"By helping our sister congregation in Tanzania, we spread life giving water - lteral and spiritual."

"In our worship we bring people and remind them of the life giving waters of baptism."


On April 22 …
 I suggested reading:  “The sea belongs to him, for he made it.  His hands formed the dry land too.”   - Psalm 95:5

and I asked:     We usually assume we are to care for what God has created.  How has Zion been a part of caring for God’s creation?  How could we do more?

          And you said …

Reading Psalm 90:12: "We should maximize the benefit of reading scripture and use it to grow!"

"Zion does a great job at recycling cans and paper.  We could do more by using renewable energy - either our own or buying it from someone."



On April 15 …
 I suggested reading:  “Jesus told them, ‘The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a place of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.’”  - Luke 19:46

and I asked:     Jesus is pretty harsh about a misuse of the worship space.  How do we use our worship space?  How do we misuse our worship space?

          And you said …

"We use our worship space well each Sunday morning.  We misuse it by only using it Sunday morning."

On April 8 …
 I suggested reading:  “‘Even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed,’ the Lord answered, ‘you could say to this mulberry tree “May God uproot you and throw you into the sea.”’” - Luke 17:6

and I asked:     Is there a mustard seed’s amount of faith at Zion?  What could we do with it?

          And you said …

"There is a mustard seed's worth of faith here, and with it we could feed Tanzania"


On April 1 …
 I suggested reading:  “The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.” - Luke 10:2

and I asked:     What sort of “harvesting” is God calling Zion to do?  Are there enough workers to do it?

          And you said …

"Our 'harvest' is to bring God's Word to a busy and stressed community and world."

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On March 25 …
 I suggested reading:  “Hear, O Israel!  The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” - Deuteronomy 6:4

and I asked:     This was (and is) the creed – or statement of faith – for the Israelites.  What sort of creed would the people of Zion write?

          And you said …

"Our God is the God present in our loving relationships."


On March 18 …
 I suggested reading:  “Jesus replied to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!’”  - Luke 5:10

and I asked:    How have we at Zion heard the call to fish for people?  What does the call to “fish for people” mean for Zion?

          And you said …

"We should fish for people by sharing the Good News."


On March 11 …
 I suggested reading:  “[Gabriel said] ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’  Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.’”  - Mark 15:37-38

and I asked:   Mary responds to the news that nothing is impossible with God by devoting herself to God as servant.  How has Zion responded to the news that nothing is impossible with God?  Have we responded as servants?

          And you said …

"We respond to God too often by asking what God will do for us instead of how we can be a part of what God is doing."

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On March 4 …
 I suggested reading:  “Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? … Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt!” - Numbers 14:3

and I asked:  The people fear God won’t be with them in the rough times ahead, so they’d rather go back to how things were.  What rough times ahead are we at Zion afraid of?

          And you said …

"I think Zion is afraid of things changing when new people take leadership roles."

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On February 25 …
 I suggested reading:  “Jesus asked ‘Who do you say that I am?'  Peter replied, ‘You are the Messiah.’”  - Mark 8:29

 and I asked:   Peter calls Jesus the Messiah –which is the one who will come to save.  Who do we “say that Jesus is” at Zion?  Can you think of a title for Jesus that fits with what He has done/is doing for Zion?

            And you said …

  "Jesus is the 'calming presence surrounding the labyrinth.'"


On February 18 …
 I suggested reading:  “[After seeing him cure a demoniac] the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.” - Mark 5:17

 and I asked:   After Jesus has shown his power, there are many who would rather he left.  At Zion, do we ever shy away from something God is doing here?  Can you think of an example?

            And you said …

    "Now that the Geresene demoniac was cured, the people around him had to figure out how to deal with him after all the stuff he did.  They couldn't be condescending and dismiss him as someone who isn't in their right mind, and who can be relied on to run away and not compel any follow-thru.  He was back, "clothed and in his right mind", and had to be dealt with.
    Maybe we are losing members at Zion, but at least if they go away, we don't have to deal with their complaints.  If God calls them back, we will have to."

"I think we are sometimes afraid of what God is doing through the Spirit Service
."


On February 11 …
 I suggested reading:  “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” - Matthew 28:19

 and I asked:  This verse is called Jesus’ “great commission” to his disciples.  How has Zion heard this call?  What more could we do?

            And you said …

"I read the messages from other members of the congregation and it gives me hope that we are all on the same page.  We all seem to believe and have faith that God will work miracles for Zion!  We jsut need faith, as much as a mustard seed.  Zion has that!!  I believe!!"

"Zion has heard the call of the 'great commission' - by reading the One Year Bible!!  Encourage everyone to get involved - They can get these Bibles free - Help those who are shy about asking - maybe you can get a Bible for them - Encourage everyone."

"We start the disciple making process in Confirmation and Sunday School and I think we do it well.  We need to do more for people age 16-116."

Reading Exodus someone said: "Just  like the people, we here at Zion need to have patience and faith that God is here at Zion and will lead us 'on our way.'  We need to remember the commandments - Love God, love others - and most of all have patience."


On February 4 …
 I suggested reading:  “For you are careful to tithe the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law – justice, mercy, and faith.” - Matthew 23:23

 and I asked:     As we try to better understand the stewardship of our money at Zion, are there more important things you are afraid we might forget?

            And you said …

Reading Mathew 25, someone responded "1) Each of us should live our life each day - 'pleasing to God' - Live as if it were your last day on earth.  Be prepared for Jesus' second coming.
2) While we are living in God's will - we should use the talents that God ahs given us - according to our circumstances.  Feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the lonely, share your time, money and talents with others.  Support Kitapalimwa!!"

"I did not like this week's Bible reading!  I did not enjoy reading about all the measurements of the tabernacle, the robes, the fine garments, the stones, etc....  It is a very different side of God!"

"I worry that we are forgetting that stewardship includes not only money, but caring for all God has given us."


On January 28 …
            I suggested reading:  “The greatest among you must be a servant.” - Matthew 23:11

 and I asked:    How are we at Zion servants?  How could we do better at being servants?  Do we have a servant mindset?

            And you said …

"We are too 'self-serving' rather than serving God - We need to look outside our own desires and look to the needs of those around us.  We need to help each other!"

"Too many of us want to be served rather than to serve.  We must all realize that life is much more worth living when we are involved in what is happening around us - rather than just watching from the sidelines and critcizing others.  Do rather than watch!  Get involved!!"

"We are servants at the Ramsey Family Service Center.  But, I don't think we think of ourselves as servants in general as a church."



On January 21 …
            I suggested reading:  “And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God." - Matthew 15:6

 and I asked:   Sometimes we get so ingrained in our traditions they can become more important than anythin else, even in church.  Can you think of any traditions at Zion that have become more important to us than what God is actually calling us to do?

            And you said …

"Traditionally we have only done the traditional service on big holidays.  Is this ignoring how God works through our spirit service?"

On January 14 …
            I suggested reading:  “Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him." - Genesis 35:14

            and I asked:   God has done some amazing things in Zion’s 43 years.  Can you think of an example of a pillar (either physical or
            metaphorical) which marks God’s action here?  Are there any events that haven’t been marked?

            And you said …

"From this place you have sent these young people into my service: Glen Stadler, Karn Severson, Reyna Purcell, and Kevin Kaiser.  God spoke to these young people and they answered his call - these people are a living pillar of God's Word."

"God's actions at Zion are heard every Sunday ... when the bell in the courtyard rings.  The bell was a gift from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Strum, Wisconsin, who sponsored Zion back in 1968 when we were a 'mission church.'  They offered their church building as collateral so Zion could repay debt onthe 1964 building and add anoother addition.  The 'bell is' ous pillar!"


"Our Advent wreath marks the gifts the Houseman family have been to Zion and the life of Fred."


On January 7 …
I suggested reading:  “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will also be." - Matthew 6:21

and I asked:  What is Zion truly invested in?  Is it evident by where our "heart" is?  Think of a positive and a negative example.

And you said …

" 1)If your 'heart' is with Jesus -you will put aside your tithte first and then pay your pills.  Your offering to Zion is top of your budget - and then rent, food, etc. to be paid.   2)If this is reversed - and Zion gets at the bottom - if anything is left - Jesus is ot in your heart."

"Looking at where our heart is, Zion is invested in: positive - serving at the Ramsey Family Service Center; negative - our concerns about money."

Reading Zechariah 9:1-17 and Psalm 144, someone heard God saying to Zion: "Zion will survive! Inspite of all financial problems and loss of members, HE recues his people - 'just as a shepherd rescues his sheep.'  We need to keep the faith.  Peace will come - to the whole world - we need to believe, and pray."


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On January 1 …
I suggested reading:  “Don't hide your light under a basket!  Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine for all, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."  - Matthew 5:15-16

and I asked:  How do we at Zion "let our light shine?"  How is this connected to our good works?

And you said …

"67 pounds of underwear!  That's one way we let our light shine."

Reading Malachi 1, someone heard God saying to Zion: "Your offereings are not the best you have to give me - but what you discard - your leftovers.  I want the first and best - then I will approve of your behaviour and let (make) your congregation grow and prosper.  You must honor me.  You will be cursed if you make a promise and then don't keep it."





On December 24 …
I suggested reading:  "I am the Alpha and the Omega - the Beginning and the End."  - Revelation 21:6

and I asked:  Jesus describes himself as the beginning and the end.  How is Jesus the beginning and the end of what we do here at Zion?  Can you think of a specific example?

And you said …

"In worship we base what we do on Jesus, but we also worship towards Jesus.  In that way he is the beginning and the end of worship."


On December 17 …
I suggested reading:  "But do not be dismayed, for here is your oportunity to have endurance and faith." - Revelation 13:10

and I asked:  The author writes that a time of great tribulation is also a time for endurance and faith.  Think of a time of tribulation at Zion.  How has that also been a time for endurance and faith?

And you said …

"There was recently a council meeting that discussed budget shortfalls.  While this could have been a time for defeat, it instead proved to be a time when the council saw an opporunity to have faith and to continue in the work of Christ."


On December 10 …
I suggested reading:  “I hate all your show and pretense — the hypocrisy of your religious festivals• Instead, I want to see a mighty    flood of justice.” — Amos 5:20,24

and I asked:  God wants the people’s worship to be connected to their work with justice. How is Zion’s worship connected with the work we do for the less fortunate?

And you said …

"Zion is always good about mentioning and advertising what we do for others in our announcements, but how does that influence our worship services directly?"



On December 3 …
I suggested reading:  “Greetings [from the members of your sister congregation], chosen by God.”  - II John 13 (paraphrased)

and I asked:  How do we send “greetings” to our sister congregation in Tanzania?  How is what we do with and for them based on the Bible?  What else would you like to see us do?

And you said …

"Our Confirmation youth are writting letters to our sister church.  Perhaps this should be expanded to include letters from adults and/or the church as a whole."

On November 26 …
I suggested reading:   “I don’t want you to lose your secure footing.  But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” - II Peter 3:17-18

and I asked:
  How do Zion’s educational programs provide a “secure footing” for children and adults?  How could we do better?

And you said …

"Our Confirmation program provides a 'secure footing' by being an important part of the kids lives for 3 1/2 years.  However, after that I think we let them down.  we should continue to help them by offering some sort of continued program for them"
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On November 19 …
I suggested reading:   “Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.” – I Peter 3:8

and I asked:  Think about something that the people of Zion have been “of one mind” about.  How did that make a difference in God’s ministry here?

And you said …

"The people of Zion seem to be of one mind about our work in Tanzania.  Being of one mind has increased giving and excitement for this project, and has helped us see God working through the projecy."
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"The people are of one mind ....
Good: Zion is a friendly and welcoming congegation.
Not so good: That Zion will always have financial problems and this holds us back.
Being of one mind may be ok, but in some things 'we' may need to change 'our' mind.  Maybe our one mind should be more like what God has in mind for us."


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On November 12 …
I suggested reading:  “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!  All who delight in him should ponder them.” – Psalm 111:2

and I asked:  Can you think of some amazing deeds that God has done here at Zion?  Are there any more amazing deeds God is trying to do, but we have somehow kept that from happening?

And you said …

"I think the fundraising for Tanzania is an excellent example of an amazing deed God has done here at Zion"
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"Reading the passages this evening, many things struck me as important to Zion.
    These are some of the verses I will be referring to Ezekiel 34:26, Hebrews 13:20-21, Psalm 115: 11, Hebrews 13:8, Hebrews 13:14-16, Hebrews 13: 2
    These speak of God's blessings to us given at the right time in order to equip us to do His will. They speak of Jesus being the same as yesterday, today and forever and that through His power we can do what is pleasing to God. They also say that we are not at home here in this world and that we should not be stopped from do what is good and sharing with others even if it is dangerous to do so. He will protect us and shield us as long as we trust in Him.
    I think through these words God is telling us to continue to faithfully read His word and get to know Him and His ways.This is so that we can discern His will for us to share with the needy and do good to others.  We are to invite people into our church and show them hospitality as well as reach out to those who cannot get here. He will equip us and protect us to do this mission as long as we are faithful and trusting in Him. 
    I can think of examples of how we currently do these things. Peggy Howell and her prison ministry and her connection to our sister church in Tanzania are certainly examples of sharing and reaching out. How can we help her continue this ministry? Does she have or need a constant support group(s) to assist her? What else could she use? Should we focus our efforts on this ministry (or ministries) and make it  (them) grow?
    How can we invite more people into our church? We have several community groups who use our church's facilities. Is there any simple thing we can do to let them get to know Christ through us?
    Kiddie Kampus brings in a lot of young families. What can we do to invite them to worship with us? I see  a lot of potential here."
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