Sermon-Series Devotional

This guide is a tool to help you give your attention to God throughout your week as you gather.

Sermon Series: Shema and Stuff

Sept 1 “Wide is the welcome”  Mark 12:28-34

Sept 18 “Sacrifice of Praise” Hebrews 13:15-16

Sept 25 “Hospitality is a wide Welcome” Luke 14:12-14

Oct 2 “What does the Lord Require?” Micah 6:8

Oct 9 “Gatherings: deconstruct and reconstruct” Hebrews 10:19-25

Oct 16 “Company’s Coming” Mark 2:13-17

Oct 23 “Bumper Crop” Gal. 3:26-29

Oct 30 “Neither” 2 Cor.  9:6-11

Nov 6 “Cornerstone” Eph 2:19-22

Step 1: Music

Side By Side

No Outsiders

Good and Loved

Step 2:

Turn to God’s word.
Spend some time in Scripture. Meditate on the words and think deeply about what God is saying to you. See the verses above for your suggested readings. 

Step 3: Prayer

Seek God through prayer

  • Pray for Ukraine. Pray for families torn apart by war. Pray for peace. Pray for the people who have lost their lives.
  • Pray for our own community members that we would be a light of Christ in a world so thrown into chaos. 
  • Pray for our community; that we keep discerning God’s will together, living in unity, and loving one another well.

Step 4: Reflection

The prayer, "The Shema," comes from the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. These few verses pack a lot of punch. They say: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

The word Shema means to hear in Hebrew, but it’s more than that; it’s also attention and focus. It is also the first word in the prayer. The Shema set's a foundational way of living for God's community. Think of it like a statement of faith. As we read through it, we begin with a call to attention. When you think of a teacher at the front of a classroom, be it university or kindergarten, they begin by calling attention to the class. Here we are asked to pay attention as there is some excellent learning to follow.

As we examine the prayer, we can see that the learning isn't only transactional information but a call to engage with God's word. The Shema does not ask us to memorize a verse, spit it out later, or use it out of context. The Shema asks you to change your perspective. It asks you to love God more than anything else in the whole world! It asks you to teach your children about that love, and it asks you to give yourself tangible and daily reminders about God's love! 

As we step into the light of our Christian tradition, we can examine how the Shema applies now. We may very well try to love God with everything we've got, but we don't bind God's word to our forehead or write it on our doorways. What then shall we do for daily reminders and call backs to God's word for his people?

The Shema, for the Christian, is a prayer and a reminder of the great love of God, his constancy in our millennia-long story, and our response. This sermon series will engage with this type of love as we examine the vision and values here at FBC Kelowna. 


Step 5: Benediction

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Amen. 
 

Step 6: Questions

  1. How do you read The Shema today? When it gives instructions, do you adapt them for your context?
  2. What would it feel like to physically bind God's word to you (those with tattoos from the Bible might have a leg up on us)? What would it feel like to write them on our door frames? Experiment with these practices and have a conversation or journal about what you have learned
  3. How does the Shema enable you to live more freely as a follower of Jesus?