Open: Week 4

Opening Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for this space and time, we invite you in. Make these moments together a respite from the rest of the week. We are all here for connection, first with you and then with one another. Prime our hearts for the community we seek. Our prayer is to leave changed: seeing more clearly, loving more compassionately, and serving more boldly. We love you and pray these things in your name. Amen!

Historical Context:
The author of First and Second Chronicles is not named. Like some other Old Testament books, they were originally presented as one work. 1 Chronicles is just that, a chronicle of the events in the history of the Israelites. It is divided into three sections: Genealogies (chapters 1-9), the Reign of King David (10-21) and Preparation for the New Temple in Jerusalem (22-29). Each historical account is further outlined by the names of those who lived them out.

Our passage this week comes from the final chapter of the book. As we read, we find David in his final assembly as king. He tasks Solomon (his successor) and the Hebrew people with building a temple for God’s glory. Just before this blessing, David outlined his commitment and giving toward the project. He then rejoices as he remembers the combined impact of his giving with the generosity of the community.

Read Aloud:
1 Chronicles 29:9-15 (CEB)

9  The people rejoiced at this response, because they had presented their offerings to the Lord  
so willingly and wholeheartedly. King David also rejoiced greatly.
10 Then David blessed the Lord before the whole assembly:
Blessed are you, Lord,
    God of our ancestor Israel,
        forever and always.
11 To you, Lord, belong greatness and power,
    honor, splendor, and majesty,
        because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you.
Yours, Lord, is the kingship,
    and you are honored as head of all.
12 You are the source of wealth and honor,
    and you rule over all.
In your hand are strength and might,
    and it is in your power to magnify and strengthen all.
13 And now, our God, we thank you
    and praise your glorious name.
14 Who am I,
    and who are my people,
    that we should be able to offer so willingly?
Since everything comes from you,
    we have given you that which comes from your own hand.
15 To be sure, we are like all our ancestors,
    immigrants without permanent homes.
Our days are like a shadow on the ground,
    and there’s no hope.

Application Questions:
When we give God changes us, but our gifts are also used to impact others. When we open ourselves up to generosity the church is able to invite new people to experience the transformational love of Jesus. Doing this together multiples the power of our gifts exponentially!

  • Most of us would agree with King David’s declaration that everything we have comes from God. Do you think the way you handle your money is evidence of this belief?

  • How can you shift your view of money and possessions from being something you earned for yourself to being a gift from God? Are there practical steps you can take?

  • This blessing from King David comes as the Israelites are raising funds to build the temple in Jerusalem. This is a task they could only accomplish together as a community. What about the vision presented for The Gathering’s future excites you?

Closing Prayer:  
Lord God, we honor and adore you. We praise you for the creative power and genius that propels us to be open. Thank you for inviting us into worship through generosity. You created us and love us as individuals, that we might seek the highest good of one another. Our prayer is in appreciation of the boundless love we find in Jesus. Let this move us into overflow as we stretch to bless those who are yet to come. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Taking it Further:
CeCe Winans - Believe For It (Live) [Official Video]

The Gathering - Open  

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