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By Water and the Spirit

For those of you reading on line some activities may not be as fun by yourself as they are in the class!! But play along you might even laugh at yourself and learn something!

Pour from clear pitcher water into a basin, think about the following:

What words or images come to mind when you think about water?
(write them down)

Now let’s look at how God uses water.

Exploring God’s covenant with Noah
Genesis 9:8-17

As we read Noah’s story put yourself in the story, imagine yourself on the ark.

Now, “Imagine yourself in a favorite outdoor location, perhaps at a beach or on a mountain, or standing in a field or hiking through a forest. Stop and appreciate God’s handiwork. What do you see, hear, or smell? (pause) Suddenly you feel raindrops, but you decide to stay outdoors. The shower continues, but the sun is soon shining. In the distance, you see a rainbow. These beautiful colors remind you of the covenant God made with Noah. Speak in your heart to God about what this sign means to you. (pause) Offer a silent prayer of praise and thanks to God, and then open your eyes when you are ready.”

God blesses us with his covenant with Noah. Never again will he destroy the earth with a flood. A sign to show us the reminder of that promise the rainbow!

Meaning of Baptism
I Peter 3:18-22

Read again the scripture from your bible. Now look at verse 21 and let’s look at it from several different translations. If you have different bible translations at your home compare them, there are several different translations in the church library. I am including 4 different ones below:
New International Version: “This water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from your body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Common English Bible: “Baptism is like that. It saves you now—not because it removed dirt from your body but because it is the mark of a good conscience toward God. Your salvation comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The Message: “The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
New Jerusalem Bible: “It is the baptism corresponding to this water, which save you now---not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience, given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Now write down what Baptism means to you in your own words, as you understand it from I Peter 3.

No specific answer for now, pray about it and think about it, I will have an update during the week what all was learned about baptism.

Examine stories of Jesus’ baptism, temptation, and early ministry
Mark 1:9-15

We are going to form three teams of outsiders:
Team one—a bystander at the Jordan
Team two—a traveler through the wilderness during Jesus’ temptation
Team three—A bystander who hears Jesus’ announcement the good news of God

Now read the passage in Mark and take on the role of one of the teams.

Here are some questions to answer for your team:

As you viewed the action without knowing what was happening, what questions did you want to ask?

What surprised you about whatever you witnessed?

Did anything you saw or heard make you want to draw closer to Jesus? If so, what?

How do you think those “outside” the church understand or respond to Jesus?

What would they see in your lives and in the life of your congregation that would encourage them toward a relationship with Jesus?

Look over your answers to the questions above and if we have truly looked at this passage from the role of an outsider how then do let this gift of baptism and the holy spirit work through us to show others the Jesus we say we love?

Praise--Psalm 25:1-10

Here we read a psalm that was offered up to God for deliverance, guidance, and forgiveness. I recommend reading the Psalm out loud as they were written to be heard and shared in song.

That’s it for week 1, By the water and the spirit. Beloved I hope that you have gained a clearer understanding of the purpose of baptism through water and the spirit. As we close here is a prayer:

“Gracious God, as we gather in your presence to begin our Lenten journey, open our hearts and minds to hear and understand the stories of your grace-filled acts of salvation in and through water and the spirit. Help us to live out our baptismal covenant more fully. As your baptized children, we are grateful for the saving love you revealed to us in the incarnation, death, and resurrection, and ascension of Jesus; in whose name we pray. Amen.”

P.S. this study guide was written by Nan Duerling who has written curriculum since 1984. She will be guiding us each week along with a few insights from yours truly Connie Blanke. Feel free to ask questions by email or register on the web site, then you can login and enter discussion into the lesson.

Answers to this week’s questions and ideas shared in our class time will be updated to the site by Thursday of each week!

Please read Chapter 2, “Standing on the promises” and the assigned bible readings.