The Publican and the Pessimist

This week brings us not just one, but two disciples for discussion:  Matthew and Thomas.

As you read through this week’s assignment, Chapter 8 of our study, two passages from scripture may guide your focus.

First, with respect to Matthew, the despised tax-collector, the scribes and pharisees question Jesus after attending a gathering arranged by Matthew that included other tax collectors and sinners.

“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (they said to Jesus).

Jesus replies, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  LUKE 5:29-32

And for Thomas, aka “doubting Thomas”….the says early on in scripture:

“Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples: ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’ ” JOHN 11:16

Jonathan Smith leads us this week in our discussions about the transformations of both Matthew and Thomas.

As always, please gather at the Cornwell Center starting at 7:30 am.  Jonathan kicks things off at 7:45 am.


Nathanael: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks?

Our study this week leads us to Nathanael, aka “Bartholomew“.  Yes….another week, another disciple, another name, I mean, other name!  Nathanael is buddies with Phillip, who we learned about last week.  And this pairing marks the third group of friends:  Simon/Peter and Andrew; James and John; and now, Phillip and Nathanael.

Unique to Nathanael is perhaps that he is already very versed in scripture, especially the Old Testament.  And while he knew the Messiah would be coming, he is somewhat taken back when Phillip comes racing to him one afternoon saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses, in the law, and also the profits, wrote…” (John 1:45)

But, instead of feeling overjoyed and elated, when Nathanael hears where Jesus is from, he’s taken back and says:

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

This week’s lesson peels back onion to reveal this disciple’s deep rooted prejudices.  And we’ll talk about that.

Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks?

That answer and more will be our focus for this Friday.  Short reading of Chapter 7: Nathanael – The Guileless One.

Mike Lenhart leads the conversation about Nathanael.  Join us starting at 7:30 am in fellowship, with the lesson kicking off at 7:45 am.

Have a great week!


Phillip the Bean-Counter: “Practical Apostle or Negative Nelly?”

We’ve wrapped up the leading four apostles, Peter, Andrew, John and James.  This week, we’ll dip into the second set of four, starting with Phillip.  As you’ll find, not much is written about Phillip.  In fact, he’s only mentioned in one of the four gospels; Book of John.  Although, there are many who think other gospels’ statements of unnamed others, points us towards Phillip and one of his closest buddies, Andrew.

A fishermen like the other four we’ve already studied, Phillip was also tasked with the responsibility as the group’s “bean counter”.  In that role, he was the guy who was the “apostolic administrator” (because every group needs an “admin”) charged with arranging meals and logistics.  He is tested by Jesus in the loaves and fishes miracle story as our Lord turns to him saying “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”

Phillip is puzzled probably because he had already been doing the math in his head.

Phillip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.  JOHN 6:7

Join us this Friday as John Ramey leads our study of the apostle Phillip.  Please gather in fellowship beginning at 7:30 am, with our discussions starting at 7:45 am.

See you then!

Apostle John’s World of Everything as Black and White

Our fourth apostle is up this week, John, the younger brother of James, who we studied last week.  John is often described as the “great author” of the group, as the human author of the gospel that bears his name as well as three epistles.

John shares the temperament of his brother, the dynamic duo of “sons of thunder”.  But there is some uniqueness about his personality that you’ll learn from reading this week’s chapter.  John outlives all the others, which is one aspect that makes him unique.  More importantly, perhaps, is that to John, things were very much “black and white”.  He was very passionate about his ministry, his calling, and therefore has little tolerance for the “gray areas” of our lives.

Focus your reading on Chapter 5:  John-The Apostle of Love.

Mike leads us this Friday.  Come early and join in the fellowship beginning at 7:30 am.  We’ll begin the lesson at 7:45 am.

Speaking of leading.  Don’t forget Mike’s “ask” last week for individuals to take on some of the upcoming lessons.  Here’s where are current needs are:

  • FEB 16 (Phillip)
  • FEB 23 (Nathanael)
  • MAR 2 (Matthew and Thomas)
  • MAR 16 (Judas)

If any of these dates and topics appeal to you, then SIGN UP HERE.

See you this week on Friday!