LESSON 1: CAN I GET A WITNESS?
What makes for an effective witness in a court of law? Honesty, consistency, clarity, genuineness and the power to convince. Before you testify to what the Lord has done for all who would believe and for you personally, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I honest about what my condition was before Christ and the struggles with sin and trials that I still experience? Is there a consistency between my words and the testimony of my life? Do I speak the truth of Christ clearly, not with fancy words but as one who has first hand knowledge of the gospel? Do I speak the truth like a real person would or am I stilted and canned like I’m reading from a tract? If you answered yes to these questions you may think you’ve got everything it takes to be an effective witness. Think again!Download Go, Lesson 1
UNIT 3 INTRODUCTION: THE GREAT CLAIM BEFORE THE GREAT COMMANDMENT
The Command: “Hello, my name is Private Joe Smith, US Army. I am commanding you all to risk your families, your reputations, and your very life by carrying out this mission I’ve thought up.”
The Response: “Say what?! Who do you think you are? How do I know this mission has even been authorized? I wouldn’t risk my pocket change following a command like that.”
At least that’s how I would respond. How about you? How can you follow someone with no authority to lead in the first place? Now let’s go to the risen Jesus and the disciples on that mountain in Galilee.Download Unit 3 Intro
LESSON 3: “I WENT THE EXTRA MILE”
Several years ago I ran in the annual Army 10-Miler in DC. I signed up for 10 miles and I trained for 10 miles. What happened instead was a race diversion, because of a bomb scare, and I, along with 20,000 other runners, ended up going 11.5 miles. When asked to run 10 we ran 11.5 instead. Ok. That’s not exactly what Jesus was talking about in His most famous sermon (Matt 5). So what was He getting at? Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you, if someone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles. Say what? This is crazy talk, Jesus. That’s just not feasible. He clearly hasn’t kept up with the latest personal assertiveness seminars. Get ahead by standing up for yourself. That’s the American way.
We started out this section looking at how we can love our neighbors in the family, and in the church. Most recently, as we discussed our neighbor in the world, we first looked at the sinner and then the defenseless. So far so good.Download Salt and Light, Lesson 3
LESSON 2: THE WEIGHTIER MATTERS OF THE LAW
“You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” – Jesus the Christ
Think back to your days on the school yard. What was the law of the jungle? The weak kid, the overweight kid, the kid dressed poorly, the different kid, was ignored at best and in many cases the object of abuse. If you’re like me you might be feeling some shame right now as you think back on those times. Good. Now let’s help our children be “other than” when it comes to their treatment of the defenseless and needy.Download Salt and Light, Lesson 2
LESSON 1: BEING DOCTORS WHO MAKE HOUSE CALLS
What if Jesus had stayed in the temple courts or the synagogue teaching? What if He never ventured out into the community, never called old Zach down from the tree, never ate with tax collectors and sinners, never touched the sick and hurting? Why don’t doctors make house calls these days? I’m not sure, but wouldn’t it be interesting if suddenly people stopped going to a doctors office or hospital when they were ill?
What if they thought that was the last place to go to be healed? How long would it take for the docs to begin making house calls again? Not long I suspect. Is the church today, the body of Christ the great Physician, staying in the hospital building waiting for the sick to show up? Or, worse yet, staying in the hospital talking about the remedy but secretly hoping that the sick stay away?Download Salt and Light, Lesson 1
LESSON 3: ENCOURAGE AND SHARE YOUR BLESSINGS
The Bible mentions “one another” or “each other” some fifty times to give the body of believers instruction on how to live together. Contrary to what many of us have always thought, these passages are not directed at how we relate to the world but rather how we should relate with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like God gave the nation of Israel the law in order to make them stand out as “other than” in the world, He has given the church the “one anothers” as a means to bring Himself glory in the world through us.
Today we’ll look at two of these: encourage one another and share with one another.Download Church, Lesson 3
LESSON 2: FORGIVENESS AND PRAYER – A LIFE-GIVING COMBINATION
The church is made up of people, and as people being transformed into the image of Christ we are by definition not finished products. This leaves us open to mistakes or offenses committed against one another. The question is not whether we offend one another but rather when it happens how do we respond in a way that is not of this world? Forgiveness and prayer.
This is the model we have in Christ.Download Church, Lesson 2
LESSON 1: SERVE ONE ANOTHER
“You Should Do As I Have Done For You” – Jesus
The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for foot-washing. Although the disciples most likely would have been happy to wash Jesus’ feet, they could not conceive washing each other’s feet. This was because in the society of the time foot-washing was reserved for the lowliest of menial servants. Peers did not wash one another’s feet, except very rarely and as a mark of great love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet. When Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as a symbol of spiritual cleansing (vs. 6-9) and a model of Christian humility (vs. 12-17). Through this action Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by His death on the cross.Download Church, Lesson 1
LESSON 3: LOVING YOUR FAMILY AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH
As we started this section on loving our neighbor in the family, or “Family Ties,” we focused on how, in His wisdom, God created for us a physical picture of the spiritual family He had in mind for all who would call on the name of Christ. We’ve also looked at how that earthly family, whether biological or adopted, is a training and proving ground – bettering God’s children for life with our spiritual brothers and sisters.Download Family, Lesson 3
LESSON 2: HONOR YOUR PARENTS – THE BRIDGE
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12. ‘Honor’ is a word that has fallen out of favor in our modern western culture. This is particularly the case when it comes to the giving of honor to parents by children whether grown or still at home. The fifth command is the first of six commands that God gives concerning our behavior towards our fellow man. It is the “bridge” between the commands about loving God and those about loving our neighbor. So it is fitting that in our study we will begin here. This week we will look at what it means to “honor” our parents. We’ll consider how this is a picture for how children relate to their Heavenly Father. As you prepare this week take some time to consider how you “honor” your own parents, even if they may not be very “honorable.”Download Family, Lesson 2
LESSON 1: GOD’S FAMILY AND MINE
God uses many metaphors (parallels) in the Bible to describe how He relates to us, how He relates to the church, and how we relate to one another. One of these is the metaphor of “God’s family.” In this picture God is the parent and we the children. Jesus is our brother, and we, the church, saved by grace through faith, are the adopted brothers and sisters in this family (Ephesians 1:5 and Galatians 3:26, John 1:12-13). How does the Father want us to love our family? To answer this question we must first look to how He has loved us and also how the Son, our adopted brother, has loved us. Jesus said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” It is at the source of divine love that we must begin and end our Quest.Download Family, Lesson 1
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
A number of years ago, Tina Turner sang a song titled, “What’s love got to do with it?” According to the scriptures, love has everything to do with it! The love you are to have for God and for one another holds a preeminent place in the sight of God.
1 Corinthians 13 asserts that one can possess spiritual gifts, great faith and all knowledge but if he does not have love, he is nothing. Think about that for a moment.Download Unit 2 Intro
LESSON 3: THE PURPOSE OF STRENGTHS
Remembering back to our first lesson on strength we said that, “First, He is the fountainhead of our strength. Second, He stands ready to renew our strength if we will seek Him, trust Him, and wait on Him. Third, God gives us strength not for our own selfish interests or nonsense but to glorify Him and do the good works of the Kingdom that He has prepared in advance for us to walk in.” Let’s talk this week about that last point. The Bible teaches that as followers of Christ we have been given the right to be called “children” of God. It goes on to teach us to imitate God, “as dearly loved children.” In what ways can we imitate God?Download Strength, Lesson 3
LESSON 2: KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
There are many wonderful theological messages to be gleaned from the account of David’s defeat of Goliath. One message that should not be taken from it however is that David was a skinny kid, unprepared for battle, who, despite his overconfidence, was used by God to miraculously defeat an experienced warrior. Many times the way we teach this to children leaves them with the idea that they to can face the metaphorical “giants” in their lives if they just believe. Let’s take a closer look at the account before we get the children in our care metaphorically body slammed by their giants.Download Strength, Lesson 2
LESSON 1: STRENGTH TRAINING
What is strength? How is the word used in scripture? It can mean our physical strength or energy, strength of character, strength of the will, perseverance, capacity or ability to perform work, or emotional strength. These are all different aspects of strength, but they all have two things in common: their source and their purpose.
“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)Download Strength, Lesson 1