Another Thought: August 25, 2013

The Question this week was: How does God complete the story of Scripture?
The Answer is: The story ends as it began. God’s children will again enjoy unhindered fellowship with him in paradise.

How does getting a glimpse of God’s bigger plan make a difference in how you view your life every day?

Kirk Cameron will soon be releasing his newest project. It’s a documentary called “Unstoppable.” The actor and producer hopes that this documentary will help viewers get a glimpse of how God has been faithfully working since the first moments of creation. This project will focus on moments throughout history that have been full of suffering and pain, but will also seek to see how God has been faithful in those very moments. Cameron hopes viewers will take a look at their own faith and seek to find how God’s love and plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus has been what life is all about from the beginning. The documentary will be broadcast on September 24 to over 700 cinemas across the country.

Why do you think people often question God when suffering and tragedy strike?

Why is it important to look for God’s faithfulness in those moments?

(Russ Jones, “God’s ‘Unstoppable’ story” One News Now, 12 August 2013 [12 August 2013].)

Get Ready: August 25, 2013

The Question this week is: How does God complete the story of Scripture?

Read John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5,12-14.

Stories are powerful. There are a lot of moments in our life stories that point to the love and faithfulness of God.

Often when we think of sharing our testimony, we focus on the big moments in our lives when God has worked in a mighty way. This is a wonderful way to tell the story of what God has done. It’s also good to remember the day-to-day experiences and memories we have where we can look back and see God’s faithfulness. Even in the difficult, painful moments in our stories, God has been there. Our lives are full of stories that point to God’s greater story—His story of redemption, hope, and grace.

What is something that has happened in your life story that can serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness?

Why is it helpful to take time to recognize God at work in our stories?

How do you think you fit into God’s bigger story?

(Tripp Martin, “From the Pulpit: Telling our stories” The Telegraph, 9 August 2013 [12 August 2013].)

Another Thought: August 18, 2013

The Question this week was: What is God’s purpose for the church?
The Answer is: God wants His people to glorify Him by sharing the truth of the gospel.

A couple from North Carolina felt God calling them to reach out to their hometown of Ashland, KY.

Heather and Phillip Morris have been traveling to and from their hometown for 20 years and have seen it change for the worse. They felt like God gave them a vision to organize an outreach opportunity for their home in Charlotte, North Carolina to go serve in Ashland, KY. After meeting with city officials and non-profit organizations, the Morrises led a total of forty-two members of Hopewell Baptist Church to Ashland to serve for the week. They hosted a block party, mowed grass in neighborhoods, rebuilt porches, helped repair gutters, and so much more. Heather says, “Churches need to realize they have to get outside of their own walls…Christians get into our own little circle but we have to get out and minister to the lost.” Six local churches in Ashland have made it possible for this North Carolina church to come and serve their community. They’ve all joined together to share the love of Christ with the community.

What are some of the needs of the people in our community?

What could we do to reach out and meet some of those needs?

Why do you think God calls the church to reach out to the lost and hopeless in our community?

(Mark Maynard, “Charlotte church reaching out to Ashland neighborhoods” The Independent Online, 16 July 2013 [5 August 2013].)

Get Ready: August 18, 2013

The Question this week is: What is God’s purpose for the church?

Read Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:6-8; 2:41-47.

A community of churches is coming together to raise money for the ministry that takes the gospel into the local prison and brings hope to inmates.   

 Several congregations are coming together to host a “Night of Praise” to raise money for the ministry that provides Bible studies and opportunities for worship and prayer to inmates in the Brevard County Jail in Florida. Several choirs and contemporary and gospel musicians will be performing at the event. Those who minister directly with the inmates express the importance of the ministry that takes place to those behind bars. Many inmates request counseling and prayer because they’re really struggling. The jail program ministers to 200 to 300 inmates in Bibles studies and other faith-based gatherings. There are 120 volunteers that represent 35 churches in the area who come and help out with the ministry.

What difference would it make in the lives of the inmates to have people come and share about Christ with them?

Why is it important for the local churches to be involved in a ministry like this?

(J.D. Gallop, “Music, ministry a link to inmates” Florida Today, 5 August 2013 [5 August 2013].)

Another Thought: August 11, 2013

The Question this week was: What’s significant about Christ’s death and resurrection?
The Answer is: Christ is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice. His death and resurrection paid the price for the sin of humanity.

Jesus is victorious over our enemy.

Sometimes we forget that as believers, we have an enemy who hates us very much. Satan is working all around us. This broken world is where he works and he is constantly fighting to deceive, tempt, and hurt us. There is an important truth we must hold onto: God will always be more powerful than the enemy. Although Satan has a lot of influence in our world, Jesus is stronger. He conquered sin and death through His death on the cross and resurrection. Satan has already been defeated.

How have you seen the enemy tempt and deceive you?

How will you live differently today, knowing that Jesus has already defeated the enemy?

What Scripture can you memorize this week to remind you of this truth?

(Billy Graham, “Graham: The evidence of Satan’s work is all around us” The Town Talk, 24 July 2013 [29 July 2013].)

Get Ready: August 11, 2013

The Question this week is: What’s significant about Christ’s death and resurrection?

Read Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:17-19.

Every person will experience the pain of a broken heart.  

Jesus healed many people during His time of ministry on earth. These people had physical sicknesses, but they also suffered from feeling broken and hopeless. Their lives were defined by their limitations and illnesses. The amazing thing about Jesus is that He not only healed their physical pain, but the pain in their hearts as well. When He healed, He brought life change. At the cross, Jesus’ family and disciples watched with broken hearts as their hope died. But hope was not gone forever. Three days later, Jesus would heal their broken hearts when He rose from the grave, conquering death and bringing the hope of salvation to the world. His resurrection changed everything.

How do you think the death of Jesus affected His family and disciples? What would they have felt in those days after His death?
Do you think they had lost all hope?
How did Jesus’ resurrection restore hope to the world?

(Mitch Glover, “How do you mend a broken heart?” Pensicola Clarion, 25 July 2013 [29 July 2013].)

Another Thought: August 4, 2013

The Question this week was: What is significant to know about the life of Christ?
The Answer is: Jesus came to reveal God and to take away the sins of the world.

One cowboy recently shared the point of life with his peers at the rodeo.

Cowboy church was recently held at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo in South Dakota. Dustin Luper shared a message about God’s love in the yearly service that takes place with the rodeo each year. He spoke from his own experiences as a part of the rodeo circuit. Though he used to say the rodeo was the most important thing in life, the Lord has changed his priorities. Luper explained that ultimately the point of life is to get to know Jesus and live life for Him. Jesus came to earth to give us hope and reconcile us to God. He is what life is all about.

How do you think Dustin’s experiences have impacted his relationship with the Lord?

What is the point of your life? Is it all about Jesus or something else?

What do you need to do this week to refocus your heart on Jesus?

(Candy DenOuden, “’Nothing Better Than Cowboy Church” The Daily Republic, 22 July 2013 [22 July 2013].)

Get Ready: August 4, 2013

The Question this week is: What is significant to know about the life of Christ?

Read Matthew 4:17-24; John 1:1-2,11-14,18,29.

Without Jesus, we are all slaves to sin. Jesus came to set us free.

Jesus came to save us from our sins, set us free from the bondage of sin, and give us a brand new life. That was His purpose for coming to earth. The Greek word for “redemption” conveys the idea of a slave being purchased in a marketplace. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of humanity through His death on the cross. Because of the payment of His blood on the cross and His resurrection, we have been bought from our lives of slavery to sin and set free to live a new life. The payment was too great for us to pay on our own. There is no way we could save ourselves. We needed a Savior. His name is Jesus. He came to earth to love us and die for us so that we can have hope.

Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and experienced the freedom He died to give you?

How has the freedom of Christ changed your life?

Who can you share Jesus and His incredible gift of salvation with this week?

(Rick Warren, “Rick Warren: Jesus Paid the Price You Couldn’t Pay” CrossMap, 22 July 2013 [22 July 2013].)

Introducing August 2013

The August unit is called: God’s Story

This study will help you understand the Bible’s story, your place in the story, and its implications for your life.

So why are we studying about God’s Story?

Most people are familiar with at least a few Bible stories. They may not, however, see how the seemingly different parts of the Bible fit together. This study is important because it can lead us to not only understand the biblical story’s overarching message, but also to encounter its Author on a personal level.

August 4: God Sends His Son (Matthew 4:17-24; John 1:1-2,11-14,18,29)

What is significant to know about the life of Christ?

August 11: Jesus is Crucified and Raised (Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:17-19)

What’s significant about Christ’s death and resurrection?

August 18: Jesus Commissions His Church (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:6-8; 2:41-47)

What is God’s purpose for the church?

August 25: God Completes the Story (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5,12-14)

How does God complete the story of Scripture?

Another Thought: July 28, 2013

The question this week was: How do we know Jesus is the coming Messiah?
The answer is: When Christ came, He fulfilled every prophecy.

How has God’s faithful love made a difference when you’ve experienced suffering?

Sarah Decareaux experienced an unbelievable loss when her husband and two of her five children died while on a hiking trip on the Ozark Trail near Black, MO a few months ago. The pain and sorrow she felt were overwhelming. It has been her belief in God and her knowledge of His plans that have kept her going. She has written over a dozen times in her journal, “Profound loss has to have a profound purpose.” She is confident that God has a plan and loves her deeply. She and her three children have experience an outpouring of love from those around them in this painful time. Sarah’s faith has been an encouragement to friends. She has trusted her Savior and rested in His knowledge of her pain and love for her and her family.

Do you find yourself trusting God more in difficult times or running away from Him?

How does knowing Jesus understands pain and suffering comfort you?

How can you choose to trust God and His plans for your life today, no matter what you are facing?

(Tim Townsend, “Sarah Decareaux’s Family Died While Hiking, But She Kept Her Faith In The Face Of Grief” Huffington Post, 12 July 2013 [15 July 2013].)