Life is short and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Entering a new year provides an opportunity to both look back and look ahead, to examine our lives with the goal of making every day count. We might be surprised, encouraged, and challenged at how God views our past victories, as well as the sins and failures we desire to overcome. This lesson seeks to encourage each of us to take inventory and enter the new year with hope and determination to be our best for God.
Oh what blessings are available if we exchange our lower thoughts for God’s higher thoughts. This lesson looks at more examples in Scripture of those faced adversity with God’s wisdom and perspective — and were used mightily to accomplish His purposes in His timing.
We were blessed to have our friends Ray and Rhoda Wenger come and visit this past weekend, with Ray teaching four lessons for our house church. The first of a two-part series asks us to consider individuals in Scripture who were able to embrace God’s higher thoughts during times of adversity and perplexity. In so doing, they were taken to a new level of faith and used by God in miraculous ways. May we be inspired to do the same!
For more about Ray and Rhoda and to hear more teaching from Ray, visit www.wengerministries.org.
In our second in a series of lessons on Biblical submission, we take a look at what the Bible teaches regarding being a bondservant, both literally (under another person’s authority) and figuratively (as servants of God). The examples of Christ, Paul, Peter, Joseph, Philemon, Onesimus, and the early Christians, provide insight, instruction, and inspiration as to how God views bondage, suffering and freedom, as well as what God expects of us in our relationships with those who may have authority over us, including our employers.
[PDF of Lesson notes to be posted shortly]
Hidden in plain view, in the famous story of the Exodus from Egypt, we find a detailed map of the Christian journey of faith. The connection is suggested in one of the psalms, but revealed by insights from three books in the New Testament and by early Christians. This is an unforgettable, faith-building lesson that sheds light on a number of foundational teachings: on sin, eternal security, baptism, Satan and the goal of our faith.
For those who are serious about following Jesus' commands, the Enemy has many tactics to seek to destroy us. One of those is to get us to focus on external things that we can see and measure, which is easier than dealing with the condition of our hearts. God's Word has much to say on this topic to help us embrace all of His commandments, focusing on the greatest, without neglecting the least.
In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Fortunately the Scriptures provide us with many examples of men and women who lived righteous lives, which instruct, convict, and inspire. This lesson looks at the example of Job, so that we can take inventory of our own lives.
[Our apologies! We forgot to hit the record button today. Attached are the notes from our study. May they serve as a starting point for your study on the Temple of God!]
In the book of 2 Samuel, God tells David that from David's seed will come a king who would build a house for God's name and establish a kingdom that would reign forever. David's son Solomon would go on to build the temple, about which much is written in the Old Testament. But was Solomon the fulfillment of this prophecy? Understanding the temple in the Old Testament provides important insight into Jesus' and the apostles' teaching, and the implications of these teachings on our lives today.
Do the New Testament teachings on submission apply to Christians today? Or are they culturally relevant, only applying to those who lived during Jesus’ and the apostles’ time? This lesson, the first of a series on Biblical submission, examines what the Scriptures teach on submitting to the government authorities we happen to find ourselves under, whether friendly or hostile to our faith. We also consider God’s and Satan’s roles and authority over the governments of this world, and are challenged by Peter’s life and teaching.
One of the great treasures of the Old Testament is how it helps us understand the true nature and character of God. There are many things that distort our understanding of God's nature: the character of our own human fathers, our tendency to make God into something He is not, and Satan's consistent attack, trying to deceive us to believe God is different than He truly is. Ezekiel 18 provides a beautiful picture of God, communicating His great mercy and kindness offered to all mankind. May this help us grasp God's nature in a deeper way, and transform how we view and treat others.
If you feel like you are under spiritual assault, maybe it is because you are. In this practical lesson we pull back the curtain on the unseen spiritual battle for our souls, being waged by the forces of evil. Coming out of Ephesians chapter 6, we look at the spiritual war: the forces of evil arrayed against us, the protective armor God has given us, and the offensive weapons at our disposal.
This lesson begins with a look at two very different versions of Christianity that we see today. Which version we choose will have a tremendous impact on how we respond to the harder teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Next, we tackle what the New Testament says about submission, a practical yet challenging topic. All Christians are commanded to submit to the governing authorities. Also, Christian servants are called to submit to their masters, wives to their husbands, and younger men to older men within the church. All of us are called to have a humble and submissive spirit. This is a practical lesson that addresses how we put these counter-cultural teachings into practice today.
In John chapter 5 Jesus told his critics that the Old Testament Scriptures testified about him. He pointed specifically to Moses and said, “If you believed in Moses you would believe in me, for he wrote about me”. Where did Moses actually write about Jesus, the Messiah? In this lesson, we examine one of the most detailed and faith-building prophecies in all of the Old Testament, from Moses. Ironically, this is a prophecy that is largely ignored or unappreciated by most modern Christians. This lesson will carry particular significance for those reaching out to friends from Muslim or Jewish backgrounds.
This talk was given on November 18, 2017 at a meeting of Society for the Two Tasks, a graduate student Christian apologetics group that meets on the Harvard University campus.
The story of Ruth is an inspiring tale of three unlikely individuals, who God would use in a remarkable way to accomplish His purposes. This study takes a close look at the character strengths of Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth, who set a standard for Christians today, that we might also be made useful for the designs and plans of our Great Redeemer.
Does God treat everyone the same, or does He play favorites? James A. Harding, an inspiring Christian teacher and preacher, tackled this question in the early 1900's and provided a startling and unforgettable answer. That answer takes us to Scripture that teaches us much about the character of God, as well as what can be expected by those devoted to and treasured by Him.
(To learn more about Harding's inspiring life and convictions, see James A. Harding, Evangelist and Teacher by John Mark Hicks)
What should Christians do with Christmas? Some desire to embrace the season, some focus on Jesus, some ignore the season completely. How do we maintain unity in the church with different opinions regarding Christmas? This lesson tackles these questions and provides insights for us related to the events surrounding the birth of Christ, including the significance of Jesus' name, the background of the magi, the role of Herod, and a prophecy about the star.
The Word of God is referred to as the sword of the Spirit and is to be our offensive weapon to overcome temptation and to understand the very heart and nature of God. Can it be said of each of us, that we are known for our diligent study of (and obedience to) the entire Bible? Can it be said of us, that our love for God's Word is so infectious that others are inspired to become serious students of the Scriptures as well? This lesson provides us several surprising images that have the potential of transforming our grasp and motivation to read and know the Word of God. The lesson also offers practical advice and inspiration to read through the Bible in a year.
This plan allows you to pick a start date and it will provide a customized plan to read through the Old the New Testaments in one year. (To work, you must download the file to your local drive.)
Many wrestle with the goodness of God. If God is good, why does He allow evil things to happen? This might lead one to conclude that God is not all powerful, otherwise he certainly would stop evil from happening. In fact, it often seems good people experience much bad, while people who engage in evil seem blessed. This lesson explores the nature of God, what the Scriptures teach about His goodness, and how He works to bring about both justice and mercy in His timing.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gave Peter a new name and a new identity. Peter would have many trials and failures, but would become a pillar of faith for the Church as he served our Lord. What lessons can we learn from Peter's life, example and teaching, that we might have such faith?
On this Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Below are two resources for encouragement and study. (Note: these resources each stand alone, but complement the other.) These have been developed with the goal to strengthen Christians to persevere in the faith. These have also been created to equip believers to defend the faith and win over non-believers, by proving that God raised Jesus from the dead as recorded in the Old Testament Scripture. This is exactly what Peter and Paul did, as recorded in the New Testament.
Here is a link to Prophecies of the Resurrection, a lesson given last summer.
Here is a link to a study in the Prove It! series, which includes a presentation on proving Jesus rose from the dead using the Old Testament. There is also an outline with all the Scripture references.
May God bless your study on the resurrection!