Month: November 2017

Lesson 1: December 3, 2017

Faith in Jesus: Acts 3:11-21

 


Teaching Strategy: Invite participants to share stories of healing they have experienced, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Encourage them to reflect on the meaning of what they experienced. What impact did their experience of healing have on their faith – and in what ways did their faith affect their experience?

 

As we enter into the Advent season, we are aware of the profound brokenness within our world. Lives are lost to opioid addiction. Relationships are disrupted by harassment, discrimination, and violence. Churches are divided by conflicting perspectives. America is polarized by political disagreements. Terrorist attacks continue and the threat of war seems all too real.

We desperately need the healing power of God’s love that comes to us in the infant Jesus and saves us through our faith in the risen Christ. As we wait for Jesus to enter our hearts anew, how can we prepare ourselves to receive his healing power? How can we equip ourselves to be instruments of his healing power in a broken world?

 


Winter 2017 Theme: Faith in Action

Unifying Principle: People who are broken want to be made whole. How and where do they find wholeness? Peter proclaimed that faith in Jesus restores people to wholeness.

Lesson 13: November 26, 2017

Remembering the Covenant: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34


Teaching Strategy: Explore your faith tradition’s view and practice of the Lord’s Supper. What roles do promises and remembering play in those views and in how the practice is carried out?

 

This passage from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians includes the familiar words of institution recited at the beginning of the Lord’s Supper in many churches: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (vs. 23-26).

These words remind us that sharing the Lord’s Supper is the act of a covenant community. Believers are called to remember the covenant promises – both God’s promises to them and the promises they made to God and one another. These are promises about how they will live for God, follow God’s ways, and love one another. Paul chastised the Corinthians who ate the body and drank the cup of the Lord “in an unworthy manner,” and challenged them all to examine themselves before partaking.

What might Paul’s message mean for Christians today? What are the promises we have made in covenant with God through Jesus Christ – about how we will live? What are we called to remember when we come to the Lord’s table? How do we go about examining ourselves so that we partake of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner?


Fall 2017-2108 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: It is often easier to make promises than to keep them. How can we remember to keep the promises we make? Paul exhorted believers to remember these promises through celebrating the Lord’s Supper in a way that affirms the covenant it embodies.

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Lesson 12: November 19, 2017

Mediator of the New Covenant: Hebrews 12:14-15, 18-29

 


Teaching Strategy: Explore current examples that point to humankind’s lack of holiness. Invite participants to share personal experiences – times when they felt awe and fear in encounters with God and times when they felt the saving grace of Christ drawing them close to God.

 

The scripture lesson describes human encounters with God as terrifying because of God’s pure holiness and awesome power. God is “a consuming fire” (v. 28) that purifies the sin of an unholy people. Yet believers experience God’s grace and forgiveness and are able to draw near to God through Christ who is the mediator of a new covenant.

In what ways does gathering for worship help believers to enter into the presence of our holy, loving God? How is the experience of worship affected by contemporary culture and current events?


Fall 2017 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: Humans desire to experience a power greater than themselves, but do not always realize that drawing near to such needed power can be an awesome prospect. How can people approach such a power without being consumed? The psalmist affirms that God allows humans to approach the Divine; the writer of Hebrews proclaims that Jesus provides the means of boldly approaching the presence of God.

 

Lesson 11: November 12, 2017

Promise of a New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:27-34

 


Teaching Strategy: Discuss what motivates and guides participants in living in right relationship with God and others. What roles do external laws/expectations play compared and contrasted with what God has written on their hearts? Encourage participants to reflect on the ways their lives have been changed because God’s law is written on their hearts.

 

There are numerous conflicts today in which reliance upon written laws stands in contrast to expectations that people will do the “right thing” without rules and regulations. Examples include the ownership and responsible use of guns; discrimination against other based upon religion, race, or sexual orientation; and care for the environment. The debate about stronger gun control or anti-discrimination laws, for example, is often quite heated. How might scripture inform Christians’ response to this controversy? How can God work through Christians to inspire people to live as God intends – whatever the civil law requires (or does not require)?

Concern about gun violence increased again on Monday, November 6, when 26 people were killed in a Baptist church in Texas. There are no easy solutions, but there can be no doubt that the U.S. must find a way to reduce gun violence and eliminate mass shootings wherever they are occurring. The question is more urgent than ever: How can God work through Christians to inspire people to live as God intends – whatever the civil law requires (or does not require)?


Fall 2017 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: Try as we might, humans often fail in our relationships. How can we restore broken relationships with others? Jeremiah foresaw a time when God would make a new covenant, writing God’s law on human hearts with the vow to be Israel’s God and to make Israel God’s people.