Day 19: Inspiring One Another…Be an Encourager!

And let us…spur one another on to love and good deeds, and let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,  but let us encourage one another… Hebrew 10:24-25

Quite often there are people that are in your circle of friends that are looking to be asked to join you because they do not know what to do or how to go about being a part of your fellowship of believers. Call it pride or fear or ignorance but it matters not, the fact is they need to be spurred on and aided in their walk to find God’s calling upon them. Are you inviting others to join you at church activities and to our meetings in school? Many actually do not know what we do or why we meet each week… what of you went out of your way to invite them and they became encouraged to follow you to church on Sunday? Consider the calling God has placed upon you to go and tell the “good news”. Have you been obedient?

Coach

Week of February 8: What Three Assurances Does Paul Offer to the Church

Week of February 8: What Three Assurances Does Paul Offer to the Church

 

                        1. You Can Feel Safe (2 Thess. 1:1-12) 

                        2. You Can Stay Calm (2 Thess. 2:1-17)

                        3. You Can Keep at It (2 Thess. 3:1-18)

 

1. You Can Feel Safe (2 Thess. 1:1-12): Why? In all things can do you trust God to be more than fair with you…

 

What Is God Doing in, with and through Me?

 

What crisis experiences are we all facing right now? How do we respond when someone says we should praise God for such experiences?

 

In spite of what is going on, are we really grateful for the good things God has given us? How often do we demonstrate that gratitude? Or is our focus only on the bad things happening?

 

What is Paul’s motivation for thanking God, when hw wrote that “We must always thank God” in verse 3…

            1. _________________ is flourishing

            2. _________________ is increasing


Truth: When we realize what God is already doing in our lives, we also realize we can trust Him in every situation because He already has been more than fair to us: even when we seem focused on the bad things, He is being more than fair with us and has a purpose even through those difficult times.

 

What are Paul’s reasons for boasting on the church among the other churches: ref. verse 4…

            1. ____________ and 2. _____________ in the face of hard and trying times…

 

Why is this important? Ref. verse 5… It is clear evidence of those who will be counted _______________ of God’s kingdom…which is evidence also of God’s righteous ____________________.

             

Truth: God’s justice in judgment reminds us we can trust Him to be more than fair to us as believers.

 

Which statement in verses 5-10 gives you the most comfort concerning God’s fairness? Why? Consider the two possible outcomes when the Lord comes:

            1. ________________ for those who afflict us;

            2. ________________ for those who are afflicted for His sake.

 

Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. What does God want us to do with our skills, talents, gifts, and qualities? Whether in good times or difficult times? _________________________________________________.

 

2. You Can Stay Calm (2 Thess. 2:1-17) Knowing the basic biblical truths about Jesus’ return can help us all remain calm in tough times.

 

Reject false interpretations; Remember the truth you received; Stand Firm, anchored by the truth

Thinking back to Y2K, do you know people who thought the new millennium might bring Jesus’ return? How do you think they felt on December 31 versus January 2?

 

Why do you think Paul’s readers were “troubled?” What falsehoods may have bothered the believers in the church of Thessalonica, and what were the four evil characteristics of “the man of lawlessness.” 

            1. His __________________ will be revealed.

            2. He _________________ and ______________ himself above all gods.

            3. He _________________ that he himself is God, or a god.

 

Why are many Christians today confused about Christ’s return? What ideas confuse us most about Christ’s return? Why? How can we help such Christians?

 

Regarding thoughts about the “Mystery of Lawlessness,” we must be careful to acknowledge the ideas about what might be restraining the “man of lawlessness” are only suggestions.

 

Provide a copy of What Do You Know? It contains key truths found in the The Baptist Faith and Message to show what we believe about Christ’s return. How can remembering these truths help us today?

 

What would you say are the most important truths about Christ’s return? Why?

 

Why do most people respond more readily to warnings than to promises? Why? 

 

In verses:11-17 are both warnings and promises urging Christians to stand firm on basic biblical teachings about Jesus’ return.

 

Do Paul’s statements about the condemnation of the wicked or his statements about a Christian’s future provide you more motivation to “stand firm”? Why? Which verse is more encouraging to you? Why?

 

What’s the difference between remaining calm and having all your questions answered about the second coming? Which of these truths helps you help remain calm in the face of false or diverse teachings about this topic? Why?

 

3. You Can Keep at “It” (2 Thess. 3:1-18) Giving up is easy. The hard part is staying focused and persevering.

 

What is “it”:

1.      Pray for Church Leaders;

2.      Persist in Faithfulness;

3.      Pursue Responsible Behavior;

4.      Persevere in Doing Good

 

Why do you think this prayer request had an urgency about it?

 

1. Why did Paul ask the Thessalonian Christians to pray for him? Why should we pray for our church leaders, teachers and missionaries?

 

2. How does God’s faithfulness help us persist in faithfulness? What should having God’s strength and protection mean to believers? What part do biblical commands play in most Christians’ faithfulness?

 

3. Who has provided an example of responsible behavior for you? How did you choose a role model? How can we help Christians who behave irresponsibly?

 

4. How can we persevere in going good? What associations should we seek to help us be encouraged to persevere in difficult times?

 

Have the lessons from the Church in Thessalonica hit home? Meeting Divine Expectations is title of our next study beginning next week. (Covers Isaiah and Micah)

 

Close with prayer.

Day 17: Where is your focus today?

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10

Is your focus in alignment with the Lord’s focus? Are we focusing upon impacting others with the “good news” of Christ so that He may accomplish His goal of seeking and saving the lost. We are his feet, his hands and his mouth. Are you taking the time to remember the Lord did not save us just to know Him better and to cling close to Him only. We are to be doing those things, but also obeying Him means going for Him and doing the work of “making more disciples” and sharing the “good news.” How are you doing in this mission that He has empowered and gifted you to do?

Pray today the Lord reveals new opportunities and doors be revealed for His greater Kingdom purposes in your life.

Coach

Day 15: Share Christ Where You Are Not Where You Want to Be

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

If we are who we claim to be we must be active sharing who we are… Christ is our example and Lord, and He says we are to be engaged in our society sharing the “good news” of God’s plan for man. However, we too often are too self-engaged to think about sharing what we are trying to get a handle ourselves. But, we will never get our arms all the way around the Christian life on this side of heaven, and besides Christ knew we would all be at different stages of ourwalk when he told us to go and tell. We are to be always ready to share what we know to those who need to know, and then trust Christ will do the rest in that persons life.  The good news for us is that as we trust and obey by sharing with others we see first hand the transformation in others that has happened to us, and it helps us explain our own struggles in our Christian walk, but it alos inspires us in that walk as well.

Keep walking the faith and talking the faith…

Coach

Day 14: Impacting an Teacher’s Life by Your Life

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Gal. 6:5

Hey, teachers do need your encouragement too! When was the last time you walked up to your teacher who is making a difference in your life and told him or her that you appreciate them? When have you let them know you are praying for them and then actually lifted a prayer in their name?

Being a teacher can be a very lonely porfession and one that receives little feedback from the students, except when they tell the teacher what they don’t like about them. Seldom is a teacher rewarded by a hug and smile that says thank you. It is the small gestures of appreciation that give the biggest impact on a teacher who is trying to be a positive influence on his or her students.

Pray for and outwardly acknowledge the teacher(s) that have impacted you in some positive way, especially those with a strong and bold witness for Christ.

Coach

Day 13: Back in the Saddle after being Away in Prayer!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. Col. 4:2-3

How often and about whom do you pray? We certainly will lift up a prayer for ourselves seeking guidance or strength in difficult times, but how often do you life a prayer for church leaders, Christian friends and for specific people in need so that what Christ has done for you may be realized and spread through others? Before you pray for yourself will you stop and remember someone else in your prayer time? Are there specific people who need the strength of Christ that you can spend a few moments asking God to touch today?

FCA is a fellowship. Will you pray for our fellowship during these weeks and see if it will grow for the glory and praise of God the Father?

Amen.

Day 9: Job #1 – Build Up, not Tear Down Others

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. James 3:9-10

What does it mean to live out your faith before men? The Hebrews had a belief that the inner man and the outer man must be in concert with one another, therefore as the outer man is so exists the inner man. As Christians we want to believe that as long as we believe in Christ as our Savior then we are saved even if we ourselves outwardly don’t always show that relationship by our actions and words. However, if we truly have trusted Him as our Savior and received His Spirit within us, shouldn’t there be a differerence in how we walk and talk before others? Shouldn’t there be an evident change that reflects the repentant heart within us?

James, Jesus’ brother declares this relationship must be consistent. If we claim to keep our relationship private and then go about our lives unchanged, has real changed occurred? Our Christian walk and talk should reflect a desire to lift up lives, not tear them down. We should glorify God through our lives empowered and gifted by Him. Are we perfect, no not this side of heaven, but there should be an ongoing effort revealed by our constant change process to tell others to whom we belong.

How are you doing today? Are you a builder or a wrecker of lives that you come into contact with?

Coach

Day 8: How bright is your light?

…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

What are you doing to reflect whom you claim to belong to? Will others see the love and compassion of Christ through you? Are others around you drawn to you or Christ who is within you? A Christian witness need not always have to say anything to be an effective witness for Christ. Your walk before your peers should reveal whom you represent. If Satan is not concerned by your style and effort of witness there is likely little fear he has from your current witness value. Do a self-evaluation of your daily walk amidst your peers and I promise you that if all is well and there is no challenges you face, maybe your light is filtered or dimmed beyond recognition, and Satan is not threatened by you as one who claims Christ in their life. LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT YOUR DEEDS (YOUR DAY BY DAY WALK) AND PRAISE (YOUR DAY BY DAY TALK) MAY REVEAL TO WHOM YOU BELONG – YOUR FATHER GOD IN HEAVEN!

We all fall short of the glory of God, we all fall short when it comes to revealing His glory in this world, but when we realize it is not us but who is within us that makes us an effective witness for Him, then Satan will be afraid of you because of who resides in you, because he knows he cannot defeat you. Walk tall and confident as you allow Christ to work through each and every day. Amen

Coach

Day 7: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… Psalm 22

This verse is from the Book of Psalms, but Jesus also proclaimed the words from the cross. Even the Son of God felt the isolation and separation of God the Father when He bore the sins of the world on the cross. He felt forsaken because God had to turn His back upon Jesus. Whenever you see someone else wearing a cross are they wearing as pretty jewelry or to proclaim thier identity with Christ. How about yourself? What does the cross mean to you?

Lord, draw all your children to the reality of your experience on the cross.

Coach

Day 6: Forgiveness is a Blessing and a Challenge…

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

It is hard to return to a place where you were hurt, but God asks us to do so to offer forgiveness for the harm done to us. Now I will reassure you that consequences are different from forgiveness. We mus forgive those who have harmed us in someway, but if the harm was so grievous and possibly repetitive to others then for the sake of protecting others the person who could harm others too must be removed from doing any more injury to others. That is a consequence that serves to save others and the person who could cause harm again. However, should you offer forgiveness to that person? Yes! A Godly person realizes the value of offering forgiveness to that person. It serves to release yourself from improper thoughts of anger and malice, and possibly provides a testimony to the other person that as a Christian you actually are concerned for him or her. Remember we can condemn the actions the actions of a person but never the person. Only God can judge the person, and yet He still desires to forgive as well.

You “reap what you sow” the Bible says, so do not sow anger and malice, but do sow love, peace and happiness!

Coach

Day 4 of 40 Days of Challenge: Honor Pa & Ma!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”- which is the first commandment with a promise – Ephesians 6:1-2

God established the family as a blessing from the union of a husband and wife. Just as there were consequences for the first married couple, Adam and Eve, for not obeying GOD the Father, so to are there consequences for the children of godly parents who choose to disobey and not honor their parents. Pleasing our parents can seem like a challenge, but GOD understands because all of His children challenge Him almost daily. But oh what a blessing we receive when we honor God and walk according to His ways, His Will and the Wisdom of His Word. If that is so, then why not abide by his call for us to honor our parents just as we would honor Him? Remember, even when our parents are seemingly wrong and troubled, God holds them in account for their actions, because you are a blessing from Him to your parents, and they are accountable directly to Him. But you are to honor your parents even when you may know they are wrong, because otherwise you are telling God He was wrong in blessing them with you as their child.

Why not say a prayer daily for your parents? Why not ask God for the opportunity to demonstrate HIs love for them through you, and reveal you are a blessing from God?

When things are tough, remember God is aware of all our circumstances… trust God and love Him through all your relationships on earth, and those relationships begin with your father and your mother. For those who are missing one or both of your parents, trust God will direct godly “parents” onto your path that will stand in the gap on God’s behalf if only you will give them a chance to do so. Quite often the reason there seems to be tension is because you are the one always tugging on the cords of the relationship trying to resist their well-intended expressions of love for you.

Prayer for direction and guidance in these troubled days we all are facing, and especially pray for your parents.

Amen,

Coach

Are You Ready? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Are You Ready? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

 

Lession Goal: To help us specify what we need to do to live more faithfully and expectantly in anticipating Christ’s return

 

Introduction

Has anyone been in a catastrophic storm? Were you prepared? Why?

 

Note: Most people who survived a hurricane don’t have to be warned twice to prepare.

 

Although this illustration may not be perfect for relating to the glory of Christ’s return: Why do some people refuse to listen to instructions about an imminent hurricane or tornado?

 

Likewise, why do some people read biblical instructions but refuse to follow them?

 

Distribute Handout: Are You Ready? Complete the sheet during the session.

 

I. Recall What You Know: (1 Thess. 5:1-3)

Paul wanted his readers to recall what he had taught them. He pointed out exactly what he had in mind.

What was Paul’s intention by using the analogy of the “thief” and his reference to the “Day of the Lord?”

                                                      

What facts do we know about Jesus’ return?

1.      __________________________________________

2.      __________________________________________

3.      __________________________________________

How does the adage, “Out of sight, out of mind” apply to anticipating Jesus’ return? Do you anyone who holds to that philosophy? Why would they cling to such a dangerous philosophy?

 

II. Realize Who You Are: (1 Thess. 5:4-6)

Contrast between Paul’s reference to “brothers” and his reference to “they.” __________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Consider Paul’s connection between “darkness” and the “thief.” ____________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

What is intended by Paul’s use of “sons of” and his references to “light” and “day?” ____________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

What is the difference between the true identity of a person and what other people see each day?

  • Our inner and outer identities should be identical.
  • Our nature as Christians should be that of Christ
  • Our behavior should reflect the nature of the Savior.

 

How do you feel after driving for several hours? Compare how people gradually get drowsy while driving to Paul’s reference to “sleep,” and possibly drifting off in our behavior. What is the meaning of “be sober.” _______________________________________________________________________________________

 

How and why do secular people exploit the failures of Christians? How can we help other Christians reflect their true identity in a world that watches for failure?

 

Why did Paul compare Jesus’ return with “darkness” and the activities of a “thief”? To what extent should this idea influence a Christian’s life? Is it fair for the world to make a big deal of Christians who fall short of biblical standards? Why? ___________________________________________________________________________
III. Reveal Who You Are: (1 Thess. 5:7-10)

Do you recall the television show, “What’s My Line?” Contestants tried to stump the panel regarding their identities. Celebrities often were very good at deceiving the blindfolded panel members. However, our behavior is to reveal opening our Christian identity.

 

How do we know the Thessalonian Christians acted in ways that revealed who they really were? Look into the passages as we complete the handout on this passage. What do all the analogies and metaphors really mean to us?

 

What is the relationship between armor such as a breastplate and helmet and faith, hope, and love? Why do you think Paul included these three ideas here?

 

Rally around One Another: 1 Thess. 5:11

Paul affirmed the Thessalonians and challenged them to continue encouraging one another. In what ways can we encourage one another, emphasizing that sharing together strengthens all who participate?___________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 

It is so easy for believers today to get so consumed with the immediate and the present that they ignore the future. Our challenge as believers is to maintain balance between handling the present and anticipating the future with Christ.

 

Conclusion

Several years ago a movie with Robin Williams, who played the role of a Prep School professor of literature, popularized the Latin phrase carpe diem, which can be translated, “Seize the day.”  It was a challenge to live each day to the fullest.

 

This idea fits Paul’s words in this Lesson Passage. How can we seize the day by living more faithfully and expectantly in anticipation of Christ’s return?­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Being a 4:29 Christian Daily

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Are you a 4:29 encourager for Christ? Do you keep a check on your tongue when you are around others that seem to get you riled up? Or do you just figure it is okay to be an open critic and say what is on your mind? What does God have to say about the power of the tongue? You might want to read the words of Jesus’ brother James on the subject, James 3:1-12.

Our words should focus upon lifting up Christ before others, even those who frustrate us or even slander us with their tongues. As my mother always told me, “if you nothing good to say, do not say anything at all.” It is good advice for all Christians, except that we always have a good witness to share that Christ loves us all the same, even the hard to love. In my words, God places people in our lives to test us and these are who I call “EGR” people, or “extra grace required” kind of individuals. When I struggle with that I remember how unlovable I have been and how God revealed His love to me even in those miserable times as well.

Watch more, listen more and speak less when someone is stirring your emotions, there may be a reason they are the way they are because of something in their life going on, and they need an encouraging word from someone like you.

Day 1: How is Your Walk and Talk Today?

There always remains a choice to follow?
There always remains a choice to follow?

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

This is a verse many youth groups grab onto as their key verse and it is relevant in many ways, but it also applies to all Christians! All Christians are to be witnesses before everyone that they encounter everyday, and everyone includes fellow Christians as well as those who have not accepted Christ into their lives. For the fellow believer, our daily walk can be an inspiration, real encouragement when they need it the most, because their life has lost their focus and their choices indicate their struggle. Some fellow believers feel alone and fear they are the only Christian in the crowd. Seeing your example serves as a testimony that brightens their spirit to be bold once again. Didn’t Christ send out his disciples in pairs? Yes, because we are more powerful and convincing as a team and will also be a support and source of encouragement to each other. Even Paul the great Apostle traveled with the aid and support of others throughout his ministry. YOU-NEVER-KNOW-WHO-IS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for those struggling without Christ who we associate with everyday, there are many who wish their lives could be better and seeing your witness each day is an inspiration to them and you offer many of them the hope they are longing for in their own life. Any person under the inspiration of God at the appropriate time can feel drawn to the message of Christ through your witness, whether you are aware or not. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING YOU TODAY WHO GOD IS DRAWING TO HIM BECAUSE OF YOUR ENTHUSIASM TO LIVE WITH INTEGRITY, FIDELITY AND SINCERITY, PLEASING GOD ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, WAYS AND WISDOM. So today, consider why, how and what you say… Consider how your body language communicates as you engage others. Are you cheerful and testifying of the joy that is within you? Will you remain a witness of God’s grace and love towards everyone around you? Will you be open to anyone approaching you asking you for advice or help about issues in their life? Will you offer a testimony by your courageous and bold attitude regarding the faith you have in God? Will your walk be without any intentional fault so that someone watching might not find a reason to seek God will for their life because of hypocrisy he or she might see in your life. These are similar questions that Paul challenged Timothy with so he would become a faithful servant and fellow apostle. The early Christian church grew in numbers through the leadership of such righteous leaders, nearly 2000 years ago. Timothy was not a teenager as many youth groups want to believe, but in the eyes of many he was treated with the same attitude that any young person today may be viewed. Timothy was challenged by Paul to prove himself worthy by the choices he made that will inspire and encourage others to follow him so they may the same relationship with Christ he reflected. Will your daily walk and talk today reveal a confident and mature Christian that everyone, children, youth or mature adults will value as a worthy example that honors God? God bless all that walk each day with the assurance of their faith. Coach Brown

What Hope Do You Have?

February 1, 2009 Super Bowl Sunday

 

What Hope Do You Have?

 

Session Goal: To help us choose which basis of Christian hope we find most comforting in the face of death.

 

Introduction

In what positive and negative ways might the death of a loved one affect the survivors?

 

Why do we hold funeral or memorial services?

 

Today’s lesson emphasizes hope in the face of death. We cannot avoid death, but only Christians have genuine hope through Jesus.

 

What is hope? __________________________________________________________________________

 

What is Christian hope? _________________________________________________________________

 

What makes the difference? _______________________________________________________________

 

I. Our Hope as Christians: (1 Thess. 4:13)

What certainties are there in life? How can we be sure these in fact are certain?

 

Consider Paul’s comments about the hope of Christians.

 

Why did Paul use the term “asleep” as a metaphor for death?

 

How did Paul express encouragement concerning grief, pointing to the difference between unsaved people who grieve and Christians who grieve?

 

Why is a Christian’s grief different from that of a non-Christian? How can we help Christians face grief?

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 

II. Our Hope: Christ’s Resurrection and Return (1 Thess. 4:14)

Why don’t people believe that God really brought Jesus back to life? Why are people skeptical today about whether Jesus will return?

 

Compare and contrast Paul’s comments in verse 14 with those in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19.

 

If we believe Jesus actually rose from the dead and will return as promised, then we can be 100 percent sure that all who have placed their faith in Him will be resurrected too.

 

What is the relationship between the resurrection and second coming of Jesus? Why do you think many people are confused about Jesus’ return?___________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

III. Our Hope: Christians’ Resurrection and Reunion: (1 Thess. 4:15-17)

What positive feeling do you have about gathering with kinfolks during a family reunion or with friends at a class reunion? Why?

What two certainties are found here? Resurrection and the reunion of believers in Christ.

In Paul’s comments in these verses he offers five wonderful disclosures about Christ’s return.

  1. ___________________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________________________________

 

Parousia (Rapture), or “Caught Up”: ___________________________________________

 

Another approach to the rapture. 16 The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise— they’ll go first. 17 Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. 18 So reassure one another with these words. 1 Thess 4:16-18 (MSG) Cross Ref. Matt. 13 & 25 Parables. Who goes and who stays?

 

Would you like for Christ to return in your lifetime? Why?

 

Compare and contrast a family reunion with the second coming?

 

IV. Our Hope: Comfort (1 Thess. 4:18)

Consider the fact I have a large collection of tools that are pretty cool, but if I never use any of them for their intended purpose what good are they? If I leave these tools in their toolbox, they do me no good.

 

Why does Paul use the emphasis of the word “therefore?”  Have the previous verses been leading up to this statement of encouragement for all believers? Note that “encourage” can also be translated “comfort.”

 

Just as I spoke about the tools earlier; if I leave the tools in a box they are useless, so are these truths unless we comfort and encourage one another with them. Even when believers face death or that of Christian friends and loved ones, they have reason to be comforted.

 

Why is seeking to encourage or comfort others important? What has someone said that was especially comforting to you? Have there been times when you needed reassurance and encouragement to be comforted?

 

Conclusion: The basis of Christian hope lies in these truths from today’s lesson:

1.      As Christians, we have a hope that is certain and that unbelievers do not have.

2.      Our hope as Christians is certain because it is based on Christ’s resurrection and on His return.

3.      Our hope as Christians is certain because it is based on the certainty of our own resurrection and of our reunion with other believers.

4.      We can find comfort in the face of death because our hope as Christians is secure.

 

Decide which of these points provides the most comfort to you in the face of death. Why did you choose it?

 

Close with prayer.

January 25, 2009: What Is Your Goal in Life?

 

Lession Goal: To help us affirm the extent of our behavior is shaped by Christ’s commands

 

·   Poster: Unit 2 Outline

·   Handout: Walking the Walk

 

Introduction

Why do children delight in visiting Santa before Christmas?

 

Why do even children focus on things for themselves?

 

Why does this self-centered attitude permeate society today as we realize daily how many people focus on themselves and their own priorities?

 

Examine and Apply God’s Word

Poster: Unit 2 Outline –  This lesson begins a new unit

 

I. Principle to Follow: (1 Thess. 4:1-2)

What is the meaning of “walk” (v. 1)?

 

Handout: Walking the Walk (complete the questionnaire)

Once complete determine silently the difference in your first and second ratings; then, reflect on what Jesus might say about how much or how little your life pleases God.

 

Note that Paul’s “commands” came either directly or indirectly from Jesus (v. 2), and these commands provide us today with the principle of pleasing God with all our behavior.

 

Discussion: Do Christians have the right to live as we want, since we cannot lose our salvation? Why?

 

II. Purity to Practice: (1 Thess. 4:3-8)

What is meant by “sanctification” from verse 3? ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

What are the possible meanings of “vessel” (v. 4)? _____________________________________________

·   emphasis in the use of “lustful desires” (v. 5),

·   the consequences of violating standards of sexual purity expressed (v. 6),

·   and the nature of God and His presence in our lives (v. 8).

 

Truth: Whatever God calls us to do and be; He also empowers us to accomplish the challenge. No matter what inner urges we feel or what pressures we face from peers, we can resist temptation to sin because the Holy Spirit is stronger than any force tempting us.

 

Discussion: Why did Paul emphasize sexual purity? Consider the historical context.

 

Today, how can a Christian maintain sexual purity in a society that ignores biblical standards?

 

III. Love to Exhibit: (1 Thess. 4:9-10a)

Compare “brotherly love”(phileo) and “love for one another?” (agape) Identify ways we can exhibit Christian love to other believers. _____________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

Discussion: If love is to be Christian trait, why does tension among church members reflect the absence of brotherly love? ___________________________________________________________________________

 

How should we to respond towards someone who refuses to love another member of our church? __________

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

IV. Lifestyle to Have: (1 Thess. 4:10b-12)

What happens when we neglect important Christian attitudes and behaviors?

 

Paul addressed several topics in 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12. Attention must be given to each for a church to remain healthy. These traits also apply to us individually as well.

  1. Seek to lead a quiet life: _____________________________________________________________
  2. Mind your own business: ____________________________________________________________
  3. Work with your own hands: __________________________________________________________
  4. Walk properly in the presence of outsiders:  ______________________________________________
  5. Do not be dependent on anyone: _______________________________________________________

 

How can these problems exist in a church? In what ways should we address each of these problems?

 

What positive comments might we hear about our church?

            1. How do people in our church describe our church?

            2. How might people outside our church describe us?

 

Truth: How we act toward one another influences opinions of people outside the church.

 

Discussion: In summary, what is a Christian lifestyle?____________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

How important are honesty, having a good reputation, and being productive members of society in a Christian lifestyle? ________________________________________________________________________________

­________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Conclusion: Look once again on the “Walking the Walk” handout, identify the one item on the second rating that they think is the least pleasing to God. Write on the lines at the bottom of the page what steps you could take to improve in this area.

 

 

 

When Others Cared for You

January 18, 2009

 

When Others Cared for You (1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:13)

 

LESSON PASSAGE OUTLINE

1. Personal Words (1 Thess. 2:17-20)

2. Encouraging People (1 Thess. 3:1-5)

3. Affirming Words (1 Thess. 3:6-10)

4. Loving Prayers (1 Thess. 3:11-13)

 

BIBLICAL TRUTH: Believers encourage other Christians by demonstrating concern for them.

 

LIFE IMPACT: To help adults demonstrate concern for other Christians

 

Introduction

Ask: How do you feel when someone interrupts your plans for a peaceful day or evening at home?

 

Susan and Ron had really enjoyed Christmas. It was a blast having the kids and grandkids in. Now that family had gone,            Susan and Ron had the house to themselves again.

 

They kept up with a bowl game on TV while they took down the tree and other holiday decorations. They were longing for a    quiet New Year’s Day for just the two of them: sleeping in, watching parades, and pigging out on more bowl games.

 

Then Susan’s cell phone rang. It was her friend Gloria from church. “I just feel so awful,” Gloria blurted. “My two teenagers      still aren’t speaking to one another. My husband just stormed out after cussing out the neighbor whose car knocked down our mailbox. He’ll come back drunk late tonight. I thought Christmas would help, but it didn’t. Life seems to be crashing in on             me. I feel so isolated and alone. Would you and Ron mind if I came over on New Year’s Day for a while?”

 

What should Susan do? Why?

 

Lesson Related Question: How do you think Paul felt when he realized he could not stay and complete his plans in Thessalonica?

 

Examine and Apply God’s Word

 

1. Personal Words (1 Thess. 2:17-20)

 

Where was Paul writing his letter? Why was he there and where had he traveled to get there? (Look at Map)

 

How might someone feel if they were suddenly forced to flee his or her homeland?.

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20. Why did Paul use the phrase “forced to leave”? In the Greek, forced to leave is literally “orphaned.” Anyone who has ever endured unwanted separation from a loved one also understands what Paul meant by in person, not in heart.

 

Re: Acts 17:5-10. Paul clearly was in distress when he left Thessalonica. His departure had been as heartrending as when parents and little children are torn apart.

 

Can you relate to a similar feeling as Paul expressed in your past?

 

Refer to verses 19-20. Which of the words – hope, joy, crown, or glory- would be most encouraging to you if someone used it about you? Why? How have you used these terms to encourage anyone?

 

Who has been an encourager in your Christian life? Whom can you encourage?

 

2. Encouraging People (1 Thess. 3:1-5)

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5. What were Paul’s motives for encouraging the Thessalonians?

 

Have you ever faced a situation in which you needed face-to-face spiritual encouragement? Did someone provide it for you?

 

How would you compare taking part in a Sunday School each week to what Paul was trying to provide the Thessalonian Christians? Why?

 

3. Affirming Words (1 Thess. 3:6-10)

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10. What do these verses say about how the Thessalonians encouraged Paul?

 

The phrase, if you stand firm, means Paul expected these readers would persevere. They were to “keep on keeping on” in their lives in the Lord, as believers. Paul often used the verb translated stand firm to call Christians to persevere as one way of showing the reality of their faith (1 Cor. 16:13; Gal. 5:1; Phil. 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:15).

 

What signs might you look for that would indicate a believer is standing firm in the Lord? What are signs a believer is not standing firm?

 

Why do you think Paul didn’t ignore the danger of returning to Thessalonica and go himself?

 

4. Loving Prayers (1 Thess. 3:11-13)

Do you recall a time when people prayed for you? How did you feel?

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13. Were Paul’s prayers answered? Read Acts 20:1-3.

 

How does prayer connect us with other Christians? How do our prayer lives reflect our true level of spiritual growth?

 

When Others Helped You How Did You Respond?

Lesson 2: When Others Helped You (1 Thess. 2:1-16)

 

Truth: Believers can teach others the truths of the gospel.

 

Can you recall who your favorite teacher in school was? What made that person stand out?

 

Group Time: How would you define teaching? What would be key characteristics of a good teacher? What keeps you from teaching God’s Word to His followers?

 

1. Teach Boldly (1 Thess. 2:1-4)

Truth: If God wants us to do something, He will give us the strength and courage to do it despite any obstacles that may come our way. However, people also get into ministry for a variety of reasons, not all of them pure and good. When you get involved in ministry, do so out of love for Christ and others.

 

What parallels do you think Paul would draw between the Thessalonian church and ours?

 

2. Teach Out of Love (1 Thess. 2:5-8)

Truth: When we love others, we will approach them gently and we will not exploit them. Such behavior opens the door to teaching them the truths of the gospel. It is love in action!

 

Why did Paul not want to be a burden to those he was trying to reach? Does that relate today?

 

How can we be sure to demonstrate the same attitudes towards as we reach out for God?

 

3. Live What You Teach (1 Thess. 2:9-12)

Truth: We are better able to teach truths of the gospel when we model them in our lives. The best sermon message is the one lived out before others!

 

Why did you think Paul had great influence on those around him? How good would your influence be around others on God’s behalf?

 

Which image of Paul’s concern is most meaningful to you: A nursing mother or a caring father?

 

4. Teach for Results (1 Thess. 2:13-16)

Truth: Persecution is discouraging; especially when it comes from people we are closest. When you make a stand for Christ, you may face opposition, disapproval, and ridicule from your closest friends and family members.

 

What’s the difference between teaching people and teaching material? Key v.13: Why do you think the source of the gospel message calls for Christians to teach for results?

 

In God’s plan, is it a bad thing to try and imitate another church or Christian?

 

What implications can you draw from these final verses about finding people who are open to the gospel? _______________________________________________________________________

The Christian Church should be a source of encouragement

January 4, 2009

 

Good Words for Growing Christians

1, 2 Thessalonians

 

Unit 1: Remember Where You Were (1 Thess. 1:1-3:13)

  1. Jan   4             When You Started Out (1 Thess. 1:1-10)
  2. Jan 11             When Others Helped You (1 Thess. 2:1-16)
  3. Jan 18             When Others Cared for You (1 Thess. 2:17-3:13)

 

Unit 2: Consider Where You are Going (1 Thess. 4:1-5:28)

  1. Jan 25             What is Your Goal in Life? (1 Thess. 4:1-12)
  2. Feb   1             What Hope Do You Have? (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
  3. Feb   8             Are You Ready? (1 Thess. 5:1-11)
  4. Feb 15             Do You Get Along with Others? (1 Thess. 5:12-28)

 

Unit 3: Be Aware God Is In Charge (2 Thess. 1:1-3:18)

  1. Feb 22             You Can Feel Safe (2 Thess. 1:1-12)
  2. Mar  1             You Can Stay Calm (2 Thess. 2:1-17)
  3. Mar  8             You Can Keep at It (2 Thess. 3:1-18)

 

We will skip the two lessons in the book related Christmas and Sanctity of Human Life.

 

Introduction

 

What was special about the church in Thessalonica (modern Salonica)?

 

What do we know about how God directed Paul, Silas & Timothy to church plant here? How did they get there and when? (Review Acts 15 – 18)

 

Who were the early church converts?

 

What is the uniqueness of these two letters to the church we are going to study?

 

What was Paul’s purpose in writing to the church in Thessalonica?

 

Unit 1 Overview: Remember Where You Were (1 Thess. 1:1-3:13)

 

What do you consider are the key events in your life as a Christian?

 

How open are about your personal testimony about becoming a Christian and your life as a Christian since?

 

Three lessons in this unit:       (1) Remembering When You Started Out?

                                                (2) Remembering When Others Helped You?

                                                (3) Remembering When Others Cared for You?

It is easy to thank God for what He has done for us on our Christian journey, but what about thanking those who were there as your mentor, your encourager, your friend or merely someone you looked up to as tried to imitate?

 

Write down as a reminder the names of those who overdue your personal thanks?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Lesson 1: When You Started Out (1 Thess. 1:1-10)

 

  1. Recognizing God’s Work (1 Thess. 1:1-4)
  2. Responding to the Spirit (1 Thess. 1: 5-6)
  3. Influencing Others (1 Thess. 1:7-10)

 

Truth: When people first hear the gospel, they often respond positively, becoming Christians and making changes in their behavior to live for God.

 

How do you feel about what God has done in your life? Can you recognize God’s work in your life?

 

1. Recognizing God’s Work: (1 Thess. 1:1-4)

·   Church?

·   Being Encouraged by Others & Encouraging Others? Through 3 active traits:

         work of faith  

         labor of love

         endurance (patience) of hope

·   “Our Lord Jesus Christ” – Master, Mentor & Model

·   Influence and importance of God’s Election (or, Chosenness)

 

How do these verses indicate we can demonstrate authentic Christianity? How can we acknowledge God’s work in our lives?

 

2. Responding to the Spirit: (1 Thess. 1:5-6)

·   The Gospel? God’s Purpose, Promise & Power inspires our Passion!

·   Our Inspiration: The Holy Spirit

·   Our Aspiration: Be like Lord Jesus

 

How do we know when the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives? How does the Spirit remind us that God wants to work in our lives?

 

3. Influencing Others: (1 Thess. 1:7-10)

Do actions speak louder than words? If so, are you openly expressing joy and gratitude for the Spirit’s work in your life? Are you an example and influence for others?

·   Worship regularly in fellowship of believers

·   Reading God’s Word and Thanking Him Daily

·   Seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit during our prayer time

·   Living by God’s Standards even when difficult and inconvenient

 

Compared to the Thessalonians, think about the influence of our church and the membership over the past year?

 

(Tough question considering recent events, but look beyond that… remember a lesson in life: it takes a life time to build a reputation of trust but only a fleeting moment to tear it down)

 

Otherwise, how far is the influence of the church? Ocala, Marion County, North Florida, and beyond…

 

How will you demonstrate your faith this week in a way that sets a positive example for others? ________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Conclusion:

 

How should we link demonstrations of faith with our verbal witness to the Source of the inspiration of those actions?

 

Paul’s message to the early church is the same we need to be reminded of: The Christian Circle of Life, as a disciple, seek others to make more disciples who will live the same Circle of Life, which reflects the Commission Jesus gave to the Church:

 

                                                Know Him

                                                Grow for Him

                                                Go for Him

                                                Show Him

 

Our Christian witness should include a testimony that plainly explains what being a Christian is all about:

1.      The Nature of Conversion

2.      The Nature of Christian Life

3.      The Goal of Christian Life

4.      The Basis of the Gospel

5.      God’s judgment on sinful humanity