Monday, April 09, 2018

This week's lesson (April 21-27): Salvation and the End Time

Can you know that you are married?

Yes.

Should you take it for granted?

No.

Now replace the word "married" with "saved."

Discuss.

This week's lesson (April 14-20): Jesus and the Book of Revelation

Don't worry about the Time of Trouble -- not the one in Revelation 12-14, at any rate.

Before it begins, remember, God has sealed His people -- all 144,000 of them . . . 

And no, what follows next isn't pretty: the Devil goes after those people with everything he's got. Like an unholy Marine Corps, he attacks the 144,000 by air, land, and sea.

And when he's done.

God has not lost a single one of His people; no, He's still got all 144,000. 

In short, God's people have nothing to fear -- not even in the worst of all worse-case scenarios.

And if you really don't need to worry about the Time of Trouble . . .

Then why should you worry about anything else?

This week's lesson (April 7-13): Daniel and the End Time

The Book of Daniel does not have a beanstalk.

But it's definitely a story about giant-killers.

Just like Jack in the fairy-tales, after all, Daniel is up against some pretty big bad-guys.

And just like the giants in those fairy-tales, Daniel's enemies are stupid, cruel, violent, and capricious.

In fact, they're downright beastly.

And no, I won't give away the ending -- you need to read it for yourself.

But the next time you're up against giants, you may want to take a tip from Daniel: "The bigger they are," he'd tell you, "the harder they fall . . . "

The same as that giant on Jack's bean-stalk.

Monday, April 02, 2018

This week's lesson (March 31 - April 6): the Cosmic Controversy

On some other world, possibly it is different. Better. There are clear good and evil alternatives. Not these obscure admixtures, these blends, with no proper tool by which to untangle the components. -- Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
"And there was war in Heaven" -- a war that pitted God against Satan, Good against Evil, the Forces of Light against the Forces of Darkness" . . . 

In Heaven, yes.

Here on earth?

It's a little more complicated.

And it's not that good and evil don't exist . . . that we can't choose between them . . . and that our choices don't make a difference.

No, all of these things are true.

But not every disagreement is the Battle of Armageddon -- in fact, there's usually a little bit of good, even in the worst of Them . . . and a little bit of bad, even in the best of Us.

And again, this doesn't mean our choices don't make a difference.

But when we choose, let us do so with humility.

When we disagree, let us do so with kindness.

And if we must fight, then let us do so with the knowledge that God loves Them just as much as He loves Us.

There may be a war in Heaven, after all.

But that doesn't mean we're always fighting it here on Earth.

Monday, March 26, 2018

This week's lesson (March 24-30): the Results of Stewardship

Read the Book of Ruth

1. Describe each character's approach to stewardship -- what is important to each of them, and how does this affect how they deal with risk?
   *Naomi
   *Orpah
   *Ruth
   *Boaz
   *Ruth's next of kin

2. Which of these characters do you resemble -- and why?

3. What is the result of each character's approach to stewardship?
   *Naomi
   *Orpah
   *Ruth
   *Boaz
   *Ruth's next of kin

4. What do you learn about stewardship from this story?


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

This week's lesson (March 17-23): the Habits of a Steward

Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, and 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15.
1.  What does Paul ask believers to do in these verses? What habits does he think are important in donors? 
2. What does Paul say he will do in these verses? What habits does he think are important in those who receive donations? 
3.  Based on these verses, what changes should you make in your giving? In your expectations of those to whom you give?

Monday, March 12, 2018

This week's lesson (March 10-16): Debt - a daily decision

Read Matthew 18:21-35
  • How do you want to be treated when you're in debt? Why?
  • How do you treat others when they're in your debt? Why?
  • Why is it so much easier for us to understand and forgive our mistakes than it is to forgive and understand the mistakes of others?
  • What are some "debts" you've incurred that you wish others would "write-off"? What are some "debts" that others "owe" you that you need to "write-off" right now? What's stopping you?

Friday, March 09, 2018

This week's lesson (March 3-9): the Role of Stewardship

Read Matthew 19:16-30
  • What did the young man say that he wanted more than anything else? What did he actually want more than anything else? What happens when your stated desires get in the way of your actual desires -- and what can you learn from this story?
  • What lesson does Peter draw from this story in verses 26-30? Does Jesus agree with his conclusion?
Read Matthew 20:1-16
  • What is the point of this story? What does it add to Peter's conclusion in Matthew 19:26-30?
  • How do Matthew 19:16-30 and Matthew 20:1-16 both complement and fulfill each other? Which story speaks to you the most? Why?

Thursday, March 01, 2018

This week's lesson (February 24 - March 2): Offerings of Gratitude

Read John 12:1-11
  • What did Mary of Bethany do for Jesus? Why?
  • How did the disciple(s) respond? Why?
  • How did Jesus respond? Why?
  • When do you most resemble each of the people in this story?
-- the woman (whose gift is criticized)? 
-- the disciple (who criticized her gift)? 
-- Jesus (who accepts and appreciates the gift)?