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Young at Heart

There may be teens and young adults in your church that your class members know well (or not at all). Together as a group, discuss conceivable activities that could be planned to assist your group in developing a closer connection with the youth of your church. Following are some possible events to consider: family game night, church picnic, youth/adult interviews (pre-planned questions to facilitate conversations), progressive dinners, etc. In order to easily permit parishioners to get better acquainted, perhaps factsheets listing information about each young person could be compiled. These might include a picture, age, year in school/occupation, details about one’s family, interests/hobbies, and a prayer need. The adult class members could select one or more youth to remember in prayer, and they could make a point to write notes of encouragement to the young people and intentionally develop a connection with them.

God’s Providences

Lesson 13 - November 26, 2017

Focus Text: Genesis 37:23–28, 36; 39:19–23; 41:37–41

Central Truth: God works through our circumstances to fulfill His purposes.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to give examples how God works through various circumstances to accomplish His will.

Lesson Outline:

  1. Sold into Slavery (Genesis 37:23–28, 36)
  2. Betrayed by a Lie (Genesis 39:19–23)
  3. Promoted (Genesis 41:37–41)

Sharing Our Faith

Witnessing to others is crucial to our spiritual growth in Christ. Inquire with the students about the circles of influence they believe they currently have in their personal lives and encourage them to give their testimony in class. Challenge them to find someone this next week with whom they can share their “Jesus story.” It is best to keep it brief (one or two minutes) by using the following formula: “1) There was a time in my life when . . . 2) Then I met Jesus . . . 3) Since that time . . . 4) My life is not perfect, but through God’s grace I now . . . 5) Do you have a story like that?” They should then be prepared to entertain a conversation about God. To ensure that each student can lead another to the Lord, walk through the following verses in class: John 3:16; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 3:20.

Rebekah Seeks to Serve

Read Genesis 24:16-21

“And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking” (v. 19).

Has “servant practice” led you to a position that you didn’t expect, one for which you did not work, anticipate, or feel qualified?

Rebekah is pure, attractive, strong, articulate, efficient, gracious, and generous. Without being asked, she serves. She goes out of her way. For a stranger. For no “known” profit, thought, or reason. Without any selfish motivations. When she is finished with the initial request she does more, and more, and more. That’s what true servants do.

There is a big difference between serving and seeking to serve. The former is attached to the duties and assignments of life; often they are tasks expected of me. The latter is something I seek. How often do I rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor or take time to listen to a heartache? When did I last go out of my way for a stranger who needed a ride? When did I last give my meal away to someone who needed it more than I?

What Rebekah did had nothing to do with her responsibilities involving her service commitments to her family and their livestock. She stepped beyond that to authentic servanthood.

In chapel services at Mountain State Bible School, we often sang about serving Him because we love Him, allowing Him to take our ruined lives, and use them for His glory. (SEM)

To one who has been given life, serving is a joy!

This devotional is the Tuesday, November 14, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

Finding God’s Will

Lesson 12 - November 19, 2017

Focus Text: Genesis 24:10-20

Central Truth: Knowing God’s will gives confidence for all life’s choices.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list ways we can know God’s will.

Lesson Outline:

  1. Prospects for a Bride (Genesis 24:1-27)
  2. Proposal to the Bride (Genesis 24:28-49)
  3. Preparation of the Bride (Genesis 24:50-60)
  4. Presentation of the Bride (Genesis 24:61-67)

Continue reading Finding God’s Will

Inductive Bible Study

It is important to teach members to engage in inductive Bible study methods. Empower the students, and discover what captures the interest of each individual. Rather than using a lecture style, facilitate a group discussion. Sit around a table(s) in groups of ten or fewer to allow for adults to view one another as equals. Each person should re-read the Bible passage quietly for five to ten minutes, looking for the one main point and several key concepts. Later, compare the conclusions drawn by each reader. If there are glaring errors in interpretation that are offered up, step in to give an alternative explanation based on Scripture. After the passage is presented, ask probing, open-ended questions. If there is time remaining after this process has taken place, bring out Bible concordances and dictionaries for further study. Encourage attendees to follow this study method at home.

The Walk of Faith

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

“For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (v. 11).

The inseparable law of the Christian life is — “No Cross, No Crown.” Today‘s Scripture highlights the paradoxes we can expect when we walk by faith. We are:

Sore pressed at every point, but not hemmed in;
At our wit’s end, but never our hope’s end;
Persecuted by men, but never abandoned by God;
Knocked down, but not knocked out.

This walk of faith, despite life’s adversities, makes us more than conquerors through Christ. We are strengthened with divine courage, knowing that if we share the life of Christ, we must also share His suffering.

The location chosen for the great Hoover Dam comprised a vast area of desert. In its construction, inevitably there were those who lost their lives. At the completion of the project, a tablet was placed in the wall of the dam which bore the names of the ninety-six workers who had perished, with this inscription below it: “These died that the desert might rejoice and blossom as a rose.“ Today, the reservoir created by the 726 feet tall structure supplies water to farms, businesses, and millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico.

How could Paul go through what he did? He knew his afflictions were not in vain; they were to bring others to God. Walking by faith, whatever the risks or cost, enables us to do and endure all things for Christ’s sake. Trials do not disappear, but God gives overcoming grace.

“Faith makes things possible, not easy” (Unknown).

This devotional is the Wednesday, November 8, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

The Importance of Faith

Lesson 11 - November 12, 2017

Focus Text: Genesis 22:1-13

Central Truth: Our faith in God is demonstrated by our obedience to His will.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify why faith must result in action.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The Command Received (Genesis 22:1-2)
  2. The Command Respected (Genesis 22:3-10)
  3. The Command Rescinded (Genesis 22:11-19)

A Simple Life

Take some time to allow each class member to give examples of practicing simplicity in their lives. Some may focus on being good stewards of their money and developing frugal habits. Perhaps the topic of contentment will arise, or individuals might choose to convey ways in which they have kept their expenses down so that they would be more able to give to missions, charities, or the church. Facilitate a discussion that pertains to the lesson about the importance of uncluttering one's life. Begin with the significance of having a looser grip on physical items that accumulate over time. Allow the topic to lead into the need to unencumber our minds which allows God to reveal Himself through our prayer and devotions. Ask volunteers to share "God-encounters" that were possible when they were able to take a break from the chaos of life.

Abraham Entertains Angels

Read Genesis 18:1-8

“And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat” (v. 8).

As a child, I often heard the advice not to make mountains out of molehills. There is definitely a danger in making things bigger than they are. But there is also an opposite danger — failing to recognize the largeness of the moment. Failing to recognize that opportunity is knocking, and may not knock again.

The writer to the Hebrews seems to have had this event from the life of Abraham in mind when he wrote in 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Abraham seems to have recognized that his guests were not normal travelers, and this was no ordinary moment. He seized the moment.

Our God is gracious and forgiving. And that is great because we all fail to recognize special moments at times. So don’t despair if you can look back on times when you failed to rise to the occasion. But live ready for the moment! Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the people and events He is bringing into your life today! (Gordon Snider)

Are you ready for the opportunities God may bring your way today?

This devotional is the Monday, October 30, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.