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Rooted…For God’s Glory

RootedVideoCurriculum

Enabling followers of The Jesus Way to become more deeply rooted – biblically, theologically, spiritually…for God’s Glory.

 

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
-The Apostle Paul

Paul’s motivation was to win people to Christ. His desire was to lead men and women into a saving relationship with Jesus. What was his methodology? He identified with them. He was willing to listen to them, enter into their world and identify with their perspective. History has proven he was quite successful.

So, how did Paul so closely identify with the various segments of his broader cultural setting without simply giving in to the culture? How did he maintain his Christian commitment and stay true to his Christian values while engaging significantly with people from other religious and cultural settings? How did he maintain his vitality in Christ without succumbing to the trappings of the first-century Graeco/Roman world?

My answer is — he was rooted. He was rooted biblically. He was rooted theologically. He was able to navigate his way through the complexities of a culture dominated by both pagan and Jewish religious influences. His deeply rooted faith and his deeply rooted insights kept him on track.

With that said – I am launching a new writing ministry called — Rooted. It is designed to assist followers of The Jesus Way to become more biblically and theologically rooted.

I will implement some new elements into our normal routine at FBC Arlington to make some of this material available. For example, I am writing Bible Study curriculum that connects the Sunday morning sermon with the subsequent daily Bible readings assigned for that week. I also will be teaching a Pastor’s Bible Study on Wednesday evening where I will be supplementing that material. I will provide a written guide on Wednesday nights as well. We will video this teaching segment and post it to the appropriate page on our website.

If you are a Bible Study teacher and want to use our daily Bible readings as a source for your class – this material will be immediately helpful to you. Hopefully, it will benefit anyone who chooses to access it.

So – here we go!

To watch the Pastor’s Bible Study or download and print the video guide, simply click the desired date below.

 

May 28, 2014

May 21, 2014

May 14, 2014
May 7, 2014

April 30, 2014

April 23, 2014

April 16, 2014

April 9, 2014

April 2, 2014

March 19, 2014

Ash Wednesday Video

February 26, 2014

February 5, 2014

January 29, 2014

Video – Jermiah Smith

January 15, 2014

January 8, 2014

December 11, 2013

December 4, 2013

November 26, 2013

November 20, 2013

November 13, 2013

November 6, 2013

October 30, 2013

October 23, 2013

October 16, 2013

October 9, 2013

October 2, 2013

September 25, 2013

September 18, 2013

September 11, 2013

September 4, 2013

August 28, 2013

August 21, 2013

To download or print the teaching curriculum, simply click on the desired series below.

A Word About This Curriculum

      This curriculum is designed with you in mind! It has been prepared for Bible study leaders and participants who are seeking a deeper understanding of God’s Word and how to apply that understanding in real life. Spiritual formation is a holistic enterprise that is more art than science. However, there are some basic, fundamental requirements if a person desires to mature spiritually.

      One of the basic ingredients to any path toward spiritual maturity is knowledge of the Bible. It is fundamentally essential to our spiritual formation. God has revealed Himself through His Word and we must deepen our understanding of its truth. Once we grasp God’s truth, we must apply it to our lives. We also need to live in community with other believers. God has designed us as social creatures. We need each other. Certainly, we need to be engaged in worship, obedience, service, ministry and mission as well.

     The format of this curriculum is aimed at deepening an understanding of the Bible and learning to apply what has been learned to the real lives of the learners. It is also best used in a group setting. Thus, I am seeking to help followers of Jesus grow in their grasp of biblical truth and engaging with that truth in everyday life. Hopefully, this will encourage spiritual formation.

      The Apostle Paul once said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). How did he accomplish this without accommodating the culture of his day and polluting his own faith? I am convinced he was rooted. He had a solid biblical, theological and spiritual foundation. These moorings allowed him to be effective in the face of a complex cultural milieu. I have prepared this material in the hope that you will (like Paul) be useful in God’s hands in facing the cultural challenges of your day. I pray that you will be rooted . . . for the glory of God!

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan, 2011

PLANTED...In Fertile Ground
PLANTED...In Community to Build Relationships

PLANTED . . .In Community to Build Relationships

OVERVIEW OF 6-WEEK SERIES

 Introduction
God exists in eternity in community. We are Trinitarian Christians. We believe God is one God who exists as three Persons. He is in absolute harmony with Himself. He has designed human beings in His image. We have the ability to live in community with both Him and each other.

This Bible Study lesson series will be both a celebration and an analysis of the communal calling of the human family. We will look at how we are to live as families, friends, neighbors, colleagues and church members. We will also give one lesson to examine the blessing of intimacy as God designed it. This final lesson will be a discussion of the expression of our sexuality within God’s intended boundaries.

Goals

1.  To develop a deeper understanding of what it means to live in community as human beings in the various spheres where God has planted us.

2.  To recognize the responsibilities we have as followers of Jesus to be good stewards in each of these spheres of relating. 

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1:  We are Fam-i-ly!
Focal Passage:  Ephesians 5:18-6:4

God has designed us to live in families. Families are the basic building block of any society. Across the world and across time, families have consistently been places of nurture and refuge. Children are born into family settings for their protection and care. Family ties are deeply connected bonds that provide physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual security for human beings. In this text, Paul outlines the roles played by individuals within the family context. As Christians, the undergirding presence of the Holy Spirit empowers the family members to live in community with each other in ways that are beneficial and edificatory.

Lesson 2:  Why Can’t We be Friends?
Focal Passage:  1 Samuel 18-20

As we mature in life, we learn how to live in relationships with people beyond our family context. We live life with friends. Naturally, we learn about relating to others through our families, but our relational connections extend to our network of friendships. We need healthy friendship relationships. In the text for today’s study, we will explore the friendship between David and Jonathan and search for clues that might assist us in developing healthy relationships with our friends.

Lesson 3:  Me and My Neighbor
Focal Passage:  Matthew 5-7

From a general perspective, we also live in relationship with the broader society around us. Our relationships extend beyond our family and circle of friends. We have been planted by God in our society as well. We have both a responsibility and an opportunity to engage our society as followers of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount offers instruction to us as to how we are to conduct ourselves as citizens of God’s Kingdom.

Lesson 4:  9 to 5
Focal Passage:  Proverbs 6:1-19

Many of us spend much of our time at work. While we have our primary relational commitments with our family and friends, we also are heavily invested in relationships through our respective vocational callings. And – God has planted us at work so that we might fulfill our role as His children in the great plan of restoration. God is restoring His creation to its intended glory. Through our vocational expressions, we can be used by God to extend His Kingdom.

Lesson 5:  The Church of Christ in Every Age
Focal Passage:  Matthew 16:1-20

God has revealed Himself in the Bible as a covenantal God. He has expressed His desire to relate to His people within the context of covenant. Under the Old Covenant, Israel enjoyed the special privilege of being known as God’s people. Now the New Covenant has been instituted by Jesus and the Church has become God’s special people. We are a part of the covenantal people of God as members of the Body of Christ. We will study the teachings of Jesus when He promised to establish the Church.

Lesson 6:  I Want to Know What Love Is
Focal Passage:  Hebrews 12:1-17

God has designed us to live in relationships. He created us with the capacity to enjoy a level of intimacy that is appropriate within the boundaries set forth in His Word. We have great freedom in exploring intimacy as long as we are obedient to Him. We cannot just set our own boundaries and determine what is appropriate without regard to God’s commands. Issues like marriage and sexuality are addressed in the Scripture and we must adhere to the standards upheld by God’s self-revelation.

Lesson 1:  We Are Fam-i-ly!

Lesson 2:  Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Lesson 3:  Me and My Neighbor

Lesson 4:  9 to 5

Lesson 5:  The Church of Christ in Every Age

Lesson 6:  I Want to Know What Love Is

PLANTED...In The Big Story

PLANTED . . .In The Big Story

Easter 2014

OVERVIEW OF 7-WEEK SERIES

 Introduction

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

-Luke 1:1-4

The story of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of The Big Story. This Easter Season, we will focus on the story of Easter as it fits within the framework of the metanarrative of God’s grand plan of redemption. We will let the Gospel-writer, Luke serve as our guide for this leg of the journey in 2014. Luke places the story of Jesus in its proper historical context and in a broader theological context. Luke writes as an historian, theologian and pastor. He is a master story-teller. He weaves this story into the surrounding history of the early first century with precision and flair. Even though Luke is numbered among the Synoptic Gospels, about 30% of his Gospel is original to him. And – if you include the compendium book of Acts, he becomes the single biggest contributor to the New Testament collection.

We will read the entire Gospel of Luke during this season of 2014. The sermons will highlight the various people who were planted in The Big Story as they interacted with Jesus. Certainly our focus will be the person and work of Christ – however, we will attempt to learn some lessons for our own interactions with Jesus from these folks who shared their earthly pilgrimage with Jesus.

We will begin our Easter journey on Ash Wednesday (March 5) with a church-wide Worship Service in the Sanctuary. I have added some of the readings from Luke alongside those I had already scheduled from Daniel. In that service, I will use the story of the Hebrews who were led to Babylon in captivity to highlight the call to service and faithfulness that we all should embrace. I will also introduce the Gospel of Luke and explain our plan for the Easter Season.

Goals

1.      To read Luke’s account of the life of Jesus Christ.  Our first goal is simply to read the text of this Gospel account. Luke is a careful historian and theologian. Reading the story of Jesus from Luke’s unique perspective has benefitted the church for centuries.

2.      To place the story of Jesus in The Big Story. Obviously, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word of God. His life is the focal point of history. He fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. He accomplished all the Father set out before Him to do. Our salvation and the future hope of all of creation is centered in Him.

3.      To connect our lives to The Big Story. We will be highlighting various people who stepped on to the stage and played their roles in the cosmic drama recounted in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. We all have a role to play in our era as The Big Story continues to unfold.

Resources

Darrell L. Bock, The NIV Application Commentary: Luke, Zondervan, 1996. This is a helpful commentary on the Gospel of Luke. Bock is a research professor of the New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is recognized worldwide as an expert on the Luke-Acts material. He also is known for his best-selling book, Breaking the Da Vinci Code.

Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke, Word Books, 1972. A straight-forward treatment of the Gospel of Luke by our beloved Ray Summers. Dr. Summers was a New Testament scholar who influenced several generations of students through his Greek grammars and his teachings on the New Testament.

N.T. Wright, Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, HarperOne, 2011. What can I say? I am an N.T. Wright guy! I always learn from him. This is a great book on the life and ministry of Jesus.

N.T. Wright, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels, HarperOne, 2012. Ditto.

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, Jesus: A Theography, Thomas Nelson, 2012. This work is a composite view of Christ that takes into consideration both the Old and New Testaments’ presentation of a common story that is centered on Him.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1:  Jesus and John the Baptist
Focal Passage:  Luke 3:1-22

The Old Testament contains prophecies that a forerunner would prepare the way for the Messiah. John the Baptist fulfilled that role as he began his public ministry prior to Jesus. He set the stage for God’s people to greet the Messiah and usher in a new era. John preached a message of repentance and hope. He was distinguished by his emphasis on the baptism of repentance and his messianic pronouncements.

Lesson 2:  Jesus and Satan
Focal Passage:  Luke 4:1-13

We must not give Satan too much credit. He is not God’s opposite – He is God’s opponent. He opposed the ministry of Jesus at every turn. In this famous encounter, he sought to directly attack Jesus and thwart the purposes of God at work. Jesus rebuffs Satan and is victorious. Satan will not give up. He will try again to counter the power of the Gospel on display through the Person and Work of Christ.

Lesson 3:  Jesus and Human Need
Focal Passage:  Luke 8:22-56

This somewhat lengthy passage of Scripture recounts the miracle-working power of the Messiah. Jesus encountered human needs on various levels. Fear, disease, demon possession, injury and death – all presented themselves in diverse ways in the first century. Jesus met the real needs of people in the everyday journey of His life and ministry. The power on display through Him served to authenticate His claims as Messiah.

Lesson 4:  Jesus and Prayer
Focal Passage:  Luke 11:1-13

One of the most ancient spiritual disciplines known to humanity is prayer. Jesus was a man of prayer. He took the time to pray to His heavenly Father to seek wisdom and counsel. He taught His followers to pray as well. We can learn from both the example and teachings of Jesus about this significant spiritual practice.

Lesson 5:  Jesus and the Rich, Young Ruler
Focal Passage:  Luke 18:18-30

This is one of the most famous encounters Jesus had during His earthly ministry. The ruler was genuinely seeking eternal life. He seemed to be genuine and authentic in his questioning of Jesus. However, he was not able to fulfill the requirements set forth by Jesus and he missed his chance at life! It is a riveting example of how easy it is to come close to salvation – but not close enough!

Lesson 6:  Jesus and The Big Story
Focal Passage:  Luke 22:39-23:56

This lesson covers the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The Big Story is God’s grand plan for His creation. God’s desire for redemption and restoration is so strong – that He gave Jesus the assignment of the atoning sacrifice. This event in history has changed everything. Because of the finished work of Christ, creation can be restored and humanity can be redeemed. It required the real atoning death of the real Lamb of God.

Lesson 7:  Jesus and His Followers
Focal Passage:  Luke 24:1-44

This lesson focuses on the resurrection narrative of Luke 24. Jesus is gloriously raised from the dead on Easter Sunday! He appears to a handful of followers. Those followers would become the catalyst for the worldwide phenomenon known today as Christianity. Wow.

Lesson 1:  Jesus and John the Baptist

Lesson 2:  Jesus and Satan

Lesson 3:  Jesus and Human Need

Lesson 4:  Jesus and Prayer

Lesson 5:  Jesus and the Rich, Young Ruler

Lesson 6:  Jesus and The Big Story

Lesson 7:  Jesus and His Followers

PLANTED...On Earth for a Purpose

PLANTED …
On Earth for a Purpose

Winter 2014

OVERVIEW OF 8-WEEK SERIES

 Introduction

 Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

-Psalm 1

                Psalm 1 is a rich resource for followers of Jesus. It is filled with insight and sound counsel for anyone seeking to follow The Jesus Way. For example, we learn in this Psalm that we must be careful who we invite into the “inside” of our lives. We have to be careful about choosing our closest advisors and counselors. We are influenced by those around us whether we realize it or not.

Further, this Psalm challenges us to be devoted to God’s Word. We are to seek God’s counsel through His Word. We are to meditate on His Word and digest its truth. Our lives are to reflect the wisdom of God that is gained through time spent in His Word.

                For this particular Bible Study, we will highlight the truths found in Psalm 1:3. Here the Psalmist paints an image of the “blessed” person. This person is like a “tree planted by streams of water” and this person is productive and fruitful. The interesting insight from verse 3 has to do with the choice of words used to describe this tree. In fact, it has to do with one Hebrew word in particular. The Hebrew word for “planted” is “natul” – and that is not the word used here. The Hebrew word, “shatul” – which means “transplanted” is the word found here. I have found that to be very insightful.

                To be “planted” implies the sowing of a seed. To be “transplanted” implies a similar but different phenomenon. Transplanting implies the existence of a live plant/tree with a root system – that is transplanted to a different location for a purpose.

                So – this Bible Study will aid you in studying what it means to be that blessed person who has been transplanted by God in various places for His purposes. We will use the theme Planted to help communicate this truth. We will use various biblical characters to help us better understand the idea of God’s intentionality in planting us in the many places we find ourselves – in order to be more useful to Him.

Goals

1.  To embrace the truth that God has “planted” you intentionally in various places so that you might be or become more useful to Him. Sometimes we don’t pause and consider a broader perspective about our lives. We are so caught up in just “living” our lives that we don’t reflect upon why God has placed us where we are. This Bible Study is aimed at assisting you in recognizing God’s hand at work in your life!

2.  To learn how to live into God’s purpose for your life during this season of your life. We will highlight a few biblical characters in this study who lived into God’s purpose for their lives. Hopefully, we will gain some insights into how to do this same thing in our own lives. 

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1:  Planted on Earth for a Purpose
Focal Passage:  Genesis 2-9

This is a large section of biblical material. I know that! However, it is marked by familiar stories – Adam/Eve, Cain/Abel and the entire Noah narrative. In this lesson, you will have the opportunity to examine the big picture as well as look at some particular lives in the context of a discussion about God’s purpose. On the one hand, this lesson offers a chance to be reminded about God’s grand purpose for humanity. In Genesis 2, we read of how Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and had the opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity. On the other hand, this lesson offers a chance to review how Noah lived in a fallen world and yet discovered his purpose in service to God.

Lesson 2:  Abraham: Discovering Purpose
Focal Passage:  Genesis 12-15

This passage is also rather lengthy. However, it offers us an opportunity to see Abraham (he is still “Abram” in this narrative) in the context of his life. He is called by God in Genesis 12 and given some great promises by God. He then is tested in life. He is challenged in Egypt to trust God. He has to deal with his nephew Lot in Genesis 13-14. And – his covenantal relationship with God is solidified in Genesis 15. This study will focus on Abraham’s discovery of his purpose and his struggle to be faithful to it. Also, we will see how God reinforces His calling along the way.

Lesson 3:  Jacob: Transplanted and Transformed
Focal Passages:  Genesis 27-28; Romans 12:1-2

Jacob is the first of the Patriarchs who does not make a positive entrance on to the stage. He is deceitful, just as his name indicates. In this narrative we encounter the family dynamic at work in Isaac and Rebekah’s lives. We will use Jacob as a backdrop or case study – and we will focus on the New Testament passage that offers powerful insight on the topic of transformation. Paul addresses both the discovery of the will of God as well as the process of change in a believer’s life. Jacob was – like us – a work in progress. As his story unfolds, he is transformed into a deeply spiritual man who plays a pivotal role in the grand purpose of God.

Lesson 4:  Joseph: Planted and Influential
Focal Passage:  Genesis 39

Wow! What a story! Joseph emerges from the pit of slavery and becomes a leader in one of Pharaoh’s official’s home. This page of Scripture is a snapshot of Joseph’s life in Egypt. He was at the mercy of Potiphar, but found his way into favor. He was “set up” by Potiphar’s wife and cast back in prison. So, the chapter opens with Joseph in prison and closes with him in prison. However, Joseph is already demonstrating how he is using his influence. In this lesson, we will explore the topic of influence and how we can be influential people regardless of our circumstances.

Lesson 5:  Moses: Reluctant Servant
Focal Passages:  Exodus 3; Judges 6; Jeremiah 1:1-10; Matthew 19:16-30

Jesus challenged the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had and come follow Him. The young man was unwilling to obey Jesus. He was reluctant to serve Christ – and He missed the Kingdom of God! Reluctance can lead us to miss out on what God wants to accomplish in our lives. Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah all were reluctant as well. However, each of these men learned to overcome their reticence and follow God. In this lesson we will explore the intersection where we encounter God’s invitation and we hesitate in responding.

Lesson 6:  Joshua: Strong and Courageous
Focal Passages:  Joshua 1; Ephesians 6:10-17

In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he closes his comments with a strong admonition to “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). He challenges the Ephesians to “be strong” in the Lord. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by life and overcome by our circumstances. We can question whether or not God can really use us. We often are reluctant to follow God’s call in our lives because we don’t trust ourselves. In this lesson, we will use Joshua as man who learned to trust God and he became a great man of God. We can learn to be adorned by God’s armor and we can learn to walk in His power so that He might use us in our day in service to His kingdom.

Lesson 7:  Ruth: Faithful in Trial
Focal Passages:  Ruth 1; 1 Peter 3:8-17

Ruth was the victim of tragedy. Her husband died and she had no man to provide for her. Her hope was in her Mother-in-law and in her Mother-in-law’s God. Ruth was from Moab and was not of the house of Israel. She was a widow and in need. Those were hard times for widows and they often became dependent upon the sympathy of the community. Ruth’s story would turn out well. She learned to be faithful to God in the face of her own trials. In this lesson, we will study 1 Peter to discover how God can strengthen us through our own trials. Ruth will serve as an example of how this truth can be lived out in real life.

Lesson 8:  Daniel: Planted and Pure
Focal Passages:  Daniel 1; 1 Peter 1

Daniel was transported to Babylon as a prisoner of war. He was a gifted leader and would be recognized as such – even among the enemy! Daniel made a commitment to remain pure and faithful to his God regardless of the challenges thrust upon him. He walked through the trials and remained holy. We will study 1 Peter 1 and learn how God leads us toward pure and holy lives regardless of our life circumstances.

Lesson 1: PLANTED…On Earth for a Purpose

Lesson 2:  Abraham: Discovering Purpose

Lesson 3:  Jacob:  Transplanted and Transformed

Lesson 4:  Joseph:  Planted and Influential

Lesson 5:  Moses:  Reluctant Servant

Lesson 6:  Joshua:  Strong and Courageous

Lesson 7:  Ruth:  Faithful in Trial

Lesson 8:  Daniel:  Planted and Pure

Making Himself Known

Making Himself Known

Advent 2013

OVERVIEW OF 5-WEEK SERIES
Introduction
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

-Hebrews 1:1-3

                On the heels of our annual mission emphasis, we now turn to our celebration of Advent. I love this connection each year. It just feels right to me liturgically. I love to explore our calling to the mission of God each year in November. It is a rich tradition in our church. Then, I love to immediately turn to the Christmas story to remind all of us why we are called to the mission of God!

This year our theme is Making Himself Known. Think about it. We would know nothing about God had He not chosen to reveal anything about Himself. From our perspective as finite human beings, He is unknowable. He is so far beyond us. We are incapable of imagining Him! We can’t conjure up an infinite God. However, we don’t have to! He has made Himself known to us.

Our Advent journey will include a comprehensive reflection on the entire concept of the revelation of God. We will explore just how God has revealed Himself to us. As evangelical Christians, our conviction is that His fullest revelation of Himself is in Jesus Christ. Before we get to Jesus in our study, however – we will reflect upon God’s nature, His revelation of Himself in creation and His Word. We will study the topic of revelation to prepare us to better understand the beauty and majesty of the Incarnation.

I believe coming to a deeper and richer understanding of God’s self-revelation allows us to have a more comprehensive understanding of the gift that is ours in Jesus. May God guide us on this wonderful journey – and may our celebration of Advent be transformative as we continue to seek to Glorify God by Following The Jesus Way!

Goals

1.      To recognize the truth that God is “unknowable” without His willingness to reveal Himself to us. We are New Testament Christians and we are instructed in the New Testament to “boldly approach the throne of grace.” While this is true, there also must be an acknowledgment that God is majestic, holy and glorious. We cannot really fathom who He is without His own self-revelation.
2.      To explore how God has revealed Himself through various means. The good news is God has revealed Himself in ways that make Him “knowable” to us. Through creation, His Spirit, His Word and His church – we are able to see His handiwork and acknowledge His presence.
3.      To recognize and grasp how God has most fully revealed Himself through Jesus Christ. God has spoken through creation, His Spirit, His Church – but He has most fully spoken through The Word – The Son of God.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1:  Making Himself Known
Focal Passages:  Isaiah 55:8-9; Amos 3:7-8; Romans 11:33-36
In this lesson we will explore the doctrine of the Revelation of God. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through various means. Without the grace of this divine choice, we would not know God. He is beyond us. His ways are higher than our ways. However, He has chosen to allow us to have a limited understanding of who He is – and He has allowed us to be personally related to Him.

Lesson 2:  Making Himself Known through His World
Focal Passages:  Genesis 1:1-2:3; Acts 14:8-20
As we learned in the last lesson, when theologians discuss the doctrine of the Revelation of God, they usually distinguish between general revelation and special revelation. Our lesson today fits in the category of general revelation. God’s revelation of Himself through creation is not specific enough for salvation, but is enough to bear witness to His existence.

Lesson 3:  Making Himself Known through His Word
Focal Passages:  2 Timothy 3:10-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21
As followers of Jesus, we believe God has spoken His truth to His people throughout the generations. There were times when God spoke specifically and revealed Himself through special revelation. God’s Word is the record of His revelation to His people so that we might know the truth, arrange our lives under its authority and build our lives upon its wisdom. In this lesson, we will explore the unique nature of the Bible.

Lesson 4:  Making Himself Known through The Word
Focal Passages:  Hebrews 1
We believe God has most fully revealed Himself through His Son. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God. In this lesson, we will learn more about the Doctrine of the Incarnation. God is in Christ – reconciling the world to Himself.

Lesson 5:  Making Himself Known through The Church
Focal Passages:  Ephesians 3:7-13; 4:1-16
God has chosen to reveal His “manifold wisdom” through the Church (Eph. 3:10). Jesus established the Church and now it is the chief instrument in His hands for the accomplishment of the Mission Dei. We will study the role of the church and how God has equipped it for its unique role in His mission.

Lesson 1:  Making Himself Known

Lesson 2:  Making Himself Known through His World

Lesson 3:  Making Himself Known through His Word

Lesson 4:  Making Himself Known through The Word

Lesson 5:  Making Himself Known through The Church

Making Him Known

Making Him Known

Mission of God

Introduction
Jesus left His Church a huge task – to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth! I’m sure those early disciples felt a bit overwhelmed at the magnitude of such an endeavor. However, He also promised them that they would be empowered by His Spirit. Obviously, neither we nor they could accomplish this without His power!

In that famous quote from Acts 1, Jesus also shared a strategic “word” with his disciples. Namely – the work moves from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The church began in Jerusalem. There was work to do there as the Jews needed to know the Messiah had come. But – there was a huge world beyond Jerusalem. And, it contained the Samaritans! Jesus mentioned them as well.

So—how do we receive this message from Jesus in the 21st century? What are we to do as followers of Jesus today with regards to His mission? I still think the message from Jesus is a strategic one. We start in Jerusalem – in other words, where we are! We begin with the people who are like us and near to us. We have to minister to the community in which we are located.

Next, we also have responsibility to communicate the message of Jesus with those who may be similar to us, but are separated by physical or geographical distances. This may not require crossing cultural barriers, but does require effort and energy to bridge the geographical distances. A church in Arlington, Texas may choose to send teams to New York City, Boston, Seattle, Chicago or Houston to share the good news of the Gospel in tangible expressions.

We also have to take responsibility for the Samaritans of our day. In the first century, the Jews simply did not care for the Samaritans. There were many social, religious and cultural reasons for this disdain. Today—I would probably not focus on the prejudices associated with the Samaritans (although it might be appropriate in some instances), but rather on the cultural barriers represented by the Samaritans. What I mean is – we need to address the diaspora today. For us as Americans, we now live in a multi-cultural context. Peoples from across the world have gathered here in the USA. They have scattered (Greek word for scatter is diaspora) and landed here. We have a responsibility to share God’s love with the many folks who now live here but remain culturally distant from us.

Finally, we still are responsible for the ends of the earth. There remain millions of people who have never heard the Gospel in their own heart languages. They live in distant lands from us and are separated from us by cultural, religious, geographical and political barriers. They all need Jesus! We have to be invested in collaborative and strategic efforts aimed at crossing all the barriers to communicate the love of Jesus to them.

Goals

  1. Become more acquainted with the Biblical perspective on missiology. God has called us to be ambassadors for Christ in this world. We all are responsible in this task. We need to be mature in our missiology as we seek to respond to the challenges and opportunities in front of us as we seek to complete the mission task.
  2. Discover our personal role in the Great Commission. As we study these lessons in this series, we need to determine how God is going to use us personally in accomplishing the Great Commission. These lessons are designed to assist in both theological and practical discussions about how we can personally invest ourselves in the mission of God.
  3. Develop and implement strategy in mission. We live in the era of the “amateurization” of mission. What does that mean? It means that the mission of God is not just for “professional” missionaries to accomplish. We are all in on this! God wants to use you! We can learn and deepen our understanding of good strategy in mission.
  4. Deepen our commitment to the Mission of God. These 4 lessons will encourage everyone to become more deeply committed to the Mission of God.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1:  Making Him Known in Jerusalem
Focal Passages:  1 Peter 2:4-10; Luke 19:1-10
In this lesson, we will explore the theological truths expressed in 1 Peter 2. Here the Apostle Peter helps the Gentile churches in Asia Minor (Turkey) understand the new identity of the Church as God’s chosen people. He takes a passage from Exodus that historically applied to Israel and re-interprets it in light of the work of Christ. The Church is now God’s instrument in the world – and it is both Jew and Gentile! The authority and the mandate for God’s Mission (Missio Dei) has been placed both within and upon the church. We will connect the story of Zacchaeus to this theological truth as a practical example of witnessing to our own communities.

Lesson 2:  Making Him Known in Judea
Focal Passage:  Hebrews 3
In this lesson, we will explore the Christological truths in this passage that lead us to a lofty view of Jesus Christ. We will seek to better understand the role Jesus plays in the grand story of salvation. However, we will also learn how the Gospel had to be embraced by the Jews if they wanted to experience the fullness of God’s salvation. This was a challenge because many Jews didn’t think they needed Christ. We will then seek to apply these truths to the current situation in America. We have many in our nation who do not think they need Christ. How do we develop strategies based upon firm theological commitments to reach the people of our own nation?

Lesson 3:  Making Him Known in Samaria
Focal Passages:  Isaiah 56:1-8; Acts 11:19-30
In this lesson, we will explore the missiological impulse that is revealed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We will begin with the prophecy of Isaiah 56 that declares God’s house to be a place of prayer “for all nations” (Isa. 56:7). And – we will study the church in Antioch whose leaders decided to cross cultural barriers and share Jesus with the Greeks as well as the Jews. We will seek to make application to our day since we have so many people from across the world who now are living here in the USA and need to hear the Gospel.

Lesson 4:  Making Him Known to the Ends of the Earth
Focal Passages:    Psalm 96; Revelation 7:9-17
In this lesson, we will explore the mandate from God to declare His glory among the nations! We have a Biblical mandate to take the message of our God to all the world. This requires effort on our part. It will not be easy. However, as we play our role – we participate in the great gathering of praise mentioned in Revelation 7 where people from across the world and across time, gather together before the throne. Wow. This is why we must either go or send.

Lesson 1:  Making Him Known in Jerusalem

Lesson 2:  Making Him Known in Judea

Lesson 3:  Making Him Known in Samaria

Lesson 4:  Making Him Known to the Ends of the Earth

Fruit of Our Labor

THEOLOGY OF WORK

9 Building Blocks for a Theology of Work
-God is the original worker.
-We are uniquely designed for work.
-God gifts us for meaningful work.
-Work offers us an opportunity for healthy independence.
-Work enables us to meet the real needs of others.
-Work allows us to contribute to the common good.
-Work is not gender specific.
-Work must not become an idol.
-Work is a tool for ministry.

Theology of Work
The God of the Bible is a God who works. He is the Creator of the universe and it is an expression of His will. He created human beings to bear His image and reflect His glory in creation. As image-bearers, we have been called to work as well. It is a part of our unique design. In order to fulfill God’s desire for us to join Him in His work, He has given us the various gifts needed to accomplish this task.

As we engage ourselves in the meaningful labor available to us, we develop a healthy independence from others. This independence does not separate us or isolate us from the community of believers in particular or the society at large. In fact, just the opposite occurs! We are able to assist those who are dependent because of our healthy independence. We also can employ our gifts and skills to enhance the common good for all people. We can live in interdependent relationships that are beneficial to both us and those around us.

In God’s original design, men and women were created as co-rulers over His creation. Both men and women were given the responsibility of bearing His image and reflecting His glory in creation.

Work must not become an idol. Certainly work has intrinsic value and dignity since God has ordained it. However, it is not the ultimate force in our lives and we must not look to it for ultimate meaning and significance. Though work is not the absolute object of our affection, it can be an instrument for followers of Jesus for ministry. We can be used by God in our workplaces to share His love, further His kingdom and reflect His glory. Through our work we can minister to people and become agents of transformation in society.

Lesson 1:  Work Matters to God

Lesson 2:  Called to Work

Lesson 3:  Gifted to Work

Lesson 4:  Working for a Living

Lesson 5:  Working for Each Other

Lesson 6:  Working with Each Other

Lesson 7:  Women at Work

Lesson 8:  Futility of Work

Lesson 9:  Work as Ministry:  Reaching the 9 to 5 Window