2017 Group Discussion Guides

Fall Small Groups begin September 10!  Closer to God and closer together is our mission as we share God’s word, prayer and fellowship.  God’s plan for His people continues as we begin part five of our Fall Group Ministry: From the First Commission to the Great Commission.  We’ll be in the gospels together sharing Jesus and our lives in Him.

Click below for the Discussion Guides:

Fall 2017 Small Group Lessons

Our Seeking, Saving, Serving Mission Song

This is my amateur songwriter’s attempt to make our mission statement into something that might stick in our churches memory.  Hopefully the kids can pick up on the message and carry it forward.

Our SEEKING, SAVING SERVING Mission Song

We are called by the Father
to become like Christ, His Son.
We are born by His Spirit
and He gives us this mission:

To be: SEEKING the kingdom of God and His righteousness (x3)
SEEKING our King in hope.

To be: SAVING the lost by His grace as we share His word (x 3)
SAVING by grace through faith.

To be: SERVING like Him with His love as His hands and feet (x 3)
SERVING like Him with love.

We are God’s chosen people
we are now His royal priests
we are God’s holy nation
and our mission has not ceased!

We are:
SEEKING the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
SAVING the lost by His grace as we share His word.
SERVING like Him with His love as His hands and feet.
This is our mission song.

Three Year Plan 2017-2019

Seeking, Saving, Serving: our mission and a three year plan of growth in it.

Outline:
1. God’s rule and righteousness, our Seeking Mission, 2017 theme and Gen. – Rev. Bible reading plan.
2. Sin and Redemption, our Saving Mission, 2018 theme and Chronological Bible reading plan.
3. God’s love and ours, our Serving Mission, 2019 theme and One Year Bible (Old Testament, Psalm/Proverbs, and New Testament) reading plan.

1. God’s rule and righteousness, a Seeking Mission: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…

This is our theme for 2017. These are the words of our Lord calling us into God’s provision of everything that we need. (See Matt. 6:19-34). Keeping the main thing the main thing has always been a challenge in this world of competing voices. Making sure that God’s kingdom and righteousness are the highest priority of our lives in every aspect of out lives is not an easy task. It IS the greatest work we can do and the highest target we can live for in this life. Seeking God’s rule and righteousness first and above all else clarifies and guides us on our journey and eliminates and disqualifies lessor, lower pursuits. Those who take this seriously may be accused of being extremists. One look at Jesus on the cross and we are reminded of what a high price has been paid by our King who fully gave Himself to the rule and righteousness of God. This is not to be taken lightly. God has a kingdom and Christ is our King. He deserves all we can give. He has earned our salvation for us, paid the way for us to enter eternal glory, and the Father has given us His only begotten Son as a sacrifice. To take this lightly is to mock its worth. We know better than that. We must see that He calls us to a higher longing, better living, fuller meaning, greater mission, wiser direction, sweeter blessing, freer, stronger, richer, surer, longer lasting benefits than anything this world offers.

While the path we will walk as we seek God’s rule and righteousness is filled with risks and ridicule, the reward for walking it is infinitely greater by comparison.

This will be our first year in a three year series plan where we read through the entire Bible each year. In 2017 we read from Genesis to Revelation looking for God’s word concerning God’s kingdom and righteousness. Our group ministry and Summer Series will all be built around this theme and our journey through the Bible together. Reading schedules will be provided and posted so that every member can participate. The Sunday morning sermons will follow the readings and give insights and applications from the week’s reading schedule. We will listen to the voice of God from cover to cover attuning our ears toward what God says about His rule and righteousness. What could be more worthy of our time and attention than that?

2. Sin and Redemption, a Saving Mission: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…

This year’s theme will be “Sin and Redemption.” In 2018, Lord willing, we will read through the Bible again, but this time chronologically looking for what God says about sin and redemption. Reading chronologically will put the kings and prophets and Psalms into perspective in the Old Testament, and the gospels, Acts and the letters in chronological perspective in the New Testament. Our focus as we read through God’s word again in 2018 will be on the saving work of God for us and our part in sharing it with others.
As people who seek first God’s rule and righteousness as we live in this world, we are called to share His saving grace with those who are lost in sin and make disciples where ever we go. This saving mission gives us a job to do as we live under God’s rule and pursue God’s righteousness. Our King commissions us to declare the saving gospel message and the praise of His glorious grace before a lost and dying world.

This year’s reading of God’s word will show us how from the fall of man into sin in the very first chapters of the Bible, God has had a plan to redeem us from sin, a saving plan that demonstrates His love and grace through sacrifice and suffering. We are given God’s overview of human history and a saving view of Himself as our Savior and Redeemer. From cover to cover we will hear and see the gracious and mighty works of God as well as the sinful, fallen nature of man.

Again, Lord willing, a reading plan will be provided for all our members and our groups and Summer Series will present on this Saving theme. The Sunday morning sermons will also cover the week’s readings with lessons and applications from the scriptures. We will be looking for and listening to the voice of God concerning our sin and His redeeming work to save us, and our call to come follow in the way of life.

3. God’s love and ours, a Serving Mission: If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Year three, 2019, Lord willing, completes our final year in this three year series focusing on the Serving Mission of the church. This year’s through the Bible reading will be with the One Year Bible plan where we have an Old Testament, Psalm/Proverb, and New Testament reading for each day. This unique reading plan keeps us connected with God’s word on three levels every day. More like the modern multi tasking style, we will listen to God’s voice in scripture and see His servant heart from start to finish.

The serving mission in Christ brings it all together. Seeking, saving, and serving are all of one cloth woven into one way of life in God’s word. We seek God’s rule and righteousness and share God’s saving grace as we serve Him and others in Christ.

The Bible reveals the meaning, power and goal of a serving faith in God. Nothing demonstrates God’s attractive character like loving service in the name of Jesus Christ. This forms the magnetic nature of the people of God. Everyone desires to be loved. God, who is love, designed us to develop best under His nurture and discipline. God’s loving service to us is not always soft and gentle, but it always works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

When we see that throughout the Bible how God, our King, has reached out to save and serve us and then how He sent Jesus, the suffering servant to die for us, it is overwhelming. There is nothing else on this earth that comes close to this. There is a place for those who reject God as King, Savior and Servant. There is also a place for those who follow in His footsteps.

This three year plan engages us in God’s word and our mission in ways that can strengthen our faith, hope and love like nothing else! Hearing the entire word of God in our homes over and over again is sure to have an impact for good. Imagine growing up in a home where the Bible is part of every day life. What if TV, worldly music and entertainment and unspiritual conversation in the home of every Christian family were replaced by seeking the kingdom of God, learning about sin and redemption, discovering the servant heart of God and how we are called to be like Him. What if hearing the Bible became more important than hearing the news or watching sports? What might God do with a church that did these things? There’s one way to find out!

Let’s dedicate ourselves to this three year plan and see what God will do. It will be hard. There will be times when things just won’t work out to do the reading. There will be a thousand reasons to give up. Let us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap a good harvest if we do not give up. There’s no doubt that this would be difficult. But there is also no doubt that it will do you great good.

Bible Jeopardy game questions with answers

QUESTIONS FOR GAME NIGHT

Genesis and the Patriarchs:

What are the names of Adam and Eve’s three sons that the Bible records for us? Cain, Abel, Seth
How many children does the Bible tell us that Noah had? Three
Who was Abraham’s nephew that traveled with him until they became too rich to live together? Lot
Name six of Jacob’s 12 sons. Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Ashur, Isacar, Zebulon, Joseph and Benjamin.
Which son of Jacob became an ancestor of Jesus? Judah

How many dreams did Joseph have that he told to his brothers and they hated him for it? Two
Which of Joseph’s brothers tried to rescue him from the others? Ruben
What blessing did Jacob receive from the man (angel) he wrestled with all night? The name: Israel
How many dreams did Pharaoh have that Joseph interpreted for him? Two
In who’s sack did they find Joseph’s cup when Joseph sent his men after his brothers before he revealed his identity to them? Benjamin’s

Final Jeopardy Question on Patriarchs – how many years old was Methuselah when he died? 969

Moses and the Law:

Who gave Moses his name? Pharaoh’s daughter
What was the first thing the voice from the burning bush told Moses to do? Take off your shoes, for the ground you are standing on is holy.
What was the last of the 10 plagues against Egypt? Death of the first born
What were the first three of the ten commandments? You shall have no other gods before Me, you shall not worship any graven images, you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
What piece of furniture was in the Most Holy place in the Tabernacle? The Ark of the Covenant (or The Ark of God)

1. Which tribe of Israel camped closest to the Tabernacle in the wilderness wanderings? Levi
2. What were the names of Aaron’s two sons that died for offering unauthorized fire? Nadab and Abihu
3. What animal did Moses make out of bronze and hang on a pole for Israel to look at? A serpent
4. Moses and Aaron were from what tribe? Levi
5. How long was Moses on the Mountain when he received the 10 commandments from God? 40 Days

Final Jeopardy Question on Moses and the Law – Where is Moses’ grave? No one knows (Somewhere in Moab)

Joshua, Judges and Ruth:

What did God and the Leaders of Israel tell Joshua to have when he took the leadership? Courage (be strong and courageous)
What Canaanite city did Israel conquer first? Jericho
How many spies did Rahab hide? Two
Who was the left handed Judge that killed the fat king, Eglon? Ehud
What judge made a rash vow to God that cost his daughter’s life? Jephthah

What is the name of Boaz and Ruth’s son? Obed
2. Name the only woman judge? Deborah
3. Which judge went into battle against a multitude of Midianites with only 300 men? Gideon
4. As recorded in the book of Judges, which tribe of Israel was almost wiped out by the other tribes because they defended one of their wicked cities? Benjamin
5. What is the name of Ruth’s mother-in-law? Naomi

Final Jeopardy Question on Joshua, Judges and Ruth – What was the name of the woman that drove a tent peg through Sisera’s head? Jael

United Kingdom:

What was Saul’s father’s name? Kish
What was David’s father’s name? Jesse
Who anointed both Saul and David as king? Samuel
What two shepherd stories did David tell Saul to convince him that the Lord could deliver Goliath into his hand? The lion and the bear
When Saul was pursuing David to kill him, what did David do with Saul’s garment while Saul was in a cave? Cut off the corner of it

Who was the leader over Saul’s army? Abner
Who was the leader over David’s army? Joab
Which son of Saul was made King over Israel after Saul’s death, and reigned two years before David was king over all Israel? Ishbosheth
What is the name of the crippled son of Jonathan who David brought to live in the palace and eat at his table? Mephibosheth
What was the name of David and Bathsheba’s son who reigned after David? Solomon

Final Jeopardy Question on United Kingdom: Joab, Abishi and Asahel were always called by David the sons of who? Sons of Zeruah Or, Which books of the Bible are attributed to Solomon? Three: Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes

Northern Kingdom:

Who was the first king of the Northern Kingdom who set up golden calves in Dan and caused Israel to sin? Jeroboam
Who were the two most famous Northern Kingdom prophets (mentioned in the end of 1 Kings and the beginning of 2 Kings)? Elijah and Elisha
Who was the king of the Northern kingdom when Elijah had the contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel? Ahab
Who was Ahab’s wife? Jezebel
What kind of spirit did the Lord send into the false prophets to convince Ahab to go into battle to his death? A lying spirit

Who was the commander of the army of Aram who had leprosy and after dipping seven times in the Jordan river, God cured him? Naaman
Who told the eunuchs of Jezebel to throw her down from the window to her death? Jehu
How was Elijah taken up to heaven? Chariots of fire
Who’s vineyard did Ahab want, and that Jezebel had killed so he could take it? Naboth
How long did it not rain after Elijah prayed that the rain cease? Three and a half years

Final Jeopardy Question on Northern Kingdom: How many of the Northern Kings remained faithful to God? None
Southern Kingdom:

Who was the king when the kingdom of Israel was divided into norther and southern kingdoms? Rehoboam
Who was the only queen of Judah who was the daughter of Jezebel? Athaliah
Who was the hidden king who Jehoiada the priest protected and installed as king of Judah when he was only eight years old? Joash
Who was the son of Ahaz that became king of Judah and was one of the best kings? Hezekiah
Which king of Judah, son of Hezekiah, sinned so badly that the Lord decided to send them into exile? Manasseh

Who was the king of Judah when the Northern Kingdom was wiped out by Assyria? Hezekiah
What great event occurred during the reign of Josiah as they were repairing the temple? The book of the Law was found
Which king of Judah did Pharaoh Neco kill? Josiah
Who was king during the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple by Babylon? Zedekiah
Where did the people of Judah flee after their governor Gedaliah was killed? Egypt

Final Jeopardy Question for Southern Kingdom: Which prophet prophesied Sennacherib’s fall during the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem under Hezekiah’s reign? Isaiah

2017 Adventure in God’s Word

Jesus gave us our number one priority in life (Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness).  Imagine reading through the Bible with this one focus: Where do we see God’s kingdom and righteousness?  

That’s our 2017 plan!

Join us this year as we put into practice this command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Below are links for the monthly reading schedules and group lesson plans:

Click on the month for a schedule:

January  February      March     April     May     June

July     August   September   October   November   December

Click below for the lesson plans:

Fall 2017 Small Group Lessons pdf

Praying for Rain!

We are now over 20 inches behind in average rainfall.  Fires are burning in the forests all around us and the smokey haze hanging lowly like a fog reminds me of Beijing, China. Our area is under its worst drought in known history.  In fact, fire fighters from all over the nation have come to help put out forest fires and we find ourselves in a state of emergency.  Wells are going dry and entire communities are having to haul water from other sources to provide for their residents.  Is it time to gather and pray?

On Thursday mornings at 7:00 a men’s Bible group gathers to share God’s word and prayer together.  Kendall took us through the first part of Joel chapter 2 last week.  This prophet uses a local crisis to raise awareness of God’s hand in history and the need for His people to seek Him.  Joel tells about a terrible famine caused by locusts who came and destroyed the vegetation, leaving them without a harvest and facing possible starvation.  Kendall asked us, “What are the locusts in your life and what changes do they cause in you?”  Some of us shared things in our lives that God has used in the past to bring us to our knees in awareness of our dependency on His provision and our need for His grace.  Looking at the sunny skies day after day with no rain in the foreseeable future has become one of those “locusts events.”

We have lived in times of amazing provision and prosperity.  After a while it can seem like this is the way it will ALWAYS be.  We can, as Lincoln, during the civil war, reminded us, “become intoxicated with unbroken success so that we become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

Now I know that we who believe and take our faith seriously are praying.  We are silently asking for God to please send the rain and protect us from the fires.  But perhaps we need to reflect on God’s purposes in a deeper way and seek His hand and His plan.  Who needs to awaken to God’s will for their lives?  How might the Lord be using this to impact those He knows will respond only to the heavy hand of discipline?  Perhaps we need to pray for God to use this for His glory and ultimately bring lost sheep into His fold.  Also, perhaps we need to consider how we might serve His purposes to accomplish this very goal?  Can we confess our confidence in God’s care in conversation with our neighbors and those we come in contact with so that our light might be used to lead others to Him?

One of the first things we are called to do as Christians is proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  God Himself has chosen us to be His people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.  But not so we can live a life of ease and comfort. No. We are chosen by God so that we will declare His praises.  In doing so, we will not always meet with welcome and appreciation, but let us, as Paul told Timothy, join with him in suffering for the gospel!  It is our purpose.  The lack of rain may create our opportunity to do so.  God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good… even when we need the rain.

Saving, the Pain and the Gain

Nothing hurts like rejection.  Isaiah tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows “rejected” of men.  Jesus told us as His followers, “If they hated me they will hate you also.”  What’s amazing is that what Jesus came to do is SAVE US.   Why would that bring rejection and hate?  Because saving also involves being changed by the Savior.  Jesus didn’t come to leave us “as is” but to bring us out of darkness and into light.  This process requires us to trust Him, and believe that He is worthy of commanding our lives.  It takes submission to His authority to be saved.

There is a cheap grace gospel that says “all you do is receive Jesus as your Savior and you are eternally saved, period.”  Properly understood, that is partly correct, but receiving Jesus as your Savior is not simply being convinced He is the Son of God and “accepting Him into my heart to save me” without submission to Him as Lord and King of my life.  Just because you say a prayer and/or get baptized doesn’t complete the saving work of Christ in you.

I recently spoke with someone who had been deceived by the false gospel of cheap grace.  They told me they were saved, but (as I observed) didn’t live for Jesus.  Life in sin was just too much fun.  Giving up all the toys and making changes in language and behaviors didn’t matter.  All that mattered was to accept Jesus as my Savior.  That, and that alone, summed up the saving work of Christ in this person’s mind.

I know that you can isolate a few passages of scripture in the Bible and come up with that, but reading the clear warnings of God’s word to Christians (saved people) would indicate that you can’t accept Jesus as your Savior and dismiss Him as your Lord and King.  That’s like telling God’s Son, “I like that saving part, Jesus, but you can keep your holiness stuff to yourself!”  Saving requires submission to changes in not just our lost condition, but also our lives in Christ.

In Christ!   That’s the saved place to live where the saving work of Jesus is.  Just listen to Paul’s words about what it means to be alive in Christ instead of dead in sin and see for yourself what that looks like.  Looking like, sounding like, acting like and talking like Jesus is the very heart of what Saving grace does to us.  God’s purpose for saving us is about His praise and glory not our pleasure and gusto.

God’s grace is not to be treated with disrespect and disobedience.  God not only saves us, He empowers us to live saved lives as we submit to Him.  God gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us and help us.  He bears in us and through us the fruit of a repentant life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Those who would bow to Christ Jesus as King and follow Him as disciples are those who enter His saving grace and enjoy His blessings and benefits.  We also enter into fellowship with His suffering.  It can not be otherwise.  The temporal pain is not worth comparing to the glorious gain!

May God help us hear His voice and submit to His reigning authority and follow Jesus Christ, His Son.  May we who have received the Holy Spirit fan into flame that burning gift of God for His praise and glory, even as it costs us in pain and suffering.  God actually uses the suffering for our good and His glory too!  Nothing is lost in the saving work of God in us!  Nothing!  He works all things together for good to those who love Him.

Jesus said it best: Blessed are you, when men revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!  For great is your reward in heaven!

Do you trust Him?  I do.  I pray my faith will never fail, no matter what this world may throw at me.  Jesus Christ is worthy!  He deserves and has earned much more that all I have to give.

Saving?

What happens when a seeking, serving Christian encounters a saving Christian? Let me define things a little clearer: what happens when a Christian with a strong focus on God’s kingdom and righteousness (seeking) as well as a strong focus on loving one another (serving) encounters a Christian who’s strongest focus is on evangelism (saving)?
Seeking, serving churches love God and one another, but may be challenged when it comes reaching out to “outsiders” who are unlike them.
It is no secret that Jesus commissions His people to go and “make disciples” (that’s a saving mission).
Ask yourself this question: How many people have I made into disciples, or led into a saving relationship with Christ? Name them.
Seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God is important. Matt. 6:33
Serving the Lord by serving His people is critical. Matt. 25:40&45.
But a seeking, serving church also needs to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), not just in house with our families, but reaching out to those who are lost, who are not seeking God’s kingdom and serving in the name of Jesus.
Serving the lost without saving them is not what Jesus told us to do.
Social justice (as important as it is) is less important than spiritual justification. What do saving churches look like?
They share their faith as if it is good news and the first matter of business in their relationships with others! Acts 8:4
They do not expect applause for doing so. Acts 4:23-29
In fact, they considered suffering for the name of Jesus a reason for rejoicing! Matt. 5:10-12, Acts 5:40-42.
The word of God spreads through them as they make disciples of others. Acts 6:7
If ever there was a time when we need the word of God to spread, it is now. Making disciples is God’s plan for getting that done. The saving mission builds seeking, serving Christians. Leave out the saving and there will soon be no one seeking and serving.

“Ready!”

Get READY with this year’s Wednesday evening sessions!  We have a wonderful line up preparing feverishly to present their portion of this Summer Series.  (These lessons are for middle schoolers and older. We will all meet together in the main auditorium).

Each Wednesday evening, Lord willing, we will get READY with a special presentation on one aspect of God’s mission for His people.  Below is the Wednesday evening schedule:

Wednesday’s lessons: (The “Ready” session).

Our Seeking Mission
June 1 – Choosing God’s Way (Seeking the Kingdom first). Lesson: Joshua 24 – Choose You this Day Who You will Serve. David Bible

June 8 – Forsaking all Others (Thou Shalt have no Other God’s Before Me). Lesson: Daniel 3 – We Will Not Bow to Any but God. Steve Layne

June 15 – Finishing Well (I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith). Lesson: John 19 – It Is Finished! Earl Turner

Our Saving Mission
June 22 – Obeying the Gospel (Men and brethren, what shall we do?). Lesson: Acts 2 – What Must I Do to Be Saved. Brent Clark

June 29 – Sharing our Faith (Go make disciples of all nations). Lesson: Acts 8 – They Preached the Word Where Ever They Went. Brendon Jones

July 6 – Prayer Service (That Sunday’s “Aim and Fire!” will be a continuation of Sharing our Faith).

July 13 – Suffering for Christ (Indeed, all who would live godly lives in Christ will be persecuted). Danny Ellis.

Our Serving Mission
July 20 – Looking Like Christ (Do as I have done unto you). Lesson: John 13:1-17, 35 – How Others Know We Follow Jesus. Kendall Harrison

July 27 – Sharing our Stuff (They gave first themselves to the Lord). Lesson: Luke 19:1-9 – When Salvation Enters the House. Bart Stewart

August 3 – Storing Up Treasures (Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also). Lesson: Matthew 25:31-46 – You did it Unto Me. Chris Turner