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

“AIM!”

Sunday Mornings beginning June 5 through August 7, 2016, Lord willing, we will be in our Bibles taking AIM for action on God’s mission for His people.

Wednesday we get READY, Sunday morning we take AIM, and then, Sunday evening in our groups we FIRE!

This series has the potential to get us in step together as a seeking, saving serving family in Christ.  We’ve seen clearly in the New Testament that God’s vision for us is to be like Jesus Christ, His Son.

  1. Seeking: Jesus lived His life seeking to do the will of His Father. He did it, and He gave it to us as our mission as well!
  2. Saving: Jesus performed the saving work of the gospel by giving His life a sacrifice, His blood an atonement, for us on the cross.  His saving work of grace, we have received through faith.  Now we share that saving work of grace with all who will receive it!  He gave that saving mission to all of us who are in Christ.
  3. Serving: Jesus did not come here to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.  Our serving Savior gave us the serving ministry as God’s mission for us.

Each Sunday morning we will open our Bibles and take AIM on one aspect of each of these in preparation for action as we pull the trigger and FIRE.  Jesus words in Matthew 7 at the end of the Sermon on the Mount should motivate us: “Whoever hears these words of mine and DOES them, is like a man that built His house on the rock.  The rains came, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it stood firm because it was founded on the rock!”

“But whoever hears these words of mine and does NOT DO them, is like a man that built his house on the sand.  The rains came, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash.”

Let us be a church that hears and obeys!  A church truly on FIRE for God.

FIRE (group guides with assignments)

SUNDAY EVENING GROUP GUIDES – FIRE

June 5
Seeking, part one: Choose you this day… Seeking starts with a focus and a decision. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. When did you start seeking God’s way for your life?

Suggested group activity: Seek and Find!  Read Matthew 13:44-46 (Just 3 verses with two powerful parables).

Since this is an inter-generational group – Those who are older lead the activity.  Form 2 groups of those who are under 18.  All those 12 years and older are to search for a hidden prize (suggested prize: $25 gift card).  All those 11 years and younger are to search for a hidden prize (suggested prize: $25 gift card).

Older adults supply the funds for the prizes and hide them.  The youth must ask for clues from the adults to help them find the prizes.  In order to get hints from the adults, them must be willing to give up something they have.

(Or another option can be several smaller prizes hidden that are age appropriate).

The two youth groups will need to have separate locations to do the searches.

Once the prizes have been found, gather everyone together and discuss the parables and how the kingdom of God is worth giving up all we have to get it.

Do the following as time permits: 

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday evening and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does choosing have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we come to a place of decision in this?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action individually on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:  (These may be modified as needed)

  1. Share your faith story with your family.  Over dinner, take turns and have each family member tell why seeking God’s kingdom is important.
  2. Pray together about growing stronger in your relationship with the Lord. Take turns praying for one another before dinner each night.
  3. Each family member choose a Christian character trait they would like to improve on and share it with the family.  At dinner have a special prayer asking God to help each family member grow stronger in the Christian character trait they choose.
  4. Choose a section of scripture to memorize. (Suggestion: Philippians 3 – 4 has some great verses).  Share your verses with one another at dinner each night.
  5.   Other… _________________________________________________________________        Come prepared to share about it next week.

_________________________

June 12 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Seeking, part two: Saying No to all competing gods. Seeking grows with loyalty and singleminded determination. Paul said that he counted everything garbage compared to knowing Christ and being found in Him. How is Jesus Christ your life?

Suggested group activity: Following One Voice!  (Read John 10:27) The object of this activity is to learn how to listen to directions from one person while others are trying to distract you or steer you the wrong way.

Set up an obstacle course (in homes, this can be a walk from one room to another, through a hallway, etc.).  One person (a traveler) is blindfolded and must walk through the course while listening to instructions given by a guide.  The guide is not allowed to help guide the blindfolded person except by speaking instructions.  The rest of the group (who can also be used as obstacles are allowed to distract the blindfolded traveler by saying things that contradict the true instructor).  The blindfolded traveler must listen only to the true guide and follow the ONE VOICE.

Go through this letting several of the youngsters be blindfolded, and letting different older adults be the VOICE of instruction.

When finished, gather together and talk about listening to the Good Shepherd and turning our ears away from distractions around us.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does saying no have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we turn away from competing loyalties?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Pick out something you can give up for God this week (TV, Coffee or Soda, deserts, games, etc.). Share it with your family and ask for their support.
  2. As a family, have a night where you all share one boiled egg and one glass of water for dinner.  Talk about those who are hungry in the world and pray.
  3. Pick a night to watch a Christian movie together.  Talk about it afterward and pray for one another.
  4. Take a walk with a Christian friend or family member and talk together about your commitment to Christ, end the time by praying for one another.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________                   (come prepared to share about it next week)

__________________________
June 19 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Seeking, part three: Finishing well. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Seeking lasts a lifetime. We never stop till we arrive at home with the Lord. What is your vision for the long haul of your life?

Suggested group activity: Finish the Race!  (Read Hebrews 12:1-2)  The object of this activity is to learn to keep going when we are tired.

If possible do this activity outside or in the fellowship hall.  The older members are the goal posts.  The younger members are divided up into groups of two with this in mind: One will have to carry the other.  Put a bigger, older partner with a younger smaller partner.  This will be a relay, where the bigger partner carries the smaller partner back and forth between the goal posts for as many times as they can by hopping on one foot.  (Be careful not to fall with or drop your passenger!).  See who can make the most laps in five minutes.  Give a big applause to all who participate along with water to drink.

AFTER THE RACE: All who are over 50 number off.  All who are under 50 number off.  Get in groups of 4-6 with about half older and half younger.  The younger are to ask the older questions about their faith and why they continue to walk with Christ.  Then the older are to ask the younger questions about their faith and what challenges they face.  Close with prayer for each one.

Suggested questions (younger to older):  When did you become a Christian and what are some challenges you  have faced?  Why have you remained faithful?  What advice would you give to help younger Christians stay loyal to Christ?

Suggested questions (older to younger): When did you become a Christian and what challenges are you facing now?  What do you think would help you stay strong in your faith?  How can I help you do that?

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does finishing well have to do with seeking?
Why is it important that we stay the course and never give up?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Talk with a faithful elderly Christian about their life of faith.
  2. Read one chapter of 2 Timothy at dinner each night and make talk together about Paul’s end of life words to Timothy.
  3. Discuss this together with your family: What do you hope to have accomplished for the cause of Christ before you die?
  4. With open Bibles at home, talk together as a family about Jesus’ preparation for His death on the cross.
  5. Other…. ____________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about your assignment next week.

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June 26 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part one: Conviction of sin. Men and brethren, what shall we do? The saving work of Christ must be received before it can be shared. The Bible tells us how we become Christians and enter salvation in Christ. The commission of Christ to us is the same, go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. When did you receive the saving work of Christ?

Suggested group activity: Hide and Seek.  Read Luke 15:3-7.  The object of this activity is awareness of God’s joy over when we go from lost to saved.

Pair up everyone with a partner, older with a younger.  If there is an odd number make one group have three.  The younger partners go an hide, and then the older partner must go and find them.  Do this a couple of times and then swap.  Let the older partners go and hide and the younger go and find them.

After the activity gather everyone together and select four or five who are baptized share their story of faith with the rest of the group.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
What does conviction and baptism have to do with saving?
Why is it important that we not change this message but obey it and share it?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. At dinner each night, one of the family share with the family about when you obeyed the gospel and received Christ’s saving gift.
  2. Make a list of names of people you know that you would like to see become a Christian and pray for them together as a family every day this week.
  3. Pray for opportunities to share your faith with those you know need to be saved.
  4. Memorize the locations of salvation stories in the Book of Acts in chapters 2, 8,9,10,16,18 and 22. Study them and prepare a lesson to share with others about what they teach.
  5. Other…. _____________________________________________________________

Come prepared next week to talk about how you did your assignment.

__________________________
July 3 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part 2a: Sharing our faith. Go and make disciples of all nations. Paul’s story of conversion is told three times in the Book of Acts alone. God uses him as a model of His grace (see 1 Timothy 1:15-16). After receiving the saving work of Jesus Christ, we are commissioned to share it. When is the last time you shared the gospel with a lost person?

Suggested group activity: Taking it on the Road!  Read Romans 10:14-15.

The object of this activity is to get involved in the gospel call.

Everyone in the group meet at Pruetts or Walmart parking lot.  Have a group prayer.  Take an invitation to Church for everyone who came to give out.  Break up into groups of two or three and go give out your invitation to someone there.

Optional activity: gather and talk about our mission works and what it must be like to live in a foreign place working to share the gospel.  Write letters of encouragement to our missionaries and their families and mail them.

Finish by gathering together and praying for those you have invited or written to.  Discuss the feelings and struggles of those who share the gospel with others.

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss the lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
When should I share the saving gospel of Christ with someone?
Why is it important for me to share the saving work of Christ with others?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Ask three members of the church this week to tell you about how they were saved.
  2. Show from scripture how your salvation story matches up with what the Bible teaches about how to be saved.
  3. Share your salvation story with a family member or fellow Christian.
  4. Share your salvation story with someone who is not a Christian.
  5. Other…__________________________________________________________

Come prepared next week to talk about how you did your assignment.

______________________________

Wednesday, July 6 is prayer service for the nation.

_____________________________

July 10 Open with members sharing the FIRE from last week.

Saving, part 2b: Sharing our Faith. This is a continuation from last week. As we look at the conversion stories in the book of Acts, we discover that the gospel message spread to people all over the Roman empire. What motivated the early disciples to be so evangelistic?

Suggested activity for the group: Saving what Lasts!  Read 1 John 2:15-17.

The objective of this activity is to promote awareness of saving for forever.

Bring copies of pictures of Wedding dresses and Luxury cars.  Give each male a copy with the cars and each female a copy with the dresses.  Starting with the youngest in the group, ladies first: share a thought or feeling about the picture of the dress (ladies)/ car (gentlemen):  What makes these things important to some people?

Now pass out copies of cars in a junk yard and worn out or tattered dresses.  Starting with the oldest in the group, ladies first: share a thought or feeling about the picture of the car in the junk yard/ or tattered dress:  Why are these not important to people?

Pass out copies of pictures of people.  Discuss: Of these three images we’ve seen, which one represents what will last forever?  Which does God want us to save?  Have a prayer for us to have God’s priorities and work to save others.

As time permits do the following:

Discuss this morning’s lesson:

What thoughts or questions do you have about it?
How did it help motivate you to sharing the saving work of Christ?
What challenges do we face today in doing this?
Why are some people more motivated to share their faith than others?

FIRE (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Look up every scripture that has the word “saved” in it and share a few of them each night at dinner before offering thanks and eating.
  2. As a family, make a list of 10 people who you know need the gospel and pray for them together.
  3. Pick out one of our missionaries and pray for them together as a family each night this week.
  4. Make plans to go on a mission trip with the church.
  5. Other… ________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about this next week.

_______________________________
July 17
Saving, part 3: Suffering for Christ. All who would live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). No one wants to suffer persecution and hardship for their faith, yet the Bible tells us over and over to rejoice when we do. Jesus is the prime example of suffering for God’s glory. He did not want to drink the cup, but gave up His will to do the will of the Father. Was it worth it? How have you had to endure difficulty for the cause of Christ?

Suggested group activity: His Pain, Our Gain.  Read Isaiah 53:5-6.

Items needed: a block of wood, hammer, and nails, paper and pens.  Objective: to impress us with Jesus sacrifice and pain for our salvation and ultimate joy.

After the reading of Isaiah, everyone take a piece of paper and write on it something you have done that was wrong.  If there are children too young to write, someone help them by writing it for them.  After everyone has written their sin on the paper.  Starting with the oldest, take the hammer and a nail and nail it to the block of wood (three strikes: one for his feet and two for his hands) and say, “Jesus paid for my sin.”  All the rest say, “Amen.”  (The youngest may need help, but let them at least hold the nail and paper and say the words).

After everyone has participated, sing: Amazing Grace together and have a prayer.

As time permits, do the following:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How do we identify with Jesus in His suffering?
What does our willingness to suffer for our faith demonstrate about it’s worth to us?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. As a family, pray for a Christian who has been missing church services and go visit them and encourage them.
  2. Carry your Bible (not a cell phone version) with you everywhere you go this week and observe the responses of others.
  3. Talk to three friends who do not attend church and invite them to come visit our services.
  4. Try to set up a Bible study with someone who needs to obey the gospel.
  5. Other…_________________________________________________________

Come ready to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

________________________________
July 24
Serving part 1: Looking like Jesus. Philippians 2 tells us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus who emptied Himself and became a servant. Summer work camp’s slogan is: You are never more like Jesus than when you serve. Jesus came here not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Serving may not be a glamorous or popular way to live, but it certainly can identify us as followers of Christ! How are you loving like Jesus through your serving others?

Suggested group activity:

Loving Your Neighbor.  Read Matthew 22:36-40.

Go to Martin Boyd Nursing home (Alexian Village or another nursing care facility) together as a group and go back to the Alzheimer’s unit. Bring some treats to share, sing some songs with them, and pray for them.  Then go out to a local restaurant for dinner together and talk about how God has blessed us and how He wants us to care for the needy.

Discuss: who is my neighbor and what is my neighbor like?

Do the following as time permits:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How do we identify with Jesus through serving?
Who have you served in the name of Jesus lately?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week: (Modify as needed)

  1. Make a meal (or purchase one) and bring it to someone you know. Include a note that says, “It is my blessing to give this to you, in the name of Jesus.”
  2. As a family, go by and visit someone who is sick or in the nursing home. Say a prayer with them, for them before you leave.
  3. Gather your family together and read John 13 to them. Bring out a towel and warm water in a bowl and wash their feet. As you wash each one’s feet, say a blessing upon them in the name of Jesus.
  4. Go to visit someone in the hospital or nursing home and read John 13 to them. Bring out a towel and warm water in a bowl and wash their feet. As you wash their feet, say a blessing upon them in the name of Jesus.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________

Come ready to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

_____________________________
July 31
Serving part 2: Sharing our Stuff Jesus said, “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” Luke 12:48. Giving is at the very heart of the gospel. God so loved, He gave… God is the ultimate giver. As men and women created in His image and likeness, we are designed to be givers too. Jesus also said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God’s giving is more than just surplus donations, where He cleans out His divine closet from time to time. God’s giving is sacrificial. When is the last time you gave sacrificially?

Suggested group activity: Sacrifice!  Read Luke 12:31-34.

Everyone bring something special that was given to you (or a picture of it) to the group meeting to share about it.  Alternate between oldest to youngest in the group.  Sit in a circle and as each person shares their treasure, have the next two who are sitting on the left ask questions about why it is special.

Or, take a ball of yarn and have everyone sit in a circle.  Starting with the facilitator: hold the end of the string and toss the ball of yarn to a person of your choice and say something you have learned about that person during the past weeks of the group.  Then whoever received the yarn ball passes it to another and so on until all have received the yarn ball, the last person to receive it has to say something about the facilitator.

Finish activity with a echo prayer: The facilitator opens the prayer and then names everyone present.  After He says the name of each person he pauses and everyone in the group says that person’s first name.

Close by reminder that our greatest treasure in the Lord is our relationship with God and one another.

Preview for THE FINAL WEEK’S (NEXT WEEK) activity:

Have a final dinner together at a place of your choice. Each family at the meal feeds another family by taking the check or bringing the meal, depending on if this is at a home or a restaurant. In preparation, facilitator can assign who hosts who, or you can draw names. Then take time to find out what that family likes to eat. Also, have each person in your family write out a blessing for each member of the family you are hosting and read those after the meal.

As time permits:

Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How does giving help us identify with God?
Who do you know that exemplifies the character of God in their giving?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:

  1. Go through your checkbook or credit card bill(s) and mark the items that were gifts.
  2. Look up as many verses in the New Testament as you can find that talk about giving.
  3. Go through your house and list items that were given to you.
  4. Take something you really treasure and sell it and give the money to the poor.
  5. Other… _________________________________________________________

Come prepared to share about your assignment at next week’s meeting.

_____________________________
August 3
Serving part 3: Storing up Treasures Jesus makes it clear that what we do for the least of His brethren (other Christians) we do for Him. Jesus identifies with all who are in the Christian family. When we serve the needs of our needy brothers and sisters in Christ, we are directly serving Jesus and are storing up treasures in heaven. What are you doing to serve the saints in need?

Suggested activity: Read together Romans 12:9-13 

Have a final dinner together at a place of your choice.  Each family at the meal feeds another family by taking the check or bringing the meal, depending on if this is at a home or a restaurant.  In preparation, facilitator can assign who hosts who, or you can draw names.  Then take time to find out what that family likes to eat.  Also, have each person in your family write out a blessing for each member of the family you are hosting and read those after the meal.

As time permits: Discuss lessons from Wednesday and Sunday morning:

What thoughts or questions do you have about those lessons?
How did they build on one another to get ready and aim?
How does serving the needy identify us with Jesus?
What are some things you have done lately to serve Christians in need?

FIRE: (Here’s where we get to take action on what we’ve heard – see Matthew 7:24-27)

Select one or more of the following to practice this week:

  1. Get some Magi boxes from Joel and Nancy Baxley and fill them up for Healing Hands to take to poor children.
  2. Go to Martin Boyd and volunteer to read the Bible, pray with and visit an elderly Christian saint there.
  3. Visit the Tennessee Christian Children’s home and take some gifts to the care givers that work there.
  4. Plan and go on a mission trip to a poor country.
  5. Other… ___________________________________________________________

Take time to review the past assignments and plan to continue seeking, saving and serving. Join with others and make it a part of who you are in Christ!