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Serve in Humility

Read Matthew 23:1‑12.

"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (v. 11). 

          According to C.S. Lewis, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less."  A pastoral couple we know was assigned to a generously respectful congregation.  They had been reared in middle-class homes and were not comfortable with their new church's policy of seating them, front and center, at a "table of honor" at church gatherings.  They avoided this practice by helping serve refreshments or "working the room" to meet and greet as many people as possible, especially visitors that were often present.  Soon they noticed a new interest and sense of belonging among several in the congregation.  The couple gratefully attributed this, in part, to their god-given preference for being among and alongside, not exalted above, the people.

One debate focuses on which comes first: honor or servanthood.  Does one serve to become greatly esteemed, or does great character naturally focus on serving? Our verse seems to indicate that, in God's order of things, they "go hand in hand." Greatness of character flows outward in a rising tide of loving and beloved servant leadership.  Natural greatness finds fulfillment in serving others, and those who gladly serve are a godly model to which others aspire. (Wayne Skeen)

"Humility is not a character trait to develop,

it's the natural by-product of being with Jesus."
- Louie Giglio

 

Prayer:  Father, let me not desire to be thought of as great,

but rather give me longing to be of some good.

2020-10-20T13:50:03+00:00October 21st, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

October 25, 2020: Service

PRINTED TEXT: Romans 12:1 13; 1 Corinthians 3:9 15

CENTRAL TRUTH: The rewards for our Christian service will be based on its motivation as well as its quality and quantity.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson we should be able to name either a new avenue of service to God in which we will get involved or a ministry in which we are already involved to which we will give more time and energy.

LESSON OUTLINE:
I. Consecration for Service (Romans 12:1, 2)

II. Cooperation in Service (Romans 12:3 8)

III. Concepts of Service (Romans 12:9 13)

IV. Compensation for Service (1 Corinthians 3:9 15)

God’s Word for Today: The Difference

Biblical hope is an unshakable assurance that God works all things together for good for those who are called according to His purposes. It is the belief that there is a future with and in Jesus regardless of circumstances. Hope is faith in the future tense. That means that most of faith is hope. The Bible says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). This suggests that hope is strengthened by the Word of God much like faith. Hope comes from reading the Word of God. Hope comes from digesting the great promises of God. Hope comes by developing a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our hope is a reflection of the trust we have in God and our confidence in His Word. The biblical definition of hope in noun form is “expectation,” and it indicates what is sure or certain. In verb form, it is “expect with confidence.” It is a confident expectation of what is certain.
Certain questions must then be asked: Can you explain what your hope is? Have you determined on what you base your hope? Do you clearly understand what your hope is so that if asked you could give a concise and reasonable answer?

Discussion: *What are three reasons upon which you base your hope in Christ and eternal life?

2020-09-08T16:36:38+00:00September 12th, 2020|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: |0 Comments

Sept. 9, 2020: Hope in God

Read Psalm 33:18 – 22.

 

“Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee” (v. 22).

    If you have time, read this entire psalm, which is a tribute to God in His offices of Creator, Controller, Consummator, Counselor. David exalts His mighty works and calls the entire earth to His worship.

But when we step away from the Divine Superintendency of all things, the world is a bleak and empty lowland, whether in politics, religion, economics, education.  What a distressing view! And even in our personal lives, whatever we may trust in this life…good health, material comfort, a strong system of support, years of Christian living - all are false confidences unless they are buoyed up by our trust in God.

Let us, also, call out for the mercy of the Lord to be upon us as we hope in Him. (Leonard Sankey)

“My hope is renewed, my faith becomes strong,

The closer I walk to Him.”    -  Haldor Lillenas

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” but hope achieved makes the heart sing.  Proverbs 13:12

2020-09-08T16:28:16+00:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Sept 13, 2020: Hope

PRINTED TEXT: Romans 4:17 25; 1 Corinthians 15:12 20

CENTRAL TRUTH: Believers have a living hope in Christ for time and eternity.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this class we should be able to state at least three reasons for our hope.

LESSON OUTLINE:
I. Hope Believing in Hope (Romans 4:17 25)

II. Hope Rewarded (1 Corinthians 15:12 20)

2020-09-08T16:22:36+00:00September 8th, 2020|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: |0 Comments

Sept 6, 2020: Faith

The Difference

Basic to the understanding of this lesson is a grasp of our own depth of faith. Some pray, “God, increase my faith.” We don’t need God to increase our faith. We need to exercise the faith that we have. How solid is the faith that you have in God? If you face shattering circumstances in life, is your trust in Him going to waver?

In Paul’s defense before King Agrippa in Acts 26, he concluded his statement regarding the death and resurrection of Christ by saying, in effect, “This is not a deep dark secret. Check it out for yourself. You believe what the Word of God says, don’t you? It is all there, as plain as day” (vs. 26, 27).

Does the devil bring doubts to your mind? Read the Bible and make up your own mind. It doesn’t make God nervous when we search the Scripture in order to bolster our faith.

Our faith is founded on the great realities of the Bible – a literal creation, the existence of Israel, the miracles of God, the prophecies of the Messiah and their miraculous fulfillment, the marvelous virgin birth of the incarnate Son of the everlasting God, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, His victorious resurrection, and His triumphant ascension into heaven.

2020-08-31T18:29:01+00:00September 4th, 2020|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: |0 Comments

Justified By Faith

Read Romans 5:1-8.

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1).

          She shot her boyfriend!  He was beating her up; she feared for her life.  She claimed it was self-defense. Time and again, we justify our decisions and actions, the things we say and the way we respond to what is happening to us.  At times it seemed like a raw reflex; it was spontaneous, but nevertheless, it was what caused us to draw on our resources and what we felt were our strengths.

What about when you turn the other cheek, when you go the extra mile, when you give your cloak as well as your coat, when you use a soft answer in responding to anger, when you endure hardness as a good soldier?  Do you justify those times by your faith in God who gives you grace and strength and wisdom?  The hope we have is because of the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts. Thus our actions and reactions are to be justified by our faith!  As Christians, let us act the way we do because we are who we are through Jesus Christ, our Lord! (Rodney Stearns)

“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness;

…………………….

On Christ, the solid rock I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.”

 

Justify your faith by living out the Lord Jesus within you!

2020-08-31T18:15:35+00:00September 3rd, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Sept 6, 2020: Faith

PRINTED TEXT: 1 John 5:1 15

CENTRAL TRUTH: Faith in God is one of the most important principles in being an overcomer in the Christian life.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson we should be able to identify ways in which our faith in God should be demonstrated in our daily lives.

LESSON OUTLINE:
I. Victory Through Faith (I John 5:1 5)

II. The Witness of Faith (I John 5:6 12)

III. Assurance Through Faith (I John 5:13 15)

2020-08-31T18:10:18+00:00August 31st, 2020|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: |0 Comments

August 30, 2020: The Need

THE NEED
When we find a really good restaurant or read a really good book, what is our typical reaction? We want to tell somebody. And it should go without saying that we want to tell someone if we come across something they really need. The group of lepers who had found a source of food outside besieged and starving Samaria said to one another, “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace . . . now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9).

If we have found new life in Christ, we have found the most wonderful thing in the world. But of course, many around us would not share our enthusiasm, considering the news of a clearance sale more exciting. How can we share with others what we have found? Should we try?

Be ready to give your class the answer on Sunday!

2020-08-24T15:42:17+00:00August 28th, 2020|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: , |0 Comments

Aug. 26, 2020: The Master’s Commands

Read Matthew 10: 9-16

                        The Master’s Commands

          “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:  be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (vs.16).

 

  Jesus was our perfect example.  His preaching and teaching were sometimes pointed, and at other times couched in stories and allegories. He knew his audience and how best to speak to them.  We do not have His wisdom! But we need to seek a measure of His wisdom when approaching others.  Some will dismiss you immediately, some will be curious, and others will scoff and seek to argue.  Others, prepared by God, will seek to know more.  In any case, a gentle wind will leave a pleasant breeze, where pontificating may leave a fretful scar.

 

Will it stir the stormy waters or bring a peaceful calm;

speak as Jesus did and breathe a restful balm?

Will it greet the wayward son, or heap on bitter shame;

mend the broken fences, or seek to assess blame?

Will it lift a lowly spirit, or drag it farther down;

bring joy to others, or let them slowly drown?

Will it fuel an angry conflict, or give the gift of peace;

trifle with their feelings, or bring a sweet release?

Will it wound without a cure, or remind of God’s great love;

taste of empty words, or fill with joy above?

 

Take caution every day, that blessings flow from what you say

                                                                                    -Jan Hamilton

 

 

2020-08-24T15:29:26+00:00August 26th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments
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