Dec. 11, 2022: The Dead Raised

FOCUS TEXT: Luke 7:11-17; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Corinthians 15:53-56

KEY VERSE: For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will (-- ).

CENTRAL TRUTH: Our God is a God of life.


I. Past (Luke 7:11-17)

II. Present (Colossians 2:13-15)

III. Future (1 Corinthians 15:53-56)

2022-12-06T16:44:37+00:00December 6th, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Christmas: Winter Holiday or Divine Encounter

                                                                                                        Essentials for Christmas

When Nancy and I moved to Ukraine, we knew we were in for a lot of surprises as we learned the culture. But one of the surprises we did not expect was the believers’ questions about how to celebrate Christmas. Each time we would say, “We celebrate Christmas by…” they would respond. “We do that for New Year’s. So what special do you do for Christmas? You see, their culture had created a winter holiday that sounded to them almost identical to Christmas.

So how would you answer? What is the difference between Christmas and a winter holiday? For many people, there is none. Christmas, for them, is a time to spend with family, eat lots of food, enjoy the good life, and maybe get away from the routine to do something you especially wanted to do. In short, exactly what Ukrainians called a winter holiday. For many people – even Christians – that is Christmas. Our culture has influenced us to substitute a man-made festivity for a divinely orchestrated event.

A biblical Christmas does not require beautiful lights, gift exchanges, human relationships, or even vacation time. There is certainly nothing wrong with any of those, but they are not the key elements of Christmas. So what are the essential elements of a biblical Christmas?

The message of Christmas repeatedly occurs throughout the Old Testament, almost like dress rehearsals for the main event. And whenever it does, it seems to me that three significant themes always are involved:
     1. An unsolvable personal/human dilemma.
     2. A reminder of God's Promise.
     3. A vibrant but tested human faith in that Promise.

There are many narratives in Scripture where those three themes converge to create the spirit of Christmas. I want to mention three of them. I will only give you the outline, so you can enjoy filling in the blanks.

Event #1 – Mt Moriah (Gen 22)
1. An unsolvable personal/human dilemma.
2. A reminder of God's Promise.
3. A vibrant but tested human faith in that Promise.

Event #2 – The Choice of Ahaz (Isaiah 7-9)
1. An unsolvable personal/human dilemma.
2. A reminder of God's Promise.
3. A vibrant but tested human faith in that Promise.

Event #3 – Bethlehem (Luke 2; Matthew 2)
1. An unsolvable personal/human dilemma.
2. A reminder of God's Promise.
3. A vibrant but tested human faith in that Promise.

Come to think of it, those three themes are present in your happiest memories of Christmas.
     a. There was a need/want that seemed impossible.
     b. There was a promise – likely from an earthly parent – that "something good is going to happen"
     c. There was a faith – however child-like – that the problem could be solved.

If we deny or ignore the unsolvable human dilemma we are facing, we will never again have Christmas. If we find our satisfaction in anything other than God's Promise, we will never again have Christmas. If our faith is in our own resources rather than God's provisions, we will never again have Christmas.

The church at Laodicea illustrates the point. They admitted no personal/human dilemma. They said, "We are rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing." The result was spiritual disease rather than delight in the Promise.

The angel told Joseph, "His name shall be called Immanuel – God with us." The great human dilemma is that humanity is separated from God! God's promise from Eden on is that someday The Promise would come – the separation would end. The challenge for Joseph, and for us, is to believe that Jesus is that Promise. If we fail to join those three elements, all we have left is a winter holiday.

2022-11-22T17:21:41+00:00December 1st, 2022|Categories: Banner Editorial, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Dec. 4, 2022: The Hungry Fed – Powerpoint Link

Herald and Banner Press produces a PowerPoint presentation as a teaching tool. You can get the link for all the lessons in this quarter for only $9.95 by contacting the Herald and Banner office. Here is a complimentary link for this week's lesson.

2022-11-28T15:28:44+00:00November 28th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

December 4, 2022: The Hungry Fed

FOCUS TEXT: Mark 6:30-44


KEY VERSE: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35).

CENTRAL TRUTH: Christ provides for all our needs.


I. The Need for Rest (Mark 6:30-33)

II. The Need for Ministry (Mark 6:34-37)

III. The Need for Food (Mark 6:38-44)

2022-11-28T15:01:19+00:00November 28th, 2022|Categories: Lesson Highlights, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Nov. 23, 2022: There Is a Way!

                                                                          "And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press,
they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay" (v. 4).

    A labyrinth of cardboard boxes zigged and zagged through the fellowship hall of the church. There was one way in and one way out. Dark passages with bewildering dead ends and unexpected surprises awaited the excited youth group poised at the entrance. They strained forward, waiting for their youth pastor to sound the signal.
    Some ran into the maze entrance, darting this way and that in excitement. Some were more cautious. They studiously considered the options. They were excited but wanted to be the first to find the only way to the exit. Then there were the timid ones. It was as if they were afraid even to enter the maze. What if they got lost in there? How would they get out? What if there was no exit?
    For many, this is a picture of life. Some are ambitious, skeptical, and timid, but all want to make it safely through life. We all need someone who knows the answers to the puzzle of our lives. We need One who has made the journey successfully and can lead us safely through to the end. At times, it may seem that there is no way, but once you have met the Waymaker, the One who IS the Way, the apprehension and uncertainty about the journey are dispelled. (LGW)
                                                                        The One who is the Way can lead us safely through the maze of life.

2022-11-22T16:39:43+00:00November 23rd, 2022|Categories: God's Word for Today, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thanksgiving Meditation

Motivations of a Thankful Heart

Psalm 147:1

Thankful people can be found in every walk of life; in every economic level. Thankful people can be found on almost any job, and in almost any set of circumstances. The difference between a thankful person and an unthankful person is not so much what life has done to them, as what they have done with life.

Unfortunately, human nature, left to its own devices, finds its way to the lowest and easiest ground. And it is certainly much easier to find fault and complain than it is to compliment and give thanks. But the Bible repeatedly urges the Christian to a higher plane of living. Christians are people who are marked by a spirit of praise and thanksgiving.

In Psalm 147:1 the psalmist supplies three motivations for this spirit of praise.

MOTIVATION #1    Praise is GOOD.

  1. Because it is the fulfillment of our duty.
  2. Because it transforms our spirit, granting us an opportunity to practice doing the work of angels.
  3. Because it is a means of paying our debt to God.
  4. Because it is a means of keeping an open line of communication between ourselves and God.

MOTIVATION #2    Praise brings PLEASURE.

  1. Because praise springs from the heart.
  2. Because praise gives us an opportunity to do what we were created to do.
  3. Because by so doing we please the One who loves us most.
  4. Because praise has a way of calming pain.

MOTIVATION #3    Praise is beautifying.

  1. Nothing tarnishes beauty like a bitter, haughty, ungrateful spirit.
  2. On the other hand, a spirit of thankfulness adds charm and grace to any character.
  3. It gradually replaces the lines of worry.
  4. It relaxes the mind to concentrate upon other, more worthwhile, pursuits.
  5. Jesus taught us to pray, “Lord, forgive the debt my neighbor owes me, just as you forgive the debt I owe you.”
  6. That prayer flows from a spirit of thankfulness and praise. It surely helps to create a more beautiful person.


There are many ways to express praise and thanksgiving. But however it is expressed, thankfulness and praise is a choice.People know you by the light and cheer you radiate, or by the gloom and despair you spread. Thanksgiving is the time of year when we assess which kind of person we are.

Praise is good, pleasant, and beautifying. I urge you to choose it as the trademark of your life.

2022-11-21T19:58:17+00:00November 21st, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Nov. 27, 2022: Cultivating a Positive Attitude

FOCUS TEXT: Philippians 4:4-13

BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 41:8-10; Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 5:19, 20; Hebrews 10:32 – 11:2


KEY VERSE: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

CENTRAL TRUTH: The Christian family should be marked by its positivity.


I. The Expression of Positivity (Philippians 4:4-7)

II. The Encouragement of Positivity (Philippians 4:8, 9)

III. The Example of Positivity (Philippians 4:10-13)

2022-11-21T19:22:35+00:00November 21st, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Nov. 13, 2022: Demonstrating Fairness

FOCUS TEXT: Leviticus 19:9-15; Exodus 23:1-9

KEY VERSE: It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment (Proverbs 24:23).

CENTRAL TRUTH: The Christian family treats everyone fairly in light of God's justice.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list several principles that should guide their interactions with others.


I. Fairness With the Poor (Leviticus 19:9, 10)

II. Fairness With Neighbors (Leviticus 19:11-14)

III. Fairness in Judgment (Leviticus 19:15)

IV. Fairness in the Community (Exodus 23:1-9)

2022-11-10T19:18:09+00:00November 10th, 2022|Categories: Front Page, Lesson Highlights, Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

July 7, 2021: Love in Action

Read John 12:1-9.

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment" (v. 3).

Over the years of pastoring, our family has entertained many people. It was such a delight to have so many wonderful and godly people in our home. But what would it be like to entertain Jesus? That Saturday night, Jesus joined some of his closest friends for dinner. Lazarus was very much alive after being dead. Martha wanted the food to be just right for the Master. But it was Mary who does something that will be remembered throughout history. She anoints Jesus with perfume that represented as much as a year’s wages. In today’s economy, it is worth $45,000! It is not the amount that is impressive, but the sacrifice of her most valuable possession. She not only speaks her love but shows her love.

Mary's act is a reflection of Jesus’ love for us. The next day will be Palm Sunday. In days, Jesus will show His love in Gethsemane, Calvary, and the Garden Tomb. We can put our love for Christ in action by our acts of praise, worship, service, and love for others. (Jack Hooker)

"Heavenly Father, may I sit at Your feet and worship You with all
that I am and all that I have - and may the beauty of Jesus become
a life-giving fragrance of His love to all with whom I come
in contact today, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN." —

2021-07-07T13:51:20+00:00July 7th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

March 10, 2021: The Message to Carry

Read Acts 10:34–43.

"Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly"(v. 40).

  This is an amazing passage of scripture, showing the Apostle to the Jews (Peter)being endowed with power to preach Jesus to the Gentiles. Peter had to overcome obstacles to get to that point, but he did conquer his reluctance and preached to these devout people. God was pleased with the message; the people listening had some scriptural background about the gospel (note: vs. 36–38) and were anxious for more truth.

From our key verse, we understand that the crucial message Peter preached, and that we are to convey, centers in the resurrection of Christ. This is still the power of the gospel message today. (Leonard L. Sankey)

"Death in vain forbids Him rise. Christ has opened paradise."(Charles Wesley)

The resurrection of Christ is the standard miracle of the New Testament. 



2021-03-09T16:48:57+00:00March 10th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments


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