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This lesson begins a new series on Jesus and his kingdom, and kicks off with a closer look at an unlikely King.  Based on scriptures from Luke chapters 1 and 2, and Matthew chapters 1 and 2, the lesson overviews the Messianic prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus’s humble advent into the world.  Next, Richard proceeds to develop several key ideas, as follows: (1) recognizing our need to be rescued, (2) the King is here to take his place, (3) the King brings salvation and is worthy of sacrifices, and (4) the King is great, the Son of the Most High and his kingdom is eternal.  The lesson ends with the question of whether Jesus is truly Lord of your life and with the encouragement to respond to the message.

This lesson looks at the faith and character of Hannah as recorded in 1 Samuel 1 & 2 to discover four lessons from her life.  Even in her strong faith, she had great challenges that teach us the following truths: (1) people of great faith still have problems, (2) people of faith are people of prayer, (3) God answers the prayers of his people, and (4) remember to thank God when he answers prayers.  The lesson concludes with an invitation to respond to the message.

What do fathers and cacao have in common?  This lesson starts with a comparison of the transformation cacao goes through to become chocolate to the effect fathers should have on their children, specifically transforming helpless babies into well adjusted adults.  Using verses from Ephesians 6:1-4, Deuteronomy 6:1-9, and related scriptures, the question of what does God want dads to do in the transforming process is answered, as follows: (1) live a consistent God-centered life, (2) be consistent in discipline, and (3) be consistent in instruction from God’s manual.  The lesson ends with the encouragement for dads to “put God in the center and everything else that matters will fall into place”.  

This lesson uses various scriptures from Ephesians, Galatians, Hebrews, and Philippians to explore the concept of how what we allow into our minds always comes out in our words and actions.  This acronym may represent God in God out, Good in Good out, or Garbage in Garbage out depending on our focus and choices.  The lesson develops four main concepts, as follows: (1) Jesus and Paul both discuss the importance of sowing and reaping truth, (2) God inspects our G.I.G.O., (3) how to know if I am filled with God’s spirit, and (4) choosing to fill our lives with God’s Spirit.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

Our guest speaker, Dean Miller explores the overwhelming experiences that challenge us in life and how we ought to respond to them.  Using Psalm 31 as the framework for the lesson, Dean shares several real life examples of overwhelming circumstances.  He defines the term overwhelmed as being submerged or crushed and proceeds to develop three main points gleaned from Psalm 31, as follows: (1) trust in the Lord, (2) remember God’s goodness, and (3) wait on the Lord.  The lesson concludes with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson looks at several key concepts taken from the book of Philippians and Paul’s life to develop 4 ideas on how to stay positive in a negative world.  These are: (1) remaining positive in challenging circumstances, (2) others are encouraged to speak with courage and fearlessly by your example, (3) remaining positive with challenging people, and (4) remaining positive with a challenging future.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to continue steadfastly in fruitful labor and to respond to the Gospel message.

This lesson explores the concept of loyalty, which is defined as staying devoted, committed, or faithful to a person or cause, as the first law of God.  Using verses from Matthew 26 and Luke 22, Peter, one of Jesus’s apostles, is in the spotlight as a case study for the three main points of the lesson, as follows: (1) Love and loyalty to Christ and his church, (2) being loyal to Jesus at all costs, and (3) loyalty restored, passing the test.  The lesson ends with the challenge to evaluate where your true loyalty lies and the encouragement to be faithful to Jesus

This lesson reflects on the influence and purpose mothers have in nurturing their children into spiritual maturity.  Using Colossians 1:24 - 2:5 as an outline, the image of a 3-story building with steps to each floor is utilized to represent the process of nurturing children, as follows: (1) encouraging spiritual success, (2) protecting from false and enticing words, and (3) helping children to reach their full spiritual potential.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement for mothers to take every opportunity to fulfill their purpose.

This lesson, based on Hebrews 11:32-40 and Luke 7:36-50, explores the idea of what attributes characterize true heroes.  A comparison of the critical Pharisee and the sinful woman from Luke 7 reveals the surprising hero in this account.  Several take away concepts from the study are: (1) everyone is in debt to God, (2) none of us can ever repay this debt through our own efforts, (3) forgiveness is available to everyone, and (4) forgiveness is not free, there is always a cost to be paid.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson, in the continuing Heroes series, taken from Genesis 21-22 and Hebrews 11:17-19, considers how God tests his people.  Using Abraham’s test of faithful commitment as an outline, the three main ideas developed are: (1) the test of obedience, (2) the test of self-denial, and (3) the test of faith.  The lesson ends with the encouragement for each of us to thoughtfully consider how we might fair during God’s testing and to respond to the message as needed.  

This lesson on heroes of the Bible uses Hebrew 11:1-8 and Genesis 11:31-12:5 to delve into the account of Abraham and his faith.  Several important concepts are addressed,  including: (1) the relationship of Abraham and God, (2) why did this unique relationship exist, (3) why did God choose Abraham, and (4) what does God want us to realize from this account. The lesson ends with the encouragement to respond to the message.

This lesson explores the four New Testament resurrections as recorded in the gospels.  They are: (1) the raising of Jairus’s daughter in Luke 8, (2) the raising of a widow’s son in Luke 7, (3) the raising of Lazarus in John 11, and (4) the resurrection of Jesus in all 4 gospels.  Each event is compared to the final and most significant resurrection account of Jesus and the effect this should have on resetting our vision, future, faith and hope.  Jesus rose never to die again, so we can be confident in the risen savior as our hope and victory.  The lesson concludes with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson explores the necessity and reality of needing to reset our mission to seek and save the lost, as Jesus instructed his followers to do.  Using various passages of scripture, this lesson focuses on Jesus’ approach as our model, including: (1) compassion for the lost, (2) empathy for people’s needs, (3) using a hands-on approach in evangelism, and (4) using the prayer model game plan.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to pray for the lost and to respond to the message.

Continuing with the theme of resetting our Christian lives, this lesson explores the idea of resetting our mindset, spiritually speaking.  Using Romans 8:1-11 and related scriptures, the lesson explores four ideas, as follows: (1) reassessing our mindset, (2) resigning our mindset, (3) redirecting our mindset, and (4) reassuring our mindset.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to choose to follow Jesus.

This lesson, in the continuing series on resetting our Christian lives, explores the idea of slowing down and experiencing the joy that God has in mind for us.  Using Philippians as a roadmap for focusing on rejoicing in all circumstances, the lesson looks at praise towards God as a foundational method for shattering the negative and bringing us to a state of joy. Handling despair, negativity, doubts and anxiety are specifically discussed and the lesson ends with the encouragement to surrender all the negativity to God through praise and rejoice always.

This lesson, taken from Ezekiel 37:1-14, explores the parallel ideas in Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones being brought to life with the souls that are spiritually dead, or unclaimed, all around us.  The theme of fulfilling our God-given purpose to tell the message of life in Jesus is developed as follows: (1) be realistic about sin, (2) recognize that lost people live without hope, (3) the responsibility of every Christian is to share the Gospel with others, and (4) regeneration is God’s action.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement to be like Ezekiel and speak the Good News of Jesus to those around us.

Continuing in our Reset series, this lesson explores the foundation we should have as Christians. Using Matthew 7:24-28 as the primary text, this lesson develops two main ideas, as follows: (1) God is our foundation that is unshakable and never changes, and (2) the Scriptures, God’s Word, is our foundation for survival.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson, in the continuing series on Reset, discusses how the church, God’s people, ought to have a distinct fashion based on whose we are.  The four fashion statements developed using 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13 and supporting scriptures are: (1) Christian fashion is biblical in content, (2) it is authentic, (3) it is gracious, and (4) it is relevant.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement to be God’s people, in an ever changing world, the church’s fashion is constant, so we are able to take the never changing Gospel to this ever changing world.  

This lesson uses Acts 2:42-47 as an outline to dig into the topic of priorities, which is defined as putting first things first.  The questions of why it is important to give first things precedence and what are the priorities of the church are answered using the pattern laid out in this section of scripture.  The four primary priorities discussed are as follows: (1) devoted worship, (2) instruction in the apostles’ teachings, (3) fellowship, and (4) evangelism.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to make your priorities count and to respond to the lesson as needed.

This lesson reviews four meaningful activities from Acts 2:42-47 in relationship to our priorities and the idea of loving one another. The acronym WIFE (Worship, Instruction, Fellowship, Evangelism) is used as an outline tool to reflect on the relationship between Jesus, his bride, the church, and how we should love one another. Fellowship and Evangelism are focused on in greater detail.  The lesson concludes with an invitation to respond to the message.

In this lesson, our Christian profile is explored. Using various scriptures, several questions are asked and answered, including: (1) what does the Christian profile look like, (2) how is the Christian life similar to mercury, and (3) what are the 10 traits that define a Christian’s profile?  The lesson ends with the invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson begins a new series on resetting our purpose and priorities as individuals and as a congregation. Using scriptures including Luke 4:1-13, 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Matthew 4:1-11, the lesson discusses several aspects of the process, as follows: (1) resetting our script according to God’s will and Word, (2) Jesus as the perfect example of staying on script, and (3) the time is now to reset the script for our individual lives and as a congregation.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson is a final review on the Identity series which is taken from scriptures in Romans 12:3-8 and 2nd Peter 1:1-12.  Three main points are covered in this lesson, as follows: (1) our willingness to be the ultimate sacrifice, (2) as Christians, what identifies you, and (3) a recap of the qualities that mark a Christian’s character and the natural, motivational gifts.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to be a Christian who is willing to make a difference by embracing your identity.

This lesson begins with a review of 2020 events and plans for 2021 events, then proceeds to the text in Romans 12:1-8 to examine the natural gift of leadership.  Jesus is the ultimate example in each area of leadership in this lesson, which includes: (1) the attribute of personal influence, (2) influence that stands out in front and leads, (3) endurance to stay strong during tough times, (4) willingness to sacrifice, (5) leaders are servants, and (6) how to tell if you have the gift of leadership.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the gospel.

This lesson, in the continuing series based on Romans 12, discusses the natural gift of giving.  Using the idea of giving as the gift of the open heart, the topics included are: (1) the generous giver motivates others to give, (2) giving is expected of all believers, (3) an open heart is expected of all believers, and (4) how to identify if you have this gift.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the gift of the greatest giver, Jesus and his salvation.

This lesson looks in depth at Mark 10:46-52, for the truths to be found in Jesus’ healing of blind Bartimaeus.  Among the many riches found in this text, a few of the ones presented here are: (1) Bartimaeus called to Jesus recognizing him as the Messiah by using the title “Son of David”, (2) Bartimaeus recognized the deity of Jesus by calling him “Rabbi” (Rabbouni in the Greek) using a specific title only applied towards God in prayers, (3) Bartimaeus was persistent in calling out to Jesus, even as many of the people tried to silence him, and (4) Bartimaeus was completely healed immediately in body and spirit.  The lesson ends with the encouragement and challenge to see who you are most like in this account.

In this ongoing lesson series on natural gifts, encouragement is the next gift being explored from the text in Romans 12:4-8.  The lesson uses one definition of encouragement as “spurring others on to love and good deeds.”  Several of the points discussed are: (1) the value of encouragement, (2) examples of encouragement, and (3) the marks of encouragement.  The lesson concludes with a call to obedience to the message and a return to those who have drifted away.

In this continuing series taken from Romans 12 on Embracing our Unique Gifts, the natural gift of teaching is explored.  The question of why some individuals have special gifts is discussed, then the unique gift of teaching is specifically covered in the following areas: (1) embracing teaching, (2) knowing if you have this powerful gift in special measure, and (3) cautions for teachers.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to use and multiply your gift, and with an invitation to respond to the message.

In this continuing series taken from Romans 12 on Embracing our Unique Gifts and Talents, the natural gift of service is explored. The definition of service is developed using various scriptures, and the idea of service as a gift is expanded on using examples such as Tabitha from Acts 9:36-42, and Timothy from Acts 16:2, Philippians 2:20-22, and 2 Timothy 4:9-10.  In the last section of the lesson, the characteristics of devoted servants are highlighted and it ends with Jesus, as the greatest example of the ultimate servant.  The lesson concludes with an offer to respond to the message.

This lesson, based on Romans 12, explores the motivational gift of Prophecy, God’s Bold Proclamation.  After defining the meaning of this gift in biblical terms, the unique characteristics of prophecy are elaborated upon, including: (1) boldness in delivering a message of repentance, (2) building up, encouraging, and comforting believers, (3) basing the teachings solely on scripture, and (4) reaching to the lost with the gospel.  The lesson concludes with cautions and responsibilities for the gift of prophecy, and with an invitation to respond to the message.

Using various scriptures including verses from 1st & 2nd Peter, 1st Timothy and Romans, this lesson develops a framework for Christians to consider during this upcoming Election process.  From a general overview of the voting process, including inherent problems, the main points developed are: (1) using God’s values as a candidate filtering criteria, (2) determining the difference between opinion vs sin, and (3) determining how to rely on God being in control rather than politicians.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to trust God and with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson, in the continuing series of Embracing Your Unique Gifts and Talents, lays a foundation for the upcoming in-depth study of the motivational gifts of the New Testament. After providing a side by side comparison of the four sections of scripture that mention spiritual and natural gifts, the lesson focuses on the lists in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 to develop the framework for exploring seven specific gifts: prophecy, giving, mercy, teaching, service, encouragement, and leadership.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

In this continuing series based on 2 Peter 1:3-11, the attribute of brotherly kindness is explored.  The lesson defines the meaning using the original Greek language and then, using related scriptures from 1 Thessalonians 4, Galatians 6 and Romans, lays out how this virtue can be manifested in our daily lives, as follows: (1) without hypocrisy, (2) meets needs, (3) shows hospitality, (4) encourages others, (5) admonishes one another, and (6) forgives.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement to practice brotherly kindness this week and with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson, based on Romans 12:1-8, begins a series exploring Embracing our gifts and talents.  The main points covered in this lesson are: (1) focusing within is required to consecrate ourselves to the Lord, (2) transformation starts from within by renewal in the mind, (3) proper self-evaluation using sober judgement is necessary, and (4) embracing the message happens at the universal and the personal level.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to respond to the message.

This lesson reviews the seven qualities of the Christian walk from 2 Peter 1:3-8, binding them together in the concept of our spiritual walk or gait.  The walk has several unique identifiers that are visible, including: (1) walking blamelessly, (2) walking worthy, and (3) walking in the light.  The lesson also discusses developing your gait and the reasons why this is important. The lesson concludes with the encouragement to be diligent to practice these spiritual qualities and an invitation to respond to the message was offered.

In this continuing series taken from 2 Peter 1:3-11, we explore the final attribute Peter describes, which is love.  The lesson defines love in the context of God’s divine love, in contrast to humanity’s variety of emotion-based definitions.  Then the lesson proceeds to discuss whether godly love is in our nature, how the Spirit helps develop this fruit of love, and what love in action looks like in our lives.  The lesson ends at the cross of Christ, which teaches us that love is at the core of everything we are and do, in fact, it is the autograph of God. 

This lesson seeks to answer the question of our purpose and God’s will for our lives.  Using verses from Romans 1:1-7 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, the idea of purpose is defined by Roman 1:6 as being called to belong to Jesus Christ and this theme is developed as the nature and authority of Jesus is explored.  The second area discussed is what belonging to Christ looks like in practical, daily living terms which includes living pure lives, planning to please God, being set apart for his purposes, abstaining from sexual immorality and excelling in brotherly love.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

This lesson, based on Philippians 2:1-5, challenges the church to explore how we may point people to Jesus in uncertain times.  We are reminded that God is seated on his throne and in control as we delve into three challenging truths and three reassuring realities.  The challenging truths are: (1) we live in a tense and divided country, (2) March 8 is not coming back soon (the last time our whole congregation met), and (3) we are incredibly flawed people.  The three reassuring realities that balance out these truths are: (1) righteous prayer is effective and needs to be offered for all elected leaders, (2) stay on the mission to “share the Gospel”, and (3) keep moving forward.

Continuing the series on our Christian identity from 2 Peter 1:3-8, this lesson goes deeper into godliness, defined as being devoted to God.  The main points of the lesson are: (1) a brief analysis of the world, (2) how we can be different from the world, and (3) practical ways to stay devoted and clean.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to to “be in the world but not of it!”

This lesson in the Identity series, based on 2 Peter 1:3-8, explores the attribute of godliness.  This mainspring or driving force of Christian character is defined as devotion to God.  The two main concepts, covered using various scriptures from 1 Timothy and Titus, are the pursuit of godliness and the profitability of godliness for all things.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to be lights in this world.

This lesson is based on Psalm 46 and explores the ideas of how we navigate the realities of the sometimes harsh world around us.  Breaking down the Psalm into 3 major sections, the psalmist addresses three aspects of life’s changing dynamics as follows: (1) changes in nature, (2) changes in society, and (3) changes in my attitude.  In each area of change, we are also presented with the responses we should experience by trusting God is our refuge: (1) I will not fear, God sees, verses 1- 3; (2) I shall not be moved, verses 4 & 7; and (3) Trust God, no matter what happens, verses 8-11.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to “Be still, and know that I am God” and to respond to the message.

This lesson in our Identity series focuses on the virtue of perseverance, which Peter identifies in verse 6 of 2 Peter, chapter one.  After defining the term, examples of heros from the Old And New Testaments are discussed in light of their struggles to persevere.  Then, from Acts 18:9-11, 3 reasons to remain steadfast are discussed, as follows: 1) do not be afraid, God is with you, 2) God is present during our times of loneliness, and 3) God gives us a purpose.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to be steadfast and never quit, and with an invitation to respond to the lesson.

Next in this series on Identity, the characteristic of self-control is explored.  Referencing scriptures from 2 Peter and 1 Corinthians, four suggestions for developing self-control are presented as follows: 1) self-control develops by knowing your purpose, 2) self-control requires discipline, 3) self-control grows with an eternal perspective, and 4) avoiding the penalty of disqualification.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement to continue pressing on towards the goal of heaven by developing your identity in Christ.

In this continuing series on embracing our true nature, the quality of knowledge is explored.  Using 2 Peter 1:3-8 and related scriptures, the lesson develops 2 central points regarding knowledge: 1) developing a deeper, experiential, practical knowledge of God and Jesus, and 2) applying this practical knowledge in our lives.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to embrace true knowledge and to experience the transformation as application is made in our lives.

This lesson series discusses the 7 qualifying marks of our Christian identity.  Moral excellence or virtue is covered in this particular lesson using 2 Peter 5-9 and related scriptures to explore three main points: 1) our challenge to display moral excellence, 2) the impact that association with other saints has on our character, and 3) the dedication to maintain heavenward thinking.  The lesson ends with the encouragement to be a moral hero and bring glory to God with our influence.  

This lesson explores the concept of control and the struggles we have dealing with control in the various aspects of our life.  Using scriptures from Ephesians 6:11-12 and related passages, the three main points covered are: 1) recognize some things are out of our control, 2) recognize we can control some things, and 3) recognize the things only God has control over.  The lesson ends with an invitation to respond to the message.

Using verses from Lamentations 3:22-24, this lesson provides encouragement to trust in the steadfast love of the Lord.  Jeremiah, the prophet, wrote these words of hope after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC to encourage the people in captivity to look to God’s goodness in the midst of their difficulties.  These words also encourage us today to remember the steadfast love of the Lord, to anchor to the rock of his kindness and loving mercies, and to daily be refreshed in the new every morning beginning God provides.  The lessons ends with the invitation to respond to the message.

Based on the text of Hebrews 10:22-25 and related scriptures, this lesson discusses two of the aspects at the heart of worship.  The spiritual food of God’s Word and the close connection to God that we build through consistent prayer are explored as we look at Jesus in his life example and teachings.  The lesson concludes with a comparison of the Christian life to a climber, drawing the conclusion that as Christians, we are not meant to climb alone, but rather we are intimately connected with our brothers and sisters, and one component that is critically important to our worship is the unity we share in Christ.

This lesson, from Luke 15:11-32, takes a deeper look at this familiar parable to discern important characteristics of God’s love, compassion and mercy.  The main points include God being extravagantly approachable, reckless in his release, excessive in his patience, and wasteful in his waiting.  The lesson concludes with an invitation to come home to the excellent love of our Heavenly Father.

Using texts from Ecclesiastes 12:9-12 and other related scriptures, this lesson explores the importance of unity in the church.  The primary points covered are: 1) there is inherent strength in being united with one another, 2) there is sweet fellowship in unity, 3) unity and prayer go together, and 4) Christians are called to unity.  The lesson concludes with the encouragement to love one another and an invitation to respond to the message.

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