BSF Acts: Bible Lesson 8 – Acts 14: Lecture

Aim: A relationship with Christ requires commitment.  Commitment means not quitting when things get hard.

Introduction:  Have you ever ridden on a roller coaster?  When you decide to do it, you step into the car, snap the safety belt and the train leaves the station.  You are committed all the way through, there isn’t anywhere to get off or turn back.  When Paul and Barnabas were called by the Holy Spirit in Antioch to go on this mission trip, they prayed about it, the church prayed and fasted, they knew this is what they were supposed to do.  They got onboard and strapped in.  No matter the ups and downs, no matter how scary, they were going all the way. That’s commitment.

Last week we saw Paul and Barnabas shaking the dust from their feet as they left Pisidian Antioch, wanting to leave the negative things behind them.  This week we see that the negative people followed them anyway, but some truly amazing things happen in spite of the opposition.

 

1st Division: Acts 14: 1-7 Paul and Barnabas speak effectively and boldly and many believe, but division occurs.

Principle: The power of the spirit raises the notice of the opposition

Illustration: Picture this: In a football game, a player is fumbling the ball, missing catches, doing bad passes or hand-offs and you are the coach of the other team.  How many of your players are you going to devote to covering this person?  Probably none.  It is like they are on your team already.  But what about the player who is doing everything well and scoring lots of points for their team.  You might double or even triple team that player.  We see this with Paul and Barnabas, but we also see it with our christian leaders today.  When you are actively spreading the word and being bold and effective, evil powers will be sent to put pressure on you, to get in your way and to try to prevent you from winning.  Thankfully, God has the master game plan!

Application:  Are you asking for the ball?  Are you practicing to be a better player on God’s team?  Would satan worry about getting in your way?

 

2nd Division: Acts 14: 8-18 Paul and Barnabas show the power and majesty of the Creator, but the people of Lystra give credit to the created.

Principle: Only those who truly listen receive the miracle of faith

Illustration: When my wife was a child her parents saved up for months to buy her and her sister a kitchen set for Christmas.  After opening the gift, the 2 kids spent much of the rest of the day playing with the box, ignoring the actual gift.  This is how people can be.  The healing of the lame man was only the outer wrapping of the actual healing that was occurring in his soul.  The ability to walk on this earth was very short compared to his ability to walk the streets of heaven.

Application:  Where are you being blinded by the wrappings instead focusing on the real gift?  Where do you need to listen first so that you may be blessed?

 

3rd Division: Acts 14: 19-28 The Jews arrive, Paul is stoned, Paul is revived and continues in strength

Illustration: Life is full of peeks, valleys and plains.  When we are a committed christian we will face opposition and persecution, and while we may not be stronger and we may be afraid and beaten down to our very last breath, God is stronger.  God doesn’t ask us to go on alone.  He doesn’t promise a smooth path, just the opposite, but he does promise to yolk us together with Him and with others.  Often we gain our greatest encouragement and strength from those we teach.  This is what Paul and Barnabas experienced as they finished their roller coaster ride back to its starting point in Antioch.

Application: Are you committed?  Do you desire a flat trail – if so that might only be achieved once you flatline?  Who are you encouraging and teaching so that you might be strengthened?

 

Conclusion: Lynn Anderson may have summed it up best – “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.  Along with the sunshine, there’s got to be a little rain sometimes.”

Bible Lesson 7: Acts 13 (Lecture)

Scripture: Acts 13

Aim: God’s workers tell the good news to those who have not heard it.

Introduction:  If  you are a fisherman, it might be a lot of fun to hang out in the fishing lodge and talking with other fishermen, but you won’t catch many fish that way.  You have to go where the fish are.

If you are a builder, it might be fun to grab a cup of coffee at the Home Depot and talk with other builders, but things are going to get built that way.  You have to go where the job site is.

If you are a disciple of Christ, it might be a lot of fun to hang out with other christians, but that isn’t the work we are called to do.  We are called to spread His name to those who haven’t heard it.  We are called to go where the work is.

First Division: Acts 13: 1-4 – Barnabas and Saul called out of the church in Antioch

Principle: Pray yields guidance from God

Illustration:  I have a soccer ball that kept going flat on me.  I would pump it up and then a few days later I would have to do it again.  To find out where the leak was I pumped up the ball then was very quiet and put my ear up to the ball.  Sure enough, if I was quiet enough I could hear it leaking air.  But I still didn’t know where.  So I filled up a bucket with water and put the ball down in it.  Sure enough, I could see bubbles and found the leak.  Prayer works much the same way.  We start by being very quiet and listening for God to speak to us.  When we seek His direction He makes things visible so we know exactly where to go.

Application: Are you spending quiet time with God each day?  Do you pray for guidance or just for luxuries?  Do you pay attention when God is showing you areas you need to patch in your own life?

Second Division: Acts 13: 5-12 The Proconsul of Cyprus seeks, hears, sees and believes

Principle: The power of the Holy Spirit always defeats evil.

Illustration: Do you know the difference between light and darkness?  Is there light in the world?  Is there darkness?  Do you know the difference between right and wrong?  Is there right in the world?  Is there wrong?  Do you know the difference between good and evil?  Is there… is there…?  So if you walk into a dark room and turn on a light, which wins, light or dark?  Can you turn on a dark light and make things darker?  Light always is more powerful  Which is more powerful: right or wrong?  Good or Evil?  Which always wins, God’s ways or evil’s ways?  So whenever you are afraid, know that you are not relying on yourself – you have the full power of God’s Holy Spirit in you – which is stronger that or whatever you are afraid of?

Application:  When you are afraid, do you shrink back or call on the power of the Spirit?  Do you recognize evil and call it what it is or are you too polite? 

Third Division: Acts 13: 13-52 Paul and Barnabas reach the crossroads: Jews reject, Gentiles rejoice

Principle: God’s protection turns persecution to joy

Illustration: The comforts of a warm house on a cold, snowy, windy day.  Snuggled up to a fire with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.  We see this image and smile, despite the frigid storm outside.  In fact, the frigid storm is what brings us to this place of comfort and joy.  Persecution for spreading God’s truth works the same way.  We don’t hide from it, but we are sheltered from the storm by God’s overflowing love.

Application: Do you avoid the storms?  If so, you might be missing the comforts?  Do you snuggle up with THE good book each day? 

Conclusion:  A little boy was terribly afraid of the dark.  One evening his mother asked him to get the broom from the garage.  The light switch was out of his reach and he was horribly afraid  His mother reminded him of the lesson he had learned in church that he did not need to be afraid because Jesus was always with him.  The young boy pondered this for a moment, then boldly went to the garage door, opened it and in a loud voice stated, “Hey, Jesus, can you hand me the broom?”  While we laugh at this, we see it lived out in our lesson this week.  Paul and Barnabas are called into scary new places, with new and often unfriendly people.  While Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is with them every step, guiding them and comforting them – they are called to do the work, to speak the words and to spread the news.

Bible Lesson 6: Acts 9:31 – 12:25

Aim: Jew or Gentile, there is only one way: Jesus

Last week we saw the conversion of Saul, and what a turn around that was – from persecutor to preacher.  He saw the light.  We also heard that Saul was being given a mission, to help spread the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles – people that weren’t Jewish.  Now this caused quite a stir because the Jews were God’s chosen people, so was this going to be OK? Should they be invited, too?

So, as we begin to think about our lesson this week, picture this:  William and Kate (Prince/Princess) are coming to your town and throwing a huge party that lasts a really long time.  However, tickets to the event cost $1 bizzillion (a really, really big number).  Is there any way you can buy a ticket?  Is there anyway that anyone can pay that kind of price?  Probably not even the queen.  But, wait, they just announced that they are going to give away free tickets with only 3 requirements:

  1. You have to accept the gift of the ticket.  You can’t ignore it, or throw it away, or sell it, or anything like that.
  2. You have to come in through the front door only, the door that is opened by the host to let in his guests.  No trying to sneak in the back.
  3. While not a requirement, it is strongly suggested that you act grateful for this amazing gift.

That is how things are with God.  When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He paid the price for all of our tickets.  And God wants everyone of us to accept that ticket and join the party.  But he gets very frustrated when someone shows up with a fake ticket that they tried to make on their own.  Or they try to sneak in some backdoor.

There is only one way into this party.  It doesn’t matter who you are, who your parents were or how much you work to make your own ticket.

Division 1: Acts 9:31-10:48

In chapter 9 we have 2 amazing stories of healing and prayer.  The power of the Holy Spirit is overflowing and as Peter travels outside of Jerusalem he is partaking in and witness the power of the Holy Spirit, not only in changed bodies, but in changed hearts and souls.  The first is the story of Aeneas, so crippled that he had stayed in bed for 8 years.  Then, with one blessing from God, he gets up and walks.  Are you saying, we’ve seen that before – ok, how about Dead Dorcas?  Her friends pray and talk about the gifts she has made and… back from the dead.

But in Acts 10, we get into the really interesting story of Peter and Cornelius.  Peter was a Jew.  Jesus came to the Jews.  And when you are a Jew you live as a Jew.  This isn’t a club, it is a way of life, every moment of every day.  You mess up one thing, touch a dead animal by accident, brush against someone with a skin disease, and you can be living outside of the city for days or weeks.

I’m going to talk about the blanket and food restrictions.  This meeting with Cornelius, in his house, eating and just how big of a deal that was.  But the whole time God was working on Peter, from the inside out, to help him see God’s love for all.

Principle: God welcomes all who believe

Illustration: Picture the gates of heaven.  In your mind, do you see a sign next to the door that says, Girls only, no boys allowed?  Or boys only?  Or only people with black hair allowed?  Of course not.  There is a big welcome mat saying all believers enter here.

Applications: Do you understand that God is bigger than skin tone, eye color, nationality or any other difference in humans?

Do you welcome into your church family people that don’t look, act or sound like you?  Do you call them brother and sister?

What “rules” are you expecting people to jump through because that is how you did it when you were a new believer?

Division 2: Acts 11

The jewish born christians are troubled by this new understanding that Peter has received and they have no issue speaking up about it.  Peter goes to Jerusalem, right to the heart of the discussion and lays out the facts.  In one verse (18) they understand, “so, then, that’s how it is.”  God said it, done deal.  Meanwhile, Antioch becomes a hotbed of God’s spirit, Barnabas is dispatched, joined by Saul and the new church gets its legs.

Principle: God’s word unites believers

Illustration:  Have you ever used the words, “Mom said” or “Dad says” or “the coach said to”?  When you are in a family or on a team, it is important to know who is in charge and calling the plays.  There is nothing wrong when you see someone heading a different direction to stop them and ask questions.  But when the direction comes from God, it is best to get on board.

Application: When you have an issue, do you go to the source or chitchat rumor about it?

When you understand that a direction is spelled out in the bible, do you accept it or still want to argue?

Division 3: Acts 12

King Herod (Agrippa), seeks to build his political cachet by imprisoning some of the heathen christians.  When that goes well, he murders James.  Seeing how well that is received he imprison Peter, with plans to kill him as well.

(retell story of the Peter in jail, shackled, 2 guards, sound asleep, freed by H/S, Rhoda, the church praying)

Finally, King Herod get eaten by worms and dies – yuck!

Principle: God sets us free of earthly confines

Illustration: (I’m sticking with Peter and this story)

Application:  If someone wanted to jail the christians, would they know you were one?

What are you losing sleep over?

Do you believe it when God answers your prayers?

What are you shackled to that God needs to set you free from?  Past sins?  Current guilt?  Worry? Fear? Secrets?

Conclusion: In all that is happening, don’t miss the skill movement of the master’s hand in everything that is happening.  I was reading an article on grand masters at chess.  It pointed out that if you take any chess game, at any point in the game, and for less 2 seconds show the board to a master.  They can go to another board and place every piece in place, where a non-chess player is doing good to get 3-4 pieces.  God not only knows this board that we live on, He created it, and He is the Master of All.

Bible Lesson 5: Acts 8-9:30

Aim: The good news spreads through witnessing and obedience despite persecution

Last week we left Acts with the death of Stephen and the joy he experienced, even while being murdered, in seeing heaven opened up and Jesus at God’s right hand.

I want to start this week with a different picture.  Imagine you are sitting on a beach with some of your friends.  The waves are lapping by your toes.  The sun is shining but not too hot with a nice umbrella to shade you.  After sitting for a while you go to get up and find that you have sunk down into the sand.  There are only two forces that might help you – either a pull or a push.  In our lesson this week we get to see examples of both.  Saul’s persecution pushes the believers to move on to Judea and Samaria.  Philip pulls Samarians into a true faith.  Peter pushes Simon the Sorcerer to confront his sin.  Jesus pushes Saul, then sends Ananias to extend a hand to lift him up, with a gentle push to Ananias thrown in first. 

Division 1: Acts 8:1-40: Saul’s persecution spreads witnesses to “all of Judea and Samaria”

Principle: God fills a humble heart

Illustration:  Discuss the differences in Simon the Sorcerer and the Ethopian Eunuch.  The power that each had, the authority and influence and then how they each approached the teaching of Philip.  Focus on accepting the gift with a humble heart.

Principle:  Is pride and self reliance keeping you from fully experiencing God’s gift? (SS tried to buy it)
What in your life is “smoke and mirrors” that you don’t want to reveal to others? (SS’s whole profession was a sham)
Do you “go the distance” for your faith and take time along the journey to stop and study and learn? (EE traveled 1500 miles – reading Isaiah)
Are you putting off devoting yourself to God because you might appear a bit dirty in the process? (EE didn’t have an issue jumping into water along the side of the road)

Division 2: Acts 9:1-9: Saul “sees the light” on Damascus Road

Principle: God calls us to do His work

Illustration:  Read things clearly.  Saul was not an evil person.  He was someone who was zealous about trying to do right in God’s eyes.  If he believed or was taught that it was pleasing to God to go a mile, he wanted to go two.  But Saul had been blinded to the truth about God by the very teachers that he thought were teaching him about God.  Jesus had called these teachers a bunch of snakes who speak only evil.  That doesn’t make what Saul was doing, right, but it does help us understand what is going on.  Jesus asks Saul a question.  Did Jesus not know the answer?  Of course He did.  He is God.  He knows everything.  One thing you will find in scripture is that when God asks us a question it is for us to stop and think, rather than to give Him an answer.  Saul had been blinded by his teachers and his understanding.  Jesus showed him just how blind he was so that Saul could re-open his heart to the true teaching of the spirit.

Application: Do you test all teaching against the word of the Lord or, if someone is an authority, do you just accept what they say?
What truth about Jesus might you be blind to?

Division 3: Acts 9:10-30: Ananias and Barnabas help Saul’s ministry by listening to God over their own fears

Principle: Fear may say stop, but God says go.  Wise men go.

Illustration:  I’m sticking with the story of Ananias and the fear he had and set aside to follow God.  God sent him to see Saul.  Picture this.  There is men and his associates who, with the authority of the police and courts, are dragging people out of their houses, beating them, even killing them.  Your name is on their list.  God comes to you and says I want you to go to this guy, he is expecting you.  What would you say?  (I’ll talk a little bit more and read what Ananias said).  Then look at Barnabas.  You rarely see someone with more faith in God’s power than the Apostles, but here is this guy, when everyone else can’t see how Saul could possibly have changed, who believes that God can do any miracle, even this one.

Application:  What is fear stopping you from doing that God is calling you to?
How many times does God need to tell you to Go?
How big do you believe God is and what he is capable of?

Closing:  I want to bring some focus on “the supporting cast” in these stories this week.  We spend so much time on the key players, such as Saul, that sometimes we completely miss the others.  Did you notice the people that were with Saul on the Damascas road?  They were part of this same “persecution party.”  God didn’t call them by name, but did you notice what they did.  They supported a missionary.  They helped lead a blind brother.  They stayed with him even when he wouldn’t eat for 3 days.  Do you think Saul lowered himself in a basket down the side of the city walls at night? 

While the bible is full of the names we know.  The only way that they survive is by the quiet support of other believers (some of those others only coming to belief at the very same time).  I think we need to model more of our lives on these quiet supporters.  They don’t require a direct message from God, but when they see a brother with a need, they are filled with the spirit to help.  God bless the quiet supporters of the faith.

Bible Lesson 3, Acts 2: Lecture

Acts 2 Aim: Being saved, (accepting Christ and being baptized in the spirit), creates a changed life both in activity and quality.

I want you to picture the earth in your mind.  The entire earth.  Got it?  Ok, using one hand I want you to make a shape showing me what you picture.  (Everyone makes a fist).  Look around, notice anyone holding up a flat hand?  But even just a few generations ago, everyone would be doing that.  But notice how that small revelation changes so many things about how you think about stuff.  If someone goes out in a boat, do you worry about them falling off the end of the earth?  Do you have spend time thinking about what happens to the sun at night?  No.  Simple understandings completely change the way we look at things.

Tonight we are going to learn from a very large group of faithful jews who completely had their understanding of things rocked upside down by the truth spoken through a fisherman.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back where we left things last week. 

(at this point I’ll go back over Acts 1,40 days post resurrection, the final command of Jesus, the ascension, the MIW’s, the obedience to the command, the prayer and bible study that went on while waiting, the selecting of the 12 apostle)

1st division: Acts 2:1-13.  As promised by the bible and Christ, the Holy Spirit comes

Principle: The H/S is given to God’s adopted children

Seriously, do we need better illustrations that tongues of fire and speaking in tongues?  I plan on pointing out some of the background about pentecost as a Jewish Holy Day, both in terms of the festival of first fruits as well as the day Moses was given the 10 commandments (see my earlier post about pentecost).  In studying this, I found it interesting that the emphasis is on the giving of the law as opposed to the receiving of it.  It is about the grace of God and His desire to save, over my want and need of salvation. (probalby too deep for level 1, but I’ll work it in because it is so cool).  The law through moses was an outside thing – there was the structure of the temple, the sacrifices, all the various offerings and observances.  The spirit is an inside thing – no longer are we outsiders, we are adopted children.

Application:

  1. What are you on fire about?
  2. If God gave you the ability to speak in another language that you didn’t know to communicate with people you didn’t know – what would you say?
  3. Are you truly thankful for this gift? Not just focused on receiving it, but understanding the grace with which it is given?

Division 2: Actions 2:14-41

Peter preaches and calls for repentance.

At this point I’m supposed to give a lecture (aka. sermon) about a sermon formulated by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and delivered through the Apostle Peter.  I’m taking the safest route and literally reading the sermon he gave. 

Principle: Repent and accept Christ

Illustration: I have a nephew named James who is a toddler.  When James was an infant, the doctors noticed that his cranium (head bones) were not forming or shaping just right (very common condition called Plagiocephaly), so they gave him this device to wear on his head to help shape things.  It basically was like a baby helmet.  So, when baby James he would crawl and bump into something or fall backwards, it wouldn’t hurt – he was wearing a helmet.  Now he is fine and doesn’t wear it anymore, but he also seems to have absolutely no fear.  He will walk right up to the edge of stairs, or a tall drop-off, and just keep going, stepping out into space.  The adults watching him, jump to his rescue, but for the rest of us, it is terrifying. 

I think this is how it was for Peter and the Apostles.  Filled with the H/S, they were compelled to warn those around them, just as adults do with James, of the impending doom.  Stop – repent – you are on the wrong path.  We need to see that the path we are on is leading to a cliff and we may be only one step away from the ledge.  Stop, turn the other way and take Christs hand for guidance to the correct path.

Application:

  1. What paths are you on that take you away from God?
  2. What do you need to stop doing that leads you to sin?
  3. Are you willing to take Christ’s hand and go a different direction?

Division 3: Changed Lives: Acts 2:42-47

Having their eyes opened to the true meaning of the scriptures and the fact that they pointed to Jesus Christ, the gathered Jews cannot look at things the same way any longer.  The earth is no longer flat. 3000 immediately accept the gift and the spirit fills them up.  They are no longer the same people and they can no longer act the same way.  They eat together, they share, they help each other, they tell others and their numbers grow and grow.

Application:

When someone at school or in your neighborhood sees you and your family, the way you act, the way you talk to each other, the way you treat each other and other people.  Does it look different?  Does it look like something they would want?  You can use a million words, but the biggest testimony is in how you act and live as a changed person – as a child of God.

I’m closing with a big prayer:  I’m going to pray that God bring a mighty wind of the H/S and light up each of these kids.  I’ll ask that He give them 11 ofther friends who, no matter what anyone says, will always stand up together.  But even bigger, I am going to pray that God give each of them 3000 people to see the way they live, to hear the words they have to say and who, as a result, see things in a completely new and holy way.

Can I get an amen to that one?!?!?!

Week 2: Lecture

Aim: Jesus continues His work on earth through the Holy Spirit’s power in believers

Intro:  The crowd shouts out in unison: Five, Four, Three, Two, One.  A loud noise erupts.  It’s over, the job is done, we did it!!

When we hear that description most of us think of a game, like the final minutes of a championship football game, where the whole season has led up to this point, to victory. 

We can think along those lines with the introduction to Acts in chapter 1.  Jesus is God, born as a man, who walked on this earth.  He has fulfilled all of the promise of the prophets.  He suffered, died and then defeated death by rising again from the grave.  He took on all the sins of the world and of all time, mine and yours included, and paid the price that we could not pay.  And now, after spending 40 days again on the earth in a resurrected body, He ascends into heaven.  Wow!

But, let’s play over that phrase again, but this time think of it in a different way.  The crowd shouts out in unison: Five, Four, Three, Two, One.  A loud noise erupts.  It’s over, the job is done, we did it!! 

What if, instead of a football game, this is describing a rocket launch.  While the earthly work is finished, the mission has just begun, and what if that mission includes an ultimate return to earth.  What a marvelous day that will be!

1st Division: Acts 1: 1-8 The Holy spirit is promised:

Principle: When God provides the direction He also provides the power

Illustration: You are so excited.   Your class has been studying for weeks about tigers and today is the big day, you get to go to the tiger preserve and see and touch a real, live tiger.  You have your sack lunch, water bottle, camera, notebook, 2 sharpened pencils, just in case.   You climb on the bus with all your friends and the bus pulls away from the school, but 1 block away, it runs out of gas. 

This doesn’t happen with God.  When He prepares us and sends us on a mission, He always makes sure we have the power to not only get there, but also to do the job.  The jobs God has for us are big jobs, sometimes way bigger than we could ever do on our own, but he provides the Holy Spirit to give us the power to do it right.

Application:

Just like our body needs fuel every day, so does our soul.  Are you filling up your tank in the word every day, or just sometimes?

Do you understand that your thoughts and words that say “I can’t” really mean “I won’t” since God gives you the power to do it?

What are you trying and failing to move with the power of your own 2 feet, when God has given you the keys to a 4 wheel drive, 454 cubic foot, v8 engine with a hemi, towing package and duellies?

Division 2: Acts 1:9-11 – He’s coming back!

Illustration: We think of the Apostles as amazing men of faith who suffered through great hardship and suffering for the mission of furthering the kingdom of God.  While that is true, it is also very fun to see that, at times, they are clueless num-nuts who require not one, but two angels to fill them in on what is actually going on.  They are standing here, asking about Israel being returned to power over Roman rule, Jesus gives them a final instruction then ascends, bodily, to heaven.  11 guys standing there, staring up into the sky, mouths open.  When 2 MIW’s (men in white) show up at their side to say, “OK, nothing to look at here folks, move it along… He’s coming back the same way He left.  Quite rubberneckin’ and get a move on.”

Application:

How many angels does it take to move you along the path that Jesus instructs?

What are you gawking at that is getting in the way of your obedience?

Do you get it that the climax of the story is yet to come?

Division 3:  Acts 1:12-26 – The Apostles are finally obedient and do as they were told – they wait.

Principle: Waiting on God’s timing gives us time to pray

Illustration: Listen how well these go together: Patience, Prayer, Power, Praise, Peace.  The opposite is impatience, self-reliance, inadequacy, chastising, anxiety.  Despite their earlier lack of obedience at the cross, the Apostles follow directions and follow the Lord.  That doesn’t mean it is the easier thing to do, they were very fearful in the upper room, but they were clearly relying on God not only to protect them, but even in choosing Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas – no discussion of most eloquent, best dressed, or anything like that – just a reliance on prayer and asking God to choose.  What a great example they set for learning from rather than constantly repeating our shortcomings by trusting in and obeying the Lord.

Applications:

It’s your life – you choose.  Which path do you want to take knowing where they lead: obedience or ignorance?  If there is any question, look at those words again! Patience, prayer… peace vs. impatience, self-reliance… anxiety/stress.

Who do you want to associate with, the people others see as popular, prestigious, attractive and talented or the ones that God has selected for you to be with?  Are you praying for God to bring the right people into your life?

Where do you need to practice more patience in waiting on God’s timing and what are you doing while waiting?  Are you praying?

Conclusion: If you think the story of the gospels was cool – you ain’t seen nothing, yet.  That paid the price of admission, the next part of the story is still being played out and the big finale is yet to come.

BSF Bible Lesson 1: Lecture

The old saying in corporate settings is to start out like you can hold out.  I am a fan of doing the exact opposite in the first night lecture in the children’s program at BSF.  I do my best to get as much excitement and energy as I can possibly get – even knowing I may not be able to match it every week – but I want the kids to know that I love this stuff and I think it is cool and exciting and fun.  I rarely write out my lectures, preferring to use some simple notes, because I  want to feed on the spirit and the energy.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go in unprepared, but I also don’t write down word for word what I’m going to say so I feel trapped reading it. 

The scripture for our first night is “the bible”.  Pretty all inclusive – but also a great visual.  “OK, let’s all turn to …. our bible.”

The Aim is to cause the student to learn that the Bible is the true Word of God.

I’m going to open with and spend quite a bit of time talking about truth.  What is it?  What is true?  Does 1 + 1 =2?  Sometimes?  All the time?  Is the sky blue?  Sometimes or all the time?  I’m going to talk about swearing in at court (or at least how they do it on TV): promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  What is a truth that isn’t the whole truth?  What is something that is in addition to the truth?  Then back into the one truth – the word of God.  Always, absolute, complete.

Section 1: The bible tells us the truth about who God is: Eternal, creator, sovereign, holy, trinity.  Easy subjects to discuss and have fun with.  I’m going to do it in a playful way… “OK, the bible start out saying that after there had been a lizard crawing around on the earth for a while and he started talking and stuff he was throwing a party one night and decided… hey, let’s make god, right?  NOOOOO.  Did a lizard make God?  Did a man make God?  Which came first God or lizards?  Which came first God or men?  When was God start?  Lot’s of emphasis, lots of moving… lot’s of excitement.  I want the kid’s to be doing everything they can to keep from yelling out… noooooooooooooooo.  I also want to emphasis what sin is – missing the mark. 

Principle #1: The words of the bible are the words of God.  This isn’t a story.  It isn’t a book about people like the Apostles and Moses and Joseph and Samson and Esther and Lydia.  It isn’t even a book about God.  It is a gift.  These are God’s words that he gave us so that we can know Him.  Are you reading God’s words?  Can you think of something more important that you should be doing?  How do you think God will respond if we say we didn’t find the time to read what he gave us?

Section B: The Bible tells us the truth about what God has done.   Revelation of God through time, history (his story), that he is a man with a plan (just rhymes better than God with a plan), Salvation has always been His plan for His chosen people, this plan enables a future and hope of eternal life (clarifying that hope does not mean uncertainty, it means looking forward to.)  Critical in this is that God is DOING.  This is in direct contrast to the belief that God set things in motion but is now missing.  It is also counter to the “Lion witch and wardrobe movies” where Aslon sweeps in and out but is gone for large periods of time.  The bible tells about what God has actively done and from that we know that He is actively doing even today in each of our lives. 

Principle #2: The Bible is the final authority for all the events of life.  This is not a reference guide.  It is not a rule book.  It is not a fable or foible or action drama.  It isn’t a love story, although there is plenty of love in it.  Have you ever done the hokey pokey?  right leg in, left leg out… So here is the most important thing you are going to learn all year… see these words?  See the voice of God in these words telling us about Himself and His plan for me and for you?  This IS what it is all about.   When you have questions about right and wrong, where do you look?  When you think about role models, are you looking at magazines or this book? 

Section C: The bible tells us the truth about who we are and how we are to live.  Ever person is: made in the image of God, created to bring glory and honor to God, is a sinner, needs a savior.  God didn’t make trash.  I’m not something He spit out.  He made me different than any and every other thing in all of creation.  He made me like Him.  He gave me the ability to make choices.  He gave me the ability to decide and He loved me so much that He let me do it even knowing that I would mess up.  No other creature sins.  Rocks don’t sin.  Birds don’t sin.  Our ability to choose, to accept or reject is something that makes us unique in all creation.  And we have always chose wrong (all of us except Jesus that is).  But did God say, oh well.. let’s start over?  No, He had a plan all along.

Prinple #3: The bible is without error.  The bible cannot be wrong any more than God can be wrong.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  His Word does not have errors.  When you need to stand on something, when you need to build on something, do you want something that can change? something that is true some of the time but not all the time?  something that is partially true, but not all the way?  something that is mostly true?  No, you want a rock. 

This book is the True Word of God.

Amen!