Friday, March 22, 2019

Lent 2019: Week Two Study Guide



Week Two: God is All In


SHARE

Share your Highs and Lows for the week with each other. 

READ

Read the Old Testament reading from this past Sunday, Genesis 15: 1-12, 17-18.  What part of the reading intrigued you, interested you, confused you, enlightened you?

TALK

In his sermon, Pastor Dave talked about covenant.  In the Bible, a covenant is a "contract" between God and the people of God.  In the covenant with Abram, what imagery does God use to express His willingness to enter into this covenant?

At the heart of our faith is a questions of whether or not we can trust God. What makes you trust God? What challenges your ability to trust God? What has helped you begin to trust God again?

PRAY

Pray for each other, the world, and then share the Lord's Prayer together

BLESS

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on the forehead and saying, "God loves you and so do I"

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lent 2019: Week One Study Guide


Week One:  The Devil Made Me Do It


SHARE

Share your Highs and Lows for the week with each other. 

READ

Read the Gospel reading for the week:  Luke 4: 1-13.  What part of the reading intrigued you, interested you, confused you, enlightened you?

TALK

In his sermon, Pastor Dave highlighted three ways that we can face our own temptations as modeled by Jesus in the wilderness: 

     1)  Find strength in our baptism and belovedness to God (the promise of God to be with us),    
     2)  God is in the wilderness and God can change us and lead us through them 
          (see Abraham, Moses, Jacob, etc.), 
     3)  Seek the words of Scripture (other religious teaching) to guide us, and provide strength

Discuss how these may contribute to helping you in our own struggle with temptation.  What has been helpful to you in working through your own temptations?  

PRAY

Pray for each other, the world, and then share the Lord's Prayer together

BLESS

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on the forehead and saying, "God loves you and so do I"

Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 Lenten Preaching Series: Getting Serious about Jesus



Getting Serious about Jesus

Sunday, March 10:  The Devil Made Me Do It (Luke 4: 1-13)
Sunday, March 17:  God is All In (Genesis 15: 1-12, 17-18)
Sunday, March 24:  We Got Some Work to Do (Luke 13: 1-9)
Sunday, March 31:  God Forgives, are we OK with that? (Luke 15)
April 7:  Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord (John 12:1-8)

Lent is traditionally understood to be a season of contemplation and repentance.  It is a season of "reorientation" and renewal.  It is a season where we intentionally seek to follow Jesus more closely.  In other words, it is a time to "get serious" about Jesus.

Each week of Lent, I will be posting a small group study with questions about the topic for the week.  It will go out each Sunday evening, beginning March 10 and concluding on April 7.  All LIFT groups are invited to participate.      

If you happen to be at Bethel during Lent, don't be alarmed if someone comes up to you and asks, "Are you serious?"  It will not be meant in a derogatory way.  It is our Lenten mantra!  


SO, ARE YOU READY TO GET SERIOUS?


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

LIFT Bible Study on Evangelism (Part III)



Share  your Highs and Lows for the week or since your last meeting

Read  the Lesson (Acts 17: 16-31)

Talk  and discuss the following:

What image / person / situation stood out to you in the story and why? What did it make you feel or understand about God?

Pastor John Wertz, when visiting us on September 30, preached from this text and reminded us that in the 21st century, Christianity in America looks more like "Athens" than "Jerusalem".  We are not in "familiar" territory anymore.  We are now in a culture that we cannot assume knows about our faith and life. 

He gave us three "prescriptions" for how to be in "Athens" effectively, taken from our lesson:

1) Realize we are in Athens, i.e. name our reality and embrace it

2) Find a way to "build bridges" into this strange new land. What are the bridges we/you could build? Discuss together.

3) Begin at the beginning.  Instead of assuming others "know" the Christian story, assume that they do not.  How might this change the way we "do" evangelism effectively? 


Pray  with and for each other (you can use the Lord's Prayer or sing the Doxology)

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other's forehead and saying "The Lord Bless You and Keep You!"

LIFT Bible Study on Evangelism (Part II)



Share  your Highs and Lows for the week or since your last meeting

Read  the Lesson (John 1: 43-51)

Talk  and discuss the following:

What image / person / situation stood out to you in the story and why? What did it make you feel or understand about God?



Some thoughts on how the church messed up evangelism?

“By presenting a false dichotomy between evangelism and justice.”

“By finger wagging.”

“The church has screwed up evangelism by aggressively beating people over the head with "the message” and forgetting to “love” people.  People won’t listen to people who they don’t believe love them.”

“By distorting the gospel; too much law and not enough grace.”

“Made evangelism a belief and set of rubrics rather than an action where we seek to live in Christ's likeness.”

“I think that evangelism in impoverished areas, specifically Africa, can lead to dishonest evangelism. Also, I don't think infomercial evangelism was what Jesus had in mind.”

“In trying to spread good news of great joy for all people, we've made it bad news for most people, especially people with whom Jesus would have hung out.”

“The "church" hasn't messed up evangelism, humans have. It seems that Jesus had a lot to say about the Holy Spirit, but the "church" doesn't seem to talk about the Holy Spirit very much.”


What might effective and faithful evangelism look like?


Pray  with and for each other (you can use the Lord's Prayer or sing the Doxology)

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other's forehead and saying "The Lord Bless You and Keep You!"

LIFT Bible Study on Evangelism (Part I)



Share  your Highs and Lows for the week or since your last meeting

Read  the Lesson (Matthew 28: 16-20)

Talk  and discuss the following:

What image / person / situation stood out to you in the story and why? What did it make you feel or understand about God?


Is this Evangelism?

Evangelism can be defined as the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations; to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

What about this?

Evangelism is not a matter of converting someone to a different belief, it is a matter of welcoming those who are isolated and in need of a community; founded on the belief that people have a need for religious community, for deep relationships, for spiritual exploration, and for social involvement.


Some Definitions of Evangelism from others?

“IMHO evangelism is not about telling folks you're right it's about providing them something they want to be a part of

“Sharing the message and love of Christ to those beyond the household of the faith

“I love Brian McLaren's definition about participating in God's healing of the world.”

“A lived life of engaging with folks in things that really matter where relationships are built, and love is cultivated.”

“I would define it as bringing the love and message of Christ to others genuinely.”

“Evangelism is not winning converts but announcing to the world who the true Lord of heaven and earth really is, whether they acknowledge it or not. Evangelism is telling people that they ARE saved, therefore, BE reconciled.”

“Evangelism is more relational than confrontational, more communal than solitary, and is more a beginning than an end.”

“Evangelism is bearing witness to what God has done, is doing and will do in the world and in one’s life, engaging others in Spirit-led dialogue and inviting people to faith.”

Everything you do is evangelism.”



How would you define Evangelism?


Pray  with and for each other (you can use the Lord's Prayer or sing the Doxology)

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other's forehead and saying "The Lord Bless You and Keep You!"

Monday, June 4, 2018

Parables of Jesus Study Guide #12 (Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard)



Share  your Highs and Lows for the week or since your last meeting

Read  the Lesson (Matthew 20: 1-16)

Talk  and discuss among the following questions:

1) What image / person / situation stood out to you in the story and why? What did it make you feel or understand about God?

2)  Do you empathize with the workers who were upset?  Why or why not?

3)  Consider the landowner.  Why didn't he give more to those who worked longer?  How might this relate to our lives of faith?

4)  Where do we get our ideas or what is "fair" and what is "unfair"?  Who defines "fairness"?   

5)  Does God's idea of "fairness" differ from ours?  If so, what would our world be like / look like if it modeled God's idea of fairness more fully?


Pray  with and for each other (you can use the Lord's Prayer or sing the Doxology)

Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other's forehead and saying "The Lord Bless You and Keep You!"