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WEDNESDAY NIGHT MIDWEEK NOTES

From April 2024

What is the Joy that Jesus Brings?

  • Isaiah 35
    • Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom, and the southern kingdom was about to be conquered next. Hezekiah prayed for the Assyrians to withdraw from Judah and they left. Isaiah foretold that this would happen in Judah. Isaiah also predicted that a time of joy was coming and the redeemed will make it. They were rejoicing that God was present and they would enter Zion with great singing.
    • They were rejoicing because they were redeemed. The remnant that was left made it back
    • To be redeemed brings true joy
  • Luke 1: 5-10
    • Zechariah was a righteous Levite. He had no children with Elizabeth but they had John. John was a Nazarite, never cut his hair or drink fermented drinks. The angel told him he would have a son that would change the world. The name JOHN means- God’s GIft. Zechariach was doubting God’s promise and was therefore silenced. Sometimes when we are silenced, it gives us time to think more about who God is and that he keeps his promises.
  • Luke 1:26-38
    • Mary’s response was very different from Zechariah’s. She surrendered to the angel’s directions right away. She asked a question about the promise, but she did not doubt it. Mary should have been familiar with the promise that David would always have someone on his throne. She was to give birth to Jesus in continuation of the line of David. She became blessed among women because of her belief in God. 
  • John 3:29
    • John said he was Jesus’s bridegroom and full of joy. Do we get joy from Jesus or from our circumstances? This Joy is available to anyone who wants it. Nothing is impossible with God. 
  • Luke 10:1-20
    • Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs to spread his message that his kingdom is near and gave them power to heal the sick.. When they returned they were rejoicing because of the miracles they were able to do. Jesus advised them to rejoice in the fact that their names were written in heaven and not in the miracles they were able to perform. Jesus wanted them to have a permanent joy that comes only from God, not from our temporary circumstances. 
  • John 15:9-17
  • 1 John 5:1
    • Jesus loves us the way God loves us. We show love for God when we obey his word. We aren’t a friend to Jesus when we disobey his commands.
    • Jesus advised that we have complete joy when we love God and when we love people. We can only do these things when we remain in Jesus' love for us. Jesus will give us this joy. Reading and obeying Jesus’s words connects us with his love for us. 
  • John 16:17-24
    • We can ask anything from Jesus, he wants our joy to be complete
    • Jesus was able to accomplish God’s plan for eternity which gives us complete Joy
  • Habakkuk 3:16-19
    • Habakkuk is very upset about the state of affairs in Judah. God told him he would use Babylon to punish Judah. Habakkuk was in pain as he was waiting for calamity to fall on Babylon but he waited patiently for God to act. He was trusting God would save despite the circumstances of the situation. 
  • 1 Peter 1:3-9
    • The reward for trusting God is salvation in God. When we face trials, our faith will be refined. When we persevere in our faith, we bring honor and glory to God. We should remember to keep our joy in who God is, not in who people are.
  • Hebrews 12: 1-3
  • Hebrews 1:1-4
    • God made promises to several people listed here and kept all of his promises to them.
    • We need to remember to run our own race and fix our eyes on Jesus to make it to the end. Jesus is sitting on his throne right next to God and is rooting for us. Don’t quit and get tangled up in worries and sins and stumble and fall. If you do, get up and keep running toward the finish line. 
    • Joy comes from knowing God is a promise keeper, that Jesus is our biggest fan and is helping us to obey God. Our joy will be complete when we stay in our word and close to Jesus and obey him.

March 2024 midweek lesson notes

  1. Do you have faith that Jesus  can help you in your life? And what do you do about it?
  • READ LUKE 17: 1-5
    • Jesus takes a strong stand against people who cause others to stumble
    • Jesus was patient with humanity and asks us to keep on forgiving each other
    • The measure we use to judge others will be used against us
    • Forgiving others the way Jesus forgives us takes a lot of faith
  • READ MARK 2:12
    • Jesus saw the faith of the men as they were digging through the roof to help bring their friend to him
    • The paralyzed man didn't ask for forgiveness  but Jesus gave it anyway
    • The teachers of the law thought only God could forgive sins,but Jesus forgave sins to help the people grow in their faith in him
    • Jesus was able to prove that he was the Son of God because he had the power to heal the parayzed man and the authority to forgive sins
    • God has given us everything we need because we have forgiveness
    • God gives us an over abundance of forgiveness and patience
  • READ MATTHEW 6:5-15
    • When we talk to God we shouldn't babble on and on with incantations and repetitions because this is heartless. God already knows what we need, just ask him.
    • We pray to be forgiven in the same way we forgive others. How do you forgive others?
    • We can share the forgiveness we received from God with each other
  • READ EPHESIANS 4:29-32
    • it's a command from God to forgive each other
    • We have the ability to forgive each other the way Jesus does
    • When we are not generous with our forgiveness we are being greedy and selfish
  1. Where does Forgiveness come from? What does it really mean to forgive others the way God forgives us?
  • READ JEREMIAH 5:1-11
    • At this time in Judah, no one was dealing honestly With each other
    • The people were refusing to repent
    • There were no righteous people
    • The poor and the rich refused to obey
  • READ JEREMIAH 31:31-34
    • God decided to unify Israel and Judah and gave them a new covenant
    • God spared a remnant in order to keep his covenant
    • God put his word in the hearts and minds of the people, no longer on stone tablets 
    • God also forgave their wickedness and forgot their sins
    • This was a renegotiation of the old covenant to make it possible for the house of Israel and Judah to be in right relationship with God
  • READ HEBREWS 9: 11-155
    • Jesus was  able to enter the most holy place because he was the ultimate sacrifice and cleansed our sins
    • Because of Jesus’s sacrifice we no longer have to keep offering (animal) sacrifices for our sins
  • READ HEBREWS 10:11-18
    • The priest offered sacrifices that couldn't take away sins
    • Jesus was able to take away sins
    • God was really patient and generous in his forgiveness after all the stuff humanity was doing 
    • Jesus’s blood was able to take away our sins and makes us perfect forever, those who are being made holy
  • READ ROMANS 7:8
    • The law was needed in order for us to know right from wrong
    • Forgiveness comes from God's  promise and renegotiation of the original covenant. He gave us permanent forgiveness through Jesus’s sacrifice 
  • READ MATTHEW 26: 17-20 and 26-29 and Colossians 3:12-14
    • One day we will be with Jesus to drink from the fruit of the vine with him
    • We are God's chosen people
    • We should forgive the way God forgives us
    • We should clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness and love, then we can forgive others

February 2024 Midweek Lesson Notes

February 14, 21 and 28, 2024

God’s Compassion

  •  Isaiah 48: 8-16
    • God restored Israel
    • God kept his promises
    • Although Israel did not earn it, God showed them great compassion by restoring them
  • Nehemiah 9: 13-31
    • The Israelites were guilty of disobeying God: worshiped idols, forgot the Laws of God and killed prophets
    • But in his compassion, God brought Israel back from exile, so they were able to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem
    • The Israelites confessed their sins, read the Torah, and joined with the Levites to be restored and praise the Lord
  • Psalm 51:1
    • David called out to God for mercy and compassion
    • In Psalm 86:15- God’s compassion
    • Psalm 145:8-9- God is slow to anger and rich in love
  • Matthew 20: 29-34
    • Blind men were begging Jesus for mercy
    • Jesus had compassion on them and healed them
    • They were physically blind, but spiritually they could see who Jesus really was
  • How do you share the compassion of God/Jesus with others
  • When we show others the compassion of Jesus, it will help them grow closer to God

God’s Patience

  • Acts 26: 9-18
    • Paul was busy killing Christians but Jesus showed up and showed him compassion to lead him in the right direction
    • God can use anyone to get his message across, this was an great example of the compassion of God to use Paul to spread the gospel to the Gentiles after he was known as a killer of Christians
  • 1 TImothy 1: 12-17
    • Paul was changed after meeting Jesus
    • Paul’s life was an example of how much patience Jesus gives us so that we could repent
  • 2 Peter 3: 1-18
    • Peter said he was passing on the words he received from Jesus
    • God’s word is powerful. God’s word gave life and existence to the earth. God’s word also was able to destroy the earth by a flood. But God is also patient and gives us time to repent
    • God does not view time as we do. He is above time.
  • When we are patient with others like God is with us, we can give someone a chance to repent
  • Who will you show God’s patience to today?
  • Romans 8: 18-25
    • All of creation is waiting for God’s children to be revealed.
    • Our hope is in the resurrection, the redemption of our bodies. When we are freed there will be no more death
    • We can be patient and wait on God because  God keeps his promises and will deliver
  • Romans 2: 1-5
    • Because God is kind, he is patient and doesn’t judge us harshly
    • The Jews were mistaking God’s patience as God not bringing judgment for their sin.
    • Paul had to remind the Jews they were guilty of doing the same things the Gentiles were doing and passing judgment
    • Only God’s judgment is based on truth
    • God judges us based on what we do, not on what we believe
  •  Matthew 18: 21-27
    • Jesus wants us to be generous with our forgiveness
    • We should forgive others in the way God has forgiven us through Jesus, not like this unmerciful servant

Wednesday Midweek Lesson Notes

From January 24, 31, 2024 to February 7, 2024

Read John 1:14

  • Jesus came to earth and brought us grace and truth
  • He came as the Word of God to show us who God is

Read John 14:1-7

  • We can only get to the Father through Jesus
  • Jesus brings the truth into our lives
  • This leads to our salvation

Read John 18:28-40

  • Jesus told them that he was a king of a different kingdom
  • They could not understand the truth he was speaking

_________________________________________________

Read Genesis 2: 15-17 and Genesis 3: 1-7

  • God created the man and woman to take care of the Garden
  • They could eat from any tree except one
  • The serpent showed up and twisted the words of God and tempted Eve
  • What was the truth? Did Eve really know the truth?
  • We were already made in God’s image and ruling with God in the Garden of Eden
  • We did not need anything extra, we had everything we needed

John 8:21-30

  • Jesus warned them they were from the world and could not understand what he was saying

John 8: 31-41

  • He was speaking to the Jews who had believed him
  • He told them they had to obey him if they knew the truth
  • Everyone who sins is a slave to sin and he can set them free
  • But they had no room for his word in their hearts

John 8 : 42-47

  • Jesus told them they were the children of the devil because they spoke his native language.
  • When we listen to God, we belong to God. When we listen to Satan we belong to Satan. 
  • We are able to make a decision. We don’t have to make choices against God’s will.

1 John 5: 18-21

  • When we are born of God, we do not continue to sin
  • We can hear the voice of God and obey his word

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Isaiah 54:4-10

  • Isaiah was warning Judah that they would be taken into captivity by Babylon
  • Judah in exile was like a wife deserted who married young; but God decided to restore them and have compassion on them
  • God’s unfailing love will not be shaken and he will not remove his covenant of peace from us

Leviticus 13: 1-4 and 45-46

  • These are laws for skin diseases to keep them from spreading among the camp
  • They were to alert others of their sickness by yelling and dressing differently

Mark 1: 40-45

  • Jesus healed the man with leprosy who was humble
  • Jesus touched him which was against the laws of Leviticus
  • Jesus didn’t want the healed man to tell anyone else about the healing so that he could continue preaching 
  • We can spread the news of Jesus’s healing powers to others

Luke 7: 11-17

  • Jesus raised the dead son to life
  • Jesus had compassion on the woman because she was a widow and now had a dead son
  • Jesus reached out and touched the dead body and raised him back to life
  • When Jesus’s heart goes out to someone he does something to them
  • The whole crowd praised God and were claiming he was a prophet and God has come to help his people with this healing
  • When we share about God’s healing to others they will have a chance to believe and obey him

Jesus the Humble Servant

Wednesday 1-4-2023 Midweek Lesson on Building Friendships

Read John 13, Luke 13 and Hebrew 5: review from prior lesson

  • What does it mean to be a humble servant?
  • Jesus taught us how to be a humble servant
  • First, Jesus relied on God for his ability to serve others
  • We could learn from Jesus by personally going to God first to get the strength to serve and take care of others

Read Isaiah 49:1-7

  • Was Israel successful in their commission to show the world who God is?
  • Although they failed initially, God encouraged them he would send someone to restore them to their task and to an even greater task, to send his message to the whole world.
  • God encouraged them that he would send his servant. His servant would be a light to the Jews and to the Gentiles. His servant would bring salvation to the whole world.  Jesus was the servant who came and did this for us. In his humility, he became a servant to all mankind, showing us all how to Love and Obey God. 
  • We could learn from Jesus by following his example of humility by being willing to do what God asks of us. 

Read Isaiah 50:4-9

  • God gave the servant of the Lord wisdom and ears to listen and to obey his word
  • The servant of the Lord was willing to serve because he knew God helped him
  • When we follow Jesus’s example of listening and obeying God, we too will also have words of instruction to sustain the weary. We too will have the ability to endure and fulfill the tasks God has given us to do. 

Read Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53:1-12

  • The Lord’s servant was going to be hated in his life on earth and disfigured in his death
  • Isaiah tried to warn the people that the Lord’s servant was coming to bring them back into a right relationship with God but many did not listen to him or believe what he was saying. 
  • God promised that his servant would share in the victory of the battle. 
  • As followers of Jesus, our life on earth may not be glamorous and may be full of hardships, but we should trust in God’s words. He wants to deliver us and share in the victories of the battles of life. 

Read Philippians 2:1-11

  • Jesus was humble and obedient
  • He humbled himself by coming to earth and walking among humans, teaching and serving them
  • He did not live a glamourous life while he lived on earth, he was familiar with suffering and then died a brutal death. He considered others better than himself. 
  • Because of his trust in God and obedience, he displayed the full splendor of who God is. 
  • Jesus is still serving us today by interceding for us at the right hand of God.
  • We can learn from Jesus how to be a humble servant by trusting in God’s promises and considering others better than ourselves. 
  • Honor will be brought to God when we live out these things in our everyday lives. We need this understanding in order to be a true friend to someone. We should first go to God for strength to serve someone else and to consider someone else’s needs above our own. When we remove God from the picture of our lives and become self-reliant, being a true friend to someone else usually becomes an extremely challenging task. 

Climb Conference September 2023, Highlights

Conference Theme: WE DO NOT LOSE HEART

Theme Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

From Shawn Wooten, Bucharest Church of Christ

  • He moves every 3-6 months to strengthen an eastern european church
  • Lives out of 1.5 suitcases
  • Founder of REVIVE-asks empty nesters or new college grads to come with him and move to an eastern european church to strengthen and encourage the disciples there for 10 months

Read Matthew 16:15-9

  • Peter knew Jesus was the Son of God because God revealed it to him
  • Jesus informed Peter that he was going to build his church
  • Building his church was the way Jesus would save souls
  • The Gates of Hades will not overcome Jesus’s church
  • Jesus’s church will pull people out of satan’s kingdom and nothing will be able to stop us from pulling them out, unless they do not want to be pulled out of course
  • Jesus’s church is a rescue boat, not a cruise ship, we don’t need all the bell’s and whistles
  • Once you are on a rescue boat, you are safe. You don’t care who you are sitting next to, right?
  • Peter was given the keys on how to enter Jesus’s church
  • In Acts 2, Peter told everyone how to enter into Jesus’s church, they needed to repent and be baptized
  • Jesus’s church is the most significant “organization” on this planet
  • When someone dies they are either lost or saved no in betweens
  • We are not wasting our time helping the lost to be saved. Helping to build God’s church is the most important work going on in any city at any time. 

Read Hebrews 10: 24-25

  • We need to encourage each other to keep on loving and doing good deeds
  • God loves me and every human being
  • We need to understand how much God loves us then we can convince others that God loves them too.
  • In the church we are commanded to love God and to love each other
  • We were chosen to know God  and God has given us everything we need to love him and to love others and to lead others to Him
  • Some Practicals: organize into small groups of 3-5 people and encourage each other to live as a Christian- we should be praying daily, encouraging people daily, just saying hello; grow in our relationship with God weekly and meet new people daily. Practice having temple courts, ie. going to the same cafe or public place and bringing God’s word there to reach the lost.

Read Hebrews 10:32-39

  • Keep moving, don’t get stuck
  • Keep getting up despite the storms
  • We have places to go to in order to build Jesus’s church
  • One day the sky will open and we will see the angels and Jesus coming down and he will claim his people
  • When you  see Jesus for the first time eye to eye he will be proud of you for not giving up
  • This is why we are here and why we do what we do in order to spend eternity with Jesus

____________________________________________________________________________

From Jeanie Shaw

“Filling up on GOD”

  • As a leader in the  church it can be difficult to receive from God
  • We can feel like we are never enough so we keep working harder and harder
  • It is important to remember God loves you for you, not for your activities
  • How do you remember God loves you? For Jeanie- it’s by spending time in nature
  • Take time to stop and spend time receiving from GOD

Read Psalm 36:8 and Ephesians 3:15-19

  • The way we view God can impact the way we live
  • If we view God as “judicial” we can feel like he is here to judge us and we have to keep working harder and harder to please him
  • If we view God as “relational” we can feel his presence in our lives and that he is loving and delights to be with us
  • We can only give to others out of an abundance. If we feel God’s love in abundance we will give abundant love to others. The opposite is true, if we do not feel the abundance of God’s love in our life we will not be able to give to others. 
  • Spend time praying to God and dwelling in his presence and being in touch with the Holy Spirit; Feast on God
  • Make space to BE instead of just doing
  • Sayings to remember: Happy Cows make lots of milk and Happy Chickens lay a lot of eggs. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.

READ Psalm 46:10

PRACTICAL WAYS TO RECEIVE FROM GOD

  • Be Still
  • Spend 30 minutes a day in silence and receive from GOD, do not pray or work, just be still
  • God gave sabbath rest so we can be still
  • Jesus was in the desert 40 days before he started his ministry so that he could be still 
  • Paul spent years alone before he went out to preach
  • BE STILL and experience the presence of GOD instead of running around busy. Jesus’s ministry walked at his pace about 3 miles per hour. How fast is your life going, do you outpace Jesus?
  • Take time to consider the lilies and notice the rivers that God made. Being in nature helps you to be in his presence and receive from him. 
  • We can receive comfort and guidance from being in the presence of GOd. Consider Hannah when she was praying and God heard her. She was in his presence pouring out her heart to Him and he heard her prayers. 
  • The more we enter the space of God the more we will receive from God and get closer to the spiritual world of God.

READ Matthew 11: 28-30

  • How do you feel after reading this passage?
  • Reading God’s word should fill us with contentment
  • God’s word keeps us from drying up

We can be filled up with God by using our senses

  1. Sense of Imagination: spend time imagining with God
  2. Sense of Speech: we can learn from hearing words spoken by God’s spirit (1COR 2:13)
  3. Sense of Seeing: Exodus 34:33-35, when Moses saw God he became radiant. When we study God, we can explain who He is to people in detail like an artist. When astronauts experience outer space, they return home and are more kind and are more dissatisfied with the affairs of the world. When we experience God with our eyes, we begin to realize we are part of a bigger picture
  4. Sense of Listening: creating space in order to listen to God’s word will help us to experience Him in a new way. Try doing a listening prayer: pray, stop and listen for what God is telling you. 
  5. Sense of Smelling God: Revelation 8: the smoke of incense, prayers, imagine smelling prayers to God
  6. Sense of Touching God: remembering God made items you are touching
  7. Sense of Tasting God: remembering God made the food you are eating and enjoying it

From Pam Skinner

2 COR 4:7-12

As leaders we need to persevere in our marriages.

  • We should be devoted to our relationship with God and to our spouses
  • Remember to renew your marriage and your friendship with your spouse instead of being isolated and feeling forgotten in a small church
  • Don’t just feel sorry for yourself, find another couple to get with to help encourage you in your marriage

BUILD UP YOUR HUSBAND-PRACTICALS

  • Be his biggest fan. Our husbands need us
  • Criticism and Negativity can destroy your marriage
  • We worship Jesus not our husbands
  • Have humility toward your husband, don’t take him for granted
  • They need to hear what a great job they are doing with leading church, leading your family, etc
  • Make a habit of taking time to build up your husband
  • If there is a tough item to talk about, call it a friendly challenge
  • Call other brothers in the church and ask them  to call and encourage your husband
  • Let him lead you even if he makes some mistakes
  • Make your marriage a priority: GOD, HUSBAND, KIDS, MINISTRY-in that order
  • Have date nights and keep courting or he will be distant and resentful
  • Know what your husband likes and participate in things he likes to do

WORK ON YOUR OWN FRIENDSHIPS

  • Read  SAM 22:1-2
  • Find your group, don’t go at it alone
  • Dream for your women to do great things
  • Pray for your women 
  • 1 SAM 23:16- Get best female friendships, including friendships outside your small church to help you find strength in GOD
  • Be intentional about your friendships, don’t neglect them

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MINISTRY WELLNESS

Joel and Christy Peed and Dr. Sean St. Jean

  • Ministry Growth does not always equal ministry health
  • We should desire to have healthy ministries, lead by healthy leaders

READ 2 COR 4:6-18

  • As ministry leaders, we are highly vulnerable to mental fatigue
  • We can combat some of this with being highly spiritual and highly structured
    • HIGHLY VULNERABLE
      • Ministry leaders are helping professionals and are therefore subject to personal stress and burnout
      • Burnout occurs when someone feels ineffective, overwhelmed, stressed and feels like what they are doing has lost meaning
      • Comparing yourself to others can also worsen burnout
      • Hearing negative issues daily can lead to a darkening and cynicism of your world view. Cynicism is heart damage that can lead us away from God. Little lies from Satan can rot our hearts and cause us to turn away from God.
      • Compassion Fatigue: compassion  should be action oriented, which does not lead to burnout. We can show compassion and have healthy boundaries; we get fatigued when we have poor boundaries. 
      • 1COR 3: 6-7: God makes things grow, we water and plant. Stop doing tasks that you were not called to do, this leads to burnout.  We should focus on enjoying the planting and watering. God does the growing. 
    • HIGHLY SPIRITUAL
      • The Apostle Paul led his ministry by following the Holy Spirit
      • He did not put confidence in his flesh or eloquent speeches, but in God alone
      • Paul taught about the Holy Spirit 160 times in his letters. Is your ministry spirit lead or duty lead?
      • You have to stop talking, stop being afraid, stop the distractions, stop listening to other voices, stop the disbelief, stop the busyness: in order to hear the voice of God.
      • A loud, overcrowded, hyperactive life is the opposite of a spirit led life.
    • HIGHLY STRUCTURED
      • Read 1 COR 14:33
        • God is orderly and full of peace
        • Paul was a fool for Christ but he was not foolish
        • He instructed all leaders should lead a peaceful and quiet life, not a chaotic and overscheduled life
        • It’s unsustainable to live a chaotic life, ie. always running behind, never caught up, always late to things, this is damaging to your mental health and well being
        • Is your life showing chaos or encouragement to others?
        • As God was creating, he created a daily rhythm to life: night and day, seasons, weeks, sabbath rests. He also provided food, water, work and times to rest. God created weekly sabbaths, sabbaths every 7 years and even a 49th year rest. He created rest for the human kind. Do you rest in God? Humans tend to lean toward greed, chaos, and avoiding God’s boundaries. This leads to busyness and chaos in our lives.
        • What rule of life do you live by? 
        • Stop overfunctioning, work only the hours you are supposed to work, take all your vacation days, take a weekly sabbath day, take a monthly solitude day. Stop doing too much with too many people. Go on nature retreats to spend time with God. Spend special times with your children, spouse and take time to build some friendships outside of your small church.

Friendship

Wednesday Discussion Notes on  FRIENDSHIP from October 4, 2023

Question: What does it mean to be a friend to someone?

Read Isaiah 5:1-7

  • God owns the vineyard in this passage
  • The vine is Israel
  • God expects Israel to bear good fruit 
  • What kind of fruit is this vineyard yielding? Blood shed and distress

Read John 15:1-8

  • God is the owner of this vine, He is the gardener
  • Jesus is the vine
  • The disciples are the branches
  • If we remain connected to Jesus, the vine, we will bear much fruit
  • Jesus tells us how to be effective in our lives, remain in Him, know Him and follow his teachings
  • We can only bear good fruit if we stay connected to Jesus. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. 
  • God, the gardener takes care of the vines, he prunes it by cutting off branches without fruit

Read John 15: 9-17

  • How do we remain connected to Jesus? By knowing and keeping his commands
  • In order for us to be effective and to be a true friend to someone else we have to be attached to the source that will allow us to be a true friend. 
  • Human friendships without God as the center are based on common interests, shared goals, money, status etc. 
  • Friendships among Christians should be based on our relationship to Jesus. Jesus is a true friend to us because he shares his relationship with God with us. Jesus tells us that God is his source of life. He is one with God and relies on him for everything. 
  • Jesus reached down to humans to be our friend and told us about his Father. 
  • He said that those who obey him are no longer servants, but his friend
  • The more you learn about Jesus and grow in your understanding of who he is and obey his commands, the more effective you will be in your friendships with others

Midweek Lesson Notes from October 11, 2023

JESUS and PETER’s FRIENDSHIP

Read John 13: 33-38

  • We are called to love each other the way Jesus loved us, he laid down his life for us
  • Was Peter really ready to lay down his life for Jesus?
  • Are you really ready to lay down your life for Jesus? For your brother or sister in the church? For a stranger? For someone who does not know God?
  • Peter was quick to say he would not abandon Jesus but he was not ready. Jesus told him he would disown him three times. 
  • Did Peter take the time to evaluate his heart and make some changes so that he would be ready to die for Jesus? Do you take time to evaluate your heart so that you could be ready to serve someone in need?

Read Luke 22: 31-34

  • Jesus told Peter the truth about himself. It is very loving of someone to tell you the truth about your heart so that you would have the opportunity to change. Jesus followed up by also giving Peter hope that he could and would make changes and eventually get to the point where he would be able to die for Jesus. 
  • Do we give people hope that they can change? Do we see people for you they could become or for who they are with their shortcomings? How loving are you to someone else? Do you speak the truth in love to others and encourage them to follow Jesus? This is true friendship. Jesus showed his disciples how to be a true friend to him and to each other.

Keep Living with Jesus

Sunday Lesson Notes from October 15, 2023

Read John 11: 1-47

Discuss some Key Lessons from the passage:

  • Even when we spend time with Jesus, we can be doubtful like Thomas
  • Martha and Mary believed Jesus was the Messiah but they still did not believe he had come to raise Lazarus from the dead
  • Jesus was really good friends with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He wept when he saw how sad Mary and Martha were at the death of their brother. Jesus had real emotions. 
  • Jesus was really confident in his relationship with God. He prayed for Lazarus to be raised from the dead to show them that he was the Son of God and came from God. 
  • Jesus promised that  when we believe in him we will live and never die. Live- spiritually, we will not experience a spiritual death. Physical death is not a final event, the way humans think of it. We will live forever spiritually, if we do what God says.
  • Thomas was doubting and focusing on going to Jerusalem to die. He also doubted when Jesus came back from the dead. This is another example of being around Jesus and not really understanding his power. 
  • When God allows us to go through suffering, it is usually for a larger purpose; for example to help us know him better and believe in him more. Suffering can lead to growth. 
  • The religious leaders of the time knew it was the power of God that raised Lazarus from the dead yet they knowingly rejected Jesus as the Son of God. They were more interested in keeping their position and status in society. 

Jesus Heals the Blind

Lesson Notes from Sunday October 1, 2023

Read Matthew 9:27

  • Could these blind men see Jesus? Explain
    • These blind men knew that Jesus was the son of David, which was a huge accomplishment for this time among the Jews. Many of the Jews did not see Jesus as the son of David and should have known because the Torah predicted he would come and do the things he was doing. 
    • These blind men, although physically blind and likely needed help to get to Jesus, were not spiritually blind. They could see that Jesus was special and could heal their blindness.

Read Matthew 1:1

  • What does this verse proclaim about Jesus? Why did Matthew start out his gospel writing like this?
    • This verse proclaims that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of David
    • Matthew wrote his gospel especially for the Jewish readers who did not believe Jesus was who he said he was, the son of David, the Messiah, the son of God whom the prophets foretold his coming. 

Read 2 Samuel 7: 1-16

  • Why was Jesus called the son of David?
    • In this passage David decided to build a house for God but God turned it around and told David he would build a house for David. As a matter of fact, he promised David he was going to build him a royal dynasty that would last forever and his bloodline would always rule. Jesus came from this line and was known as the son of David as a result. 
    • Although David was not perfect and fell short several times, he always repented and sought to maintain his relationship with God. Therefore, God chose him and blessed him and his future descendants with this promise. 
    • This covenant that God made with David was not dependent on David’s actions but it was dependent on God’s faithfulness. 
    • The blind men that Jesus healed must have known their old testament scriptures well enough to recognize that Jesus was the son of David and called out to him for healing. 
  • Read Matthew 9: 27-31
    • The blind men knew who Jesus was despite having a physical disability
    • Sometimes having a disability makes us more in tune with our relationship with God because we can more easily recognize our need for God in our lives.
    • These men could be healed because they already had faith in who Jesus was. Their faith did not come as a result of being healed. 
    • Do you have faith in Jesus that he can heal you? 
    • The Blind men responded to Jesus, Yes Lord, when Jesus asked them if they believed he could heal them. In your life, do you say, Yes Lord, I believe you can heal me?
    • Do you act like you believe Jesus can help you? Faith is not just believing. It includes acting on what you believe. 

Read Isaiah 35: 1-10

  • Do you see Jesus in this passage?
    • This passage talks about a future savior that will come and bring spiritual and physical healing to the earth
    • The blind men heard of all the physical healings Jesus was doing (just what Isaiah prophesied): healing the blind, healing the lame; healing the mute.
    • Do you recognize Jesus’s healings in your life?

CHOOSING A KING

Sunday Lesson Notes September 17, 2023

Read 1 Samuel 8: 1-22

  • Why did Israel want a King? What excuses did they make about needing a King?
    • Israel wanted a king so they could be like the other nations around them that had a person as a king. Having God as their king was not enough for them. 
    • They were making excuses that they needed a king because Samuel’s sons were corrupt and Samuel was old and they needed a king to lead them.
    • The truth of the matter was that they were rejecting God as their king. They were intentionally breaking their covenant relationship with God and demanding a person to be their king. 
    • Fortunately, Samuel was wise enough to seek advice from God with this issue. This shows that although Samuel was old, he was still wise to seek God’s advice in his life.

Read 1 Samuel 10: 17-19

  • What is so encouraging about God in this passage?
    • God was very aware that Israel had been rejecting Him as their King since he rescued them from Egypt, yet he remained faithful to his promises to protect them and make them a great nation
    • God is faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to him. His presence gives us protection even when we may not deserve it or we are unaware of it. 

Read John 18: 37-40

  • How does this passage relate to the passage in 1 Samuel regarding Israel wanting a king?
    • In this passage, the Jews chose Barabbas over Jesus. Although they accused Jesus of being King of the Jews, they still chose to crucify him and let the worldly leader go free. 
    • The Jews are consistent in the rejection of God as their King. Here they are rejecting the son of God as their King. 

Read John 19: 12-16

  • Here again the Jews are rejecting Jesus as their King and choosing Caesar as their king
  • Pilate asked the Jews what they wanted to do with their King and they demanded that he be crucified. They claimed that only Caesar was their King.
  • Question: Is there a “King” in your life that is not GOD?
  • Question: Am I crucifying my “King” or God with the choices I make in my life?
  • Question: Do I allow myself to make good sounding excuses to choose who will be the “King” in my life?
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