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“Offended”

Sunday Lesson Notes from January 22, 2023

“Offended”

  • Have you ever been offended by something someone said or did to you?
  • How did you respond? How should you have responded?
  • Some people respond in the following ways: Acceptance, forgiveness, move on from the relationship, ignore it, get revenge, hold a grudge
  • Would you consider responding in the following ways instead?
    • Pray for the offender
    • Hold off on reacting
    • Acknowledge your own thoughts, feelings and emotions
    • Discuss one on one with the offending party
    • Forgive the offender
    • Read James 1:19 for a good scriptural reminder
  • Listen to the following song, “Skandalon” by Michael Card, view on You Tube:
  • Skandalon- transliteration for the Greek word meaning a trigger for a trap, the stick for the bait of a trap, a snare, a stumbling block
  • Read Isaiah 8: 13-25
    • Jesus is a stumbling block for many according to biblical teachings
    • Don’t be afraid to look bad as you ask and seek out the answers to find out who Jesus is and what he wants us to learn
    • Sometimes we can feel bad if we fall or fail, but as long as we keep persevering we will make it in the end
    • We need to remember to consider each other when we communicate our thoughts and feelings to each other. We should have grace and mercy even if someone may be communicating something that may not be accurate and help them along to see more clearly
    • We need each other to make it to the end because life is full of stumbling blocks and only focusing on Jesus and by encouraging each other,  will we make it to the end
  • Read 1 Kings 17: 8-16
    • What do you learn from the interaction between Elijah and the Widow?
      • They both had great faith and humility: Elijah trusted that God would do what he promised, allow him to be fed by a widow in the midst of a famine; the Widow, a woman and non-jew who was starving and in a dire situation, trusted Elijah and fed him with her last provisions. She could have shunned him, turned him away or taken offense at her low position. 
      • When things are hard in our life, we should still trust that God is present and will come to our assistance. We show our trust in God by obeying and doing what he says even if everything looks bleak.
  • Read 2 Kings 5: 1-15
    • What can you learn from the various individuals in this passage?
      • Naaman- he was a successful commander of the army of Aram, a neighboring, pagan nation that took a young Israelite woman captive; he had to have humility and trust in his wife and her slave girl to get the help he needed to be healed of his condition; he had to be willing to obey and perform a lowly task of washing in the river to be cleaned, if he did not, he would not have been healed; He had the attitude of a transaction to get healed, he had no relationship with God who was doing the healing
  • The King of Israel- he was losing faith and tearing up his clothes instead of remembering Elisha was right there and could help him
  • The Servant Girl- what big faith and so full of compassion; she was captured and was still willing to share about Elisha so that her capturer would be healed
  • Naaman’s wife- she must have had a good relationship with her servant girl who was willing to share her knowledge and heal Naaman; she had faith enough to tell her husband what the servant girl said to her
  • Naaman’s servant- full of wisdom and humility, willing to trust and to stand up to Naaman so that Naaman could get the help that he needed
  • Remember, the work of God is to believe in the One He sent
  • God does not want a transactional relationship with us, he wants us to enjoy spending time with him and getting to know his character
  • The more we abide in Jesus’s words the more  we will be able to respond to events in our lives the way Jesus did
  • Read Luke 4: 16 ad 22-30
    • Why were these Jews so offended by what Jesus shared in this passage about Naaman and the Widow?
      • Jesus hit a raw nerve. He reminded the Jews in the synagogue that day that they were just like the Jews of the time of Naaman and the widow and  that they currently had a prophet among them, himself, who they still refused to listen to
  • The Jews in Jesus’ day had a preconceived notion about what should be going on and who Jesus was. They thought a savior was coming to rescue them from Roman oppression but missed that Jesus was present and there to rescue them, not from Roman oppression but  from the sin of unbelief and disobedience to God. The presence of  Jesus was a constant reminder to them of their lack of faith in God and their unwillingness to obey. 

The Word of God

Sunday Lesson Notes January 1, 2023

Read John Chapter 1: 1-5

  • What is so important about God’s words?
    • God used his word to create everything in the beginning, Genesis Ch 1
    • God used his word to communicate that he wanted something to be formed, formative speech, he formed the universe with his words
  • Why are words so important?
    • We use words to communicate to others our thoughts, feelings, ideas, emotions etc. things in our mind and heart
    • Our words can lead others to action when we say our words to someone else
    • Jesus came to earth to communicate to us the thoughts, feelings and ideas from God. He is the embodiment of God’s word.
    • God’s speech caused Jesus to come to the earth and teach us about God
  • Why is it important to know Jesus?
    • Jesus is the word-mind and thoughts of God
    • Jesus does what God wants him to do
    • Jesus does what he sees God doing, ie feeding the five thousand like God fed the Israelites in the desert
  • Why does John use the terminology “the Word”?
    • These are God’s words, the final say
    • The Word is Jesus, identical to God, but not interchangeable with God
    • Jesus in relation to God is like the voice of person you talk to on the phone- ie, the electronic sound waves are the person’s voice through which you can identify that unique person, but the voice is not the “actual person”
    • Jesus is the speech of God, he became human so that he can represent God to us and we can understand God  better as a result. God is the source for Jesus. 

  • Read John Chapter 1: 9-14
    • Humans were created in the image of God. God breathe his breath into us and we became living beings created in his image
    • Jesus in the same way became the embodiment of God as a human here on earth. He was referred to as the light because light allows us to see in the darkness. 
    • The truth is made clear when a light shines on a situation. Jesus brought the light into the world and made things clear for us. Jesus is the complete revelation of God.
    • Jesus made his dwelling among us, just like God dwelled among the Israelites in the desert. He wanted to make us all part of his community and showed us how to live the way God wants us to live.
    • Anyone has access to God’s community if we believe in Jesus. When we are distracted by the worries of the world etc, we ignore the word of God
    • By reading the words of God in the bible, we can know the mind of God
    • When we practice paying attention to who we are, then move on to paying attention to our relationship with God, then we can really learn how to focus our attention to God himself

Wisdom from God

Sunday Lesson Notes from December 4, 2022

Read James 3:13-18

  • What is the difference between wisdom from God and earthly wisdom?
    • Wisdom from God is truth and humility
    • Wisdom from earth is full of selfish ambition, bitter envy and unspiritual
  • How do you get wisdom from God?
    • If you lack wisdom, ask God for it in prayer, James 1:2-6

Read Proverbs 9:1-6 and 13-18

  • What are the two invitations described in this Proverb?
  • Which invitation have you taken in your life?
    • One invitation is to the house of wisdom, the other invitation is to the house of folly
    • How do you know which invitation you have taken? What in your life points to wisdom or to folly?

Read Proverbs 2:1-8

  • Where do you seek God’s wisdom?
    • The bible tells us when we are in trouble to seek God’s wisdom
    • We can find God’s wisdom in his words
    • It is important to know God’s words well so that we can recognize and reject false teachings
    • In Colossians 2 , Paul teaches about all of God’s wisdom is revealed in Jesus Christ. Don’t be fooled by false teachings found in other ideas of the world. 
  • Do I cry out to God for wisdom? Do I call out during trials or during times of peace?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

  • Jesus being crucified was the true wisdom of God, but this was foolishness to those who were perishing. The world could not understand how a dead person could save the world, but God’s wisdom was revealed to those who were willing to accept that by the death of Jesus we were saved. 

Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

  • Jesus’s life on earth demonstrates the true wisdom of God
  • When we follow Jesus we are destined to share in God’ glory, now and in the days to come
  • When you go after a relationship with God and seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, you are practicing true wisdom. Jesus showed us how to love and obey God. In summary, all the treasures of wisdom are hidden in Christ and is revealed to all who belong to Him.

Remembering God through Celebrations

Sunday Lesson Notes from October 16, 2022

Why do people celebrate Special Holidays?

  • Helps us to remember special events, moments and people
  • Allows us to take a break from work
  • Facilitates family members getting together

Read Leviticus Chapter 23: 1-44

  • The Israelites were told by God to celebrate 7 Major Festivals throughout the year
    • The Sabbath, celebrated every 7 days
      • Three Spring festivals
        • The First Fruits, early spring harvest
        • The Passover,  remembering deliverance from Egypt
        • Festival of Weeks, Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Passover
      • Three Fall Festivals
        • Festival of Trumpets, celebrating repentance
        • The Day of Atonement, sins forgiven, sacrifices by the High Priest
        • Festival of the Booths or Tabernacles-celebrating time they lived in tents in the wilderness and were delivered by God
  • What was so special about the Festival of Booths?
    • They were offering animals that they had raised all year, true sacrifice
    • They were remembering the discomforts of living in a tent but could remember how God took care of them at that time
  • Read John 7: 1-39
    • Jesus was participating in the Festival of Booths during this passage
    • Jesus’s brothers were giving him a hard time but he stood up and taught the people any way
    • The people were questioning Jesus’s authority as he challenged their beliefs, but he was confident in who he was and where he came from 
    • He advised the people to test his words by obeying God’s words
    • Jesus reminded them that he was returning back to his Father in Heaven
    • The leaders were misleading the general population with lies so they would not follow Jesus’s teachings
    • Jesus was teaching them the true meaning of the Festival, that God will provide for them as God did back in the wilderness and escape from Egypt
    • Jesus taught the people that he was there to bring them living water, the source of life. Water was the source of life in the wilderness of the desert and it is the source of spiritual life now. Jesus brought the never ending living water to the people with his words. 
    • When we obey Jesus’s teachings we become the spiritual spring of water for others which leads to eternal life through Jesus
    • Everyone is invited to participate in the Festivals of Jesus and follow his teachings
  • Read John 7:40-53
    • Jesus’s teachings were so different at this time that the leaders were trying to kill him
    • Some of the Jews at this time were using scriptures to try to convince others that Jesus was not the Christ which also led to a great deal of conflict
    • The Festival of Booths was celebrated to remember the coming out of slavery of Egypt and living in the wilderness as God took care of the people, yet the Pharisees were still trying to keep the people in slavery to an old law.
    • Jesus dwelled among us to show us how to live on earth and how to worship God

God rescued us from Egypt

Sunday October 30, 2022

Read Exodus Chapter 15: 1-18

Read Hosea 13: 1-4

During the time of Hosea, there was much turmoil in the land. The Israelites were not obeying the word of God. There  were 6 Kings in 25 years, 4 of them were murdered by their successors and one was captured in battle. Only one was succeeded on the throne by his son. This describes the tragic final days of the Northern Kingdom. 

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, rescued them from slavery and brought them to the land he promised and they still were disobedient and ungrateful to God. 

What “Egypt” did God rescue you from?

  • Sometimes our Egypt can be a mindset, like selfishness, career worship, money worship, anxiety or fear
  • Our final destination is Heaven, the real promised land
  • We have to go through our “deserts” to make it to the Promised Land
  • What “desert” are you going through at this time?
  • When we allow God to take us through hard times in our lives, we are pruned and become ready to receive the gift of the Promised Land

Read  1 Kings 12: 25-33

  • Jeroboam was king and lead the people astray and to worship false gods
  • Who in your life is leading you to worship false gods?
  • Read Exodus 32:1-6, Aaron lead the Israelites in false worship as well
  • How easy is it to be led astray? How long will you wait on God to act before you follow your own plan and turn to your own idols?

Read Hosea 13: 4-8

  • In what way are you tempted to forget God?
    • It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of life
    • Following God can sometimes be inconvenient
    • Loving the world more than God and refusing to wait on God
    • Joseph had to wait on God in the old testament before receiving his blessing and ability to lead.
  • Do you realize when you are being tempted to forget God?
    • We need strong faithful spiritual friends in our lives to help us remember God
    • Great spiritual friends can help us to remove old idols in our lives
    • Read Hosea 13: 9-16
      • The Israelites were about to be destroyed in a horrific way
      • This could have been avoided if they had stayed faithful to God
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
    • Jesus brought victory over sin when he came and suffered for our sins in order that we could have a reconciled relationship with God. 

Spending Time with God in His Creation

Sunday Lesson Notes from October 2, 2022

How do you connect with God and Jesus through creation?

  • Read Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 90: 1-2; Amos 9: 5-6
    • The words of God were able to create the heavens and the earth
    • God’s words are so powerful that He can speak whole galaxies and universes into existence
    • God’s word is a safe dwelling place throughout all generations
    • God is successful in all he sets out to do
    • Take some time to pray and admire God’s creation
  • Read John 1: 1-5; Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 2:4-10
    • Jesus represents God’s word to us here on earth
    • Through Jesus we are able to be reconciled to our relationship with God
    • Jesus was with God in the beginning of time and together God and Jesus invited us to share in their existence
    • Jesus has helped us to regain our relationship with God after the fall of man due to our decisions to ignore God and go against his will
    • God is able to transform the disorder in our lives to order 
  • Spend time this week praising and worshiping God and admiring his creation 
  • Spend time this week thinking of Jesus and how he has helped us to be reconciled to God our Father, the creator of all things

God loves his children

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 25, 2022

Read Luke Chapter 15 verses 11-32

Please ponder these questions:

  1. If everyone was like me in the world, what would the world be like?
  2. How would you describe your image of God?

The parable of the Prodigal Son discusses three main concepts that we can contribute to God’s character: Freedom, Compassion and Forgiveness

Freedom

  • Why do you think  the young son wanted his freedom?
    • Maybe he did not like following rules
    • Maybe he wanted to see and experience the world outside his hometown
    • Bored, ungrateful, did not realize how good he had it, unaware of the dangers of the world outside
  • How does this parable remind you of the freedom we have in God and Christ?
    • The Father, who like God, let the young son go when he asked to leave
    • God does not stop us from making our own choices, although we will have to deal with the consequences of our choices
    • We can choose to love God and be unified with God’s fellowship or we can chose to leave God and go our own way

Compassion

  • How did the Father in this parable (God)  show his compassion for his son? (verse 20)
    • The Father ran out to meet the son and did not wait for him to come to him and grovel
    • The Father was thinking of the son and looking out for him even before he returned
    • The Father did not bring up the past squandering of the estate or what was he doing hanging out with his wild living
    • The Father was more concerned about the restoration of the relationship
    • Reminder: when we stop eating the pigs food and return to our relationship with God, we are treated like this son in the parable

Forgiveness

  • How did the Father in the parable (God)  show Forgiveness? (verse 21-24)
    • The Father gave a big celebration in the son’s honor and reinstated his status without question or hesitation
    • The Father gave to the son generously, the fattened calf and nice robe,  he did not hold back his lavish love

Take Home Thought: As Christians and Followers of Jesus, Jesus tells us no one can snatch us out of his grasp. However, we have the freedom to leave our relationship with God. We will have to endure the consequences of our choices. The good news is that we can return to our relationship with God and be accepted as his son or daughter. God extends compassion and forgiveness to us through his son Jesus. This is good news!

Encouraging the Church

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 18, 2022

Read 1 Thessalonians Chapter 1 to Chapter 5

  • What is the main purpose of this letter?
    • Encouraging the disciples in the church to focus on God’s promises of the future blessings to come since they were suffering and going through many hardships and persecution
    • Encouraging the church to live purely, avoid sexual sins and to work and be productive in their lives and take care of each other
    • Paul also reminded them that God showed up and saved them
    • Paul communicated that he had an intimate relationship with the church, like a mother caring for her child and children with their parents. He really cared for their well being.
    • He acknowledged their hard work as Christians and lifted up TImothy as well. He sent Timothy to them to encourage them in their faith since he was delayed in his return although longed to see them
  • Where do you see Jesus’s teaching in these passages?
    • Jesus taught his disciples to love God and to love one another the way he loved us. He reminded them that others would know they are truly following Him, Jesus, if they loved each other. Paul reminded the Christians in Thessalonica to persevere in their love for each other and reminded them of his own love for them.
    • Jesus taught that disciples would suffer for being followers of Jesus. Here Paul reminded the Christians that they were facing hardship because they were following Jesus’s teaching. 
    • Jesus taught his disciples to pray, to ask, to seek and to knock. Paul reminded the Christians in this passage to pray continually.
    • Jesus taught that he was the bread of life. His teachings would sustain us forever. Paul reminded the Christians to continue to read and obey the scriptures. 
    • Jesus prayed for his disciples everywhere to be one with each other in unity. Paul reminded the Christians to be unified. Paul reminded them that he was longing to be with them in person to continue to build unity. 
    • Jesus taught that he would return in the clouds to claim his own one day in the future. Paul reminded the Christians that Jesus was coming back in the same way to claim his own. (Daniel 7). Paul also reminded them that Jesus would resurrect those who were already dead when he returned if they belonged to him. 

  • What are some other points of encouragement in this passage?
    • We should remember to pray and rejoice always. There is always something to be thankful for in our lives even if we are facing personal challenges. Jewish people learn in their early childhood, hundreds of prayers to give God thanks for everyday items and experiences in their lives. The Jews of this time were also known to pray to God and to give blessings to God rather than asking for stuff from God. 
    • Paul reminded the Christians that he practiced what he taught them and encouraged them to do the same. 

Jesus, the good Shepherd

Sunday Lesson notes, September 11, 2022

Read Ezekiel 34:1-6;11-12 and 20-24

  • Who is the shepherd of your life? Who are you following?
    • Some possible answers: Jesus, your boss, friends, politicians, co-workers, singlers, athletes, famous people, popular ideas
  • What happens when a shepherd does not take care of his sheep?
    • They wander off and get injured or killed; they have no natural defense system and will follow aimlessly and blindly
  • Have you been taking care of God’s sheep in your life?
    • Do you watch out for your family and friends or your neighbors and co-workers or do you just remain silent as you observe them going astray?
  • Jesus was the ultimate shepherd. He watched out for God’s sheep. Do you allow Jesus to shepherd your heart?
    • Do you read your bible and obey the words that you read? Do the changes in your life reflect that you follow Jesus?

Read John 10:1-18

  • Jesus is an amazing Shepherd. He laid down his life for his sheep.
  • His sheep know his voice, he has a personal relationship with them.
  • What is your relationship with Jesus like right now? Would you be able to recognize Jesus’s voice? How do you know it is his voice and not your own?

Please think of a  scripture that encourages you to follow Jesus and why. Here are some that were discussed:

  • Romans 13:8- reminds us to love people the way Jesus did
  • Psalm 51 and Psalm 23: God is with us as we follow Jesus
  • Leviticus 16:16 and Hebrews 10:12-14: Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He is amazing in that he has all the power to save us and was still willing to die for our sins.

Read John 6:52-69

  • Why was this a hard teaching?
    • It was hard for them to connect that he was their manna from Heaven now. He reminded them that God provided manna from heaven for their ancestors in the wilderness when they left Egypt, so that they would not starve and be saved. His role was now to be their “manna” so that they would be saved and enter into eternal life. 
  • How do you know if you are no longer following Jesus?
    • Hint- not reading his word and trying to obey it perhaps
  • Jesus was very clear and precise when he explained what was required to follow him. Some people do not like the boundaries that he sets. Do you? Are you willing to follow?

Do you hear God and Obey Him?

Sunday Lesson notes from August 21, 2022

Read Hebrews 4:14-16, Remembering Jesus

  • What do you learn about Jesus after reading this passage?
  • Jesus is the ultimate high priest, who knows our weaknesses and was tempted in every way as we have been as humans. Yet Jesus did not give into temptation and sin. Therefore, he was able to make the final sacrifice for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God
  • We are able to go to Jesus for mercy and grace when we need it the most when we have fallen short in our sins
  • Remember to hold on tight to your faith and to never let go, this will help us to make it in our relationship with God
  • Remember we can go to Jesus with everything, big or small in our lives. He can relate to our weakness and can encourage us in our times of trouble and give us strength to go on and repent and obey God in our daily lives.

Read Isaiah 6: 1-13

  • In this passage, Isaiah is being commissioned by God to become a prophet to the Israelites. He was sent to Judah to warn the people that their hearts were being hardened toward God’s law since they were no longer listening and obeying God. He was to warn them of their upcoming exile and only a remnant of a “stump” would remain in their nation.
  • Isaiah went to warn the people willingly. His attitude to obey God’s command to go and serve the people was like that of Abraham, who willingly left his home to go to another land. It was also similar to Jesus’s attitude, who was willing to come to earth to save humanity. 
  • The Israelites were not able to see or understand or obey God’s word. They refused to listen to the warning of the prophet Isaiah.
  • They were no longer in love with God’s word and could no longer keep in step with God’s commands. 

Read Isaiah 42:18-25

  • Israel was supposed to be the chosen people of God who was given the role of God’s messenger to the other nations. By their obedience to God they were to be an example for the other nations around to follow, but they were blind, deaf and refusing to listen to God and obey his words. 
  • The Israelites were in such bad shape that they could not even recognize that their own sin and bad decisions were burning them alive. They had no understanding of their own folly.

Read Isaiah 42: 14-17

  • What was God’s attitude toward the Israelites although they were disobedient?
  • God was still loving them, crying out for them to listen like a mother does for her children
  • He really cared about the Israelites and wanted the best for them although they were not even concerned about their own disobedience and what it was doing to their nation

Read Isaiah 42:5-9 then read Ch 42: 1-4

  • Unfortunately, the Israelites could not fulfill the destiny God had planned for them. They were supposed to be God’s representatives for all the other nations; an example of what happens if you keep in step with God’s laws, but they fell short and could not fulfill this role
  • Jesus was able to accomplish the task that the Israelites could not. He brought forth justice to the world . Jesus was able to fulfill the role of God’s messenger. He was the embodiment of what humanity and the Israelites was suppose to be, the ultimate representation of what happens when we are in a right relationship with God

Read Matthew 13: 10-17

  • Why did the disciples ask Jesus about why he was teaching in parables?
  •  These disciples had an open mind and heart to learn from Jesus so they engaged and asked questions
  • Jesus was warning the people at that moment by quoting Isaiah’s prophecy from Isaiah Chapter 6 and Chapter 42, where Isaiah warned the people back then that they would had hard hearts toward God’s word and did not listen and did not obey God.
  • Jesus was reminding them of this prophecy because right at that moment they were still having this hardened response to Jesus himself who was in their immediate presence. 
  • He was speaking to them in parables because only those who wanted to know the truth about Jesus and God’s message would stick around and ask questions to find out more.
  • In verse 51- Jesus taught the disciples even more parables and their meanings. He also told them that the teachers of the law who chose to eventually become true disciples would be able to have even more understanding of his teachings and a full connection of the old teachings and the new teachings if they engaged. 

What prevents people from hearing and obeying God’s word today?

  • We have our own thoughts, pride, biases, unwillingness to change
  • Maybe we have had negative interactions with religious people
  • We love to put our own comfort and luxury above God’s law and not acknowledge our need for God
  • Nicodemus was a teacher of the law, but he humbled himself and asked Jesus more questions to find out more about his teachings
  • Are you willing to ask questions, probe and fight for your own relationship with God?

Read Isaiah 32:1-3

  • Isaiah prophesied that there will be a time when a king will rule and people will follow and obey God
  • We are currently living during this time. Jesus brought his kingdom here on earth and as disciples, we are trying to follow and obey God just like Isaiah prophesied.
  • As disciples we are now the new messengers of God’s plan. We have now been given the role of the Israelites in the old testament; our role is to help others to listen and obey God’s commands

Read Isaiah 32: 17-20

  • If we keep God’s commands, God promises there will be a time of peace and the righteous will live in confidence forever. There is an amazing life promised for true disciples of Jesus- we can enjoy this promise now and in the afterlife.
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