Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

3 Questions to Ask in Your Group

In Leadership, Volunteers on March 3, 2015 at 8:36 am

3Questions

Joel was called upon to teach his class and he struggled with what to say.  He had a lesson provided by the book but he had never taught before.  He didn’t want to just read it because he knew he would hate that if he was in the class when someone else did it.  He didn’t want to say something wrong.  He didn’t want to make a mistake.  What he was feeling is a normal amount of pressure. The Bible tells us that teachers will be judged more harshly than others.

The next time you get in a bind ask these 3 questions.  The next time someone wants to bring up a Scripture passage ask these 3 questions.  These 3 questions get at the root of any Bible story.  The next time you are asked to teach a class and there is no lesson book or guide ask these 3 questions.

Question #1       What do we learn about God in this passage?

You can actually ask three versions of this questions.  I believe in a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  So, you could ask what you learn about God, or Jesus, or the Spirit.  The heart of this question is to get the group thinking about God.  We all enter class thinking about a LOT of things unrelated to God.  Once the discussion gets going during study time this is a great opening question after the story/scripture is taught.  Move the hearts of your people toward God.

Question #2       What do we learn about ourselves in the passage?

Scripture has an uncanny way of piercing the internal areas of our lives, those private thoughts and actions.  Because God wants an intimate relationship with us, His Word lays us open so that all can be seen.  This type of intimacy breeds integrity, authenticity, and honesty.  Asking your group to share what this reveals about humanity, namely, themselves, creates bonds of friendship and family in your group.  However, it also helps us remember that reading and studying scripture is not solely academic.  We need to allow scripture to penetrate our mood swings, our anxieties, and our pride.

Question #3       What are we going to do about what we have learned?

If we just learn about God and His Word if fall short.  If we just have a support group feel where everyone shares we fall short.  Putting what we learn into practice is a vital component of any lesson.  Allow time in your group for this important question.  We must take God’s Word and put it into action.  Encourage your people to think personally.  Of course, there are those moments when the passage speaks to the group.  The group as a unit needs to act.  Yet, that group has individuals and each need to take responsible action.

These 3 questions are not the only things you can ask your group, but they do create a stir of discussion.  Some may wonder if this is “deep” enough for a group setting.  If your people walked away from class or study group with the knowledge of God and His Word, a greater awareness of themselves from God’s view, and the encouragement to act, they would be equipped for their walk with Christ.

Driving School Steps 6-10

In Chrisian Life on November 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

Clipart-PinewoodDerbyCar

Here are the rest of the steps to Driving School for the Royal Ambassadors (Boys 1st-6th Grade) pinewood derby.  The ability to draw out the vision, sanding, and painting are good and useful things to know.  The following is something I have developed to give as  devotions to the boys after each part of the process.

6.  Paint and Stripe (1 Corinthians 12) – At this point all the cars look very similar since the primer we used was the same for all the cars.  The fun begins here because the boys choose the color and definition for their car.  By the time we get done, no two cars look-alike but they are all in the same group.  Your life and the church is just like that car.  You have unique talents and abilities given to you by God.  These are used in and through the local church.  Every person in the body of Christ is different but in the same group.  Paul addresses this idea in the chapter referenced.  There are many members but one body.  Be proud of your paint and stripes, but remember, you are still part of a group!

7.  Clear Coat (1 Thessalonians 5:11) – The cars have been cut, sanded, primed, and painted.  At this point we introduce the clear coat to the boys.  This is a final touch before the wheels go on.  The clear coat provides an extra layer of protection and a glossy finish.  When the light hits these cars they shine like crazy.  Adding the clear coat is not required but highly encouraged.  Putting ourselves in a position to encourage and be encouraged to make right decisions at the right times and for the right reasons is a sign of maturity.  As we encourage one another and build each other up we help one another shine in the light of Jesus for all the World to see.

8.  Wheels (Matthew 28:18-20) – The boys can hardly contain themselves at this point.  Putting on the wheels is the final step in building a car.  With the wheels we are able to put the cars into motion.  The boys need to handle the car carefully because of alignment issues that can cause the car to wreck, or jump into another lane harming another car.  We are charged to make disciples of the nations.  We are put into motion by the wheels of the Great Commission.  Let us go, handling the Gospel carefully in order to keep moving at a rapid pace!

9.  Race (Hebrews 12:1-2) – Race day is a fun and exciting time for all involved.  Before each race we make sure the wheels have enough graphite to keep the friction to a minimum and increase speed.  Our lives need to maintained before each day so that we can run the race set out for us by God.  Putting on graphite is spending time in prayer, confession, and Bible reading to aid in laying aside the sin in our lives.

10.  Win (Acts 8:26-40) – Wins come at different stages depending on the boy.  Some boys win because they completed their car.  Some boys win because they competed in a race.  Some boys win because the timer said they did.  All the boys win because of the joy and value of fellowship, friendship, and fun being joined into the process.  Our win as Christians is helping someone else place their faith and trust into Jesus as their solution to sin and eternity.

 

Treasure Map

In Chrisian Life, Direction, Journey on July 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

york-pirate-treasure-map-brown-wallpaper-2

I was handed a note the other day that had on it a number and a statement.  It appeared that this one the first of several clues to some “hidden treasure”.  Being taken by the hand, I was led outside to find the next clue.  I walked around the entire front and back yards searching for clues that led to other clues.  I thought Nicolas Cage couldn’t be far away!  Clue after clue came and went and 30 minutes later I found the last clue and treasure.  Had I chosen to ignore I would have missed the joy of the treasure in the end.  I knew the kids had worked hard putting it all together.  Even though I didn’t really want to go through the process, I did it anyway.  I tried to “cheat” the system and think ahead to see if I could skip clues and get to the treasure.  Isn’t that how we are with God and His wisdom?

if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the • fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:4-6

Sometimes I don’t like to do the work.  The Bible says that if we seek it then we will find the knowledge of God.  That knowledge provides the answers to the questions you  have.  However, if we never seek for it how can it be found?  If I don’t do the work, then I don’t get the reward.

Sometimes I try to cheat the system.  I know many who try to do this.  Some just go to church while others do not do that much.  Some simply say they believe and post nice trite sayings and images on social media.  Some read in order to stay up with the church folks.  However, when the storms rise on the seas of life, we feel lost, alone, and scared.  Trying to cheat the system does not give us the wisdom and knowledge we need to navigate through the narrow passes and heavy seas.

When I go through the motions I miss the joy.  One time my kids gave me a map and I just ran through it trying to be done.  I missed the joy of the journey with them.  We do this with God also.  We try to rush through Bible reading, give a 2 second prayer at dinner, and hardly pause from social media in church to hear what is going on.  We stay up to late on Saturday’s and run late or skip on Sundays.  We sit there half asleep and wishing we were somewhere else.  We go through the motions and wonder why we do not know how to handle situations we face.  Without God’s wisdom and knowledge we are filled with fear and anxiety.  We deal with regrets because we failed to make the right choices at the right time for the right reasons.

Settle in and enjoy the process.  This is by far the most rewarding.  Look at what God says for those who settle in and work the map.

Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity
—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart.
11 Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, 12 rescuing you from the way of evil—

Show Me The Meat

In Commitment on March 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm

One night we were out eating with my in-laws.  We sat down and began eating the peanuts.  This place lets you throw the shells on the floor which makes my kids very happy.  I get my standard Diet Coke and the others get their drinks as well.  As we go around to order, I get a steak and baked potato.  My wife and the others make their orders as well.  My son ordered a kid’s meal that was a steak with “steak” fries.  We kept visiting while we waited for the food to arrive.  After a bit the waitress brought out the food and began distributing the food.  She passes the plate over and he gets his order.  He looks at it and looks at me.  In an innocent and kind way he points at the food and told the waitress that he did not order what was on the plate.  “What?”, I asked.  I told him that what he had is what he ordered.  He politely said that he ordered steak fries and these were potato fries.

“Where’s the meat?”, he asked.  I love that boy!!  He wanted an all meat dinner.

11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.

(Hebrews 5:11-14, HCSB)

We have heard many people who want to “go deeper”.  Often we use these verses to prove why we need to “go deeper” in study and wisdom.  We have more Bible studies, more groups, more reading, and “deeper moments” with God.  I am not arguing that we need to move from the milk to the solid food, or meat of the gospel.  What I am arguing is the method by which we go deeper and the standards of that depth.  The Scripture is clear here that those who move from milk to meat are not having more and lengthier studies.  The move to meat is revealed in these ways:

Maturity.  When I was child I thought as a child and behaved like a child.  Now that I am a man I think and act like a man.  One of the differences is a matter of discernment.  The mature have trained their senses to distinguish.  Someone who is “going deeper” is learning to distinguish and act on that information.

Ethics.  The milk drinkers are inexperienced with the message of righteousness.  Meat eaters have experience with righteousness because they are acting righteous more and more.  This is not about being uppity righteous, but living holy.  The ethic of the mature is derived from discernment and then acted upon.  Someone “going deeper” is actually acting more than thinking.  Thinking and learning about righteousness is not as fine as actually behaving righteously.

Attitude.  This is the private side of meat eaters.  Eating meat, coupled with exercise, builds a strong frame.  Eating a good steak makes me feel good on the inside.  The flavor and satisfaction is grand.  No one sees this because it is internal.  Going deeper in your Christian walk develops an attitude that is more than familiar with God’s Spirit.  The way you think is adjusted.  That which passes through your mind during stress, gossip, or difficulty adjust from darkness to light.  No one will know this change but you will feel satisfaction like never before.

Training.  The first time my son ate meat it did not agree with him.  After a short time his body was trained to receive it better.  Now he cannot eat enough of it!  At first, the meat of the Word seems difficult.  It might feel weird in your spiritual stomach.  Eating small bites leads to larger bites.  In the end you will want “steak” fries rather than “potato” fries with your spiritual steak.

Now I am hungry.  You?  Have a great day!!

 

Down at the Coffee Shop

In Church, Control, Leadership, Politics, Volunteers on August 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

“Hi.  My name is Brenda Anne.  How would you like your coffee?”

I like my coffee strong, bold and black.  If you get too much cream or sugar it becomes dessert.  I enjoy the extras sometimes and in moderation.  I prefer it straight.  Down at our local coffee shops, one serves it just straight and the other offers a variety.  I listen to the conversations that surround me.  I find most are about family, sports, or weather.  It has been said that you can talk about anything you want but don’t bring up religion and politics.  You might slide with one or the other but you should never mix the two.  It is kind of like mentos and diet coke, or oil and water, or fire and gas.  Bad things could happen.  Civil discussions about the weather, local sports, and gossip can turn ugly when bringing up religion and politics.  That Pandora’s box should be left alone.

Resist!  Why is it that people in coffee shops can get along better than those in church?  Friendly, honest, and social people somehow change when entering church.  The cutthroat mentality of corporate America has somehow slipped in to our sleepy little houses of worship and education. Jesus dealt with two people who wanted to bring power and politics into the circle of Jesus.  Watch His response.

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached Him with her sons. She knelt down to ask Him for something.

21 “What do you want?” He asked her.
“Promise,” she said to Him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
“We are able,” they said to Him.
23 He told them, “You will indeed drink My cup. But to sit at My right and left is not Mine to give; instead, it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 24 When the 10 [disciples] heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave;

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-a ransom for many.”

1.  It’s not about climbing a ladder.  It all begins when someone desires to be better.  Unbridled ambition leads to harmful results.  It still amazes me how many people try to climb a ladder at church like they do the corporate one.  They try for certain positions or committees.  Too often, pastors and administrators play along.  The only ladder we have is Jacob’s and it went to Heaven.  I am not ready to climb that one yet.

2.  It’s not about control.  When things in life get messy and our circumstances are beyond our control, we freak out.  Every one of us will, at some level, attempt to gain a measure of control.  Unfortunately, our churches are filled with hurting broken people.  It is natural that the church will constantly battle with people trying to gain a measure of control.  Whether it is for pride, personal gain, or just for pleasure, those seeking control for control’s sake must be resisted.  Church is not the place for people to build their little kingdoms in the midst of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus rebuked these two for wanting to gain a seat of power.  Why do we allow it in our churches?  Is it because we fear them more than God?  Is it because we like the feeling of being in the cool crowd for a change?  Resist!

3.  It’s not about you.  That’s sounds trite but it is so true.  Church is not about you.  Let that sink in a minute.  Church is about worshipping God and serving other people.  The next time you don’t like a song consider how someone else might be touched by it.  The next time you don’t find a Bible study you want to attend consider where you could serve children and students.  The next time someone offends you, pray for them and go discuss the matter.  Jesus tries to get them to see this point.  The first will be last and the last, first.

4.  It is about salvation.  The church is established as the go-between for God and Man.  This group of people gather together and pour their lives out before God in sacrificial worship.  Through study and support in small groups they become ready to meet the days ahead before gathering together again.  We, the people, are the church.  Our purpose is to proclaim the gospel and call for response.  We are not primarily a food pantry or clothes closet, or bill payment company.  We are designed to bring the message of Jesus to everyone around us in such a way that others would receive and believe.

5.  It is about service.  The building does not magically come alive during the week and fulfill all the necessities you were called by God to fulfill.  God, in His infinite love and wisdom, offered salvation.  Upon receipt, you were further given forgiveness, hope, and a job.  Yes….a job.  Everyone follower of Jesus has a job to do in the kingdom for the king.  This job is not to bring you glory, but rather, to bring God glory.  Any accolades are to be handed over to God.  But we like the shiny trophies, right?  We like to hold them.  We like to display them.  We like to hear our accomplishments spoken of before men.  What anthem was played every time a USA Olympian won gold?  Was it their personal song for life?  No.  The national anthem was played.  Why is it that when we succeed in service we want our personal anthem to be played?  We are but servants to the King.  Keep your head down.  Do your job.  Leave the rest to God.

6.  It is about our Savior.  All of this is for someone.  It is for the King.  All of this work, worship, and witness is done at the express desire of the King.  We do this for His pleasure.  When politics and control are brought in to the church, our focus shifts away from the Savior and to ourselves.  Everything is done for Him.  Each of us must set aside our agendas and get on God’s.

The coffee cup may be bottomless, but I am not.  Think on these things.  We’ll talk more later.

“Brenda Anne?  Check please.”

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