Our government’s response to events over the past few months has raised fears in many people that it is taking away their rights. While they do not usually characterize it as ‘oppression’, we generally understand that claims about have one’s rights revoked or repressed belong in the category of oppression. The growing debate in our nation about these concerns raises the question about the relationship we, as Christians, ought to have with our government. We will therefore consider Peter’s message in 1 Peter to see what wisdom the early church can offer us that will help us better understand our relationship to our government.
This lesson begins a series considering the wisdom of the early church, the wisdom that allowed them to navigate the daily realities of the first century world and evidence their claim of citizenship in Jesus’ kingdom. This first lesson considers the most important, and basic, wisdom of the early church – make Jesus the center of your life
Conflict seems to define the histories of our world’s nations. It proves so central to our understanding of nations that we even evaluate countries on the basis of their military strength and willingness to engage in conflict. Jesus came into the world announcing the arrival of a new kingdom, a kingdom over which he rules. But Jesus’ kingdom rejects the conflict thinking that defines the world’s kingdoms. His rejection of the world’s thinking does not result in his kingdom becoming some kind of spiritual Switzerland; instead Jesus’ kingdom embraces a radical agenda – Jesus’ kingdom seeks to reshape the world, which solicits the world’s hostility. This lesson concludes our exploration of Jesus’ kingdom and his expectations for those who claim citizenship in it by considering the conflict his kingdom encounters in the world and how he expects citizens of his kingdom to respond to that conflict.”
This lesson continues an exploration of Jesus’ kingdom and his expectations for those who claim citizenship in it. In particular, this lesson considers the values that motivate Jesus’ kingdom, how those values differ from the values that define the world’s kingdoms, and the place his kingdom values should have within the lives of its citizens.
This lesson begins a series exploring Jesus’ kingdom in effort to help us better understand what he expects of us as people who claim citizenship in his kingdom and what those expectations look like in practice. This first lesson considers the unexpected nature of Jesus’ kingdom and what it means for its citizens.
Tell the Story 1 Peter 3:15 If someone asked me why I put my hope in Jesus, what would I say? I could probably give several reasons, but have you ever been caught off guard and later wished you’d said something better, or different? It’s hard to always be ready. But Paul’s recollection of his conversion in Acts 22 help us to have our eyes open. He helps us to be on the lookout for those seeking a reason for hope. He also reminds us of why we place our hope in Jesus.
We have, in our nation, dedicated today to honor fathers. Good reasons motivate Fathers’ Day; not only do we love our fathers (for those of us who were blessed with good fathers), God also commands people to honor their fathers (Ephesians 6:2). Rather than expressing honor by buying gifts, Paul instructs us to honor fathers by obeying them (Ephesians 6:1-2). The command to honor fathers through obedience carries the expectation that fathers provide honorable teaching that focuses on raising children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This lesson considers what that teaching looks like as a reminder to all of us about the honored place God intends fathers to occupy.
This lesson, delivered on our first Sunday the 151st Street church family returned to worshipping in the building after a long absence due to the coronavirus, explores parallels between our time away and the theme of exile in the Bible as a way of helping us think about our current situation. Luke 4: 16-21
The coronavirus pandemic, its economic fallout, and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial equality have disrupted our country. This lesson considers some of Jesus’ teachings that outline his expectations for the thinking and behavior of his followers, expectations that should shape our response to the issues disrupting our nation.
What does it feel like to be judged based on a set of unspoken rules? Has someone’s loudly shouted opinion ever made you feel small? Colossians 2:16-23 teaches about our tendency to allow obsolete rules to eclipse our ongoing relationship with Christ. Or how personal preferences or opinions about spiritual matters can distract from the substance of truth. Paul helps Christians avoid a lost connection with Christ in a way that also preserves their unity with other Christians.
This lesson continues an exploration of King Solomon’s life, considering how he models for us both the look of the growth God desires in our lives as well as the challenges that confront that growth. In particular, this lesson looks at Solomon’s prayer dedicating the temple he built and the attitude of penitent humility it expressed.
This lesson continues a series considering the story of king Solomon, an individual whose life reveals both the look of growth and the challenges that seek to prevent growth. This lesson will explore Solomon’s request for wisdom from God in 1 Kings chapter three, how that request for God’s wisdom played a role in his growth, and what insights that request offers to us about our own growth.
John 14:28-31 Jesus says that the devil held no power over him. And yet the devil repeatedly used temptation in an attempt to trap Jesus. What temptation is most challenging for you? Does it help to know God gives us desires along with a good way to fulfill those desires? We are encouraged that Jesus understands our temptations; that he left us an example to follow; and most of all that we have His blood to fall back upon.
This lesson introduces a series considering the story of king Solomon, an individual whose life reveals both the look of growth and the challenges that seek to prevent growth. In particular, this lesson will survey the story of Solomon’s ascension to the throne, showing how his growth as king came from the help he received that enabled him to become king.
This lesson explores the well-know twenty-third psalm. The psalm, written by Israel’s king David, considers the confidence and security David felt in his relationship with God and offers insights into the blessings that await all others who enter into a relationship with God.
Turning to God Colossians 2:1-15 Do you remember when you first received and turned to Christ as your Savior? In Colossians 2, Paul says Christians continue to live and be rooted and strengthened by that initial reception and turning to Christ. It is amazing how faith in Jesus allowed for a response that acted even when our compete understanding of God was in infancy. It is helpful, and humbling, to understand that initial response still gives us needed help even as we grow in our faith.
When everyone is responsible for a job, sometimes that job doesn’t get done. Why is that? Have you been in situations where everyone was responsible, but it ended up that no one was individually responsible? This lesson looks at a few of those times where we know what we’re supposed to do, but may find ourselves being the only one. Have you ever been the only one trying not to be overcome with worry? Or the only one who sees another’s legitimate need? Jesus understood those places. He offers challenging insights. He shows that following God in uncertain circumstances makes all the difference.
This lesson explores Psalm 8, David’s poetic consideration of the important place God has given to humanity within His creation. David’s psalm offers us an important reminder of our importance to God and of the place He has given to us in His creation.