Genuine faith endures persecution

suffering_for_the_gospel_00036146I am preparing to teach my class on II Thessalonians this coming week. I love teaching this short letter because there is so much truth packed into a small amount of space. During our first lesson, we covered the overview and learned that the Apostle Paul was a master communicator. From reading and studying Acts 17, we learn that the Thessalonian church was planted in the midst of heavy persecution. The Thessalonians were very familiar with persecution. The Apostle Paul was there working as a team with Silas and Timothy. They had a plan to enter the synagogue on the Sabbath and reason with the Jews living in Thessalonica from the Scriptures. Paul took the inductive Bible study approach which involves questions and answers from the Biblical text. The team was there for 3 weeks. While studying, several of the Jews came to Christ along with some God fearing Greeks and leading women. After these people accepted Christ, the rest of the Jews who rejected Christ became jealous of Paul and the team. They stirred the people up and after forming a mob, tried to attack Paul and the team. Paul escaped to Berea and continued teaching in the synagogue in Berea. While Paul was busy planting more churches by making disciples, the new beleivers in Thessalonica continued to grow in their faith amidst persecution. The Word of the Lord went out from them to all of Asia Minor. Paul continued to communicate with the Thessalonians. II Thessalonians is the second letter that we know of that Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians. Paul had to write this letter because the attacks shifted from the outside to the inside. False teaching had crept in to the church and people’s faith was in danger. Continue reading

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The Green Eyed Monster, Jealousy

static1.squarespace.comI am preparing to teach during our 5th-6th grade retreat in a couple of weeks. The weekend’s theme is overcoming our sin nature. One of the ways that our sin nature manifests itself is through the green eyed monster of jealousy. The prime manifestation of our sin nature is our selfishness. The green eyed monster of jealousy stems from our selfishness. Here is the Greek definition of the word translated into English as selfish, “This is being upset because someone got something and you did not. Instead of rejoicing with that person, you get upset because you wanted it“. Jealousy is a twin sister with envy. The difference is, jealousy produces envy. Envy means not only are you upset at what others have, you want it and if you cannot have it, you will destroy what they have so that the other person can be miserable with you. We are going to see how this place out in a real life situation between King Saul and the future King David. Continue reading

David and Repentance: Psalm 51

I am getting ready to teach a Sunday school class this coming Sunday. Last week, we learned about David’s humbleness vs. Goliath’s pride. This week, we are going to learn that David, although a man after God’s own heart, also had a sin nature like the rest of us. David needed repentance just like all of us. Psalm 51 was written after David was confronted by Nathaniel. David could have reacted to the confrontation our of pride. He was the king. No one but God was above him. He could have acted like Goliath. He did not. To set the back story for this lesson, we have to understand what brought David to this point. David walked with God. David was a man of God. David had written his own copy of the first 5 books of the Bible. He read from that hand written copy every day, according to Deuteronomy 17: Continue reading

David and Goliath

In the children’s department at Hoffmantown church, we are walking through the entire Bible in 1 year. This week, we are focusing on the story of David and Goliath. I do not know when the last time you read this story was. I am sure you are familiar with it from your childhood. I purposefully went back and studied I Samuel 17, verse by verse in order to familiarize myself with the specifics of the text and not just the overall story. I would like to examine the two main characters of this story. Goliath is the first of the main characters mentioned in the text. Following him is the young man David. As we examine these two main characters, we will also discover much about God and His attributes. Continue reading

Covenant Lesson 4: A solomn binding agreement

It is hard to believe that we are already 4 lessons into our study of the subject of covenant. The past 3 weeks have been a great time of fellowship around the Word of God. It has also been a very challenging time as the Word of God has examined our hearts and lives.

  1. Covenant Lesson 1
  2. Covenant Lesson 2
  3. Covenant Lesson 3

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Covenant Lesson 3: Exchanging the weapons and belt

I am preparing to teach the third lesson in our series on “covenant”. This is a crucial study for any follower of Jesus Christ. Once we understand the idea of covenant, we discover that God has His part and that we have our part to uphold, if we choose to enter into the New Covenant with God through Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift based on the grace of God. We receive salvation when we enter into the New Covenant. When we enter into the New Covenant, we agree to uphold our end of the bargain, or covenant, if you will. This lesson is going to focus on what our responsibilities are as covenant partners with Christ under the New Covenant. If you are just joining this series, here are some links to the previous lessons:

  1. Covenant Lesson 1
  2. Covenant Lesson 2

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Effective Prayer

I am excited to begin a new Bible study today in the essentials of effective prayer. This class is for my preschool teachers who work for Kids’ Express, our weekly preK school that serves our church and our community.

This is our first lesson and we are going to lay the foundation for effective prayer. Have you ever met someone who prayed powerful prayers that moved God to answer time and time again? Are you one of those people? Would you like to become one of those people? This 6 week study will help with this.

I. Elijah’s effective prayer

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Being a godly friend like Jonathan and David

As I prepare to teach during Children’s church this weekend, I want to write out my thoughts in article form so that I can think through the teaching process as well as share what I have been learning with you. I will be teaching on friendship based on Jonathan and David’s godly friendship. Their story is an amazing one and it parallels Christ’s friendship with us, how we benefit from it, and then how we are motivated to pass this blessing on to others by befriending them and introducing them to our friend, Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Overcoming Fear L4 part 3

So what do you do in specific situations when you have real, live enemies? This is the topic that we want to cover today.  In our previous two articles we covered the topic of fearing people’s opinions about you, specifically when you are called by God to a certain mission and why we tend to fear. We discovered that God has an answer for us at all times. In our Western world we generally do not face physical persecution for living out our faith and sharing the Gospel through the disciple making process. This is not the case in the rest of the world. Many Christians around the world are severely persecuted for their faith in Christ Jesus. I have some friends from Muslim backgrounds who have faced and endured some of the harshest physical as well as psychological persecution one can imagine just for the simple fact that they chose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, rejecting their dead religion and choosing a personal relationship with God that transformed their lives. What do you do when enemies threaten you because you live out your faith? What do you do when you are threatened with terrible consequences if you continue making disciples?  The Word of God has our answers. Continue reading

Overcoming Fear L3

I am preparing to teach my final lesson at our youth group this Saturday night. It is a bitter sweet feeling. I am so sad to be leaving all of my dear friends here in Moldova but at the same time I am excited to be able to spend some time with my family back in the USA. My mom is very sick so I am glad to be able to comfort her and share God’s love with her so that she can be comforted by God in the midst of sickness. I am also happy and well as a little afraid about the newest missionary adventure that our family is embarking on. I need these lessons on overcoming fear as I am constantly attacked by my fears, especially while going through this transition. I would like to review the previous two lessons to get up to speed on this subject and introduce lesson 3. Before getting into the review, I want to ask you, “what are your fears at the moment?”. Continue reading