GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of April 2, 2017
Key Text: Luke 18:31-19:10 (NET)

THE SET-UP

What don’t we see when we see Jesus?

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

There are things about Jesus

that all of us miss seeing.

It takes persistence to clearly see who Jesus is,

what He is about and

what that means for us.

Our response to what we see about Jesus

shapes our ultimate identity.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

When Jesus says, “Everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished,” to what is He referring?

 

Isaiah 50:6 ______________________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Isaiah 53:5

______________________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Psalm 22:16

______________________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Psalm 118:17

______________________________________________________________________________
 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

What don’t we see? Ask everyone in your group to write down what comes to mind when given these prompts:

 

  • Write down something that is invisible around you that is very good that you possibly don’t see.  

  • Write down one thing that is invisible or overlooked in your midst that could be dangerous to you.  

  • Write down something that you were blind to in the last week or so.  


Share these quickly with your group as you begin your discussion.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • Even a brief scroll online through images of Jesus will reveal a huge variety of ways the Messiah has been portrayed. But there’s something more important than having a somewhat correct view of His physical features. What do we miss about how Jesus does things, and what it cost Him? The way we understand this informs how we will behave and recognize what that will cost us. Can you name some choices you’ve made based only on what you know to be true about Jesus? Did you pay a price as a result? If so, what was it?

 

  • All of us crave, and honestly most of us expect to have, moments of clarity about big things. We mistakenly think if something is really important, everything about it should be clear to us. Rarely is this the case. The process of seeing clearly takes tenacity, often more than we feel is humanly possible. Think about things that have come to you slowly—things you thought were one way, but through persistence you came to see more clearly in time. Was it hard for you to persevere? Why or why not? Was your perseverance worth the insight you gained? Why or why not?

 

  • In the stories of Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus, we see Jesus reaching out and including people definitely excluded from being part of their communities. At the same time, those who think they are “in” are kept from seeing clearly what is about to happen. Is there a connection here between seeing Jesus and responding to Him? If so, what is it? How do the ways we see and respond to Jesus shape our ultimate identity?

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

Our fifth Lenten practice is decluttering. This might seem a little too HGTV for a deeply worshipful discipline, but in reality, clutter—whether it’s physical or spiritual—is poison to intimacy with Christ. It prevents us from clearly seeing what’s really important because it distracts us, saps our energy and often determines our priorities. Pursuing a life free of clutter brings freedom and insight, so let’s get started! Want some help? You might find it here, here or here. And if you think decluttering is just a girl thing, read this.

JUST FOR KIDS

Kids’ rooms are the final frontier of decluttering. If your children are attached to their stuff, decluttering their space—much less getting them involved in the process—can be like putting your head through a brick wall over and over, only not as comfortable or fun. But if you can figure out how to teach them when they’re young the value of living with less, think what a gift that will be to them as they grow up. And Lent is a great time to start. One way you can ease into decluttering with your kids is to make a game of it; find some pointers here. (It’s worth your time to check out this blog post just to get to see this video.)  


 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Showing hospitality is not only for extroverts. Just ask Staci Bell. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Jesus rides into Jerusalem, and toward the cross. Read about it in Luke 19:29-44.

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of April 9, 2017
Key Text: Luke 19:29-44 (NET)

THE SET-UP

Most often, nobody but Jesus gets it.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem fulfills the Old Testament

in a radically alternative way.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem subverts

the expectations of the people.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is the culmination

of His own divine agenda.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

This scene might not be what we’d expect to see when the Messiah and King of Kings is celebrated as He enters Jerusalem. Look up these Old Testament scriptures. What do you find that connects with the story in our text this week?  

 

Zechariah 9:9 _________________________________________________________________


______________________________________________________________________________

 

Isaiah 55:12 __________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Psalm 118:26 _________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Read Leviticus 23:40-44, then summarize what God instructed the Israelites to do:  


______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

This activity gives participants a chance to consider perspective by experiencing how they might overlook things. You could do the first part with your whole group when you begin your discussion, or make copies of the first page for everyone to work on individually and then share the results together.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • At Grace Church, we lean toward what’s called a “Christological hermeneutic” as our primary (but by no means exclusive) approach to understanding Scripture. Another way to say this is that we usually look first at the Bible through our “Jesus glasses.” We see that in play this week. Most of the crowd in Jerusalem understood the prophecies and predictions in the OT one way, but Jesus fulfilled them in a very different way. And we can only really understand His way by looking at events with a knowledge of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. How do you think the crowd’s interpretations were off base? Where did they match up with Jesus’ agenda? What does this tell us about how we are to approach Jesus and what His Kingdom is all about?

 

  • How does Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem subvert the expectations of the people? When we look at the whole of His ministry, He didn’t spend much time there. As a result, most Jerusalemites had little firsthand knowledge of Him. So when He comes riding into their town followed by a considerable crowd acting as His hype men, what do you imagine the people were thinking? Consider the response of the crowd at His arrival: In just a few days, these same people will turn on Him and shout for His crucifixion. What about Jesus’ actions changed their minds? How does this inform our own expectations of Jesus?

 

  • Ultimately, the significant thing about what happens in Jerusalem is how it reflects and fulfills Jesus’ own agenda and His own understanding of “what is necessary.” How are Jesus’ vision and agenda for who He is and what He is about fulfilled by everything that happens to Him, from his entry into Jerusalem through all the events that follow? This is a big question, one that takes more than a single week to answer, but Holy Week is a great time to consider it.

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

This week, our Lenten practice is generosity. While it may seem related to last week’s decluttering, it is about something very different thing than giving away stuff you no longer want or need. It is sharing or sacrificing something you wouldn’t otherwise part with, like that one free weekend. Or extra coat. Or money set aside for a vacation. It could be a one-time kind of gift, or a commitment to radically rearrange your lifestyle so you can live on much less and give away much more. Whatever it is has to cost you something: time, energy, attention or—yes—money (which is often the easiest thing to give, so be careful and pay attention to your motivations). Get specific this week. How, where and with whom are you going to show your generosity? Be ready to share your experiences with your Grace Group.

JUST FOR KIDS

In Grace Kids Groups, the children are learning about Jesus being #1 through the story of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Kids in preschool classes have a memory verse chart to work on for the entire month of April. If your child didn’t get a chart on April 2, make sure you pick one up this week! Use your own stickers or draw a smiley face on each day your child says the verse. Parents, as you refine your craft, you might be inspired by this podcast on encouraging servanthood in children. We have a bounty of resources available with our curriculum on the Parent Cue app, so take advantage of them as we partner to grow Grace kids who love the Lord.  


 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Rachel Kiser shares about the abundance that comes in simple living. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

In our text next week, we find one of the most powerful statements ever recorded: “He is not here, but has been raised!” Read it in Luke 24:1-12.

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of April 16, 2017
Key Text: Luke 24:1-12 (NET)

THE SET-UP

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Jesus’ resurrection is a supernatural event.

It is easy to accept on the surface,

almost impossible to really believe.

The resurrection reframes reality

for those who believe.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

  • Why were the women up at the earliest time of dawn? Look in Luke 23:56 to find the reason for their delay in preparing the body.  

  • Why did Jesus refer to Himself as the Son of Man? See Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 26:64.

  • Why does Jesus’ resurrection matter so much? Find some answers in John 11:25-26 and 1 Peter 1:3-4.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • If instantly giving a leper baby-soft skin, feeding five thousand people with a small basket of fish and chips or calming a raging sea with a terse “settle down!” are difficult to believe, we are really going to have problems with the resurrection. That’s okay, though—so did the disciples, at first. But something soon changed to the point where they not only believed it, they also lived it. Not only was the resurrection supernatural, but so was their faith. Ours is, too. Do you struggle to believe the resurrection, to really live it? Are you trying to make yourself believe? Have you considered asking for faith as a supernatural gift?

 

  • Without this kind of faith, and at times even with it, practicing and living resurrection is daunting. Accepting the story of Jesus as a concept might be easy, but letting the reality permeate every part of our lives is another thing entirely. Eugene Peterson talks about the necessity of “practicing resurrection,” Dallas Willard of “living the resurrection” and the Apostle Paul’s writing are packed with images and instructions on how this is the goal of following Jesus. What about your life? Are you practicing and living the resurrection? What keeps you from it? What helps?

 

  • For the disciples, following Jesus around was one thing; living as Holy-Spirit inspired ambassadors for the resurrected and ascended Lord was another thing altogether. It suddenly thrust them out front; they were the ones who now came in direct conflict with His enemies and were responsible for other followers. And so are we. How has becoming a follower of Jesus reframed your reality? Affected your priorities? Molded your imagination?

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

This week, our final practice is to read through the book of John and carve some time out to reflect in solitude. It might seem a bit out of sync to do this after we have just celebrated Easter, but you might think of it as a way to really let it “digest.” Anticipation, celebration and reflection all work together to form our imaginations. Solitude is a great tool for facilitating reflection. Give it a try this week.

JUST FOR KIDS

Ever made Resurrection Rolls with your kids? It’s a great activity for you to do together and a fun way to help them understand Jesus’ burial and resurrection. Plus, when you’re finished, you get to eat cinnamon-y, sugary crescent rolls. There’s really not a downside.  


 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Ike Peters presents Generosity in Three Acts. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

After His resurrection, Jesus visits His friends and followers — and is recognized by exactly no one. Read about it in Luke 24:13-35.

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of April 23, 2017
Key Text: Luke 24:13-35 (NET)

THE SET-UP

The resurrected Christ makes it possible for us to live an ever-deepening life in Him.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Jesus invites us to go deeper in

our understanding of Scripture.

Jesus invites us to go deeper in

relationship with Him.

Jesus invites us to go deeper in

our fellowship with other believers.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

  • In verse 21, the speaker says they thought Jesus “was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”  What did they think this might look like?  Look up Psalm 130:7-8.  ________________________________________________________________________

 

  • Verse 29 says the two urged Jesus to “stay with us.”  How had God dwelt with people in the past? Look up:

 

      Genesis 3:8 _______________________________________________________

      Genesis 18:3-5 ____________________________________________________

      Exodus 25:8 _______________________________________________________

  • How does Psalm 16:11 speak to the resurrection and presence of Jesus?  

       ___________________________________________________________________

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • According to verse 27, Jesus walked Cleopas and his mystery buddy all the way through the Torah and helped them see His place in God’s story; He interpreted Scripture for them. Through the Holy Spirit, He interprets Scripture for us, too. In his book Luke For Everyone, N.T. Wright says, “This passage forms one of the most powerful encouragements to pray for His presence, and sense of guidance, whenever we study the Bible, individually, in pairs or in larger groups.” When you study Scripture, do you ask the Holy Spirit to teach you? How can you tell when that prayer is being answered? Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit helped you understand Scripture that was unfamiliar to you, or gave you an entirely different perspective on a passage you know well? Would you share it with your group?

 

  • Cleopas and his friend knew some important information about Jesus: that he’d been crucified, had died and had been buried. But they didn’t recognize Him until He broadened their understanding of Scripture and broke bread with them. Encountering Jesus personally made all the difference. So put aside, for a second, what you’ve read or heard or been taught: What do you know to be true about the resurrected Christ based on personal experience? Because you’ve engaged with Him, talked with Him, been obedient in something specific He asked you to do? How has He shaped you? Shaped your concept of truth? If Christ has revealed Himself to you, what are some specific ways you share that revelation with others?

 

  • The New Testament shows us over and over again how the Gospel spread in community; none of Jesus’ followers lived their lives in a vacuum. How many references to community can you find in our brief text alone? How does Jesus draw us into community today? What about you, personally: Would you share some specific ways that your relationship with Christ shapes your experience in community?

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

  • When you read your Bible this week, be on-purpose about first asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand it. The help is yours for the asking; it says so here, here, here and here.

 

  • God is always at work, all around us, all the time. One way to deepen your relationship with Him is to jump in and serve. Is the Holy Spirit nudging you to help a neighbor? Take a meal to someone? Train to become a foster parent, or support a friend who has? Commit to at least one specific act of service this week, and be sensitive to what God might be revealing about Himself in the process.

  • Commit to do something this week that nurtures community at Grace Church. Ideas? Prepare a meal at your house, and invite some folks you’d like to get to know better. Help out with one of our Grace Kids Groups on Sunday. Sign up to ride with Grace folks who are participating in the Square to Square Bicycle Ride on May 13. Choose something that helps you connect and grow in community.

JUST FOR KIDS

This week, our Grace Kids Groups will learn more about how Jesus set up the church to do His work after the resurrection. You might enjoy watching this video together to discuss how you might recognize Jesus walking with you in your life!  


 

 

DEEP CUTS 

​     BONUS TRACK: “Abide With Me,” YouTube

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

The Church names its first deacons, and the first Christian martyr is stoned to death for his faith. Read about it in Acts 6:1-7:2a, 44-60.

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of April 30, 2017
Key Text: Acts 6:1-7:2a, 44-60 (NET)

THE SET-UP

The Holy Spirit is the presence of God alive in each of us, teaching us truth and fully equipping us for life in the Kingdom—if we’ll submit to it.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

The Holy Spirit is the presence of God

alive in every apprentice of Christ.

We have to choose to be led

by the Holy Spirit.

When we’re submitted, the Holy Spirit

teaches us truth and gives us

strength to walk in it.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

What is the Holy Spirit? Look up these verses, and write down what they tell you about this part of the Trinity:

 

John 14:26

 

Acts 1:8

 

Acts 2:38

 

Romans 5:5

 

Romans 8:26-27

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • Several times in our text—here, here, here, here and here—we’re told in one way or another that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. What do you think that means? Based on what you read here, what did it mean for Stephen personally? What does it mean to you? If you apprentice Jesus Christ, the presence of God is alive in you through the Holy Spirit. What are some specific ways you live differently because of it?

 

  • God isn’t pushy. The Holy Spirit is a gift to us; we have to choose every day whether or not to accept it and to be led by it. Do you believe you need the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? Why or why not? How do your circumstances make it easier or harder to recognize your need for the Holy Spirit?

 

  • When we’re submitted, the Holy Spirit teaches us truth and gives us strength to walk in it. Do you think we’re in tune with that reality in the Church? At Grace Church? Why or why not? Stephen gave his life for his faith. Do you think it’s possible for everyone to be as full of the Holy Spirit as he obviously was? If so, what would it take to get us there?

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

Stephen sets a powerful example of a believer completely yielded to Christ. But there’s more than one way to give your life for Him. Every time you put your own will to the side and walk in obedience to what the Holy Spirit is teaching and telling you, you take steps in that direction. This week, see if you can identify things that distract you from recognizing your need for the Holy Spirit and prevent you from giving up control of your life. Commit to let go of them, and see what happens: Is it easier to identify the Holy Spirit’s voice? To lean on the Holy Spirit? To see yourself the way God sees you? How do you think your life would be different if you made this a daily practice?

JUST FOR KIDS

Some parents find explaining the Holy Spirit to their children to be a bit of a challenge. If you’d like some guidance about how to start that conversation, you might find it here. It’s important for kids to know that the Holy Spirit helps us see things the way Jesus wants us to, sort of like glasses can help our eyes see things more clearly. Does anyone in your house wears glasses or contacts? If so, talk about some specific ways they help us see differently. Shapes are more distinct, for instance; colors are sharper, words are more clear when we read. If you’re up for something to do while you’re talking, and if you’re feeling crafty, here’s how you can make a fun pair of glasses together.  


 

 

DEEP CUTS 

​    

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

God is working all around us, all the time. And the Holy Spirit will show us how we can be part of that work, if we’ll follow. Read about it in Acts 8:26-39.