GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of February 5, 2017
Key Text: Luke 7:1-17 (NET)

THE SET-UP

Understanding the way Jesus sees people and things gives us life-changing perspective.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

How does Jesus see the situation?

How does Jesus see the people?

What does this mean for us?

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

A Centurion was a commander in the ___________ Empire’s Army. They were occupying Israel by force. Most Jews _____________ the Romans. In the New Testament we often hear “echoes” of Old Testament  stories. In 1 Kings 17:17-23, a widow’s __________ is raised from the dead. Jesus also raises a widow’s  _________ from the dead in this week’s text. For this reason, the people proclaim Jesus as a ____________ .

Sometimes we have trouble thinking of Jesus as having emotions as we do. But here a very specific word for compassion is used. It refers to one’s ____________ and means Jesus really felt things like we feel things.

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

Are we really better together? Is it possible that your Grace Group could come up with a beautiful melody, even without much confidence in each member’s musical talent? Try this fun icebreaker, and include any kiddos in your group for some extra fun. In this activity, you have to split the group into instruments to create collaborative music. Begin by choosing a song with a 4/4 time signature, or “common time.” Create invisible columns to split the group.  

 

I love this activity, so I recommend that you practice a little at home by recording some sounds and interacting with your own videos to see what could work. Here are a few tips to help you in this task:

  1. Evolve the music in order: Beat, sample, effects

  2. Start counting loud until 4. The quarter note gets the beat, so you can clap your hand to mark the beat.

  3. Ask for the second column to do two-fast claps in the 2/4. Now you have a dance beat.

  4. Ask for the other columns to create another clap using body sounds to get more rhythm. Check the Stomp videos on YouTube to generate more ideas.

  5. Create some notes to create a sample and play with the audience.

Maybe even try to re-create “Build Me Up Buttercup.”

Just remember: You have to define your time and strategy really well to play this dynamic, because it can demand too much energy to engage the group and compromise your schedule.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • The elders of Capernaum entreat Jesus with pleas to come and heal the centurion’s servant because of the things the centurion has done for the community. Jesus gives no verbal reply to this and ultimately responds to the centurion’s request for a very different reason. Can you spot the difference in why the elders consider the centurion’s request to be worthy, and why Jesus does? What about the difference in the way the people are viewing the situation with the widow burying her son, and the way Jesus sees it?

 

  • As humans we are hardwired to label people, to put them in boxes and categories. None of us can totally escape this, nor is it necessarily always a bad thing. But more often than not, this labeling limits our imagination, clouds us from really seeing the person as God sees them. Consider in our text how the people may have viewed the centurion and the widow burying her son. How does Jesus demonstrate that He sees them? What is the difference in His reactions to them?

 

  • One of the main tasks of a follower of Jesus is learning to see things and people the way Jesus sees them. We will never live fully, love purely or serve humbly unless we can see things and people — including, and maybe most importantly, ourselves — the way Jesus sees them. Is this easy for you? Where do you struggle? What practices and habits help you see as Jesus sees? What clouds your vision?

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

If you want to practice seeing others as Jesus sees them, one place to start would be getting involved with Canopy NWA. We’re almost one week into a 120-day refugee resettlement ban, but there’s still lots of work to be done. Click here to find out how you can help.

JUST FOR KIDS

Want to talk about today’s message with your children? Watch this video and have a chat.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Maybe having compassion for refugees begins with imagining what it would be like to live for 17 years in a camp. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Jesus fulfills the prophecies of his cousin, John the Baptist. Read about it in Luke 7:18-35.

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of February 12, 2017
Key Text: Luke 7:18-35 (ESV)

THE SET-UP

Whether we voice them aloud or not, we all wrestle with hard questions about God. So what do we do with those questions when they arise?

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Hard questions are inevitable.

Hard questions are best asked

from a place of honesty and humility.

Hard questions don’t always

elicit the response we expect from God,

yet they will deepen our relationship with Him.

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

Find some background on Luke here, then fill in the blanks:

Luke wanted to show that the place of the Gentile Christian in God’s kingdom is based ____________________________. He wanted to commend the preaching of the gospel to ___________________________.   Luke’s characteristic themes include: (1) _____________,  (2) emphasis on ______________,  (3) joy at the announcement of the ______________; (4) special concern for the role of _______________;(5) special interest in the ________________; (6) concern for _____________;(7) stress on the __________________; (8) repeated use of the ____________________; (9) emphasis on the ____________________; (10) inclusion of more ________________; (11) emphasis on praising ________________.

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

This is a great idea for groups that are ready to go deep. It also takes a little preparation. Gather photographs of various subjects. Include people, things and places. Raid your photo albums or take some scissors to the magazines on your coffee table. Make sure you have several more pictures than the number of people in the group. When you are ready for the discussion to begin, lay the pictures on a table or a surface big enough for everyone to get around. Ask people to walk around and take the picture that best describes/captures their experience of faith/spirituality. After everyone has selected a picture, go around the room and have each person share their photo and why they chose it.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • Anne Lamott defines expectations as “resentments under construction.” When we develop expectations, we are essentially painting a picture of how things will look, how things will feel, and how the people around us will behave. In this week’s passage, each person or group seems to have underlying expectations they bring to the table. Can you spot them? And in what ways do their expectations impact their ability to relate to Jesus?

 

  • In Luke 7, John the Baptist appears in a very different way than when we see him in Luke 3 preaching to and baptizing the masses out in the desert. In the desert, John speaks with confidence about God and his purposes, but in our text he asks questions that expose a deep fear and doubt within him. So given these two “versions” of John, which one has the greater faith? The one who is operating from a position of familiarity and relative comfort, or the one who is bringing his fear and doubts before Jesus?

 

  • As we continue walking with Jesus, we receive the opportunity to be made more like Him. Part of that process inevitably involves asking hard questions about things we encounter in life yet don’t understand. Sometimes we get clear-cut answers, other times we don’t. Are there any questions that you are currently wrestling with? Are there questions you’ve been wrestling with for so long that you’ve given up on getting an answer to them? If so, what do we do with that?

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you places where unmet expectations and resentments are preventing you from growing in your relationship with Jesus. Write them down, along with some specific things you’ll do this week in response to deal with them and let them go. If you need some encouragement, you could start here.

 

  • What are the greatest fears and doubts you have in your walk with Christ? Write those down, too. Start a conversation about them with God, and keep track of how your faith grows — or doesn’t — in the process. If you’re feeling like those doubts and fears compromise your faith, find some reassurance here.

 

  • Finally, when you give up asking hard or important questions because you haven’t gotten an answer, there’s going to be some spiritual fallout. If it’s hard to deal with it, talk about that with God, too. Ask for the insight you need to understand whatever it is the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach you in the process. You might find some help here or here.

JUST FOR KIDS

Watch this video with your family, then have each person tell one thing John the Baptist did to show his belief in Jesus.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Josie Lawson finds that God is with us in the darkest moments of our lives. Whether we feel God’s presence or not. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

For better or worse, Jesus sees straight through to the hearts and motives of those around Him. Read about it in Luke 7:36-8:3 (NET).

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of February 19, 2017
Key Text: Luke 7:36-8:3 (NET)

THE SET-UP

Few words are as healing as “you are forgiven,” especially to those who never expect to hear them.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

What does the story teach us

about forgiveness?

Who is easier to identify with:

Simon or the woman?

When Jesus forgives us,

how should we respond?

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

Learn more about the Pharisees here, then fill in the blanks.  

  1. ….Christ’s teaching was in some respects thoroughly _______________ to theirs.  In your own words, what does this term mean?  ____________________________He ___________________ them in the bitterest language.  

  2. It was a leading aim of the ____________________ to teach men that true piety consisted not in forms, but in substance, not in outward observances, but in an _________________________. The whole system of Pharisaic piety led to exactly __________________________________.

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

Give every person a blank sheet of paper, and ask them to write the word "forgiveness" on it in an acrostic. Have them write words that begin with each letter of the acrostic that have to do with forgiveness. After they are finished, invite them to share what they came up with. You could also just do this as a whole group using a large piece of chart paper or poster board.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • In verse 48 of our text, Luke chooses an interesting word to describe Jesus’ brand of forgiveness: aphiemi, which means to be released, or sent away. It’s the same word Jesus uses in Luke 23:34 when He asks God to forgive the people who put Him on the cross. What does this tell you about the way Jesus forgives us? What happens to our sin when we’re forgiven? Does Jesus forgive us because we love Him, or should our love for Him grow out of the reality that He’s forgiven us?

 

  • Even though Simon and the unnamed woman had very different backstories, they were equally in need of Jesus’ forgiveness. Simon just didn’t know it. Of these two people — Simon and the woman who washed Jesus’ feet — which do you identify with most closely? Why? Compare the way Jesus was treated by them both: Why did they regard Him so differently? Is it possible to truly understand the nature of Jesus’ forgiveness if we don’t realize we need it? Why or why not?

 

  • What changed for the woman when Jesus forgave her sins? Why did she express reverence and gratitude so lavishly? What did Jesus mean when he told her to “go in peace”? She breached a very strict cultural boundary when she behaved the way she did. Likewise, the women named in Luke 8:1-3 risked hard-core scandal to travel with and support Him. Why do you think they did it? Think about your own relationship with Jesus: What are some specific ways you live differently because of the fact that He forgives you, and your sins are paid for?

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

  • If you struggle to accept that Jesus’ forgiveness is a gift, and it’s yours, ask the Holy Spirit this week to give you confidence in your identity as a child of Christ and a rich understanding of what it means to be forgiven by Him. Maybe start with some thoughts by Brene Brown about Jesus coming to us as love made flesh.

 

  • When we see our need and accept Christ’s forgiveness, we’re empowered to forgive others. Are you holding onto a grudge against someone who’s hurt you? What, specifically, will you do this week to let go of it and offer forgiveness?

 

  • What are you being prompted to do, in response to Christ’s love, that pushes you out of your comfort zone? Fight hunger or homelessness in Northwest Arkansas? Become a foster parent? Get involved with refugee resettlement? What specific steps will you take this week to put your love for Jesus into action?

JUST FOR KIDS

Fill a large glass bowl with water. Ask your kid(s) to sprinkle some black pepper on the surface of the water. Tell the kids the pepper represents sin. Have each family member name a sin that the individual pieces of pepper could represent. Get a bottle of dish soap, and tell the kids the soap represents Jesus, then put a few drops on the surface of the water. (The pepper should flee away.) When Jesus forgives the lady’s sin in our scripture of this week, He says, “Go in peace.” We should feel as free and know a fresh start when we are forgiven. Read Psalm 103:12 together.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

      BONUS TRACK: “Alabaster Box” by CeCe Winans, YouTube

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: How can the Church — and our church — minister to people who have disabilities? Teresa Cornett has some thoughts. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Peter, James and John follow Jesus up a mountain to pray, and get more of an encounter with God than they could have expected. Read about it in Luke 9:28-45.

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of February 26, 2017
Key Text: Luke 9:28-45 (NET)

THE SET-UP

Jesus is revealed by the transfiguration.

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

What does the transfiguration

reveal to us about Jesus?

How do we fix in our imagination

the image of a transfigured Christ?

How do we understand ourselves

in relation to the transformed Jesus?

 

 

 

THE BASICS

 

What was the “glorious splendor” that Luke refers to in this passage?  

Go here to find out more.

And what was that glory? What made His face shine? What was the light which enveloped His form? We know that it was __________________, a glory not from without but from _____________, a light shining from the _______________________________ within, not flashed from without. The Transfiguration, then, was not a miracle, but a witness of the ______________________________________: His whole Being shone, and like Moses, when gazing day and night upon the image of God till it became, in a measure, stamped upon him, and the "skin of his face shone," what did He do? Moses, we are told, put a veil over his face to hide it from the people of Israel, and so it was with Christ: _________________________________.

Read Exodus 24:12-18 and Psalm 99 for more Old Testament background regarding this New Testament experience with Christ. And remember this video from The Bible Project? Watch it again for some context on Luke 9.

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

What is the most magnificent or glorious thing you’ve ever seen? Quickly go around in your group and share your experiences.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • As Jesus is “transfigured,” He is joined by Moses, who represents the law, and Elijah representing the Prophets. Jesus, the Word, stands between them. In a way, He represents the culmination of all three. The event ends with God’s voice coming from Heaven, “Listen to Him!” Obviously this doesn’t mean to just “give an ear,” but to listen and obey. Do we? Do we really obediently listen to the One who fulfills the Law and the Prophets and is the Word? How do you think you would act differently if you were there with the disciples when this happened?

 

  • One of the earliest challenges of the Church was how to understand Jesus as both God and as a man. Many wanted it one way or the other. This passage reminds us we have to, somehow, hold onto both. Take a moment and ask yourself: Which one do you have the most trouble holding onto? Is it easier for you to relate to Jesus as a person, or as divine? How are you going to engage your imagination to hold onto both?

 

  • Theologian Richard Hayes writes, “A primary role of Scripture in the Church is to bring about the conversion of the imagination.” The transformation of Jesus, if we will let it, surely does this. As we come to understand this event and what it tells us about Jesus, we also are, in a way, transfigured ourselves. Does knowing this about Jesus change the way you think about yourself? In what ways do you think this happens?  Do you find it difficult to keep this image of Jesus as you live your everyday life?

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

  • Write down three specific things Jesus’ transfiguration tells you about Him, and see if you can find Scripture to back them up. For example, if the transfiguration helps you see Him as the Messiah, you might choose John 14:6 or 20:31.

 

  • Whenever you pray this week, think about the characteristics and verses you’ve written down. Meditate on them, and focus on praising Jesus for each one. Thank Him for specific times He’s demonstrated each of them to you. If you’re praising Him as deliverer, maybe you chose Romans 8:2 or Colossians 1:13-14; name some specific things He’s delivered you from.

 

  • As apprentices of Jesus, we’re transformed, too. Maybe we come to understand that best by living as though we take for granted that it’s true. So dig around for Scripture that tells you who you are in Christ. (You could start here.) What speaks to you most? God doesn’t hold your sin over you? Then work this week on forgiving yourself. You are God’s temple? Add some exercise to your routine, and commit to smarter food choices. God will supply all your needs? Make a sacrificial gift this week — anonymously, maybe — of time, effort or money. How does acting on the Word shape your thinking about it?

JUST FOR KIDS

Let your kids take a glow stick bubble bath! Add the bubbles of your choice to the water in the tub, then give your children several colors of glow sticks to put in the bubbles and under the water. Turn the lights off if you’re really brave, and enjoy the wonder of a different bath time! Talk about 1 John 1:7, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in a different kind of light and to shine in the darkness. How can everyone in your family do this as they go about their week? Bonus: Listen to “In The Light” by D.C. Talk while they play and scrub up.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS 

 

      BONUS TRACK: “The Transfiguration” by Sufjan Stevens, YouTube

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org: Sit in with John Ray on the last day of class at Discipleship Training School. Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Pin it! Post it!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Jesus offers a new way to identify a neighbor and to figure out what’s really important. Read about it in Luke 10:25-42.