GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of June 3rd, 2018

True Love and a Snoring Jesus / John Ray

Key Text: 2 John (The Message)

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, click here.

 

 

 

THE SET-UP

Jesus is the ultimate source and center of what true love is.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

It’s pretty obvious from the various ways we use the word “love” in our culture, that one:  it’s a big deal, and two: we are really confused on what it really is. We both desperately want it and don’t really know what it is. That’s where Jesus comes in. And not just any Jesus, but the human, Galilean, born-of-a-virgin-died-on-the-cross-and-everything-in-between-Jesus.  Without the love of God embodied in Jesus, we are left to the myriad definitions offered by the world. Take a minute and think about what we would think of love if there were no Jesus? What would it look like? Where would it get us? The Bottom Line is Jesus shows us what true love looks like in human form.

Let’s think about that a little bit further. It’s pretty popular in our culture to speak of being spiritual, but not religious.  Another expression of this comes in believing that acting right is what really matters and that what a person actually believes is irrelevant, as long as his or her actions are good or perceived to be loving. But can a person really love without the experience of Jesus? It’s not a easy question to contemplate, is it? Why is it even important to ask?  The Bottom Line is that apart from Jesus, any and all other definitions and experience of love fall short.


In a society that seems to be further and further torn apart, is there a legitimate role for the Church to play? I mean, couldn’t it be argued that what’s really needed are more rules, more calling out of what makes us distinctive? And if it’s not doctrine that keeps us together, what is it?  The Bottom line is that “Jesusy” love is the ultimate thing that unites us.

 

REFLECTION

Take some time and think about all the things you use as excuses for not acting in love. Now consider that Jesus faced all those same limitations. How does this affect your excuses? How does it inform your definition of love?  

 

JOURNAL 

John seems quite adamant when he writes “But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.” Let’s chew on this this week.

Each day memorize the phrase prayer and repeat it throughout the day.

Monday: “Jesus, help me to experience your love for me.”

Tuesday: “Jesus, help me follow your commands.”

Wednesday: “Jesus, help me conduct my life in love.”

Thursday: “Jesus, help me remember what you taught.”

Friday: “Jesus, keep me from false love.”

Saturday: “Jesus, help me to love others.”

 

CHECK IT OUT

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

No blog this week. Please email Teresa at tcornett@gracechurchnwa.org if you’d be interested in writing a future post.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Next week Norma Farthing leads us through 3 John - an interesting letter about showing hospitality to others and the value of a face-to-face talk!  

 

 

 

 

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of June 10th, 2018

This Means YOU! / Norma Farthing

Key Text: John (The Message)

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, click here.

THE SET-UP

Our Christianity means little if it’s only abstract idealism or rigid orthodoxy. Third John offers real-world suggestions for living out our love for Jesus through extending hospitality to those he loves.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • The ancient world practiced hospitality routinely.  There were no hotels or AirBnBs, and inns were sparse and notoriously dangerous.  But Christians took hospitality even more seriously. Why? What implications does that have for us?

  • Except for John, all the personalities in this short letter are Greek (or possibly Hellenized Jews).  How does knowing that affect our understanding of the letter? What principles can we extrapolate for practicing hospitality in our own lives?

  • John seems to be saying something different in III Third than he did in II John. What explains the difference?  What implications are here for us?

REFLECTION

  • What says hospitality better than a potluck?

  • “We must press into becoming a hospitable people.  God did not complicate this for us,” Bri McCoy writes in this article.  

  • Does your home have a welcome mat, a wall hanging, or a scripture posted?  What does it mean? Reflect on the purpose of your welcome to others, both physically and spiritually.  

 

CHECK IT OUT

“It’s no accident that we accept the hospitality of our Savior every time we approach the Communion Table. Jesus has invited us to share in his eternal victory through his death and resurrection at a table. It signals to the powers of darkness that our victory is certain; their defeat is imminent,” writes Chad Ashby.   

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

Open doors and open tables offer opportunities for relationship and encouragement.  Read more this week as Teresa Cornett shares about the people who taught her the most about hospitality.   Please email Teresa at tcornett@gracechurchnwa.org if you’d be interested in writing a future post.  

LOOKING AHEAD

What a privilege it is to hear from so many voices in our faith community!  In this calendar year, we’ve heard from six different teachers of varying backgrounds, stages, and ages.  Next week, Peter Lester will lead us through an exploration of the 7 I Ams, and the 7 days of creation.  Join him for the teaching team meeting at 6:30 AM at Puritan Uptown on June 12 if you’d like to provide support and input.  

JOURNAL 

Consider how the Father invites you to His table, and into His family.  For four days this week, follow the ACTS model of prayer, journaling if you would like, or just praying verbally.

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of June 17th, 2018

Who is this God who Says His Name is "I Am"? / Peter Lester

Key Text: Exodus 3:1-15 (NET)

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SET-UP

God’s name was given not so much to disclose who He Himself is, but to disclose what He is, was and will be in relationship to Egypt’s sin, the children of Israel, Moses’ need and God’s redemptive purpose for us. Understanding how God identifies Himself, “I am” is the fuel that powers us when He says, “Go!”
 

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • God is redemptive. Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” Besides providing our food and life for today, God offers us redemption, providing life for eternity. Think back on how you developed a relationship with Jesus. What did God do that moved you from a temporal perspective to an eternal one, from being lost to being redeemed?

  • God is real and active. In John’s Gospel, he includes seven declarations (find them in 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 14:6; and 15:1) that expound on God’s name as it’s revealed in Exodus 3:14-15. Each represents a particular relationship Jesus has to the spiritual needs of men: the bread that gives eternal life, their light in darkness, their entrance into security and fellowship, their guide and protector in life, their hope in death, their certainty in perplexity, and the source of vitality for productiveness. How have you seen Jesus interact with you in one of these spiritual dimensions this week?

  • God is relational. God’s favorite word is “Go.” His plan to bless all the nations on the earth began with His covenant with Abraham and continues today until all peoples, languages and cultures have a chance to know Him. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jonah, the disciples — all were told to “go.” If you follow Jesus very long, He is going to tell you to go, too. He told me to go and is still telling me to go and be a part of building His Kingdom, to take His blessing to all people. In what ways is God telling you to “go” and be a part of distributing His blessing?

REFLECTION

How are you responding right now to the ways God is calling you to “go” in Jesus’ name? What’s your attitude? Are you excited? Enthusiastic? Irritated? Worried? Scared? Are there things you need in order to answer the call? When you pray this week, thank God for His direction and provision, and ask Him for the help you need.

 

CHECK IT OUT

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

Lesley Green writes our blog post for this week from the gypsy camps in the Ukraine - you can read it here. Please email Teresa at tcornett@gracechurchnwa.org if you’d be interested in writing a future post.  

LOOKING AHEAD

We dive into our summer study of Revelation next week, beginning with a vivid introduction to John’s testimony. Read about it in Revelation 1:1-20.

JOURNAL 

The “I Am” statements of Jesus each contain a promise, a key to the very personal ways we’re loved and transformed by His Spirit alive in us. Spend some time meditating every day on one of these statements, and write down some specific ways you see each one at work in your life. How is your life different as a result?

 

Monday: Jesus promises eternal life (John 6:35).

 

Tuesday: Jesus promises light in darkness (John 8:12).

 

Wednesday: Jesus promises security and fellowship (John 10:9).

 

Thursday: Jesus promises to be our guide and protector (John 10:11).

 

Friday: Jesus promises hope in death (John 11:25).


Saturday: Jesus promises certainty in complexity (John 14:6).

Grace Church Learning Guide / Week of July 24th, 2018

The Gift of Revelation / John Ray

Key Text: Revelation 1:1-20 (MSG)

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SET-UP

If the book of Revelation is not a guidebook to The Apocalypse, a calendar for judgement or secret code book for salvation, what is it?

THE BOTTOM LINE

To really understand Revelation we have to understand who was the primary audience. A person could do much worse than to take some time and learn about the seven Churches this letter was written to, but in short, they were a fledgling group, pressured and persecuted and pioneering what it meant to be “a Christian” in the generations immediately following what we read about in the book of Acts. Can you imagine what they faced? Can you imagine the temptation to give up or to “go along to get along”? John loves these Churches and sends Revelation to encourage them, not to scare them, to spur them to more boldness, not get turn them into a bunch of “preppers” hold up in the hills, but confident evangelist proclaiming the Good News. How have you primarily thought of Revelation up to this point? Can you identify in anyway with the original audience? What challenges do you bring to our study of this the book? The Bottom Line is Revelation is a letter of hope.

While the images and message of Revelation may strike us as strange or unique, for the most part Revelation doesn’t give us any new information, it just gives it in a new way. John writes this as a pastor, a theologian and a poet and that makes for some unique language. Understanding the genre of Revelation is key to understanding the message. What type of literature would you say Revelation is? It’s also important to understand Revelation is a “big picture” book, written to help people put their specific situation into a larger context. How does understanding Revelation this way help as you approach your study? The Bottom Line is  Revelation is a re imagining of the whole Bible.

Dragons and Horsemen, stars and seas made of crystal, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the stunning imagery of this book. It’s also easy to lose sight that it’s writing about the same Jesus born to Mary and baptized by John. The same Jesus who got tired and turned over tables in the Temple. The same Jesus who submitted himself to deadly State sponsored torture and religiously motivated scorn. When we read this, how does it affect our image and understanding of Jesus? How do we keep from being bogged down in the details and keep our focus on Him?  The Bottom Line is Revelation is ultimately all about Jesus.

REFLECTION

Diving into Revelation is not for the faint of heart. If you are expecting easy answers, fixed formulas or nice neat packages. Revelation takes work. Pray and consider, are you willing to put in the effort? Are you willing to do what it takes to not just be a passive “hearer” but an obedient “doer” when it comes to what Revelation has for us? What we’re going to get out of our study in the coming weeks will largely depend on what we put into it. Are you willing? If you are, what are you willing to commit to get the most out of this study? If not, why? What’s standing in your way?

 

CHECK IT OUT

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

In this week’s blogpost, Kelli McGarrah shares about her eagerness to learn more about the book of Revelation.  Please email Teresa at tcornett@gracechurchnwa.org if you’d be interested in writing a future post.  

LOOKING AHEAD

Next week, Alex Cornett will lead us through chapters 2 through 5 in the book of Revelation; the “last word on the church and worship.”  Sounds as if he will have a lot to cover in 35 minutes!

JOURNAL 

The book of Revelation invites us to listen.  How often in this media-saturated age do you take advantage of quiet and listen to what the Spirit is saying?  In his book Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson writes, “St. John is a theologian whose entire mind is saturated with thoughts of God, his whole being staggered by a vision of God….He insists that God is capable of logos, that is, intelligent discourse.”  Set aside time this week on your digital or paper calendar, take out some paper and pen, and listen. Read the text once, twice, even three times. Scribe some questions and praises.  Maybe you’ll be inspired as St. John was, to make something, like a poem or song.  If you’re willing, share it with us via social media! Use the hashtag #revelationinspirationGC.