Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of November 3, 2019

Winning Back our Allegiance

1 Kings 18:17-19, 20-39

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

God exists and is worthy of our love and devotion. This story illustrates how he desires to turn our allegiance back to Him. For us today, this looks like repenting for times that we do not give God our allegiance, and continually allowing the Holy Spirit and Word to renew our minds and cut off the things that lead us away from God.

GROUP DISCUSSION

 

  • Elijah was a man of complex emotion. He had seen, prayed for, and been a part of many amazing works of God that were miraculous in nature. And yet not many verses after this week’s passage, he is depressed to the point of asking God to take his life. What do you think and feel about this dichotomy? Is this encouraging? Discouraging? In what ways?

  • Do you think it would help you and strengthen your faith in God to witness an event like Elijah performed? Why or why not?

  • What events, relationships, or evidence have you experienced in your life that showed you the existence of God? How did this change your action and/or thinking?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

Take some time this week to meditate on James 5:16-17:


So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Next week, we look at an allegory illustrating the self-destructive rebellion toward God that Israel is caught in through the book of Hosea. Read about it in Hosea 5:1-7; 11:1-5.

 

 

 

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of November 10, 2019

How Can I Give Up On You?

Hosea 11:1-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

Providing leadership for the Church is rooted in having God’s heart for the Church and in commitment to God’s mission for the world. 

GROUP DISCUSSION

  • This week we read about the heart of God for God’s people and the lengths Jesus went to demonstrate this to us. How does this strike you? 

  • What are your thoughts on the imagery used in our text this week and the book of Hosea at large?

  • What are the parts of the text this week and of Hosea that you struggle with, and what are the parts that are encouraging and restoring?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

This week we read about the heart of God for God’s people and the lengths Jesus went to demonstrate this to us. Take time this week to reflect on how your own attitude and actions line up with this. Where are they different? What steps are you taking to see them more and more aligned? 

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD 

Next week, we look at more poetry, this time from Isaiah. Isaiah was another prophet, who wrote to the southern kingdom of Judah, and frequently spoke of a future messiah that would deliver Israel. In our text next week, he speaks of the broken relationship between Israel and God, and the antidote that will make it all right. Read about it in Isaiah 5:1-7 and 11:1-5

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People - Why God also Loves Gomer

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of November 17, 2019

So Here's the Deal...

Isaiah 5:1-7, 11:1-5

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

THE BIG IDEA

We’re all without excuse and God still invites us to see the reality of what’s going on. Even in our brokenness and guilt, God is always offering grace. 

GROUP DISCUSSION

Time for everyone to get real honest. When’s the last time you felt like you were corrected or rebuked in genuine love? Has there ever been a time when it was pointed out to you that you were “suffering the consequences” of a choice or action in a way that felt compassionate? Is it possible to see God doing that in our text this week? If so, how might that change the way we receive and give instruction, correction, and honest feedback? Also, take time to discuss the positive and negative implications of God sending “the branch” described in the verses in chapter 11. How does having locate our salvation and help outside of ourselves or our own resources? 

PERSONAL REFLECTION

On a piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle.  Whether you have experience with gardening or not, you can probably compare and contrast these two songs with agrarian themes.  What is being planted and protected?  What should be growing?  What is revealed about God’s nature in each song?  What fruit should we anticipate?  How are you growing in this season? 

RESOURCES

  • The liturgical calendar has us reading scripture that reminds us of our need for a Redeemer.  Catch this podcast about our faithful God’s song of justice in Isaiah, and our anticipation of the coming King. 

  • N.T. Wright notes, “Some of the early Fathers regarded Isaiah as ‘the great prophet’. Some even saw the book as ‘A Fifth Gospel’. It’s easy to see why.”  Read his comments here, and possibly earmark participation in his newest course offered online:  The Servant King.  

  • Check out the Bible Project’s Explore Isaiah and watch the Read Scripture Part 1 Video to understand more about this often confusing book of scripture.

 

LOOKING AHEAD 

Next week, we move back in time, to the time of the kings in the divided kingdom. And while the times of the kings were riddled with disobedient kings, not every one of them lived in opposition to the precepts of the Lord. Next week we’ll examine one king and his time and place who chose humility in the sight of God. Read about it in 2 Kings 22:1-23:3.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • An interesting expose on who’s coming to the table when a whale’s body sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor.  After listening, consider the life of the Church and feasting on the Good News.  Can you think of any parallels?! 

  • Branch Rickey was the professional baseball manager who hired Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League Baseball Player. See here how he got his unique name from this passage of scripture in Isaiah 11. 

  • If you’re starting to think about how you will recognize and celebrate this Advent season, you might be interested in this Advent calendar, or one like it. 

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of November 24, 2019

Faux Jesus

Donny Epp

2 Kings 22:1-20, 23:1-3 

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

THE BIG IDEA

Josiah takes the throne at eight years old and emerges as one of the greatest kings in the history of Israel or Judah. But even the best of us isn’t good enough. Jesus is the only one.

GROUP DISCUSSION

  1. Despite being King of Judah, a country that ideally was close to God, Josiah did not encounter the scriptures until he was an adult. If you grew up with the scriptures, how do you think your perception of scripture would change if you didn’t open the Bible until your 20s or later? If you were exposed to scripture later in life, like Josiah, how do you think your perception of scripture would be different had you always been familiar with it? 

  2. As the Prophetess Huldah explains to Josiah that Judah is still destined for exile and punishment because of their rebellion to God, how do you feel about the punishment? Is it harsh? Justified? Does it make you look at God as harsh or as just? Why? 

  3. The prophetess Huldah tells Josiah he has “displayed a sensitive spirit” to the scripture. Who in your life has displayed a sensitive spirit to the things of God in a way that has been incredibly noteworthy to you, and what did that look like?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

One thing we haven’t delved into much as we’ve talked about prophets and kings is leadership. The king in our text this week, however unlikely, is a strong leader. Take some time this week to reflect on the qualities of King Josiah that made him a good leader, and who else in your life you’ve seen embody those qualities.

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD 

As we look at King Josiah of Judah toward the end of that Kingdom’s existence, next week we will look at words from the prophet Jeremiah, who was a messenger to Judah trying to help them understand the seriousness of their rebellion and the consequences it would have. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, because Jeremiah also knew that an eternal king was coming. Read about it in Jeremiah 33:14-18.