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Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of October 6, 2019

Who Are We Going to Be? - John Ray

Deuteronomy 5:1-21, 6:4-9

 

 

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

The rules we adopt define things for us. Who God is, who we are, what is true and good and beautiful.

GROUP DISCUSSION

 

What are the “rules”; motos, life statements, etc… you live by? What rules would others say you live by? 

Which of the 10 commandments, if any, do you struggle to understand or obey? What difference does the statement “Salvation isn’t the reward for obedience; salvation is the reason for obedience” make in how you view these commandments? Do you view these as “have to” or “get to”?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

All of us live by a set of “rules”, assumptions about what it right and wrong and what is the best way to live. Take time to reflect on the “rules” you live by. Not the ones you think you should live by, or want to live by, but the ones you actually live by. A good place to start is considering what your habits say about this. Maybe ask someone close to you what they would say are the rules you live by. How do these line up with what is listed in our text? Deuteronomy 5:1-21; 6:4-9. After you have considered the rules given in Deuteronomy, consider what Jesus offers in Matthew 5-7 How does this help your understanding of the rules in Deuteronomy?

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD

As we’ve seen different individuals show us different aspects of their relating to God, we take an interesting turn next week as we take a look at the story of Ruth, which begins in tragedy. And it’s interesting because while the full book tells a story of God’s provision, the narrator never mentions God directly. Read about it in Ruth 1:1-17.

ODDS AND ENDS

What is the purpose of a command?

 

 

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of October 13, 2019

The Mystery of Choice - John Ray

Ruth 1:1-17

 

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

The ultimate guide for how we make our choices can’t be based on what we see and understand. But if not that, then what?

GROUP DISCUSSION

 

  • Is anyone in the group aware of choices made by their parents, grandparents or even earlier ancestors that have directly benefited them, but those making the decision never lived to see? 

  • We live in a society that demands results, that wants to make sure it is getting the best deal and highest ROI. How does this mentality fit into the story of Ruth?

  • Consider the choice made by Ruth and the one made by Orpah. Which one do you identify most with? 

  • How does the story of Ruth influence how we should make decisions going forward?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

Take time to read the entire book of Ruth, (it’s not that long). While we see the outcome of Ruth’s decision, it’s important to remember, Ruth wouldn’t have had any idea what her choice would mean for Israel. What choices are you currently facing that can only be made in faith? How does Ruth’s story help you make those choices?

RESOURCES

  • Check out the Working Preacher commentary on the emotional, social, and economic loss that Naomi encounters, and the corresponding podcast here

  • For a great overview of the whole book of Ruth, watch the Bible Project’s video here, and the corresponding blog post here

  • This blog post, (while a little outdated) from the folks at the ESV Bible explains how the book of Ruth is the story of the miracle of the lineage of Jesus. 

  • This piece from Ligonier Ministries declares Ruth a faithful Gentile, and shows the significance of this in history and in relation to God.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

As we’ve looked this week at Ruth, who will be an ancestor of the most famous king in Israel’s history, David, next week we take a look at King David himself. He’s a polarizing, full-on human, with triumphs and faults. Read about him in 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5 and Psalm 150

ODDS AND ENDS

Stephen Colbert shares about grief with Anderson Cooper

 

 

 

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of October 20, 2019

A Complex King

2 Samuel 5:15; 6:1-5, Psalm 150

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

In the life of David and Israel, we see God giving his people the freedom to make choices, the ability to discern what those choices mean, and a God revealing himself to humans through it all. 

GROUP DISCUSSION

 

  • Our text this week shows us that despite God warning Israel that they did not need to be like the other nations and have a king, he gave them a king anyway, and in David he showed them grace by giving them a king who desired to serve his people. Does this change your view or understanding of God? If so, how? 

  • While God allowed Israel to move into a kingship, that choice was not without consequences. How do you feel about a God who allows his kids freedom of choice, but will not divorce those choices from their consequences?

  • How has God revealed himself to you through the consequences of your actions, be they positive or negative? Do you have unresolved understandings of why some things have turned out the way they have in your life? Feel free to share if you feel comfortable. 

  • Which words or phrases in Psalm 150 strike you the most? For what reasons?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

Take time to read the entire book of Ruth, (it’s not that long). While we see the outcome of Ruth’s decision, it’s important to remember, Ruth wouldn’t have had any idea what her choice would mean for Israel. What choices are you currently facing that can only be made in faith? How does Ruth’s story help you make those choices?

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD

As we’ve looked this week at Ruth, who will be an ancestor of the most famous king in Israel’s history, David, next week we take a look at King David himself. He’s a polarizing, full-on human, with triumphs and faults. Read about him in 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5 and Psalm 150

 

 

Grace Church Learning Guide

Week of October 27, 2019

God's Plans and our Projects

1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29

 

 

For a PDF of the Learning Guide, Click Here.

 

THE BIG IDEA

There are no shortcuts or easy answers, but there is grace to discern through paying attention. The knowledge that God is working with, and in spite of, us frees us to accept the consequences of our actions without fear of punishment.  

GROUP DISCUSSION

 

It’s easy to look back and see the flaws in the character and choices both Rehoboam and Jeroboam make, but consider their relative perspectives in the moment, only knowing what they knew in the moment. How does this make you feel about your own situation - the choices you are faced with daily? Has there been a time you made the wrong choice, but with the right motivation? What about a time you made the right choice, but with a selfish one? 

 

Being able to honestly look back and consider the consequences of our choices is a gift. At least it is when we are free from feeling judged by them. Lack of judgement is not the same thing as lack of consequences. As followers of Jesus, we are given the gift of knowing we are loved and accepted regardless of our performance, while at the same time given the respect of having our choices carry real weight, having real effects. How does the concept of consequences being a gift to us for the purpose of giving us discernment, rather than simple “reward/punishment” strike you? How might that change the way you approach making decisions?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

Take time to read through our story this week and imagine yourself in the situation. Where would you be? Consider the choices Rehoboam and Jeroboam make, would you do the same? How would you know to do differently?

RESOURCES

 

LOOKING AHEAD

As the the unified Kingdom of Israel becomes no longer unified, and kings in both the Northern and Southern divided kingdoms struggle to steer their people in the way of God, God begins to send messengers, called prophets, to tell Israel how they will do themselves a favor if they turn back to the God of their ancestors, the God of the covenant. Tim Foster helps us understand one of the most pivotal prophets during one of the most significant prophetic events in the Old Testament: Elijah at Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18:17-39.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

How might Paul respond to John McAruthur comments about Beth Moore?