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Showing posts from August, 2019

FIRE FIGHTERS: Division and Discord

Icebreaker: What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you? What is the nicest thing you have ever done for someone? Overview: I saw a billboard on a church that read: “Do for one person what you wish you could do for everyone.” I may not be able to give everyone a gift or shower everyone with love, but I can do it for one person. The Apostle Paul instructed Titus that we should be ready for “every good work” and “show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Division and discord are breaking out all around us trying to snuff out the fire of the Spirit! To keep the blaze of the Holy Spirit burning, we need to treat others with the goodness and loving kindness of God, even if we start small. Discussion: Read Titus 3:1-11. Causes of division and discord: Quetta’s testimony:   A few years ago, I suffered a fractured relationship with another person in our church because of an action they took in which they felt justified. I felt justified as well and overr


Icebreaker: What are examples of places where excitement is contagious? How do people respond to the excitement? Overview: Excitement is contagious. Sales organizations use the excitement of rewarding a few superstars with plaques and trips as a way to motivate all the sales team. When surrounded by cheering, successful sales people, everyone catches the vision of what is possible. When we are living a life set on fire for Christ, it is impossible for the flame not to spread to those around us. Discussion: Read Acts 4:1-22. Formula for Fire What were Peter and John doing that got them thrown in jail? What gave Peter the boldness to speak so plainly to the rulers? Fueled by Boldness How did the fire of the Holy Spirit help spread the gospel? Why were the religious rulers in such a difficult position? What did they command Peter and John NOT to do? You can’t stop it! What was Peter’s response to the command? How is the gospel spread? When hav

SET OUR HEARTS ABLAZE: A Passion for Lost People

Icebreaker: What is the most valuable thing you have ever lost? What did you do to try and find the lost item? Overview: When our daughter was three, she became lost in a shopping mall. It was a terrifying half-hour as every available person searched the crowded mall for the little girl in green. Finally, the word came over the walkie-talkie that she had been found by a customer at the other end of the mall. We were so grateful to see her again that we did not scold her for running away from the family. Our loving Heavenly Father is waiting with welcoming arms to receive the lost sheep that has wandered away. May we be like that heaven-sent customer years ago and help the lost find their way home. Set our hearts ablaze for lost people. Discussion: Read Luke 15:1-7; 19:1-10. Jesus’ Passion & Purpose What was Jesus’ purpose on Earth? How was His approach different from other religious leaders of the day? How far was He willing to go to fulfill His purpos

SET OUR HEARTS ABLAZE: A Need to Connect with Others

Icebreaker: What do/did you like most about going back to school? What do/did you like least about going back to school? Overview: The love of Jesus naturally creates a love of others in us. We need the love of other human beings to survive. As Christians, a loving connection with other believers is vitally important to our spiritual development and well-being. Jesus prayed to the Father that we would love, connect and depend on each other. His prayer is that we are one in a spirit of unity with other Christians just as He is One with the Father. Set our hearts ablaze with a desire for unity! Discussion: Read John 17:1-26. Knowing Him Connects Us: How do you feel when you first meet another Christian? Why does knowing Jesus connect us? He Is Glorified In Us: How did Jesus glorify God? How do we glorify God? How does having unity with other believers glorify God? Unity: What does unity with other believers mean? How do we handle differing opinions?

SET OUR HEARTS ABLAZE: A Desire for His Presence

Icebreaker: What food do you crave in the summer? What is your favorite homemade ice cream flavor? Overview: The story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus is one we usually only read at Easter and, even then, not often enough. It is a human-interest story, one where we can imagine ourselves as one of Jesus’s followers. To hear Jesus explain the scriptures that referred to the Lord Himself must have been amazing! But it was challenging to hear the stranger rebuke them for not having enough faith in the scriptures and realize later they were in the presence of Jesus. When we experience Jesus’s presence, we crave more. Discussion: Read Luke 24:13-35. What was the mood of the two followers as they walked home? Why did Jesus hide His identity from them? What did Jesus use to explain the crucifixion to them? What prompted them (perhaps husband and wife or siblings) to invite Jesus home with them? What caused the fire they felt within their hearts as they talked with Je

MEETING GOD IN THE FIRE: A Church Birthed in Fire

The news in April of 2019 that Notre Dame was on fire came as quite a shock. Maybe they meant Notre Dame, the university in Indiana. Surely Notre Dame in Paris, the historic, Gothic cathedral from the 12 th century, was not on fire. That Notre Dame would have fire suppression. It is too precious to risk loss in a fire. Sadly, the beautiful, iconic church caught fire due to an electrical short-circuit and, in order to preserve its original design, the attic was not equipped with firewalls or sprinkler systems. This week there is a new concern for a collapse of the remaining structure due to extreme summer heat. [1] The visual image of a church on fire is disturbing whether it is a priceless cathedral like Notre Dame or small, neighborhood church down the street. Probably more disturbing should be a church that is NOT on fire. We want to see the Holy Spirit’s flaming power moving in our midst. The entire church met God in the fire. On the day of Pentecost, they were covered with

MEETING GOD IN THE FIRE: Fighting Fire with Fire

There are people whose job is to study fire. All the rest of us just take these naturally occurring things, like air, water and fire, for granted. What’s to know? Apparently quite a lot. Studying the physics of fire is important to firefighters. For them to fight fire, they need to know how fire is created and how flames advance.   For fire to advance, three ingredients are necessary. First is combustion, which is the chemical reaction of a fuel with oxygen that results in glowing, flaming, and heat release. Then there’s a transfer of energy by radiation (the release of heat) or convection (the movement of hot gases or fluids). The third ingredient is the ignition of new fuels that are encountered by the released energy. Got that? No? Me neither so we turn to one of our resident scientists, Dr Shane Kelley, for an illustration. [1] Scientist have something called “The Fire Triangle” that illustrates the three ingredients of fire – oxygen, heat and fuel. To aid in our understandin


When you don’t know what to buy someone for Christmas, try pottery lessons. It helps if the recipient has some artistic ability, but all that is required is a desire to try something new and no concern for getting dirty. Potters are natural seekers of fire. Especially raku potters. They craft their pottery from a carefully selected clay since the clay used determines much of the character of the finished piece. [1] A special raku glaze containing copper is applied and, though it appears white, will produce a coppery green finish when exposed to fire.   In raku firing the glazed pottery is heated in the kiln until it glows bright red. It is immediately placed in a metal trash can full of newspaper strips that ignite on contact with the fire hot pottery. The can is quickly sealed with the lid to allow the fire to burn off the oxygen. When the smoke escapes, the lid is lifted, and the pottery is covered with water to prevent further oxygenation. The copper in the glaze turns green