2016: Page 31

It was back to work early this morning to finish cleaning and mopping so the building would be ready for church services.  This morning our Sunday School class finished up a study through the book of Job as we looked at the last few chapters where God addresses Job.  Because we know the story of Job and even have a glimpse at the backstory, it is easy to miss how much we tend to be like him as well as like his friends.  We want everything to have an answer and reason that is understandable to us.  When God’s working is a mystery, we often make up answers and reasons that we think make the most sense.  Unfortunately, this leaves us in the position of Job’s friends where we are of no help to those suffering and we give them the wrong impression of God.  

After Sunday School we had a good worship gathering as we gave praise to God through song, learned together from His Word, and gathered around the communion table to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  As I considered my recent trip to Cades Cove and my visit to several different church buildings from the 1800’s, I thought about the vast difference in the furnishings and equipment between then and now.  Sometimes it seems like the modern American church believes it can not function without the latest and greatest buildings, furnishings, and electronics.  While all of these things can be useful tools when used for God’s glory, they become idols when we give them more importance than we give God Himself.  Similarly, gathering with minimal “stuff” can be helpful in removing distractions that keep us from truly worshiping God but it too can become an idol when we begin to focus more on our simplicity and sacrifice than we do on God.  Worship shouldn’t be about our stuff or our lack of stuff — it ought to be solely about God!

As I prepared to close out the day, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians, and to us: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV)

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2 Kings: Lesson 18 — Standing Your Ground!

The following are discussion questions from a weekly study I am leading through the book of 2 Kings.  We meet each Wednesday evening at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

The Unraveling of a Nation

A Study of the Book of 2 Kings

Lesson 18 (Standing Your Ground!)
2 Kings 18
May 7, 2014

The Text:

  1. How was Hezekiah’s life like that of the kings before him?  How was it different — what did he do that others hadn’t?  How does God describe him?
  2. What was Hezekiah able to accomplish?  What was his interaction with the Assyrians and the Philistines?  What was happening in Israel while Hezekiah reigned in Judah?
  3. In Hezekiah’s fourteenth year of reign, what did the king of Assyria do?  How did Hezekiah respond?  Did Hezekiah’s actions satisfy Sennacherib, king of Assyria?  
  4. What message did Sennacherib send to Hezekiah?  What did Sennacherib’s message say about his view of Hezekiah’s actions in removing the high places and altars throughout Judah?  What did Hezekiah’s men ask the messenger to do?  Why?  What was the response? 
  5. What message did Sennacherib’s commander want the people of Jerusalem to hear?  What did he offer them?  What did he say about Hezekiah’s message to the people that “The Lord will deliver us.”?  What did the people do?  Why?

The Application:

  1. Are there things in your life, or the life of your family, which have become accepted that God would want you to remove?  How do/would you know?  What would it take in your life for God to say (in a good way) that there is none like you? 
  2. How much credit do you give to God for any success that you have?  Would you do anything different in/with your life if you believed God would make those efforts successful?  How do you feel when you see people around you fall to the enemy? 
  3. When you face attack or hardship, do you consider you may have done something wrong?  How likely are you to make an attempt of peace with those you have wronged?  Does your best efforts of peace mean peace will happen?         
  4. Have people ever misunderstood your worship of God?  Are there times when people seem to think you ought to worship God in a way that is different that what God says?  Have you ever spoken things publicly in order to intimidate/humiliate someone when you should have talked to them privately?      
    –    
  5. Are there people around you who try to make you doubt God’s ability to save?  Are there times the enemy tempts us today with ease and comfort if we just go along with him?  How do you respond?

Next Week:   Praying to a Powerful God
2 Kings 19

 

2 Kings: Lesson 17 — Enough is Enough!

The following are discussion questions from a weekly study I am leading through the book of 2 Kings.  We meet each Wednesday evening at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

The Unraveling of a Nation

A Study of the Book of 2 Kings

Lesson 17 (Enough is Enough!)
2 Kings 17
April 30, 2014

The Text:

  1. How is Hoshea’s way of life described . . . Is it good or bad?  Why did the king of Assyria set out to attack Hoshea?  Who had Hoshea turned to?  What did the king of Assyria do?  How long did it take?  What was done with the people of Israel?
  2. Why did the things from the first question happen?  What were some of the specific things the Israelites had done?  How had God warned the people?  How did the people respond?  Who did the people use for an example of how to live?
  3. How did God feel about Israel following the example of other nations?  What did he do about it?  What influence had Israel had on Judah?  How did God respond to that?
  4. What did the king of Assyria do with the towns of Samaria after he had taken the Israelites captive?  What did God do to the people living in the towns?  Why?  What conclusion was told to the king of Assyria?  What response did the king have?
  5. Even after being taught to worship the Lord, what each national group that was brought into Israel do?  Did they follow the instruction given on how to worship the Lord?  What did they do?  Who does this sound like?

The Application:

  1. How good is “good enough”?  How do you know?  Have you ever made a commitment that you later changed your mind about?  Would God think there are times when you have turned to others even after you’ve given your allegiance to Him?  In what ways?  What should we do?
  2. How much attention do you pay to God’s Word when you go about your daily activities?  Are there warnings in God’s Word that you know you ignore?  Why do we tend to justify and keep doing things we know God has said not to?
  3. Are you different in the way you act and talk according to who’s around you?  Does the misbehavior of fellow Christians influence what you determine is appropriate and right?
  4. When you remove something inappropriate from your life, do you pay attention to what takes its place?  Do you ever suffer simply because you didn’t know better?  What should be done in those circumstances?
  5. Where do you get your instruction on how to worship the Lord?  Are we more likely to look at how others worship, or look at how God wants us to worship?

 

Next Week:   Standing Your Ground
2 Kings 18

 

2 Kings: Lesson 16 — I Don’t Care

The following are discussion questions from a weekly study I am leading through the book of 2 Kings.  We meet each Wednesday evening at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

The Unraveling of a Nation

A Study of the Book of 2 Kings

Lesson 16 (I Don’t Care)
 2 Kings 16
  April 23, 2014

The Text:

  1. Who followed Jotham as king of Judah? How did his lifestyle compare to that of David and to God’s standards? Who did he pattern his actions after? What were some of his detestable practices?
  2. What did the king of Aram and the king of Israel join together to do? Were they successful? Who did Ahaz turn to for help? What did Ahaz give and what was accomplished?
  3. Where did Ahaz go to meet the king of Assyria? What did Ahaz take notice of? As a result, what was sent to the priest, Uriah? What did Uriah do?  
  4. When Ahaz returned from Damascus, what did he do? What did he do with the bronze altar to the Lord? What instructions were given to Uriah the priest? How did Uriah respond?
  5. What changes did Ahaz make to the furnishings of the temple and to the temple itself? Why?

The Application:

  1. Do you like the idea of being an example to someone? Why/why not? Do the wicked practices of others make it seem easier to do wrong? Why/why not? Are there things you have seen others do that you have said you never would, but found yourself doing at some time?
  2. Does it ever feel like there are multiple forces joined together against you? How do you respond? What happens when you fight evil with evil?
  3. When you visit a place, what kinds of things catch your eye? Do you ever see things that make you think you are missing out on something? Do the objects and practices of others ever make you think your worship of God is lacking something?        
  4. Why do you worship God in the way that you do? Have you ever changed in the way you worship? What criteria did you, should you, use in making such a change?      
  5. Do the people around you approve of the way you worship God? Are there times you are tempted to hold back, or change, your worship for the sake of someone else? Should you? Why/why not?

 

Next Week:   Enough is Enough
     2 Kings 17