"Do not just hear the Word of God and think hearing is enough. DO what it says!" James 1:22

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lesson 20: GRACE... Good for the Gross

Grace is good.
Grace is not gross.

Quoted from the USDA website...
"Is it dangerous to eat raw or undercooked ground beef?
Yes. Raw and undercooked meat
may contain harmful bacteria.
USDA recommends not eating or tasting
raw or undercooked ground beef.
To be sure all bacteria are destroyed,
cook meat loaf, meatballs, and hamburgers
to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F.
Use a food thermometer to check
that they have reached a safe internal temperature."

So why would our CBS teacher be quoting
from the USDA website?
Good question!  Because the professionals at the
United States Department of Agriculture
are the experts when it comes to
the care and cleanliness of our food.

Today, the students were shown
a package of raw ground beef and asked
if they would consume it if it were offered to them.
(three said yes...
one because she thought I meant AFTER it was cooked,
one because she said she was just being silly,
and one because he said he would if it was a dare.)
I was actually glad that these students said yes.
It gave them and the other students the opportunity
to hear the importance of NOT consuming raw meat
and the seriousness of the damage doing so can cause.

When asked why we SHOULD NOT eat raw meat,
one student perfectly answered,
"Because it's raw and has bacteria
which can cause us to be sick and even die."
Then I asked for a word to describe eating raw meat.

The students were asked to picture the raw meat
as the "detestable ways" of the people in Ephesus.
That is...
"sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire,
who practices divination or sorcery,
interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
or casts spells, or who is a medium
or spiritist or who consults the dead."
Deuteronomy 18:10-11
God HATES these things!
Deuteronomy 18:12
Just as we think eathing the raw hamburger is GROSS,
God sees the witchcraft, sorcery, fortune telling
and anything like these things as

Then the students were asked if they were invited to
a friends house for dinner
and they knew that friend regularly ate raw meat,
would they go?
They all said no.

We learn from Lesson 20
that not only did Paul go where people were doing gross things,
he stayed there... for TWO YEARS. Acts 19:10
Are we willing to show such GRACE?
Wouldn't we want to stop our friends
from consuming raw meat and SAVE THEIR LIVES.

God wanted the people of Ephesus
to know the saving Grace and Power of His Love
through the resurrection of His Son, Jesus.
God didn't want them to do "detestable things."
He wanted to save their lives.
And He chose Paul as a means to deliver the message...
GRACE is good, even for the gross.

Picture this...
a delicious and yummy burger... mmmm....
It's GOOD, right?
(vegetarians, just replace the burger for a soy patty. wink.)
Let's look at its layers...
THE BUN: God's creation... clean soil... pure
THE BURGER: dark... like our sin
THE KETCHUP: Christ's blood covers our sin
THE MAYO: because of Jesus, we are made white as snow
THE CHEESE (or mustard): because we ask Jesus
into our hearts, we will see the golden streets in Heaven
THE LETTUCE: for our faith to "grow" as lettuce grows,
we must nurture it with church, Bible study,
prayer and fellowship
THE BUN: our lives begin and end with...
 Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,”
says the Lord God,
“who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Will you choose to be a good tasting burger,
allowing others to
 "Taste and see that the LORD is good?"
 Psalm 34:8

Are there "gross" things in your life
keeping you from tasting the goodness of God's

It is my prayer that each and every heart
that heard our Wrap Up on Lesson 20 today
will have a "Paul" in their life to open their eyes
to the POWER (not magic) of God's will for them
and experience His awesome grace so much
that they just HAVE to share it with
everyone around them!

Praise be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Way

"Then Herod called the Magi secretly
and found out from them the exact time
the star had appeared.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
"Go and make a careful search for the child.
As soon as you find him, report to me,
so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way,
and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them
until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming into the house,
they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened thier treasures
and presented him with gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream
not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country
by A NEW WAY."
Matthew 2:7-12

In a previous lesson of Acts,
we learned how
"the Holy Spirit kept them from preaching
the Word in the province of Asia"
(Acts 16:6)
Scripture goes so far as to tell us that
"Jesus would not allow them to enter
Bithynia at the border of Mysia."
(Acts 16:7)
God wanted Paul and his companions to go
Paul knew the people of Athens
would not respond as his previous audiences
had responded to the Good News
because they knew nothing of the old testament.
They knew nothing of pophecies
foretelling of the Christ child and
all He would offer mankind.
They knew nothing of their "ignorance"
and how "in the past God overlooked such ignorance."
(Acts 17:30)
As Paul "looked carefully
at the Athenians' objects of worship,"
(Acts 17:23)
he knew for them to understand the Good News
he would have to deliver it in
For our Wrap Up in class this week,
some of the students were able to play a "guiding game."
(I wish we had had time for all of the students
to have had a chance to participate.
We just might have to try this again
during our end of the year party!)
One student closed his or her eyes
while the other kept their eyes open.
Then the student with the open eyes "guided"
the student with the closed eyes
through a little maze of chairs and tables.
It wasn't as easy as it sounds!
Each set of students got further through the maze
having watched the previous set of students
and learned from the previous guiding techniques.
Each set changed their guiding strategies
based on the previous group's strategies.
The Magi were "overjoyed" at seeing Jesus.
No doubt their lives were changed.
Not only did they take a different route home,
but their lives were different now forever.
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance,
but now He commands all people everywhere to repent."
Acts 17:30
Because of Jesus, the Magi would live

Will YOU live in A NEW WAY?
Has your life been changed because you know Chirst?
Will you do what you're already doing
but do things in A NEW WAY for Christ?
And if you're doing things that can not be done for Him,
will you stop and live

It is my prayer that with each new year,
God will remind us of
to know Him more
to serve Him better
and to live the lives He intended for us.