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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mark Lesson 14

MARK 11:27-12:44

Take ten seconds to look over the sentence below
and count the number of "F's" you see.
DO NOT take more than ten seconds.
DO NOT read the sentence.
DO NOT go through it more than once.
Keep your answer to yourself.

The sign above was presented to the students today before our Wrap Up to Lesson 14.

Our CBS lesson this week is PACKED with life lessons.  Because of our time restraint, there is simply no way for us to address each of the life lessons God would have us learn from Lesson 14.  Let's "skim" over each life lesson and then we will decide which one to address...

In the first part of our lesson (Mark 11:27-33), Jesus had His authority challenged by the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the church.  This is nothing new in our study of Mark.  Remember, even the disciples are having a difficult time realizing Jesus IS God as well as man.
So we'll skip over that life lesson.

Next we hear Jesus give the parable of the tenants (Mark 12:1-12).  How many of you have heard this parable before?  Lots of us... so we'll skip this one also.

Our lesson next addresses Jesus speaking about taxes and the government (Mark 12:13-17.)  We all know the question about paying taxes was just another attempt by the Pharisees and Herodians to trap Jesus and turn Him over to the Roman government.  And let's face it... this isn't the first time the leaders have tried to trap Jesus.  Since we know all about that,
we'll move on to the next part of our study.

In Mark 12:18-27, the Sadducees decide to ask Jesus about the resurrection.  Seriously?  There's really no reason for us to linger on this part of our lesson because everyone knows the Sadducees didn't even BELIEVE in the resurrection!  So why in the world were they asking Jesus about it?!
Moving on...

Ooh, now this is a great life lesson part of our study... the two most important commandments (Mark 12:28-34.)  Who can tell me what Jesus said were the two most important commandments?  (Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength... and love your neighbor as yourself -Mark 12:30-31)  There you have it!  Everyone has heard this time and time again so there's really no need for us to go into detail on this life lesson since
we don't have time to touch on each and every part of Lesson 14.
Let's go to the next part.

The next part of our lesson has a "warning" from Jesus in it.  Perhaps we should stay here and focus on this warning.  Warnings do help keep us safe and we are to listen wisely when Jesus gives us a warning.  But the last part of our lesson really touches my heart and I can't help but think God wants me to focus my Wrap Up on the life lesson He has in the last part of Lesson 14.

How many of you know the story of the lady who gave her only two small coins into the church offering (Mark 12:41-44?)  Practically all of us know this story!
I guess we don't really need to discuss it then since
nearly all of us have heard it and
most likely understand it has to do with how much we give to the church.

How many of you counted one “F” in the sign I showed you earlier?  How many counted two “F’s?”  Three?  Four?  How about five “F’s?”  And how many counted six “F’s?”  Did anyone count seven “F’s?”  Let’s go through the sign together.  There are SIX “F’s” in this sentence.  Most of you counted ONLY THREE.  What’s funny about this sign is that it is the same for nearly everyone who sees it… most everyone only sees three “F’s.”
It’s curious how our brain misses things when we only “skim over” them.

Remember this… my Swiss Army Knife?  If I only use the knife part of my Swiss Army Knife and never open all of the other cool tools, I will never know how extremely useful ALL of the tools really are.  It’s the same for our Bibles.  If we only open our Bibles when we are working on our CBS lesson and never spend time simply reading it outside of doing our CBS lesson, we will never know how extremely useful it can be in our lives.  And if we only “skim over” it
(like we did with our Wrap Up or like you did when  you skimmed over the “F” sentence,)
we miss the MANY life lessons God has for us to learn.
Many times God uses the stories we have heard the most
to teach us the most valuable lessons of all.

I encourage you to read over Lesson 14 again this week BEFORE you begin Lesson 15.  Ask God to make it brand new for you.  It may sound like “more work” to do but if you look at it as simply spending time in God’s Word, it won’t seem like work at all.  Will you do this?  Will you spend time in God’s Word this week aside from doing your CBS lesson?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lesson 14 Memory Verse

Mark 12:30-31

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lesson 12 Memory Verse

"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:43-45

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mark Lesson 11

MARK 9:30-50

Object Lesson:  Use a Swiss Army Knife to explain the importance
of the church having many parts of one body.


It seems many times so far in our study of Mark, we find that people as well as the disciples just don't understand the fact that Jesus is truly God and truly Man.  Last week's lesson shared with us how Jesus was in tune with everyone's lack of understanding when He asked the disciples, "Who do people say I am?"  When Peter was asked Who he thought Jesus was, he answered, "You are the Christ."  Christ is translated as Messiah and Messiah means "the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible."  Peter basically said, "You're the One we've been waiting for.  You're the One God promised would come.  You're the One Who is going to save us and make things right."  THIS is IMPORTANT.

According to Peter's answer, perhaps the disciples finally understood Who Jesus really is.  Then we come to today's lesson and we find the answer to that to be... no, they still don't get it.  They still don't understand.  Mark 9:32 says, "They did not understand what Jesus was saying and they were afraid to ask Him to explain."  The disciples may have been everyday common men but they knew what Scripture said about the Messiah.  They knew in Jeremiah 23:5-6 it says, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as King and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days, Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell securely.  And this is the Name by which He will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness."

Our lesson moves on to the disciples arguing -actually fighting- about which one of them will be more important in the kingdom of heaven.  IT'S NICE TO BE IMPORTANT.  The disciples might have even thought that because they were the first ones to be called by Jesus, they were more important than anyone else called by Jesus.

(At this point in our Wrap Up, Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Hamilton needed assistance that only the Swiss Army Knife could provide.  This is where Mrs. Gettelfinger explains the different features of the knife and how IMPORTANT it is to have each and every one of the tools be a part of the ONE tool.)

Right now, it's important for you to hear the Wrap Up for our lesson.  And since it is my turn to offer the Wrap Up, it's important that I be here.  Does this mean Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Hamilton are NOT important?  Absolutely not!  What if Mrs. Neal came and said to each of them, "Well, your girls don't really have anything to do right now so feel free to go on home."  Then when the Wrap Up is over, who would be in your classrooms to shepherd you?  I may not need my Swiss Army Knife right this minute but Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Hamilton needed it a few minutes ago.  It's the same when the Wrap Up is over.
God will have another IMPORTANT task for each of His CBS teachers.


Jesus tries to help the disciples AND us understand what it means to be important.  He uses a child to help explain.  Think about it... children must be cared for, right?  This is why we have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  It is important to care for the children of our world.  This is why we have mission fields all over the world.  In Mark 9:37, Jesus said, "Whoever receives one such child in my Name receives Me..."  He said this so we would understand how IMPORTANT it is to care for others; adults as well as children.

At this point in our lesson, John actually shares with Jesus how someone who had not followed Jesus was actually caring for people and giving Jesus the credit for the actions.  That actually made John mad.  It was like the fork of my Swiss Army Knife complained to me that the spoon was trying to pick up a small piece of meat at dinner time.  That's just stupid!  Everyone knows a spoon is used for SOUP!  John thought that only he  and the other disciples were IMPORTANT enough to serve the Lord in such a special way.


To have my Swiss Army Knife without the bottle opener... I don't know what I would do.  I like drinking bottled Coke.  And these little scissors... I can't tell you how scratchy some of my shirt tags have been.  These little scissors have really come in handy!  This is how Jesus would feel about His church and the people who argue about what's IMPORTANT.  He looks at His church and says, "Wow, this church would do really well to have a (insert student's name) in it.  And a (another student's name)!  Now that would come in handy for this church.  And it sure would be nice if we just had a (another student's name.)!  Then what this church could accomplish... THAT'S IMPORTANT!"

Toward the end of our lesson, Jesus goes into a crazy explanation of sin to try and get John and the others as well as us to understand THIS...

It's nice to be important.

What does it matter if the scissors of my knife cut through a piece of rope for me?  Sure the pocket knife part of the tool will cut through rope quicker and easier than the scissors.  But the scissors work also.  What if none of the utensils on my knife opened at all because they all argued over who would be used for my next task?  The entire knife would be -USELESS.

God wants to work through each and every one of YOU, serving others.  THIS is IMPORTANT!
This week, will you choose to understand that BEING NICE is more important than being important?  Will you ask God how you can be useful to your family, your church, your community today?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lesson 10 Memory Verse


"Whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation,
of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed
when He comes in the glory of His Father
with the holy angels."    Mark 8:38

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mark Lesson 8


Object lesson: Use strips of clear packing tape to demonstrate how time spent in God's Word makes us stronger and more useful. Students pass the strips around, sticking it to one another's shirt sleeves or backs, while the teacher delivers the Wrap Up. In the end of the Wrap Up show how the  used strips don't stick together as well as the clean strips held by the teacher. So it is when we spend our time doing other things while avoiding special time with God in His Word.

How many of you have special "dates" with your parents?
How many of you have siblings and your parents try to spend special time with each of you?
Maybe some of you have special dates with a Godparent or special aunt or uncle.
My daughter and I enjoy going to Earth and Fire for our special dates while my son and I enjoy seeing a movie and going out for pizza afterwards.

Why do we do this?
Why do we need to spend special time with our loved ones?

No Jesus - No Peace
Know Jesus - Know Peace

Recently in our Wrap Ups, we've talked about how most people did not have the right idea about Who Jesus really is. We've talked about being good soil and what that soil will produce.
And we've talked about God's power
which is available to all who believe in and follow His Son.

How well do you know Jesus?

Jesus went home in the beginning of our lesson this week. I wonder if He had hoped to spend some special time with His family and friends while He was there. That didn't happen though, did it? As a matter of fact, Mark 6:3 says the people in Jesus's hometown "took offense at Him" which means they thought He was not acting like He was "on their side." They STILL didn't realize WHO Jesus really was, did they? Remember our Wrap Up a few weeks ago? Runner, softball player, hunter... I'm still Mrs. Gettelfinger. Teacher, Preacher, Healer... Jesus is still GOD. The people of His hometown saw Jesus as JUST a man... a man who healed a few sick people.

How well do you know Jesus?

King Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life to haunt Herod for cutting off John's head. Herod KNEW John was a "holy man" (v.20.) Therefore, if Herod thought Jesus was John come back to life, then Herod had to thing of Jesus as a "holy man" also.
Did Herod think of John as God?
Even someone smart enough or blessed enough to be king
did not understand that Jesus is God.

How well do you know Jesus?

Before Jesus sends the apostles out two by two in vv.7-13, He spends time with them -teaching them. Listen... this part is important... remember all those parables we talked about a couple lessons back -the seed, the soil, the lamp, the thief? Mark 4:34 says, "He spoke to them only in parables, but privately to His own disciples he explained everything." Before the apostles are sent out two by two, Jesus teaches them PRIVATELY. And while in their presence, He gives them authority over demons. We know the apostles were successful with their mission because v.30 tells us how they shared their experiences with Jesus. That's when Jesus tells them to "come away by yourselves to a desolate (private) place and rest awhile (v.31.)"

How well do you know Jesus?

But before the apostles can get away for some rest, we hear the story of how Jesus fed more than 5000 people with just two fish and five loaves of bread. Jesus and His apostles needed to rest. Instead of telling the huge crowd to find the nearest city and go have dinner, Jesus put His plans for His own well-being aside and fed the crowd. Jesus made "special time" for the crowd. After all, the people in the crowd were children of God just as the apostles were.

How well do you know Jesus?

Let's talk about the people in the crowd. Do you think they knew Who Jesus really was? Do you think knew and understood the fact that Jesus was God? Even the apostles had not fully understood that Jesus was God. If the apostles had understood this fact, THEY would have fed the crowd when Jesus told them in v.37, "YOU give them something to eat."

How well do you know Jesus?

If the apostles and the crowd were all God's children and none of them fully realized Who Jesus was, what makes these two groups any different from one another? Name some of the differences between the two groups...

the apostles could heal...
many in the crowd probably came to Jesus to be healed.

the apostles could preach the Gospel...
the entire crowd came to hear the Gospel.

the apostles were Followers of Christ...
many in the crowd were merely "seekers" of Christ.

The most important difference between the two groups was that the apostles SPENT TIME ALONE -privately- WITH JESUS. The crowd had not had that kind of time with Him. Therefore, the apostles were stronger, more capable FOR CHRIST. Because of their time alone with Jesus, the apostles KNEW Him better than the people of the crowd.

There is a difference between knowing OF Jesus and KNOWING Him.

How well do you know Jesus?

(This is the part which is difficult to explain. Basically, the packing tape which was passed around from person to person will eventually not stick to anything. When the tape remains clean and is stuck to another clean strip, it is extremely difficult to tear apart. So it is when we make "special time" in God's Word and keep it important above all else that we become stronger and more capable of sharing the Gospel just as the apostles shared in our lesson.)

So how much time do YOU spend as Jesus suggests in Mark 6:31...
"Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile."
How well do you know Jesus?

Will you make time for Jesus... just YOU and God's Word this week...
and then will you try to do that each and every week of your life? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lesson 8 Memory Verse

"When He went ashore He saw a great crowd,
and He had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
And He began to teach them many things."
Mark 6:34

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lesson 6 Memory Verse

"With the measure you use, it will be measured to you,
and still more will be added to you.
For to the one who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away."
Mark 4:24-25

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mark Lesson 5

MARK 3:7-35
Object lesson:
Dress up as two or three different types of hobbies/occupations,
ie. I dressed as a jogger and covered that outfit with clothes of a softball player.
Then I covered those clothes with a worker's coveralls.
With each layer, the students are asked "who am I?"
In the end of the Wrap Up, I layered up in the outfits again
and repeated the question of "who am I?" -ending with being just myself and asking, "who am I?"
Jogger, softball player, worker... I am still Mrs. Gettelfinger.
Jesus is Healer, Teacher, Authority...
the Truth missed by people in the Bible (and still many today) is
WHO Jesus really is...
Jesus said, "I and the Father are One"  John 10:30.

Last week we learn that Jesus called Matthew,
a tax collector looked down on by most people of the time, to discipleship.
Jesus eats with "bad" people. He works on God's day of rest.
He talks about a "wedding groom."
And He fixes a man's broken arm... literally fixes it...
it went from being broken to  being perfectly fine.

Who is this "Jesus?!"

That had to be what many people were thinking... "Who is this Guy?!"
We know from mark 2:10 that Jesus refers to Himself as "the Son of Man."
In Mark 2:19, it seems that Jesus is referring to Himself as "the Bridegroom."
And in Mark 2:28 while speaking about the Sabbath (or God's day of rest,)
Jesus says, "so the Son of Man is Lord even on the Sabbath."

Who is this "Jesus?!"

Our lesson today opens with a crowd coming to Jesus from everywhere and all around Israel. We learn that the crowd is SO large that even Jesus is concerned with being "crushed" by so many people (Mark 3:9 ESV.)  These people came to Jesus from all over the land -WHY?
Mark 3:9 tells us that people came because they "heard what He was doing."
Remember what He did last week for the man with the crippled hand? -Jesus had healed the man completely. So we know from Mark 3:10 that the people "pressing around Him to touch Him" were "all who had diseases." They had come to see a Healer.
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life. I have wounded and I WILL HEAL, no one can do with their hands what I can deliver from my hands." Deuteronomy 32:39

We move on through our lesson to learn how Jesus calls the twelve Apostles and curiously enough... they all follow Jesus... no questions asked. He taught and trained the Apostles so that they could go and preach and teach and heal just like Jesus Himself was doing. Mark 3:15 says, "so they would have authority to cast out demons." Jesus gave unauthorized people authority to do things no one else could.

Jesus's behavior had the leaders of Israel so confused about Who He really was that they actually feared He was sent by satan. Mark 3:22 says, "He must be posessed by Beelzebul (who was known to be the 'prince of demons' -Luke 11:15.) Of course Jesus corrects their thinking in Mark 3:23-27 by asking, "How can Satan cast out Satan?"

Object lesson: Pulling the coveralls back on, another teacher steps forward with a stop watch and asks if I am ready to "run for the team." I start jogging in place and answer with an excited yes. She addresses my attire and how it may slow me down considering I will get overheated quickly. But I insist on running in my coveralls.

"Truly, I say to you , all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven the children of man, but whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin..." Mark 3:28-29. Jesus was basically saying, "If you are on my team, you will LOOK LIKE and ACT LIKE you are on my team." For the Apostles and for US, Jesus is our Team Leader.

Even Jesus's own family; His mother and brothers were confused about Who Jesus really was. Mark 3:21 says, "They went out to SEIZE Him." They actually said something like, "This guy is a FREAK!" 

Who is this "Jesus?!"

Object lesson: Putting all of the costumes back on, run through each one again as in the beginning of the Wrap Up and ask with each one, "Who am I?" Hopefully, one of the students will "get it" that I am STILL Mrs. Gettelfinger. If not, I can then share... jogger, softball player, worker... I am STILL Mrs. Gettelfinger.

We will very soon learn from Mark 8:29 where Jesus asks Peter Who Peter thinks Jesus is. Peter replies to the Lord, "You are the Messiah." Dictionaries define "Messiah" as "the anticipated Savior of the Jews" and "Jesus, regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the Savior of the world."

Matthew 1:23 says, "and they will call Him Immanuel (which means 'God with us.')" and John 10:30 tells us that Jesus said of Himself, "I and the Father am One."

Who is Jesus TO YOU?
Is He just a healer?
Is He just a teacher?
Are you being asked to do more with your faith?
This week, ask yourself -WHO IS JESUS TO ME?
And when the answer comes to you, will you do with your life what He is asking of you?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lesson 4 Memory Verse

"Those who are well have no need of a physician,
but those who are sick.
I came not to call the righteous,
but the sinners."
Mark 2:17

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mark Lesson 2

Mark 1:1-20
object lesson: Use a broom to sweep the area as if "preparing" for a party.
Have another adult volunteer and step in to do the "preparing"
so that you can work on the invitations.

How prepared are you?

You're going to have a party.

What do you do to prepare for a party?

clean the house
prepare the food
invite the guests

Basically, these three things are the main things
most people do when having a party.

Wouldn't it be nice to have someone else "clean the house" and "prepare the food" for you?

Many people actually hire "party planners" to do these very things.
A party planner will even prepare and mail your invitations for you.
YOU still have to be the one responsible for making the guest list.
It is YOUR party afterall.
The party planner can't send invitations if he or she doesn't know who the guests are.

So how prepared are you?

The people of Israel knew a Savior was coming. In the very first part of our lesson this week we know they knew of a Savior because they had the prophesy quoted in Mark 1:2-3
(which was prophecy from Malachi & Isaiah)
"I will send a messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare the way for you."

For years, the people of Israel had asked God for a KING... someone to rule over them.
(Deuteronomy 17:14)
So God let them have earthly kings...
time and time again the people and the kings would sin against God.
The people wanted their kings to "save them."
The people of Israel refused to prepare their hearts for a True King
who was the only King who can save anyone.
Isaiah 33:22 says, "For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King;
only He will save us."

How prepared are you?

John was sort of like a "party planner" for Jesus. He "prepared the way for the Lord."
And since John was doing all of the planning and preparing, Jesus took care of the guest list.
In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus calls Simon and Andrew and James and John...
"Come follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."

Have you ever seen the TV show "Hoarders?" It's a very sad show.
The people on the show have extreme clutter
(sometimes to the point of no entry) within their homes.
Would they be prepared to have a party?
There is too much clutter and mess and sometimes dirt within their homes
for them to even consider having a party. They would first have to CLEAN their homes.

John can still be considered a "party planner" for us today.
"Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him."

"Make straight paths for Him."
Mark 1:3b

You're being asked to have a party. How prepared are you?
Your heart is your home.
Is it cluttered with sin and dirty with things such as selfishness, worry, being too shy,
being too loud or rowdy, being bossy, wanting your way too often,
being told to help out, arguing with a sibling.
Sometimes our hearts are like the homes of hoarders with so much clutter
there is no way we could have a party.

When John said, "Make straight paths for Him," he meant, "Clean up your hearts!"

Jesus WANTS to come to your party. Jesus WANTS to enter your home... your heart.
What will you do to "clean up" your heart and
prepare the way for the Lord to enter into your heart?
Even if you've already invited Jesus into your heart, sin is always in the corner of our hearts.
Just like we always clean our homes, our hearts are always in need of a good sweeping.
The only way Jesus can enter our hearts and enjoy a party with us is
when our hearts are clean from sin and rid of bad behaviors.

Will you seriously look at the "problem areas" of your life and clean up your hearts for Jesus?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lesson 2 Memory Verse

"Come follow Me, and I will make you
become fishers of men."  Mark 1:17

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ready... And... ACTION!

Are you ready to "take ACTION" this CBS year?
Our study of Mark, Philippians, and James
will certainly equip us to do that very thing...
take ACTION for the Lord!

Sharing with you one of my favorite posters
which has some great advice
for the beginning of our new year...

-Stand tall and proud.
-Go out on a limb.
-Remember your roots.
-Drink plenty of water.
-Be content with your natural beauty.
-Enjoy the view.

LOVE that!!!  And how cute coming from

You know... the trees ARE alive...
and they praise the Lord without even trying.

Join with me this year and take ACTION!
Don't let the trees glorify His holy Name

I'm so excited to start another CBS year!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Yes, indeed!
It's officially summertime!

Here's wishing a wonderful summer vacation
to ALL members of
Community Bible Study!

If you need a break from the heat
or happen to bump into a rainy day,
here are some websites you might want to check out.
(Always be sure to check with your parents
before visiting ANY website.)

Elementary Ages...

Upper Elementary & Jr. High Ages...

(videos on facebook)

"Your future is so bright...
you're going to need shades!"

Have a great summer!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lesson 25, Servants of God

2 Samuel 1-4

Other than Jesus, David was most likely the greatest king in the Bible... or at least many people would think so.  Yet David wasn't perfect.  He turned from God's direction and joined with the Philistines.  He had many wives when God had clearly told His people NOT to marry more than one person.  And we'll see more of his choices to sin in our future lessons.  When we look at David's life before he became king, however, it's very obvious he had a really rough life.  He was always in battle and he spent most of his time running from Saul and Saul's armies.  God may have protected him through it all but God didn't take it all away.

David was a good man.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad things happen to bad people. There were times when David made some bad choices.  But all in all, David was a good man. What were some of the things David chose to do even though bad things happened to him?

He willingly served others (1 Samuel 17:15... David went back & forth between playing harp for Saul and tending his father's sheep.)
He humbled himself (1 Samuel 18:18... David said "who am I" when Saul, the king, suggested that David marry one of the king's daughters... which would make David part of the royal family.)
He made covenants with the LORD (1 Samuel 20:16-17... Jonathon asked to have favor with David, even when the LORD had destroyed all of David's enemies.)
He honored God when it seemed strange to do so (1 Samuel 24:4... when David's men thought surely Saul came into the cave because God said He would deliver David's enemies to him.)
He prayed (1 Samuel 30:6 and again in 30:8... His own people wanted to stone him because they were so sad about their loved ones being carried off by the Amalekites. David prayed.)

In times of trouble... when bad things came David's way, he prayed.  He prayed for the LORD's comfort and he prayed for the LORD's direction.  What I love most about David's example of prayer is that he followed his prayer... with action.  In times of trouble, David prayed and then he waited for the LORD to respond.  Sometimes waiting can seem like doing nothing.  But David waited with expectation and a readiness to do the LORD's will.  2 Samuel 2:1 "David inquired of the LORD, 'Shall I go to the lands of Judah?' and the LORD said, 'Go.' David asked, 'Where do you want me to go?' And the LORD responded, 'He Hebron.'"

How will you respond when you experience times of trouble?  What will you do when the storms of life comes your way?  You might experience storms like the ones we recently experienced in our very own community or you may experience storms of a different kind like (loosing a baby sister) or (your mom being so sick she almost died) or (your dad actually drowning just to come back to life.)  How will you respond when bad things happen to you or to people in your community?  Will you pray like David did?  Then... will you listen to how the LORD directs you and then take action on your prayers?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lesson 22, Servants of God

1 Samuel 19-21

What does it take to be a friend?

What makes a friend is the connections we make, the events and experiences we share, the discussions we share. Eventually, if we fail to share with each other or if we do things that “break” the relationship and the friendship begins to fall apart.

Most people will agree… we have “friends” and we have “great friends.”

What does it take to be a “friend” to someone?

What does it take to be a “great friend” to someone?

David and Jonathon had a “great friendship.”  They weren’t “just friends.” In 1 Samuel 19:2, Jonathon WARNS David of King Saul’s plans to have David killed.  This means Jonathon actually went against his father’s wishes in order to warn or protect David.  Also in chapter 19, Jonathon speaks to his father on David’s behalf… in David’s defense.  So Jonathon “stood up for David” against the king –his father, when no one else would.

Chapter 20 of 1 Samuel begins with David seeking safety in Jonathon’s presence.  Jonathon is so grieved to know that his father, King Saul, has decided once again to have David killed.  Jonathon tells David in verse 4, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it for you.”  Only a great friend could say that to another great friend.  People who are “just friends” would usually not have the ability to trust or the trustworthiness to give the other person.  Let’s face it, David could have followed Jonathon’s vow to do “whatever” with, “Kill your father for me.”  Great friendship trusts because great friendship is trustworthy.  Jonathon knew David was trustworthy and therefore would never ask him to do the wrong thing.

We go on to read in verse 8 of chapter 20 how David considers himself to be Jonathon’s “servant.”  David doesn’t call himself Jonathon’s “friend.”  He says, “As for you, show kindness to your servant…”  At this point in their relationship, it’s very clear they are both aware of their “great friendship.”  They both know they have been blessed with something extremely rare.  Yet David refers to himself as Jonathon’s “servant.”  The dictionary defines servant as “someone who performs work or tasks for another person.”  Great friendship SERVES others.  It does things for the other person that most people would refuse to do.  David served Jonathon in their friendship because Jonathon had already proven his willingness to serve David with his protection from the king.

There are many other instances within our lesson where David and Jonathon give us perfect examples of great friendship.  But none speak more clearly of the LOVE required by great friendship than verses 41b-42 when David and Jonathon know they will no longer see one another in a safe and “friendly” environment.  Both shed tears for one another because of the great jeopardy their great friendship puts them in.  They cry because they know David must leave.  Great friendship LOVES so deeply that it can be brought to tears.

Jesus is a great Friend. In Matthew 26:38 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow, even to the point of death.”  And we know in John 15:13 “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  At the time when Jesus DID lay down his life, Luke tells us that Jesus was “so anguished” about leaving us that He “prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44.)”  Jesus is a great Friend
But does Jesus know great friendship?  Are you a great friend to Jesus?  For Jesus?  Because of Jesus?  Will you look at your friends a bit differently now that you have seen David and Jonathon’s example of great friendship?  More importantly, will you look differently at your friendship with Jesus because you know how very rare and unique His friendship is for you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lesson 19, Servants of God

1 Samuel 12-14

Our Wrap Up from Mrs. Gettelfinger...

Before our Wrap Up today, everyone received a Scripture verse about one of God's commands for us.  The students were asked to read their particular Scripture verse and then try to summarize the verse with one (or as few words as possible.)  Then we built a Jenga tower.  Each student had a block for the tower.  As they placed their block onto the tower, they gave the summary of their Scripture verse which gave God's instructions for our righteous living.  After the tower was built, the students gave Mrs. Gettelfinger examples of things we all do IN PLACE OF God's commands.  With each example, a Jenga block was removed from the tower.  As you can imagine, we had plenty of examples of how we remove God's commands from our lives and thus our tower (lives) tumble.

This week’s lesson begins with Samuel not only reaffirming his incredibly godly leadership but also testifying to the LORD’s consistent provision and protection.  It seems to me, Samuel’s feeling are hurt and he shares his broken heart with the people of Israel in the first few verses of chapter 12.  In verse 3, he basically says, “Have I done anything so terrible that you would think God is not my LORD?”  He goes on in verse 5 to say, “God knows how much I love Him AND how much I’ve loved you.”  In that same verse, the people even agree that Samuel is right.  They know God knows and they admit Samuel has been a great leader.  Then Samuel reminds them of all the good God has done for them.  He also reminds them in verse 11 of how even when the people turned away from God, “He delivered you from the hands of your enemy all around you, and you lived in safety.”  This wasn’t good enough for the people.  GOD wasn’t good enough for the people of Israel.  Samuel states in verses 12 and 13 “Even though the LORD was your King, because you have asked, the LORD has set a king over you.”

Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we pray for.  Perhaps it’s not the best thing for us.  Maybe it’s a good thing for us but not in His perfect timing.  And then sometimes He gives us exactly what we asked for –KNOWING it will harm us.  Why would God do such a thing?  Isaiah 48:17 “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’”  The best part about this verse is “Redeemer” and the second best part about this verse is “who TEACHES us.”  Even when we pray for something that isn’t best for us, God TEACHES us.

The elders of Israel asked for a king back in chapter 8 when Samuel’s sons were appointed leaders over Israel.  That’s when God took the time to TEACH the people.  He said to Samuel in verse 9 “Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” God teaches us through examples of others and warnings of what’s to come.  Exodus 19:21 “and the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish.’”  2 Chronicles 19:10 “In every case that comes before you from your people who live in the cities—whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or regulations—you are to warn them not to sin against the LORD; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your people. Do this, and you will not sin.’”  And Psalm 81:8 “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel!”  God TEACHES us through His warnings.

Asking for a king was the wrong thing for the people of Israel to do.  God, being the All Knowing and Sovereign LORD that He is, knew the people would ask for a king without recognizing His very Kingship.  God told His people in Genesis 49:10 of a king to come.  The timing and the WAY they asked for a king was also where the people failed God.  The timing was not God’s perfect timing.  And they really didn’t ask for a king… they demanded one.  We can not tell God what to do.  Hosea 14:9 “Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”  The Message Bible states this verse like this, “If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll learn this inside and out!  God’s ways get you where you want to go.  People who make good choices, walk easily.  People who make bad choices, always trip and stumble.”

We chose to build our Jenga tower with a foundation of God’s directions for our lives.  We demolished our tower by making choices many people make in life that are not good for us. Bad choices remove God’s blessings from our lives just like we removed the scripture pieces from our Jenga tower.   Life is full of choices.  Sometimes right choices mean waiting (just as Saul should have waited on Samuel to make the burnt offering before going into battle) on God’s perfect timing.  Sometimes wrong choices come with God’s warnings (just like God clearly warned the people of Israel how having an earthly king would impact their lives in a negative way.)  Here is what I’m going to ask you to do, will you… pray… then wait… watch for God’s warnings… and then follow His direction?  Even if that direction is just “BE STILL...” and wait.