Ministry Index
Map & Directions     |     Contact Us

Teacher’s Resources



 

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for February 1, 2015

Feasting and Fasting           Daniel 1: 5, 8-17; Matthew 6: 16-18

Focal Outline:           Daniel 1: 5, 8-10                   Daniel’s principles

                                    Daniel 1: 11-17                     How about this

                                    Matthew 6: 16-18                  Between you and God

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. Powerful things can happen when we place God at the center of our lives! Do you believe this?
  2. There can be real prices to pay for pushing against the tide. God-driven convictions can be costly.
  3. Before taking a bold action, we may have questions of God. We should ask those questions and listen.
  4. By fasting and other disciplines, we discover pieces of ourselves that need to be known.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. In a mature faith, what might it really mean to place God at the center of our lives? How are you doing?
  2. When we take a stand, or go without, how can we be clear about our motivations?
  3. We may feel free to ask God the questions of our hearts. But, how can we know we are being answered?
  4. What are some of the best outcomes of spiritual disciplines like fasting or praying?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

When you hear the word stewardship, what is your first thought? Many of us go to money, as in write a check to the church. And, that is one important form of stewardship. But, there is so much more. In fact, our lesson writer will ask us if stewardship isn’t an all-encompassing way of life! Stewardship includes use of our time, our energy, attention and thoughts. When we give money, we give up options to have bought other things. When we give time or effort, we use a precious resource. Hopefully, we do so with no regret.

Read the Unit Introduction. (p35) There seems to always be a balance issue when we talk about stewardship as a topic. That is, if we only talk about money, then we really aren’t being very comprehensive are we? But, if the Church fails to remind about the financial burden that we all share, then we harm the financial health of the community we share a stake in. The challenge is to find that balance which works.

Daniel took a stand. His stewardship issue was one of health primarily in this text. In his stand, his fasting meant that he risked punishment as a prisoner. That gives us all sorts of issues to discuss in our group studies. However, the Matthew passage adds in a word about the spirit in which we are to undertake these stewardship disciplines. If we act or share out of conviction, then we reflect the heart of Christ. But, if we act or share in order to be noticed, then we corrupt the very body we claim to be a part of. Much to ponder!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. Have you ever made a difficult choice that you felt was right, even though you knew it could have caused pain and heartache? Our lesson writer will ask that question (p38) We are called to be God’s representatives in the world. What are some specific times where you have—or should have—stood against the crowd?

 

  1. Think about a time when you have had to stand up for your beliefs. What particular belief did you feel was jeopardized? How did you know that you had done the right thing? That belief may have been a theological conviction. Or, simply a value you carry in life. What happened to you?

 

  1. We think of “fasting” as going without food. Certainly, that is one way to fast. But, what would be a type of “fast” that would most benefit you? Is this a physical benefit? A spiritual or emotional one? How so?

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p31 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. What have you ever given up or sacrificed as a “fast” in your life? What happened as a result? Why did you do this?

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

            Daniel 1: 5, 8-10                   Daniel’s principles

Who are the central characters in Daniel 1, and what has led them to this moment? How does v5 set the background for Daniel’s stand? In v8, why might Daniel have resisted? What do we learn about God in v9? In v10, who is Daniel responsible for now? (himself and the palace master?)

 

Daniel 1: 11-17                     How about this

In v11-13, what is Daniel requesting? (permission for a type of “fast”) In v14-17, how would you say God has blessed them?

 

            Matthew 6: 16-18                  Between you and God

Why might Jesus have counseled his followers as he did here in v16? What further counsel did Jesus give in v17-18? Why did he feel this way? What could we learn about the way in which we practice spiritual disciplines?

 

  1. On p40 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Daniel knew what he needed to do to remain faithful to God, and he acted based on that knowledge. But he didn’t just act for himself.” Daniel models community in the way in which he carried out his stand. What does our faith teach us about maintaining ties to others?

 

  1. How does Ps 69: 13-18 relate to this passage? How about Lk 18: 9-14?

 

  1. On p41 our lesson author says “But, Jesus doesn’t agree that such public displays are necessary to find favor with God. He tells his disciples to have a cheerful face when fasting.” Why was this so important here? So?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour gives info as to who Daniel is on p26. On p27, why does Daniel believe the food will “defile” him? (2 reasons) In what spirit does Daniel make his stand? (p28-humble, respectful) Also on p28, who were the “magicians” and the “enchanters” of the day? See p29 for why “fasting” was so important to Jesus and watch for some insight on what fasting does.

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. Think back on the toughest stand you have ever taken. Jot down words that describe your feelings.
  2. Pray for God to help you draw from this in remaining faithful even in difficult circumstances ahead!
  3. Think about some of the questions you have asked God. Consider the Psalmist’s request: “answer me.”

(Ps 69: 13-18) How has God answered you in the past? How might this encourage you for the future?

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p35 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. In a world driven by materialism, what are some simple ways in which we can draw closer to God?

 

People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

 

Bo Prosser, series editor, is the Coordinator of Organizational Relationships at CBF in Atlanta.

Charles Qualls, session writer, is Associate Pastor at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta.

 

Copyright SS Helps 2015            All references to Smyth and Helwys literature are used by permission of the Publisher.

All materials used are available through Smyth & Helwys Publishing,www.helwys.com, 800-747-3016.

 

Send Comments to:        Center for Christian Education   ATTN: Gail Prosser        e-mail – gail24@comcast.net

2511 Summeroak Dr.                  Tucker GA 30084           phone: (770)493-6648

Uniform 2-1-15

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for February 8, 2015

Serving Neighbors, Serving God                  Luke 10: 25-37

Focal Outline:           Luke 10: 25-28                      What must I do?

                                    Luke 10: 29-32                      Who is my neighbor?

                                    Luke 10: 33-37                      Go and do likewise

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. The Golden Rule was already known. But, Jesus made it harder by expanding the “who” part.
  2. It’s not enough to be able to answer questions about our faith. We have to live out Jesus’ teachings. (p45)
  3. By telling the parable in this text, Jesus points out that loving our neighbors is not as easy as we might hope.
  4. We can’t apply the love standard narrowly; we should be ready to act out of love with every person we meet.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. If we are being honest, what are some specific barriers that keep us from being more loving?
  2. Why is action built so strongly into our faith? Why isn’t believing enough?
  3. Would you want to be treated the way the priest and the Levite treated the injured man? If not, then so what?
  4. What practical implications come with the need to be ready to act out of love with anybody we might see?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

Who is my neighbor? One of the most troubling of Jesus’ teachings, maybe, is the notion that practically the whole world is our neighbor. Let me ask you—left to yourself just who (really) is your neighbor? I have to answer that question for myself as I study today’s text. My hope is that we all will. But, that’s where the trouble starts. Because Jesus’ call seems to range so far beyond my comfort zone. I am not good at everything. Nor am I comfortable with every person. If we are being real, Jesus’ teaching is tough!

There are other problems. Depending on how honest we want to get, there is the issue of liking vs. loving. I realize we each know someone who might refuse to differentiate. But, don’t you know people whom you don’t necessarily like but you still choose to love? Particularly if the concept of love is as much an action-oriented notion as it is a feeling. In my career, I am called to love all my church members. I like most of them.

Has someone ever shown you the same love and compassion that the Samaritan showed the injured man? (p49) That’s what our lesson writer will ask. Similarly, has anyone ever surprised you deeply with a loving act that you were left humbled or disbelieving? I can remember many times when I received love or inclusion that amazed me. Grace that taught me and challenged. Then, there are those spellbinding few times when some act of love left me in powerful disbelief! Those times altered me. Recall those times this week.

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. Has someone ever shown you the same love and compassion that the Samaritan showed the injured man? (p49) Our lesson writer will ask that question. This calls us to the text from Luke 10: 25-37, and to discuss.

 

  1. Many of us gravitate toward easy answers about our faith. But, what are some of the most challenging answers that Jesus has pointed us to? Discuss this with your group. This will call on us to draw on our knowledge of scripture a bit. See where this goes, particularly asking “why” a teaching challenges.

 

  1. We villainize the priest and the Levite in v31-32 of today’s parable. But, have you ever acted in a similar way? If so, have you wished for a second chance to have done better? Share these instances–and receive them with love and care for group members who share!

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p38 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. Have you ever received help from someone you thought would never have helped you?

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

            Luke 10: 25-28                      What must I do?

What has just happened that causes v25 to begin with “Just then…”? If not to give Jesus a hard time, then what might be the motivation for the “lawyer’s” test? What is the lawyer really asking? Reread the dialogue in v26-27. What do you make of the responses found there? Why does Jesus proclaim the man’s answer “right”(v28)?

 

Luke 10: 29-32                      Who is my neighbor?

What might have caused the man to ask the question in v29? Have someone read v30-32 aloud. As a group, work together and list all the problems or questions that arise so far in this parable.

 

            Luke 10: 33-37                      Go and do likewise

In v33-35, list some of the “gifts” the Samaritan gave as he ministered. (compassion, presence, first-aid, transport, etc.) Why does Jesus ask the question He does in v36? What are some lessons for us in the parable?

 

  1. On p47 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Would you want to be treated the way the priest and the Levite treated the injured man?” The easy answer is “certainly not.” But, although this is a parable—are there any reasons the first two passed him by? What can the Samaritan teach us?

 

  1. How does Mt 7: 12 relate to this passage? How about Ga 5: 10-17?

 

  1. On p49 our lesson author says “…only the Samaritan recognizes that saying we love others is not enough. We have to put our love into compassionate, helpful action.” Why is belief not enough in God’s kingdom, even with salvation through Christ?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour explores some reasons why the lawyer might have “tested” Jesus. (p31) See p32 for good info on the Hebrew “Shema” from which the lawyer begins his answer to Jesus. On the bottom of p32, why do we call this Samaritan “good?” See p33-34 for some discussion of the “why” part of the Levite and priest’s actions. Who are the Samaritans? (p34)

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. In your prayers this week, ask God to help you answer such questions as this parable will raise.
  2. Pray for God to grant you confidence as you rely on your faith in searching for answers and courage!
  3. Think about a time someone has shown you extraordinary compassion. Find some way to express to them your appreciation of that memory. Pray for help as God uses this inspiration so that you can do likewise.

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p42 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. What are some practical ways in which we can show compassion to others?
 Uniform 2-8-15