Teacher Resources

09-08-19 Formations

Form 9-8-19

Living in the Light 1 John 2:7-19

Focal Outline: 1 John 2:7-11 The Old Commandment is NEW

1 John 2:12-17 You are forgiven in Jesus

1 John 2:18-19 You are Anointed

Summary Statements: (To share an overview of the lesson…)

1. Everyone has a story.  The passage encourages us to remember and life our stories.

2. We need to remember that we have been blessed…with what and by whom.

3. When we remember our faith stories and the blessings, we are reminded to be faithful to God.

4. As we examine priorities and possessions, we begin to get a picture of who we are and are becoming!

Life Questions: (To help focus your thoughts…)

1. Do you believe that history is destined to repeat itself?  Why are our stories so important?

2. What are the things in your life that you take for granted?  Take a few moments to consider your blessings.

3. Why do some people forget to be faithful to God despite the evidence of God’s love all around them?

4. Can someone tell everything about you by spending two hours in your house?  What does your house say?


Points to Ponder!!

NOTE:  The following outline is designed for 40 minutes of teaching.  Use 3 to 5 different teaching techniques, choose at least one idea from each of the three sections below.  This will help your class become discussion oriented and interactive.  These approaches will also help you build excitement, intimacy, and disciples as you learn.

     There is quite a distance from where we are now and where we came from!  I have heard stories of many people who talk about their family history and just how far they have come from “humble beginnings.”  In this passage, the writer focuses on recognizing our faith story and how it shapes our lives of faith.  The writer encourages us to know our faith story and know how God has blessed our lives.  As you teach this lesson, don’t try to “guilt” your students based on their material possessions.  Rather, encourage them to recognize their blessings and to share their story and blessings with others.  The pivotal point of the lesson is in the relationships that come from paying attention to our faith story.  

     Relationships always have a way of keeping us humble.  Relationships have a way of encouraging the sharing of stories!  Rather than guilt for having “stuff,” celebrate the goodness in our lives and thank God!  Sooner or later, the relationships are what matter!  And, where you came from might one day be the place you go back to!  But even then, you’ll be a different person…if you are paying attention!


Beginning (5-15 minutes - These ideas are to spark the learner’s interest in the lesson.)

1. Give each student 5 minutes to symbolize and illustrate their life story.  (Have crayons or markers or modeling clay available!)  Challenge the class to focus on big events and defining moments.  Allow for sharing. Then ask:  Why are our stories important?  Who learned something new about a friend?  How did you decide on the big events and defining moments?  How has God blessed you in your life story?

2. What have been some of the best gifts that you ever received?  Who gave them to you?  Who has been the best gift giver in your life?  Are you always as thankful as you should be?  Do you give as good to others as you GET from others?  Why/why not?  Who is a role model for you on being a good giver?

3. Who is your favorite sports team or television show?  Why?  On a scale of 1-10, how faithful are you to your favorite?  Have you ever stopped cheering for them or watching them when they were bad?  Why/why not?  What does it mean to be “faithful”?  

4. Is God faithful to us?  Are we faithful to God?  How does God feel when we are unfaithful?  How can we be more faithful to our friends?  To God?  Are you willing to change?  How?

Examination: (10-20 minutes – These help learners interact with the text, to see, feel, and hear God’s message.  There is NO way you’ll cover all the material.  Choose wisely; let the needs of your class and your prayerful discernment lead you!  Consult the Learner’s Study Guide and the Commentary for further insights.)

1. 1 John 2:7-11 The Old Commandment is NEW

How can something old be new?  What is the old commandment?  What is the new commandment?  How are these similar?  What are the differences?  What do the images of “light” and “dark” mean?  

1 John 2:12-17 You are forgiven in Jesus

The writer begins the first of six “I am writing” statements in verse 12.  Who does he address in this first statement?  What does he say is available to all the little children (all readers)?  Why is it available?  The remaining five “I am writing” statements are in these two verses.  Create a chart on the board or a sheet of butcher paper.  Designate two columns, the first is “To Who?” and the second is “Because?”  Ask the students to answer those questions about each of the statements and complete the chart.  What can you learn about the faith of the original audience from these statements?  How important is our faith heritage?   Why?

1 John 2:18-19 You are Anointed

Who is speaking in this passage?  Why?  Who are the “children”?  What is the urgency of the message?  What is antichrist?  How can there be so many antichrists?  How do know if we belong in the body of Christ?  How do we know if others belong with us?  What does anointing bring to us?

2. What does the author mean in v7, “I’m writing you an OLD commandment.”?  Why an old one?  

Are we not been deserving of a NEW one?  

3. The Pleas to Remember from the Old Testament Writers - Knowing the Old Testament story was important to the writers of the New Testament.  Do a Scripture search to see the many Old Testament quotes are in the New Testament!  Also consider how important knowing the story was to the OT writers:  Genesis 9:15ff, Isaiah 63:11ff, Exodus 32:13ff.

4. Are vv15-17 saying that having “stuff” is wrong?  Why or why not?  How is having “stuff” different from “stuff” having you?  What happens when we put too much importance on material possessions, power or popularity?  Is it possible for someone to love things more than loving God?  Why is this a destructive trait?

Application  (5-15 minutes – These ideas give learners opportunities to apply lesson truths to their lives!)

1. Personal Inventory!  Reflect on these questions and discuss as comfortable:

If someone watched you for a week, at home, school and with friends, 

a) What would they say are your greatest blessings?  What do YOU say are your greatest blessings? 

b) What would they say are the priorities of your life?  Would you agree?

c) What would they say your house says about you?   What do you hope your house says about you?

d) Would they say that you are generous with sharing your blessings?  How do they know?

e) How would they say you share God’s love and blessings with others?  Would you agree?

People go, where they know, they have been prepared for and are cared for!

09-08-19 Connections

Connections 9-8-19

God’s Offered Repentance Jeremiah 18: 1-12

Focal Outline: Jeremiah 18: 1-3 The potter at the wheel 

Jeremiah 18: 4-10 Clay in the potter’s hand

Jeremiah 18: 11-12 It is no use!

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

1.  As we think about God as a potter, let’s imagine ourselves as human clay in God’s hands                   

2.  God teaches us in everyday, ordinary situations. In the normalcy of life, God shows us how to live.                         

3.  These verses caution us against assuming that we know what God will do.                   

4.  When God offers a chance to repent, they decide to follow their own plans.  Their story is our story.              


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

1.  What would it be like to be a piece of clay, formed and reformed by skilled hands?                     

2.  We think of God as mostly profound mystery?  Why, then, does God teach us in the ordinary?               

3.  So, what does it do to my understanding of God for this text to suggest that God changes God’s mind some?            

4.  What have I to learn from Jeremiah’s representation of the peoples’ attitudes in v 11-12?                               

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!]

This week’s scripture passage offers the image of God as an artist-- specifically, of God as a potter. (p13)  This image works so well, at least I think so.  I hope we’ll all consider whether Jeremiah’s imagery of God as potter, and us as the clay, gives us something important to work with spiritually.  Some will have trouble, however, as it dawns on them that this image also seems to suggest that God’s mind will change along the way.  The potter forms the clay, only to come along later and reshape that same clay into something completely different.     

The mid-section of this lesson acknowledges our limitations.  On the one hand, we want to grow in our knowledge of how God works. On the other hand, we are incapable of fully understanding God’s ways, being grateful for what we learn and simultaneously aware that we don’t know very much. (p17, large print ed.)  Read those sentences again and ponder them.  How do you react?  This reminds me of one of the best sermons I ever heard preached by a lay-person. A nationally known politician said, “When we talk about God, we should always do so humbly....just in case we’re wrong.”  Because, aren’t we always (by nature) just a little wrong when we talk about God?   

In Jeremiah, when God offers the chance for repentance, the people decline. “We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will,” they are represented as saying.  What do you make of that summation?  How do you feel about the people Jeremiah describes?  At first, I don’t like them.  On further reflection, they are “me.”  The people of Jeremiah’s day, time and place are just like me.  This prophecy that is so indicting is my story.  I am the moldable clay to whom the Potter offers a second life.  Grace.    


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

1. If someone asked you, how would you reply:  How does God lead you?                         

2. What is the earliest lesson you remember someone intentionally teaching you?  How old were you?  How did they teach you this? Discuss within the group.                                             

3. Why wouldn’t someone accept God’s offer to repent and be forgiven?  Discuss within your group.                         


4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p10 in your Connections Teaching Guide.  What does it mean for the church to be God’s special people?


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 “Scripture Context” (Teaching Guide) and then examine the focal passage using a variety of teaching methods...

Jeremiah 18: 1-3 The potter at the wheel 

What has happened as Jer 17 ends that leads to ch18’s direction?  In v2, what is the specific invitation? (“hear my words”)  What important action did the listener take in v3?     

  Jeremiah 18: 4-10 Clay in the potter’s hand

What are at least 2 outcomes in v4? (spoiled, reworked)  In light of that, how is the question in v6 to us compelling?  How would you summarize God’s options as presented in v6-10?  To whom does this apply?                                                    

Jeremiah 18: 11-12 It is no use!                                                 

Is Judah the only audience in v11?  Are we included somehow?  According to v11, could God do evil to us?  What do you make of this?  Why do the people respond as they do, according to v12?  What do you make of these 2 verses?    

2. On p13 our lesson writer says “This week’s scripture passage offers the image of God as an artist-- specifically, of God as a potter.  God is patient and courageous, with an ongoing willingness to transform us.”  How else can this metaphor of God as potter and us as clay teach us?                                                                       

3. How does Jer 3: 1-14 relate to our lesson?  How about Philemon 1: 1-21?       

4. On p17, our lesson writer says, “On one hand, we want to grow in our knowledge of how God works. On the other...we are incapable of fully understanding God’s ways.”  What can we do about this?  What should we do?        


5. In the Connections Commentary, Brian Harbour starts by reminding us that “the potter” is familiar to us mostly in Jeremiah, but Isaiah also uses this image. See p11-12 as he gives context for Jeremiah’s work, and some work with key words like “wheel.”  On p12-13, what are at least 2 scenarios of God’s sovereignty?  On p14, what was Jeremiah’s specific warning?                       

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. 1. A.  Read Philemon 1: 1-21.  What practical situation is Paul addressing?  How does he apply this?                                        

       B. Pray to learn God’s ways. Pray also to apply them in the situations you encounter.                            


  1. 2. We should be grateful that we live on this side of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  In Him, we get our best look at who God is.  Pray for a maturing understanding of God’s ways that is revealed in humble faith.                        
  1. 3. See “Applying the Lesson” on p14 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. How can we know that God will truly forgive us if we repent?                         

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