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Teacher Resources

11-18-18 Formations

Form 11-18-18

                Ruth’s Boldness Ruth 3:1-13

Focal Outline: Ruth 3:1-5 Request and Romance

Ruth 3:6-13 Respect and Response

Ruth 3:14-18 Recognition and Redemption

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

1. The guiding principles of our lives influence how we live and act toward ourselves and others.

2. Guiding principles give us direction, stability, energy and integrity for daily living.

3. In the Book of Ruth, God shows us how to respect and care for one another in the providence of God.

4. Boaz models for us how to respect and care for one another.  Boaz models how God cares for us!

Life Questions: (To help focus your thoughts…)

1. What basic principles guide your personal life?  When have your principles been challenged?

2. What does it mean to respect others?  How do you do so?  How do you wish to be shown respect?   

3. What is the difference between treating people as persons and treating them as objects? 

4. To whom or what do you point to as modern day examples of the care and respect of God?

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.

     Gail and I have just celebrated 42 years of marriage…she was a child bride for sure!  (Just Kidding!)  We’ve had a healthy marriage; we’ve had some wonderful “ups” and some challenging “downs”!  But, through it all, we’ve managed to respect one another, keep our love growing, and stay deeply committed to one another.  We’ve learned a lot about the importance of close friends.  We’ve grown in our ability to have honest conversations.  We’ve worked hard to keep our love fresh and intimate.  And, from time to time, we’ve been blessed by the wise counsel of others.  All these life events have helped us grow in our love for each other and taught us a lot about building and growing healthy relationships with others.

     Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz show us how to be respectful and responsible.  All three risked but also acted responsibly.  There were no manipulative actions in this story.  This story reminds us of the provision and respect God has for us.  

     I am grateful to God for such a loving and forgiving wife.  She has taught me much about grace, forgiveness, and love.  There have been times when she has overwhelmed me with God’s love.  I’m grateful for the years we’ve loved each other.  I pray to be worthy of Gail’s love and God’s love!

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

1. Who was your very first date?  What were the circumstances?  Where did you go?  How did the evening progress?  Did you share a goodnight kiss?  What emotions were going through you as the date progressed?  What song do you remember playing that night?  Why do you remember this night?  

2. When is a time you’ve taken responsibility for another?  How did you decide to do so?  What was the nature of the relationship?  How did you exhibit respect for this person?

     How does your congregation model care and responsibility for one another?

3. What were the rules for growing up in your family?  What principles guided your upbringing?

What were the rules for your family as you married and began your own home?  

4. Who are some real life couples who model strong marriage and the love of God to you?

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. Ruth 3:1-5 Request and Romance

Give an overview of the Book of Ruth.  There are more teaching points in this lesson than you’ll ever be able to cover.  Choose truths that are most relevant to your class and begin unpacking these.  Here are a few teaching points you may wish to cover:

Respect for persons: Naomi told Ruth NOT to seduce Boaz.

Respect for persons: Boaz and Ruth were alone in an intimate setting and acted appropriately.

Respect for persons:  Boaz dismissed Ruth secretly in early morning so as not to soil her reputation.

Care of Others:  Boaz shared out of his abundance to support Ruth and Naomi.

Self Confidence: Ruth speaks boldly to Boaz proposing marriage to him!

Self Worth: Both Boaz and Ruth are described as “worthy” people.

Respect for Seniors:  Naomi gave Ruth instructions which Ruth obeyed and honored.

What exactly does Naomi tell Ruth to do?  How does Ruth show her respect. (v5)

Ruth 3:6-13 Respect and Response

This exchange between Ruth and Boaz is quite unexpected and very intimate.  What is she asking him to do in v9?  How does he respond?  How are they each showing respect for one another?  What might this exchange tell us about how people should interact with one another?  What might this exchange tell us about how God loves and cares for us?

Extra discussion: Ruth 3:14-18 Recognition and Redemption

How does the story end?  What happens through the night?  What happens early in the morning?  How does Boaz provide for Ruth and Naomi?  How does Ruth respond to Boaz?  How does Naomi respond?

2. You’ll probably need some commentary material for really understanding the nuances of this lesson.  This is a very, very powerful story especially considering our “sexually charged” society today!  But, notice the respect with which each shares with the other!  This is a lesson of intimacy…not sexuality!

3. There is a lot of truth to unpack here.  Ruth is all dressed up yet doesn’t seduce Boaz.  Boaz knows he can “have his way with her” but doesn’t act for fear of staining her reputation.  Ruth proposes marriage to Boaz and he pledges appropriately.  While all “gussied up” Ruth ends up sleeping at the feet of Boaz.  As Ruth leaves secretly, Boaz makes provision for Ruth and Naomi.  Have fun with this lesson!

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

1. Spend some time praying and sharing the “Prayer of Examen.”

Where have you SEEN the blessings of God this week?  (Pray and then Share.)

Where have you BEEN the presence of God this week?  (Pray and then Share.)

What is God saying To you and Through you?  (Pray)

How might your THANKSGIVING be enriched this year?  (Pray)

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

11-18-18 Connections

Connections 11-18-18

Insight Mark 13: 1-13 

Focal Outline: Mark 13: 1-4 Change is coming

Mark 13: 5-8 Heads up!

Mark 13: 9-13 The one who endures

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

1. God is at work in the world, but to understand...we need insight that comes through the Holy Spirit.                     

2. We often assume that the institutions...that comprise our cities, nations and world are indestructible.                           

3. Jesus doesn’t want us to be led astray by those who use crises to build a following by manipulating.              

4. Jesus expects his disciples to continue his work in the world.  He wants them to know what to expect.  

 

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

1. If someone asked you ‘What do you believe God is at work doing in the world?’ how would you answer?                 

2. What did you think was permanent in life that you’ve already seen come to an end?  How did that alter you?                   

3. Who is using the world around you to try to manipulate you?  What might Jesus’ counsel to you be?               

4. What do you believe Jesus has charged you to do in the world while you wait for his resolution?                   

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!]

God is at work in the world, but to understand what God is doing we need insight that comes through the Holy Spirit. (p89, large print ed.)  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish the Holy Spirit would speak more often and more clearly about my life.  Jesus took what the disciples handed him and led a teachable moment as they exited the Temple one day.  What all do you think Jesus was trying to be sure they understood at that point in the Gospel story?      

All Saints Sunday has just passed, as I write.  We will often say to grieving or disappointed persons, “Words fail me just now.”  Yet, my job at sermon time was to do just that: use words and attempt to speak into their memories of loved ones gone on.  I wanted to convey the church’s recognition that something in their lives had changed, with their losses.  I also wanted to try to give them a gift of insight and perspective from our sacred scripture.  Some moments eventually need to be spoken to.  

Jesus stood at a moment that needed to be spoken to. On the one hand, much that the Disciples had committed themselves to, and placed their trust in, was about to change.  Soon, he would be gone from them.  On the other, though, his charge to them would be to keep the movement alive!  They would be charged to emerge from their grief and their disillusionment.  On the other side of the Cross and Resurrection awaited their greatest assignments.  We must live our lives, and Jesus’ counsel guides us, too.  What is your charge, your insight?   

 

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

1.  What has Christ accomplished?  What will he accomplish still?  What is going on in the world in the meantime?  Who does Christ call us to be?     

2.  What impresses you?  In a world that predicts, designs, controls and manages--what actually impresses you in this life?  Discuss this, sharing and listening to one another.               

3. Who in your world tries to use your fear or anxiety to manipulate you?  What seems to be their goal?  How does your faith intersect with this reality?  What of Jesus’ wisdom speaks to something like that?       

4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p80 in your Connections Teaching Guide.  Why does it seem that every generation has people predicting the end of the world?  What seems to be the appeal?

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...

Mark 13: 1-4 Change is coming

In v1, what might have prompted the disciple to observe so?  What do you make of Jesus’ response in v2?                   

Mark 13: 5-8 Heads up!

In v5-6,why might Jesus have responded to the question (v3-4) as He did?  Talk through what you hear in v7-8.  What does this add to Jesus’ response?  In light of the history that has passed since biblical times, what meaning do you take from this?                           

Mark 13: 9-13 The one who endures

In light of what unfolded in the gospels and in Acts, especially, what meaning do you make of Jesus’ words here in v9-10?  In v11-13, go through and list the predictions made for those who minister in Jesus’ name.  What meaning for your own life do you take from this?       

2. On p91 (lrge. print) our lesson writer says, “All human institutions have a beginning and an end.  Nations and empires fall.  But God still reigns. Where do you place your trust?”  How would you respond to this?                                       

3. How does 1 Ti 6: 11-21 relate to our text?  How about Heb 10: 11-25?   

4. On p95 our lesson writer says “Some Christians in some parts of the world are genuinely and horribly persecuted, and we should pray for them and do all we can to help them.  What kind of opposition do we face?”

How would you respond, based on your experience?                                           

 

5. In the Connections Commentary, Brian Harbour begins by reminding us of some big predictions that didn’t pan out in history!  On p62, why is Jesus’ prediction about the Temple significant? (3 reasons)  See p62-3 to see why the disciples asked about “the end of the age.”  There is a helpful perspective on understanding Jesus’ answer, found on p63 in Harbour’s story of the mountain peaks.  Don’t miss it!  On p64, why did Jesus’ focus shift? 

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. Our lesson text says that the institution at hand would one day collapse.                          

B. As you pray, ask that God might guide and shape our leaders.               

 

  1. 2. Read 1 Ti 6: 11-21.   How does this advice to Timothy help us think about how we should live as we wait for Jesus to come again?  Ask God to help you live faithfully.              
  1. 3. See “Applying the Lesson” on p84 in the Uniform Teaching Guide.  Do you think people’s concerns for the state of the world are increasing or decreasing?                             

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

11-25-18 Formations

Form 11-25-18

Ruth & Boaz Marry Ruth 4: 1, 3-6, 9-12

Focal Outline: Ruth 4: 1  Boaz starts to work 

Ruth 4: 3-6 An offer is made

Ruth 4: 9-12 A blessing from the People

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

1. Redemption is not limited to the work of The Christ.  God redeems us daily, in big ways and in small!

2. Even in chaos, God is working away at providence, ordering our lives so that good outcomes are possible.

3. Boaz lived by his sense of integrity, even though that opened him to risk and liability.  

4. Ruth’s story should encourage us all, for in some way we are foreigners and could be counted unworthy.

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

1. Think back: when was the last time you noticed the redemptive work of God in your daily life?

2. What bridges the trust gap between chaos and order for you—when God’s work appears to be a mystery?

3. What makes respect and altruism worth the potential costs or liabilities they can add to your life?

4. How do you connect the actions of Ruth and Boaz to your life, so that they move forward in time?

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!]

Respecting  community standards.  My mind is flooding with memories.  Actually, faces and names are what are racing.  The movie screen in my mind is rolling a video, it seems, looping the people who have given back to the world around them.  And, who epitomize respect for their communities.  In some cases, the images are formed around the way in which they did things.  No one dramatic incident or moment in time.  Instead, a collage of their lives.  For others, the instances are very specific and contextual.  Maybe you have your own highlight reel that your mind could roll—of people who simply live life the right way.

I see my dad consistently showing up for work.  He respected people of all classes.  He taught me a “less judgmental” approach to life.  He modeled sharing in benevolence with those in need.  There were always people with mental illness around our family.  There were always people of different races around our family.  There were always people of means around our family.  My dad and my mother were good people doing the best they could to provide well for their family.    

My dad probably could have gone further up the career ladder if he’d been willing to play “the game” and cater to the richer folks.  He could have taken more risks.  So could Boaz.  He didn’t have to take Ruth and Naomi as far into his life as he did.  But, Boaz did.  And because of this, his own community (including OUR faith heritage) was never the same.  My dad set the tone for me and my brothers.  Who set that for you?

What little thing might you do today that could be labeled a “good deed”--- and in the process might strengthen the life-fabric of the people around you?  

      

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

1. What are some boundaries that you believe define your community’s reasonable standards of behavior and expectation?  What might it take to cause you to exceed these?  What makes something “good” for everyone?

2. The Old Testament instructions about the kinsman redeemer were given to provide relief.  Prior to today’s group study, guide members to summarize their understandings of this.  How did this system work?  Why?

3. Community.  We use this word a lot in church.  What are some understandings that your group members have of community?  Talk this over, noting the various places in life that we tend to experience community.

How did Ruth find redemption and community?  How might Boaz have also found new life here?

Examination (20-25 minutes - See the Learners Guide and the Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

1.   Ruth 4: 1 Boaz starts to work 

What has happened in ch3 that sets up ch4?  Based on v1-2, what does Boaz seem to be establishing?  Why does he work so hard to get a respected audience around him?

Ruth 4: 3-6 An offer is made

In v3-4, how would you describe Boaz’ strategy?  Why do you think he takes this approach?  In v5-6, what circumstances affects the kinsman’s decision?  How does this open up options for Boaz?    

Ruth 4: 9-12 A blessing from the People

What seems to be changing in Boaz’ life now?  What changes are coming to Ruth’s life?  What is the blessing from the people?  How does this affirm the redemption of Ruth?  Of Boaz?

2. How do you react to this:  It is hard to think that God is at work during times of disarray in our world.  We forget, however, that the world’s chaos is caused by humanity and not God.  

Do you agree/disagree with this summary?  Why?  Why not?  What is “the providence of God”?

3. How does Ps 15 relate to this passage?  

 

4. The story of Ruth is such encouragement to anyone who feels unworthy.  God’s grace is always enough.  God’s plan of redemption will always be fulfilled!  

What are some ways that you see these themes in your own life?  

5. Notice all of the individual strategic moves Boaz makes!  He was a man on a mission.  He was intentional in his actions.  He was generous.  He was respectful.  What do all these actions say to us?  

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. What are the important norms and procedures of your local community?  How do you uphold them?

      b. What are your understandings of your Church’s procedures and expectations?  Where do you fit in?

  

  1. 2. Who has been a life-example to you in how to uphold God’s best hopes?  What are the healthiest of your church’s cultural expectations?  Why is our respect of these so important anyway?
  1. 3. Close the class in prayers of thanksgiving!  God has given us some powerful role models in our lives.  God has given us abundant blessings of food and family and freedom.  Prayer boldly and thankfully!

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

11-25-18 Connections

Connections 11-25-18

Worship Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14;  Revelation 1: 4b-8 

Focal Outline: Daniel 7: 9-10 The court

Daniel 7: 13-14 One like a human being

  Revelation 1: 4b-8 Ruler of the kings

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

1. Christians should focus and depend on God.  God as revealed to us in Christ should set our priorities.                   

2. The Bible affirms that God is ultimately in control and will finally fulfill God’s purposes.                         

3. The New Testament proclaims Jesus as the Son of Man whom God sent to establish the kingdom of God.              

4. Gathering with God’s people to worship the Lord is essential to the life of faith.  

 

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

1. What does your worship reveal about your life: your focus...what you depend on...your values/priorities?                 

2. How should we live in the meantime, while we wait for God to resolve Creation?                     

3. How can this message of Christ assure us in the challenges of the meantime?               

4. Does your worship focus on thanking God for who God is, and does it extend  into your life in the world?                 

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!]

Daniel and the Revelation of John share much in common.  Beyond their obvious apocalyptic communication styles, they also shared a type of message in common.  They hoped to encourage and to sustain a discouraged people.  In both cases, God’s people of the times were downtrodden. There was little to feel hopeful about.  They were under government and control of foreign rulers.  Many of them either were displaced from home, or did not feel at home even in Jerusalem.  Life was bleak.    

One of the ways we could all draw encouragement is by gathering with other Believers.  In the aftermath of his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus instructed the Disciples to gather.  He met with them, and continued to encourage their gatherings.  Weekly, we can gather for worship and study.  So many, however, take this practice--- this discipline--- for granted.  They find it either boring, repetitious or unnecessary.  

Have you ever been tempted to rationalize that you don’t have to be inside a church to commune with God?  While that’s technically true, I have never known that many people who seem to actually do so.  While one can commune with God, the picture is still missing something so vital!  The Bible of our faith is actually a story of “gathered” faith.  The sacred book is not a story of “Jesus and me.”  So while we could, in theory, meet with God anywhere and at anytime-- life’s demands...injustices...defeats...discouragements sure do cause us to need some time with other believers!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to feel so alone in my faith.       

 

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

1.  Your lesson writer suggests that if we want to know who or what we truly worship, we might ask: 1) What do we focus our lives on?  2) What do we depend on?  3) What sets your values and priorities?  How would you respond to any of these questions?      

2.  We need encouragement as we live. How do you current powers in the world oppress, misuse and abuse people?               

3.  Previous kingdoms had come and gone by Jesus’ time. But, God sent “One like a song of man.”  What might this have suggested about Jesus that should encourage and help us?          

4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p87 in your Connections Teaching Guide.  How do circumstances affect our desire and ability to worship?  

  

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...

Daniel 7: 9-10 The court

What does the setting of Daniel 7 describe?  What does the “fire” symbolize that is important?  What kind of “court” is depicted here?                   

Daniel 7: 13-14 One like a human being

In v13, whom did Daniel’s vision show?  In v14, what was given to him, and why should this encourage us?  What does v14b give us about “time” that should add to our encouragement?  List all the things in v14 that were “given.”                          

Revelation 1: 4b-8 Ruler of the kings

In v4b, why should “grace” and “peace” be viewed as gifts?  In v5-6, list the attributes of Christ given.  What is promised in v7, and what does that mean to us?  Talk about v8, discussing what great reassurance awaits us there!      

2. On p99 (lrge. print) our lesson writer says, “We need this encouragement, too.  How do current worldly powers oppress, misuses and abuse people?”  Well, how would you respond?  What encouragement is here for us?                                         

3. How does Jn 18: 33-37 relate to our text?  How about Heb 10: 32-39?   

4. On p103 our lesson writer says “We who follow and listen to him are still in the world, and this is where we serve him.”  How (specifically) can we encourage one another?  What does Jesus need from us while we wait?                                         

 

5. In the Connections Commentary, Brian Harbour begins by telling a convicting story about Leonardo DaVinci’s “Last Supper” painting.  How might this pertain to both Daniel and the Revelation?  (p66)  P67-8 gives us some help with the key images from Daniel 7.  On p68, what does Rev1 tell us about who Jesus is?  On p69, what does Rev1 tell us about what Jesus does?  In Rev1, what will Jesus do?     

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. We who follow Him are still alive and at work in the world.                           

B. Ask God to help you live in light of the truth about God that we find in our Lord Jesus Christ.               

 

  1. 2. The Bible affirms that God is ultimately in control, and will one day fulfill God’s purposes.  But, this doesn’t mean that things will be as God wants them any time soon.  How do we live in the meantime?              
  1. 3. See “Applying the Lesson” on p92 in the Uniform Teaching Guide.  How are the church’s present circumstances similar to those in Daniel and Revelation?                           

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