Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

25 11 2012

Series Overview

If you were to guess who we have more reliable accounts of – Jesus or Julius Caesar – who would you guess? Nope, it is not the guy with his own salad dressing. In fact, we have more accounts dated closer to Jesus’ actual lifetime than we have for all the events of the Roman Empire during that time. The truth is that even our history books are written on very little evidence. There are widely accepted facts that are credited to a single source, dated hundreds of years after the event. Yet somehow the Bible is the document that is so widely criticized for its accuracy. The truth is that Jesus is the most well-documented person in ancient history. For the next two weeks, we want our students to know that what the Bible says can be taken as truth. We want them to learn to believe in what the Bible says “Beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Week 1 (November 25, 2012)

Jesus was a real person. This sounds like an obvious statement, but for many people, including many students, it can be a real question.  We are constantly inundated with stories of people that blend together fact and fiction, and this can often cause us to doubt the legitimacy of the Bible.  We want our students to know that having questions is not a bad thing.  We want them to ask questions, and we want them to understand and believe that Jesus was a real person.  The disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in Jesus. This is some of the most compelling evidence we have about the life of Christ.  Today, we want to discuss the evidence that we have that Jesus was a real person and he needs to be a part of our life.

Talk to your student about the link between doubt and faith.  Ask you student what part of the story of Jesus do the find the hardest to believe.

Week 2 (December 2, 2012)

The Bible is one of the most scrutinized books in the world.  However, it has been shown to be accurate time after time.  The most common frustration people have with the Bible is not about the people and places, but the miraculous events. We want to know how some of these things could have happened. Ultimately, we are left with the option to believe the Bible is true or be skeptical.  What we want our students to know is that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  It is not our job to try and explain how miracles happen, but to know that they do happen.  We need to approach the Bible with the right attitude that everything is written so that we might believe.

Talk to your student about the importance of believing the Bible to be true. Ask your student what they find the hardest to believe about the Bible.

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How to Study the Bible

19 02 2012

Series Overview

It’s easy for students to lose sight of what God’s Word can do in their lives.  The Bible contains so many characters, stories, and chapters, no wonder they get confused!  The truth is, the Bible was never intended to confuse or intimidate us. Instead, it was written to provide a personal and practical way for God to speak to us. God constantly tries to talk to us through His Word; we just need to learn how to tune in to Him while we read it. During this series, we are going to be searching through both the Old Testament and the New Testament to find and understand the ways that God speaks to us through His word. We also want to better equip students on how to have a quiet time and what that can look like. Our goal is to have the students in each small group understand that God talks to us through the Bible and we can all better learn how to hear His voice.

Session 1 (February 19, 2012)

This week we will be focusing on the Old Testament, trying to find ways to better understand how God talks to us.  This book is full of stories, poetry, law, and history.  Sometimes we can become overwhelmed; however, when we take time to focus and read the Old Testament we can gain knowledge and understanding. When coming across an Old Testament story, we want the students to ask themselves two questions:

  • Who am I in this story? 
  • What does this teach me?

The first question will enable students to take a good look at every character and identify who they can relate to best. The second question leads the students into applying another person’s experience into their own life.

One of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament is the story of David and Goliath.  To help your student further understand how God speaks to us through the Bible, we are going to have them do a quiet time.  They read this story alone and apply the questions listed above. Our hope is that our students will begin to understand, as well as experience, how God speaks to us through the Old Testament. Ask your student about their experience and what they learned from the story of David and Goliath.

Session 2 (February 26, 2012)

The New Testament includes church history, stories about Jesus’ life, and letters to new believers and new churches. Similar to what happens with the Old Testament, students often open up their Bible, read a random story, and finish feeling frustrated and confused. It’s important for them to understand how every part of the New Testament fits into the larger story of Jesus Christ.

When coming across stories in the New Testament, we want the students to ask themselves these two questions:

  • What does this passage tell me to do?
  • Why do I need to know this? 

These questions will enable students to analyze what they are reading and why it is important. It will also help them take the scripture one step further by actually applying it to their daily lives.

A very familiar passage in the New Testament is the passage in Matthew where we first are introduced to the Golden Rule. To further develop your small groups understanding of how God speaks to us through the Bible, we are going to have them do a quiet time in which they read this passage and apply the questions listed above. Our goal is that after this week your student will understand how both the Old Testament and the New Testament can apply to their life, as well as how God speaks to them through it.  Talk to your student about the importance of studying the Bible, and ask them what they learned from having their own quiet time the last two weeks.