Four Steps – Bethlehem Forward

BETHLEHEM FORWARD, PART 1
John 1:1-4

Four Steps from Bethlehem forward:

Know Jesus as the Word of Life (1 John 1:1-2)
(The Word of life is the key purpose of this passage)

Foundation – John 14:1-6
General – Hebrews 1:1-2
Personal – Isaiah 40:13 – Our God is not a silent God
We move from the mind of God to possess the mind of Christ – 1 Corinthians 2:16
Do we settle for soundbites about Jesus or are we consumed with Jesus?

Live out the significance of the message (1 John 1:2-3)
(The term “declare” is the key verb of this passage)

Announcement from a special source (1 John 1)
Announcement that is special (Luke 2)
The Good Tidings of Luke 2 causes us to DECLARE the message to others.

Engage the Relationships (1 John 1:3)
(Christian fellowship is the key application of the passage)

Celebrate the Joy (1 John 1:4)
(“Joy” is the key outcome of encountering the Messiah.)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What do you associate with the term “fellowship”?
  2. How do we know that the events we read about in history books really happened?
  3. What was from the beginning? (1 John 1:1)
  4. What contact did the writer and this community of believers have with the Word of life? (1 John 1:1)
  5. How did God reveal Himself to us? (1 John 1:2)
  6. What was being proclaimed by this community of believers? (1 John 1:2)
  7. Where had the eternal life been, and to whom had it appeared? (1 John 1:2)
  8. Why were the author and his fellow believers telling others about Christ? (1 John 1:3)
  9. With whom did this community of believers have fellowship? (1 John 1:3)
  10. Why was this letter written? (1 John 1:4)
  11. Why do you think John stressed his and this community of believers’ personal, physical, historical encounter with Jesus?
  12. How important are firsthand eyewitness testimonies, such as this writer’s, to your belief in Jesus?
  13. What fellowship do you have with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?
  14. What fellowship do you have with other believers?
  15. How is our fellowship with God related to our fellowship with other believers?
  16. What blocks our fellowship with God and others?
  17. In what ways can we enhance our fellowship?
  18. In what way is your joy complete?
  19. What can you do to gain a better appreciation of the historical foundation of your faith in Christ?
  20. What specific steps will you take this week in order to deepen your fellowship with other believers?

The Preparation – God’s Touch Felt

The Preparation. God’s Touch Felt.
Matthew 1:18-25 / Luke 1:39-56

  1. Trust the promise (Matthew 1:18-25).
    1. The Promise made known: God’s Word, God’s Way, God’s Work
    2. The Promise applied:
      1. Generally: “all of this took place to fulfill what was spoken” (Matthew 1:22)
      2. Respectively: “she will give birth to a son and you are to name Him Jesus” (Matthew 1:21, 23)
  2. Take joy in the promise (Luke 1:39-56)
    1. The significance of your joy builds upon the superiority of Jesus in your life. (Luke 1:39-45)
    2. The content of your joy builds upon a detail reflection of the promise. (Luke 1:46-55)

Questions for Further Discussion:

Matthew 1:18-25

  1. What are the tabloid headlines this week?
  2. Why is our society so drawn to gossip and scandal?
  3. How do people typically react when facing embarrassing situations?
  4. What happened to Mary while she and Joseph were engaged? (Matthew 1:18)
  5. What do you think Joseph initially thought upon hearing this news about his bride-to-be? (Matthew 1:18-19)
  6. What positive character qualities did Joseph possess? (Matthew 1:19)
  7. How did Joseph plan to handle this delicate situation? (Matthew 1:19)
  8. How was Joseph’s ancestry significant? (Matthew 1:20)
  9. Why did Joseph change his plans to divorce Mary? (Matthew 1:20)
  10. If Joseph wasn’t the actual father of Christ, who was? (Matthew 1:18, 20)
  11. What did the angel command Joseph to name the child and why? (Matthew 1:21)
  12. What significant mission in life would Mary’s child have? (Matthew 1:21)
  13. Why is Mary’s virginal conception of Christ significant? (Matthew 1:22-23)
  14. What does Immanuel mean? (Matthew 1:23)
  15. How did Joseph respond to the angelic message? (Matthew 1:24)
  16. How might you have responded in Mary’s situation?
  17. What would have been your reaction had you been in Joseph’s situation?
  18. How do you think a typical church might have handled Mary’s pre-marriage pregnancy? How about our church?
  19. How do you imagine the “grapevine” treated the Mary-Joseph situation?
  20. How does it feel to be the victim of unsubstantiated rumors and gossip?
  21. How does it feel to know that you are innocent and yet have people attacking your character and whispering behind your back?
  22. How does our desire for approval or acceptance keep us from doing the right thing?
  23. What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?
  24. How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?

Luke 1:39-56

  1. In what ways could we describe both Mary and Elizabeth as “blessed” women?
  2. How did Elizabeth indicate that she knew what her and Mary’s pregnancies meant?
  3. How would you describe the mood in Zechariah’s home during the time Mary visited?
  4. Judging from Elizabeth’s experience, what is it like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
  5. How does it feel to be genuinely complimented by someone older than you?
  6. What significance do you think it had for Mary that Elizabeth knew the importance of Mary’s baby?
  7. What words best describe Mary’s attitude?
  8. What reasons can we give for calling Mary a woman blessed by God?
  9. What evidence do we have today that God is still keeping His promises?
  10. How can we illustrate God’s “bringing down rulers and lifting up the humble” today?
  11. What different methods have you used to tell others your experiences with God?
  12. What actions of God which Mary mentioned have you observed or experienced?
  13. How does God show mercy to us today?
  14. In what way can you glorify the Lord and rejoice in your Savior this week?
  15. What person close to you still needs to hear you express your faith?

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard
Luke 1:26-38 (Week Two of Advent)

  1. God manifested His work in Mary so that Jesus Christ would be manifested to the World. (Luke 1:26-29)
  2. Mary encountered a crisis of fact and faith that only the truth of Jesus could resolve. (Luke 1:34)
  3. The Holy Spirit made the Purpose of Christ reality. (Luke 1:35)
  4. The reality of Christ caused worshipful obedience (Luke 1:36-38)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. When was an occasion that you received an unexpected honor?
  2. How do you tend to react when you receive unexpected good news?
  3. Who greeted Mary? Why? (Luke 1:26-28)
  4. How did Mary learn of her role in Jesus’ birth? (Luke 1:26-28)
  5. How did Mary feel when the angel appeared to her? (Luke 1:29-30)
  6. How did Gabriel describe the child that would be born to Mary? (Luke 1:31-33)
  7. What title would Jesus have? (Luke 1:32)
  8. What Old Testament personalities were part of Jesus’ royal line? (Luke 1:32-33)
  9. Why wasn’t Mary struck dumb by the angel as Zechariah was? (Luke 1:34)
  10. How did Mary’s response to the angel differ from Zechariah’s? (Luke 1:34, 38)
  11. Why did Gabriel mention Elizabeth’s pregnancy to Mary? (Luke 1:36-37)
  12. What kind of attitude was apparent in Mary’s response to the angel’s visit? (Luke 1:38)
  13. What did Mary’s final statement to Gabriel show about her relationship with God? (Luke 1:38)
  14. What do Mary’s responses to Gabriel tell us about the kind of people through whom God works?
  15. In what different ways do people respond to the story of Christ’s birth?
  16. What difference does it make whether or not a person believes that the child born to Mary was really the Son of God?
  17. How has the fact that “with God, nothing is impossible” taken root in your life?
  18. In what ways would you say Mary’s responses to Gabriel summarize what our relationship with God ought to be like?
  19. What “impossibilities” in your life do you want to thank God for this week?
  20. What can you do to maintain a servant’s attitude as you live from day to day?
  21. In what ways can you develop the kind of humble spirit that Mary had?

Blue Christmas Service 2017

Here is an Invitation … for you.

Ever notice how happy people seem to be around Christmas time? Everyone seems to be smiling, rushing around shopping for presents, attending parties, and looking forward to the various events of the season.

But what about those of us who aren’t quite feeling it? And what about those of us who are downright blue during the holidays? Sometimes there’s a reason – the loss of a loved one, or other memories we’d really rather not remember, and sometimes, it’s just what’s going on in the world around us, that beats us down and causes us not to enjoy the things we used to enjoy – like celebrating Christmas.

Where is our hope? Can we be honest without bringing everybody else down? Is it okay to feel this way? Is it normal!?

Ever ask those questions? If so, you might want to attend a special service:

A Blue Christmas – A Service of Hope (For Those Who are Grieving)
Wednesday, December 20th
6:30 pm

Come and share an honest look at the Hope of Christmas…

Come…
Celebrate in a new way.

Come…
And be comforted

New Sign at JCOC

December Newsletter from Judeo-Christian Outreach Center:

“What projects would you like someone to take care of for you?” When you are a non-profit and never have enough money for all the needs you are aware of, it is answered prayer when a ministry asks you how they can help. That’s what Operation Inasmuch from King’s Grant Baptist Church did for JCOC recently. They removed items that could not be fixed and they repaired or replaced damaged items.

Come visit JCOC and you will notice one of their projects; we have a new sign that was donated and installed by them and it looks great! They also provided a large amount of clothing and 12 Welcome Home Baskets for JCOC clients moving into their new homes.

Thank you to the amazing volunteers from King’s Grant Baptist Church who worked on these projects; Anna Alexander, Heather Burner, Jim Cummings, Donald Downs, Bill Forbes, Ray Kirby, Foster Matter, Dan Reed, Dan Rush, and Kenny Toombs. A special thank you to Cheryl Douglas who coordinated Operation Inasmuch and Pastor Ken Pruitt for his and his church’s overall support of JCOC.

The Story – God’s Plan Revealed

December 3
The Story. God’s Plan Revealed
Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

  • The Story: from brokenness to redemption (Isaiah 9:1)
  • The Hope: divinely planned and forever assured (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Person: a Light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What positive associations do you have with light?
  2. Although he had been preaching God’s judgment (particularly on the kingdom of Israel), what
    total reversal did Isaiah foresee in the future? (Isaiah 9:1)
  3. What contrasting images did Isaiah use to set the scene of his prophecy? (Isaiah 9:2)
  4. To what situations did Isaiah compare the joy that will be Israel’s? (Isaiah 9:3)
  5. What did Isaiah predict God would do for Israel, causing her to rejoice? (Isaiah 9:4-5)
  6. How does Isaiah describe the Ruler who will be provided by God for His people? (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  7. What attributes of God are apparent in this passage?
  8. How is God’s promise of the coming child an answer to His anger over our sin?
  9. How would you explain the Light that came into your darkness?
    Why might it be dangerous to downplay the seriousness of our situation whenever we encounter hardship?
  10. What specific injustice in your area of influence can you challenge in the name of God? How?
  11. What person do you know who is still “walking in darkness” for whom God would have you
    pray?