Sunday, August 31, 2014

On 9-7-14, Jeremiah 30:1-3, 18-22 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as A Vision of the Future

A Vision of the Future
 Jeremiah 30:1-3, 18-22
International Sunday School Lesson
September 7, 2014

Jed Greenough

It is important to have a bright spot in your future for without it many would not go on.  The alternative to not going on at all is to operate as an automaton.  This is to say someone is acting more like a lifeless and soulless machine.
Anyone who has experienced or witnessed severe depression might find that a good example.  To borrow from WebMD these people have, “A constant sense of hopelessness and despair.”  They find it, “difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends and activities.”  Without hope and with constant despair come the resulting actions and inactions and God knew as this time of exile came to an end the people of Israel needed to start looking up and looking ahead.
Once again they would be restored to their land (verse 3).  Yes, the cities and mainly Jerusalem would be rebuilt (verse 18).  Yes, there will be joy and bounty (verse 19).  Yes, their number will grow once more because children will once again be something you’d want to bring into the world again (verses 19-20).  One must never deny the importance of being able to feel honorable and that will return (verse 20) and they will be led not by a foreigner but their own (verse 21).  But most important, “So you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (verse 22).
The people of Israel in their guilt knew that their exile was a result of their action and that God had let them suffer by turning away.  That final verse 22 show this time was coming to an end and they indeed had a bright future to anticipate.

For Discussion:
1.      Yes, this can be applied to Christ and a time that is coming yet as well!
2.      Discuss how God’s absence or presence in our life affects us.
3.      Discuss the scripture of the Bible that we can look forward to that can help us anticipate a bright future.
4.      Discuss why these particular promises would be so important to the people of Israel.
5.      What happens to people and their relationship with God when they are suffering or have no hope?
6.      Discuss the prophet Jeremiah.

Upcoming Lessons
9-14-14    Hope for the Future or Restoration, Jeremiah 31:31-37
9-21-14    Anticipation of a New Future or A New Future, Jeremiah 32:1-9, 14, 15
9-28-14    Future Peace and Joy or Improbable Possibilities, Jeremiah 33:1-11

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Sunday, August 24, 2014

On 8-31-14, 2 Corinthians 8:1-14 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as A Community Shares Its Resources or Generosity in the Midst of Poverty

A Community Shares Its Resources
Generosity in the Midst of Poverty
 2 Corinthians 8:1-14
International Sunday School Lesson
August 31, 2014

Jed Greenough

I think if we are willing to admit it we all know how we should give.  I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but what Jesus said about the matter means more to me than what Paul had to say on the issue. 
We see Jesus talk on the matter in Mark 12:41-44, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of her wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.””
In Luke 6:30a He said, “Give to everyone who asks you…”
And if we were to think about how Jesus gave we know that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8b.
So we have our examples and we know how He wants us to give but it is always necessary for our leaders to tell us as a whole to do it and to do it generously.  But today in this scripture and in sermons past to which I’ve listened I have been rubbed the wrong way!
Now sometimes it might be out of guilt and that is great that I hear the message but other times there is something about it that galls me and that bothers me about myself.  I am just putting that out there, I don’t have an answer for it, I am just being honest with an observation.
Being a fan of Paul’s I am keenly aware of the Paul bashers out there and we in fact know that denominations have sprung up like weeds to teach what they want as opposed to what Paul instructed.  So I am really leery of fueling anyone’s animosity towards him or the Bible but when I read these words he wrote they aren’t to me the same Paul and I think in that I find a clue as to why He sounds a bit off to me.
When your Pastor has to give service to this subject I would think in most cases it is not what they want to being doing on any given worship day but it is a necessary chore unfortunately.  Let’s not hold it against them or Paul because if we gave as Christ gave they wouldn’t have to bring it up so often.
For Discussion:
1.      Give examples of God giving.
2.      Give other examples of giving in the bible.
3.      Give examples from your life.
4.      How much should a church give rather than spend on itself.
5.      Discuss the balance of a church spending on itself rather than giving of its wealth.
6.      Discuss a church with much abundance and its giving when there are churches that struggle for reasons that are not their fault.
7.      What does your church have in place to give to those who need?
8.      What do you have in place to give to those in need?
9.      Discuss to whom you should be giving?
10.  Discuss when you should not give or not give further?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved