Children's Sunday School Summary May 20, 2018

May 21, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul had written a letter (1 Corinthians) addressing several sins that were being tolerated in the church at Corinth. The letter had been a risk. The Corinthians may have rejected Paul, but they did not. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to celebrate what God had done in the church and to call on them for help. The church in Jerusalem was in desperate need of help, so Paul was collecting money from the other churches on their behalf. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to be generous. He told them about the churches in Macedonia. Macedonia was an area ...

Dual Citizenship

May 18, 2018
Peter Nelson
Belonging to Jesus means living in two worlds.  On the one hand, we settle into 21st century North America.  We work and go to school and do business in our local communities, rubbing shoulders with people of various backgrounds and beliefs.  What’s more, we obey the law of the land, pay our taxes, and strive to make a positive con­tribution for “the greater good” of humanity here and now. On the other hand, all who follow Christ make their true home in another world—under the eternal reign of God today and in the new heavens and new earth ...

Children's Sunday School Summary May 13, 2018

May 16, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul knew that following Jesus is difficult. After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life was turned upside down and he was never the same. Paul spent the rest of his life struggling and suffering to advance the very gospel that he had denied and fought against before his conversion. Paul was in prison when he wrote his letter to the believers at the church in Ephesus. Paul knew firsthand that the life of a believer is a battle—an ongoing fight. But Paul didn’t see life as a fight against the Romans, those who had thrown him in ...

Urgent or Important?

May 11, 2018
Peter Nelson
Long before the iPhone and “push notifications” and pathological multitasking and the addictive flitting of our eyes from one screen to another, back in the day when you went to the local library to learn a thing or two about Ebola or cholesterol or eschatology, all the way back in 1967 Charles Hummel wrote a booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent. It was timely then.  And it’s really timely now. Frenzied busyness results not from having too much to do, but from confusing the urgent with the important.  When we fail to set and keep ...

The Gospel for Life

May 04, 2018
Peter Nelson
When you hear the word “gospel,” do you think of the good news of Jesus that people who don’t know God can be saved?  If so, that’s great, it’s true—and yet, the gospel still applies after conversion. Much harm has come upon the church through the careless assump­tion that the gospel is only relevant to the non-believer:  Once you get saved, the gospel is behind you; now it’s time to get on with growing and serving and working for God—except, of course, as you look to share the gospel invitation with others who are lost. But, in fact, ...

Children's Sunday School Summary April 29, 2018

May 02, 2018
Lori Herson
All of the letters Paul wrote follow the same basic outline. The first part of each letter focuses on important doctrines: the gospel. The second part of each letter then explains how those doctrines can and should shape how we live every day: gospel transformation. When it comes to Romans, the first eleven chapters are Paul’s explanation of the gospel, while the final five chapters center on how that gospel changes us. Romans 12:1-2 is the hinge linking these two sections together. Paul urges believers to keep in mind the mercies of God....

Assisted Living

April 27, 2018
Peter Nelson
Last week I was in Minnesota to visit my dad, Ken Nelson—he’s 98 and “home” now is an assisted living apartment.  I stayed in the guest suite in his building, accompanied him for meals and activities, took him to dentist and doctor appointments, and drove him to visit his sister Grace 100 miles away in Wisconsin.  We had a good time. Dad snoozes a lot; if he sits down for very long at all, he’ll nod off.  And sometimes he gets mixed up—seems like his dreams linger into the awake moments.  He moves very slowly and he’s virtually blind. As ...

Children's Sunday School Summary April 22, 2018

April 25, 2018
Lori Herson
Rome was one of the most important cities in Paul’s day. Paul understood that it was essential that the church in the capital of the Roman Empire be anchored in the gospel. Unlike many of the other churches we read about in the New Testament, Paul didn’t help plant the church in Rome; in fact, he hadn’t even visited yet. Paul was planning his first visit to this important church when he wrote a letter to make sure the believers there properly understood the gospel. The Book of Romans contains one of the clearest explanations of the gospel ...

A Charge to Church Leaders

April 20, 2018
Peter Nelson
Last week I had the chance to share a “word from the Word” with our area pastors group, and I decided to comment on Acts 20:17-38. About the text—Paul is traveling from Greece to Jerusalem, and his ship stops for a few days at Miletus, a port city near Ephesus.  This gives the Apostle a chance to share a “farewell address” with a team of church leaders he’s lovingly discipled for some three years. The tone of the speech is serious and weighty.  Paul doesn’t expect to see these “loved ones” ever again in this world.  So he gets right to ...

Take up the Towel

April 13, 2018
Peter Nelson
To all in our Goshen family:  Based on last week’s passage from John 13 and Jesus’ charge to “take up the towel,” let’s commit to serve one another with self-giving, preference-dropping, Jesus-imitating love. When he had washed their feet…, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to ...

Children's Sunday School Summary April 8, 2018

April 11, 2018
Peter Nelson
The apostle John had been one of Jesus’ closest friends. Along with Peter and James, John was part of the innermost core of Jesus’ disciples. John even referred to himself in his Gospel as “the one whom Jesus loved.” It is not surprising that 50 years after Jesus returned to heaven, John wrote a letter to help believers understand who Jesus is. At the center of John’s message was one key theme: love. John wrote that God is love, and if believers truly love God, then we will love one another. Our love for one another should be so deep that ...

Rescue Operation

April 06, 2018
Peter Nelson
As we move past Holy Week on the church calendar, the stun­ning, self-giving love of Jesus on the cross reverberates in my heart.  “What wondrous love is this?”  The New Testament repeatedly points to Jesus’ suffering as “substitutionary”—Christ bore our guilt, he died in our place—for us, for you. Hear the Word of God—let it pour over you; bask in the wonder of the Savior’s substitutionary atonement: >>Romans 5:8, But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. >>Romans 8:32, He who did not spare his ...

Two Days in One

March 29, 2018
Peter Nelson
What a jarring juxtaposition:  this Sunday will be both Easter and April Fool’s Day.  Talk about two celebrations moving in different directions!  What are we supposed to do with that kind of overlap? I like the story of a BBC news radio report on April 1, 1976, explain­ing that the alignment of two planets would, at 9:47 a.m. that day, produce a gravitational effect such that, if you jumped up at just that moment, you’d begin to float.  I can picture the public trying it out! There are so many prank stories.  And why not have a moment on ...

What's in a Word?

March 28, 2018
Peter Nelson
Nancy Guthrie has assembled a wonderful collection of essays about “experiencing the passion and power of Easter,” Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.  I was especially encouraged this week when I revisited chapter 20, “The Most Important Word in the Universe,” by Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.  A title like that grabs the reader’s curiosity.  So, what is the word? Propitiation. Of course, some may object—what about, say, “God”?  Fair enough—one can surely make a case.  But take a moment to hear Ray Ortlund out. To “propitiate” is “to render ...

Children's Sunday School Summary March 25, 2018

March 27, 2018
Lori Herson
The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday—the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as the King of kings the week of Passover. Many of God’s people traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem as well. Near Bethphage (BETH fayj) and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead into a village. Jesus told them, “You will find a young donkey tied there. No one has ever sat on it. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Jesus would ...

Remember the Future

March 23, 2018
Peter Nelson
The other day I sat down to read the Apostle Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians.  And I was struck by his repeated attention to Jesus’ “coming.”  That is, to the Lord’s future appearing—the Second Coming (see 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:2, 23).  Paul served and taught and wrote and lived with a grand anticipation of the Day of the Lord. Is that how we live—today, in 2018?  Does the looming, awesome, climactic appearing of Jesus tower over our daily duties and our dreams of tomorrow?  Are our decisions about career and relation­ships and ...

Faith in Action

March 16, 2018
Peter Nelson
The first words of Jesus reported in Mark’s Gospel are these:  After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (1:14-15).  The gospel message says, “Repent and believe.”  The coming of God’s reign through Jesus issues a call to humanity:  trust and turn; turn and trust.  Repent and believe. Faith and repentance are two sides of one coin.  We cannot turn TO Jesus in faith without turning FROM other “gods” ...

The Nearness of God

March 09, 2018
Peter Nelson
Imagine having a degenerative nerve disease that causes chronic pain and burning in your arms, and renders you so weak you can’t button your own shirt.  That’s the predicament of Dave Furman, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai and author of the new book, Kiss the Wave:  Embracing God in Your Trials. “Kiss the wave”?  The title comes from Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century English preacher who suffered intensely from rheumatism, gout, kidney problems, and depression:  “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of ...

Children's Sunday School Summary March 4, 2018

March 06, 2018
Lori Herson
Peter—one of Jesus’ original disciples—had grown up in a culture where the Jews believed that God only cared about them, not the Gentiles or non-Jews. Most of the Jews looked down on the Gentiles and refused to even associate with them because Jews believed Gentiles were unclean; Gentiles didn’t live the right way to please God. Any Jew who did associate with Gentiles did so at the risk of being ridiculed by his own people. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God shared with Peter that He loved not only the Jews, but the Gentiles as ...

Ancient New Testament Manuscripts

March 02, 2018
Peter Nelson
In John 8:1-11, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees who bring an adulterer to him for punishment, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then, after the accusers relent, he says to the offender, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” But if you look carefully, our Bibles include editorial notes indicating that John 8:1-11 has only tenuous manuscript support.  That is, as ESV editors state, “The earliest manuscripts do not include John 7:53-8:11.”  Best, then, to depend on other Bible ...

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