Monday, July 7, 2014

Children of the Day-Sessions 3 and 4

These two sessions, June 26 and July 3, were in the midst of a whirlwind time for me! Session 3 was during my kids camp week and the fantastic Shannon stepped in and led for me! That being said, I don't have teaching notes from that session.

Session three focused on sharing with others in the faith. We talked about how believers share the gifts of Christ and themselves with those to whom they minister. We then talked about how there is such a need for ministry and community in the church. We certainly do not want to leave others "orphaned" in the church. It is crucial for us to make our sisters feel connected in our church and in Christ.

They then went through the lesson for the week. 6 of us were at kids camp with our church! They had a wonderful group without us, but we missed all being together.

Group Members--if you need the fill-in-the-blanks for session 3, click here
For the video for session 3, click here

Session four was held on July 3. It focused on the trials and afflictions we may face, but how they occur along the path of our destiny. We talked about how Satan and others place afflictions in our path and God tells us to get past them! We discussed several equations in the regard of hindrances and afflictions, but one that resonated with the ladies and me was this: My Life - Hindrances = My Destiny.

We are all on a God-ordained journey to our destiny. It is crucial that we continue the path, despite any hindrances and afflictions. As an encouragement, read Romans 8:37 below:
In all these things we are more than conquerors
 through him who loved us.

Group Members--if you need the fill-in-the-blanks for session 4, click here
For the video for session 4, click here

Note: the remainder of this post is lengthy and is mainly a compilation of my teaching notes from Children of the Day Session 4.

When was the last time you asked yourself, “Why in the world did I get involved in this situation”?! You put your heart out there in somebody else’s life, put your heart out there, and got hurt.
In today’s session, we will return to the third chapter of 1 Thessalonians and consider the madness and the gladness of deep personal involvement. Clearly, Jesus is a God of deep personal involvement. You can’t get more involved than giving yourself to die for someone else. Let’s be real! Think about those times when you’ve put yourself out there. Did it turn out to be worth it?

We are going to start with the bad news! Let’s look at 3:1-5
We will refer back to Acts 17 and our history lesson today. Let’s look at verses 10-15.
            Remember, we pick up in Chapter 3 where Paul, Silas, and Timothy were split up, then back together. We talked about this in our homework on day five.
Alright-in verse one, Paul says when we could bear it no longer. They get all back together and decide it is time to DO something!  Let’s consider the risks-what are they?
1.      The entitlement to the unbearable.
-this type of unbearable is serious. You know of the times of anxiety when you can’t mask it…like not even in the grocery store line? It is serious! They decided that it has to be Timothy-why? b/c Paul and Silas were basically banned from the city.
-that sort of angst and checking in is almost a dinosaur to us now. However, has it not made us not anxious? Now it has come to hours, not days with anxiety. (you know what I'm talking about-you call your kids or your husband and don't hear back for hours) because of the immediate access we have, the anxiety is even more deafening in the silence
-let’s look at bearable and also the word vulnerable. These strangely fit together!
Vulnearble: from latin vulnerare to wound; capable of being physically wounded; open to attack or damage: if you are wondering if you are exposed and out there and unbearably devoted, the answer is yes! Often times the vulnerability itself is the wound!  When we love much, it hurts much

2. The high cost investment
-Paul was anxious…anxious for the churches
-what if his anxiety was high cost and low return?
-have you ever been there? Have you ever poured life into someone and seen it NOT WORK? Relationships are hard! We take that chance every time. It may pay off; it may not pay off. Think of the Paul/Barnabus/Mark split up. Paul probably thought that his labor was in vain, but we will see eventually in 2 Timothy that Mark comes back around and it was good.
-What was Paul thinking about the Thessalonians? The tempter had tempted them away. What, instead, was true? They remembered him with favor!
-how often is the lack of fruit and fighting for naught true, though?
-However, it is only in the risk and the madness that we can experience the gladness…that it would not be for nothing.

    3.  The evaporating illusion of control
-once we realize we are vulnerable, we feel the need to control our investment! But what we find over time is that the control was an illusion all along and before our very eyes, it begins to evaporate. We feel like we are completely at a loss if we can’t hold tight control to relationships we have our hands on.
-who would say you have a control problem?
-This next paragraph is serious! It hit me hard. Try saying it outloud:
 “I am not in control. I cannot control all my people. I cannot control our situation. Even when I want what is best, I cannot control the outcome. I cannot make people behave. I cannot make people believe. I cannot make people be strong because I am not God. He alone knows the end from the beginning. He alone knows how this thing will turn out. I hereby to fire myself from trying to be God and I agree to see my fight for control as what it really is—a screaming testament to my distrust!”

But, we need to move from the madness to the gladness! We need to move from the depression to the elation that God gives us. It is the down that makes the up feel so much better!

Read 1 Thess. 3:6-8 and note the gladness

              1.   The pure reciprocity
-somebody feels the same way! Here’s the thing, it’s not the same if you’ve never been rejected. Paul had just been through a cruddy breakup (a no yield), now he sees the reciprocity.
-Have you ever felt this way (in a non romantic way) (or think Pride and Prejudice)?
-the word means to desire intently; the same wording in James 4:5-where the Spirit within us yearns for us. There’s nothing quite like it!

2. The sheer relief
-Not only am I filled with gladness, but I am so relieved I can hardly stand it; we went through all that anxiety to find the relief. We will look more deeply into this in 2 Thessalonians.

      3.The coloring of memory
-remember all the junk they had to go through? Suddenly they had to leave from the turmoil?! They say, “Oh, we have relief that you remember this well! There was so much hard.” I wonder if anyone remembers something that is beautiful, even though it was so hard?
-what is it that colors a memory of a relationship positively? I think of several relationships I have had-and it comes down to dignity.
-that’s what happened here-the memory is colored beautifully; colored well

-Think back to verse 6. It talks about the tempter and the tempting; the tempter wants your stuff and your life, but ultimately he want’s to dig into your Faith! Paul and Silas are super concerned about the faiths of those they were only with a short time.

                 4.   The coming alive
-who do you know that means so much to you that if they’re standing fast in the Lord, you can say “I’m living”.  If on my death bed, I can look at _____ and know that they love Jesus with all they are, I am able to LIVE! Who is that person you are truly invested in?
-that’s when you can say all the distress, all the affliction, all the madness…are truly worth this-we are able to live!
-This is the picture of life! Relationships are a roller coaster! We as women have these swings just like Paul. Oftentimes we would desire to trade this roller coaster of emotion for one of control, but in the midst of this, we get to see God do the extraordinary. For all the times we think it isn’t working out, we see Him work! And it is all worth it. God is good; If “you’re” ok, I’m good to go.

Conclude with verse 12. (if time, talk about Jesus sitting beside God in a blessing. How impactful is/was this?)
The end of the chapter brings us to Paul saying, through all of this anxiety, through all of this affliction, and all of this final happiness-I pray over you that you love and you love big, as we have.

From Chrysostom’s Homilies on 1 Thes 4:
Do you see the unrestrained madness of love that is shown by his words? Make you increase and abound….

If we truly increase and abound in this way, in the way of 1 Cor 13, then it is pure madness! The enemy does not want us to work together; his lie shares that we Will get hurt; but God calls us again and again to these relationships for His purpose!

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