From time to time I teach adult Bible studies. Some studies work through books of the Bible (e.g., Ecclesiastes, Ephesians, or 1 & 2 Timothy) while others focus on topics (e.g., The Royal Priesthood of Believers, A Christian View of Islam, or A Christian Response to Hostility and Persecution). However, last Sunday we finished what was perhaps the most exciting class I have ever taught, and I thank God for the experience. The class, “God’s Mission: Connecting the Dots,” ran for 14 weeks and averaged about 35 adult participants.
I usually develop book studies directly from scripture, using the English Standard Version, New American Standard, and the 1986 New International Version of the Bible, and sometimes consulting The Lutheran Study Bible, the Lenski commentaries, or other materials. Some of my topical classes derive from CTCR reports, while others are “made from scratch” using reliable resources.
The “God’s Mission” class was different in that it roughly followed many of the concepts and scripture references found in “The Mission of God’s People” by Christopher J. H. Wright. The premise revolved around a double question of “who are we and why are we here,” which probably comes up in everyone’s mind at some point in life. The answer to the first question is that we are God’s people, saved by Jesus and grafted into Abraham’s family tree. The answer to the second question is that God uses us in His grand story of redemption. To be clear, none of this is anything that we earn. It is all by God’s grace. He doesn’t do only the heavy lifting; He does all the lifting. But what about connecting the dots?
We start by realizing that God’s grand story of redemption is much larger than me. It runs from the beginning of Genesis all the way to the New Heaven and New Earth revealed in Revelation. The central point of it all, of course, is the death and resurrection of Jesus. With this broad, amazing view as context, the class examined several different ways God interacts with us and uses us in His plans. For example, God blesses His people to bless others. This started with Abraham, continued with Jeremiah’s admonition to Israel in exile, and carried through into, for example, Paul’s service to the churches. We looked at instances of this in the Old Testament, checked examples in the New Testament, and then discussed implications for us. This is what I mean by “connecting the dots.” Similarly, we looked at prayer, praise, witness, redemption, walking with God, proclamation, sending and being sent, and knowing God, all by starting with examples in the Old Testament, moving to the New Testament, and discussing how this informs and instructs God’s people (i.e., us!). Every session of the study reminded us of God’s grace, love, and mercy sprinkled throughout all of scripture, and not just for us but for all of His creation. We had good discussions in every session, and were humbled and excited as we connected the dots to see God’s plans at work.
This quick recap may be more than you wanted to know. Regardless, it was something I couldn’t help but share.
3 thoughts on “Connecting the Dots”
And we are glad you did.
Hey Jesse, could I get a copy of your study materials?
Thanks so much for including this summary as part of your blog. As a member of the class who had to miss the grand finale, I really appreciate the overview along with all the work involved in preparing such a great study.
Thanks for sharing the gifts with which you have been blessed to BE a blessing to your Bible study attendees.
Mrs. Linda Greenhagen | 4th Grade Teacher
Our Savior Lutheran School
1385 S. Livermore Ave. | Livermore, CA 94550
925.447.1246 | http://www.oslm.net