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Falling Stones

To the horror of the devote Jews praying in the egalitarian section at the base of the Western Wall, a loud rumble was heard. It followed seconds later by a crashing thud as a 200 lb boulder dislodged from the Wall fell 23 feet narrowly missing those praying below. It was a memorable time. The Tisha B'Av had just concluded the evening before. The people had fasted and prayed in sadness remembering many tragedies that had occurred to the people of Israel at this time of the year. Now it seemed to be taking place again. Was there some spiritual significance to this?

How do we make sense of the unexplained tragedies in the world? Do we point a finger at the evil people of the world and say that they had it coming to them? They deserved the judgment of God. On the other hand, do we accuse God of being heartless, harsh, and hasty in crushing those who do not show Him the respect He expects?

Are natural tragedies related to the judgment of God in all situations? If so, what is the significance of each occurrence? If they are not always related to the judgment of God, how can we determine when they are times of divine retribution?
Any thinking person will ask for theological justifications and explanations for the inexplicable natural disasters that take place around the globe. Christians should have a ready response. In this lesson we will consider this event which took place in Jerusalem at the Western Wall on Monday, July 23, 2018. Was this a message from God? In this lesson we will discuss if and/or how natural tragedies may be related to the judgment of God in the world.

Objective: In our lesson the class will attempt to determine what the Christian’s response should be when disaster strikes the world.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/falling-stones/
Relevant Bible Lessons
Relevant Bible Lessons
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Turning Point – The Resurrection of Jesus

The BBC (British Broadcast Corporation) reported this month that 25% of the Christians in Great Britain do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Their survey, however, showed an interesting anomaly. Ten percent of those in England who claim to be a part of no religion say they do believe the Easter story. As the survey suggests, the resurrection of Jesus is something that is of interest to many non-believers. Some acknowledge that they believe the resurrection of Jesus took place even though they don't personally chose to live for God. For many it is the turning point in their lives.

Objective: In our lesson we will be considering the present-day significance of the event. We will learn that the scripture reveals that the resurrection is God's seal of approval on His chosen One. It validates our salvation, typifies our spiritual relationship with Christ, and suggests that the hope of a personal resurrection can indeed be our reality.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/turning-point-resurrection-jesus/
Relevant Bible Lessons
Relevant Bible Lessons
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The Hero We Need . . . not the one we deserve
A lesson for Palm Sunday

Batman, “The Dark Knight,” is willing to crawl around rooftops at night fighting crime at the cost of his own health and relationships. However in order to stop crime he breaks a lot of laws. At one point in the movie the incorruptible, virtuous, strong and heroic Lt. James Gordon says: “Because he's (Batman) the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.” In this triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people of Israel are faced with the same question. They want a hero. Do they want the one they deserve or the One they need? We will explore thought in this Palm Sunday lesson.

Objective: By the end of this lesson we will come to understand that the God we need is not always the god we seek and deserve.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/hero-need-not-one-deserve/

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First Impressions

Why are some people immediately likeable, while others have to work at the job of being included? What special trait do some people have that causes everyone in a room to give them a pause of attention when they walk into a room? How do some people get hired easily after an amiable interview while others are repeatedly turned aside?

Professor of psychology at Princeton, Alexander Todorov says that it has to do with the impression you make upon others when you first meet them. His research has shown that in a tenth of a second people make judgments about another person’s likeability, trustworthiness, and competence. Janine Willis, a Princeton student researcher, wrote in the July issue of the Psychological Science journal that she had used timed experiments and found that snap judgments on character are often formed with insufficient time for rational thought. We have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains seem to decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy without remembering this sage advise.

So, what kind of first impression do you make? What difference does it make? Does it matter to God whether you make a good first impression?

Objective: By the end of this lesson we will understand to a greater extend the value of being made in the image of God and how it is important that we make the right impression in our world.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/first-impressions/
First Impressions
First Impressions
relevantbiblelessons.com

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Mary, a goddess?

As the Roman Catholic church celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, reflected on what they consider to be the mystery of the Marian Solemnity. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is their teaching that Mary was conceived in her mother Anne’s womb, without original sin. In his address on Friday, December 8th, Pope Francis built on this belief by stating that Mary was “full of grace” which meant she was without sin. He went on to explain that being “full of grace” meant that Mary was full of the presence of God and therefore there was no place for sin.

Was Mary a sinless one? The four dogmas of Mariology are Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, Divine Motherhood, and Assumption. In these teachings the Catholic church has proclaimed that she was always a virgin, never was the subject of original sin, never sinned, intercedes to the Father as we pray to her, and was assumed to heaven without dying. She is the Queen of Heaven, the Divine Mother of God. Does this make her a goddess?

The question before us is this: “Is Mary a goddess?” Over 1.1 billion Catholics seem to believe this (in practice if not in belief). What is of importance to us, however, is what the Bible has to say about Mary. She was “highly favored” by God.

Objective: In this lesson we will discuss the birth of our Lord and His impact upon the world as the Savior of mankind and Mary’s role in the Divine plan.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/mary-a-goddess/



Mary, a goddess?
Mary, a goddess?
relevantbiblelessons.com

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Rent-a-Friend

Companies around the world have been established offering “Rent-a-Friend” services. Ian Robertson, the founder of Rent-a-Mourner, in Braintree, Essex, pays £45 an hour, for people who will cry at a funeral. A number of this Rent-a-Mourners makes it appear that the deceased was popular, loved and missed. Ishii Yuichi, the founder of a Japanese company called Family Romance says that his service enables people to form "on-demand" relationships in order to cope with loneliness, grief, and unmet needs. Whether it be a fake bride or groom, a wedding party of 50 people, a pretend family, a fan on social media, or simply a pseudo friend, these “virtual” or “fake” friends play a role which alters your reality for a time.

Humans were created to be relational beings. Because of our natural sociability, our knowledge, attraction and communication are reciprocal. This natural inclination transcends our own kind. Intuitively we see that the ultimate meaning for our life involves more than our relationship with other human beings. Our spirit wants to believe, worship and have a personal relationship with God.

Objective: By the end of this lesson we will see what God’s Word has to say about our need for meaningful relationships with others, as well as God.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/rent-a-friend/
Rent-a-Friend
Rent-a-Friend
relevantbiblelessons.com

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Christian persecution in America?

According to the US Center for the Study of Global Christianity, at least 150,000 Christians died last year because they call Jesus, “Lord and Savior”. Open Doors, a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries, says that each month 322 Christians are killed for their faith, 214 Churches or Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 acts of violence are committed against Christians. American Christians seem to think of persecution in terms of a co-worker making fun of them for having a Bible on their office desk. For some reason many evangelical Christians in America seem to believe that persecution cannot take place until the Anti-Christ is revealed. They may face an unwelcome surprise. Some experts predict that Christians will soon become more isolated and marginalized as the media, academia, and entertainment moguls build a popular hatred and prejudice against them. Wholesale persecution will soon follow.

Bishop Leo O-Reilly of Kilmore spoke of this when he said, “It is more subtle. It takes the form of gradual exclusion of church people or activities from the public space. There is denigration of religious beliefs, practices and institutions on radio, television and on social or other media. There is often a focus on bad news about the Church to the almost total exclusion of any good news.” Donal O’Sullivan-Latchford echoed this evaluation when he stated, “Christianity, no matter what form it takes, has now become unacceptable to the political and media establishments.”

What comes next? Is the church in the United States of America prepared? Do Christians have a theology of persecution? How does the Bible instruct us to respond in the face of this possibility?

Objective: By the end of this lesson the students should understand the proper Biblical response to persecution.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/christians-persecuted-america/
Christians Persecuted in America?
Christians Persecuted in America?
relevantbiblelessons.com

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*To Spank or Not to Spank”

I listened to the news with interest. A study had been published that stated that spanking children would make them more likely to defy their parents, become more aggressive, display more anti-social behavior, and evidence mental health problems and cognitive difficulties. My amused thought upon hearing this was, “That must be what is wrong with me.” [tongue-in-cheek with a smile]

I delved into research on the subject and found that The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan have completed a meta-analysis* of 50 years research on spanking. I was amazed at the plethora of research that has been done by those who are opposed to spanking.

It is interesting that there is a paucity of published research focused on non-abusive spanking of children that is administered by parents that love them and are endeavoring to guide them through the maze of childhood choices, peer pressure and immaturity. For this reason the impression is given that corporal punishment is something that should be banned from intelligent society.

Authorities have lined up on both sides of the issue. So the question remains, “To Spank or Not to Spank.” In this lesson we will explore various scriptures in God’s Word to determine what guidance God gives to those who follow Him.

Objective: In this lesson we will discuss what the Bible says about discipling our children.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/236333/
To Spank or Not to Spank
To Spank or Not to Spank
relevantbiblelessons.com

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Opioid Crisis

Drug addiction claims the lives of 175 Americans every day. This startling statistic is due to a large extent because of what President Trump has labeled a public health emergency. He stated, “We want the next generation of young Americans to know the blessings of a drug-free life. Each of us has a responsibility to this effort. We have a total responsibility to ourselves, to our family, and to our country, including those who are struggling with this addiction.”

The drugs of great concern to the administration are classified as Opioids. The Opioid crisis is the leading cause of death for Americans who are under the age of 50 years. Last year it claimed 90 lives per day. This is more than died as a result of guns or car accidents. The mortality rate for those involved is racing at a pace more rapid than that of H.I.V. at its apex.

Although Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population, they consume 80% of the Opioids in the world.
These drugs are legal when prescribed by a medical doctor. In some cases the treatment is legitimate and necessary. In many cases they are being misused and abused. In fact, they have become a recreational drug for many and can be bought on the street.

A New York pastor, Dave Watson believes the Church should be involved. He feels that Christians should take a prophetic and compassionate approach. By this he means that we should boldly speak out against the misuse and abuse of these drugs. At the same time, we should offer loving counsel and assistance to those suffering in addiction.

If pastor Watson is correct how should the Church best get involved? What will the Christian’s ministry to the addicted include? What does the Bible say about this type of work? This is what we will discuss as we explore the Scriptures in this lesson.

Objective: In this lesson we will search the scriptures to determine how the Christian can best help those who are bound by the addiction of Opioid drugs.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/opioid-crisis/
Opioid Crisis
Opioid Crisis
relevantbiblelessons.com

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Who is the Hypocrite?

Erin Burnett, a former adviser to Donald Trump on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and now a news anchor of her own news show on CNN, “Erin Burnett OutFront,” blasted the president. She said, “Hypocrite-in-chief – President Trump today is doing something he harshly criticized President Obama for doing. Trump signing his 50th executive order today. … Look, the facts are the president is not keeping his word. He signed 50 executive orders since the day he took office, which, if you do the math, is about one every five days. It is double the number the man he called a disaster signed. President Obama signed 26 executive orders by the 12th of October of his first year in office. Trump’s running a double.”

The war of words continues. Instances such as this remind us of the words of Jesus. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” The news media like to claim that they are fair and balanced. They claim to be unbiased in their opinions. Is that possible? And so we wonder, who really is the hypocrite?

Objective: In this lesson we are going to consider what the Bible has to say about this problem that affects people to some degree all across this planet. Famous, infamous, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, old and young of every nation know the blight of this problem.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this lesson. To download your copy of the complete lesson (including ready to teach lesson material, a more complete exposition of the news item, general discussion questions, a list of sources, scriptures with exposition and discussion questions, and reproducible student handouts) click on the following link:

http://www.relevantbiblelessons.com/product/who-is-the-hypocrite/

Who is the Hypocrite?
Who is the Hypocrite?
relevantbiblelessons.com
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