Inside Story: God’s Surprising Answer
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I wanted to attend university after high school, but I didn’t score high enough on some of my exams to qualify for the public university. So I decided to work part-time while I studied to retake the exams.

My employers were Adventist Christians. They suggested that I apply to study at Valley View University, the Adventist university in Ghana. My father said that he’d heard good things about the school, so I applied and was accepted.

My roommates were fine Christian women. [...]

Friday: Further Study: Discipling the Powerful
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Further Study: Read Ellen G. White, The Centurion, pp. 315-318; Before Annas and the Court of Caiaphas, pp. 698-715; In Pilate’s Judgment Hall, pp. 723-740, in The Desire of Ages; Ministry to the Rich, pp. 209-216, in The Ministry of Healing; Almost Thou Persuadest Me, pp. 433-438, in The Acts of the Apostles.

“It is by no casual, accidental touch that wealthy, world-loving, world-worshiping souls can be drawn to Christ. These persons are often the most difficult of access. Personal effort [...]

09: Discipling the Powerful – Thought Starters
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

[Thought questions for Discipling the Powerful February 26, 2014]

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1. Introduction.  Have you ever thought of yourself as powerful? Have you ever held a position of authority that led others to think of you as powerful? When you were a youngster, did you ever long for a position that would place you as the person in charge? As Christians and therefore followers of Christ, are we given the special skills needed to share God’s love [...]

Thursday: The Early Explosion
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Christ’s earliest disciples energetically advanced the gospel throughout the civilized world. Houses, synagogues, public stadiums, judgment halls, and royal palaces became stages for kingdom proclamation. Jesus, however, prophesied arrests, trials, and hostile royal audiences for those disciples (Matt. 10:16-20). Unfortunately, those saturated with earthly power were slowest to receive Christ.

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Read through as much of Acts 4:1-12; 13:5-12, 50; 23:1-6; 25:23-26:28 as you can. Though one can get the idea that so many people were [...]

HopeSS: Discipling the Powerful
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Current lesson of the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. (Adobe Flash Player version.) A Youtube version of the Hope Sabbath School “Discipling the Sick” is below. You can download the video, the MP3 audio, and the lesson outline from the HopeTV Sabbath School Site.

Wednesday: Judgment Day
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Read Matthew 26:57-68; 27:11-14; Luke 23:1-12; John 18:19-23, 31-40; 19:8-12. What can we learn from Jesus’ witness to these powerful men?

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Within these final scenes of Jesus’ earthly sojourn, Christ’s followers glimpse the painful price of unflinching faithfulness. From arrest until crucifixion, Christ bears witness before the most powerful in the land: monarchs, governors, priests. Person by person He studies those intoxicated with worldly authority. Apparently, they control Him. Soldiers shuffle Jesus between their courtrooms, [...]

09: Discipling the Powerful – Lesson Plan
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Key Thought : The wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ, but they are the most difficult to access.

[Lesson plan for Discipling the Powerful February 24, 2014]

1. Have a volunteer read Romans 13:1-7.

a. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
b. Why should the Christian submit himself, or herself, to governments, police, or bosses on the job if they are not being honest, fair, or nice? Share your [...]

Tuesday: The Centurion
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While several of Christ’s encounters with powerful people ended acrimoniously, there were notable exceptions, such as with Nicodemus. Another constructive meeting involved a Roman centurion (ranking military officer).

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Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. What can we learn from these accounts about witnessing to people in power?

When the centurion learned that Jesus was approaching, he dispatched several friends to dissuade Christ from coming. Deeply respecting Jewish worship and Jesus’ spirituality, he felt undeserving of Christ’s [...]

Monday: “Have You Not Read . . .?”
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Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Unfortunately, some of the most powerful and influential people with whom Jesus dealt were the religious leaders of His time, many of whom were openly hostile to Him.

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Yet, even in His encounters with them, Jesus always sought to be redemptive. He wasn’t seeking arguments; He was seeking the salvation of all people, even of those powerful and influential people who would eventually condemn Him to death.

Read Mark 2:23-28, 3:1-6 and Matthew 12:1-16. How can [...]

Sunday: Respecting Authority
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Over the long centuries, people have struggled to understand the role and function of government and how citizens should relate to it. What gives rulers the right to rule? What is the best form of government? Should people always obey their government? If not, why not? These are just a few of a host of questions that we still wrestle with to this day.

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Read Romans 13:1-7. What important message is in there for us? [...]