06: Eager to Forgive – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: The story of Jonah shows how God patiently taught His stubborn prophet what grace, mercy, and forgiveness are all about.

[Teaching plan for Eager to Forgive May 6, 2013]

1. Have a volunteer read Psalm 139:3-8

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Is God’s Spirit with us at all times? What if we grieve the Spirit? Does God “turn us off” on His radar?
C. Personal Application: Are [...]

And Justice for SOME
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We humans are a funny bunch. We love to talk about fairness and justice and everybody getting what they deserve – just as long as we get to decide just what that means.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Jonah is a prime example. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the folks there that if they don’t make some big changes, He’s going to destroy the whole place. Jonah’s response is to hop on a ship going as far [...]

Tuesday: Jonah’s Psalm
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When Jonah was thrown into the sea, a big fish swallowed him up at God’s bidding.

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Jonah must have thought that death indeed was going to be the only way to escape the mission to Nineveh. But the big fish (not called a whale in the book) was an instrument of salvation for the prophet. Unlike Jonah, this creature responded promptly and obediently to God’s commands (Jon. 1:17, 2:10).

God’s providence worked in an amazing way here, and, however [...]

Monday: Reluctant Witness
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In Jonah 1, the Lord wants to halt Jonah’s escape and so He stirs up such a severe storm that it threatens shipwreck.

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The seamen call on their gods for help. Due to the severity of the storm, they feel that someone must have provoked the anger of the gods. They cast lots to decide who will be first to volunteer information about himself that might expose such an offense. For the casting of lots, each [...]

Sunday: The Disobedient Prophet
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Not much is known about Jonah or his family background.

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Second Kings 14:25 tells that he lived in the northern part of Israel and ministered during the eighth century B.C. The same text reveals that Jonah predicted a territorial expansion of Israel’s kingdom.

Nineveh was historically one of the three great cities of Assyria, an important country situated by the Tigris River. Because God is the Lord of all nations and all peoples are accountable to Him [...]

Sabbath: Eager to Forgive
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Read for This Week’s Study: Jonah 1-4, Ps. 139:1-12, Isa. 42:5, Rev. 10:6, Matt. 12:39-41, 2 Chron. 36:15-17.

Memory Text: “‘But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord’” (Jonah 2:9, NIV).

Key Thought: The book of Jonah reveals, among other things, that God is more willing to forgive others than we often are.

The story of Jonah, this rather unusual messenger of God, is one of the best known in the Bible. The prophet had been [...]

Prodigal and Prostitute
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“Forgiving the unforgivable is hard. So was the cross: hard words,

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hard wood, hard nails.”
William S. Stoddard

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

You probably remember a man named Ted Kaczynski – the Unabomber. He’s the man who used to send mail bombs to people he didn’t like. He’s been in jail now for many years, but this week I read something I [...]

Why Jesus Lives
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Hebrews 7:25 NLT

Charles Spurgeon was born to preach. Mother Teresa was born to care for the poor. Abraham Lincoln was born to break the bonds of slavery. Everyone was born for a reason. The above verse tells us Jesus had a purpose for being born, and a purpose [...]

05: The Apostolic Example – Thought Starters
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Green Question Marks

The Dwindling Church

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“We simply must DO something to increase our membership,” Angie said.

Sylvia shrugged. “Or get more of our inactive members to show up for church–“

“–With an offering.” Angie broke in.

Fred was peeling an orange as he entered the living room from the kitchen.  “What’s wrong with belonging to a small church?” he said. Angie jumped up and handed him a towel.

Sylvia said, [...]

Mulligans and Grace
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Friday’s section of “The God of Grace and Judgment” asks the question, “What’s the deadly spiritual trap of thinking that because we’re saved by grace, it doesn’t matter what we do? How can you protect yourself against falling into that deception?”

On the golf course we have another word for grace. It is called a “mulligan.” After you make a terrible shot, your partner may offer you a mulligan. You take another shot and the first shot does not count. It’s [...]