The Answer

Posted on June 28, 2011 by Melissa

Spiritual or religious? That seems to be a question a lot of people are asking today. There are many who claim to be spiritual but not religious. Apparently, people have redefined the terms, making “spiritual” things seem much more personal and private, while religion is seen as something much more public. People do not want to be associated with public church life. As a result they have created their own personalized religion without a church. Know anyone like that?

Read Acts 17:22-25, and ponder verse 22.

Where was Paul, and to whom was he talking?

How were the people religious?

Can you be religious and not be a Christian? Explain.

What did the inscription say? Why is that important?

What are the “unknown gods” of today?

Do you know anyone who says he or she is spiritual but is not into religion or Christianity? Where is he or she seeking answers?

How will you reach out to that person with the Truth this week?

The people Paul was talking to were trying to cover all their bases. They figured there might be a god they missed, so they made a statue to it as well. They were very spiritual, but they were also very confused. They were searching for answers that only Jesus could provide, but they were looking in all the wrong places.

So how do you reach out to “spiritual,” searching friends? Help them encounter the one true God. Just like Paul did all those years ago in Athens, you can introduce them to the One who knows the answers they’ve been searching for.

Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. —Acts 17:22

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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Spend Time

Posted on June 21, 2011 by Melissa

Look-alikes. There’s a rumor that the longer a couple is married, the more they begin to look like each other. When you live in the South long enough, you develop a Southern accent. There are even pictures on the Internet of people who look like their dogs! (Creepy.) All those things aside, the point is this: when you spend a lot of time with someone, that person rubs off on you. You begin to become more and more alike.

Read Acts 4:8-13, looking especially closely at verse 13.

Why were the disciples being questioned?

What was their response?

What did the crowd of people recognize about Peter and John?

How did the crowd know that Peter and John had been hanging around with Jesus?

Do the people around you ever recognize that you’ve spent time with Jesus? Why or why not?

In today’s passage, Peter and John were in trouble. They had healed a man and were being questioned about it by people who weren’t exactly fans of them or their faith. The religious leaders were astounded by Peter and John. They knew that Peter and John were uneducated, normal guys, but their explanation wasn’t. The crowd recognized that these men had spent time with Jesus.

Jesus had rubbed off on them. They had been around Jesus so much that they spoke like Him, acted like Him, and loved like Him. Want to help people know God? Spend time with Jesus and let Him rub off on you.

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. —Acts 4:13

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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Want to see God? Look to Jesus.

Posted on June 14, 2011 by Melissa

Pictures. Photographs. Portraits. Digital images. Think about your favorite picture of yourself. Why do you like it? What does it say about you? What are you doing in it? Does it say anything about your family or what you believe is most important? Explain.

Read Hebrews 1:1-3, and stop to think about verse 3.

According to these verses, how did God reveal Himself in “these last days”?

How much of an expression of God is Jesus?

What does this passage have to do with knowing there is a God?

Do these verses indicate that Jesus is a good picture of God?

What does Jesus’ earthly life tell us about God?

Some people find faith difficult because it involves believing in Someone we can’t see. But as today’s passage points out, while we don’t have a photo of God, He has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ. If you want to know what God is really like, read about Jesus’ life here on earth. Discover His character. See how He treated people. Understand why He came to earth and what He came to do. Seek Jesus. The clearest picture you have of God is Jesus, a Man who loved and served others and gave Himself up—even unto death—for our well-being. He is God! Today’s key verse says He is the exact expression of God’s nature.

So, what is God like? Jesus.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. —Hebrews 1:3

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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No Excuses

Posted on June 7, 2011 by Melissa

So what’s your best excuse? When you don’t have your homework, what do you say? Something along the lines of: “I’m environmentally conscious, and I am saving paper this week”; “The dog ate my flash drive”; or “We had homework?”

I’m sure you could be more creative than that. You might have over a hundred excuses, but how many are “good” excuses? How many really excuse you from your responsibility? There is one thing for which no one has a good excuse.

Read Romans 1:18-20, focusing on verse 20.

According to these verses, what is revealed against godlessness?

These verses say that what can be known about God has been made evident. How?

What evidence of God have you seen around you?

Why are people without excuse?

Today’s passage indicates that there is no good excuse for not believing in God. We may come up with excuses like the lame ones we use for forgetting our homework, but there is not a valid excuse. Scripture says God has proven His existence through the things He has created. God is real. Did the sun rise today? Did you breathe air? Did your blood flow where it was supposed to and your feet and hands work today? God has made Himself known through His creation, and there is no excuse for not believing.

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. —Romans 1:20

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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