Here is the curriculum for the week of March 9. Our topic is “You and Your City: Power” and our text is Acts 19:11-20.
- Sermon Notes & Discussion Guide for FFC Ankeny (.pdf)
- Sermon Notes & Discussion Guide for FFC Bondurant (.pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (.pdf)
- Review your calendar for the next month. Spring Break is the week of March 17-21 and Easter is the week of April 14-20.
- Fireside Chats–Your Elder will begin contacting you in the next couple of weeks to setup your Spring Fireside Chat sometime in April.
- Utah Missions Trip–Are you planning your Summer? Consider going on a short-term mission experience to Utah. The dates for this year’s trip are June 16-23, and the cost is $400 per person. This includes all transportation, lodging, and most meals. This is also the official mission trip for FFC Youth (Jr. High and High School). This is a great opportunity for students to get missions experience at an affordable and safe location. For more information and to register, visit www.ffclife.com/utah. A deposit of $100 is due March 2 to hold your place on the charter bus. If you have any questions, please see Tom Urban or David Haines. If you have questions about the youth aspect of this trip, contact Kayla Nikkel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- YMCA Outreach–Every Saturday afternoon, various families and groups from First Family bring food to those staying at the YMCA Supportive Housing Campus in Downtown Des Moines. While sharing a meal, there are folks there to share the gospel with those eating. Tony Didlo coordinates this outreach, and is looking for families or Lighthouses willing to join him for a Saturday, help prepare a simple meal, and then take the food down to the YMCA Campus. You can plan on approximately four hours on a Saturday, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. You meet here at First Family. For more information, please write YMCA on your Feedback Card or contact Tony at 419-3975 or email@example.com.
- Outdoor Outreach Opportunities–Believe it or not, Spring is getting close, and it’s time to start planning this year’s outdoor outreach opportunities. Our first event is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade through downtown Des Moines on Monday, March 17. Other events on the horizon include the Drake Relays Parade, the Pella Tulip Festival, the weekly Downtown Farmers Market, the Des Moines Art Festival, the Yankee Doodle Pops Concert, Ankeny Summerfest, and the Iowa State Fair. Training and outreach materials are provided. You can participate in one of these events or all of these events, the choice is yours! For more information, please write E-Team on your Feedback Card or contact Tony Didlo at 419-3975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of this Lesson:
This week’s text continues to focus on the apostle Paul’s experiences in the city of Ephesus. In Acts 19:11-20, we see the authentic power of the Holy Spirit contrasted with the counterfeit power of the seven sons of Sceva.
It’s important that you read this week’s notes and prepare for your Lighthouse, because we are going to look at some of our culture’s more popular books in recent years that touch on spiritual things. Many Christians (read many in your Lighthouse) read these books and draw spiritual truth from these books. The books highlighted in the Discussion Guide include The Shack, The Secret, 23 Minutes in Hell, and Heaven is for Real.
As you lead your Lighthouse through this discussion, be sure to note whether you have read the books mentioned in this study guide or not. This will be the first question someone may throw at you if they are attempting to defend a particular book.
We are providing the material in these notes to lead this discussion regardless of whether or not you have read the specific books in question.
Here is the overarching principle that is guiding this lesson: anything that provides spiritual teaching or insight outside of God’s Word should be viewed with caution. While many would agree with this principle, “eye witness” testimonies from those who have supposedly visited the afterlife and then returned to tell us about it seem to get a pass.
Compare the best selling books and movies to Paul’s description of heaven found in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4:
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
Paul was God’s chosen instrument and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit authored much of the New Testament, yet he was careful to leave the glories of heaven shrouded in mystery.
Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Those things revealed to us are found in the Bible, and the rest are considered secret things.
To provide relevant context for this week’s lesson, I’ve included an article by John MacArthur reviewing Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. This is a good book to review at this time because a major motion picture based on this book is set to release in April, and many in our church will see the movie.
Again, the question may come up–“so are you saying it is wrong for a Christian to read books like this and go to movies like this?” While I don’t think it is sinful, I do believe it is unwise for the unsuspecting Christian. As discerning Christians, we should seek biblical truth and understanding about God by reading our Bible, not through the eyes of a preschooler.
Moreover, I believe this is what is at the heart of the first commandment (Ex. 4:4) in which God commands us to not make any graven images. God’s glory and His power are too much for man to capture in any kind of image. Likewise, I believe the words of man are not sufficient to describe God’s majesty, power, and glory. Unfortunately, many of the books used for illustration in this week’s lesson attempt to do just that very thing.
It is my prayer that as you prepare for your Lighthouse meeting this week, and as you lead your group through this discussion, the focus will not be to debate the books as much as it is to elevate our view of Scriptural, godly power — not false, competing man-made power — in the eyes of our church family.
Sermon in a Sentence
“A life-changing understanding of God’s power will bring an overwhelming fear of Him in our hearts that will lead to costly obedience.”
Here are some upcoming dates that may affect Lighthouses this semester. Keep these on your radar.
- Time Change Sunday (Spring Forward)—March 9
- Spring Break—March 17-21
- Easter Experience—April 13-20
- Easter Holiday (Church Offices Closed)—April 21
- Mother’s Day—May 11
- Graduation Sunday—May 18
- Spring Lighthouse Season Ends—May 23
- Labor Day Holiday (Church Offices Closed)—May 26