Here is the curriculum for the week of May 11. Our topic is “Grown Up Enough to Give Up” and our text is Acts 21:17-26.
- Sermon Notes for Ankeny (.pdf)
- Sermon Notes for Bondurant (.pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (.pdf)
- End of Season: Our Lighthouse season is coming to a close. Remember, the week of May 18 is the last regular week for Lighthouses. If you plan on continuing to meet this summer, you will want to begin thinking about what you would like to teach. If you need some suggestions, let me know.
- Has Your Small Group Become a Large Group? Have you reached a point where you fear your group is getting too large? Now is the time to begin talking with your group about forming another group. You should have a co-leader in your group who is ready to take a portion of your existing group and start a new group next fall. Visit with your group now to get their feedback. Remember, healthy groups stir the pot and keep new people coming into their group on a regular basis. If you need some suggestions on how to form a new group with a part of your existing group, please see me.
Freedom vs. conviction. Those can be two concepts that are difficult to discern. When do you know you need to stand your ground because of conviction, and when do you know when you need to give for the sake of unity.
Examine church history, and you will unfortunately see that many Christians have a difficult time finding the right balance between freedom and conviction.
In this week’s lesson, we see Paul put into a difficult position by the elders of the Jerusalem church. In response to rumors about Paul, the elders ask him to go along with their suggestion and take part in a Jewish vow in order to demonstrate unity with the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.
Some may see this as a complete flip flop on Paul’s eloquent teaching on this very issue in the Epistle to the Galatians. Why would Paul so strongly argued that the law is dead and that the law has no place in the life of the Christian, then turn and participate in a Jewish ceremonial tradition just to prove his “Jewishness” to the Jerusalem Christians?
As we will see, this was not a doctrinal issue for Paul. He was, in fact, Jewish, and participating in a Jewish custom was in no way offensive to him. Clearly, Paul attributed no sense of righteousness to the vow he agreed to take before the Lord. For Paul, it was very much consistent with his upbringing and understanding of how to worship and honor the Lord.
If the Jerusalem elders had suggested that Paul ask one of his Gentile disciples to take such a vow in order to advance unity, I believe Paul would have vehemently protested and refused to bow to such a demand.
This is the point of this lesson: when do we know when to give and when to stand firm? That’s a tough question. As you study this week’s lesson, pray and ask the Lord to give you the ability to equip your Lighthouse members with the knowledge they need to make such critical decision, often on a moments notice.
Here are some upcoming dates that may affect Lighthouses this semester. Keep these on your radar.
- Mother’s Day—May 11
- Graduation Sunday—May 18
- Spring Lighthouse Season Ends—May 23
- Labor Day Holiday (Church Offices Closed)—May 26