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ECHOES AFRICAN-AMERICAN CURRICULUM

For years, Echoes curriculum has been one of the most widely used resources for African-American churches. Every lesson is easy to use, teacher friendly, strengthens the entire church body with a shared quarterly theme, and is certain to keep your classes engaged with relevant Scriptural content that applies to their everyday lives.

Features Include: • Easy-to-use four-step lessons make teaching a snap • Bible-based lessons encourage application in real-life situations • Shared quarterly themes, across all age levels, tie the study of God’s Word together • ISSL lessons offered to suit the needs of your adult classes • Flexible and affordable to meet any church budget • Free weekly downloads through EchoesDownloaded.com tie into current news stories and topics to take your class deeper into the lesson

Special Features Include: • Quarterly Superintendent’s handbook helps leaders unify their Sunday school • African-American Book Review presented in high school Blueprint • Highlights in Black History featured quarterly in teacher’s guides for preschool through adult • Ministry tips and ideas and quick references assist teachers in each lesson • Appealing African-American artwork and engaging content for students of all ages

US: 800.426.6596 davidccook.com/echoes Canada: 800.263.2664 yourchurchzone.ca


Perfect for All Ages With Echoes, you can select curriculum by a specific age level or customize it to provide one solution for all.

Toddler (18-36 months) Preschool (3 years-Pre-Kindergarten) Early Elementary (Kindergarten-1st Grade) Elementary (2nd-3rd Grade) Upper Elementary (4th-5th Grade)

Middle School (6th-8th Grade) High School (9th-12th Grade) Adult – Comprehensive Bible Study (ISSL) Adult – Understanding the Bible (book-by-book study)

Scope & Sequence Toddler through Early Elementary – 2 Year Cycle Elementary through High School – 3 Year Cycle Adult Comprehensive Bible Study – 6 Year Cycle Adult Understanding the Bible – 8 Year Cycle To view the complete Scope & Sequence visit www.DavidCCook.com/Echoes

Format Family-friendly

Church/Ho me God Our Cre Theme: ator Calls

Lesson

Classroom model Printed curriculum

01 Week of Sep tember

Additional online resources available

Lesson Foc us: Us Togeth er we per severe

Les in faith. Hebson Scripture: rews 10:1931

2

Lesson Ov

erview

Suggested Material for As Your Stu dents Arrive: A cross and som to cover it with ething opaque , or a handkerc such as a towel hief

1 Life Need

Discuss ways that someone ’s perseverance was rewarded .

2 Bible Learning

Learn why we need to pers evere in believing wha true about Jesu t we know to be s. Suggested Mat Adult Teacher’s erial: Resource Kit: Poster and repr oducible shee Hebrews: A Definition of t— Faith

3 Bible Ap

plication Discuss wha t we can do so we persevere in our faith. Suggested Material: • Adult Teac her’s Resource Kit: Reproducible worksheet— Persevering Tog • Two sheets ether of colored mark newsprint, ers, adhesive tape

4 Life Respo

nse Make a com mitment to persevere in your faith. Photo: © Shutters tock

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US: 800.426.6596 davidccook.com/echoes Canada: 800.263.2664 yourchurchzone.ca

Faith Calls Perseverancfor e T

he Boldness —The Book of Hebrews fidently stan tells us Christia d before God ns can conand present God’s children their petitions have the priv to Him. All ilege of pour talking with ing out their Him, and rece hearts to Him iving personal The Blood—B , answers. efore Christ’s death, a thic from the Mos k veil separated t Holy Place, the Holy Plac the room in presence. If anyo the temple symb e ne were to go olizing God’s into the Mos high priest, it t Holy Place meant certain other than the death. The high the Day of Ato priest entered nement with once a year on sacrificial anim the only one al blood on his who could ente hands. He was r, and this was to ask for the the only way removal of the to approach people’s sins When Christ God (Lev. 16:11-17 hung His head ). and died on from top to bott the cross, the om, without temple veil tore any human effor declared, “My t! Son Jesus dest It was as if God royed the divid Himself man.” No mor ing e sacrifices are wall between Myself and needed to reco can come to ncile God to Him with arms man. Instead outstretched You, Daddy.” we like a little child , saying, “Th The Believer ank s—The Boo k of Hebrews in Christ, as encourages brot much as poss hers and siste ible, to gather with the prom rs together to enco ises stated in urage each othe the Bible. Jesu sisters need to r s will return constantly pray soon. Brothers about ways to committed and and love and help grow in the each other stay Lord. The Ban—T he Gospel mess age is all over the Internet , yet many peop television, billb oards, and le are still dece heaven my way, ived and blin ” they think, ded. “I’ll get by giving mon be good—al into ey, going to l manmade ways church, tryin to try to reac there is only g to h heaven. But one way into God is serious; His presence price of our . The blood sins. of Jesus has paid the


Lesson

Church/Home Theme: Lesson Focus: Lesson Scripture: God Our Creator Calls Us Together we persevere in faith. Hebrews 10:19-31

01 Week of September 2

Lesson Overview Suggested Material for As Your Students Arrive: A cross and something opaque to cover it with, such as a towel or a handkerchief

1 Life Need

Discuss ways that someone’s perseverance was rewarded.

2 Bible Learning

Learn why we need to persevere in believing what we know to be true about Jesus. Suggested Material: Adult Teacher’s Resource Kit: Poster and reproducible sheet— Hebrews: A Definition of Faith

3 Bible Application

Discuss what we can do so we persevere in our faith. Suggested Material: • Adult Teacher’s Resource Kit: Reproducible worksheet— Persevering Together • Two sheets of newsprint, colored markers, adhesive tape

4 Life Response

Make a commitment to persevere in your faith. Photo: © Shutterstock

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Faith Calls for Perseverance T

he Boldness—The Book of Hebrews tells us Christians can confidently stand before God and present their petitions to Him. All God’s children have the privilege of pouring out their hearts to Him, talking with Him, and receiving personal answers. The Blood—Before Christ’s death, a thick veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, the room in the temple symbolizing God’s presence. If anyone were to go into the Most Holy Place other than the high priest, it meant certain death. The high priest entered once a year on the Day of Atonement with sacrificial animal blood on his hands. He was the only one who could enter, and this was the only way to approach God to ask for the removal of the people’s sins (Lev. 16:11-17). When Christ hung His head and died on the cross, the temple veil tore from top to bottom, without any human effort! It was as if God Himself declared, “My Son Jesus destroyed the dividing wall between Myself and man.” No more sacrifices are needed to reconcile God to man. Instead we can come to Him with arms outstretched like a little child, saying, “Thank You, Daddy.” The Believers—The Book of Hebrews encourages brothers and sisters in Christ, as much as possible, to gather together to encourage each other with the promises stated in the Bible. Jesus will return soon. Brothers and sisters need to constantly pray about ways to love and help each other stay committed and grow in the Lord. The Ban—The Gospel message is all over television, billboards, and the Internet, yet many people are still deceived and blinded. “I’ll get into heaven my way,” they think, by giving money, going to church, trying to be good—all manmade ways to try to reach heaven. But God is serious; there is only one way into His presence. The blood of Jesus has paid the price of our sins.


As Your Students Arrive Before class, place a cross on a table in front of the class and cover it with something opaque such as a towel or a handkerchief. Tell students that what is under the covering is crucial to their relationship with God.

Ask students what it might be. After several have responded, lift the covering so that the cross is revealed. Then hold the cross up and explain that this week’s lesson will focus on why the cross is crucial to our relationship with God and what students need to

Lesson 1 • September 2 • Page 5

Faith Calls for Perseverance A Present-Day Illustration

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hy the far-off look, Barbara?” Deborah asked her nursery partner, who was holding the Haynes’s 9-month-old sleeping boy. The two women had just one baby so far this Sunday, which was a Labor Day weekend. “I was just concerned about what’s going to happen to the church. And wondering if I should . . . .” “Stay?” Deborah finished her friend’s sentence. Green Groves Community Church had lost nearly half its members in about eight months. The assistant pastor developed a different vision from the pastor and left to pursue it. Many members followed him, and some went looking for other churches. “Sometimes I just wonder if it’s worth it,” Barbara said. “I’m having difficulty at work. Charles and I seem to be past our honeymoon stage. I also wonder if I’m really making a difference for the kingdom. Do I need to find a new church?” Deborah held her peace for a few moments. Truth is the 55-year-old woman had also been reflective about some things in her life. But mostly, Deborah, like Barbara, was questioning her effectiveness in Christian living. “Well,” Deborah began, “I think all Christians wonder about how well they’re doing. We don’t always know, and we won’t in total until we get to heaven. We have to trust God that He’ll help and lead us. We just have to keep going. We’ve come too far to turn back now.” 1. When is perseverance important? 2. In what ways are young children great examples of perseverance? Why do parents not always give in to them? 3. Think of a time when you or someone you know benefited by persevering in something. Describe the situation, how you or the other person benefited, and what was learned in the process.

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.

do in response. Link to Last Week: Invite a few of your students to share what needs or situations they had this past week where they went to Jesus as their deliverer and provider.

1 Life Need Discuss ways that someone’s perseverance was rewarded Read aloud the opening anecdote in Comprehensive Bible Study. Then divide the class into small groups and ask students to discuss Questions 1, 2, and 3. Regarding Question 1, perseverance is important when a difficult but worthwhile task needs to be accomplished, especially something that is a long-term project. For instance, getting a college education is important, but a person must put in the time and effort to receive the diploma and persevere in his or her studies, even if the work seems too hard or not worth the effort at the moment. Question 2 reminds us that young children can plead long and hard for things they want— toys, candy, staying up later at night, etc. It will be later in life before those grown-up children see that their parents were right in not giving in to their every demand. For Question 3, students may think of a time when they had to stand in line to get a ticket for a special event. But they also may think of having to endure an ongoing problem in a relationship at home or work, one that was rewarded when they persevered and continued to do what was right in spite of the difficulties in doing so.

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Bible Learning 2 Learn why we need to persevere in believing what we know to be true about Jesus Put up the poster “Hebrews: A Definition of Faith” from your Resource Kit and make copies of the sheet that goes with it. You will be using it for the next five lessons. On the reproducible sheet, read the copy about the last chapters of Hebrews and note the photo of the model of Herod’s temple, where the veil would have been that the author of Hebrews refers to (Heb. 10:20).

bible extra The Author and His Audience

It is not known for certain who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Some have suggested that it may have been the apostle Paul. But that is unlikely as the vocabulary and style of Hebrews are very different from what is found in other letters written by Paul. The theology of the book is very much “just like Paul,” however. This suggests that the writer could have been an associate of Paul or was linked to him in some other way. The writer did have a significant amount of knowledge of the Old Testament. This is evidenced by the large number of quotes taken directly from the Old Testament as well as the way the author wove Old Testament events, persons, and passages into his argument that having faith in Jesus was a far better way to have a right relationship with God than following the religious traditions his readers had adhered to in the past. The recipients of the letter are also not identified explicitly. But it is generally accepted that they were Jewish believers living in the Roman world who were familiar with the practices and traditions of the Jewish faith. 12

For additional Scripture commentary, see pp. 9-16 in the David C Cook Lesson Commentary.

Week of September 2 • Page 6

Understand the Good News Hebrews 10:19-25, KJV 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish converts who were tempted to revert to the religious traditions of Judaism they once observed rather than to rely on their faith in Jesus alone for their salvation. Before putting their faith in Jesus, they may have thought that their religious practices and sacrifices somehow earned God’s acceptance. But the writer of Hebrews reminded them that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). It was foolishness to believe that they could do anything on their own

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.


Understand the Good News Read Hebrews 10:19-25 and highlight the following: • The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish converts who were tempted to revert to the religious traditions of Judaism they once

observed rather than to rely on their faith in Jesus alone for their salvation. • The author of Hebrews said that it was foolishness to think that the blood of bulls and goats could save anyone. • Jesus’ death “made perfect all

Week of September 2 • Page 7

to secure a right relationship with God. Everything needed to make them holy and righteous in God’s eyes was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross. In one single act Jesus did what their priests could not do through the daily sacrifices they offered at the temple. His death “made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb. 10:14). Unlike their former days when they felt separated from God, they could now come into God’s presence with full assurance that they were completely accepted by Him. And this was good news! So what were they to do with this good news? First of all, they were to draw near to God with full confidence that their relationship with Him was secure and they were no longer separated from Him. Their hearts were sprinkled clean, and God no longer held their sins against them. They were urged to hold fast to this truth and not waver in their belief that Jesus’ death and His death alone was the reason they could enjoy fellowship with God. They were also encouraged to live differently in light of their knowledge of this. One affect should be in how they related to others who shared the same faith. They were to meet with other believers to worship God and to encourage one another to live in ways consistent with their faith. 4. What problem was the author of Hebrews addressing? 5. What did Jesus do so that people can have a right relationship with God? 6. Why was this good news to the author’s audience? 7. How did he want them to respond to this good news?

Embrace the Good News Hebrews 10:26-31, KJV 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Hebrews 10:26-31, NIV 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.

those being made holy.” It is trusting this and trusting in this alone that saves us. • Because our sins are no longer counted against us, we can come into God’s presence with full confidence that we are accepted by Him. • Knowing that Jesus’ death results in making us right with God should affect how we live and how we relate to other believers.

Suggested Answer to Question 4 Some Jewish converts were tempted to revert to the religious practices they once observed rather than trusting that their faith in Jesus alone saved them. The author of Hebrews said that this was foolish as it is impossible for the blood of bulls or goats to save anyone. Nothing could be gained by returning to the traditions of their past.

Suggested Answer to Question 5 Everything needed to make people holy and righteous in God’s eyes was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross. In one single act Jesus did what

bible extra The Torn Curtain

The curtain referenced in Hebrew 10:20 was a veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the Jewish temple. The veil is thought to have been several inches thick and possibly 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. The ark of the covenant was kept in the Most Holy Place prior to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first temple in 586 b.c. The high priests of the temple were the only ones allowed beyond the veil, and this occurred only on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). The curtain was torn in two at Jesus’ death on the cross (Matt. 27:51), signifying that direct access to God was no longer restricted by the Law. 13


the Jewish priests could not do through the daily sacrifices they offered at the temple. His death made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Suggested Answer to Question 6 Unlike their former days when they were separated from God, they now had a way to come into God’s presence with the full assurance that they were accepted by Him and that He no longer held their sins against them. And they didn’t have to do anything to make this happen. They simply had to put their faith and trust in Jesus.

Suggested Answer to Question 7 The writer wanted his readers to live differently in light of the truth of what Jesus did to secure their salvation for them. They were to meet with other believers to worship God and to provide mutual encouragement. And they were to live in ways consistent with their faith.

Embrace the Good News Read Hebrews 10:26-31, then highlight these key points: • The writer was concerned that some believers would throw their faith away and return to lifestyles where their worship of God was absent or their fellowship with other believers non-existent. • Those who abandon their faith in Jesus are saying that Jesus’ death doesn’t matter or that there is some other way to have a right relationship with God. • Those who throw their faith in Jesus away or live as if His death and resurrection don’t matter will be treated like enemies of God. • As a result of what Jesus did, we can come into God’s presence with confidence knowing that we are fully accepted by Him. • We should live in ways that are consistent with our belief that Jesus’ death provides the only means for a person to have a right 14

relationship with God.

Suggested Answer to Question 8 The sin the writer was most concerned about was the sin of abandonment. He didn’t want those who had come into a saving relationship

with Jesus to throw their faith away or to quit believing that Jesus’ death provides the only way to a right relationship with God.

Suggested Answer to Question 9 If we throw our faith in Jesus

Week of September 2 • Page 8

KJV 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

NIV only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The author was concerned that some might forget who it was that saved them and what was done to secure their salvation. He was afraid that some would throw their faith in Jesus away and return to lifestyles where their worship of God was absent or their fellowship with other believers non-existent. The sin that concerned him most was the sin of abandonment. He didn’t want those who had come into a saving relationship with Jesus to quit believing that Jesus’ death provides the only path to a right relationship with God. Those who abandon their faith in Jesus after putting their trust in Him are saying that Jesus’ death doesn’t matter or that there is some other way that a person can have a right relationship with God. Or worse, they may be saying that they don’t want a relationship with God at all. Those who claim there are other paths to being made right with God other than through the cross or who abandon God

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.


away, live as if there are other ways to have a right relationship with God, or just don’t want a relationship with God at all, we are saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection don’t matter. In the process, we are trampling on the Son of God Himself and are saying in effect that things holy and

sacred—the death of Jesus and His resurrection—are meaningless.

Suggested Answer to Question 10 We first of all need to be uncompromising in our acceptance and proclamation of this great truth. We

also need to live in ways that are consistent with this belief. And we need to avoid adding anything to it. It is Christ’s death and His death alone that secures our salvation. Nothing should be added to this. And nothing should be taken away from it.

Suggested Answer to Question 11 Week of September 2 • Page 9

altogether are trampling on the Son of God Himself. They are saying in effect that things holy and sacred—the death of Jesus and His resurrection—are meaningless. There are consequences for those who throw their faith in Jesus away or who live as if His death and resurrection don’t matter. According to the writer, if someone willingly receives the truth about Jesus and later abandons that truth, they will be treated as if they were an enemy of God. And that is something to be fearful of. For “The Lord will judge his people.” And, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30b-31). The writer doesn’t explain what the consequences of abandoning God are. But it is something to be avoided. How should we respond to this passage? First, we should confidently come into God’s presence knowing that Jesus did everything required so that we can have a right relationship with God. In the process of accepting this, we need to make sure we don’t add anything to it. It’s Jesus’ death on the cross that saves us. And it is trusting in that and trusting in that alone that makes us right with God. Second, we should live in ways that are consistent with this belief. This includes having regular fellowship with other believers and encouraging those who share our faith to live in ways pleasing to God. Along with this, we need to avoid diluting what we know to be true about Jesus by compromising with those that say there are other ways a person can have a right relationship with God. 8. What sin was the writer of Hebrews concerned about? 9. What are we saying to God if we throw our faith away or live as if Jesus’ death on the cross doesn’t matter? 10. How should we respond to the good news that Jesus’ death and resurrection has provided the means to have a right relationship with God? 11. How does our perseverance apply when considering how we respond to this good news?

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.

Some believers have a tendency to live rule-driven lives thinking that this will somehow make them more acceptable to God. And some have compromised their belief that Jesus’ death and resurrection provides the only path to God in order to accommodate other beliefs. God wants us to persevere in our belief—our faith in Jesus alone saves us. He also does not want us to fall into the sin of believing that there are other paths to God or that what we believe about Jesus doesn’t matter.

Window on the word The Danger of Apostasy

Apostasy is a deliberate defection from the living God. Some Bible interpreters equate apostasy with the unpardonable sin (see Mark 3:22-30). Others say it occurs when people believe for awhile but fall away in a time of testing (see Luke 8:13). Still others say it happens when people make a shipwreck of the faith (see 1 Tim. 1:19-20), or when people turn completely away from God (see Heb. 3:12), or when those who have known the way of righteousness turn their backs on it (see 2 Pet. 2:20-22). Hebrews 10 seems to indicate that those who are in danger of apostasy are people who have understood Christ’s work of salvation, have been inside the Church, and yet have rejected Him. By continuing their deliberate sin of rejecting God, they are left with no other sacrifice for their sins (Heb. 10:26). In essence, they have rejected their only means of salvation, and therefore have no other appeal. 15


Bible Application 3 Discuss what we can do so we persevere in our faith This step will give students an opportunity to discuss things they can do so that they persevere in their faith. You may want to photocopy this page, cut out the boxes, and give a set of instructions to each group. Give two blank sheets of newsprint, some tape, and a set of colored markers to the group doing the pictures. Make copies of the worksheet from your Resource Kit for the group using it.

group activities

Discussion Group

Read “Be Bold as You Travel God’s Path” in Comprehensive Bible Study and discuss Questions 12, 13, and 14. God has asked us to be bold and to persevere as we proclaim that the only path to Him is through the Cross. He has asked us to be committed to living in ways consistent with this truth. And He wants us to develop relationships with other believers who are mutually encouraging.

Pictures of Perseverance

Discuss things you need to do so that you persevere in your faith. Draw pictures that represent this on one or two sheets of newsprint. Tape these to a wall. Then share with the class why it’s important to do these things and how you will benefit by doing them.

Worksheet: ‘Persevering Together’ Read the story and discuss the questions at the end.

Week of September 2 • Page 10

Be Bold as You Travel God’s Path “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” The above phrase, voiced at the beginning of nearly every episode of the original Star Trek TV series, described the mission of the crew of the starship Enterprise as it explored the galaxy and the worlds it encountered along the way. The crew of the Enterprise seldom wavered in their pursuit of their mission and persevered in their efforts to complete it in spite of the obstacles they faced. What helped them was the faith they had in each other and their interpersonal relationships. Without the friendships they shared and their dependence on each other, they would not have succeeded in fulfilling their mission. We also have a mission. God wants us to go into our own world and proclaim to others there is no way to God other than through the Cross. God also wants us to live in ways that are consistent with this belief and to develop meaningful relationships with other believers, ones that result in mutual encouragement. Living as Christians in a world that is opposed to what we believe is sometimes difficult. It takes boldness to exhibit and proclaim our Christian faith among people who often don’t want to hear what we have to say about Jesus. It also requires perseverance. What makes it easier to be faithful in our mission is knowing that we aren’t walking the Christian path alone—others are traveling this journey with us. 12. What are some things that God wants to accomplish in and through us? 13. What character traits are needed to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives? 14. Why is it important to develop meaningful relationships with other believers as we travel the path God has set before us?

This page reproducible for classroom use only.

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Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.


4 Life Response Commit to persevere in your faith The writer of Hebrews wanted believers not to waver in their

belief in Jesus and the Cross, to persevere as they strived to live in ways that please God, and to stay committed to be in fellowship with other believers. He also wanted them to be uncompromising when it came to upholding the truth about how we are saved and not to

Week of September 2 • Page 11

Persevere in Your Faith We need to proclaim to others that Jesus’ death provides the only path to God and to live personally in light of this truth. We are called to gather together regularly with those who share our faith and use these opportunities to provide mutual encouragement. We also choose not to do anything that could cause us to throw our faith in Jesus away or to compromise what we know to be true about Him.  Write out what you can do this week in each of these areas: Proclaiming the Good News and living consistently with it: Meeting with other believers and providing mutual encouragement: Avoiding things that could result in compromising or abandoning your faith:

KEY VERSE

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). —Hebrews 10:23, KJV Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. —Hebrews 10:23, NIV

DAILY BIBLE READINGS FOR NEXT WEEK’S LESSON

September 3 through September 9 (See The Quiet Hour and Cross devotionals on these passages.) Mon. Mark 10:13-16—The Trusting Child. Tues. 2 Chronicles 14:2-12—The Trust of the Powerless. Wed. Psalm 3—The Prayer of Trust. Thurs. Psalm 4—The Security of Trust. Fri. Psalm 27—The Confidence of Trust. Sat. Psalm 46—The Certain Refuge. Sun. Hebrews 11:1-6—The Assurance of Faith.

Lesson Focus: Together we persevere in faith.

accommodate other beliefs. Read aloud “Persevere in Your Faith” in Comprehensive Bible Study. Ask students to write out their responses to the three statements at the bottom. Then divide the class back into the small groups they were in at the beginning of class and ask them to share their responses. For example, they may realize that they’ve added something to their faith, believing that following a set of rules or traditions makes them more acceptable to God and may understand now that it’s their faith in Jesus alone that makes them right with God. Some may be meeting with other believers on a “casual” basis and may realize now that they need to make a stronger commitment to gather with other believers on a more regular basis. And some may be compromising their beliefs in order to be more accommodating to others and know now that they need to uphold the truth that there is no path to God that doesn’t go through the Cross. After groups have shared, end the session in prayer. Thank Jesus for dying for us so that we can come into God’s presence without fear of retribution. Pray that students will persevere in believing and vocalizing this truth, that they will meet and fellowship with other believers on a regular basis, and that they won’t do anything that would cause them to compromise or abandon their faith. As the class members leave, hand out copies of this week’s Power for Living. Take Lesson Leaflet to class members who were not here today. Before next week, read Hebrews 11:1-3, 6; Psalm 46:13, 8-11. Then think about what it means to be a person of faith.

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Lesson 1 • September 2 • Page 5

Faith Calls for Perseverance A Present-Day Illustration

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hy the far-off look, Barbara?” Deborah asked her nursery partner, who was holding the Haynes’s 9-month-old sleeping boy. The two women had just one baby so far this Sunday, which was a Labor Day weekend. “I was just concerned about what’s going to happen to the church. And wondering if I should . . . .” “Stay?” Deborah finished her friend’s sentence. Green Groves Community Church had lost nearly half its members in about eight months. The assistant pastor developed a different vision from the pastor and left to pursue it. Many members followed him, and some went looking for other churches. “Sometimes I just wonder if it’s worth it,” Barbara said. “I’m having difficulty at work. Charles and I seem to be past our honeymoon stage. I also wonder if I’m really making a difference for the kingdom. Do I need to find a new church?” Deborah held her peace for a few moments. Truth is the 55-year-old woman had also been reflective about some things in her life. But mostly, Deborah, like Barbara, was questioning her effectiveness in Christian living. “Well,” Deborah began, “I think all Christians wonder about how well they’re doing. We don’t always know, and we won’t in total until we get to heaven. We have to trust God that He’ll help and lead us. We just have to keep going. We’ve come too far to turn back now.” 1. When is perseverance important? 2. In what ways are young children great examples of perseverance? Why do parents not always give in to them? 3. Think of a time when you or someone you know benefited by persevering in something. Describe the situation, how you or the other person benefited, and what was learned in the process.


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Understand the Good News Hebrews 10:19-25, KJV 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish converts who were tempted to revert to the religious traditions of Judaism they once observed rather than to rely on their faith in Jesus alone for their salvation. Before putting their faith in Jesus, they may have thought that their religious practices and sacrifices somehow earned God’s acceptance. But the writer of Hebrews reminded them that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). It was foolishness to believe that they could do anything on their own


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to secure a right relationship with God. Everything needed to make them holy and righteous in God’s eyes was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross. In one single act Jesus did what their priests could not do through the daily sacrifices they offered at the temple. His death “made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb. 10:14). Unlike their former days when they felt separated from God, they could now come into God’s presence with full assurance that they were completely accepted by Him. And this was good news! So what were they to do with this good news? First of all, they were to draw near to God with full confidence that their relationship with Him was secure and they were no longer separated from Him. Their hearts were sprinkled clean, and God no longer held their sins against them. They were urged to hold fast to this truth and not waver in their belief that Jesus’ death and His death alone was the reason they could enjoy fellowship with God. They were also encouraged to live differently in light of their knowledge of this. One affect should be in how they related to others who shared the same faith. They were to meet with other believers to worship God and to encourage one another to live in ways consistent with their faith. 4. What problem was the author of Hebrews addressing? 5. What did Jesus do so that people can have a right relationship with God? 6. Why was this good news to the author’s audience? 7. How did he want them to respond to this good news?

Embrace the Good News Hebrews 10:26-31, KJV 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Hebrews 10:26-31, NIV 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but


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KJV 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

NIV only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The author was concerned that some might forget who it was that saved them and what was done to secure their salvation. He was afraid that some would throw their faith in Jesus away and return to lifestyles where their worship of God was absent or their fellowship with other believers non-existent. The sin that concerned him most was the sin of abandonment. He didn’t want those who had come into a saving relationship with Jesus to quit believing that Jesus’ death provides the only path to a right relationship with God. Those who abandon their faith in Jesus after putting their trust in Him are saying that Jesus’ death doesn’t matter or that there is some other way that a person can have a right relationship with God. Or worse, they may be saying that they don’t want a relationship with God at all. Those who claim there are other paths to being made right with God other than through the cross or who abandon God


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altogether are trampling on the Son of God Himself. They are saying in effect that things holy and sacred—the death of Jesus and His resurrection—are meaningless. There are consequences for those who throw their faith in Jesus away or who live as if His death and resurrection don’t matter. According to the writer, if someone willingly receives the truth about Jesus and later abandons that truth, they will be treated as if they were an enemy of God. And that is something to be fearful of. For “The Lord will judge his people.” And, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30b-31). The writer doesn’t explain what the consequences of abandoning God are. But it is something to be avoided. How should we respond to this passage? First, we should confidently come into God’s presence knowing that Jesus did everything required so that we can have a right relationship with God. In the process of accepting this, we need to make sure we don’t add anything to it. It’s Jesus’ death on the cross that saves us. And it is trusting in that and trusting in that alone that makes us right with God. Second, we should live in ways that are consistent with this belief. This includes having regular fellowship with other believers and encouraging those who share our faith to live in ways pleasing to God. Along with this, we need to avoid diluting what we know to be true about Jesus by compromising with those that say there are other ways a person can have a right relationship with God. 8. What sin was the writer of Hebrews concerned about? 9. What are we saying to God if we throw our faith away or live as if Jesus’ death on the cross doesn’t matter? 10. How should we respond to the good news that Jesus’ death and resurrection has provided the means to have a right relationship with God? 11. How does our perseverance apply when considering how we respond to this good news?


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Be Bold as You Travel God’s Path “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” The above phrase, voiced at the beginning of nearly every episode of the original Star Trek TV series, described the mission of the crew of the starship Enterprise as it explored the galaxy and the worlds it encountered along the way. The crew of the Enterprise seldom wavered in their pursuit of their mission and persevered in their efforts to complete it in spite of the obstacles they faced. What helped them was the faith they had in each other and their interpersonal relationships. Without the friendships they shared and their dependence on each other, they would not have succeeded in fulfilling their mission. We also have a mission. God wants us to go into our own world and proclaim to others there is no way to God other than through the Cross. God also wants us to live in ways that are consistent with this belief and to develop meaningful relationships with other believers, ones that result in mutual encouragement. Living as Christians in a world that is opposed to what we believe is sometimes difficult. It takes boldness to exhibit and proclaim our Christian faith among people who often don’t want to hear what we have to say about Jesus. It also requires perseverance. What makes it easier to be faithful in our mission is knowing that we aren’t walking the Christian path alone—others are traveling this journey with us. 12. What are some things that God wants to accomplish in and through us? 13. What character traits are needed to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives? 14. Why is it important to develop meaningful relationships with other believers as we travel the path God has set before us?


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Persevere in Your Faith We need to proclaim to others that Jesus’ death provides the only path to God and to live personally in light of this truth. We are called to gather together regularly with those who share our faith and use these opportunities to provide mutual encouragement. We also choose not to do anything that could cause us to throw our faith in Jesus away or to compromise what we know to be true about Him. Write out what you can do this week in each of these areas: Proclaiming the Good News and living consistently with it: Meeting with other believers and providing mutual encouragement: Avoiding things that could result in compromising or abandoning your faith:

KEY VERSE

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). —Hebrews 10:23, KJV Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. —Hebrews 10:23, NIV

DAILY BIBLE READINGS FOR NEXT WEEK’S LESSON

September 3 through September 9 (See The Quiet Hour and Cross devotionals on these passages.) Mon. Mark 10:13-16—The Trusting Child. Tues. 2 Chronicles 14:2-12—The Trust of the Powerless. Wed. Psalm 3—The Prayer of Trust. Thurs. Psalm 4—The Security of Trust. Fri. Psalm 27—The Confidence of Trust. Sat. Psalm 46—The Certain Refuge. Sun. Hebrews 11:1-6—The Assurance of Faith.


August 27

monday

What a Move! Today’s Scripture: Matthew 8:5-13 Today’s Verse: “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” —Matthew 8:10 (NIV)

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was only 11, but Kent Cox, a great high school athlete and friend, still played basketball with me. One day I passed the ball to him then cut hard to the basket for a give and go. Kent saw and played on it like a varsity player should. After my basket he said, “Wow, what a move!” He couldn’t believe one so young could do that. What a compliment. I remember the feeling of that moment but the lesson learned is what matters. My skill came with study, watching plays, and practice. Then I could play it out on the court. Kent saw and commented so I would do it again and again. Jesus looked for faith and saw it, played out on the “court” of a man’s daily life—a friend’s failing health. Jesus commented so people would know what faith looked like and do it again and again. Jesus is still looking for faith. It’s our move. —Von Mitchell True faith will not suffer us to be idle. No, it is an active, lively, restless principle; it fills the heart, so that it cannot be easy till it is doing something for Jesus Christ. —George Whitefield 7


August 28

tuesday

Where Does Faith Come From? Today’s Scripture: Romans 10:8-17 Today’s Verse: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. —Romans 10:17 (NIV)

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ave you ever thought, even as a believer in Christ, that a situation was hopeless? Been discouraged about praying for change? Possibly the diagnosis was cancer. Maybe you thought the relationship was beyond repair. Whatever the case, you just settled into the present, gritty reality of the situation to ride it out. It’s not that you doubted God’s ability to work. You just resigned to believe for less. I admit that at times I’ve trimmed my belief, diagramming why I think situations are beyond hope. But none of those reasons came from faith or Scripture. In fact, those reasons were like a magnet pulling me away from God’s Word, and my regular devotions. But sometimes I opened the Scriptures and launched myself into the daily devotions anyway. And each time my attitude changed, faith rekindled, I believed for more. God’s Word aroused my faith to see open roads where before I only saw dead ends. —Von Mitchell Dear Lord, thanks for Your Word, its living and active power nurtures my faith and ignites my life in You. 8


August 29

wednesday

Who Do You See? Today’s Scripture: Galatians 2:15-21 Today’s Verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. —Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

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’ve been blessed to coach the three oldest boys in a family of seven sons. It is remarkable how much they look alike. Each of them has a unique combination of looks and character reflecting their mother and father. By their resemblance, you know right away the family they are in. We who have been crucified with Christ have a family resemblance. Now, you might be like me by holding onto some ways that don’t resemble God’s family. The ways we hold onto might be different but we have one aspect in common—we have been crucified with Christ. It is from that place Jesus raises us up to be like Him. There is a growing resemblance because of His grace and transforming power. Who do you resemble? —Von Mitchell Character in a saint means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifest. —Oswald Chambers 9


August 30

thursday

Being Authentic Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:5-10 Today’s Verse: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? —2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

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Certificate of Authenticity describes a work of art and is signed by the artist. When the artist signature is not possible then that of a publisher, agent, or recognized expert are second-best. With a legitimate certificate you gain assurance the work is not a fake. We want assurance we’ve got the real thing when it comes to art, jewelry, currency, Bible translations, and our faith. We don’t need any fakes. We can hold, read, and examine a certificate for art-work and make our judgment. It’s a bit different to authenticate our faith. We examine ourselves only, inviting Christ’s dominion in our lives so that it shines through. Comparing ourselves to another or condemning another does not make us better or right. For life in our fleshly body today, our certificate of authenticity is our life testimony (Rom. 8:9), our practice, and our love (1 John 3:9, 14). Let’s encourage and nurture the Body of Christ with the authenticity of Christ Jesus in us. —Scott Stewart Lord, I desire Your work in my life, making me more like You. 10


August 31

friday

Contagious Hope Today’s Scripture: Romans 5:1-5 Today’s Verse: We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. —Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

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s a basketball coach and fan, I have seen teams suffer through most of a game trailing 20 points or so. That’s a lot. It can deflate a team. However, there are occasions when the singular focus and frenzied determination of one player, refusing to quit or emotionally exit the game, leads the squad all the way to victory. These become memorable games—creating respect and legend for the athlete. And they don’t just happen but come from within the athlete. Every player suffers in practice. A few quit, never getting to a game. Those who persevere will sweat, ache, and struggle to catch their breath—but they grow. They gain stamina, skill, perseverance, and character. All matter. But when the team is down 20, it’s the perseverance that brings out the character. From character springs hope for victory and the determination to stay in the game. It comes out tangible and contagious. The team thrives on it, the spectators see and feel it. —Von Mitchell A fire in the heart overcomes all fires without. —Richard Sibbes 11


September 1

saturday

Praying More Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 Today’s Verse: We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. —1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NIV)

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riends pray for me. They are really good friends. Their gift of prayer causes me to feel an odd mix of gratitude and humility. I’m grateful they are taking me to God’s throne, asking His good work and blessing in my life. I thank my friends and God. There’s nothing better than His blessing. Humility comes not from knowing I’m not praying as much as I can for God’s good in their lives. Paul’s words and my praying friends help. Both encourage me to pray more. I’ve got a ways to go to get to Paul’s “always” but I’m on the journey and not stopping. Gratitude and humility also nudge me to pray better. I’ve been inclined to try to bend God’s ear and twist His arm on my desire and objective for people. “God, please make … not so …” I’ve erased those prayer items. I’m out to follow Paul’s example with my praying friends. Join with us. —Von Mitchell God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.
 —E.M.Bounds 12


September 2

sunday

Church All Week Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-31 Today’s Verse: Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. —Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

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hat a difference it makes to have a great Christian friend at work! For the last three years I’ve been privileged to work with Rob Ames—a great English teacher and a great person. We don’t attend the same church but on work days at the high school we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” It’s like going to church every day! He is involved with an FCA huddle of students on Tuesdays, I serve in a Bible study on Thursdays. In between times we talk with one another about what God is doing in our lives. We keep each other in sight so we are deliberate to connect often and encourage each other. Good friends help us “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (v. 23). I am thankful that at least one aspect of “meeting together” (v. 25) for me is to go to work each day and experience God’s greatness with a true friend. —Von Mitchell Correction does much, but encouragement does more. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 13


Lesson 1 • September 2

TEAR ALONG PERFORATION

Faith Calls for Perseverance

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t is not known for certain who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Some have suggested that it may have been the apostle Paul, but that is unlikely as the vocabulary and style of Hebrews are very different from what is found in other letters Paul wrote. The theology of the book is very much like Paul’s, however. This suggests that the writer could have been an associate of Paul. The writer’s significant knowledge of the Old Testament is evidenced in the large number of quotes taken directly from the Old Testament as well as the way the author wove Old Testament events, persons, and passages into his argument that having faith in Jesus was a far better way to have a right relationship with God than following the religious traditions his readers had adhered to in the past. The author urged his readers to persevere in their new faith and not fall back to Jewish traditions. 1. When is perseverance important?? 2. In what ways are young children great examples of perseverance? Why do parents not always give in to them? 3. Think of a time when you or someone else benefited by persevering in something. Describe the situation, how you or the other person benefited, and what was learned in the process. LESSONLEAFLET

Understand the Good News Hebrews 10:19-25 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 4. What problem was the author of Hebrews addressing? 5. What did Jesus do so that people can have a right relationship with God? 6. Why was this good news to the author’s audience? 7. How did he want them to respond to this good news?

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Embrace the Good News Hebrews 10:26-31 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 8. What sin was the writer of Hebrews concerned about? 9. What are we saying to God if we throw our faith away or live as if Jesus’ death on the cross doesn’t matter? 10. How should we respond to the good news that Jesus’ death and resurrection has provided a secure means to have a right relationship with God? 11. How does our perseverance apply when considering how to respond to this good news?

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Be Bold as You Travel God’s Path 12. What are some things that God wants to accomplish in and through us? 13. What character traits are needed to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives? 14. Why is it important to develop meaningful relationships with other believer as we travel the path God has set before us? Persevere in Your Faith Write out what you can do this week in each of the following areas: Proclaiming the Good News and living consistently with it:

Meeting with other believers and providing mutual encouragement:

Avoiding things that could result in compromising or abandoning your faith:

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KEY VERSE Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). —Hebrews 10:23

LESSONLEAFLET


SEPTEMBER 2, 2012

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POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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The daughter of a minister, Victoria Queen went to church every week as a child growing up in Batesville, Arkansas. But once she reached adulthood, Queen felt stifled by rules of strict morality. Although her rebellion didn’t result in drug addiction or sexual promiscuity, it did mean

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turning her back on God’s involvement in daily life. Instead of following God, Queen poured herself into obtaining an education and pursuing career goals. She opened her first restaurant at age 25 and later took over the food and beverage service at a country club. She supervised banquets and hosted campus guests working for the president of a private college. Then she worked for a major corporation as the catering director at two universities. Queen didn’t attend church on Sundays; her devotion belonged to her career. During her rise in the culinary industry, she obtained a master’s degree in business administration at Arkansas State University. But some practices in the corporate world began to bother Queen. For instance, she witnessed salaried leadership running up huge alcohol tabs on travel expense accounts, as hourly workers would be limited to less than 40 hours of work per week to keep them from receiving full-time benefits. POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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Queen went out on her own again, opening a bar and restaurant. Queen began to sense God tugging at her to return to Him. One Sunday morning she shocked her staff by saying she wouldn’t be working that day— she planned to go to church instead. At the service, a weeping Queen recommitted her life to Jesus. Feeling convicted, Queen closed her successful bar and restaurant and moved to Springfield, Missouri, to further her education at Missouri State University. One day a friend asked Queen to drop off a donation at Springfield Victory Mission www.victorymission. com, which serves needy and homeless in the area. “I didn’t even know rescue missions existed,” says Queen, now 57. While there, she picked up a mission newsletter. Talking to Executive Director James M. Harriger, Queen learned of Victory Mission’s plans to open a trade school that would cater to those in recovery. Queen left her résumé. Harriger hired her to develop the new Victory Trade School, which opened with four employees and nine students in 2003. “I came to realize making a lot of money is not that important,” Queen says. Queen devised a plan to gain National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation certification for the new trade school. She also acquired accreditation through the North Central Association, certification with the Missouri Department of Higher Education, and participation in Title IV Pell grants for the school. Students are billed $15,100 for the one year of study, which includes tuition, meals, and lodging. But students don’t 3

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Victoria Queen with Mayor Jim O’Neal

pay any of the costs because they receive a full scholarship in exchange for the unpaid restaurant work they provide. Students rotate as waiters, cashiers, dishwashers, grill, prep, and other positions. Pell grants as well as donations from churches and individuals enable students to avoid incurring school loans. “Victory Mission helps a lot of people who can’t help themselves, but Victory Trade School helps people help themselves,” Queen says. VTS started recruiting graduates from recovery programs such as Teen Challenge and the Salvation Army. Although around half the students have a history of drug or alcohol troubles, early on Queen established a zero-tolerance substance abuse policy. Students are subject to urine analysis or breath tests at any time. They are accepted into the culinary arts program only if they have been drug-free for a year. Food preparation instruction is Editorial Manager: Catherine DeVries

done in conjunction with classes in the VTS Christian discipleship program called PREP: Prayer, Reading Scripture, Education, and Praise to God for His blessing. The day starts with prayers and Bible reading. Students are required to attend daily Bible-based classes as well as Sunday worship services at a local congregation of their choosing. “They are dealing with relationship issues, authority issues, motivation issues,” says Queen, whose husband, Alan, is chaplain at the parent Springfield Victory Mission organization. “They may not know how to get a job or how to be a good employee. At VTS they learn how to handle anger, disappointment, and pressure—without resorting to substance abuse.” Less than three weeks after VTS began, Queen opened Cook’s Kettle Restaurant as a commercial enterprise. In the heart of a city center inhabited by the homeless, Cook’s Kettle serves reasonably priced breakfast and lunch. It also functions as the culinary laboratory for VTS. It’s not fast-food burgers and fries. Two classically trained chefs instruct students on how to craft salads, soups, specialty sandwiches, and pastries. Students learn everything from making salad dressings to following intricate recipes. In 2010, VTS opened a second location—the Branch Bistro—three blocks away to meet the growing need for a venue to train culinary arts students www.victorytradeschool.edu.

Art Director: Paul Parson

POWER

FOR LIVING®, a paper for adults, is published quarterly in weekly issues by SP Publications. Subscription addresses: SP Publications, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 • SP Publications, Ltd., Box 98, Paris, ON N3L 3E5, Canada. Scripture Press, Kingsway Church Ministries, Lottbridge Drove, Eastbourne, BN23 6NT, UK. © 2012, SP Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without specific permission. Printed in South Korea. Website address: www. power-for-living.com. To order Power for Living, please call 1-800-323-7543 (U.S. only) or 1-800-263-2664 (Canada only) Cover Illustration: Paul Parson.

Volume 71, Number 1, September | October | November 2012

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POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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Initially, Queen taught all VTS classes. Now there are 16 employees. Queen, who is president of VTS, says God has sent overqualified staff willing to work for less money. “Many are fed up with the coarse language, alcohol use, and drug abuse of those working in the secular marketplace,” explains Queen, who earned her doctorate in 2012 from Saint Louis University in higher education administration. “Victory Trade School is a Christian atmosphere, and the staff love to mentor others.” Since 2003, VTS has graduated 150 students from 15 states. They are certified in areas such as food preparation, customer service, customer controls, and restaurant marketing. All have been placed in the workforce. John Allen enrolled in the VTS culinary arts program in 2010. Under the tutelage of certified executive chefs Chadwick Isom and Brian M. Romano, he quickly excelled. Allen, motivated as never before, absorbed as much as he could from the experienced and skilled teachers. He worked up to 70 hours a week to gain experience not only at the Branch Bistro but also at VTS banquets and other catering events. After graduating from VTS in 2011,

DAILY BIBLE SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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Allen became general manager and executive chef at a new downtown Springfield eatery, Aviary Café and Creperie. He knew he didn’t want to return to his old stomping grounds in Bakersfield, California. “There was a lot of baggage waiting for me,” says the 29-year-old Allen, who had kicked a decade-long methamphetamine addiction at Teen Challenge. “I had a lot of friends and family that used drugs.” Business at the Aviary Café and Creperie has been booming. Allen believes it’s because God is pleased with those he has hired. The restaurant’s kitchen staff includes three VTS graduates and various workers on parole or probation. “Most of the guys have made bad choices and would have a hard time finding employment elsewhere,” Allen says. Queen’s goal remains for VTS students to graduate as productive citizens who are debt-free, sober, and accountable to God and to fellow Christians. And to be people who know a thing or two about food.

readings 1 Kings 17—19 1 Kings 20—22 2 Kings 1—5 2 Kings 6—8 2 Kings 9—13 2 Kings 14—17 2 Kings 18—20 5

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G R A C E

Hungry for God

© ISTOCKPHOTO/THINKSTOCK

BY M A RLO SC HA LE S KY

S

tew bubbled on the stove. Cookies baked in the oven. Jello salad hardened in the refrigerator. The microwave dinged. I balanced a pot on my hip, grabbed a wooden spoon, and called over my shoulder. “Hey, can someone check the sauce?” My husband stuck his head through the kitchen doorway. “Smells good in here.” I blew out a breath. “It’ll taste good too, if I can get it all ready in time. See if the sauce is hot.” I nodded toward the microwave then jabbed my spoon in the direction of the dining room. “Is the table set?” “Sure is.” Bryan strode to the microwave and opened the door. “Sauce looks perfect. It’s steaming.” “Great. Go ahead and take it to the table.” I glanced at the clock. In 6

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ten minutes, our guests would arrive. Ten minutes to stir and mix, taste and cook, prepare and place. Then, all I wanted to do was sit and feast, and enjoy getting to know the new family from church. I stuck the wooden spoon into the stew and gave it a twist as Bryan lifted the sauce bowl out of the microwave and moved to the next room. I turned back to the stew. Bubbles popped to the surface. It did smell good. I leaned over and took a deep breath. A sniffle sounded behind me, followed by a tug on my pantleg. I looked down. Jayden glared up at me. His twoyear-old lip quivered. “What’s wrong, honey?” He pointed toward the living room. “Sister mean.” POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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“What happened?” He folded his arms across his chest. “Took toy.” I sighed. “Did she take your penguin toy away again?” He stared at the floor. “I no like penguin.” “But it’s your favorite.” “No like.” He sat down and scowled. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Well, our friends are coming in just a minute. Maybe you want to go put together a puzzle while we wait.” “No like puzzle.” “How about your blocks, then? Sister won’t take your blocks.” “No like blocks.” “Your train set?” “Hate train.” I squatted down in front of him. “Well, you just don’t like anything, do you?” “Me mad.” “Yes, I see that.” I stood back up and took the stew off the stove. Then, I picked up a ladle and spooned the stew into a large serving terrine. “What dat?” I glanced down. “Stew. You want some?” He sniffed. “Like stew.” Ah, that was the problem. Jayden was hungry. And like his daddy, he got grumpy when he was overdue to eat. I ladled a bit of stew into a small bowl, blew it cool, and set it on the kitchen table. “Sit on up and eat.” He did. Five minutes later, he licked his lips, pushed back his empty bowl, and grinned. “I play sisters now. We play POWER FOR LIVING September 2, 2012

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penguin. Puzzles too.” “Okay, you go play.” He trotted off. As I carried the stew terrine to the dining room table, I wondered if it wasn’t only Jayden and Bryan who got cranky when they were hungry. Maybe I was that way too. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry...” (John 6:35). So when I’m anxious and irritable, when nothing seems right, when I “no like” life, maybe I’m just hungry for more of Jesus. Perhaps it’s not about sister being mean or the penguin or the puzzle. Maybe it’s just about needing to gobble up more Scripture, chew on more truth, do more than just nibble at the corners of my prayer life. Perhaps I need to fill up on more time with God, tasting the goodness of His presence with me. On the days when my husband seems inconsiderate, when I don’t like my job, when people don’t treat me like I think they should, before I start casting blame, I’ll try to remember Jayden and make sure I’m all filled up. Then I can hold onto a much better attitude, even when someone is just a little bit mean. Marlo Schalesky is the author of several acclaimed novels. Find out more about her and her books at www.VividGod.com

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BSEELLSETR!

ADULT BIBLE STUDY

COMPREHENSIVE

The Comprehensive Bible Study follows the International Sunday School Lectionary (ISSL) and is a quarterly, topical study which examines key Bible themes and messages. Through the Comprehensive Bible Study series, adults are equipped to build a deeper understanding of Bible principles and challenged to continue to grow spiritually.

Teacher’s Resource Kit Save money by getting a Teacher’s Guide and a Creative Teaching Aids together in this one kit. One per class recommended.

Comprehensive Bible Study (student book large print) This offers an easy-to-read version of the Comprehensive Bible Study student book. One per student recommended as needed.

Teacher’s Guide

Power for Living

Quickly prepare for and teach each lesson with step-by-step instructions, Bible background material, suggested responses to study questions, and a variety of activities and stories relating Bible truths to adult life.

Well suited as a church bulletin insert or for outreach within the community, this weekly take-home paper for adults is filled with inspiring articles about famous Christians and Christians whose insights demonstrate following Christ.

One per teacher recommended.

One per student recommended.

Creative Teaching Aids Enhance each Bible lesson with full-color Bible background posters, worksheets, and other discussion starters. One per class recommended.

Lesson Leaflet These tear-out summaries/abbreviated lessons from the student book can be given to newcomers and visitors to help them participate in the lesson. They are also great for general outreach use beyond the class. Keep extras in classroom as needed.

Comprehensive Bible Study (student book) The student guide offers biblical commentary for each lesson while encouraging life application. Scripture references include both KJV and NIV translations for comparison and student preference. One per student recommended.

The Quiet Hour The personal-sized booklet provides focus and direction for 13 weeks of daily Scripture readings and devotionals. One per student recommended.


Life Is Real. Make Sunday School Real Too. Check out EchoesDownloaded.com each week for new thoughtprovoking, Bible-based ways to address current events or topics.

Best of all, it’s totally FREE! Age Levels: Adult

New every Thursday evening, check it out at www.EchoesDownloaded.com!

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