Freelance submissions due by October 15, 2011 All about us: SEEK® is a magazine created to encourage adults in their walk with Jesus Christ. SEEK® corresponds to the topics of Standard Publishing’s adult curriculum line and is designed to further apply these topics to everyday life. How to write to this theme list: Please read the Scriptures listed so that you know what will be studied in class. Listed are the aims of the lesson— the points of the lesson that students will apply to life. Your story or article will be an example of how someone did or can apply these points to real life. REMEMBER TO MARK ON THE MANUSCRIPT THE ISSUE NUMBER AND DATE FOR WHICH IT IS BEING WRITTEN. Word count: 600 minimum, 1200 maximum. (Manuscripts without this information will be rejected as not written to theme.) Use the King James Version when quoting Scripture. No decision will be made on any manuscript prior to the submission due cutoff date. Please e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Quarter titles for Fall 2012: A Living Faith—Unit 1, What Is Faith? (Issues 1–5); Unit 2, Who Understands Faith? (Issues 6–9); Unit 3, Where Does Faith Take Us? (Issues 10–13). Issue 1: Faith Calls for Perseverance (Steadfast Determination) September 2, 2012 Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-31 Lesson Aim: Sometimes even Christians try various rituals to get access to God, but it’s already done! Jesus opened the way himself. Explore the motivation for perseverance that comes from faith in the awesome sacrifice of Jesus. Share stories of people who persevered because they were leaning on Jesus. Suggest ways that the church works together to help each other persevere, and elaborate on some personal benefits/strengths gained through perseverance. The final verses of the text are a harsh warning against “trampling the Son of God” and “insulting the Spirit” when we know better. Compare the tone of that speaker with the tone of a loving parent who wants only the best for the child. Issue 2: Faith Gives Assurance (Steadfast Confidence) September 9, 2012 Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-6; Psalm 46 Lesson Aim: Let’s handle these grand themes in a “grand” way! Illustrate how the faith of specific modern-day people replicates the faith of certain people in the Bible in similar situations. And otherwise show how the foundation of our faith is the same unshakable foundation as from the beginning of time—the Creator of the universe! Share Scriptures from which people have gained confidence, even when “the earth gave way” (Psalm 46:1). Psalm 46:10 “be still” is not a “there, there, rest in God’s silence” —it’s more of a rebuke. Issue 3: Faith Empowers Endurance (Steadfast Fortitude) September 16, 2012 Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-11 Lesson Aim: Expound on how we can endure because of the combination this passage presents: knowing that a “cloud of witnesses” has walked the same path plus keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Illustrate that a runner disciplines himself not as a punishment but to reach the goal; so we shouldn’t always shy away from what might seem like suffering. Encourage readers that goals can be reached with Jesus’ help—if they’re his goals too. Verse 1 says to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin”—as if some hindrances are not sin. What kind of “good things” still might be hindering our race? Tell stories of role models who empowered you. Issue 4: Faith Inspires Gratitude (Steadfast Thanks) September 23, 2012 Scripture: Hebrews 12:18-29 Lesson Aim: This passage is either scary or cool—depending on where you’re standing! Challenge readers to be thankful that God’s kingdom cannot be shaken . . . Is there anything at all to fear? Contrast the temporary nature of things on earth against the eternal kingdom (also see Colossians 3:2 to “set your mind on things above”). Refusing Jesus (Hebrews 12: 25) is a bad prospect. Help readers extend their gratitude and worship to include concern for those who don’t know him. Issue 5: Faith Instills Love (Steadfast Love) September 30, 2012 Scripture: Hebrews 13:1-3, 6; 1 Corinthians 13 Lesson Aim: We are urged to love/help others. God’s love equips us with the desire; share how he equipped you or others with the material things or the strength to actually deliver that love at specific times. People read the beautiful 1 Corinthians 13 at weddings, but there’s nothing fluffy here. “Love is as strong as death” (Song of Songs 8:6). Show the not-so-easy reality of living out “love isn’t rude,” “love doesn’t boast,” “love keeps no record of wrongs,” etc. Explore the craving for love. Use various Scriptures to showcase the same loving attributes of God that are in 1 Corinthians 13. Issue 6: Stephen Defends His Faith (Courage to Speak) October 7, 2012 Scripture: Acts 6:8–7:2a, 22, 44a, 45b-49 Lesson Aim: Stephen was opposed even though he was doing good (great wonders and miracles). Tell stories of people whose good deeds for Jesus seemed to backfire. Stephen knew what he was talking about; suggest ways we can learn God’s Word/message better. Explain how to know when it is wise to speak the truth with boldness vs. when it might not be the right thing. Illustrate how the message of God’s Word, spoken boldly, can affect family, community, school systems, and the world.
Issue 7: Stephen Is Faithful to Death (Paying the Price) October 14, 2012 Scripture: Acts 7:51–8:1 Lesson Aim: What’s worth dying for? Stephen put himself in danger and was a forceful speaker, but it was about issues of utmost importance. Distinguish between using energy on petty differences vs. standing up for matters of scriptural truth. Persecution of Christians began then and continues to this day; share accounts of persecution worldwide. When Stephen died, the Christians scattered to flee persecution, but that put their influence in other places. Explain how God can bring good out of the bad. Explore the subject of forgiving grievous mistreatment. Issue 8: Simon Wants to Buy Power (Power Brokers) October 21, 2012 Scripture: Acts 8:9-25 Lesson Aim: Document how modern-day people have been fooled into believing that occult rituals/“supernatural power” (seen so often on TV) are really God in action. (Include relevant Scriptures.) Explore how we can avoid the mistake of ridiculing and brushing aside such people—using Peter’s handling of Simon as the formula. Peter plainly rebuked Simon but also extended the opportunity for forgiveness and restoration. Be specific. Discuss the need for all Christians—not just leaders in the spotlight—to keep their motives pure, because all are representing Jesus. Issue 9: Philip Baptizes a Man from Ethiopia (Erasing the Boundary Lines) October 28, 2012 Scripture: Acts 8:26-39 Lesson Aim: The Ethiopian wanted to learn about God and was looking in the right place, the Word. So God sent Philip. Suggest how we can both steer seekers to the Word and be available to help them understand it. Seekers will take the next step when believers kindly show the way; give examples of how to do this. Philip didn’t care what color/rank/level of schooling the Ethiopian was; expose our tendencies toward prejudice and provide help to overcome them. Illustrate how the gospel is for all people in all places at all times. Issue 10: Paul Testifies Before King Agrippa (Taking a Stand) November 4, 2012 Scripture: Acts 26:19-32 Lesson Aim: Recount the stories of other Bible characters and modern-day people who continued to speak up for God, regardless of whether the hearers listened/believed. (Jeremiah comes to mind.) Paul was standing on the truth of Scripture, yet the king accused him of being out of his mind. Explain some potentially intimidating/hostile situations we might come up against today, and how to deal with them. Expound on discussing spiritual matters with government officials. Issue 11: Paul Survives a Shipwreck (Weathering the Storm) November 11, 2012 Scripture: Acts 27:1, 2, 33-44 Lesson Aim: We can find ourselves in the middle of storms in spite of our best efforts; Paul had warned against sailing, but they sailed anyway. Contrast the difference between “storms” we bring on ourselves and those that just happen to us . . . and how our reaction might/might not be different. Paul took it upon himself to encourage the 275 others; elaborate on the spiritual strength he drew on to do so—and tell of cases when someone physically weak relied on spiritual strength in a time of disaster. Share ways to praise God while facing a crisis, while right in the middle of a crisis, and after the crisis is over. Issue 12: Paul Ministers on Malta (Helping One Another) November 18, 2012 Scripture: Acts 28:1-10 Lesson Aim: Even though a prisoner, Paul did not excuse himself from doing God’s work. Show how to help others even when you could use some help yourself. The islanders were kind and seemed to have plenty; but Paul knew they still needed God. Help enhance our awareness regarding those who may be spiritually bankrupt, despite their appearance to the contrary. Share lessons you have learned from other Christians about serving— maybe when the other Christians didn’t even know they were being observed. Issue 13: Paul Evangelizes in Rome (Spread the News) November 25, 2012 Scripture: Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 Lesson Aim: Consider the 3 days between the time Paul arrived in his guarded house in Rome and the time he called people in and began to teach the gospel. Was he recovering? daydreaming? praying for wisdom for what to do next? God knows that we can’t go 24/7, but serious Christians don’t want to waste time either. How do we balance rest and our own spiritual refueling against the urgency to spread the Word? In this Scripture, again Paul shows his willingness to teach whomever—regardless of nationality or religious background. Share some cross-cultural experiences during which the Word spread. Explain how a person might share God’s message “boldly and without hindrance,” even when he might not feel bold and might feel hindered.