Monthly Archives

May 2011

In the World – May 29, 2011

By | "In the World"

Download In the World for May 29, 2011 here. (PDF)

SEASON OF DEATH

The midwestern and southern United States have been pounded with disasters this spring. Floods and tornadoes have taken a massive toll in lives and property damage. The twister that just hit Joplin, Missouri was the deadliest in the U.S. since 1947. As the swollen waters of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers threatened population centers, the Army Corps of Engineers blew up levees and opened spillways. These actions have flooded thousands of square miles of cropland as a result. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that “floods are the deadliest weather phenomena—claiming an average of 100 lives annually.”

WATER OF LIFE

In the wrong measure and circumstances, water is a terrifying and powerfully destructive force. How different is the description of water in Revelation 22: no more muddy, turbulent, out-of-control streams! Instead, the river of life that emanates from the throne of God is crystal clear and flows gently through the heavenly city. This river nourishes the trees of life, which bear fruit throughout the year. All who reside in the city will enjoy healing and everlasting life, the source of which is God himself.

1. What Scriptures would you use to support or dispute the idea that natural disasters are divine judgment for sin?

2. How do you respond to someone who asks, “How could a loving God let this happen?” in reaction to a natural disaster?

3. Should Christians offer monetary and/or material assistance in disasters only through Christian relief agencies? Why, or why not?

4. How can we offer the imagery of Revelation 22 as a source of comfort during a time of natural disaster?

5. What role might natural disasters play in helping us and the world prepare for and hope for the coming of the heavenly city described in Revelation?

—Charles R. Boatman

http://www.standardlesson.com/what-you-get

Copyright © 2011 by Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH. All rights reserved.

Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World – May 22, 2011

By | "In the World"

Download In the World for May 22, 2011 here. (PDF)

TROUBLING DISORDER

This month marks the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence following the partitioning of Palestine by the United Nations. Jews from all over the world consider Palestine their homeland. The partitioning and declaration of independence meant that at least part of Jerusalem again “belonged” to the Jewish people. Today the anniversary is observed by displaced Palestinians as the nakba—“the catastrophe”—when hundreds of thousands of them fled from or were forced out of the land their people had lived in for generations. Israelis set out to rebuild a homeland in May 1948, and Palestinians ever since have tried to take back territory they regard as their homeland. On Sunday, Palestinian demonstrations and the Israeli response resulted in at least a dozen fatalities.

PEACEFUL NEW ORDER

The new heaven and new earth John depicts is the new homeland to be truly desired. In apocalyptic terms, Scripture describes how it will be forged by a violent overthrow of the current order of things. This week’s text from Revelation 21 focuses on the result: the peaceful reign of God in that new creation. It will be far removed from the troubles that beset the territories of this old, sinful earth. Everything in the new heaven and earth—including our human temperament—will be changed for the better, and forever!

1. What should Christians do, if anything, about the various territorial struggles of the world?

2. What do you find personally most comforting in the descriptions in Revelation 21:1-8, 22-27? Why?

3. What lessons about the future “new order” of the universe can we apply to the “current order” of the church in general?

4. What lessons about the future “new order” of the universe can you apply to the “current order” of your church in particular?

5. How can you use today’s text to help bring peace between fellow Christians who are at odds with one another?

—Charles R. Boatman

http://www.standardlesson.com/what-you-get

Copyright © 2011 by Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH. All rights reserved.

Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World – May 15, 2011

By | "In the World"

Download In the World for May 15, 2011 here. (PDF)

CHRISTIANS UNDER ATTACK

On Sunday, a Coptic Christian church building and a Christian-owned apartment complex were burned during a five-hour riot in Cairo. The attacks came from the Salafis, an extremely conservative Muslim group. The sect has been involved in numerous attacks on Christians in recent months. Egypt’s new military government apparently has done little to stop the violence. News reports of Sunday’s riots said both Christians and Muslims were involved in the bloodshed, with 12 people dying as a result. Each side claimed the other initiated the carnage. Witnesses called the prolonged struggle a “frenzy of violence.”

CHRISTIANS AT WORSHIP

John’s vision offers us a scene of praise. Among those worshipping around the throne of God are Christians who have endured severe persecution. The divine promise is that they will serve God forever, and all the deprivations they experienced for the sake of Christ will be behind them. Their pain and tears will be forgotten as they worship their Lord. It is a scene of great comfort!

1. Was it right for the Christians who were attacked in Cairo to respond with deadly and/or non-deadly force in self-defense? Why, or why not?

2. Do you personally know Christians who have suffered or are suffering for their faith? Describe their situation.

3. Should we consider all resistance to the Christian faith to be “persecution”? Why, or why not?

4. If John were writing today, how might the promise of being led to springs of living water be stated in imagery that speaks to our culture?

5. When was a time that the promises given to the saints in Revelation 7 comforted you when life brought you pain and tears?

6. Why is worshipping God a proper response in helping you deal with life’s trials?

—Charles R. Boatman

http://www.standardlesson.com/what-you-get

Copyright © 2011 by Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH. All rights reserved.

Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World – May 8, 2011

By | "In the World"

Download In the World for May 8, 2011 here. (PDF)

DEAD, FINALLY

“I am a person who loves death. . . . I would like to be killed by the bullet.” This was the boast of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and numerous others. His perverted wish was granted when his life recently ended with bullets to the head and chest. In 2001, then-President Bush vowed America would bring bin Laden to justice, “dead or alive.” Early in the current administration, President Obama made the killing or capture of bin Laden a top priority. The president announced on Sunday evening that that mission had been accomplished.

ALIVE, FOREVER

The braggadocio of this century’s most infamous mass murderer stands in marked contrast to Revelation’s picture of the God who loves life and lives forever. Flashes of lightning and thunder surround his throne, yet in front of God’s throne is a sea as calm and smooth as glass. Both power and tranquility are symbolized by this description. The living creatures and elders who surround God’s throne praise him. They remind us that God is the one who created all things and who gives life. What a striking difference from those who live only to kill!

1. Should a Christian’s reaction to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death be different from the reaction of a non-Christian? If so, how? If not, why not?

2. How does the imagery of God’s throne room speak to you?

3. In a world as violent as ours, what can Christians do to make it more peaceful?

4. As you read of the creatures saying, “Holy, holy, holy” in Revelation 4:8, what can you do personally to counter the unholiness that reigns in today’s world?

5. How can you make your life be a continual statement of worship before God?

—Charles R. Boatman

http://www.standardlesson.com/what-you-get

Copyright © 2011 by Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH. All rights reserved.

Each download is for the use of one church only.