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David C Cook Editorial

October 2, 2022: The Birth of Moses (Exodus 2:1-10)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “An Unforgettable Day” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated.

After calling time for the exercise, have groups present their findings for whole-class discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Decisions, Decisions” activity from the activity page. Because of the personal nature of the activity, students may wish to complete this as a take-home.

In the World–October 2, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 2, 2022 here.

THE RISKS OF COVID-19 UNDER CHINESE POLICY

The Chinese government has taken a zero-COVID policy throughout the pandemic. Citizens are ordered to stay in their homes during local outbreaks. Reports have emerged of police welding apartment doors shut to keep people inside, and people were ordered to stay in their homes even during and after an earthquake. In September, a bus carrying 45 residents who had been exposed to infected people left after midnight to take them to quarantine housing. Around 2:40 a.m., the bus rolled into a ditch, killing 27 of those aboard. The incident, a forced move made when visibility was low and the driver bleary-eyed, highlighted the glaring safety risks the Beijing government has been willing to accept to keep COVID under control. “For such a large-scale, long-distance transport,” said Hu Xijin, the former editor in chief of China’s state-run Global Times, “did it really have to be done so late at night, and was there really no alternative?”

THE RISKS OF THE NILE UNDER EGYPTIAN POLICY

The Egyptian government that assumed power after Joseph’s death adopted a zero-new-Hebrew-boys policy to limit the growth of their slave population. But after months of hiding her newborn son, one Levite mother finally had to obey the letter of the Egyptian edict, so she put her son into the Nile (but in a little boat). Would the boat even float? Would the current overturn it? Would the crocodiles attack? Such dangers are a small thing in God’s eyes; He ensured that the risks were averted and the child would be found by a daughter of Pharaoh, and later named Moses.

  1. How do you feel about the stricter or more lenient governmental responses to COVID-19?
  2. What risks would you be willing to accept to keep other people safe?
  3. When have you had to trust God to keep you from danger?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

September 25, 2022: The Scepter Given to Judah (Genesis 35:22b-26; 38:12-19, 24-26; 49:8-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Jacob’s Family” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated.

Next, distribute copies of the “Family Tree” activity from the activity page. Have learners complete it as indicated, in small groups. After no more than five minutes, ask for volunteers to share their group’s insights from the discussion questions.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 25, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 25, 2022 here.

FAMILY DISPUTE IN MODERN RUSSIA

The citizens of Russia have been told the invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation” to liberate the people from fascist forces. But some Russians, including the grown daughters of a returning Russian paratrooper surnamed Grigoryev, know that the truth is much different. Their father returned from six months of fighting “a broken man,” which exacerbated an already sore subject of whether or not the war is justified. “He says he didn’t kill anyone” in the fighting, says one daughter, Elizaveta. “But war is a crime in and of itself,” says Anastasia, the other daughter. The conflict within the family became so intense last month that the daughters fled the home. It’s an example of how the invasion is tearing some Russian families apart.

FAMILY DISPUTE IN ANCIENT CANAAN

Through a sad series of events, two sons of Judah died before having children. Both in turn had been married to a woman named Tamar, and Judah promised to give his third son to her as a husband when he came of age. But the time came, and Judah did not keep his promise. Tamar felt she had to resort to deception to achieve justice—and children—from Judah. Nevertheless, God promised to bring about the Messiah through the line of Judah.

  1. What criteria, if any, must be met before you would consider a war to be justifiable?
  2. How can family disputes be solved well?
  3. Why did God promise to bring the Messiah through the line of Judah, despite Judah’s sins?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

September 18, 2022: Jacob Called Israel (Genesis 32:22-32)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “What’s in a Name?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated. After 10 minutes, provide the correct answers for the class and ask volunteers to share their answers to the final three questions.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Count Your Blessings” exercise from the activity page as a take-home. To encourage completion, promise to discuss the results at the beginning of the next class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 18, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 18, 2022 here.

NAME CHANGED FROM

In Germany this month, a family won their legal battle to change their six-year-old daughter’s name from Alexa to something else (undisclosed). Alexa is the name and activation word used by Amazon’s Echo device. Children and even adults would “tease” the little girl by saying her name and commanding her to do things. One man accosted her on the street and said, “Alexa, dance for me.” Lauren Johnson, founder of the I Am Alexa Alliance, says, “The whole thing is a step beyond ‘normal’ teasing and bullying. It’s identity erasure…. The word Alexa has become synonymous with servant or slave,” she says. “It gives people a license to treat people with the name Alexa in a subservient manner.”

NAME CHANGED TO

When Jacob had sent his family and servants across the Jabbok River, he remained alone on the near bank. A mysterious figure appeared and wrestled with him all night, and when he saw he could not overpower Jacob, he said he had fought with God and prevailed. He who could perform such a feat deserved a new name, so the man changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means one who wrestles with God.

  1. When have you wished you could change your name or something else about yourself?
  2. What steps have you taken on behalf of someone who was being bullied or harassed?
  3. If God were to give you a new name, what might it be? What would you wish your new name to be?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

September 11, 2022: God Chooses the Younger Twin (Genesis 25:19b-34)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Get What You Want” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in small groups to complete all four rows.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of “The Situation” activity from the activity page. Have learners complete it with a partner.

Close class with a prayer based on Psalm 75, a psalm composed to provide reassurance of God’s victory. Begin the prayer by reading verse 1 aloud. Allow students to pray silently regarding the conflicts they may face, asking God for his wisdom. End the prayer by reading verse 9 aloud.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 11, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 11, 2022 here.

SHORTSIGHTED IN THE MILITARY

A report released last month by the Defence Safety Authority, an investigative arm of the British military, claims that a tragic death happened because someone was not wearing his contact lenses. Last year, during a live-fire training exercise at the Castlemartin range in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Sergeant Gavin Hillier, 35, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was fatally shot. The report found that the shooter was not wearing his lenses and mistook his fellow soldier for a shooting target. Without his contacts, the shooter would’ve had to be six times closer to the target to be able to distinguish what he was shooting at. Sergeant Hillier had served in several countries, including Afghanistan, where he’d fought the global war on terror, which we especially remember this weekend.

SHORTSIGHTED IN GOD’S PLAN

Jacob and Esau were twin brothers in the book of Genesis. Esau loved his wide-open spaces and wild game, while Jacob was a homebody who sometimes enjoyed vegetarian dishes. One day, Esau returned from the hunt in a state of great hunger. In order to get a bowl of the savory bean soup Jacob was cooking, Esau was willing to give away his birthright as Isaac’s firstborn son. His shortsighted decision changed the course of the two nations that would rise from their lines: Edom and Israel.

  1. What’s the worst tragedy you’ve heard of resulting from reduced or obstructed vision?
  2. As you remember the 21st anniversary of 9/11, what are your thoughts on the state of the world?
  3. How can we balance our real but shortsighted goals against the need to take the long view, especially as it relates to God’s plan?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

September 4, 2022: The Call of Abram (Genesis 12:1-7; 15:1-7)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “God’s Promises Fulfilled” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have students work in pairs to complete the activity as indicated. After 10 minutes, ask volunteers to share their conclusions.

After the activity, make the transition to Into Life by saying, “The narrative of Abram can inform us greatly regarding obedience and emboldened faith. The next practice will demonstrate how today’s Scripture passage is more than a good story for us to read.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Emboldened and Obedient” activity from the activity page. Have learners complete the activity individually in a minute.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 4, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 4, 2022 here.

COME BACK

Several major corporations in North America have designated this Monday—Labor Day—as the day when most of their workforce must cease working exclusively from home. It is RTO (return-to-office) day. However, “Workers have grown accustomed to being able to work where and when they wish,” says Bloomberg writer Matthew Boyle, “freeing them up to care for kids, aging parents or to simply escape … and take a stroll in the backyard after lunch.” Labor Day may be when companies draw a line in the sand for their workers to come back to their desks. “In the battle of the boardroom versus the bedroom,” Boyle says, “something has to give come September.”

GO FORTH

During his life in Haran, Abram had grown wealthy and was probably anticipating enjoying his sunset years enjoying the fruit of his labors. However, the Lord God spoke to Abram and called him to leave the country of his father and journey into a land that God would show him. Once he and his family, along with his servants and flocks, had arrived in Canaan, God promised to bless Abram—and the whole earth through him. He believed the word of the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

  1. What advantages and disadvantages do you see in working from an office vs. working from home?
  2. In your current life situation, would you say you are feeling more of a tug to go out or to stay put? Explain your answer.
  3. When has God ever called you or someone you know out into an unknown land or on an adventure?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

August 28, 2022: A Welcoming Invitation (Revelation 22:10-21)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For deeper study on the titles of Jesus, distribute copies of the “Who Was/Is Jesus?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Digging into the distinction between “meaning” and “significance” (as in lesson 11) will result in a much deeper study.

To encourage personal application:

As class wraps up, distribute copies of the “Come, Lord Jesus” exercise from the activity page as a take-home.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 28, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 28, 2022  here.

INVITED TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY

Turning six is a big deal. So this month when one girl in England started making out the guest list for her party, she decided to send an invitation to Prince George, the nine-year-old son of Prince William and Duchess Kate. George’s parents received the invitation and ultimately decided he wouldn’t be able to attend. However, they dictated a kind note to the birthday girl. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were immensely touched that you should take the trouble to write,” said the response. “It really was most thoughtful of you and Their Royal Highnesses have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.” While she didn’t get the prince at her party, the little girl did get a personalized message from the royal family, which her mother says will always be “something amazing she can keep.”

INVITED TO THE ULTIMATE PARTY

The Spirit and the bride invite everyone who hears to receive the free gift of the water of life. When the business of the fall has been tended to and the damage undone, the party that got delayed in Eden can begin, and we’re all invited.

  1. What’s the greatest party or celebration you’ve ever been part of?
  2. Of all the people who have attended your celebrations over the years, whose presence was most meaningful to you?
  3. Revelation describes many pictures of heaven—which aspect appeals to you most?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

August 21, 2022: The River of Life (Revelation 22:1-7)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For cross-passage comparison, distribute copies of the “The Source of Life” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have groups work to complete as indicated. After groups finish, discuss conclusions as a class.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the exercise “The Promise of Hope” from the activity page for participants to complete in pairs as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 21, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 21, 2022 here.

FOR THE HEALING OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS

Washington, D.C., contains many pockets of financial wealth and many pockets of poverty. Two such neighborhoods are split by the Anacostia River, which is quite wide at the point where it separates the affluent Navy Yard homes from the downtrodden Ward 8 region. A highway bridge linking the neighborhoods was torn down a decade ago, but the piers and pilings were left in place. And now plans are finalizing to rebuild the bridge as an elevated park, garden, art space, and performance venue. “These communities are separated by 900 feet of water,” said Scott Kratz, one of the planners. “They have been divided for generations.” He hopes the park will bring residents from both sides together. Harriet Tregoning, former D.C.-area director of planning, agrees, calling the new bridge “a space where people who wouldn’t otherwise be in the same place would be able to mingle and do things together.”

FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS

Our passage today depicts the New Jerusalem of God, through which runs a wide street with a river flowing down the middle. Straddling this river of crystal-clear water stands the tree of life, which yields twelve crops of fruit and bears fruit every month. It’s a picture of plenty and luxurious life, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.

  1. If you wanted to bring two divided populations together in peace, how would you do it?
  2. What step could you take today to be a peacemaker or bridge-builder?
  3. In what ways is the New Jerusalem similar to the garden of Eden, and in what ways is it different?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

August 14, 2022: A New City (Revelation 21:10-27)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Place in chairs (or distribute via e-mail) before learners arrive the “Gems” word-search puzzle from the activity page, which you can download here. Your early arrivers can work on this before class begins.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For extra study on meaning and significance (and the difference between those two terms), distribute copies of the “Meaning and Significance” exercise from the activity page to your triads, to be completed as indicated. After several minutes, reconvene for whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 14, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 14, 2022 here.

YOUR NEW CITY

Since 1989 with Sim City, fans of computer games have been able to play civic engineer and build their own dream cities. City-building games form a genre that remains popular today. Late last month, a game called Urbek City Builder became the newest entry into the category. In the game, you pick your location and biome (seaside, desert, forest, etc.) and start building your infrastructure, power grid, transportation system, housing districts, and more. You’re limited only by terrain, money, resources, and your own imagination. Urbek brings a focus on how your city will develop on its own, so long as you provide the conditions necessary. For example, if you place several homes around a park, eventually it will become condominiums. If you’ve ever wanted to build a city the “right” way, these games will let you do so.

GOD’S NEW CITY

In today’s passage, we see the new Jerusalem descending from heaven in the glittering glory of God. The city has been designed and constructed by God, and it is both functional and gorgeous. In fact, the emphasis in John’s account of the city is all on how beautiful it is and how richly adorned it is with precious jewels of all kinds. It is from this passage that we learn that heaven has pearly gates. When we finally see the city whose architect and builder is God, we will be astonished.

  1. What’s your favorite game (computer game or otherwise) of all time?
  2. If you were to build your dream city, what would it be like, and what would it have in it?
  3. When you walk the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, what will you want to do first?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

August 7, 2022: A New Home (Revelation 21:1-9)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

To focus on the “symbol” aspect of the first set of tasks, distribute copies of the “Words as Depictions” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Learners can work on this in study pairs, or they can use it as a note-taker as you work through the text. It should not be used for individual in-class study.

Another option for exploring symbolic language further is to distribute copies of the “Here Comes the Bride” exercise from the activity page, to be completed as  above.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 7, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 7, 2022 here.

A NEW BRIDE AND A BURNED HOME

Steve and Andrea Ward of Mariposa County, California, were married last month under a wooden arch in the yard of what was to be their home. Shortly after their wedding, a wildfire broke out, quickly expanding to more than 15,000 acres and forcing over 6,000 residents to evacuate—including the Wards. The fire did take their home, burning it to the ground in a matter of minutes. The newlyweds were allowed to return to the site late last month, where almost everything was gone. The wooden arch had burned away, except for part of its base. “If I gotta prioritize keeping her safe versus keeping the house safe,” said Steve Ward of his new bride, “I’m gonna take her…. What was more important that was built in that … was strong bonds and a stronger love.”

A NEW BRIDE AND AN ETERNAL HOME

The Bible concludes with an account of heaven and the glorious eternity that believers will share with the Lord. In today’s passage, the new Jerusalem descends from heaven adorned as a bride arriving at her wedding. The home the Lord will share with His beloved will never burn or fade, and every tear will be wiped away, replaced by joy.

  1. When were you most affected by a fire?
  2. What’s the funniest newlywed story you know?
  3. What are you most looking forward to about heaven?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

July 31, 2022: The Word Gives Peace (John 14:15-29)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the two exercises on the activity page, which you can download here. Do both parts of the Inductive study activity in groups.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 31, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 31, 2022 here.

PEACE AS THE WORLD GIVES

The Russian invasion continues, and nowhere in Ukraine seems safe—not even 167 miles away from the fighting. Earlier this month, Liza Dmytriyeva, a little four-year-old girl with Down syndrome, played big-girl in a park in the city of Vinnytsia, pushing her own stroller and smiling up at her mommy in a video posted to social media. Photos from hours later show the stroller on its side, mangled and bloody, marking the spot where Liza was killed by a Russian cruise missile that destroyed the medical center nearby. The peace the world gives—assuring families that being far away from the battlefield will keep them safe—is not real peace.

PEACE AS THE LORD GIVES

On the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he promised that though he himself was going away from his disciples for a while, they would see him again. Better yet, he would come to them in the form of a helper or advocate, the Spirit of truth, so he could be in them—and they in Him—forever. The Holy Spirit brings the peace that Jesus carried inside him, and no act of war, disease, or death can ever separate those who believe in him from the peace he gives.

  1. What has been your strongest reaction to the war in Ukraine?
  2. When has human or earthly peace failed you?
  3. How have you felt the peace of the Lord—and have you experienced it lately?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

July 24, 2022: The Word Resurrects (John 11:17-27, 38-44)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “(Mis) conceptions About Death” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have participants work in pairs to complete as indicated. After five minutes, reconvene for whole-class sharing of insights regarding the stages of life. Do not discuss the compare/contrast with 1 Corinthians 15 at this point; save that for Into the Word.

After the above, lead into Bible study by saying, “Even though we may not want to think about it, death is a regular part of life. But that won’t always be the case. Let’s see why.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Return to the “(Mis)conceptions About Death” activity to compare and contrast the stages-of-life views of death with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 24, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 24, 2022 here.

BELIEF AND TENNIS GLORY

Two weeks ago, tennis star Elena Rybakina won the women’s singles final at Wimbledon. Though she was born in Russia, she moved to Kazakhstan and has been playing for them for four years. “I’m really happy representing Kazakhstan,” she said before the finals. “They believed in me.” In the final match, Rybakina, then ranked #17 in the world, gained glory by defeating #3-ranked Ons Jabeur in three sets. She again hailed Kazakhstan’s belief in her, noting that the president of their tennis federation had come to some of her matches. “It’s really a big thing,” Rybakina said. “It’s unbelievable support, which I just appreciate.”

BELIEF AND GOD’S GLORY

Four days after Lazarus had been laid in his tomb, Jesus arrived at the home where Martha and Mary grieved the death of their brother. Jesus assured Martha that her brother would rise again. And while her great faith allowed her to believe in Jesus’ power to resurrect, Martha’s still believed they would find a rotting corpse if they opened Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus gently reminded her that if she believed in Him, she would see the glory of God—and after Jesus prayed, Lazarus emerged from the tomb alive.

  1. How does someone’s belief in you help you perform at a high level?
  2. Whom do you know who needs someone to believe in them today?
  3. When have you believed God and seen His glory?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

July 17, 2022: The Word Saves (John 12:44-50)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Light and Dark” activity from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete the activity as indicated.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Light Meter” activity from the activity page. Have learners work in pairs to complete the activity as indicated. After no more than five minutes, have volunteers give their answers to the third question on the handout.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 17, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 17, 2022 here.

CAN’T BELIEVE IT

After a 21-year dry spell, the Colorado Avalanche NHL hockey team won the Stanley Cup last month, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. After the victory celebration on the ice, with the Avs team posing for the camera beside the big metal statue, the Stanley Cup was taken away so it could later be delivered to the home of the Avs team captain, Gabriel Landeskog. Unfortunately, the delivery team couldn’t read the street address in front of the houses and accidentally delivered it to the wrong home. “I couldn’t believe it!” said Kit Karbler, the temporary holder of the Stanley Cup. “I knew that we had Avalanche players that lived in the neighborhood, but I didn’t know how close!” After much friendly laughter and a rare photo op, the delivery team took the trophy to its rightful resting place next door.

MUST BELIEVE IT

Jesus came into the world as its light—and as the perfect representation of His Father. He brought into the family of God all those who believed Jesus had been sent by Him. He also believed that every word His Father gave Him to say led to eternal life, so He carefully delivered each one to His hearers exactly as He’d received them from God.

  1. What’s the funniest story you know of something delivered to the wrong person—or of the wrong thing delivered to the right person?
  2. When have you had to be absolutely certain that you delivered a message with perfect accuracy?
  3. Which command(s) of God did Jesus deliver that lead to eternal life?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

July 10, 2022: The Word Heals (John 4:46-54)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of “Significant Miracles” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated. After 10 minutes, ask volunteers to share their findings.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Seeking God’s Power” activity from the activity page. Have learners work in pairs to complete the activity as indicated.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 10, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 10, 2022 here.

SEEING THE MIRACULOUS

In just a few days (July 12), the very first full-color images from the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are scheduled to be released to the public. The telescope itself is an engineering miracle, having been folded up origami-style to fit inside its launch vehicle and then unfolded in space. But the infrared images it is set to deliver could revolutionize our understanding of the physical universe. With a clarity and magnification greater than any previous telescope, including Hubble, and with infrared’s ability to peer through stellar dust, JWST is poised to wow us with miraculous images and take its place as the greatest space telescope ever built.

BELIEVING THE MIRACULOUS

A royal official from Capernaum traveled to Jesus and begged Him to come heal his son, who was dying. After challenging His listeners to believe in God without first seeing miracles, Jesus promised the father that his son would live. The man took Jesus at His word—believing in Him with no miracle already witnessed—and returned to Capernaum, where he found that his son had been healed at the hour Jesus had promised the miracle.

  1. What’s your favorite thing to gaze at when you look into the night sky?
  2. What miracle or miracles have you seen God perform?
  3. When have you believed God would do something and then you later saw Him bring it to pass?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

July 3, 2022: The Word Becomes Flesh (John 1:1-14)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Word/Creator/Light” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners complete it individually before discussing conclusions in small groups.

Divide the class into pairs and distribute copies of the “A Witness to the Light” activity from the activity page. Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated. After calling time under either activity, have groups or pairs present their findings in whole class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 3, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 3, 2022 here.

DON’T MISS THE POINT

This Fourth of July, if you go out to watch fireworks, don’t forget that this is a celebration of freedom and unity. Don’t miss the point, as some did last month in Disney World. A couple had staked out the perfect spot to watch fireworks at Cinderella Castle, but shortly before the program began, a family tried to get right in front of them. A physical altercation broke out, first between the wives and then between the husbands. With the result that the police were called and one of the women went to the hospital with a brain bleed. These couples missed the point of ending a fun day at the Happiest Place on Earth by fighting over watching fireworks.

DON’T MISS THE MESSIAH

The Son of God made the entire universe, yet when He walked among His creation, people did not honor Him. Most did not even recognize Him, and fewer still believed in Him. The Light that gives light to the world walked through the darkness, and yet He was not recognized. But some people listened to what John the Baptist said, and some observed the words and works of Jesus, and they did not let Him pass them by. Those who believed in Him received the greatest freedom imaginable.

  1. What are your best memories of fireworks?
  2. When have you or someone else completely missed the point of what was happening?
  3. How can we make sure we don’t miss what Jesus is doing in our own day?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

June 26, 2022: God Offers Deliverance (Isaiah 51:1-8)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute the “What Are You Searching For?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow learners one minute to individually find as many words related to today’s lesson as they can before allowing them to work in pairs for a few minutes longer. Allow time briefly to discuss the final answer together.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After the activity, say, “In today’s lesson, we will see how God turns his people’s focus in different directions to help them become oriented to who he is and who he has called them to be.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the class into four small groups. Distribute to each group the “Look Around!” exercise from the activity page. Ask the groups to study and discuss the verses together, completing as directed. Then bring the class back together to discuss further.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 26, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 26, 2022 here.

IGNORING THE GUIDANCE OF EXPERTS

Soccer (globally known as football) is a high-speed, sometimes violent game in which head injuries are common. There is pressure from teams, owners, and fans for injured players to continue playing. This can result in extremely serious injuries, including permanent brain damage. This month, the sport’s global governing body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), received an open letter from the Professional Footballers’ Association, prominent ex-players, and a top consultant neuropathologist urging changes. But the letter’s recommendations were rejected. “It’s disappointing to hear,” said Penny Watson, wife of former England captain Dave Watson, who now lives with dementia due to multiple concussions suffered in football, “that IFAB do not seem to listen to the suggestions and advice from those eminent people involved in the head injury debate.”

HEEDING THE GUIDANCE OF GOD

Many messages delivered through God’s prophets were calling the people back to obedience. But occasionally, a portion of the people received praise from the Lord. This week’s passage contains a message Isaiah delivered to those in Judah who pursued righteousness and heeded God’s instructions. The Lord promised to destroy those who threatened them and to turn Judah’s deserts into gardens. God knows the ones whose hearts are truly His.

  1. When have you ignored experts’ advice to your own detriment?
  2. What advantages come to those who pursue righteousness and seek the Lord?
  3. How could Isaiah have handled being the bearer of bad news from God so often?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

June 19, 2022: God’s People Shall Prosper (Isaiah 49:18-23)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Bedtime Story” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to be completed as directed alone or in pairs. Bring the class together and allow volunteers to read their completed stories before discussing the questions together as a class.

After the activity say, “In today’s lesson we’ll explore the promises God made to his people and how they responded.”

To encourage personal application:

Bring the original pairs from the first activity back together. Ask them to discuss what evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness and redemption they saw in the reunion they described. If none, ask them to imagine how the experience would have been different if God’s work had been more evident in that gathering. Allow volunteers to share with the class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 19, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 19, 2022 here.

REVERSAL OF AGING IN MICE

This month, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School announced success at resetting certain cells to an earlier age. Dr. David Sinclair’s lab has used special proteins to turn aging cells in mice back into stem cells, essentially reversing the ravages of time. This was done first in old mice with damaged retinas, returning their vision to levels they had in youth. Sinclair has had success with mouse muscles and brains, as well, and is working to reverse aging on a mouse’s entire body. While it will take years of further testing and analysis before any such treatment would be approved for humans, that is the future Sinclair envisions. “We’ve done it in a mouse,” he says. “There’s no reason I can think of why it shouldn’t work in a person, too.”

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE IN ISRAEL

Though God had disciplined the children of Israel for their disobedience and idolatry, He always had their restoration in mind. Through Isaiah, the Lord declared images of reversal, such as the ruined land once again thriving and the depleted population coming to exceed the space available inside their borders. God would bring other nations to give tribute to His people, too, once more lifting up all those who put their hope in Him.

  1. If science offered the chance to reverse aging on any one part of your body, which would you choose?
  2. What advantages and disadvantages can you foresee if humans gained the ability to stave off death indefinitely?
  3. In the Bible, when else did the Lord completely reverse someone’s situation?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

June 12, 2022: God Foretells of Redemption (Isaiah 49:1-13)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute the “Acceptance Speech” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Ask pairs to complete only the “Servant’s Speech” column for now.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After the activity, ask groups to briefly summarize their responses for the whole group. Allow time for discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute one “Servant Leader” exercise from the activity page to all the learners. Give them one minute to consider the activity before pairing up. Tell them their new partner is their accountability partner for the week to encourage them to do what they have brainstormed.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 12, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 12, 2022 here.

LIGHT ECLIPSED

On the night of May 15–16, most of the Western hemisphere and beyond were united in witnessing a total lunar eclipse. Because this happened when the moon was near its closest distance to earth (lunar perigee), the moon seemed especially large in the sky. Sunlight refracted through the earth’s atmosphere, tinging its shadow red, giving the eclipsed moon that color, and earning it the status of a “super blood moon.” People from Canada to Argentina and from California to Italy—from dozens of languages, races, and religions—stood together and watched the light of the moon go dim.

LIGHT UNVEILED

Though the children of Israel were convinced that God was theirs alone and that salvation was for the Jewish people only, that had never been God’s design. The prophet Isaiah was frustrated with the hardness of heart among the people, feeling that he had served the Lord in vain. But God’s plan was well under way to make redemption shine forth as a light to all, uniting people from every land, language, and race in Christ.

  1. What’s the most spectacular eclipse you’ve ever witnessed?
  2. What causes you to feel a kinship with all people, even those who look or speak differently than you do?
  3. How do you think Isaiah felt when he heard that God’s salvation was meant for the Gentiles too? How do you think Isaiah’s listeners would’ve felt when they heard it?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

June 5, 2022: God Foretells Destruction (Isaiah 47:10-15)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Advice in the Stars?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Encourage class members to work in pairs to complete as indicated. Invite volunteers to share their responses with the group.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Am I Safe?” exercise on the activity page and allow the pairs to use Part 1 to help them keep track of their answers. Gather the class together to discuss their answers.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 5, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 5, 2022 here.

UNRELIABLE CRIMINALS

Ransomware is a crime in which hackers gain access to a victim’s computer network and demand payment to return control to the owners. Victims range from individuals all the way up to huge companies and even entire cities. Part of the agreed-upon arrangement in ransomware, says cybersecurity expert Charles Carmakal, is that hacker gangs promise to abide by the deal and not simply seize control again tomorrow or release embarrassing data even if the victim pays. But as this crime becomes more mainstream, unscrupulous hackers join in, many with no intention of honoring a deal. Carmakal says victims could pay the ransom and yet still see their data leaked. Such unreliable criminals could give hackers a bad name.

UNRELIABLE SORCERY

The people of Judah in Isaiah’s day had turned to magic spells and astrology to bring them good fortune and protect them from calamity. But the prophet sought to turn them back to the Lord. He delivered God’s warning that soon a disaster would come upon them that they could not dispel with their magic nor ward off with any ransom. All such protections would prove futile and unreliable in the end.

  1. Which aspect of computer technology do you like best? Which do you like least?
  2. What do you think of the notion of honor among thieves?
  3. When have you given up on something unreliable in exchange for more faith in the Lord?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

May 29, 2022: The Fruit of Freedom (Galatians 5:16-26)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “What Kind of Fruit?” activity from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs to complete the activity as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After calling time for the activity, have each group present their findings for whole-class discussion. Use the lesson commentary to correct misconceptions regarding the Spirit’s fruit.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Read All About It!” exercise from the activity page. Have learners work in small groups to complete the activity as indicated. After 10 minutes, have each group share their findings.

End class with a prayer asking God to help each class member demonstrate the Spirit’s fruit in the coming week.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 29, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 29, 2022 here.

A NEW LIFE AFTER LEAVING HOLLYWOOD

When she was 9, Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Now, at age 58, she has finally put Hollywood behind and given herself permission to age. Growing up in Tinseltown led Gilbert to pursue superficial standards of youth and beauty. Before long, she was obsessed with her weight and was going down the path of Botox and cosmetic surgery. As she says in her new book, Back to the Prairie, “I finally woke up and went, ‘What am I doing?’” She and her husband moved to the Catskills to restore an old hunting cabin and live in the country. “I’m excited about this,” she says about aging and rediscovering herself. “I love all these changes and watching what’s happening and getting to know this new person.”

A NEW LIFE AFTER COMING TO CHRIST

Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to remind the believers there that life in Christ meant freedom from and freedom to. Jesus had set them free from all the old behaviors they had come out of—envying, fighting, carousing, sensuality, and the rest. And He had set them free to walk in the Spirit and to enjoy the new person this allowed each one of them to become.

  1. Who was your favorite TV star when you were younger?
  2. What’s something you had to put behind you to go on to maturity?
  3. Which aspect of the fruit of the Spirit do you want more of in your life?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

May 22, 2022: Freedom, Love, and Faith (Galatians 5:1-15)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Love Your Neighbor” activity from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners divide into pairs and complete the activity as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Who’s My Neighbor?” exercise from the activity page. Encourage everyone to complete the activity at home, as directed, and be prepared to share their experiences with the class at the start of next week’s time.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 22, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 22, 2022 here.

A RETURN TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS

“Just look at this,” said octogenarian Joaquin Diaz as he led the Cinco de Mayo parade in Saginaw, MI. “We needed this.” Diaz and his late wife, Cruz, founded the city’s parade in 1979. After running annually for fifty years, health concerns over COVID-19 caused the event to be cancelled for the previous two years. This year, with pandemic restrictions lightened, Diaz rode in his pickup ahead of hundreds of vehicles in the parade, delighting the thousands of people who turned out to watch. “It’s so wonderful to be out here again,” he said. “This reminds me of the good old days.”

A RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS

The Apostle Paul had founded the church in Galatia on the solid rock of freedom in Jesus Christ. However, not long after he left, someone tricked the believers into surrendering their freedom and returning to the bad old days of slavery to sin and law. When the news reached Paul, he was baffled. What—short of sorcery or a smooth-talking salesman with something to gain—could convince people walking in freedom to voluntarily downgrade their lives and submit to bondage again? He urged them to resist the lie and fight for their freedom in Christ.

  1. What’s something you remember from the good old days that you wish would come back?
  2. When have you seen someone knowingly reject a superior solution or return to an inferior way of life?
  3. How do Christians today return to a bondage to law or the primitive, pre-Christian life of unbelievers?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

May 15, 2022: Freedom and the Law (Galatians 3:18-29)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the class into three groups. To each group distribute copies of the “What About Baptism?” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have groups complete the activity as indicated. Ask a volunteer from each group to share their final definition.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Adopted to a New Life” exercise on the activity page as a take-home. As a motive to complete it, state that you will begin the next class session by reviewing volunteers’ results.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 15, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 15, 2022 here.

UNITED FOR UKRAINE

In a time when American politics is seemingly more factional than ever, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has united Americans to a refreshing degree. Early this month, results were released from an ABC/Washington Post poll about the war. A whopping seventy-six percent of Americans polled were in favor of providing even more support to Ukraine in the form of humanitarian aid. There are many factors involved here, experts say, but one reason for this show of support is Americans’ love of a heroic figure. “The image of a young and charismatic leader courageously leading his country in a time of war has also galvanized support,” said George Washington University assistant professor Michelle Kelso. She said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “is, for us, an underdog. We love the underdog in this country.”

UNITED IN FREEDOM IN CHRIST

When Judaizers from Jerusalem came to the church in Galatia, Paul was concerned that the new believers there would fall away from the grace of the free gift of salvation in Christ. He wrote to them, stressing that there are no superior/inferior divisions within humanity when it comes to Christ. Before salvation, all people are united under the condemnation of sin because of the Law. And after salvation, all those who believe in Christ are united in their freedom from bondage. Against those who want to put them again into slavery, believers must stand firm in Christ.

  1. What are your hopes and fears regarding the war in Ukraine?
  2. When have you found yourself unexpectedly united with someone you would not normally connect with?
  3. Why does Paul need believers to understand that all social, ethnic, racial, and other divisions are erased in Christ?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

May 8, 2022: Freedom for the Future (Romans 8:18-30)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute the “Prayer Requests” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to be completed as directed. After one minute, ask volunteers to share their responses, especially to the final question.

After the activity, lead into Bible study by saying, “Life can be difficult. But Jesus offers hope in all situations. Today we’ll examine one passage that explores this idea.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute the “Patterns in God’s Will” exercise from the activity page, to be completed in pairs (or small groups) as directed. Bring the class back together after 15 minutes to discuss what they found. Supplement their answers with information from the lesson commentary as needed.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 8, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 8, 2022 here.

AN END TO A BEAR CUB’S SUFFERING

Sometime in early 2022, a bear cub in the Appalachian region of Tennessee was hit by a vehicle but survived its injuries. However, late last month, officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Association found the cub greatly underweight and struggling with months-old injuries. They contacted Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) personnel, who rushed the yearling to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinarian Medicine. However, the wounds were too severe, and the vets made the painful decision to end the cub’s suffering. “This bear was one of ours,” said an ABR spokesperson, who also commented that they’d named the cub Caledon Bear, which means tough.

AN END TO OUR SUFFERING

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the consequences reached beyond humankind and extended to Creation itself. We still groan under sin and illness and broken relationships. The world of nature groans too, suffering under decay and fear. But because of Jesus’ incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension, all of this suffering will one day come to a positive end—not only for those who follow Christ but also for the universe He created.

  1. When have you taken steps to end some form of suffering?
  2. In what ways do you long for an end to the suffering we face in this world?
  3. What does Paul mean when he says that creation is suffering the pain of childbirth?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

May 1, 2022: Freedom from Sin (Romans 6:1-14)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute the “Romans Vocabulary Puzzle” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to be completed in pairs as directed. After 10 minutes, reconvene the class to discuss the concepts raised in the puzzle.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “His Resurrection and Our New Life” exercise from the activity page. Have the students complete this exercise in pairs according to the instructions. Reconvene the class to discuss.

Close in prayer, thanking God for freedom in Christ.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 1, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 1, 2022 here.

PLAYING FOR ANOTHER TEAM

NBA stars CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard spent nearly nine seasons playing together with the Portland Trail Blazers. Then for this season, McCollum was traded to New Orleans, where he helped lead the Pelicans to the 2022 playoffs. For over eight years, McCollum and Lillard became close friends and adapted their play styles to enhance the strengths of the other. This year, Lillard had to watch his friend play in a different jersey. “It’s weird, man,” Lillard said. “It’s weird to see him enjoying playing with somebody else. It’s almost like a little bit of jealousy, like…man, he’s having fun playing with them.” But when the trade happened, it did make sense to Lillard. “Look at their team: They got the talent; they got the youth mixed with a little bit of experience—and you throw [CJ] into the mix, and you really got something.”

SERVING ANOTHER MASTER

Before salvation, every person serves sin. Paul says we’re all slaves to sin outside of the Lord. But when we come to Christ, we switch teams. We switch alliances and masters, and we become available to serve Jesus instead. Paul speaks of it as a death and resurrection. New Christians are set free to offer themselves as slaves not to sin but to the risen Lord.

  1. When has someone you had partnered with become allied with a new person or group? How did you feel about it?
  2. In what ways can someone be enslaved to sin?
  3. How can Christians make sure they never enter again into slavery to sin?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

April 24, 2022: Freedom in the King (John 8:31-38)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the whole class into four groups. Distribute to each group a copy of the “Roles and Expectations” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have groups complete the activity as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute to each learner a copy of the “Word Web” activity page. Encourage everyone to complete the activity at home, as directed, and be prepared to share with the class at the start of next week’s time together.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 24, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 24, 2022 here.

IN BONDAGE TO FEAR

Earlier this month, a Utah man slammed his car into a man sitting on a parked motorcycle. Surveillance video shows the car approaching and then accelerating toward the man and motorcycle. The car hits, sending the bike crashing away and the rider upside-down in the air and off the hood. Miraculously, the rider hops to his feet, mostly uninjured. But the driver leaps from the car and attacks the man. The driver fled but was soon arrested. He insisted that he believed the unarmed motorcyclist was a hitman who had been hired to assassinate him. He said he’d had a hit out on him since 2009 and decided that it was time to kill or be killed. His bondage to a fear of death caused him to try to kill an innocent man.

SET FREE BY THE SON

Jesus told some Jews who had believed in Him that they needed to be set free from their bondage, and He said He was the one who could grant their freedom. This offended them, and they made the outrageous claim that they were free and had never been slaves of anyone. Jesus primarily meant that they were slaves to sin, and yet this offended them even more. Nevertheless, He promised that they could be set free—free indeed—by the Son of God.

  1. What’s the most serious traffic accident you’ve ever witnessed or been part of?
  2. When do fears, especially irrational fears, tend to come upon you?
  3. Why do you think the Jewish believers were offended by Jesus’ words about freedom?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

April 17, 2022: Resurrection of the King! (Matthew 28:1-10)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute the “Declaration and Command” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to be completed in pairs as directed.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “He Arose!” exercise from the activity page. Play a recording of the song “Up from the Grave He Arose” (available on the internet) and encourage participants to sing along with the chorus. Ask learners to jot down any words or phrases in the song lyrics that are most meaningful to them. Allow time for volunteers to share how the words are meaningful in their testimony.

Close the class by playing “Because He Lives” or another resurrection song and encouraging the class to sing along. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for his sacrifice and for all the reasons he has given us to overcome our fears. Ask for his help in faithfully calling others to him.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 17, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 17, 2022 here.

IRISH FEMALE SCIENTISTS RESURRECTED THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

In many nations, there is a serious shortage of young women entering fields of science and engineering. An effort in Irish classrooms is seeking to help correct that through clever technology. A new phone app called Volu uses 3D holograms of female pioneers from Ireland’s scientific history to engage the interest of girls at the high school level. The scientists are depicted by actresses in full animation and sound, and their moving images can be placed into real-world scenes via the Volu app on a smart phone. It’s a versatile and innovative use of augmented reality that brings famous Irish female scientists back to life and into our modern lives. “Lots of women aren’t really into science and things,” said one female high school student. “So seeing women actually achieving that…it really helps. Because it they can do it, you can do it too.”

THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD RESURRECTED FOR ETERNITY

Early in the morning on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, two women who loved Him experienced an earthquake at the tomb and encountered a powerful angel. The angel reminded them that Jesus had predicted His death and resurrection, and he announced that it had happened as He had promised. They turned to obey the angel’s command to inform the disciples of the resurrection. As they ran, they met the risen Lord and worshipped Him. Their faith and love had been rewarded with the first revelation that Jesus had conquered death for us all.

  1. If you wanted to interest young people in some field of study, how would you go about doing it?
  2. What does it mean that women were the first to know of Jesus’ resurrection?
  3. How would the world be different if everyone knew the true meaning of Easter?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

April 10, 2022: Passover with the King (Matthew 26:17-30)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute to pairs “The Passover Lamb” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have them complete as directed before allowing groups to share their responses.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “Remember!” exercise from the activity page. Encourage learners to complete the activity at home, as directed, and be prepared to share with the class at the start of next week’s time.

Close the class with a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice and for the meal that we still eat in his memory.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 10, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 10, 2022 here.

EXPECTING A REWARD FOR LOYALTY

Most fast-food chains in the United States have customer loyalty programs. It’s reached the point where restaurants that don’t offer such programs “run the risk of falling behind,” according to an article by PYMNTS.com. The article, entitled “Restaurant Loyalty Holdouts Get on Board as Consumers Expect to Be Rewarded,” explains how, in March, two notable restaurant chains—Carl’s Jr. and IHOP—launched their own programs to reward frequent customers. “In today’s digital-first age,” said Chad Crawford, chief brand officer of the company that owns Carl’s Jr., “we want to reward our loyal customers in a fun and engaging way.” Only twenty percent of restaurants that allow mobile ordering do not have loyalty programs, so the holdouts may find they had better reward their frequent customers or risk losing them.

HOPING TO BE FOUND LOYAL

While eating His last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus revealed that one of them would betray Him. One after another, they protested their loyalty to Jesus, saying, “Is it me, Lord? Surely it can’t be me, can it?” They were desperate to prove themselves loyal, and they longed for Jesus’ assurance that their hearts were true. We don’t know what, if anything, Jesus replied to each one. But when Judas Iscariot said, “Jesus, is it me?” Jesus responded, “You have said it yourself.” Jesus lays bare the thoughts of every person.

  1. Why are customer loyalty programs suddenly so important for businesses today?
  2. What contrasts can be made between the loyalty of modern consumers and the disciples at the Last Supper?
  3. How can you know if your heart is loyal to the Lord?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

April 3, 2022: Triumphal Entry of the King (Matthew 21:1-11)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute the “Monarch for a Day” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow learners one minute to work individually before pairing up to complete the activity and discuss.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After the activity, say, “Important people often are given special treatment. Today we will look closely at a story about how Jesus chose to present himself and the way others received him.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “Who Is This?” exercise from the activity page to be completed according to the instructions. Encourage participants to take the exercise home this week, pray over it, and write down their responses. Also ask them to bring it back to share with the whole group next week.

Close the class by playing “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” (available on the internet) or another appropriate song. Give thanks in prayer for Jesus’ saving work on the cross.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 3, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 3, 2022 here.

A HUMBLE LEGISLATOR IN INDIA

In March, Indian legislator Bhagwant Mann won an election to become the next chief minister of the Aam Aadami Party. In a speech to his fellow victorious party members, he urged them to reject the typical behavior of other politicians in their shoes and instead remain humble. “We should not be arrogant,” he said. “You are also the [representatives] of those who did not vote for you.” Instead of moving to the regional capital and staying there, as many do, Mann encouraged them to go out to the people. “Stay in Chandigarh for the least possible time. We have to go and do work at those places where we went and asked for votes,” he said. “Go sit in villages and meet people. Have tea, speak to people about their problems, take officials with you.”

A HUMBLE KING IN JERUSALEM

Though many in Jesus’ day longed for a Jewish military leader like David who could rally the people and drive out the Romans, this had never been God’s plan. Jesus indicated what sort of kingdom He was instituting by arriving in Jerusalem not astride a massive warhorse but on the back of the foal of a donkey. Everyone watching would be reminded of Zechariah’s prophecy that said the king who came to bring salvation would ride humbly upon the back of a donkey’s colt. Jesus had come to eliminate war and bring peace.

  1. How do you think politicians should behave after they win an election and take office?
  2. How can government officials serve even those who did not vote for them?
  3. In what ways have you seen God behave differently than what you expected?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

March 27, 2022: Free Because of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:1-11)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute the “Looking Backward/Looking Forward” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to pairs of participants.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

When they have completed both Part A and Part B of the exercise, ask them to discuss the results as a whole class and summarize what they notice about God’s character—in both the past and the future. (Possible conclusions may be: God always provides what is needed; God’s provision is abundant and gracious; God cares about the physical well-being and prosperity of his people.)

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “Remember” activity page to each participant as a take-home to be completed as indicated.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 27, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 27, 2022 here.

GRATEFUL FOR THE CAT

A nighttime tornado ripped through Florida this month, tearing away a roof and wall of some apartments in Ocala. One woman was awakened by her cat acting oddly and crying from the kitchen. She got up to see what the cat’s problem was, and just when she got to the kitchen, the tornado tore away the walls and roof of her bedroom. “She moved at just the right time,” said the woman’s neighbor. “If she didn’t move, she would’ve been right there” when the tornado hit.

GRATEFUL FOR THE LORD

At the end of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the children of Israel were instructed by God to remember how He had taken care of them. Their shoes hadn’t worn out and the feet hadn’t swelled. He had disciplined them as a loving father disciplines a child, but His intent was always to bless them. The Lord wanted them to remember His kindness when they got into the plentiful land He was about to bring them into.

  1. Has an animal ever warned you of something you wouldn’t have known about otherwise? What happened?
  2. Why do we have to be taught to be grateful or to notice when someone has done us a kindness?
  3. What helps you trust God’s ways when things seem to be going badly around you?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

March 20, 2022: Free to Celebrate (Ezra 6:13-22)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Holiday Matching” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners complete the activity as indicated.

Lead into the Bible study by saying, “Significant moments are worth remembering and celebrating. Today we will look at a long-awaited moment in the history of God’s people, and how they responded in celebration.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the whole class into small groups of two or three people. Distribute copies of the “Compare and Contrast” exercise from the activity page. Ask groups to complete the activity as indicated. After a few minutes, invite groups to share what they found.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 20, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 20, 2022 here.

RESCUED FROM UKRAINE

In the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, business owner Vladislav Guristrimba awoke to explosions and missile strikes near his home. Russian missiles were bombarding Kiev’s airport, not far from the Guristrimba residence. Vladislav and his wife, Dariya, made hasty plans, and three days later they and their five children fled the fighting to meet up with Dariya’s parents. In the city of Sokryany, on the border with Moldova, Vladislav got the family to safety. But instead of joining them in the rescue, Vladislav remained in Ukraine to help other families find their way to safety. Using his resources and contacts, he arranged for the escape of others to Moldova and Poland. “I’m not going to fight,” Vladislav said, “because I’m not military. My value is as a manager. I can be a manager in a military system or a volunteer system.”

RESCUED FROM BABYLON

After the Jewish captives had lived so long in Babylonian exile, the new ruler—Darius of Persia—allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Under Ezra’s leadership, the Temple was rebuilt, and in the sixth year of Darius’s reign, the people dedicated the house of the Lord by celebrating Passover. Their relief and joy over how God had rescued them overflowed in seven days of celebration.

  1. What emotions has the invasion of Ukraine brought up in you?
  2. If an invasion happened in your nation, what would you do?
  3. When have you been rescued from something? How did you celebrate?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

March 13, 2022: Free to Worship (Ezra 6:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Rebuild and Redeem” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners complete the activity as indicated.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “God’s Resources” exercise from the activity page. Have learners work in pairs to complete Part 1 but work independently on Part 2. Ask learners to consider sharing their responses to Part 3 at the beginning of the next lesson. Conclude class by praying for opportunities to grow in trust of God’s faithfulness and promises.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 13, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 13, 2022 here.

NOT FREE TO WORSHIP IN IRELAND

During his six-year enslavement in Ireland, the young Briton who became known as St. Patrick was not free to worship Jesus. He served pagan masters and could not openly pray to the Lord. Though he was the son and grandson of Christian ministers in England, the young man named Maewyn Succat had not shown much interest in the things of Christ before the Irish raiders had appeared on the horizon. But over his years of hard labor in Ireland, he came to call upon Jesus with his whole heart. When he escaped and returned to England, he was finally free to worship the Lord who had saved him. It wouldn’t be long before that Lord would call young Patrick back to bring the light of life to his former captors.

FREE TO WORSHIP IN ISRAEL

After seventy years in captivity, the Jewish people were allowed to leave Babylon and return to Israel. The conqueror, King Cyrus of Persia, was perhaps keen to get all the people (and gods) of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquests to look favorably upon him and his new empire. So he was generous with freedom, supplies, and edicts to help the departing peoples go home and reinvigorate their religions. The letter he wrote to protect the returning Jewish exiles ensured they would be able to worship freely in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.

  1. What would it take for you, like Patrick, to be willing to offer salvation to the people who have mistreated you?
  2. How can the superstitions of non-Christians sometimes aid the cause of Christ?
  3. What would you do if you were suddenly not free to worship the Lord?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

March 6, 2022: Freed from Captivity (Ezra 1:1-8, 11)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Famous Projects” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work individually or in pairs to complete as indicated in less than one minute.

After the activity, lead into Bible study by saying, “Today’s lesson from the Old Testament repeats itself in the New Testament in certain ways. See if you can remember passages as we go.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of Parts A and B of the “Construction Proposal” exercise from the activity page. Depending on the size and nature of your group, the questions can be discussed in small groups or as a whole class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 6, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 6, 2022 here.

LIONS RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND

Four adult African lions—named Angela, Bellone, Säida, and Louga—have been returned to Africa after being part of a French traveling circus. The big cats, all born in captivity, were removed from the circus in 2018 and looked after by experts. They were set to be transported in 2019 to a sanctuary in South Africa by Born Free, an international wildlife charity. Then COVID-19 hit, and the plans were put on hold. But last month, the lions finally stepped onto African soil. “Lions in lockdown have had a long arduous journey,” said Catherine Gilson, Manager of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, “but [these lions] are settling in so well [with their other lions]. We have just seen them all under a tree together in the shade sheltering from heat here, which is a great relief for us.”

EXILES RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND

After the Babylonian Captivity, any Jewish captives who wished to return to Israel were allowed to do so by the new king, Cyrus of Persia. He issued a decree that his own citizens should provide the returning exiles with silver, gold, and livestock. Moreover, Cyrus returned to the exiles thousands of gold and silver items that had been pillaged from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus instructed the exiles to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and more than 40,000 Jewish people accepted the offer and went back to their homeland.

  1. When have you had a “going home” moment? Did it live up to your expectations?
  2. Why do you think Cyrus was so generous in giving away all that gold and silver, not to mention captives?
  3. If you had been born in Babylon and had never seen Israel, do you think you would want to go there when given a chance? Why or why not?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

February 27, 2022: Job and the Just God (Job 42:1-6, 10-17)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of Image 1 of the “New Perspective” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have participants guess what it depicts (answer: grain of sand). Then distribute copies of Image 2 and let participants know that the subject matter is the same thing. Finally, distribute copies of Image 3 and pose the following two questions to the whole group. (Do not state both questions together; allow responses to the first question before posing the second.)

  1. Why did the grain of sand seem so big and important in Image 1?
  2. When did it become clear that you were looking at mere sand?

Invite participants to give other examples of things (or experiences) that become clearer as one “zooms out” or see the bigger picture.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute the “A Sincere Prayer” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete in study pairs.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 27, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 27, 2022  here.

WHEN THE UNIFORM IS TOO BIG

During the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Beijing, five female Japanese ski jumpers were disqualified because of their uniforms. The thigh portions of the team’s suits were found to fit 2cm too loosely, which could give an aerodynamic advantage. “I am very sorry that the chance of winning a medal has been taken away from the Japanese team,” said ski jumper Sara Takanashi. “It is an undeniable fact that my disqualification changed everyone’s lives. Even if I apologize, the [chance for a] medal will not be returned.”

WHEN THE SELF IS TOO BIG

While Job was challenged by his friends and wife to accept their sometimes-false views of God, he stood firm and maintained his innocence. However, he did finally complain to God that he had been treated unfairly. The Lord reminded Job that God is the Almighty One and Job is a mere human. Thus returned to his proper reverence and fear of the Lord, Job humbled himself and repented in dust and ashes, and God again blessed him bountifully.

  1. On the whole, do you tend to be a stickler for the rules, or do you prefer to let things slide? Why?
  2. How might we compare Job’s sense of smallness before God with our own culture’s emphasis on throwing off authority in order to “live our own truth”?
  3. What other examples can you think of in which someone humbled himself and God raised him up?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

February 20, 2022: Bildad Misspeaks God’s Justice (Job 8:1-10, 20-22)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Form learners into study pairs and announce a closed-Bible pop quiz. Distribute copies of the “Fact-Check the Speech” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow a few minutes for the pairs to complete as directed. When pairs are finished, have them score their own work.

For a deeper study of defective beliefs that Christians sometimes embrace, distribute copies of the “Say What?” exercise from the activity page. Form learners into study pairs or triads to complete it as indicated. After subsequent whole-class discussion, ask if participants have more entries for the list.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 20, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 20, 2022 here.

BLAMED FOR THEIR OWN ATTACK

“In deeply patriarchal conservative societies, women have been the victims of inequality since time immemorial.” So said a female writer named Kabir in The Kashmir Observer. She wrote in response to an acid attack this month. In Hawal, a city near the northern tip of India, a man asked a 24-year-old woman to marry him. She declined his offer, so he and two others tracked her down and splashed acid on her face. According to a hospital official, “Nine percent of her face has been completely burned.” Kabir criticized the patriarchal tendency of blaming the victim for angering or humiliating the man. Such attacks by males in her culture can be explained, she says, “by how men see any attack on their power as an opportunity to resist through inflicting punishment on the opposite gender.”

BLAMED FOR HIS OWN TRAGEDY

As Job lay on the ashes mourning the tragic death of his children, his friend Bildad informed him that the children were obviously killed because of their sins against God. He seems to be chiding Job for his sadness, and possibly rebuking him as a father…because if he and his children had done the right thing, none of this would’ve happened.

  1. Have you ever witnessed an example of victim blaming? Describe the incident.
  2. Why do you think Bildad said what he did to Job?
  3. What’s something helpful we can say to someone who is in grief?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

 

February 13, 2022: Ezra and the Law (Ezra 7:1-10, 23-26)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Have someone read Ezra 7:23-26 aloud. Use the “Job Description” handout from the activity page of lesson 8, which you can download here. Ask what challenges and rewards Ezra might have experienced.

To encourage personal application:

Read aloud Nehemiah 8:1-6 to show the response to Ezra’s teaching. Distribute copies of “The Effects of God’s Word” and/or “Looking Forward” exercises from the activity page as take-homes.

In the World–February 13, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 13, 2022 here.

GUIDELINES FOR A SUGAR-FREE VALENTINE’S DAY

Diabetics and others wanting to cut down on sugar may look on Valentine’s Day with dread. But confectioners have made great strides in recent years to provide delicious treats that have low or zero impact on glucose levels. This Valentine’s Day, you can choose sugar-free gummy bears, zero sugar Reese’s peanut butter cups, sugar-free Jolly Ranchers, and more. But you can still get sick to your stomach eating too much candy, even if it’s sugar-free. Viola Holmes, associate director of nutrition science and health care for the American Diabetes Association, says this is because of the sugar alcohols sometimes used to sweeten these treats. “You should still practice some form of portion control,” Holmes says, “because some sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, for instance, can cause abdominal discomfort.”

GUIDELINES FOR A GODLY LIFE

At the end of the Babylonian Exile, Ezra led a group of priests, Levites, and other religious workers back to Jerusalem to revive the Temple. The Bible indicates that Ezra had devoted his life to the study and observance of the guidelines included in God’s Law, a factor that may have led directly to the Lord’s hand being on him so firmly. God grants favor to those who serve Him wholeheartedly.

  1. What are your best memories related to Valentine’s Day—or sweets?
  2. When have you known the hand of God upon you or someone you know?
  3. What guideline from God’s Word is helping you today?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

February 6, 2022: Nathan Condemns David (2 Samuel 12:1-9, 13-15)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute to study pairs copies of the “Saul vis-á-vis David” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Instruct learners to compare and contrast the two accounts as they complete the exercise as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Psalm 51” exercise from the activity page, which you can download, to be completed as a take-home.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 6, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 6, 2022 here.

CALLING OUT A PRIME MINISTER

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a challenge to his leadership after reports of a series of parties he or his staff hosted during strict COVID-19 lockdown rules. While Britons abode by rules to not gather with more than one person outside their household—voluntarily being cut off from family and friends—Johnson and his guests were drinking, dancing, and partying until all hours. The night before Queen Elizabeth’s husband’s funeral, a party at the prime minister’s residence went until midnight. The next day, the queen sat alone at the funeral, obeying the social distancing rules. Many reported Johnson’s string of rule-breaking gatherings, and calls for Johnson’s firing increased rapidly.

CALLING OUT A KING

Though God had given King David the throne and great wealth and power, David nevertheless sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband, Uriah, killed. Though his sin remained a secret from most in his kingdom, it was not hidden from the eyes of the Lord. God sent the prophet Nathan to David with a brilliant parable that showed David the horrible evil of his crime … and cut him to the quick. David repented, and God relented in some of His punishment, but both Uriah and Bathsheba’s son died as a result of David’s actions. Nathan’s courage in obeying God to call out a king saved David and the kingdom from greater consequences.

  1. How does it make you feel when a leader violates restrictions that you yourself have obeyed?
  2. Our society loves to cast down leaders for their injustices, real or imagined. How can you tell the difference between true injustice and lesser trespasses like poor judgment, etc.?
  3. What do you think was going through Nathan’s mind when he approached his friend and king to tell him God’s judgment?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

January 30, 2022: Justice and the Marginalized (Deuteronomy 24:10-21)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Color Coding” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, as a take-home activity. To encourage completion, promise to discuss results and insights gained at the beginning of next week’s class.

Distribute copies of the “Examples to Follow” exercise as a take-home activity. To encourage completion, say that you will ask for volunteers next week to share how this exercise challenged or inspired them. Promise also to discuss how the class as a whole can respond in a practical way.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 30, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 30, 2022 here.

PROVIDING FOR THE POOREST IN MODERN INDIA

The state government of Rajasthan, India, has provided benefits for its poorest citizens during the pandemic. They have paid benefits to more than 14,000 orphans and widows of COVID-19. The expenditures, which began in June of last year, have exceeded one billion rupees (nearly $14 million USD). The government has provided both one-time and monthly payments to these orphans, promising to continue until they reach the age of 18. Free education through grade 12 has been provided to these children, along with a monthly pension for the widows. Help is also available to the homeless of the state, as well, including those out in the villages. “As [many] such people are unaware about the facilities including free stay, free food and medical aid,” said judge Dinesh Kumar Gupta, “we will create awareness about the program and its benefits.”

PROVIDING FOR THE POOREST IN ANCIENT ISRAEL

Landowners and farmers in Old Testament Israel were instructed to provide for the poorest among them, as well. Their fields weren’t to be scrupulously reaped, nor were their orchards to be utterly harvested. The extras were to be left for the poor, including widows, orphans, and those not even from among God’s people. Generosity was built right in to their daily rhythms.

  1. How is the government intervention in Rajasthan similar to what you have seen from your local or national government during COVID-19? How does it differ?
  2. How have you seen the Church rising up to help those affected by COVID?
  3. What can we learn about the character of God from the instructions he gave about leaving part of the harvest for the poor, the fatherless, the widow, and the foreigner?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

January 23, 2022: Justice, Judges, and Priests (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Job Description” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow groups of three to four to work through the activity as directed. After 10 minutes or so, have groups compare and contrast their documents in the ensuing whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

If you used the “Job Description” exercise above, distribute copies of the “Personal Statement” exercise from the activity page as a take-home. To encourage its completion, state that you will call for results at the beginning of the next class session.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 23, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 23, 2022 here.

FINE THOSE WHO FLOUT THE LAW

Neighborhoods in Scottsdale, Arizona, just got a little quieter, thanks to a new ordinance. It used to be that neighbors could do very little about loud parties outside homes occupied by short-term renters. The new ordinance requires that the property owners furnish police with an emergency contact number. If the police serve a notice and no one has corrected the problem within an hour, the owners receive a fine of $750. And on each subsequent offense, the fine goes up, reaching nearly $2,500 for a fourth offense. “We just want them [renters] to have a good time and enjoy themselves,” says Scottsdale police sergeant Kevin Quon, “while still respecting the neighborly type of feel that we grow to expect in Scottsdale.”

EXECUTE THOSE WHO FLOUT THE LAW

As God’s people wandered in the wilderness under Moses, they too had people who tended to disregard laws and legal decisions handed down by judges chosen by the Lord. The judges were under strict instructions to pursue justice faithfully, rejecting bribes and other perversions of justice. But if anyone showed contempt for the judge God had chosen, he was to be put to death to send a message to the rest of Israel not to be contemptuous again.

  1. What are effective and ineffective ways of making sure people follow rules, ordinances, and laws?
  2. Why is it dangerous if officials have no way of enforcing rules, ordinances, or laws?
  3. What behaviors do you think would disappear overnight if death were the penalty for doing them?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

January 16, 2022: Justice and Fairness (Exodus 23:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the whole group into small groups of two or three. Distribute copies of the “To Do or Not to Do” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have all groups complete the entire activity and then compare results. (Alternative. Assign each group a section of the activity to complete.) Share results in the ensuing whole-class discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Who Is My Neighbor?” exercise from the activity page. Spend a few minutes in group discussion clarifying the categories. Challenge participants to take the page home to reflect on and respond to during the week. State that participants should be prepared to discuss the results of this activity during the next class session.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 16, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 16, 2022 here.

PRESSURED TO FIT IN

Today, peer pressure among young people often takes the form of “challenges” issued on Tik-Tok and other social media platforms. There have been challenges to eat laundry detergent pods, steal large items from school bathrooms, style one’s hair using gorilla glue, and strangle oneself within an inch of death. A recent example is the “dry scoop challenge,” which involves eating energy drink powder without first adding water. This has been linked to at least one heart attack, and doctors are adamant against it. Still, children and teens try it in hopes of gaining affirmation from peers. “Kids are biologically built to become much more susceptible to peers in adolescence,” said Mitchell Prinstein, of the American Psychological Association. “And social media has magnified those peer influence processes to be much, much more dangerous than they were before…. These kids are being influenced at a level that’s beyond their conscious awareness.”

PRESSURED TO DO WRONG

Today’s passage involves matters of justice among the Israelites during Moses’ leadership. When the majority favored one side over the other, others were inclined to side with that group regardless of guilt or innocence. God commanded them not to pervert justice for any reason, and certainly not to fit in with peers.

  1. What’s the worst example of peer pressure you know of?
  2. Why is peer pressure so powerful?
  3. How can we be on the side of right even when the pressure to fit in is so strong?

Additional Links

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2022 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

January 9, 2022: Injustice and Hope (Genesis 21:8-20)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Have participants choose a partner as you distribute copies of the “Relationship Dynamics” exercise from the activity page, which you can  download here. After pairs complete the exercise, reconvene for whole-class discussion.

For deeper study and possible input for the exercise above, distribute copies of the “Hagar and God” exercise from the activity page to complete together. Allow time for whole-group discussion and insights.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 9, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 9, 2022 here.

POEM FOR THE EXPAT

This past fall, Danielle Obisie-Orlu was named Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County (Pennsylvania). The University of Pittsburgh junior was born in Washington, D.C., to Nigerian parents, and she was raised mainly in South Africa. She has always felt like something of an outcast, and this comes through in her poetry, including “Poem for the Expat,” which won her the title of Youth Poet Laureate. “My personal experiences of growing up as a dark-skinned Black woman in South Africa and the U.S. have really shaped how I hold myself.” Her passion to build bridges across cultural and racial divides is summed up in the African concept of ubuntu. “Ubuntu … [is] an approach to life that’s about valuing human dignity in one another,” she explains. It is the quest to “get to a place where I can say, ‘I recognize my humanity within you.’”

MERCY FOR THE OUTCAST

When Sarah had her son, Isaac, by Abraham, she wanted to be rid of Hagar and Ishmael. She urged Abraham to get rid of them, but Abraham was distressed by the idea. God assured him that He would not only protect the child but raise him up into a great nation. When the baby cried from thirst in the desert, the angel of God called out to Hagar, guided her to a well, and saved the lives of the outcasts.

  1. What is your favorite poem, and why?
  2. Who do we find it easiest to see dignity and humanity in? Who do we find it hardest to see these in?
  3. What does it say about God’s character that He treated Hagar and Ishmael as He did?

Additional Links

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2022 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

January 2, 2022: Justice, Vengeance, and Mercy (Genesis 4:1-15)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Crossroads” exercise from the activity page, which you can  download here. Have students work in groups of two or three to complete as directed. After a few minutes, reconvene for whole-class discussion of conclusions.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Anger Two Ways” exercise from the activity page as a take-home. Suggest that some volunteers come to the next class prepared to share what they learned through this activity.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 2, 2022

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 2, 2022 here.

GRIEVING OVER THE DEATH OF A SISTER

“That must’ve been so hard on your parents.” That’s a phrase often heard by the siblings of someone who has died, especially if the person died young. The grief of the brothers or sisters is sometimes considered less important or painful, explained UK therapist Jennifer Park. The grieving siblings can even take “on the role of helping out, making sure other people are okay, so their own grief gets lost.” Three sisters who lost their fourth sister in adulthood found little help for sibling grief, so they decided to do something about it. “We wanted to change the landscape of sibling loss,” said Maeveen Brown. “We launched Sibling Grief Club to provide an online resource and community that adult siblings could utilize, so they never have to feel alone in their grief again.” Brown said they have found that the amount of grief isn’t determined by the age of the person who died but by the love the sibling had for that person. “If you love hard, you will grieve hard.”

DEFIANT OVER THE DEATH OF A BROTHER

Today’s passage concerns the first murder in the history of humanity. Cain killed his brother, Abel, because he could not master the anger that was roused when God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. Not only did Cain kill his brother, he lied—and expressed defiance about it—to God. God’s judgment on Cain was severe, but even then, the Lord was merciful to the sinner.

  1. Who do you know who has had to hide his or her grief in order to spare someone else’s pain?
  2. What has helped you grieve through a loss of your own?
  3. Why do you think Cain became angry enough that he would kill his own brother?

Additional Links

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2022 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 26, 2021: Justice and Deliverance (Nahum 1:1-3, 6-8, 12-13, 15)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

distribute instead copies of the “Our Just God” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have students complete the exercise in their groups. Discuss results. The “Good News” exercise from the activity page can be used after either alternative for expanded consideration.

To encourage personal application:

Ask students to use the blank side of one of the handouts to write a commitment prayer about living for God in the new year. Direct them to consider words, phrases, and ideas from today’s text. State that you will offer opportunities for sharing results with the class as a whole, but you will not put any on the spot to do so. Offer that opportunity after no more than one minute to jot down thoughts for their individual prayers.

Close the class with sentence prayers, led by volunteers (possibly recruited in advance) to voice specific individuals (named or unnamed) who need to hear the message of justice (wrath to come) alongside the message of restoration offered through Christ (forgiveness). You as teacher can offer the last of the prayers to wrap up.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–December 26, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for December 26, 2021 here.

THE QUICK ANGER OF MAN

In September, when the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, their retribution was as swift as it was unjust. Certain groups were primarily targeted. Among them were female judges, especially those who had sentenced Afghan men to prison for violence against women. “They feel like it’s their right to find me, to hit me, to kill me,” said a female judge named Bibi, since now “they don’t have anyone to be afraid of.” Many of these women are trying to flee Afghanistan, but most remain in hiding, moving from house to house. Their danger came quickly, as soon as the old regime fell. “A day or two after the Taliban arrived in Kabul,” said a judge named Nabila, “my personal number was called and I was threatened with revenge, threatened with murder.” Bibi is hiding with her three young children, but she lives in fear. “My kids … they can’t see their mother being killed.”

THE SLOW ANGER OF GOD

The Lord’s anger at the Kingdom of Assyria was long in the building. He had graciously sent Jonah to preach a warning to the capital city of Nineveh, which the Assyrians heeded. But this did not change their ways for long, and they renewed their attacks against the Kingdom of Judah. Finally, God had had enough, and He sent Micah to carry word of Assyria’s impending downfall. The Lord’s anger is slow, but when it is kindled for His people, it cannot be resisted.

  1. When have you seen human anger flash out? When have you seen someone slow to anger?
  2. Why are you grateful that God is slow to anger?
  3. Why did the Ninevites’ repentance in Jonah’s time not continue?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 19, 2021: Justice and Righteousness (Isaiah 9:2-7)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Looking at the Light” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, to be completed as indicated.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “No Santa” exercise from the activity page. Have students work individually for one minute before comparing their cards with others in ensuing whole-class discussion. For each sentiment, ask the class, “Why is this message so important for our world today?”

Close with a prayer of thanks for Jesus, whose rule is a reason to celebrate not only at Christmas but always for those who have submitted to him as Lord.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–December 19, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for December 19, 2021 here.

CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT

In October, the leader of Austria—Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (35)—resigned amidst accusations of corruption. He and nine other individuals plus three organizations were accused of using government money to gain favorable coverage in a prominent newspaper and other daily media. Bribery and manipulated content, including doctored opinion surveys, were used to generate a consistently positive view of his administration. Kurz maintained his innocence and said he resigned “to make space to guarantee stability.”

GOVERNING WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS

At Christmas, we remember Isaiah’s prophecy of a child who would be born to be a great light for people living in darkness, The government would be on this child’s shoulders, and He would establish His kingdom with justice and righteousness. Our passage today reminds us of how much greater the rule of Christ will be.

  1. Who is or was the finest elected official you know of? Why do you think that person was elected?
  2. Why do governments seem prone to corruption?
  3. In what ways does the government foreseen in Isaiah 9 stand in contrast to governments today?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use.

If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 12, 2021: Justice and Kindness (Samuel 9:1-7, 9-12)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before class, place at each chair or distribute electronically a copy of the “Why Be Kind?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Students can begin work on as they arrive.

Make a transition by saying, “How are kindness and justice connected? David’s actions today give us some insight into this question.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “www.Ziba&Mephibosheth.edu?” exercise from the activity page. Allow study pairs several minutes to complete the activity before whole-class sharing.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–December 12, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for December 12, 2021 here.

INSPIRING CHILDREN TO SHOW KINDNESS

Last month, the subscription programming service Apple TV+ debuted a children’s program called Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show. With more than a few similarities to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the new show features actor Jack McBrayer, famous for his broad smile and “infectious positivity.” The show was developed by Angela C. Santomero, creator of Blue’s Clues and co-author of a book entitled Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving. Apple says Hello, Jack! aims to “ignite kindness through exploring empathy, humor, playfulness and imagination.” In a time when things can seem dark and scary to children, a show that inspires them to show kindness to others is a welcome development.

INSPIRED TO SHOW KINDNESS TO A FRIEND’S CHILD

When King David was at the height of his reign, having subdued the enemies on all sides, his mind turned to his late friend Jonathan. He wished to do some kindness to Jonathan’s family, so he investigated whether or not any of his relatives remained alive. He found Mephibosheth, a crippled son of Jonathan, and brought him to his palace. He returned to the young man all the land that had belonged to his father, Jonathan, and his grandfather, King Saul, and he invited him to dine at the king’s own table regularly.

  1. Of what benefit is a television program that models kindness to children?
  2. When have you shown kindness to one person because of gratitude to someone else?
  3. How could God’s kindness to us inspire us to show kindness to others?

Additional Links

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 5, 2021: Justice and Obedience (Deuteronomy 5:1b-3; 10:12-13; 27:1-10)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Hear Here” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Complete the activity together.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Doing What God Wants” exercise from the activity page as a take-home devotional work. Close with five prayers that ask God’s help in heeding the five admonitions listed in the take-home activity, one request per prayer.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–December 5, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for December 5, 2021 here.

A SIGN TO WARN OF DANGER

In October, a 43-year-old man was killed after being washed off a jetty in Crescent City, CA. There are signs and fences warning people against going out at high tide, but these are often disregarded. Crescent City leadership member Rick Shepherd has since suggested that new signs be put up, saying that anyone who disregards warning signs and then has to be rescued will be charged up to $12,000 for the effort (assuming they live). “A lot of times,” Shepherd said, “it jeopardizes our search and rescue [folks] to go out there and try to rescue people” who have ignored the warning signs.

A SIGN TO REMEMBER GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

Before God had brought the children of Israel into the promised land, He gave them commands for what to do when it did come to pass. He instructed them to pile up uncut stones on the far bank of the Jordan River, whitewashing them and then writing the Law on them. This was to be a sign and a memorial to them and their children, reminding them of God’s faithfulness on their behalf—and of the benefits of obeying the Lord.

  1. When have you seen someone disobey a warning or law, resulting in negative consequences?
  2. What do you think of billing someone who needs rescuing because they ignored warnings?
  3. How can you remind yourself of crucial moments of God’s faithfulness in your own life?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 28, 2021: Good News for All (Acts 10:34-47)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Broken Barriers” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Announce a one-minute time limit to complete as indicated. Have participants discuss their entries and adjust their lists as desired.

Another option is to distribute copies of the “Who Is My Gentile?” exercise from the activity page as a take-home. Promise to discuss results next week.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 28, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 28, 2021 here.

INCLUSION IN MAKING ANIMATED MOVIES

In a recent roundup article of the top 50 animation studios in the world, many of them were in Hollywood, as one might expect. Studios like Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks topped the list. However, some might be surprised to learn that more than half of the studios (26 of 50) were not in the U.S. at all. Many were in Japan or Canada. Other countries active in computer animation include Germany, England, the Philippines, Iceland, India, and Turkey. Add to that the many individual animators and artists from scores of other nations who work for these top studios, and you’ll see that computer animation is now a radically international affair. These studios often have a surprising openness to international animators and artists. “You should be fine,” said one industry insider in an online forum, because “most animations studios/companies in the creative industry look mostly at portfolios.” If you’ve got the skills, studios will be interested, no matter where you’re from.

INCLUSION IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Our passage today shows the moment when Peter became suddenly aware that the salvation of Jesus is intended for all people in all nations. He took fellow Jewish Christians with him to the home of Cornelius the centurion, and all of them witnessed the Holy Spirit falling upon these Gentiles as He had fallen on the Jewish believers. Through the vision and this dramatic event, Peter began to understand that God offers salvation to everyone in every nation, language, and tribe.

  1. What’s an animated film you have a positive opinion of?
  2. How do you respond to the idea that the world has become more of a global village?
  3. What do you admire about Christians who come from other countries or cultures?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 21, 2021: Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-8)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Weddings” icebreaker exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Award a token prize to the participant who collects the most affirmations. After the activity, make a transition by noting that today’s lesson may challenge our view of how weddings “should” be.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “OT in NT” matching exercise from the activity page. Announce a speed drill for individuals to complete the exercise as indicated, time limit of one minute. Have learners raise a hand when finished. After calling time, allow learners to correct their own work. Give a token prize suitable to the nature of the exercise to the participant who raised his or her hand first and has all answers correct. Discuss what significance learners see in the Old Testament allusions to the verses from Revelation 19.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 21, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 21, 2021 here.

MARRIAGE AT ITS LOWEST

In 1946, when most Americans were euphoric about the hopeful state of the world, the national marriage rate hit an all-time high. In the 152 years these statistics have been kept, that year’s rate of 16.4 marriages per 1,000 people was the highest it had ever been. Since that time, the rate has generally declined, especially since the early 1980s. In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the marriage rate dropped to its lowest since recordkeeping began, to a rate of 6.1 per 1,000. Sally C. Curtin and Paul D. Sutto, curators of these statistics for the National Center for Health Statistics, found “that adults in the United States are increasingly postponing marriage, and that a record number of current youth and young adults are projected to forego marriage altogether.” Studies have cited multiple factors for this, including declining religious adherence to marriage, public disenchantment with marriage, COVID-19, and unstable jobs and strained finances. Tragically, fully one-quarter of unmarried Americans aged 25 to 34 years are living with a romantic partner.

A MARRIAGE IN THE HIGHEST

In stark contrast to our culture’s attitude toward marriage, today’s passage shows us that God places a wedding at the pinnacle of His divine plan. The Lord Jesus, having purified for Himself a bride, convenes the wedding in the throne room of God. The fine linen of her dress represents the righteous deeds of His people.

  1. What’s the best wedding you’ve ever seen? What made it so good?
  2. Why is marriage still important to society?
  3. Why does Scripture begin and end with a wedding?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

  1. Music Video, Traditional: “This Is My Song” by VOICES8
  2. Music Video, Multicultural: “He Understands” by Chandler Moore
  3. Music Video, Contemporary: “Stir a Passion” by Lindy Cofer (Revere)
  4. Guzik’s Commentary on Revelation 19
  5. Pulpit Commentary on Revelation 19
  6. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Revelation 19

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 14, 2021: God of Power (Revelation 11:15-19)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Before doing the preceding activity, have learners gain a broader perspective on the book of Revelation by completing the “The Perfect Number” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. This is individual work; time limit of one minute. Give a token gift featuring the numeral 7 to learners who get all 14 correct answers.

Another option is to distribute copies of the “How Long?” exercise from the activity page. Assign groups of four to prepare their conclusions for whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 14, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 14, 2021 here.

GRATITUDE FOR THOSE WHO SACRIFICED ALL

Every year, Wreaths Across America places Christmas wreaths on the headstones of veterans in cemeteries around the nation. There is even an annual running program, the Escort to Arlington challenge, associated with the wreath-laying. Trucks in Maine load wreaths in December and then make the 737-mile trek down to Arlington National Cemetery. Runners can “escort” those trucks by amassing 737 miles of running by the time the trucks reach Washington, D.C. This year’s event has special significance to Emily Kraines, whose husband was an Air Force pararescue jumper who died in a training accident in 2019. Emily had always been a runner, but when her husband died, she stopped. She discovered that this year’s Escort to Arlington challenge culminates on what would’ve been Peter’s 36th birthday, December 18, so she committed to amassing all those miles. “This year, I will get to visit his grave with an accomplishment of finishing another race,” she said. “I know he would be so proud.”

GRATITUDE FOR THE ONE WHO SACRIFICED ALL

Our passage today captures the scene in heaven when the reign of the Lord Jesus is celebrated. Having overcome on earth, purchasing people from all tribes and tongues for God, now His forever reign is celebrated again. It is a scene of tremendous gratitude and worship.

  1. As you are filled with thankfulness in this season, how can you show gratitude?
  2. What’s the most extravagant expression of gratitude you’ve ever witnessed or received?
  3. In what key ways was Jesus treated differently on earth from how He is treated in heaven?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 7, 2021: United in Praise (Revelation 7:9-17)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Extend the Into the Word study by distributing copies of the “Power and Authority” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have groups complete it as indicated to contribute to ensuing whole-class discussion.

Another option is to distribute copies of the “Nothing but the Blood” exercise from the activity page for one minute of individual work. Award a token prize to the first to finish correctly.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 7, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 7, 2021 here.

WORSHIPING TOGETHER IN ALABAMA

Believers “of all colors” united in worship in Mobile, Alabama, in October. It was the annual Shrink the Divide gathering organized by The Pledge Group. “Today is an opportunity for a diverse group of believers to come together and communicate the fact that we believe the Gospel is the way to bring racial reconciliation in every situation,” said Roy Hill, president of the Pledge Group. This year, hundreds of people were in physical attendance, with many more watching online. “We have a message for everyone that will listen,” said Hill. “Through Christ, we’re all family. We’re all brothers and sisters, and we need to start treating each other that way.”

WORSHIPING TOGETHER IN HEAVEN

Christ is the great uniter and Savior of humanity. Our passage today pulls back the curtain on a scene in heaven, in which people from all nations and tongues unite in praise of Jesus. Whatever factors might’ve divided these people in life are overwhelmed by the family relationship we share with every believer in Christ.

  1. Have you seen racial unity in our country increasing or decreasing in recent years? Why do you think that is?
  2. How can you take a step toward uniting with a believer in Christ who may be different from you in external ways?
  3. What are you most looking forward to in eternity?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 31, 2021: Praise God for His Greatness (Psalms 149:1-5; 150)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

As learners depart, give each a copy of the “Praise God Anyway!” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. To encourage its completion as a take-home exercise, promise to discuss results at the outset of next week’s class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 31, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 31, 2021 here.

PRAISING MAN WITH A PRIZE

This month, the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to three men for their groundbreaking work in climate change in the 1960s. One of the three was Japanese-born Syukuro “Suki” Manabe, 90, a meteorologist at Princeton University. Manabe was honored for “the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability, and reliably predicting global warming.” This work laid the foundation for the modern science of climate modeling. Colleagues praised Manabe for his “combination of brilliance and humility,” the latter of which was illustrated in his acceptance speech. He said he felt his work didn’t compare with the outstanding research done by previous winners of the prize. But when he considered that his work could help lead to a better understanding of our current climate crisis, he changed his mind about winning the prize. “Then I thought, maybe it’s OK.”

PRAISING GOD WITH WORSHIP

Today’s psalms are some of the most jubilant celebrations in Scripture. We get an image of raucous, musical glory, like a marching band playing all around us to worship God. The psalmist calls the people to praise the Lord with an almost reckless abandon.

  1. What’s the highest prize you have ever personally witnessed anyone receiving?
  2. When have you been in a celebration that almost got out of control?
  3. What could send you into this kind of jubilant worship?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 24, 2021: Praise God for His Presence (Psalm 84)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For a broader and deeper consideration of God’s presence and dwelling place, distribute copies of the “Where God Dwells” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Allow study pairs or triads to complete it as indicated for ensuing whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Heart Test” journal from the activity page as learners depart. Challenge them to log entries three times daily in the coming week. Promise to discuss results when the class meets again.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 24, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 24, 2021 here.

LIVING FARTHER FROM THE CITY

As the pandemic caused a shift from in-person employment to remote work, people began to realize they didn’t have to live in the big city anymore. If they weren’t forced to show up at the desk at 8:00 a.m., why fight the traffic and endure the other hassles of urban living? Realtors in the Seattle area, for example, found demand skyrocketing for housing in more outlying and rural areas. “People were coming up to the islands and Whatcom County in droves,” said real estate agent Annie Dameron Pederson. People began to arrive “with cash to spend and mountain bikes in tow,” said Windermere agent Damian Pro. “​​They have this mentality of, ‘We want to live our best life.’” For them, that means moving away from something.

LIVING CLOSER TO THE LORD

For the psalmist in ancient Israel, pursuing the best life meant moving toward something—namely, the temple, the place where God was thought to dwell. In our passage today, the psalmist admires the swallow, who builds a nest very close to the altar of God. He wishes to be the lowest servant in the house of the Lord rather than to dwell in lavish luxury with the wicked.

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
  2. When have you taken a big step back and reevaluated important aspects of your life?
  3. What do you do when you feel a desire to move closer to the Lord?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 17, 2021: Praise God for Past Deliverance (Psalm 107:1-9, 39-43)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For a deeper and broader look at Psalm 107, distribute copies of the “To Cry for Help” and/or “Psalm 107 Reflected in Scripture” exercises from the activity page, which you can download here. Have participants work in groups to complete as indicated; follow with whole-class discussion of discoveries.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 17, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 17, 2021 here.

A CRY FOR HELP LEADS TO RESCUE

Last month, Hurricane Ida slammed Louisiana. With power and phones down in the middle of the night, area resident Kamie Tatum went into labor. Kamie (22) was alone and nine months pregnant. “I was having full-on contractions,” she said. Because the phones were out, she got in her car and tried to make it to a hospital. But she encountered a huge tree that had been blown down across the highway. “I thought I was going to have my baby in the car by myself…. I just sat in the middle of the highway in my car and cried.” About this time, a crew of thirty sheriff’s deputies and volunteers with chain saws, wire cutters, and axes, who had been working their way on the road for three hours, came upon Kamie’s car and heard her cries of pain. The crew pushed the tree off the road, and Lt. Trent Duplantis climbed into the driver’s seat and drove Kamie to Thibodaux Regional, where she later gave birth to a healthy baby boy. “If it wasn’t for Deputy Trent,” she said, “I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

A CRY FOR HELP LEADS TO DELIVERANCE

In our passage today, the psalmist describes how God is drawn to those in need. The distressed, the lost, and the hungry cry out to God, and He delivers them. Indeed, the Lord delights to come to the aid of all those who call to Him. God is never more than a prayer away.

  1. When have you cried out to God and then seen His rescue?
  2. Why does God so often choose to send help in the form of other people?
  3. Who around you is crying out for help today?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 10, 2021: Praise for God’s Ultimate Justice (Psalm 9:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Use one or both of the exercises on the activity page, which you can download here, to explore the subject of oppression as it may relate to poverty—the two topics often being associated in faith-based and secular discussion. There are many ways to use these exercises in that regard. You could have half the class divide into smaller groups for one exercise while the other half considers the other exercise.

Close by allowing volunteers to finish this sentence: “Based on today’s study, here’s how I could better demonstrate God’s concern for justice.”

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 10, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 10, 2021 here.

JUSTICE FROM A JUDGE

Late last month, a court in India finally delivered sentences to those responsible for a so-called honor killing of a young married couple in 2003. The wife, D. Kannagi, was from a higher caste than her husband, S. Murugesan. The couple eloped and kept their marriage secret from the families. But when the wife’s relatives learned of the marriage, her brother and father took it as an insult to their family and caste. The brother formed a mob of extended family, paid two police officers to look the other way, and tortured and killed the couple in front of many witnesses. India’s parliament had passed the Prevention of Atrocities Act in 1989 to punish such behavior, but such cases still occur with regularity. Justice did finally come for the couple last month, as a judge handed the wife’s brother the death sentence and gave life sentences to twelve others, including the two policemen.

JUSTICE FROM THE LORD

David cried out to God for justice against his enemies. In our passage today, David praises God for bringing judgment against whole nations, overthrowing their cities, and establishing his throne. Though human magistrates are fallible and can be swayed, God rules with righteousness and judges with perfect equity, defending the innocent and bringing down the corrupt.

  1. What differences might be cited as justification for discrimination or violence?
  2. How can we celebrate justice as a blessing from God?
  3. How are our celebrations tempered by the awareness that we have not seen God’s perfect justice?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 3, 2021: Praise God with Joy (Psalm 100)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “God Is King” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in pairs or triads to complete as indicated. Reconvene for whole-class discussion of findings.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the word-search puzzle “Important Ideas from Psalm 100” from the activity page as a take-home exercise as students depart.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 3, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 3, 2021 here.

AN EXPERT SHEPHERD

“I kept meeting people with expertise but without an opportunity to mentor,” says Deborah Heiser, founder of The Mentor Project. In a recent interview in Forbes, Heiser explained that this led to her forming a non-profit organization with the goal of connecting experts in science, law, business, and finance with students around the globe for free. One example happened at the height of the pandemic, when the organization connected a 16-year-old inventor with two mentors: an innovator and an intellectual properties lawyer. “A patent is out of the realm of possibility for most people,” Heiser said, “but because they worked each week with him for free, he could get a patent pending! And, for a 16-year-old, this is a life-changing experience.” The Mentor Project pairs world-class mentors with students eager to be shepherded, and the results are powerful.

THE GREATEST SHEPHERD

Psalm 100 reminds us that we are the sheep and God is the shepherd. It is a powerful metaphor for how wise and knowledgeable God is and how simple and sometimes clueless we are. Happy is the “sheep” who attends to the guidance of the divine shepherd.

  1. Who have been your key mentors?
  2. When have you “stumbled into” a situation that you came to see as the result of God’s shepherding?
  3. In what other ways is the shepherd/sheep metaphor applicable in the Christian life?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

September 26, 2021: Praise for Salvation (Acts 2:32-33, 37-47)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For a deeper look at New Testament teaching on baptism, distribute copies of the “More on Baptism” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have study pairs complete it as indicated. (Since it can be time-consuming for all pairs to study every entry on the activity handout, you can assign fewer passages to each group.) Reconvene for whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 26, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 26, 2021 here.

STRATEGIC COLLABORATION

Earlier this month, the third annual Future of Home conference took place in New York City. The conference, which focuses on companies that serve the home market, hosted a discussion that featured home guru Martha Stewart and Jim Shreve, president and CEO of Baccarat North America (Baccarat sells high-end crystal products). Stewart and Shreve recently collaborated to create new glasses for Stewart’s signature drinks. Over the years, Stewart has created several of what she calls “playful partnerships,” alliances with partners as diverse as a hydroponics firm and rapper Snoop Dogg. A collaboration such as this is fun, Stewart says, “but it’s calculated fun—it makes money, and it gets people thinking…. [Collaborations] brought in a new group of people and more opportunities.”

SPIRITUAL COLLABORATION

When Peter preached to the crowd at the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit initiated a large-scale collaboration. In a single day, God added 3,000 people to the Church in Jerusalem, and they joyfully joined their resources and gifts to serve one another. The realities of this new happy partnership meant that everyone had to get creative in using what they had and could do to help their fellow believers. They give us a wonderful illustration of how God has designed the local church to work.

  1. What’s a great partnership, alliance, or collaboration you know of?
  2. What factors do you think might go into making a strategic partnership successful?
  3. How long did it take for the new believers in Jerusalem to begin using their gifts and resources to serve the church?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

September 19, 2021: Praise by Expecting and Following (Mark 10:46-52)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute to study pairs copies of the “One Story, Three Versions” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Each study pair will need a set of five colored pencils: one each of brown, blue, green, red, and either yellow or orange. Complete and discuss results as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 19, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 19, 2021 here.

DESPERATE FOR NURSES

“Stress is part of the game when you sign up to be an emergency medicine RN, but this is another level.” Trauma nurse Matt Miele made it through the brutal early waves of COVID-19, though not without extreme stress. But just when he and his burned-out peers thought things were heading back toward normalcy, the Delta variant hit. “We thought the pandemic would be over soon and could take time later to deal with our emotions,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, president of National Nurses United. But it was not to be. Now, hospitals and clinics across America deal with critical nursing shortages, and the nurses who remain are being pushed beyond the breaking point. “Some days coming home from the hospital I yell at God, I yell at myself, I yell at COVID and cry,” said ICU nurse Mary Lynn Briggs. “And that’s all before I pull into my driveway.” The need for more nurses is desperate, but the nurses themselves are becoming emotionally desperate.

DESPERATE FOR GOD

Life was hard for Bartimaeus, a blind beggar in Jericho during the ministry of Jesus. Perhaps word of the miraculous healing powers of Jesus had reached his ears, and perhaps he found himself longing for a chance to gain access to him. But how could he? He couldn’t exactly just hop up and go find him. So when he heard that Jesus was in Jericho, actually near enough that he could reach him, Bartimaeus leapt up and awkwardly but boldly stumbled toward the Messiah, crying out to Jesus. People told him to be quiet, but his desperation only surged, and he wailed for mercy. Jesus rewarded his faith by healing his blindness.

  1. When in your life were you most desperate for something?
  2. In what ways could your church minister in Jesus’ name to local nurses and other medical staff?
  3. What is the relationship between Bartimaeus’ desperation and the faith Jesus praises him for?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

September 12, 2021: Praise in Dance (2 Samuel 6:1-5, 14-19)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

To have your class dig deeper into worship in the New Testament era, distribute copies of the “New Testament Worship” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have small groups complete it as indicated. After groups complete the listing, reconvene for whole-class discussion. Pay particular attention to “other” texts that groups saw fit to enter.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 12, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 12, 2021 here.

DANCING TO HONOR A CHARITY

More than 200 people gathered in Toledo, Ohio, recently to raise money for a local charity. The event was a mock dance competition with area performers, in which the audience voted for their favorite dance couple. But the real winners were the children served by the Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center, which supports local families by “providing compassionate support as they navigate the educational, legal, and social systems of our community.” This year’s banquet was the 13th anniversary of the event, and attendees raised more than $20,000. The community rose up in dance to honor a group doing good in their community.

DANCING TO WORSHIP GOD

King David leapt and danced before the Lord with all his might when he and the people brought the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. His own appearance and dignity were not as important to him as his worship of the Lord God. His own wife, Michal, did not approve, however. She saw him cavorting about, and she despised him in her heart. But God was pleased with David’s worship, because he had risen up in dance to give honor to Him.

  1. What’s the most extreme expression of celebration you’ve ever given?
  2. Which expressions of worship are you more comfortable with? Which expressions are you less comfortable with?
  3. In what ways can we express joyful worship to God today?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

September 5, 2021: Praise with Music (Exodus 15:11-21)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of “The Problems Before the Praise” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here, to complete in study pairs as indicated. Since this section has both a Bible-study element and personal reflection segment, you may wish to save the latter for the end of your class time.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

To close the session, distribute copies of the “His Love Lasts My Whole Life” exercise from the activity page, to complete as indicated. Allow individuals to share their compositions, but don’t put anyone on the spot to do so.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–September 5, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for September 5, 2021 here.

A SONG BY VICTORY

Victory Brinker, a nine-year-old singer from Pennsylvania, wowed the judges on a popular television talent show, and last month moved on to the semifinals of the competition. At the age of six, Victory saw someone singing opera, and she knew what she wanted to do with her life. But in the second round of the TV show, she increased the drama by changing her song at the last minute. Happily, she performed beautifully and moved on to the semis. “If I impress the judges, that’s wonderful,” Victory told a reporter. “My goal is to get a standing ovation by the judges.” She achieved this, and the song of Victory propelled her onward.

A SONG OF VICTORY

Immediately after God brought the people across the Red Sea on dry land and plunged Pharaoh’s army to their deaths, Moses and Miriam sang a song of victory of their own. With God’s arm outstretched like that, all Israel’s other enemies would think twice about opposing them. Propelled onward by this triumph and their song of victory, God’s people moved toward the Promised Land.

  1. When has a very young person wowed you with their talent or knowledge?
  2. What can make someone’s enemies think twice about opposing them?
  3. What could the Israelites know about God’s character in light of His deliverance at the Red Sea?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

August 29, 2021: An Eternal Hope (2 Corinthians 4:16–5:10)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before learners arrive, place in chairs (or distribute electronically) copies of the “Walk by What?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. After learners complete as indicated, award a humorous “Faithful Lexicography” certificate (you prepare) to the learner with the most words that no one else has. Have more than one certificate on hand in case of ties.

After the activity, make a transition by noting that today’s lesson has something to say about what the ultimate focus in life should be.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Finish the Thoughts” exercise from the activity page. Announce a one-minute time limit, closed Bibles. Allow self-scoring of results.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 29, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 29, 2021 here.

TEMPORARY HOUSING

Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) is a non-profit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut. They help refugee families find housing, jobs, and support. With the American withdrawal from Afghanistan this month, IRIS is seeking to help a large influx of Afghan refugee families, often receiving only 24 hours’ notice before a family arrives. The organization’s leaders are calling for temporary housing—like unoccupied apartments or vacation homes—to be made available for these families. “Receiving families on short notice when we’re already at full tilt because of the pandemic operations, it’s really stretched our budget,” said Ann O’Brien, director of community engagement at IRIS. Meanwhile, the families long for a permanent dwelling too. “As of right now,” O’Brien said, “the housing market is so tight that it takes us two weeks to find permanent housing that they can afford, so we’re incurring hotel costs, which is why we’re looking for temporary housing.”

TEMPORARY HOME

In today’s passage, Paul was thinking of leaving his temporary home behind to move into eternal dwellings. He knew his time on earth, in the earthly dwelling of his body, would someday come to an end. He longed to cast off his physical body and clothe himself with his permanent dwelling—in his permanent home. But he knew he had work to do here until that day, and he was determined to be faithful to his Lord.

  1. What would be your hopes if your family needed to flee from your home country?
  2. How eagerly do you share Paul’s desire to leave this life and put on eternity?
  3. How do you seek to be pleasing to the Lord while you are still in the temporary housing of this life?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

August 22, 2021: A Conquering Faith (1 John 4:2-3, 13-17)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Option 1: Distribute copies of the “Love ≠ Apathy” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. After several minutes of discussion in pairs, or one minute of individual work, call for volunteers to share in whole-class discovery.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Option 2: Distribute copies of the “Overcoming the World” exercise on the activity page. Have participants work individually to complete it as indicated in one minute. In the ensuing discussion, also discuss the different senses of what it means to love the world as depicted in John 3:16 and 1 John 2:16.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 22, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 22, 2021 here.

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING

Earlier this month, a representative of a ransomware group made an encouraging promise. Ransomware is a form of computer hacking in which a company’s software is rendered unusable unless the company pays millions of dollars in ransom. Targets of such attacks this year include Colonial Pipeline, Kia Motors, and the National Basketball Association (NBA). But pressure from the White House may be having an impact. A spokesperson for ransomware group BlackMatter promised to leave crucial infrastructures alone. But computer security experts are skeptical. “The fact that a single group has said it will avoid attacks on critical infrastructure,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, is “a meaningless nothing-burger.” Whether the word of computer hackers can be trusted is yet to be seen. The proof will be in the pudding.

THE PROOF IS IN THE LOVE

In our passage today, the Apostle John writes that the evidence of someone’s faith will be his or her love shown toward others. As Paul had written previously, even the most laudable of actions are suspect if they are not done in love. Confessing the divinity of Jesus and living in God’s love is how we can identify those who truly belong to the Lord. The proof will be in our love.

  1. Who do you know who has been affected by hackers or other malicious computer users?
  2. When have you taken a wait-and-see approach on someone’s promise or claim?
  3. How can we be sure we are acting in love as we interact with others?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUA-e_X_JZU

August 15, 2021: A Patient, Persevering Faith (Hebrews 10:23-36)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Step outside today’s lesson text by having learners complete the “A Call to Persevere” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Why Worship?” exercise on the activity page. Have participants work in pairs to complete it as indicated. Have colored pencils or markers available for those who request them. Award a token prize for the most catchy creation.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 15, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 15, 2021 here.

PERSEVERING THROUGH COVID

New York City veteran firefighter Kinga Mielnik nearly died from COVID-19 and suffered a miscarriage in the last year. After 20 years fighting fires with the FDNY, it was the coronavirus that almost took her life. But the mother of five young boys persevered and fought for her life in Bellevue Hospital. When she was still recovering, she got pregnant again and she and her husband had their sixth child—a girl, at last: Aleksandra. “You never know what was going to happen with COVID, but you have got to let life go on,” Mielnik said. “Some people were afraid to have kids during the pandemic and put it off, but you can’t let things like this stop you from living.”

PERSEVERING THROUGH PERSECUTION

The writer of Hebrews called upon believers to persevere in their faith despite public insult, persecution, prison, and the loss of their property. They suffered for Christ in ways that might cause some people to turn from the Lord and throw away their confidence. The author called on them to hold fast to the end so they would receive the reward promised to those who endure.

  1. What things have you put on hold because of COVID, and what things have you continued doing no matter what?
  2. What’s the most inspiring story of perseverance you’ve ever heard?
  3. How might hardship or persecution help refine your faith in God?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

August 8, 2021: A Necessary Faith (Hebrews 11:1-8, 13-16)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Something Better” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Since this can be very time-consuming, you may wish to assign discrete segments to groups. Discuss results as appropriate.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 8, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 8, 2021  here.

SUSTAINED BY FAITH IN TOKYO

Grace McCallum, 18, is a member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the Tokyo Olympics. She credits her faith in Christ as sustaining her not only through years of training but also through a serious injury earlier this year. Until Tokyo, her parents had never missed one of her competitions. The thought of being without them in Japan has driven Grace to the Lord even more. “I’ll really be leaning on my faith,” she said before the Olympics. “My dad is sending me a couple of prayers to say before each practice in the morning. I think that will be really helpful to keep me at peace and calm while I’m there.”

SUSTAINED BY FAITH IN LIFE

Faith is the chief quality the Lord requires in those who follow Him. Christians are referred to as believers, which shows the importance of faith in our spiritual lives. Our passage today is a brilliant rewind of great examples of people of faith throughout Scripture. “By faith Abel…” and “By faith Enoch…” and “By faith Noah…” The writer of Hebrews heaps up reminder after reminder that faith is difficult, and sometimes deadly, but it is what it takes to follow Jesus not only to the cross, if necessary, but then on to the city that God has prepared for those who believe.

  1. How has your faith sustained you when the pressure was on?
  2. Who are some of your heroes of faith, both in the Bible and in life?
  3. In what way does faith make us strangers or pilgrims on earth?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

August 1, 2021: Salvation Available for All (Romans 10:5-17)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Amazing Stats” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, for study pairs to complete as indicated.

Then do the same thing with the “Amazing Quotes” exercise.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–August 1, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for August 1, 2021  here.

SCHOOL LUNCH FOR ALL

This fall, California public school students, all 6.2 million of them, will be offered free school lunches, regardless of income. There has been a perceived stigma against children who accept school lunches, causing many who need the offered meal to be ashamed to take it. “This is so historic,” said Erin Primer, director of food services for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District. “It’s beyond life-changing.” This is the largest free lunch program in the nation, but other states are watching California’s experiment carefully, and Maine has already announced a similar plan. “We’ve completely leveled the playing field when it comes to school food,” Primer said.

SALVATION FOR ALL

In the minds of most people in Israel during the first century, eternal salvation was something available to only a select few: the Jews. Whereas the children of Israel had always been meant to draw the world to the salvation available in God, they had come to think of it as a gift offered exclusively to them. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection reconciled the whole human race to God for all who believe. Today’s passage shows Paul’s teaching that, in Christ, salvation is offered to everyone.

  1. What’s something that had once been available only to some but then was offered to all?
  2. Why do people sometimes wish to keep benefits private rather than making them available to everyone?
  3. When has someone tried to keep Christ’s salvation away from certain people or groups?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

July 25, 2021: Peace with God (Romans 5:1-11)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “From Alphabetical to . . .” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here; allow one minute for learners to complete it individually, Bibles closed, before whole-class discussion.)

Distribute copies of the “How Do We Know?” exercise on the activity page as a take-home exercise. Encourage its completion by promising to discuss class members’ conclusions as class begins next week.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 25, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 25, 2021 here.

SAVED FROM DEATH

An Alaska man named John Pearl Smith II is accused of murdering two people and wounding a third in 2016. When the case neared a court date, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced its intention to pursue the death penalty. However, earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that federal executions would halt, pending a review. The motion to seek Smith’s execution has now been withdrawn. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska cautioned that, just because execution has been taken off the table, Smith’s alleged guilt remains. “This decision does not change our intent,” she said, “to pursue justice for the victims and their family members.”

SAVED FROM WRATH

In our passage today, Paul teaches that Christ’s blood covers our guilt. Through the cross, we are justified and reconciled to God. We ourselves have not become more righteous—but the wrath of God has been withdrawn because of Jesus’ atonement. Condemnation has been taken off the table. We stand to gain even more at the judgment because of the resurrection of Jesus. Justice for our sins was obtained at the cross, and now we have peace with God.

  1. What arguments would you give for or against the death penalty?
  2. When have you been saved from a punishment you expected?
  3. What does it mean that God paid such a high price to achieve peace with humanity?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

July 18, 2021: Faith of Abraham (Romans 4:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Divide the class into study groups of four to six. Distribute to one group copies of the “A Story of Faith” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, rather than the questions in the printed lesson. When you reconvene the class as a whole, let this group report answers first.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “A Legacy of Faith” exercise from the activity page, to be completed as indicated in no more than one minute. If distributed as a take-home, encourage completion by promising to begin next week’s class with it.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 18, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 18, 2021 here.

FAITH IN THEIR CHANCES

No matter how the Stanley Cup series ended, the Montreal Canadiens NHL hockey team made it to the finals because of their faith. Not many others shared this faith at the beginning of the tournament, as the Canadiens had the worst record of any of the teams that qualified. But they won 11 of 13 games through the preliminary rounds and in the first round made a sensational comeback against their rivals, the Toronto Maple Leaves, to overcome a 3-1 deficit. But when they were playing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the best-of-seven final round, their faith in their chances rose dramatically. “We wouldn’t be here right now if we didn’t believe,” said Canadiens goalie Carey Price. “We’ve believed this whole time.”

FAITH IN HIS GOD

In Paul’s masterpiece of theology, the letter to the Romans, he carefully laid out why faith in Christ is what is required for salvation. Obedience to the Law will save no one. In today’s passage, Paul recalls that it was the faith of Abraham, not his obedience, that brought about his justification from God. It wasn’t the Law of Moses that brought justification, as that was still 600 years in the future, and it wasn’t even the rite of circumcision that brought justification, as that too was in Abraham’s future. It was Abraham’s belief that God would keep his promises that brought about Abraham’s justification. Therefore, we too are made right with God through our faith and not through our works, sacrifices, or obedience to the Law.

  1. When did you believe in someone (or even in yourself) when no one else did?
  2. Why do you think people—including believers—tend to trust more in works than in faith?
  3. Why do you have faith in a God you have never seen?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

July 11, 2021: Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:8-17)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Modify the printed groupings by creating an additional, third grouping of learners. Distribute to this/these group(s) copies of the “Qualifications, Please!” exercise from the activity page, which you can download  here, to be completed and reported as indicated. Reconvene groups for whole-class sharing.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Paul’s Mission to Rome” crossword on the activity page as a take-home.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 11, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 11, 2021 here.

FINDING THE COURAGE TO CONFESS HER FAITH

In Makassar, Indonesia, a young woman named Yaya is suffering for her faith in Christ. She grew up in a Muslim home but had always been curious about Christianity. When Yaya met Uda, a faithful Christian man at the bank where they both worked, she was drawn to him, and they began seeing one another. Yaya attended church with Uda, eventually giving her life to Christ. But she was too afraid to tell her mother about her conversion. When Yaya learned that she had actually been adopted by her Muslim parents, she found the courage to finally tell her mother. Her mother flew into a rage, became violent, and threatened Yaya with a knife. She reported her daughter to a radical Muslim organization, who is suing the bank to have both Yaya and Uda fired. As of this writing, the matter was still unresolved.

DECLARING HIS COURAGE TO PREACH THE FAITH

Paul had wanted to visit the church in Rome but had long been prevented from doing so. Perhaps his desire to not build on works begun by others had something to do with it, as well. Whatever the reasons for his absence, it was not because he was somehow ashamed of the gospel. He knew that it was the very power of God for salvation, the only hope for humanity.

  1. When have you had to summon the courage to tell someone about your faith in Christ?
  2. What’s a situation that might cause someone to be ashamed of the gospel?
  3. Who would you speak to about Jesus if you had complete courage?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

July 4, 2021: Attitude of Gratitude (Leviticus 13:45-46; Luke 17:11-19)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Option. Distribute copies of the “Attitude Adjustment” exercise on the activity page, which you can download  here. Have learners pick one of the four statements to respond to, time limit of one minute.

Wrap up by asking students to identify which of the five lessons of the unit presents the biggest personal challenge. Ask volunteers to tell which they’ve chosen and why.

Option. Distribute copies of the “Depicting Gratitude” exercise on the activity page as a take-home.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–July 4, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for July 4, 2021 here.

GRATITUDE FOR CITIZENSHIP

This Fourth of July, 51 new American citizens are celebrating independence with a happy memory. A surprise speaker attended their naturalization ceremony in New York City last month: Douglas Emhoff (husband of Vice President Kamala Harris). The second gentleman gave the keynote address, mentioning his ancestors, who came to Ellis Island from Austria, and his wife’s parents, who are immigrants from Jamaica and India. One new citizen in the crowd felt especially grateful for her official status. Jia-Lin Liu from Taiwan waited 20 years for the ceremony. “I was laughing and crying but I’m really thankful,” Liu said. “Being an American gives you a lot of rights and power and resources.”

GRATITUDE FOR HEALING

Jesus met ten lepers on the border of Galilee and Samaria. He graciously granted healing to all ten, but only one—a Samaritan—came back to give Jesus thanks and praise. Though the Lord had miraculously restored their lives and status in society, only this one outsider showed gratitude.

  1. How did you or your family come to live in this nation?
  2. What are you most grateful for about this country?
  3. What are three things you’re deeply grateful to the Lord for?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

June 27, 2021: Rescued from Doubt (Matthew 14:22-33)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

As a closed-Bible pretest, distribute copies of the “True, False, and When?” exercise on the activity page, which you can download  here. Allow learners only one minute to complete it individually. Assure your class that you will not collect the tests—they will score their own. Have them do so when the minute is up.

Make a transition by saying, “Water is a tricky thing: it can be life-giving in one context and life-threatening in another. But in either case, the water itself may not be the main issue. Let’s see why.”

To encourage personal application:

Have learners discuss in triads their response to the exercise “I Just Don’t Get It!” on the activity page. This will cast a wider context for learners to relate their own experiences of faith and doubt.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 27, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 27, 2021 here.

FEAR LEADS TO SUPERHUMAN FEAT

In Russia, strongmen compete in bizarre ways to prove they are the strongest in the country. This month, Maxim Gametsky, the “Siberian Bear,” strapped a 737 jet to his back and tried to pull it across the runway. It wouldn’t budge. In practice, he couldn’t get it to move. But when the crowds and reporters came, something shifted in Maxim, and video shows him pulling the 40-ton beast 15 meters down the tarmac, to the wild cries of fans. “I couldn’t move it on the first attempt in any of my training sessions,” he later said. “And to be honest, I was a little scared today would be the same. Maybe it was excitement, maybe it was fear, but I did it anyway.” Fear and excitement enabled him to perform at a level he’d been unable to attain alone.

FAITH LEADS TO SUPERNATURAL STEP

Imagine the shock and fear the disciples felt that night when they saw a ghostly figure walking on the whitecaps of the Sea of Galilee. Sailors are notoriously superstitious anyway, and seeing Jesus there must’ve been not only terrifying but disorienting. Were they about to hit land? What was happening? The supernatural mood only deepened when Jesus called Peter out onto the water with Him. Peter is often ridiculed for his lack of faith here, but he exhibited a faith so strong that it enabled him to do—for a few steps, at least—something that none of the others even dared to try.

  1. What’s the most impressive feat of human strength you’ve ever witnessed?
  2. When have you found yourself capable of something you never thought you could do?
  3. What was your moment of greatest faith in God?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

June 20, 2021: Healed by Faith (Matthew 9:18-26)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Option 1: Explore the context by distributing copies of the “Jesus in Context” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Depending on the nature of your class, either have learners stay in their groups of four to complete this or return to their original pairs to do so. During  whole-class discussion of results, stress that this listing is itself only partial in helping us understand Jesus’ mission.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Option 2: Have learners work individually for no more than one minute to complete the “Reactions to Healing” exercise on the activity page as indicated. After calling time, surprise your learners by ignoring what they wrote and instead polling them on which of the four characters they chose to evaluate. Focusing on the reason why, explore what their choices say about them personally.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 20, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 20, 2021 here.

DESPERATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT

Climbing North America’s tallest peak, Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), isn’t like climbing other mountains. Even experienced climbers of peaks in the 14,000′ range, like Mt. Rainier, aren’t automatically prepared to reach the Alaskan giant’s summit, at 20,308′. “We have seen a disturbing amount of overconfidence paired with inexperience in the Alaska Range,” the National Park Service wrote in a statement, citing the mounting number of deaths and serious injuries among Denali climbers in 2021. As an expedition’s days begin to run short, climbers are tempted to make the 7,000′ final ascent in a single day. Rangers said that many climbers get “desperation, impatience and summit fever,” causing them to take unwise risks to reach their goal.

DESPERATE FOR HEALING

In Capernaum, Jesus was thronged by people eager to hear Him teach—or desperate for Him to heal them. A father whose twelve-year-old daughter had died begged Jesus to bring her back to life. So great was his faith in Jesus that even death was not a barrier. As Jesus went with him, a woman in the crowd was just as desperate. After suffering for twelve years with a medical condition, she reached out to Jesus as He passed, just to touch the edge of His cloak. Her faith too was so great that she believed He didn’t even have to notice her to provide healing. Both this woman and the bereaved father were rewarded for their faith— faithful risks allowed Jesus’ reach to work miracles.

  1. What’s the highest hill or mountain you’ve ever climbed?
  2. What’s the relationship between desperation and faith?
  3. Who in the biblical story do you most identify with?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use.  If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

June 13, 2021: Delivered from Fear (Matthew 8:23-27)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For broader comparison with other texts, distribute copies of the “Sailors Afraid” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners  complete it in groups. Discuss as time allows.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Fear Busters” exercise on the activity page. Allow time for learners to work in groups for the Scripture search portion of the activity and then complete the second half of it individually. Encourage placement where learners will see theirs daily, as indicated.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 13, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 13, 2021 here.

SHAKING IN THE STREETS

On May 18–20, a skyscraper in Shenzhen, China began inexplicably shaking, sparking a panic in the city. Video shows people screaming and running away down the streets in all directions, fleeing a possible collapse. However, inspectors could find no problems or anomalies in the safety standards they monitor. And there was no wind, earthquake, or structural failure in the seventy-two-story building. Some speculate that a combination of temperature changes, gusts of wind, and a subway running below the streets might be the cause. But the building is twenty years old, and those conditions have never caused such shaking in the past. After three days of such shaking, the building was finally shut down as officials discussed what to do.

SHAKING IN THE BOAT

Jesus was asleep in the boat as the disciples rowed across the Sea of Galilee. A sudden storm blew in, bringing high winds and waves and causing even the fishermen among them to panic. Though the architect of the universe was right there with them, and surely He wouldn’t perish in a freak wind, they feared for their lives.

  1. What’s the most frightened you’ve ever been?
  2. What have you learned about the relationship between fear and faith?
  3. How would the disciples’ actions have been changed if they had acted out of faith instead of fear?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

Adapting Involvement Learning Activities for Online or Hybrid Use

By Teacher Tips

Many of the Involvement Learning activities in the Standard Lesson curriculum assume an in-person classroom setting. As written, such activities include distributing paper handouts, writing on the board, and breaking into pairs or small groups. If a class is conducted entirely online or a hybrid of in-person and online, these activities are not always easy to convert.

Learners may experience difficulty when some learners gather in-person and other learners attend virtually. The group of in-person learners may get into a lively discussion, leaving out the digital learners. Learners participating remotely may feel they aren’t free to “break in” and contribute to the larger conversation. Further, the teacher may speak primarily to a camera, neglecting those physically present.

This document suggests how to adapt the most common classroom elements of the Involvement Learning (IL) pages for use with an online or hybrid class—so that everyone can be included.

Whenever you see the phrases mentioned below on an IL page, refer to this document for an adaptation.

  • “you prepare”—IL pages frequently task the teacher to prepare simple handouts for distribution. In an online/hybrid classroom, consider distributing the handouts to the in-person learners, while using text or e-mail to send electronic copies of the same handout to your online learners.
  • “from the activity page”—Standard Lesson makes additional activities available via activity pages. Remember to text or e-mail the exercises on these pages to your remote learners.
  • “write on the board”—It’s important to be sure everyone—physically present and online—can see the board. If your entire class is online, “the board” becomes the software you’re using to record learners’ responses. Zoom’s share screen option will allow all virtual attendees to see those responses as the discussion progresses. If your class is a mix of in-person and virtual attendees, you can turn your webcam toward the board you’re writing on.
  • “break into pairs” or “form small groups”—Several online meeting platforms, like Zoom or Google Meet, have solutions for breaking large groups into smaller groups and then coming back together later.
    • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakout Rooms (which you can learn about online).
    • If some of your learners are online and others are physically present (a hybrid class), the former can use Zoom Breakout Rooms, while the latter gather physically.

As with any tool, the more you use it, the better you’ll become with it. Whichever software solution you use for including your online, virtual learners, practice with it ahead of time.

Several Zoom tutorials are here.

The entire Standard Lesson staff is prayerfully upholding you as you adjust to these unusual and challenging times. But even as conditions change and technology advances, nothing shakes the throne of the Lord God Almighty.

June 6, 2021: Freed from Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before learners arrive, place in chairs (or distribute digitally) copies of the “Corrie on Worry” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow students in pairs to unscramble the sentence. (It is also found, in a shorter version, as the lesson’s Thought to Remember.)

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Tell the class, “Today as we study some familiar advice from Jesus about worry, let’s contrast his teaching with our tendencies.”

To encourage personal application:

As learners depart, distribute copies of the “My Seeking Week” exercise from the activity page to be completed as a take-home. Promise to discuss results during next week’s class.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–June 6, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for June 6, 2021 here.

FAITH OVER WORRY ON D-DAY

Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Though there are fewer and fewer veterans of that day still living, we have the writings of many. On that day, the men in the landing boats were almost entirely defenseless. After riding in a landing craft to Omaha Beach, Chaplain John G. Burkhalter wrote home: “It was a pure miracle we even took that beach at all. Yes, there were a lot of miracles on the beach that day. As we approached the French coast I began praying more earnestly than ever, and our assault craft was miraculously spared.” Amidst the anxiety of that harrowing landing under deadly enemy fire, all Burkhalter had to protect him was hope in the Lord.

FAITH OVER WORRY TODAY

Today’s text is a favorite of many. How powerful are Jesus’ words reminding us of God’s tender care and His loving attention upon us. If the Lord spares the time and effort to care for blades of grass and the smallest of birds, how much more must He care for us! Assured that He is tending to those things and armored by His attentiveness, we can shift our focus from our anxieties to doing His will.

  1. When have you been the most worried?
  2. How do you cope with worry when it comes upon you now?
  3. When have you asked God to meet a need, and He met it?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

May 30, 2021: Preaching to Enemies (Jonah 3)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “What Does It Say?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, for learners to complete in pairs as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Read All About It!” exercise from the activity page. Have learners work in groups to complete it as indicated. (Or divide your class into of the groups complete, one each, the two charts above while the third group completes the “Read All About It” exercise.)

After several minutes, allow groups to report back to the class.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 30, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 30, 2021 here.

COMPASSION FOR THE HURTING

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. This May, one couple was dining at a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, and noticed a semicolon tattoo on the wrist of their server, Katie Battel. A semicolon is used when a writer could’ve chosen to end a sentence but chose not to; in the same way, a semicolon tattoo shows that the person has chosen not to end his or her life. The couple left a nice tip for Katie and a note saying they were so glad she was still here. What they didn’t know was that Katie’s suicidal thoughts had returned lately. “It was just like a sign,” she told a reporter. “Like, ‘Hey, girl, we know you’re going through it again, but … here’s a little boost to help you keep going.’ ” An act of compassion helped give this young woman a future.

COMPASSION FOR THE SINFUL

When Jonah finally preached God’s message of doom in the heart of Nineveh, he could hardly have guessed the city’s reaction. While he was still hoping for them to reject God’s warning and suffer His judgment, they took the prophecy seriously. From the king in his palace to the lowliest livestock, all put on sackcloth and fasted, together begging the Lord to show compassion on them and turn His wrath away.

  1. When you hear the words Mental Health Awareness Month, who or what comes to mind?
  2. What’s a dark outcome you or someone else turned from, and what caused the change?
  3. Do you regularly pray for those who hurt you? Explain your answer.

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

May 23, 2021: Preaching to the Exiles (Ezekiel 18:1-9, 30-32)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Sins of the Fathers” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Use the “jot three steps” instruction as a transition to Into Life.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 23, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 23, 2021 here.

IRRESPONSIBILITY IN SPACE

This month, China’s space agency successfully placed in orbit the first module of its new space station. However, the main rocket used to launch it was not caused to burn up in the atmosphere or controlled to splash down in the ocean, as NASA and other space agencies do. Instead, the 20-ton Chinese rocket entered orbit, which meant it would then fall to earth at some point—and in some random location, possibly on a populated area. Thankfully, it eventually splashed down in the Indian Ocean. However, “China was just playing the odds,” said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “They decided … ‘We’ll take the risk and we’ll pay compensation if it hits anything.’ ”

IRRESPONSIBILITY WITH SIN

In Ezekiel’s day, the Israelites thought they were not responsible for their own deeds. They played the odds too, hoping God would put the punishment for their sins onto the next generation, instead. God’s message for them was that He holds every person responsible for his or her own sin—and that the person who does not sin would certainly not be punished for the sins of the previous generation.

  1. What’s an example of someone who hoped to escape punishment by letting the responsibility fall on others?
  2. What’s the difference between taking responsibility for one’s own actions and acknowledging one’s complicity with the actions of others?
  3. When have you wanted someone else to take responsibility for their actions or choices?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to the “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

May 16, 2021: Preaching Doom (Jeremiah 38:14-23)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Reinforce the lesson by giving each learner one of the six false statements from the “Fixing Falsehoods” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Read the instructions aloud. Allow one minute for learners to fix their statements and find the passage in today’s text that validates the fix. Compare results among those who have the same statement.

To place today’s study in the larger context of the relationship between Zedekiah and Jeremiah, distribute copies of the “Three Confrontations” exercise from the activity page. Have each learner consult with one or two others to complete it as indicated. Compare results in ensuing whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 16, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 16, 2021  here.

A COACH’S CHOICE

The NFL draft took place a couple of weeks ago. The San Francisco 49ers traded up to have the third overall pick in the draft because they sorely needed a quarterback. The first two teams to make their picks were virtually guaranteed to also pick quarterbacks, and pretty much everyone knew who those first two picks would be. So the 49ers had to select from the young quarterbacks who remained. As sportswriter Josh Shrock put it, the choice for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is whether he would take one player who was “NFL-ready” but might have already reached his potential or another player who wasn’t as ready but whose potential might be unlimited. “Two paths stretch before Shanahan,” Shrock wrote. “Which one he walks will determine the course of his and the 49ers’ future.” He decided to draft the young player with potential, Trey Lance.

A KING’S CHOICE

King Zedekiah was in a terrible spot. However, Jeremiah made the situation crystal clear to him: you are going to Babylon either way. Your only choice is whether or not you’re going to bring about the deaths of your family and the destruction of Jerusalem too. The capital of David, the home of the temple, and the resting place of the ark of the covenant, not to mention all his sons and the other citizens inside Jerusalem, were in the king’s power to save. Sadly, Zedekiah chose poorly, and great was the suffering that followed.

  1. When have you or someone else taken a complicated situation and found a way to boil it down to a very clear choice?
  2. What was an example of when you had an extremely important decision to make? How did you decide?
  3. Why do you think King Zedekiah chose as he did?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

May 9, 2021: Offering Hope for the Future (Isaiah 29:13-24)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies, in print or electronically, of the “God’s ‘Woe to’ Warnings” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Break your class into two halves to complete the exercise. If the halves of the class total more than six learners each, have participants form smaller groups with duplicate assignments.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Searching for Meaning” exercise from the activity page as learners depart. To encourage after-class completion, stress that you will discuss results as a first order of business when the class meets again next week.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 9, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 9, 2021 here.

SECRET PLOT EXPOSED BY A PHOTO

British television network ITV has begun shooting a dramatic portrayal of a notorious crime committed in 2002. John and Anne Darwin, an English couple in their sixties decided to fake John’s death in a canoeing accident in order to claim nearly $1 million in insurance payouts. The scam involved Anne reporting John’s death to police and then lying to their two sons, who were devastated by the loss of their father. Meanwhile, John lived in a secret room for five years, using the stolen money to plan for he and Anne to begin a new life in Panama. Their crime was discovered when an amateur sleuth, acting on a tip, Googled “John,” “Anne,” and “Panama” and found an image of the couple in Panama, and then contacted media and the police. The treacherous plans the Darwins kept secret were revealed to the world, and their expectations were thwarted.

SECRET PLANS EXPOSED BY THE LORD

People in Isaiah’s day thought they could hide their treacherous plans from the Lord. They went to great lengths to do so, and they were confident that He would never find out. One of their worst offenses was that they claimed to honor the Lord with their words and offerings, but their hearts were far from Him. Their hypocrisy would bring about God’s judgment, and their expectations of deception would all be dashed. But God nevertheless remained with His arms stretched out to His people and gave them hope for the future.

  1. What’s an example of someone you know who tried to deceive but whose plans fell apart?
  2. How do we sometimes claim to honor God but don’t?
  3. Since we know God understands our private thoughts, why do we sometimes think we can hide from the Lord?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

May 2, 2021: Speaking Truth to Power (1 Kings 22:15–23, 26–28)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute (on paper or in electronic form) copies of one or both of the exercises on the activity page, which you can download here, for learners to complete. Give careful thought to the sizes and constituencies of the groups you use for discussion, given the nature of each scenario—you want the discussion to shed “light,” not “heat”!

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–May 2, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for May 2, 2021 here.

FALSE TESTIMONY GIVEN TO SWAY A JURY

Last month, the Indiana Court of Appeals reexamined the case of a man sentenced to 55 years in prison for the murder of an elderly woman in 2002. Andrew Royer was convicted of the murder due largely to testimony that was coerced, falsified, and later disproved, and now the court is deciding whether or not to “vacate” the previous conviction. The detective in the case was removed from other cases for making misleading statements to attorneys. It was also revealed that the key witness was paid for her testimony and threatened with having her children taken from her if she didn’t comply. Falsehoods were presented to the legal authority in order to bring about someone’s desired outcome.

TRUE TESTIMONY GIVEN TO JUDGE A KING

When King Ahab wanted to find out if an attack against the Arameans at Ramoth-Gilead would succeed, he sent for the prophet Micaiah. All of Ahab’s other advisors were telling him that God would surely give him the victory, and even Micaiah said the same. But Micaiah did so, he explained, because God had ordained that Ahab must die in the battle. He essentially said, “Sure, go ahead, my king. It is God’s will for you to fight them. Not for you to win, however.” Truth was spoken to the king in order to bring about God’s desired outcome.

  1. When has false testimony been used against you or someone you know?
  2. Why is it sometimes hard to speak truth to those in power?
  3. If we feel we must speak truth to someone in authority, how can we be sure we’re delivering God’s will and not just speaking from our own mind or preferences?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

April 25, 2021: The Nation’s Plea (Lamentations 5)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before class members arrive, place at their chairs (or distribute electronically) copies of the “The Js Have It!” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Learners can begin working on this as they arrive.

Lead into the Bible study by asking, “Should we keep our pain to ourselves, or should we express it? Let’s see how the writer of Lamentations handled that question.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the (public domain) first stanza and the refrain of the hymn “It Is Well” on the activity page. After singing these, have a preselected participant tell the tragic story of the writer, Horatio G. Spafford (1828–1888). Coordinate this in advance so your participant has time to research the story.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time! For Zoom tutorials, see here.

In the World–April, 25, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 25, 2021 here.

A DRONE HEARS A CRY FOR HELP

Drones are used to search for lost hikers or survey areas devastated by flood or earthquake. However, the most common way for people in need of rescue to be found is when rescuers hear them crying out for help. Until now, drones have not been able to listen for these pleas. Even if a drone had a microphone, all it would pick up would be the sound of the drone’s rotors. Dotterel Technologies, a drone manufacturer in New Zealand, has solved this by including both a directional microphone and an onboard processor that filters out the sound of the drone itself. “Many missing people are found by rescuers listening for voice appeal in hard-to-reach locations,” says Auckland search and rescue leader Brandon McCarthy. “The ability to quickly extend our hearing range is of high value.” These drones are no longer deaf to cries for help.

GOD LISTENS TO A CRY FOR HELP

The people of Judah were left in devastation after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and carried many into exile. In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah, appropriately nicknamed the weeping prophet, described the people’s distress and dismay. They admitted their sins but wondered why God seemed deaf to their cries—or perhaps too angry at them to consider reconciliation. He did hear and would reconcile, but the consequences for their sin had to be carried out through Babylon, God’s instrument of judgment.

  1. When has someone’s cries for help brought you to their aid?
  2. How has God seemed slow to hear your cries?
  3. When has someone’s consequences extended even beyond the person’s repentance?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

April 18, 2021: The Restoring Builder (Nehemiah 2:11-20)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Option 1. Distribute copies of the “It’s a Secret!” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Discuss the top half of this particular exercise as a class; then have participants form study pairs (or triads) to answer the two questions in its bottom half. Discuss conclusions as a class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Option 2. To expand consideration of opposition to Nehemiah, distribute copies of the “A Tale of Three Enemies” exercise from the activity page. Have participants work in study pairs to complete it as indicated. Discuss conclusions as appropriate.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 18, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 18, 2021 here.

BUILDING ISRAEL’S DEFENSES TODAY

Modern-day Israel is surrounded by hostile nations. One of its primary foes, Iran, is seeking nuclear weapons capability, a development that senior Israeli military officials believe could spark a nuclear arms race in the region. “The United States is [now] looking at other regions,” IDF Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman said in an interview this month, “and doesn’t want to invest as much in ours.” Israel needs to develop new tools to better deal with Iran, even on Iran’s own territory, he says. “When you’re competing against an intelligent, strategic actor who plays long term, you need to act to influence his intentions. For that, you need to act also in other places and in other ways.”

BUILDING ISRAEL’S DEFENSES CENTURIES AGO

Israel after the Exile was surrounded by enemies, as well. When Nehemiah returned from Persia to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he understood that he would be doing so amidst great opposition. Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite servant, and Geshem the Arab mocked the Jewish people who were rebuilding the city’s defenses. In the face of their pressure and threats, Nehemiah urged his countrymen to rebuild the walls and gates so as to restore their strength and remove their disgrace.

  1. What level of peace do you think is possible in relations between Israel and its enemies?
  2. When have you tried to build something despite strong opposition?
  3. In what ways does the Christian life stand in conflict with the surrounding culture?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

April 11, 2021: The Faith-in-Action Preacher (Ezra 10:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “What Would You Say?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here for learners to complete in pairs as indicated. Be prepared to offer your own conclusions.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute to study pairs copies of one or two sentences of the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” exercise from the activity page along with instructions. Allow three minutes for discussion before having the whole class consider the entire list.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 11, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 11, 2021 here.

STATELESS BY THEIR OWN CHOICES

Four years after the fall of ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, many women and children remain in limbo. More than 500 young women born in the West left their homes to help the Islamic cause and marry ISIS fighters. Some may have been misled and mistreated, but all abandoned their citizenship to join the new Caliphate. A few weeks ago, twenty-one-year-old Shamima Begum, originally from London, lost her court case to be reinstated as a British citizen after marrying an ISIS member in 2015. The tribunal who heard her case refused to repatriate her, citing national security concerns. Whatever the factors that led to her situation, they said, Begum is stateless “as a result of her own choices.”

MATELESS BY THEIR OWN CHOICES

Following the Exile to Babylon, three waves of Jewish citizens were allowed to return to Israel to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Though they had been exiled as punishment for violating God’s Law, the returning Israelites continued to sin, most notably by marrying foreign women. Ezra cried out to God, and the people agreed to send their foreign wives away, showing how costly it may be to follow God after making bad choices.

  1. If you sat as a judge hearing a case like Begum’s, how would you decide if the person was a national security risk or a victim of fraud and lies?
  2. What’s something significant you’ve given up to follow Jesus?
  3. How have bad choices—yours or someone else’s—resulted in pain or sin?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

April 4, 2021: The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:4-11a)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Servant Songs” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. This exercise will allow learners to see today’s text in a broader context of the other four Servant Songs in Isaiah. There are a total of 40 verses to consider, and the five songs vary widely in length. Therefore, you will need to think carefully in advance regarding how many groups there will be, how many participants will be in each group, how much time to allow, and how to keep things moving briskly when groups report conclusions in the ensuing all-class discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Servant Thanks” exercise from the activity page. This devotional prayer-writing activity is designed for students to begin in class but finish at home or on their own.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–April 4, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for April 4, 2021 here.

HIS LIFE GIVEN FOR MANY

Three weeks ago, Tampa Bay police officer Jesse Madsen took Interstate 275 home after his shift. Madsen, father of three and a seven-time recipient of the Tampa Police Department’s Life-Saving Award, saw a car coming toward him, racing the wrong way at over 100 mph. The driver, probably intoxicated, was almost certain to cause multiple accidents and possibly many fatalities. So Officer Madsen intentionally veered into the car’s path. Both men died in the fiery collision, but no one else was injured. “Officer Madsen is a true American hero,” said police Chief Brian Dugan. “He deliberately moved his patrol car into the other driver’s path of travel … to stop this wrong way driver from putting anyone else’s life in danger by laying down his own.”

HIS LIFE GIVEN FOR ALL

This weekend we celebrate Easter, when the greatest act of personal sacrifice in history was overwhelmed by resurrection. Isaiah 53, our passage today, is one of the most remarkable Old Testament descriptions of the Messiah, later revealed to be Jesus. To make a way for all humanity to be offered salvation from something even worse than physical death, Jesus deliberately offered His life in exchange for us all. May we worship Him in awe.

  1. What is the greatest act of sacrifice for the sake of others that you have ever seen or heard of anyone making?
  2. Which aspect of Christ’s suffering, crucifixion, death, burial, or resurrection is most meaningful to you this year?
  3. How could you honor the family of a fallen police officer, firefighter, soldier, or other hero?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

March 28, 2021: Prophet of Courage (1 Kings 18:5-18)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Place at chairs (or distribute electronically) copies of the “Profiles in Courage” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Work the exercise alone or in study groups.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “A Tale of Three Men” exercise from the activity page for groups to complete as indicated; follow with whole-class discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “My Prayer for Courage” exercise from the activity page. Give individuals one minute to jot down ideas, and then ask volunteers to share what they’ve written.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 28, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 28, 2021 here.

WOMEN OF COURAGE

On March 8, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden helped the U.S. State Department honor twenty-one women with the International Women of Courage Award. Seven of the women had been murdered in Afghanistan while serving their communities. The other fourteen were from were from Belarus, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Venezuela. They had all faced tremendous difficulties, and many had endured imprisonment, threats, and violence. “You see, courage isn’t really found,” Biden said. “It’s an intentional decision made.”

MAN OF COURAGE

The prophet Elijah made an intentional decision to present himself before King Ahab, who was on a murderous rampage to locate him. Obadiah, the king’s official, also had to summon his courage to go to Ahab and promise that he would find Elijah in the place where Obadiah said he would be. If Elijah left or hid himself, Ahab would certainly have had Obadiah executed. But Obadiah trusted himself to the Lord and the prophet, and he led Ahab to Elijah, where an epic confrontation was brewing.

  1. What’s the most courageous act you’ve ever witnessed or heard about?
  2. How could you have done what Elijah (or Obadiah) did if you were in their position?
  3. This is Palm Sunday—what courage do you think Jesus or others exhibited on this day?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

March 21, 2021: Prophet of Wisdom (2 Kings 22:14-20)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before learners arrive, place at chairs (or send out electronically) copies of the “Five Milestones of 1 and 2 Kings” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here, for individuals to complete as indicated. This brief exercise will sketch the broader context in which today’s lesson occurs.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Many Sources” exercise from the activity page for learners in study pairs to complete as indicated. Compare and contrast entries in ensuing whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 21, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 21, 2021 here.

HUMAN FORGIVENESS

Last week were the annual Grammy Awards. Secular musician Grace Potter was nominated in two categories. One song from her most recent album is called “Release” and is about forgiveness. The lyrics speak about how she’s loosing someone, perhaps herself, from resentment. “Back when I first wrote a piece of the chorus,” Potter said, “I didn’t really know what forgiveness would feel like because I wasn’t there yet.” But over time, she came to understand “that forgiveness is the most beautiful feeling you can have; to really go through the cathartic, angry and overwhelming emotions that grief or loss can bring on” and find release.

DIVINE FORGIVENESS

Through the prophetess Huldah, God had proclaimed disaster upon Jerusalem because the people had turned to idols. But the current ruler of Judah, King Josiah, was deeply grieved over the nation’s behaviors and the coming judgment from God. He tore his robes and wept before the Lord in confession, and God was pleased. Huldah gave instructions that Josiah should be told that the judgment had been delayed until after the king’s death. His humility before God brought a release and a reprieve to the whole nation.

  1. What song, fictional story, or poem has ever moved you to release bitterness?
  2. When have you witnessed someone give authentic confession of wrongdoing?
  3. Who benefits the most from forgiveness?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World–March 14, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 14, 2021 here.

CHAINS OF IRON BROKEN

Contrary to popular understanding, the historical St. Patrick was a courageous Christian missionary. He was a Roman Briton captured as a teenager by Irish pirates, and yet after his escape, God called him back to the land of his enslavement. Based on one of Patrick’s own surviving letters, we know that he was once clapped in irons by local warlords because of his testimony for Christ. “They stole everything they found in our possession, and they bound me in iron,” he wrote. However, “On the fourteenth day, the Lord set me free from their power; all our possessions were returned to us for God’s sake.” Mighty chains could not hold back the plan of God for His servant.

WALLS OF STONE THROWN DOWN

Nor could mighty walls hold back the plan of God for His people. Today’s passage contains the story of how God supernaturally cast down the walls of Jericho to give His people the victory. From the instructions God gave Joshua and the lack of any assault on the walls by the people, it was clear that this incredible conquest came directly from the hand of the Lord.

  1. How does knowing about the real St. Patrick encourage you on the holiday named for him?
  2. What have you seen happen that could be only from the hand of God?
  3. When has God asked you to take Him on faith for something that seemed impossible?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

March 14, 2021: Prophet of Conquest (Joshua 5:13–6:27)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute to study pairs copies of the “Strategies and Tactics” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Assign one text per pair to complete as indicated. Use discoveries to compare and contrast with the conquest of Jericho as the Bible study proceeds.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

If you wish to weave into this task the subject of spiritual disciplines, distribute copies of the “Discipline Deficiency” exercise from the activity page. Use of this exercise in study pairs may result in accountability partnerships being formed.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

March 7, 2021: Prophet of Deliverance (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before learners arrive, place at chairs (or distribute via text or e-mail) copies of the “Significant Events, Surprising Leader” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Participants can begin working on this as they arrive.

After discussing the activity, make a transition by saying, “It is important to follow good leaders who guide us through possible and impossible situations.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Prophet to Come, Prophet Who Came” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete as indicated. Close with prayer.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–March 7, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for March 7, 2021  here.

LISTENING WITH PERSEVERANCE

On February 18, NASA landed its Perseverance Rover on the surface of Mars. In addition to amassing incredible photos and video of the landing itself, an onboard microphone recorded the first-ever direct sounds from another planet. At a press conference on February 22, the audio recording was played, and the sense of the world holding its breath and leaning forward to hear it was palpable. After the whirring of the rover itself was filtered out, the puff of Martian winds was clearly audible. On a barren plain 129.9 million miles away, an alien wind blew, and humans strained to hear.

LISTENING FOR DELIVERANCE

In our passage today, the children of Israel wondered how they could tell the difference between the words of a false prophet and the words of a prophet sent from God. They were leaning forward to hear, but there was interference that made discernment difficult—and their very deliverance as a people rested on hearing correctly. God told Moses to have the people watch to see if the alleged prophet’s words came true. If they didn’t, that person was not a prophet sent from God.

  1. What’s the most memorable sound you’ve ever heard?
  2. When have your ears told you that something was wrong or dangerous?
  3. How do you know when you’re hearing from God, from yourself, or from some other source?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

February 28, 2021: Called to Serve (Acts 16:11-15, 40; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before class begins, place on chairs copies of the “Places of Transition” word-search puzzle from the activity page, which you can download here. Learners can begin working on this as they arrive.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Church Planting” exercise on the activity page as a take-home for private reflection.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 28, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 28, 2021 here.

OVERCOMING DIVISIONS FOR DEMOCRACY

Earlier this month in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, the military overthrew the democratically elected government and seized control of the country. The nation is normally divided by a wide array of religious, ethnic, and regional factions all fighting the government and sometimes each other. But in demonstrations across Myanmar this month, citizens have set aside their differences to jointly call for the military to reverse its coup. “What is happening right now is not about party politics,” said Ke Jung, a youth leader from a remote Indian border area. “It is a fight for the [democratic] system.”

OVERCOMING DIVISIONS FOR THE GOSPEL

How odd it must have been for Paul to be speaking not in a synagogue but on a riverbank, and not to Jewish men but to Gentile women. Yet that is the scenario the Apostle encountered in the Roman colony city called Philippi when he taught Lydia and the other women. Yet with the Gospel, God was tearing down the old, man-made divisions so that all the world could be offered salvation in Christ.

  1. What divisions—social, economic, political, etc.—have held you back in your life?
  2. When have you seen someone cross a boundary to reach out to someone else?
  3. What divisions might you dare set aside for the gospel?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World–February 21, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 21, 2021 here.

CO-TEACHING FOR INCLUSION

Early last year, the DuBois Area School District in northwestern Pennsylvania announced they would no longer be providing special education services for its sending districts. So one area school, Jefferson County Vocational Technical School, decided it would find a way to continue offering special ed to its students. Turning to its own personnel, school officials devised a co-teaching arrangement and an all-inclusive approach. “Co-teaching involves a regular instructor and a special ed. instructor working together to present the lesson,” explained Special Education Supervisor Amber Hathorn this month. This method “allows all learners to be in the regular education environment and learning at the same time as their peers.” Teaching teams are making a difference in this school.

CO-TEACHING FOR THE KINGDOM

Among the Apostle Paul’s many co-laborers were the husband-wife team of Priscilla and Aquila. These two tentmakers from Rome became believers in Christ and joined Paul’s ministry in Corinth. They were an effective gospel partnership, co-teaching the believers in Ephesus and also the gifted apologist named Apollos. Paul even declares that Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for him (Romans 16:4). We are called to work together to explain the gospel.

  1. When has a partnership with someone helped you achieve more than you could do alone?
  2. Who is a “power couple” you admire, and why?
  3. What other pairs of people did God use in Acts to further the Gospel?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

February 21, 2021: Called to Explain (Acts 18:1-3, 18-21, 24-26; Romans 16:3-4)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session: 

Distribute copies of the “Famous Partners on TV” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Allow one minute for learners to complete as indicated. After that minute, ask why these partners worked well together.

After the activity say, “Some teams work well together to achieve evil purposes (example: Acts 5:1-10), while others work well together for godly purposes. Today we are going to be looking at one such incredible team in the latter category.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Find the Opposite” exercise on the activity page, assigning its completion to research teams. You can assign work to teams either by the exercise’s horizontal rows or by its vertical columns. If assigning by row, you will need five teams, one for each trait; if assigning by column, you will need four teams, one for each name.

If you use the five-team approach, say, “Take the negative trait you’ve been assigned and see if your team can find one instance of its opposite for each of the four people listed.” If you use the four-team approach, say, “Research your assigned person and see if you can find an example of an opposite to each of the five negative traits.”

Allow time for whole-class discussion of discoveries. If learners could benefit from considering other texts in order to fill out their charts, have these ready to suggest: 1 Corinthians 1:12-13; 3:3- 9; 4:1-7; 16:19.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

February 14, 2021: Called to Support (Luke 8:1-3; Mark 15:40; John 20:10-18)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Place on chairs (and/or distribute electronically) copies of the “Favorite Brands” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. After students complete this individually, there is no need to discuss results.

After the activity, lead into the Bible study saying, “The depth of our devotion to certain stores or products can vary greatly. However, our devotion to God should be constant. Today we have something to learn from a person whose devotion was just that.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Mary Magdalene’s Loyalty” exercise from the activity page for students to complete the middle column in study pairs or triads. Save the final column for the Into Life section.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 14, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 14, 2021 here.

DECLARING HIS LOVE FOR HER

On Valentine’s Day, we give thought to voicing our affection for our loved ones. Celebrity Peloton cycling instructor Ally Love recently got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Andrew Haynes. He took her to one of her favorite places in the world, a beach in Mexico, and surprised her by dropping to one knee and proposing. When she said yes, the private fireworks display he had arranged was set off, and the couple are now planning their wedding.

DECLARING OUR LOVE FOR HIM

When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared first to the faithful women such as Mary Magdalene who had followed Him in His ministry. They first testified to the world of His resurrection, and they were effective communicators of the Lord’s victory over sin, death, and hell, supporting the advance of the kingdom of God.

  1. What’s the most extravagant or romantic way you’ve ever voiced your love to someone?
  2. Which is your favorite (or least favorite) thing about Valentine’s Day?
  3. What do you imagine it was like for the women who followed Jesus during His ministry?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

February 7, 2021: Called to Testify (John 4:25-42)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Interacting with Nonbelievers” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Have pairs or triads complete as indicated. Compare and contrast results in ensuing whole-class discussion.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Sow or Reap?” exercise from the activity page, allowing learners one minute to complete individually as indicated; then share names with a prayer partner to close the class.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–February 7, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for February 7, 2021 here.

TESTIFYING TO THE GREATNESS OF TEAMMATES

Today (Sunday) is when Super Bowl 55 is scheduled to be played. After the championship games two weeks before, both winning teams went to great lengths to testify to the worthiness of their teammates, coaches, opponents, and fans. Each offense lauded its defense, and vice versa. When singer John Legend tweeted “Hire. Eric. Bienemy.” [sic] to encourage some NFL team to hire Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as head coach (after the Super Bowl), the Chiefs’ official Twitter feed answered, “What. He. Said.” In the day of victory, people are quick to testify to the greatness of others.

TESTIFYING TO THE GREATNESS OF JESUS

When the Samaritan woman spoke with Jesus at Jacob’s Well (John 4), she became convinced that He was the long-awaited Messiah. She left her water jar behind and rushed back to her town to testify to anyone who would listen that she had found the one they’d been longing for. An entire population came to faith because she was willing to testify.

  1. When have you been so excited about something that you just had to tell someone else?
  2. What was it like (or what do you imagine it would be like) to testify in court?
  3. What part (if any) did a witness’s testimony play in your path to salvation?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

 

 

January 31, 2021: Called to Prophesy (Luke 2:36-38; Acts 2:16-21; 21:8-9)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before class begins, place on chairs (or distribute electronically) copies of the “His Plan, Not Ours” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Learners can begin considering it as they arrive.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Calling Intersections” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete in pairs as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 31, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 31, 2021 here.

WOMEN ARE VALUED IN ICELAND

Sara Sigmundsdottir is one of the world’s top female CrossFit athletes. She is from Iceland, which has produced a disproportionate number of world-class contenders in this fitness category for its population of only 360,000. Many have wondered why this is so. Some credit the shieldmaiden legacy of Viking women. Others mention the toughness demanded by life in the cold land of volcanoes and geysers. In more recent years, people have pointed to the fact that Iceland has the world’s best male and female parity policies, enforced by many laws and agencies and mandated as a teaching throughout the school years. Sara praises the opportunities given by her homeland, and she channels these into her work ethic. “I want to prove that if you set your mind to something and work hard for it,” she says, “you will get it.”

WOMEN ARE VALUED IN GOD’S KINGDOM

From the beginning, God has set men and women on equal footing. Scripture is full of stories of the Lord’s high regard for women. Jesus was considered controversial for how He consistently valued those whom society had labeled as outcasts, including women. Today’s Scriptures remind us that Jesus expects women to have integral parts in the establishment of His kingdom, including the sacred act of divine prophecy.

  1. If God considers men and women to be of equal value, why have societies not shared that view?
  2. How have women been more recognized for their importance in your lifetime?
  3. How do we put God’s high value of women into daily practice?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

January 24, 2021: Called for the World’s Belief (John 17:14-24)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “What I Pray for Most” exercise on the activity page, which can be downloaded here. Allow one minute to complete; then call for volunteers to share the entries on their lists. Make a transition by saying, “Today as we look at a prayer priority of Jesus, it will be interesting to compare and contrast it with our typical prayers.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

If you used the “What I Pray for Most” exercise on the activity page, distribute copies of the “The Prayer Requests of Jesus” exercise from that same page for learners to complete as indicated in study pairs. After three minutes, compare and contrast the results of the two exercises.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 24, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 24, 2021 here.

UNIFIED BY THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT

As we anticipate the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, we may recall that the 2008 Beijing Games were the scene of an incredible display of Olympic spirit. The Danish sailing team was favored to win the gold medal in the men’s 49er competition, but in rough seas just before the final race began, their mast broke. When the team from Croatia, who had not qualified for the medal race, heard that the Danish team needed a boat, they sprinted to the marina to get theirs rigged for the race. “For them it was just a natural thing to do—‘These boys need a boat, we have a boat, they’re getting our boat,’” one of the Danish sailors recalled. “They were true legends, really nice guys showing true sportsmanship.” The Danish team went on to win gold.

UNIFIED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

Christians around the world and across time are united by the Holy Spirit. Truly, we may have more in common with a brother or sister from a completely different culture or era than we do with our next-door neighbor. Jesus prayed that the world would comprehend that this unity is a sign that the same Spirit is within us all, which would be a further testimony that He and the Father are one.

  1. What club, alma mater, or affiliation best unites you with people who are otherwise strangers to you?
  2. If there were no language barrier, what could you talk about with a believer in a very different culture?
  3. How well or poorly do you think the world sees unity in the Church, and why do you think that is?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use.

If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

January 17, 2021: Called in Authority (Mark 2:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Be Healed!” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here. Assign each Scripture there to a different class member or study pair to paraphrase and then share results with the whole class.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Finding Forgiveness” exercise on the activity page. Have learners work in study pairs to complete it. Allow time for whole-class sharing.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 17, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 17, 2021 here.

EMPLOYEES MADE WHOLE

In April of last year, the aldermen of Starkville, Mississippi, instituted a 20 percent pay cut for many of its city employees. The goal was to compensate for the drastic reduction in sales tax revenue due to COVID-19. Pay for these employees was returned to its normal level in July. But then, in November, the city approved a measure to compensate those employees with a 20 percent pay increase for the same amount of time that the pay reduction ran. “I think it was incredibly important to make those people whole,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “It was a matter of fairness and equity, since we have the capability to do it.”

FORGIVENESS MADE WHOLE

When Jesus healed the man with paralysis who had been lowered through the roof, He said the man’s sins were forgiven. Some teachers of the Law took offense at this, thinking He was blaspheming, since only God can forgive sins. Jesus pointed out that it was easier to say that a person was forgiven than to declare that the person was healed, because the former is invisible while the latter can be immediately ascertained. To prove that He could do the invisible forgiving, he performed the visible healing. Jesus makes us whole in all ways.

  1. When have you seen someone “made whole” in a financial sense?
  2. What’s something that is easy to claim but hard to prove?
  3. In what ways have you been broken by life or sin but made whole by Jesus?

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World–January 10, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 10, 2021 here.

CAREER CHANGE TO EMPOWER WOMEN

In 2014, Chiney Ogwumike was chosen #1 in the WNBA draft. She played in the US and also in Italy in China. As a basketball player, she used her platform for “uplifting and amplifying women in particular.” But major injuries—knee and Achilles tendon—forced her out of professional sports. She changed careers when she had the opportunity to work for ESPN. For her, broadcasting is a place “where my perspective can matter and [I can] also create other opportunities for other people that look like me.”

CAREER CHANGE TO FISH FOR MEN

When Peter saw Jesus provide the miraculous catch of fish, he knew his life would be forever changed. He fell to his knees, as Isaiah had done long before, in the presence of Almighty God. Jesus raised him up and gave him a new career—no longer as a fisherman but as a fisher-of-men. He joined Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to the world.

  1. What’s the most radical career change you’ve ever heard of anyone making?
  2. How has your life’s path been influenced by your faith in the Lord?
  3. In what ways do people change when they encounter God through faith in Christ?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

January 10, 2021: Called to Follow (Luke 5:1-11)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Dig deeper into the first challenge by distributing to small groups the “What Were They Thinking?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. (Remember to text or e-mail the exercise pages to your remote learners.)

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After several minutes, reconvene for whole-class discussion.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “All to Jesus I Surrender” exercise from the activity page. Give students a minute to jot thoughts in this chart, and then invite them to share those thoughts with a study partner. End the class session by leading the class in singing “All to Jesus I Surrender.” Provide copies of additional stanzas as appropriate.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

January 3, 2021: Called to Proclaim (Luke 4:14-22a)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Minute Match” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. (Remember to text or e-mail the exercise pages to your remote learners.) Allow no more than one minute for the matching part; how much time to allow for the compare part is at your discretion.

To encourage personal application:

Extend the above activity by distributing copies of the “My Mission” prayer-writing exercise on the activity page. Use this to close the class or as a take-home.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–January 3, 2021

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for January 3, 2021 here.

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Many of today’s young people are keenly interested in committing their lives to careers that will actually do good in the world. A recent article published for Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada, highlights study programs the school offers that lead to jobs that aim to make people feel empowered “to enact change in the real world.” These include degrees preparing students for careers as wildlife ecologists, social workers, health care assistants, or environmental scientists. We all want to know, the article says, that “what we do in our day-to-day lives has some positive impact on those around us.”

GOOD NEWS FOR THE WORLD

Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth officially launched His mission to proclaim good news to the world. The message He came to give would have positive impact in the context of first-century Israel, but His eyes were on the whole cosmos and into eternity. He came to set the oppressed free, in both the physical and spiritual realms. Jesus calls His followers to the same mission.

  1. What opportunities do you have for bettering the world through your Christian witness?
  2. If you had access to unlimited resources, how would you proclaim the gospel to the world?
  3. How do you minister to people around you who don’t seem to realize that they need to be set free from sin?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so. 

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2021 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World–December 27, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for December 27, 2020 here.

UP TO THE OWNER TO PROVE HIS CONCERN IS SINCERE

Last month, Steven Cohen, the new owner of the New York Mets baseball team, asked for ideas for how to improve “the Mets experience” for the team’s longsuffering fans. He engaged with several fans on Twitter, responding with sincerity and even affection. “Being open and sincere with fans is a good way to win them over and create trust,” reported Chris Cwik for Yahoo!Sports. However, as Cwik points out, “None of this guarantees Cohen will be a good owner…. It’s possible this is the best it ever gets between Cohen and the Mets’ fanbase.” But it’s an encouraging sign. In the end, whatever improvement he promises, “It will be up to Cohen to prove he’s willing to make that happen.”

UP TO THE PEOPLE TO PROVE THEIR REPENTANCE IS SINCERE

John the Baptist drew many people to his message of repentance. Those flocking to him were committing to changing their lives in anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. Or they were at least pretending to make that commitment. If they had truly repented, John said, they needed to match their actions with their words. Real change is internal and will show itself in external behaviors.

  1. Who have you seen radically change behaviors to match a new set of beliefs?
  2. When have you seen someone’s professed reforms not matched by reformed behavior?
  3. As you move into 2021, what change would you like to see in your attitudes and actions?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so. 

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 27, 2020: Called to Prepare (Matthew 3:1-12)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “How Would You Prepare?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. (Remember to text or e-mail the exercise pages to your remote learners.) Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After the activity, lead into Bible study by saying, “Today’s lesson has something important to teach us about preparation. Let’s see what it is.”

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For an extended study on baptism, distribute copies of the “Baptism in the New Testament” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete in small groups as indicated. If time is short, this can be a take-home.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

December 20, 2020: Called to Worship (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-15)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before learners arrive, distribute (via text or e-mail) or place in chairs copies of the “Worship Around the World” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Discuss results to begin class.

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

For deeper study of Old Testament predictions of the Messiah, distribute copies of the “Old Testament Prophecies” exercise from the activity page. Have learners work in study pairs or triads to complete as indicated. After an appropriate amount of time, reconvene for whole-class comparisons of conclusions.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–December 20, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for December 20, 2020 here.

GOING TO GREAT LENGTHS TO DANCE

The performing arts have been hit hard by the pandemic. Audiences can’t gather and performers can’t be near one another. This fall, the Tulsa Ballet was committed to exceeding expectations both of audiences and the CDC. They rehearsed while wearing masks and standing no closer than six feet apart, breathing air purified through a system obtained by a grant. They allowed only thirty people in the audience, separated by empty seats. Their performances were shorter, due to the difficulty of dancing while wearing masks. They learned the dances via video from a choreographer in Amsterdam. As for the annual Christmas performance of The Nutcracker, it had to be canceled so as to not risk the health of the more than one hundred children in the cast. But the company feels that artists who are forced to be even more creative can truly shine.

GOING TO GREAT LENGTHS TO WORSHIP

When ancient astronomers in the Middle East observed great signs in the heavens, a group of them mounted an expedition to see what the signs were heralding. They upended their lives, perhaps for a year or more of travel, to journey to Israel and give homage to the king whose birth was announced in the stars.

  1. What are the greatest lengths you have gone to help someone or achieve something?
  2. What could happen that would make you leave your home for a year or more?
  3. If you had been there to meet the holy family, what would you have wanted to say or do?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use.

If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 13, 2020: Called to Be Immanuel (Matthew 1:18-25)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Joseph’s Options” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in small groups to complete as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here).
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into groups together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

To encourage personal application:

To extend this activity, distribute copies of “Step Up Your Thanks!” from the activity page as a take-home exercise. You have two options regarding words to be found: either include a list of the 13 to be found or don’t. The latter option will make the puzzle harder to solve and is recommended. To encourage completion, promise to call for results at the beginning of next week’s class.

In the World–December 13, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for December 13, 2020 here.

UNAFRAID TO ATTEMPT A RESCUE

This fall, on a rainy night in Greenacres, Florida, a car lost control, went off the busy highway, and landed in a flooded canal. Off-duty Battalion Chief Frank Marciante witnessed the accident and stopped. The car was already submerged to the top of its windows. Nevertheless, Marciante dove in, reached the young woman through the passenger side, and pulled her to safety. “If it was not for his willingness to put her life before his, the outcome would have been very different,” Fire Chief Brian Fuller said. “There were many other witnesses to this accident; however, only one got out of his vehicle and dove into the water to save her.”

UNAFRAID TO OBEY GOD’S COMMAND

When Joseph learned that Mary, his betrothed, was pregnant, he was doubtlessly outraged. Evidently, there was also an element of fear involved, because when the angel appeared to him in a dream, he told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary for his wife. Perhaps Joseph was afraid of the social consequences of marrying her or of the scorn he and Mary—or the baby—might have to endure. But when he was assured that God was commanding him to marry her, he set his fears aside.

  1. When has fear held you back from doing something you wanted to do?
  2. What fears might prevent a wedding from going through as planned?
  3. If you have felt God calling you do to something scary, what did you do?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so. 

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

December 6, 2020: Called to Be Heir (Matthew 1:1-6, 16-17; Hebrews 1:1-5)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Distribute copies of the “Jesus’ Heritage” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have students work in pairs or small groups to complete as indicated.

  • If all your learners are online, consider using Zoom Breakouts (which you can learn about here) to form study pairs.
  • If some of your learners are online and others are in the classroom with you, consider breaking the in-person learners into pairs together and using Zoom Breakouts for the online learners.

After no more than 15 minutes, have students share their conclusions. Use the commentary to fill in any gaps.

Make a transition to Into Life by saying, “While we don’t have any control over our human heritage, we do have control over our spiritual heritage.”

To encourage personal application:

Close by distributing copies of the “Jesus, My Savior, Is All Things to Me” from the activity page. As someone reads aloud the words to the hymn, encourage students to remember and acknowledge that their spiritual heritage is in Jesus—and what a wonderful heritage it is!

In the World–December 6, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for December 6, 2020 here.

LISTENING TO THE VIRTUAL TEACHER

With schools operating remotely due to COVID-19, many parents of young students found themselves being “helicopter parents.” Virginia Riggs, a stay-at-home mom in Chicago with three young children, sits beside them all day long to make sure they pay attention to their teachers. Her pre-K son refuses to use the unmute button on the computer when called on, so Virginia has to do so for him. All three kids fidget and sometimes get up and leave during class, and it’s a struggle to get them to listen to what their teachers are calling them to do. “The first couple of days last week,” Virginia admits, “I didn’t even eat or take a shower.”

LISTENING TO THE AWAITED MESSIAH

Both Matthew and the writer of Hebrews go to great lengths to emphasize the importance of heeding the call of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah. Humanly speaking, Jesus has a royal heritage, descending from King David. Divinely speaking, Jesus is the radiance and glory of God the Father and the agent through whom all Creation was made. When Jesus issues a call, we must pay attention.

  1. How easy (or hard) is it to listen to a speaker who isn’t in the room with you?
  2. Who do you know with an impressive lineage or genealogy?
  3. What makes the commands that Jesus gives worth listening to?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

In the World–November 29, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for November 29, 2020 here.

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT LEADS TO DEFEAT

The NBA championship is behind us for this year, but part of the reason one team did not advance in the playoffs was the preferential treatment given to a star player. Los Angeles Clippers’ superstar Kawhi Leonard was reportedly given the authority to take himself out of games whenever he wished, to simply skip games to rest, and to live in another city. The latter frequently made him late for team flights. “When you’re one of the best players in the world, and responsible for so much of the success, the organization is going to take care of you,” wrote one reporter. “Fair or not, that’s just how it works. At a certain point, though, a line can be crossed where that arrangement starts negatively affecting other players, and that’s when things can go bad.”

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT LEADS TO SIN

James wrote to early Christians who were bending over backward to give preferential treatment to rich people who attended their church gatherings. They also treated the poor badly, making them stand in the back or sit on the floor. Such discrimination—in favor of those who were likely to exploit or defraud others—was a gross misrepresentation of the gospel.

  1. Why do we tend to give preferential treatment to the rich, beautiful, or famous?
  2. In what ways does God honor the poor?
  3. How could you emulate God’s impartiality today?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 29, 2020: Impartial Love (James 2:1-13)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the matching exercise “He’ll Never Amount to Anything” from the activity page, which you can download here, for learners to work on for no more than one minute. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.)

After the activity, ask the class about times they reacted to someone inappropriately based on the person’s appearance, vocational failure, or other external factor. Make a transition to Bible study by noting that the Bible has much to teach us in this regard.

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the exercise “A Place for Everyone?” from the activity page. Allow no more than one minute for learners working individually to complete Part 1; call for a show of hands to tally results on the board. (Be sure to share your screen—if all participants are meeting online and you’re capturing notes on your computer—or turn your webcam toward the board—if your class is a hybrid of those physically and virtually present—so your online learners can see and participate.) Engage learners in whole-class discussion to complete Part 2.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

November 22, 2020: Responsive Love (Acts 4:32–5:11)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Truth from an Atheist?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.) Have learners form study pairs to complete it as indicated.

If you’re meeting online, you might make use of Zoom breakouts to create study pairs or discussion groups. If you’re in a hybrid situation, you might group all the online people into one group and the in-person people in other groups.

After the activity ask, “As we consider our own needs and wants, how do we know when we’ve crossed the line into selfishness? And how do we ensure that our generosity isn’t really a form of selfishness? Let’s consider how today’s text can answer such questions.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “My Response to Need” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete the first part as indicated, time limit of one minute. This can also be a take-home exercise. If the latter, increase the likelihood of completion by announcing that you will begin the next class by asking volunteers to share results.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 22, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for November 22, 2020 here.

GOOD MOTIVES—GOOD GAME

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recently listed his motives for doing his very best to lead his team. His top motivation, he said, was his Christian faith, “because God’s given me this opportunity.” At least one sports writer comments that Wilson makes his faith “evident nearly every time he speaks publicly.” His second motive is his family. “I want my kids one day to see that Dad was able to do everything he could to leave it on the line for the family,” Wilson said. He also likes winning and wants to be the best in the game. Good motives result in a good example to emulate.

BAD MOTIVES—TAINTED ACT

In the early days of the Church, one couple tried to counterfeit their devotion to God, but they were found out. Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple, sold a piece of land and falsely told the Apostles that they had donated the entire purchase price to the Church. Had they simply explained that they had kept part of the proceeds for other purposes but were donating the rest, the act might’ve been pure. But by giving part yet saying they had given all, perhaps to gain more glory, they revealed their sinful motives, and God held them accountable.

  1. On Thanksgiving, we express gratitude for our blessings. How can motives—good or bad—play a part in our speech and behavior during a holiday season?
  2. Where might someone’s motives become obvious in how they play a game or perform any task?
  3. Why do you think God dealt so severely with Ananias and Sapphira?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 15, 2020: Confident Love (1 John 3:11-24)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Before class begins, place in chairs copies of the “Simon Says” exercise on the activity page, which you can download here, for learners to complete as they arrive. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.)

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

Begin with a mini lecture on the context of the passage. Focus on the contrast between the way people of worldly and Christian outlooks interact both with those of their kind and with those of the opposite viewpoint in terms of love (or lack thereof). Distribute copies of the “God’s Outlook vs. World’s Outlook” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete as indicated. You can use it as a framework for the mini lecture.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 15, 2020

By "In the World"

Get unlimited access to “Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” podcast when you sign up for our Church Support Program: https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/

Download “In the World” for November 15, 2020 here.

KINDNESS LOUDER THAN HATE

In September, legal developments in the UK edged a trial date closer for two Britons accused of terrorist killings. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS. They are on trial for executing British humanitarian aid worker David Haines in 2013. His brother, Mike Haines, initially desired revenge for David’s murder, but he has since devoted his life to teaching kindness and warning of the dangers of radicalization. “The voices of hatred are loud and in all sorts of places,” Mike says. “But kindness is strong and deep…. Kindness is the greatest force in this world.”

LOVE OVERCOMING HATE

The Apostle John warned believers not to be surprised if the world hated them, and he urged them to show love anyway. Jesus showed sacrificial love, even to those who hated him. Therefore, Jesus models the way we can love our enemies.

  1. When have you seen kindness speak louder than hatred?
  2. Where can you show love even though you might be hated for doing so?
  3. Of what value is a loving act if the person rejects it?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 8, 2020: Abiding Love (John 15:4-17)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

If you wish to focus exclusively on social media, distribute copies of the “Connecting” activity from the activity page, which you can download here. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.)

Have learners work together in groups of three to complete as indicated. (If you’re meeting online, you might make use of Zoom breakout rooms to create study pairs or discussion groups. If you’re in a hybrid situation, you might group all the online people into one group and the in-person people in other groups.)

After the exercise, make a transition by saying, “Let’s see what today’s lesson tells us about the best way to connect with Jesus.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Obeying” exercise from the activity page for learners to complete individually as indicated. When the time limit of one minute expires, ask for volunteers to share responses; don’t put anyone on the spot. Close with prayer for mentioned and unmentioned challenges.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 8, 2020

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 8, 2020 here.

“Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” is a podcast designed to give you additional insight to lesson context, the key verse, and applying the lesson. And you can share this podcast with your entire class—just copy the URL and email or text the link! https://soundcloud.com/user-809447765/issl-fall-2020-lesson-10Get unlimited access to the weekly lesson podcast and other materials when you sign up for our Church Support Program:  https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/.

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR A SON

This summer, television actress Naya Rivera (33) drowned after getting her son, Josey (4), back into their boat. Rivera, who appeared on TV’s Glee, was a strong swimmer. She had rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles and had tweeted the day before how much she and Josey were enjoying spending time “just the two of us.” The boy was later found asleep on the drifting boat, but Rivera’s body was not found for another five days. Experts speculated that she might have been caught in currents that rise up in that lake. Her last act was to save her son’s life.

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR FRIENDS

Jesus called the disciples to love one another with sacrificial love. They could not know how truly Jesus would soon live out this command. No one can show greater love than to lay down his or her life for another person. The idea becomes even more amazing when we realize that the Creator laid down His life for the creature.

  1. What is the strongest illustration of sacrificial love that you have personally witnessed?
  2. How would you characterize our culture’s attitude toward denying oneself for another?
  3. Which of your rights or comforts might you lay down to love someone else?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so. 

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

November 1, 2020: Serving Love (John 13:1-15, 34-35)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

If your learners need help grasping the difference between literal and figurative language, distribute copies of the “What Does the Context Imply?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. Have learners work in groups of three (physically and/or via Zoom breakouts) to reach understanding.

To encourage personal application:

Conclude the class with a few minutes of silent reflection by distributing copies of the “My (Un)Willingness” exercise from the activity page. Ask learners to complete this individually. Assure them that their written responses are theirs alone to keep—you will not collect them.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–November 1, 2020

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for November 1, 2020 here.

“Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” is a podcast designed to give you additional insight to lesson context, the key verse, and applying the lesson. And you can share this podcast with your entire class—just copy the URL and email or text the link! https://soundcloud.com/user-809447765/issl-fall-2020-lesson-09. Get unlimited access to the weekly lesson podcast and other materials when you sign up for our Church Support Program:  https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/.

FOLLOWING CHRIST’S EXAMPLE

A month ago, Rev. Greg Collins, 59, a minister in North Carolina, died of COVID-19. “Pastor Greg” was praised for his servant’s heart. A fellow minister wrote that it was especially difficult for Greg to “do pastoral care without touching people.” He confessed to sometimes feeling he couldn’t help his church thrive anymore and was just trying to help it survive. “I am going to keep on trying to be the kind of John 3:16 pastor that Greg was,” the writer said. “Love people in Jesus’ name. Serve people in Jesus’ name. And in our loving and serving, it is our prayer that more people will come to know Jesus as their Savior.”

CHRIST SETTING HIS EXAMPLE

Everything in the disciples’ experience said that the way to succeed in life was to gain prominence in the eyes of others. Even three years with Jesus had not fully overturned these beliefs. When Jesus, the most prominent among them, knelt down to wash their feet, it must have seemed so strange—even wrong. Our world values those who gain superiority over others. But God, who has all superiority, takes a servant’s towel and goes to His knees to serve.

  1. Who is the most servant-hearted person you have known?
  2. In what ways does God serve us?
  3. How can you serve others in Jesus’ name this week?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 25, 2020: Love Never Fails (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

By Teacher Tips

To begin the session:

Distribute copies of the “Healthy or Unhealthy Love?” exercise from the activity page, which you can download here. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.) Have learners work in pairs to complete as indicated.

If you’re meeting online, you might make use of Zoom breakouts to create study pairs or discussion groups. If you’re in a hybrid situation, you might group all the online people into one group and the in-person people in other groups.

After the activity say, “Brace yourselves: today we are going to examine the most famous passage in the Bible on the topic of love.”

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Using Our Gifts in Love” exercise from the activity page as a take-home to complete as indicated. To encourage its use, promise to begin next week’s class with a discussion of results.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. Tip: A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 25, 2020

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 25, 2020 here.

“Unpacking This Week’s Lesson” is a podcast designed to give you additional insight to lesson context, the key verse, and applying the lesson. And you can share this podcast with your entire class—just copy the URL and email or text the link! https://soundcloud.com/user-809447765/issl-fall-2020-lesson-08. Get unlimited access to the weekly lesson podcast and other materials when you sign up for our Church Support Program:  https://churchsupport.davidccook.org/.

 

LOVE ME OR DIE

This month, a New Jersey court sentenced Helder Rosa to twenty-three years in prison for aggravated manslaughter. His live-in girlfriend, Leydi Lemos-Delgado, was ending their relationship. The woman’s family told police that Helder Rosa refused to let her leave the relationship, and he obsessively called and texted to find out where she was and who she was with. One day, he took up a knife and killed her. Helder’s idea of love was possession and power, and if Leydi wouldn’t love him, he would “love” her to death.

LOVE ME OR NOT

The love of God is faithful, patient, and humble. It does not demand. It does not control. And it does not punish. Paul’s famous “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) is the focus in this week’s lesson. Even having faith or the great power of God is secondary to having His love, Paul says. Jesus is the perfect illustration of the love of God. His love always trusts, always hopes, and always protects.

  1. What’s the best example of human love you’ve seen?
  2. When have you been touched by someone’s false definition of love?
  3. How do you respond to Paul’s statement that love is greater even than faith?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use. If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

www.standardlesson.com/category/in-the-world
Copyright © 2020 by Standard Publishing, part of the David C Cook family.
All rights reserved. Each download is for the use of one church only.

October 18, 2020: Love for Neighbors (Luke 10:25-37)

By Teacher Tips

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the exercise “Your Actions: A Case Study” from the activity page, which you can download here. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.) Ask students to identify patterns of values that can make it challenging to overcome biased thinking in terms of whom we will help and whom we won’t. Have class members work in groups of three, physically and/or via Zoom breakouts, to process the variables as indicated.

Close with a minute of silence during which time learners write to themselves the challenge of one change they are willing to make in order to serve others as Christ would have them. Enhance this segment by distributing copies of the exercise “More Compassion, Less Rationalizing” from the activity page. Have learners complete it during the closing minute of silence, then take it home for further reflection.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. Tip: A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 18, 2020

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 18, 2020 here.

CROSS-CULTURAL MISTAKES

Last month, Disney released its live-action remake of the movie Mulan, a dramatization of the legend of a female warrior from China’s ancient past. The movie failed to capture Chinese moviegoers, primarily because it paid little heed to historical accuracy and themes. “The movie is just a mixture of oriental elements and symbols in the eyes of Westerners,” said one review. Another critic said the movie, “blended conventional settings of traditional Western fairy tales incompatible with Chinese historical stories.” While the movie may have many redeeming qualities, its makers did not work hard enough to depict the actual legend and epoch of Chinese history. It did not maximize its chance to bridge cultures.

CROSS-CULTURAL MINISTRY

Few of Jesus’ parables felt more counter-cultural to the original hearers than the story of the Good Samaritan. Far from being the villain in the story, the Samaritan—despised by the people of Israel as betrayers and heretics—is not only the hero but is depicted as both virtuous and pleasing to God. In spite of what the fictional Samaritan undoubtedly knew the reaction to his actions would be, he nevertheless showed exceptional kindness to someone in need. His compassion to a fellow traveler superseded cultural differences and showed us the example God has set for us.

  1. What is one cultural boundary you would find nearly impossible to cross?
  2. How have you (or someone else) crossed cultural lines in Christ’s name?
  3. Who are people of other cultures in your area who might be in need?

Additional Resources

These videos and materials are for your personal use.

If you show videos in class, be sure to have the necessary rights to do so.

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October 11, 2020: Love for Enemies (Luke 6:27-36)

By Teacher Tips

To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:

If you choose to spend more time working through the text in depth, distribute copies of the “Natural or Godly” note-taker from the activity page, which you can download here. (If you’re meeting completely or partially online, send the activity page exercise to remote class members via e-mail or text.)

To encourage personal application:

Distribute copies of the “Now It’s Personal” lesson reminder from the activity page as a take-home. Encourage learners to use it daily as indicated. To encourage its use, promise to ask for results at the beginning of next week’s class.

Note: Whenever you distribute copies of anything, use hard-copy (paper) handouts for those physically present and e-copies for those joining online via Zoom, etc.

Tip: For a tutorial on how to use Zoom breakouts, go here. For many other Zoom tutorials, see here. A key to using Zoom effectively without fumbling is to practice ahead of time!

In the World–October 11, 2020

By "In the World"

Download “In the World” for October 11, 2020 here.

RETURN THE FLAG

During COVID-19, many people have gone through attics and basements, and some have found autographed Japanese flags from World War II. When Japanese soldiers went to war, many tucked into their uniform a flag that had been inscribed with messages from home. Greg Murphy of Portland, Oregon, found such a flag. “I realized then what that flag must have meant for somebody,” he said. “It would be like someone here losing someone and getting their dog tags back.” To commemorate last month’s 75th anniversary since the end of the war against Japan, Murphy sent the flag to an organization that specializes in returning such things. He receive