Sunday lesson

Series: What’s a New Testament Church Like?
Lesson Title: Relationships: The Integrity Factor
Date: Week of August 1
Lesson Passages: 2 Corinthians 1:3-12; 2: 14-17

Through this scripture we learn that God’s comfort is certain, even in the midst of difficult times. We don’t know the future or why things happen the way they do; but one thing is for sure; God is good, all-knowing and will never leave us.

God gives every believer a “ministry of comfort” to others. God intends that every blessing He grants to you becomes a resource through which you can help other people.

Questions:
1.      How did Paul respond to the painful accusations from phony believers who questioned his integrity?
2.      How does God’s comfort flow through believer to bless another believer? How does this process deepen relationships?
3.      Are we willing to face affliction with a different attitude after reading this lesson?

Revelation:
If we want to be able to touch the lives of others, we have to experience suffering ourselves. This is the purpose of God allowing us to suffer. He teaches us how to comfort others through His comfort to us. Often we reject God’s comfort because of pride; the pride that says we can do it alone. Don’t be afraid to reveal your needs to others so that you can experience God’s comfort through them.

The more we suffer for God, the more God will shower us with His comfort. God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.

Homework:
If you have known suffering and have been able to overcome it, share your story with those who are grieving. Write a letter or call a friend with encouraging words.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for teaching us how to comfort others by the way you comfort us. Use us to touch the lives of others, even if we have to be taught through our own suffering. Continue to provide encouragement and strength to each of us through divine interventions in the midst of every trial we encounter. Lead us to those we can trust through their scent of knowing you. Let us follow Paul’s example of living with integrity. Amen.

(thanks to Kim!)

On the mend

Slow blogging because I’ve been sick. I was out three, no four days – Thursday through Tuesday – and I still don’t really feel well. My main concern is not getting anybody else sick right now – we’re so busy at work we can’t afford that.

Sunday lesson

I’m starting a new project at Notes from Aunt Jim. I’ll be sharing the week’s notes for our Adult Bible Fellowship either Friday or Saturday. Thanks to Kim, who posts these on our class’s section of the church Web site.

Series: What’s a New Testament Church Like?
Lesson Title: How Can I Express Love?
Date: Week of July 18
Lesson Passages: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Through this scripture God teaches us that before we can use our spiritual gifts, we have to understand what authentic love looks like. If our motives are self centered, our gifts are powerless. Love has to come first, without it faith and trust cannot exist.

As we grow into a deeper relationship with God, he changes our hearts and the way we love. We start to understand the love Jesus talked about when he tells us about forgiving someone 70 X 7 times, the last shall be first and the first shall be last, and that true loves means deep sacrifice.

Questions:
How can we share our love with God?
1.      Do we talk to God, wait for His answer and then act on it?
2.      Do we take time to study His word and share His knowledge with others?
3.      Do we put aside our differences and pray for those who have hurt us?

Revelation:
God loves us with a love that is too deep to fathom, too wide to see across. He has called us to express a self-sacrificial love, one that always seeks the interests of someone else. The kind of love that will stop at nothing to meet the needs of others.

He is willing to teach us how to love graciously and to be magnificently compassionate to others. But first, we have to open our hearts to the changes that we need to make so that we truly reflect the light of Christ.

Homework:
Invest your heart in someone you know who doesn’t know God’s love today. Become their friend, get to know their interests, show them what His love looks like, and then invite them to church. Let them know they are always welcome here.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for loving us the way you do. Help us to understand this authentic love so we can share it with others. Remind us to show sympathy to the believer who stumbles and forgiveness to the believer who disappoints us. Let us not be envious, prideful or disrespectful. Keep us on course to pursue the virtue of love. Amen

I hate the Post Office

I had an infuriating run-in with the Post Office Wednesday.

If I’m paying any bills by mail, that’s going to change.  Their lack of customer service makes me want to stop sending Christmas cards.

I had to go by to submit my passport paperwork. I went to the one on Clemson Road, past the mall at Sandhills .

I get there at 12:15. I wait in line to get to the main desk. It’s 12:25 when I’m told, “oh, you need to wait here at this desk – he’ll be back soon from break. Since no one’s there you’ll be first.” There was no sign on the desk when he’d be back. Since I was told he’d be back soon, I thought, soon.

I waited (with a growing line behind me) until 1 p.m.

Then the clerk comes in, sits on his stool, stares at my specially done photos from Sears, and tells me oh, they won’t work. I get just a tad upset. He says – what’s wrong, you seem to have an attitude.

His exact words.

I let him know I’d been waiting for 40 minutes – there was no sign, no indication when he was coming back. The jerk tells me there was a sign. I said there’s no sign here! He told me he’d told everyone in line THEN. I was practically speechless. I wasn’t in line then. I calmed down enough to get the process done (all the while mentally composing letters to his boss).

I’m still stewing. I swear, if Strom Thurmond were alive I would storm his legendary constituent service office and beg them to find a way to get this guy fired.

But you know what just slays me about the whole experience?  That I actually thought: “hey, there’s a passport facility near my office: I won’t have to go downtown!”

I thought it was a good thing. I was happy about the possibility of getting it all done during a long lunch break.

Ha. Ah, the irony. Me thinking a local post office branch, conveniently located to my work, would be convenient.