At-Home Study: Week 2
These workbook pages can be printed if you prefer a hard copy.
SUNDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus prayed: That his followers might all be one.
READ JOHN 17
On the night before he died, Jesus prayed that his followers might all be one with himself and with God. He included us in his prayers—those who were to believe because of the witness of those first followers.
The fellowship of his followers was important to Jesus.
Jesus thanked God for his disciples.
Jesus said that he was sending them into the world as God had sent him—to do God’s work.
Jesus prayed that God would keep us from falling.
Most of us want to be very individualistic in our faith. How often have you heard someone say, “I don’t think I need to go to church to be a Christian”?
To be a Christian is to be a part of the church.
To be a part of the Church Universal, you need to be part of some church in particular. You are called into an imperfect human institution, committed to the purpose of God.
You may need to forgive your church for many things:
For being an institution with human failures;
For not being the “super church” you wish it could be;
For sometimes having let you down or hurt you. You may need to accept your church as it is, just as the church accepts you as you are.
In the church: attend it, pray for it, participate in it, support it, see yourself as part of it, just as you are part of your family.
You need to be open to your church and let God bless you through it.
The next two weeks of our readings will be primarily about the church, because the church is important.
What is the “given name” of your local church?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for my church. Help me to be a faithful member of it. Amen.
MONDAY, SECOND WEEK
The Bible says:[Jesus] went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom (Luke 4:16b).
READ LUKE 4:16-21
Some remember a time when almost everyone customarily went to church every Sunday.
But now it seems that many people are out of the habit of going to church.
Lots of things make it easy to get out of the habit;
Lots of people have come to feel like strangers to church life.
Those who are out of the habit of going to church have lost something important in their lives.
If Jesus needed to go to church, so do we.
We need the things that happen in church to keep us living in touch with God.
Those who were in the synagogue on the day Jesus came had a unique opportunity to encounter the Lord.
Your church plans the things that happen on Sunday to help good things happen between you and God.
But if you are not there, you miss it!
We also need to be in church so we can help with the good things that happen there. We are needed there. We grow through service.
In order to be a part of Christ’s church, you must put yourself in it, physically as well as spiritually.
How will you work church attendance into your schedule?
Prayer: Lord, I will see you in church next Sunday. Amen.
TUESDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus said: You are the light of the world. . . .You are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:14a, 13a).
READ MATTHEW 5:13-16
Jesus called his followers to make a difference in the world;
Like seasoning for a dull and flavorless life,
Like a preservative that keeps things from spoiling,
Like light that drives away darkness.
The followers of Jesus are a people with a purpose.
Remember what you know about God.
God created all things by bringing order out of chaos, being out of nonbeing.
God made a covenant with all the creatures, calling them to full humanity and promising to be their God.
God loves all people and wants justice, well-being, and fullness of life for all of us.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Knowing what you know about God, and knowing what you know about the world we live in, answer these questions:
What differences do you think God wants to make in the world?
How might God want to use the church to make those differences?
Prayer: Lord, show me how I can be salt and light. Show me how you want to use me to make a difference. Amen.
WEDNESDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus said: Consider the lilies, how they grow . . . . if God so clothes the grass of the field . . . how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! (Luke 12:27a, 28a, c).
READ LUKE 12:22-31
God really does provide abundantly for us, doesn’t he?
Many of us have a curious habit of always talking about how poor we are, how little we have, and how hard we have had to work to survive.
We do this, even though we are among the most richly blessed people of the earth.
Why do we do this?
Is it because we feel guilty about our prosperity?
Is it because we want to excuse ourselves from any responsibilities that may go with advantage?
Whatever the reason, it is a foolish practice.
It makes us feel bad when we could feel good.
It makes us feel weak when we could feel able.
It makes us feel bitter when we could be joyful.
Let’s get rid of our “poor me” attitudes and be grateful.
Let us be honest about our blessedness.
Count your blessings.
What has God given you?
Check and fill in the blanks below to inventory your blessings.
______Love from others
______The ability to love
______A beautiful world
______Plenty to eat
______A place to live
______Income to do more than meets your basic needs
______A free country to live in
______Ability to make life-shaping decisions
______Some status in your community
______Ability to influence others.
______Material possessions and property
______Abilities (list below)
______The good news of Jesus Christ
______Hope of Heaven
______Other Resources (list below)
Prayer: Thanks, Lord, Thanks a lot! Amen.
THURSDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus taught: God is like an entrepreneur who entrusts his investment capital to his employees.
READ MATTHEW 25:14-30
In the parable of the talents, Jesus tells of three people who were put in charge of certain investment funds. Two managed creatively, invested courageously, made a profit, and were rewarded. The other was afraid of his employer. He hoarded the funds, thinking it was most important to conserve them. He did not win his employer’s approval.
What must Jesus have wanted us to learn from that story?
That all we have has been entrusted to us by God.
That God wants us to use all that he has entrusted to us in his service.
That God rewards those who invest their lives courageously in the service of the purposes of God.
Some people seem to think that Christianity means hoarding life and trying not to lose it. They are more concerned about not doing anything wrong than they are about doing something good. They tend to avoid all situations of stress and ambiguity where there might be risk.
The gospel teaches that God calls us to invest our lives courageously in doing something really good.
This sometimes requires us to move into situations of stress and ambiguity and risk. We are assured that if we make some mistakes trying to do something good, God will understand.
Those who invest in life courageously are more genuinely alive.
In what way may God be calling you to a courageous investment of life right now?
Prayer: I hear you calling, Lord. Give me the courage to answer. Amen.
FRIDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus said: Go therefore and make disciples (Matt. 28:19a).
READ MATTHEW 28:16-20
If you have found something good, you will want to share it with your friends.
We know that we should share the Christian faith with others—but many of us feel very uncomfortable about trying to do that.
It is not as hard as you think to share your faith.
If you are actively involved in your church and feel good about it, the things you say to your friends as you talk about it will make your church and your faith attractive. It will just happen.
But you can share your faith intentionally too.
The very best way to share your faith is also the easiest way.
Simply invite your friends to come with you to church—or better yet, to Sunday school and worship.
If they come, you will have put them in touch with
Christ and the church in a comfortable way.
How do you invite someone to come to church?
Make up a one sentence statement, saying something positive about your church and your faith.
Don’t be “preachy” or condescending. Make it something you would feel comfortable saying to your best friend.
Look for opportunities to share your statement. They will come.
When you have given your invitation, see how your friend responds. Follow through appropriately.
If your friend is not responsive the first time, watch for another time when he or she may be ready.
What might you say to a friend you want to invite to your church?
Write your sentence below.
Prayer: Lord, help me to know when and where to share my faith. Amen.
SATURDAY, SECOND WEEK
Jesus said: You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem [right where you are now], Judea and Samaria [anywhere you may happen to go], and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8b).
READ ACTS 1:6-9
How can we go into all the world to share our faith?
That is no problem. You go into the world every day.
How can we find people who need the Christian faith?
That is no problem. You already know some. Those you know best are most likely to be receptive.
Who will you invite to come to church with you?
List below the names of people in each of the categories suggested.
People you work with:
People you play with:
People you know through clubs or organizations:
Others you know through other associations:
Now follow these steps:
Go back and cross off all those you know to be currently active in the life of some church.
Review the others and put a check by those you think might be receptive to a friendly invitation from you.
From among the checked names, pick two or three who may have some special need to get in touch with God right now. Circle their names.
Begin to intentionally prepare to invite them to church.
Prayer: Lord, prepare me and those with whom I want to share the faith. Amen.