Sunday School - Session 3 June 28
June 28 Sunday School Study notes
Review Chapter 1 – Read chapter 4
Chapter 4 notes
List three words that describe your faith.
This is harder than I thought it would be. Faith is hard to describe. So my words were comforting, difficult, moving. What words would you use?
How many people would show up if we called an all-night prayer service? Would 1/3 or ½ of our congregation show up? How many would show up if we called a 1-hour prayer service? If we answer that with a small number maybe, we need to consider why. Do we have to be desperate for God’s presence before we are interested? What would bring us to that point?
Have we felt God working to direct the events of our life as Alec described in his being called to a different church?
I have felt that power and one of the times I have felt it the strongest was when I was called to Stout Memorial.
I was not looking to move from the church I was serving at the time. I had talked with the D.S. about staying where I was. We had talked about the possibility of moving back to Parkersburg some day if an opportunity arose but it not right then. A few weeks later he called and said would you be interested in returning to Stout? He said Paul had decided to retire and had turned in his retirement request on the last day it was due. I said let me pray about it. I then told him if it worked out, I thought I would be willing to come. I love the people at Stout and Keith had loved the people at Stout so I thought it would be a good move. From that point everything fell into place. The D.S. looked at me and said in my almost eight years here I’ve never had an appointment fall into place as easily as this one. I’ve never been more sure that you were supposed to be at this appointment. I agreed. God had put this appointment in place for sure. It was an amazing thing. God has put us together for this time.
We have not had everything work perfectly, I’ve made mistakes for sure, and it’s been particularly strange to be serving during this pandemic. But I’m still feeling God’s power at work among us.
These types of encounters with God should be expected – not surprising.
“for so many in the church today, salvation has come to be viewed as a one-tie event anchored in something Jesus accomplished on the cross two thousand years ago. Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we pray a prayer, or we walk forward at a meeting and kneel at the altar to receive this free gift of salvation, which we see as primarily about forgiveness. We mark our “salvation day” on the calendar, and now we have our ticket to heaven. From there, we set about working to “live the Christian life,” which typically consists of going to church, reading the Bible, and trying to conform to some combination of dos and don’ts that will keep us in right standing with God. We give lip service to our “relationship with God” and “how much we love Jesus,” but what we really mean is that we believe God is out there somewhere; we believe he sent Jesus to die for our sins; and someday (when our life on earth ends), we believe we’ll see both of them in heaven and it will all make sense. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Salvation is about far more than forgiveness in our lifetimes and heaven when we die. Salvation is primarily about reconciliation with God for the purpose of an ongoing, intimate relationship with him. Yes, our salvation is rooted in Christ’s past sacrifice for us, which we have received as a gift. But that gift is our entry point into life. Salvation, therefore, is not a static moment in time; it is something that happens to us every day as we participate in an active and immediate relationship with God.”
Before watching the video think about this statement and pray.
“Mary Peckham, one of the Isle of Lewis converts, described the island during those revival years as being covered by “a canopy of God-consciousness.” It was this sense of God’s amazing presence that transformed their head knowledge of God into a heartfelt experience of God that changed their behavior overnight.
You will be amazed at their stories. They were no longer disinterested spectators of the Christian life; the presence of God compelled them into the story. God directed them. He energized them. Over a period of four years, they met at the church every night and then gathered in homes afterward for exuberant worship and more instruction from the Bible. It’s no wonder that, when I interviewed them for the DVD series, almost every person concluded their time with me by whispering in prayer, “Lord, do it again.”
“pray that God will prepare your hearts to hear the testimonies of the people from Scotland. Pray that the group will catch a vision for how God can dramatically change your lives – and may that vision become a hunger in your hearts.”
Video - https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/144251?episode=3
My video answers to study questions
1) By the end of World War II on the Isle of Lewis, all the young people had drifted away from the church and no longer participated. In our day, it seems, the young people are again drifting away. What brought them back on the Isle of Lewis? What will it take to bring people back in our day and age?
2) Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 aloud. Based on the Isle of Lewis story, it seems as if God used the protracted, fervent prayers of two elderly women, a commitment to prayer by the leaders of the church, and the repentance of one of the elders to open the door to his tremendous work there. Cite other scriptural examples of times when God promised to do what only he can do if the people would meet his conditions.
3) In Alec's interview with one of the ladies from the Isle of Lewis, she says that the prayers offered during the revival were with a sense of expectancy in people's hearts. Is that how you pray? If not, how have life's disappointments dampened your expectancy, and how can it be recaptured?
4) In chapter 1 of the Presence, Alec writes: "There's nothing safe about pursuing and being near to God, if by safe you mean being left as you are, to follow your own agenda and depend solely on your own wisdom and resources for living." What fears do you have about experiencing God's presence?