Friday, August 29, 2008

God's Angle on Alcohol


Alcohol has always seemed to be a controversial subject in the church. Some say it's okay to drink while many churches condemn any kind of drinking. Most though, don't care about the controversy.if they want to have a drink they have a drink.

Drinking is a huge part of our culture and it's something Christian and non-Christian alike need to look at seriously. Why? Alcohol has the potential to cause a lot of pain and hardship in one's life. Like fire, it needs to be handled properly.

God has some ideas about drinking alcohol. That's what this message and discussion are about.


1. Read Genesis 9:18-27. Drinking alcohol led to Noah being is a state of disgrace. This eventually led to an entire generation of people being condemned by God. How do you see in our culture alcohol's negative consequences?

2. Read Proverbs 31:4-7. Why are leaders held to a higher standard than other people?

3. In this culture they used alcohol for medicine. It was used as a sedative. What does this say about our reasons for drinking today?

4. Read Ephesians 5:18. What is debauchery? Why would Paul associate alcohol with this subject?

5. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How does that feel? How do you do it?

6. Where should our focus be? How much I can drink or how much I can be filled with the Spirit? Why is it important to make a distinction between the two?

Does alcohol consumption help you draw closer to God? Why or why not?

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18

Friday, August 15, 2008

God's Angle on Cussing


George Carlin, a comedian who died recently, was widely known for a bit he did called, "Seven Words You can't Say on Television." Believe it or not, there are people paid by the networks to moniter the language that is used on television.

What most people don't realize is there is no such taboo list of words in the Bible. What you do find are genral warnings about the use of language. Consider Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

This message primarily concentrated on what james wrote about our language in James 3:2-12. Our discussion will focus on these verses.


1. Why does James consider taming the tongue such a hard feat to accomplish?

2. James uses 6 illustrations (a bit, a rudder, spark, organs, animals, and water) to make his point about the use of our language. Of the six pictures explain which one stands out to you the most.

3. In the illustrations on the bit, the rudder, and spark James contrasts the smallness of the object controlling something very large. How can words we consider small or incidental control something much larger, like a marriage, parenting, at work?

4. The last three illustrations point out how inconsistent our words can be with our intentions. We think we have a good heart but harsh words can come out of our mouths. Why are we so comfortable with this hypocrisy?

5. Paul says to replace our nasty language with words that build each other up. What are some words that build others up? How can you practice saying these words?

6. In chapter 1 James says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. How can these three habits improve our language?


How does language used in the media (music, movies, internet, etc.) impact the way you use language?


Jas 3:2 "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. " (NIV)

Friday, August 8, 2008

God's Angle on Money


In photography the angle of the picture is critical in making a good picture or a bad one. The same is true with the issues we face in life. The angle we take on those issues can make all the difference between happiness and pain. We have our own angle on politics, sex, marriage, language, and alcohol. It can seem in our culture we can choose any angle we seem fit. In fact, we change our angle on certain issues depending on the situation we're facing.

Well, if we can have our angle God can have his angle too. The neat thing about God's angle on issues is sees the whole picture, while we just see just the puzzle peice. From his angle God sees all and knows all. With this truth in mind this series looks at God's angle on some straight topics.

This lesson looks at God's angle on money. It seems our angle is first we spend it, then save it if we have any left over, and then if we're lucky we'll have a few pennies left to be generous with others. Is that God's angle?


God's angle on money is we tithe 10% first, save 10%, and then spend 80% wisely.

1. Tithe 10% (Genesis 14:20)

A. Read Malachi 3:10. God says test me in the tithe and see if I don't bless you. Why is this hard for us to believe?

B. What are some of the blessings God gives when we are faithful in our tithing?

2. Save 10% (Proverbs 13:11)

A. What is your plan for saving a little by little over a long period of time?

B. Saving means we put off what we can buy today for a better tommorow. Why is this discipline so hard?

C. What savings goal do you have?

3. Spend 80% wisely. (Proverbs 21:5)

A. Do you know where your money is going? If not, how can you get a handle on understanding where your money is going? (You can start by knowing how much you actually make.)

B. If you make over $32,000 you are considered extremely rich by world's standards. So why don't you feel rich?

C. What plan are you using to reduce your debt? "Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you." PR 22:26-27 (NIV) How is this scripture true in our culture?

Does the way you handle your money demonstrate that you honor God first in your life?

“Why spend money on what does not satisfy?” Isa. 55:2 (NIV)

“If I have put my trust in money, if my happiness depends on wealth... it would mean that I denied the God of heaven.” Job 31:24,28 (LB)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wii Would Like to Play


For this year's volunteer Sunday our theme played off the popular Wii video game. That system is a blast becasue it is immersive, interactive, and simple. This is how we are to experience the church. Many people think the church, or their Christian walk, is just a spiritual activity. Christianity is not just a spiritual activity. In it's correct form it is immersive, interactive, and simple. This past week's message expands on this idea.


1. How is the church, or your Christian experience, immersive (involving all of you), interactive (fellowship), and simple (easy to participate)? If not, then how can the church improve in these areas?

2. The lawyer said to gain eternal life one must love God and love people. This is a simple concept. How could you simplify your Christian life according to these two directives?

3. The lawyer was not satisfied with a general directive from Jesus. He wanted Jesus to define who was his neighbor. We live in a society that likes to be specific (i.e. "It depends on what the term 'is' is.") Why do we have this need and how can it hamper our ability to follow Jesus in serving others?

4. Notice all three passers by "saw" the beaten man on the side of the road. What needs do you see in your community or Celebration and how could you chip in?

5. Jesus said he Samaritan had pity on the victim. When was the last time you felt pity for someone? How did you respond to that feeling?

6. Jesus command to the lawyer was "Go and do likewise." How could you obey that command from Jesus?


Many times we have good intentions at serving others but for one reason or another we fail to follow through. In contrast the Bible mentions Jesus had compassion for people and then took some kind of action (feeding and healing, to name a couple). Could we learn anything from Jesus' example to get beyond good intenions and do something like he did?

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:36-37 (NIV)