“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (NAS)
In a world where people feel isolated and alone, God created a unique and loving community called the Church. In fact, one of the first acts in Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community of believers, the disciples. These 13 men, including Jesus, transformed the world with the Good News of the kingdom of God. Throughout His ministry, Jesus modeled and taught about life in this new kind of community.
We were not created to do life or ministry alone. Community was God’s plan to change the world. Jesus was completely capable of preaching, teaching and healing by Himself. It’s not as if Jesus needed anyone to help Him! But God designed us to need each other, and Jesus lived this out by taking along 12 friends.
Being in a loving community helps us in many ways. We have friends to encourage us when we feel down, someone to help when we struggle with a problem, we learn to love as Jesus loved, it helps us stay committed to our Christian faith, and we can also be ourselves. Community also helps us stay obedient to God. Jesus commanded us to “… love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NAS). The only way to love others is to live in community. (taken from a Proverbs 31 ministry devotion)
9/27 – See You at the Pole
10/17 – CLRC Fundraising Dinner (serve opportunity)
10/21 – NPCC Health Faire (serve opportunity)
10/31 – Trunk or Treat (serve opportunity)
Remember to take attendance through the email you receive weekly and before the end of the night. Thank you!
Please make it a priority to be at the wherehouse by 6:30pm to go over the details of the evening and to pray together. Send a message through GroupMe or text Kevin at 217-4784 if you’ll be late or won’t be there.
Stand Teaching Schedule
We live in a world where, slowly but surely, the lines of morality are being blurred—or completely jumped over. How do we continue to stand up as Christians when the world is moving in the opposite direction? How can we be the light of Christ to this world? What happens when it comes down to you standing up for Christ by yourself?
Story: The Fiery Furnace
Topic: Maintaining your Christianity even when it’s not popular; not selling out, not worshipping other gods like money, boyfriends/girlfriends, and self.
Scripture: Daniel 3:4-27, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, John 15:18
Story: Daniel and the Lions’ Den
Topic: What do you really believe? Do you believe it enough to suffer for it? Will you stand for Christ even in the midst of persecution?
Scripture: Daniel 6:1-24, 1 Peter 4:16, 2 Corinthians 12:10, John 15:20
Story: Steven Being Stoned
Topic: How well do you know God, the Bible. Will you stand against false beliefs, and compromises in faith?
Scripture: Acts 7:1-60, 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Week 2 – Stand for God or Bow Down to Idols
Daniel and his friends were taken as captives from their country and placed in Babylon—surrounded by false gods and new cultures, beliefs, and people. They started by not compromising to the culture they were in. Even though everyone believed it was OK to eat the food sacrificed to idols, they didn’t do it. Instead of becoming like the culture, they set themselves apart.
Because of that, God granted them great favor, and they rose within the ranks of the Babylonians. In the section we’re going to read, Daniel and his friends are leaders.
3 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in,14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
Seriously, what would your response be to this? This guy has all the power and he just called you out. Do you bow or don’t you?
I want to talk briefly about what these boys faced: will you stand up in the face of other gods?
We are living in a world surrounded by all sorts of “gods” that people are worshipping: money, popularity, talent, sex, pleasure, relationships. They choose these things over God. And as Christians, we are tempted to fall into worshipping these things as well. They might not be a huge statue, but they come in other forms.
The Opposite Sex
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
When the world offers these things that look amazing on the outside, so many Christians give in. But these things can never truly satisfy us. Only God can.
During the time of Ancient Rome, Rome itself and Caesar were the ones to be worshipped. “There is no God but Caesar,” the people would proclaim. During the reign of an emperor named Basil, 40 soldiers who had openly announced they were Christians, were sentenced to death by standing naked in the freezing cold. As the night dragged on, the men stood huddled together. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake that had been prepared for those who would deny Jesus.
One of the guards who was watching was so blown away by the faith of the other 39, that he proclaimed Christ, took off his clothes, and joined the others—meaning there were still 40.
The next day, the Romans took the dead bodies of the 40 Christians and burned them. Some Christians, however, collected the remains and spread the story of the faith of these men.
For these men, even when faced of the prospect of dying, they wouldn’t deny Christ. One did, but it was the example of the 39 that changed a bystander.
Be honest with yourself: do you stand up for God, or do you bow down to other gods in the way you live and spend your time and your thoughts. In the world we live in, it’s not popular to say, “I’m saving sex until marriage.”
Do you stand for God?
Verse of the Week:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
What stands out to you in the passage?
Why does it stand out to you?
How can you apply this to your life?
Discussion Questions you might want to use:
- How does our self-image play a role into “bowing-down”
- Do you know who you are because of Christ?
- Do you have a personal relationship with God?
- Do you know who you are because of Christ?
Close in prayer