Monday, January 05, 2009

What Hope Do You Have?, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The lesson, “What Hope Do You Have?” is exciting because it’s based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, where Paul explains why Christians have reason for hope.

The LifeWay Adult Leader Guide (p. 71) suggests introducing this lesson using an obituary page from a newspaper. This might go well in your class, but I can imagine this might not excite interest from members in my class. So I went looking for alternatives.

Mark Rathel’s commentary introduces this lesson by noting what various worldviews and religions teach regarding an afterlife. This approach could be informative as well as interesting.

Louis Johnson’s commentary introduces this lesson likening the irony in a local news story to that of how believers’ have trouble in their lives, yet they are concerned about leaving it (by death). I like the idea, but it may be too subtle to grab everyone’s attention.

Joy Ross’s commentary uses a child’s reaction at a funeral to introduce the lesson. Reminds me of the story in Jim McCullen’s commentary of a child’s reaction to an open grave.

My hope for a successful lesson opening is to use a simple quiz, which asks, “Which of the following words do not appear in the Bible?”

* Trinity
* Rapture
* Omnipotence
* Atheism
* Hope

This will get members thinking about what’s in the Bible, and what’s not. This can be leveraged into discussion of reasons why Christians have hope.

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