OPENING ACTIVITY: My Life-Changing Experience
Ask students to share examples of what people might consider a “life-changing” experience. Their responses could include deciding to trust in Jesus for salvation, experiencing (and surviving) a potentially fatal auto accident, winning the lottery, or being recognized in a significant way for an achievement. List students’ responses on a board or sheet of newsprint. Then ask how these might change a person. Their answers could include having a passionate desire to worship or serve God, wanting one’s life to have more purpose or meaning, being able to have and enjoy more material blessings, or working harder to live up to one’s reputation.
This week’s story notes some of the changes that occurred in one man’s life when he turned his life over to Jesus.
OPENING STORY: [Read the story aloud or make copies and pass them around.]
FROM HEDONISM TO SALVATION
Dominic Muir, author of a book entitled God Hunger: Meditations from a Life of Longing, admits that there was a time in his life when he didn’t care much for religion or church.
Muir was raised in a nominally Christian environment that was “a mix of high church Jesuit Catholicism” and “sleepy nominal Anglicanism.” Although he had what he calls “a very loving upbringing,” his family’s “sleepy” faith never took root, and he found his experience of church to be “stuffy, ritualistic, and powerless.” The chapel services he attended at boarding school didn’t inspire him, and during his university years he “became increasingly hedonistic, going after women, drugs, and the party scene.” However, these choices did not lead to a fulfilled life, and as Muir recalled later, “I was quite broken by the end of it.”
At the age of 26, life changed for Muir when he took an Alpha Course in London. The Alpha Course is an evangelistic program which seeks to introduce the basics of the Christian faith through a series of talks and discussions. It was during this course that Muir says he had an encounter with God and was filled with the Holy Spirit. “I went from black and white to color, from death to life,” Muir said about this experience. “I heard [the Lord] say, ‘I’ve been waiting for you all along; I’m so glad you’ve come.’ ”
Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian, Muir found himself consumed by a desire for street evangelism and outreach. His newfound zeal was not always received well by his peers, however. He pursued it nevertheless, and in 2005 launched a website titled NowBelieve. What was originally intended to be a web-based evangelistic pursuit eventually grew into a ministry that sends evangelism and outreach teams throughout the world to teach and disciple new believers.
In his book, it is easy to see the central theme in Muir’s life in Christ—a longing for God. Instead of hungering to fulfill the fleshly cravings of the human heart, Muir says that Christians “must hunger and thirst for the name of Jesus to be glorified; to build His kingdom and not their own.” Muir has found his own relationship with God to be transforming. He believes it can and should be transforming to others as well: “I believe that one of the most beautiful sides to the Christian faith is that it is a redirection of our longing, our appetite, our true hunger … I want people to be drawn into the full-blown adventure of wholeheartedness [in Christ], the kind of faith that is worthy of giving one’s life away.” According to Muir, doing this will result in “Christians who are radical, on the street, in the marketplace, and just sold-out.”
Muir believes that “In heaven there is no sacred / secular divide; all is worship. What will be significant in eternity is not what we did but the degree to which we were obedient to the Lord and were motivated by love.” He puts this belief into practice personally through his commitment to fulfill his part in the mission of NowBelieve, which is “to create a counter-cultural community of believers with a strong desire to live and share an authentic expression of the Gospel.” These believers “are passionate about inviting people to Jesus by going out with love and authenticity,” and proclaim and demonstrate “the good news of the kingdom wherever they are.”
Ask your students to form small groups to discuss their answers to these questions.
- How can realizing that God is holy and you are not change your life, as it did Muir’s?
- Why should confession and obedience be our responses to a holy God?
- In what ways do you “hunger” for God?
- How has God sent you out to proclaim the Gospel message?
(When you are finished with the questions, go on to Step 2 in your Adult Teacher’s Guide.)
God Hunger: An Evangelist’s Journey
If you would like to play a video of Muir’s testimony to your class or see videos of what NowBelieve is doing around the world.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
IT SHOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE
When Isaiah saw how holy God is, he initially had a strong sense of guilt for his sin. When he understood that he was forgiven, what he wanted to do more than anything else was to serve the One who redeemed him.
Our recognition that God is holy and we are not should lead us to confess our deep sin and pray for His mercy. But knowing God is holy should never end with just confessing our sins to Him. Instead, an appropriate response is a deeper commitment to honor and worship the One who saved us through obedience and service to Him.
Have students return to the groups they had in Step 1 to share their responses to the following.
- What do you need to confess right now to a holy God? How and where will you commit to serve Him?
Close the class in prayer. Acknowledge that though God is holy and we are not, that God continues to forgive us so that we can have a fruitful relationship with Him. Thank Him for His grace and mercy, then pray that you will respond to this knowledge by making a stronger commitment to obey and serve the One who redeemed us.
THE BIBLE IN THE NEWS
Why we need multiple Bible translations
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