OPENING ACTIVITY: Measure Your Steps
As students arrive, ask them to each estimate how many steps they have walked today since getting out of bed. (Some may wear watches or other items that measure steps and be able to say exactly how many they walked today, yesterday, or in the past week.) Then ask them how they would measure their spiritual walk this week. Would they call it easy? Hard? Good? Needs work?
OPENING STORY: [Read aloud or pass out copies for students to read]
WALK IN LOVE, UNITE IN PRAYER, MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN 2019
How can we can we best walk with Christ and support one another in this new year of 2019?
Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is working on one way. He and his nonprofit foundation recently released an online video series, “The Movement,” centered on the charitable work that the organization does worldwide. “This is a movement of faith, hope, and love, and we want you to be in the midst of how God is working,” the Tebow Foundation announced in an e-mail to supporters.
“This new video series will bring you behind-the-scenes with unparalleled access as we document the journey of TTF and how God is using this ministry to change lives.” The foundation went on to explain that the new series also emphasizes transparency, which they said is one of their “core values.”
“The new series is our most concerted effort to bring you alongside the TTF team to the front lines of exactly how your support is working to bring faith, hope and love,” the foundation reiterated. “We don’t want you to guess how your giving makes a difference, we want you to be a part of the journey as you watch how your giving profoundly impacts lives.”
Items slated to be featured in the 12-episode first season of “The Movement” include ministry work done in nations like Mexico and Haiti, as well as the “Night to Shine” proms for those with special needs.
Our Christian walk and support for each other also includes loving one another, which is the theme of this years’ 2019 National Day of Prayer, to be observed on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd unveiled the theme to 300 leaders representing every state at the National Leadership Summit of the National Day of Prayer, held October 30 in northwest Arkansas. The official 2019 theme comes from the words of Jesus in John 13:34: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you.”
“We tend to forget that Jesus didn’t say we would be known by our creeds, or by our knowledge, or how much we know about the Bible—He said we would be known only by our love,” Dr. Floyd said. “And love has been painfully absent in America in so many ways.”
In his closing remarks, Dr. Floyd affirmed, “From the church house to the state house, and all the way to the White House, we need to love one another!”
In the first months of this year, Dr. Floyd and the National Day of Prayer Task Force will begin mobilizing congregations across America to adopt this theme and champion it until the next National Day of Prayer, when millions of Americans across all 50 states will join in public prayer for America. On social media, the theme will be advanced with the hashtag, #love1another.
Explaining why millions of Americans turn out every year to pray in public gatherings on the National Day of Prayer, Dr. Floyd said, “Most Americans love their country and want to see it become all it has the potential to become.” They understand America is broken, and he went on to say, “Even those who may not know a lot about God, understand that if there is a God, He is the only one who can fix America.”
Now ask your students to form small groups to discuss their answers to these questions.
- What truths do you follow as you walk with Jesus (for example, that He is God)?
- Why would loving one another be the most important outward sign of our walk with Jesus?
- Is a goal of yours this year to obey God more? If so, what are you planning to do?
https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/ [links to “The Movement” video series]
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
KEEP ON WALKIN’
Watching a baby take his or her first steps can be one of the most memorable moments we all share. But then comes the hard part—for us and the child. Walking takes practice! Step by wobbly step, the muscles strengthen and balance develops. And the child’s confidence grows when we catch a fall and encourage him or her to try it again.
Perhaps that’s why Paul reminded the new Christians in Thessalonica to practice what Jesus taught His followers—to walk in love, obedience, and truth. And be careful not to fall! Paul knew that false teachers and opposition followed wherever he shared the truth, even in Thessalonica.
The disciple John also wrote to new Christians about “walking in truth.” He reminded us and them that “this is love; that we walk in obedience to his commands” (2 John 6).
Yes, our walk needs practice—as well as support. But as Paul, John, and the first Christians remind us, hold on to Jesus, love one another, and keep on walkin’.
Have students return to the groups they had in Step 1 to discuss this question:
- In what ways can you and your church demonstrate unity and walk in love for the benefit of your community, nation, and world?
End the discussion time with prayer, asking God to open our eyes and hearts as we walk alongside one another this week, and show us what it looks like and feels like to love one another, just as Jesus commanded us.
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