122 episodes

Weekly updates and training helps for use with the Bible Studies for Life Adult Curriculum.

Bible Studies for Life | Adults Leader Training Lifeway Christian Resources

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.6 • 25 Ratings

Weekly updates and training helps for use with the Bible Studies for Life Adult Curriculum.

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 5

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 5

    Date: July 10, 2022

    Walking with the Spirit

    The Point: The Holy Spirit leads us to display the fruit of godly character.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following to introduce today’s session.

    When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, stories about the war and calls for support filled our newsfeeds and social media accounts. Since then, other issues have caught our attention and taken over prominence in the news. While milestones like “100 days of war” have brought the fighting back to the headlines, we cannot measure the intensity of the battles by the intensity of our attention to them.    

    We are each involved in an ongoing battle that causes death and destruction around us—a spiritual battle between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of our flesh. But just as our attention to the war in Ukraine has waned, we can be tempted to lose interest in our spiritual battles. Our spiritual battle is a real battle with real consequences. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. Paul understood this and in his letter to the Galatians, he exhorted believers to pay attention to this battle between the sinful desires of the flesh and the godly desires of the Holy Spirit. In this session, we will study Paul’s advice on how to win this battle through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.

    Study the Bible [from Adult Leader Guide, p. 81 and KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 75]

    In advance, play a video clip or audio clip of the old Cherokee tale of two wolves, with the winning wolf being the one you feed. Be sure to make the point that this is a good illustration of the war between the flesh and the spirit, but it is utterly unwinnable without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Live It Out

    Use the following story to conclude your study of this session.

    As a society, we are obsessed with self-improvement. We want to be perfect! From  books and articles to podcasts and Tik Tok videos—there is an endless supply of content out there, telling people how to harness self-control to reach our goals. But Forbes recently published an article explaining that while self-control is important, motivation, more than willpower, is the primary factor in whether or not an individual will have success. The article explains, “Willpower alone is not enough to achieve your goals. Successful people have tapped into something else: motivation. Motivation is the key to overcoming resistance and taking action on your goals.”

    As Christians, we often have extra motivation to be more like Christ. We want the world to see our witness! We might even make a plan for ourselves for our self-improvement.

    However, while focusing on self-improvement can be a good thing (who doesn’t need healthier habits?), let us always remember that as believers, we have the gift of being led, daily, by the Holy Spirit. It is a relational, spiritual practice. Listening for that quiet voice and providing enough space to hear it, is more important (and more fruitful) than seeking out every new self-improvement plan that comes our way, no matter how motivated we are.

    How might you leave more room for the Holy Spirit in your own life this week?

    Additional Questions

    • 25 min
    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 4

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 4

    Date: June 26, 2022

    Filled with the Spirit

    The Point: The Holy Spirit enables us to live as fully devoted disciples.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following to introduce today’s session.

    The original Gerber baby, Ann Cook, has died at the age of 95. A charcoal sketch of Ann at five-months-old became the face of Gerber Baby food after being submitted to a contest for a national marketing campaign. In a post on Instagram, Gerber Products Company said, “Many years before becoming an extraordinary mother, teacher and writer, her smile and expressive curiosity captured hearts everywhere and will continue to live on as a symbol for all babies.”

    Ann’s face is still found in baby food aisles. Used for marketing, the smiling baby seems to suggest that Gerber baby food will help make your baby a smiling, expressive, beautiful baby, too. Advertisements often claim or imply that a product will help you become more like that product’s spokesperson.

    A baby that has his fill of Gerber baby food will probably be happier than a hungry baby. However, no matter how full he is of Gerber food, he won’t really become more like Ann Cook. Gerber doesn’t actually claim their products will make your baby look like Ann Cook. However, filling up on somethings can change the way we look, feel, and act—for better or worse.

    This session we will discuss how we really can become more like Christ. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to live and love more like Christ.  

    Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.

    Study the Bible (Option from Young Adult Leader Guide, p. 54)





    Invite group members into a time of worship by playing a song about who God is. Here are three options.



    * Goodness of God

    * How Great Thou Art

    * How Great Is Our God







    Live It Out

    Use the following story as you wrap up this session.

    Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” The Apostle Paul says, similarly, in Ephesians 5, that in Christ we have become “children of light”—we expose the darkness of this world for what it is because we are filled with the light of the Holy Spirit.

    The imagery of light and darkness for good and evil has been used throughout the ages—it’s powerful in its simplicity and in its truth. Darkness simply cannot remain where there is light. When you turn on the light switch to enter a room, the darkness disappears. When you shine a flashlight on a darkened walkway, your path is suddenly illuminated.

    But in Christ, we don’t just have the light—we become the light. What a beautiful truth!

    As you go throughout this week, take time to rest in the gift of being children of light, inviting the Holy Spirit to continue to illuminate your path through this dark world. In prayer, ask God to show you more clearly how He shines His through you, and ask Him if there are areas where He wants to shine more brightly.

    Additional Questions

    Icebreaker



    * What constitutes a good day for you?

    * When’s a time you had a chance for a “do-over”?

    * What are some things you look forward to refilling or replenishing?



    Ephesians 5:8-14



    * How do darkness and light symbolize the difference between t...

    • 21 min
    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 3

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 3

    Date: June 19, 2022

    Indwelt by the Spirit

    The Point: The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives affirms our relationship with God.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following to introduce today’s session.

    Google Trends for 2021 lists the most searched “How to be” phrases in the United States:

    #1. “How to be eligible for stimulus check.”

    #2. “How to be more attractive.”

    #3. “How to be happy alone.”

    We are now half-way through 2022, but “loneliness” continues to pop up in news articles, with both the BBC and The New York Times referring to loneliness as an “epidemic.” A search for the phrase “loneliness epidemic” reveals the situation began before covid lock-downs and persists afterward.

    Can humans ever learn “How to be happy alone”? Do we have to?

    As we continue to study the Holy Spirit this week, we will see how the Holy Spirit’s presence affirms that we are not alone. More than “happiness,” we find joy, peace, and love through relationship with an ever-present God.   

    Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.

    Get Into the Study [from Adult Leader Guide, p. 37 and KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 40]

    In advance, play a video clip illustrating someone dealing with car trouble. Then ask Question #1.

    Study the Bible [from Adult Leader Guide, p. 45 and KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 48]

    In advance, prepare a worship video or audio clip that speaks of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Invite someone in your group who is musically inclined to lead the group in worship. Then close in prayer.

    Live It Out

    Use the following story to conclude your study of this session.

    A recent study shows that dogs can recognize their owners’ voices without using any of their other senses, including smell. “The researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, invited 28 dogs and their owners to play hide-and-seek in the lab, with the dogs tasked with finding their owners behind one of two hiding places while a stranger hid behind the other one.” Playing a recording of their owner reading a recipe in one hiding place, and a recording of the stranger reading a recipe in the other hiding place, the dogs found their owner’s voice 82% of the time, even when the recording was playing near the stranger, proving that dogs naturally rely more on their ears than their noses to successfully seek out their owners.

    As Christians, we might be surprised by how instinctively we recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit—as well as how immediately we are able to know when something is not of God. Something within us knows when God is asking us to do something—our hearts begin to pound, we may feel nervous or excited—we just know! It is such a gift. We hear His voice because we are His people, and because we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit confirms that we belong to the Lord—and the more we obey His words and follow Him, the more clearly we will be able to hear Him. May we always respond to the sweet sound of God, calling us into a deeper relationship with Him.

    How have you heard God speaking to you lately?

    • 29 min
    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 2

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 2

    Date: June 12, 2022

    Born Again by the Spirit

    The Point: The Holy Spirit brings us into a new life as we place our trust in Jesus.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following to introduce today’s session.

    How are you planning for the future? What are you doing to meet your retirement goals? There may be a new option for your 401(k). In April, Fidelity Investments, announced it would begin allowing bitcoin investments in their 401(k) retirement plans. Opinions vary on whether investing in cryptocurrency is a good strategy for retirement, with some pointing to the volatility of the crypto market. On the other hand, bills have been introduced in both the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to prevent the U.S. Department of Labor from banning such investments in 401(k) plans.

    Strategies vary for achieving retirement goals. Any investment plan dependent on a market—the stock market, the real estate market, the gold market, or the bitcoin market—is at risk of ups and downs. Unexpected shifts in these markets can cause drastic changes in a person’s retirement and their plans for the future.

    But retirement isn’t the most important thing in your future. This session we will look beyond retirement to our eternal future. We will see what Jesus has to say about our future and how we can secure eternal life.

    Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.

    Live It Out

    Use the following story to conclude your study of this session.

    A recent article in Smithsonian Magazine details the changes that happen to a woman’s body when she becomes a mother. While there are many changes we are all familiar with—outside physical changes, a rounder body, possibly a more emotional state of mind—what you may not know is that actual cells from a baby stay in a woman’s body for decades after giving birth. The article explains,

    ​​A mother’s body is like her living room, strewn with kid castoffs and debris. Scientists discover fetal cells in the darnedest places. Our children colonize our lungs, spleens, kidneys, thyroids, skin.…Often they stay forever. Scientists find rogue fetal cells while autopsying the cadavers of old women, whose babies are now middle-aged. Long after giving birth, the bodies of surrogate mothers are scattered with the genes of strangers’ progeny.

    Birth is a miracle—and as with all of creation, the more we discover about the way we are made, the more those discoveries declare and reflect the glory of God, and the gospel truths we love so much. When we are reborn in Christ, we are in Him and He is in us. We are hidden in Christ the same way the cells of babies hide within their mothers, never fully leaving the body of the one who created them! How incredible it is to be reborn in Christ! Let us never forget our spiritual birth, and the miracle of being one with Christ’s body forever. He is always with us—and we are always with Him.

    Live It Out (Option from the Daily Discipleship Guide. p. 119)

    As you begin the Live it Out section, use the following teaching idea.

    Click here to access a photo of a cruise ship and print this off. Display this to your group, then ask,

    • 20 min
    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 1

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Never Alone – Session 1

    Date: June 5, 2022

    Convicted by the Spirit

    The Point: The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and points to the truth of salvation.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following to introduce today’s session.

    Wildlife experts across the country are reminding people not to approach wild animals. In particular, experts caution that many young animals, like fawns and rabbits, may look abandoned but have only been left while their parents search for food. Interfering with the animals can cause more harm than good. According to officials, a fawn is most likely to survive if raised by an adult doe, but when the doe detects a human presence, she may delay her next visit to the fawn. If you see a young fawn on its own, you can trust the doe has not abandoned the fawn but has left to seek food to provide for its young.

    Today we will look at the words of Jesus to His disciples as He prepared to leave them. Jesus promised He was not abandoning them. He urged them to trust that He would provide for them by sending the Holy Spirit.

    Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.

    Get Into the Study [from Adult Leader Guide, p. 17 and KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 17]

    In advance, play a video clip illustrating how to find a lost object. Then ask Question #1.

    Live It Out

    Use the following story as you begin the Live it Out section of this study.

     A recent Washington Post article chronicled the stories of parents who refuse to give their children smartphones. One parent, a psychiatrist who sees mostly teenage patients, has drawn a hard line, saying she’ll never buy her children a smartphone. “[I]n her practice she routinely asks new patients to swipe open their phones and show her how much screen time they’re clocking per day. ‘I rarely find one that’s under nine hours,’ she says. ‘So, these teenagers are spending more time on their phone than they are sleeping.’” Additionally, CNET.com reports that Americans spend an average of 4.1 hours on their phones everyday. We are living in a constant state of multitasking, checking our phones almost as subconsciously as we breathe as we go throughout our daily tasks.

    As followers of Christ, this should raise red flags. How can we listen for the Holy Spirit’s nudging when we are constantly distracted, taking in story after story, photo after photo, and endless texts? Jesus was constantly disappearing from the crowds, setting aside time to be alone with His Father. He wanted to give His full attention. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is quiet. The Holy Spirit waits for us to be alone,

    • 24 min
    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Christ’s Return – Session 6

    EXTRA! Ideas for Adults – Christ’s Return – Session 6

    Date: May 29, 2022

    Stay Prepared and Ready

    The Point: Grow in Christ as you wait for His return.

    Get Into the Study

    Use the following information to introduce Question #1. 

    Thursday night April 7th, people were eating dinner in the Bottagra Restaurant in Hawthorne, New Jersey, when the nearby Passaic River began to flood. An evening storm had dumped more than 3 inches of rain on the area in a short period of time. Soon the nearly 200 people in the upscale Italian restaurant were trapped by rising floodwaters. Firefighters arrived and when the waters began to subside, they brought the customers through the fast-moving water to safer ground. 

    Say: On what should have been a nice evening out, the restaurant patrons were caught unprepared by the rising river. Then call attention to Question #1 (When have you been caught unprepared?) and invite volunteers to respond. 

    Information for this post was gleaned from: 

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nearly-200-diners-nj-restaurant-trapped-floodwaters-storm-rcna23585 

    Study the Bible

    Use the following information to introduce Question #2. 

    The US Army Corps of Engineers began preparing for storms before the 2022 hurricane season arrived. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Corps of Engineers in the South Atlantic Division held a drill exercise in April to help them be better prepared to respond when the hurricanes come. The Corps is part of the federal government’s response when natural disasters occur. For this year’s drill exercise, the Corps practiced how to respond in a situation where two hurricanes hit land nearly simultaneously. “We are prepared and ready to respond to a hurricane,” said Brigadier General Jason Kelly, South Atlantic Division commander.  

    Say: These first responders practice to be prepared when natural disasters occur. Brigadier General Kelly says they are “ready.”  Then call attention to Question #2 (How would you describe a person who’s prepared for Christ’s return?) and invite volunteers to respond. 

    Information for this post was gleaned from: 

    https://www.sas.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/3011184/army-engineers-prepare-for-hurricane-season-expect-up-to-eight-storms/ 

    — Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina. 

    Study the Bible Option (from Advanced Bible Study Teacher Guide, p. 62).

    After pointing out that the time for our preparation is limited, to bring out a fresh way to discuss being prepared for Christ’s return, consider using the following:

    In 1969, Larry Norman released a song about the return of Christ, based largely on the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24-25 (specifically 24:40-41, covered in Session 4 on pages 52-53). Click here for a video of the song. More about this song can be found in Dig Deeper on page. 62.



     

    Additional Questions

    Icebreakers



    * When has preparation helped you accomplish a task?

    * What’s something you consider a lifelong pursuit?

    * How can we know we will be ready for Christ’s return?



    Matthew 25:1-5



    * What practical steps can believers take that can provide preparation for Jesus’ return?

    * How does considering Christ’s future rule and reign imp...

    • 22 min

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