The End of the World As We Know It

the-endHow will the story end? How will God bring history to a close? When will God finally bring justice to the world? When will Christ return? How will God make all things new? Questions like these have intrigued God’s people since sin came into the world. End times questions involve matters that Christians love to think about, talk about, and debate about. Unfortunately these questions involve matters that some Christians like to fight about.

Oftentimes the discussion about eschatology (end times studies) degenerates into fruitless speculation and foolish quarrels about non-essential details, yet we are told to be ready for the return of our Lord, and we are told to take serious what God has revealed about the consummation of human history. After all the Apostle John introduces the book of Revelation with these words: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).

returnofchristStarting this Sunday, August 16th at 9:30 am, during Adult Bible Study, we will be embarking on an unique study of Revelation that will, Lord willing, broaden our understanding of and love for what the Bible has to say about the “end of the story.” The study is entitled Four Views of the End Times and was written by Timothy Paul Jones from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here is a description of the study provided by the publisher:

Although you will gain much knowledge about the end times, the primary purpose of this study is not to raise your eschatological I.Q. This study focuses first and foremost on Jesus the Messiah, the One through whom God the Father will make all things new. Woven through this study of Jesus in Revelation, you will find straightforward, Scripture-centered examinations of four viewpoints that Christians throughout history have embraced as they looked toward the end of time.

We invite you to come along this journey with us starting this Sunday, August 16th at 9:30 am. You can watch a trailer for the course here.

FourViews

Treasuring Christ in Sunday School

Friends,

I am very excited to unveil our brand new Sunday School curriculum for kids of all ages starting a week from Sunday.

thomas_std_tThe Treasuring Christ Curriculum is a comprehensive, unified curriculum from preschool through High School.  The curriculum’s vision is to spread the fame of God by equipping godly generations to treasure Christ through a Gospel-centered curriculum for the church, the home, and the nations as children and students learn the narrative of the gospel as it unfolds from Genesis to Revelation.  There are a few things in particular I really appreciate about Treasuring Christ and why I believe this curriculum is a great fit for Harbins.

  • As opposed to seeing the Bible stories as disconnected tales with little moral lessons, Treasuring Christ helps us to see the individual parts of Scripture in light of the whole.  The smaller narratives cropped-images7.jpgare seen and understood through the larger narrative of God’s plan of redemption through Christ.
  • This is a unified curriculum.  That means every child and student at Harbins will be learning the exact same passage every week.  So in week 1 our preschoolers, our high schoolers, and everyone in between will explore Genesis 1 and see how creation is connected to Christ.  For parents with multiple children, you’ll know everyone is on the same page, learning the same thing, which makes family group discussions at home a bit easier.
  • Speaking of family discussions, the folks who produced Treasuring Christ are staunch believers that Sunday School should not replace the role that parents have to equip and disciple their own children.  I agree with that. Dads and moms need to lead the way in teaching their kids, with your Sunday School teachers providing supplementary support.  For this reason, this curriculum has produced a feature Iimages love, called “Connecting Church and Home.” (CCH)  Every week parents will receive (via a bulletin insert, an email from me, and a Facebook link) the weekly CCH resource. This simple tool allows parents and churches to work out of the same playbook to grow Christ-treasurers. It helps parents bridge the gap between what their children will learn the following Sunday at church and how they can instruct their children to begin living out those truths at home right now. I hope the parents at Harbins will take advantage of this resource and find it helpful.  CCH will include discussion ideas, prayer points, and more.

Our class age and teacher breakdown is very similar to last year with just a few minor tweaks.  Here’s what we’re looking at for this semester:

Ages 2-4  (Marietta)
Ages 5-8 (Helen)
Ages 9-12 (Demer)
Ages 13 + (Cary)

This is not meant to be overly rigid.  Ultimately I want parents to decide which group would be best for their children to be in.  For example, if you have a 12 year old and you feel that they should be in Cary’s class, then go for it.  The above breakdown is just a general guideline we’re shooting for but parents will know their children best.  Regardless, however, because this curriculum is unified, everyone is going to be learning the same Scriptures at the same time.

I want to thank all Harbins Sunday school teachers, past and present, for their dedication to serving our children and parents.  It’s a big deal and an important ministry.  If you’re interested in being part of the Sunday School team as a lead teacher or as an assistant, I definitely want to hear from you.  With more hands on deck, we may in the future be able to add an extra class or two and provide even more personalized teaching and attention to our church’s children.  The Bible says that,

images“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)

I want our church’s young people to grow into greater Christ-Treasurers, don’t you?  Indeed, I want that for myself and for all of us at Harbins.  My prayer is that this fall we’ll grow in this area together.

Learning to Treasure Christ together with you,

Pastor Demer