While the people of God were in exile God didn’t forget them. He, through his gracious providence, cared for them by orchestrating certain people to rise to power. One case in particular is the story of Esther, the girl who would be queen. Some background: In chapters 1 and 2 we learn how Esther becomes queen. Queen Vashti displeased King Ahasuerus and was banished from his presence. He searched all over for his kingdom for a new queen (this kind of feels like Cinderella) and in the process discovers Esther. She is the adoptive daughter of Mordecai who tells her to not share that sheRead More →

The Kingdom of Israel has split and fallen into exile. After King Solomon the people of God devoured one another in their desire for power. The northern kingdom was known as Israel and the southern kingdom was Judah. The north went into exile first and then the south. The people ignored the prophets that God sent. The people ignored their sin and ignored their God. For their own good God disciplined them by sending them into exile. Lamentations are often credited to the Prophet Jeremiah they are some of the saddest and heartbreaking writing in human history. Chapter three is the climax of the bookRead More →

As we move forward from King David to King Solomon, there is also an important shift that takes place in our family story. Our family goes from struggling nation to world power. With it comes all the trappings of power. The seeds of the demise of the kingdom are sewn in Solomon’s reign as we cannot control his desire for beautiful women. Yet, in the midst of imperfections he was a king who “…loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father…” What Solomon is best known for is his wisdom and the building of the Temple. We will however, focus on theRead More →

The life of King David is important and central to our family story. He casts a shadow throughout the story. Jesus is known as David’s son. King David, while deeply flawed and broken, is known as “a man after God’s own heart.” How could this be? David is an adulterer, a murderer, and war monger. Yet, he also had integrity, faith, and contrite heart. David’s life teaches us, above all else, that God cares deeply for the broken and that his grace is beyond anything that we could imagine. Because David’s story is big and covers so many different passages, we are going to treatRead More →

Passage: 1 Samuel 15 Big Idea: God desires obedience not sacrifice. King Saul was the first king of Israel. He was everything that you would expect or want out of a king. He was tall and handsome. He was a military mastermind. Saul was, quite literally, “the man.” Yet, Saul had a tragic flaw. He was filled with selfish pride. His tragic flaw ultimately leads to God’s rejection and the stripping of the kingdom from him. 1 Samuel 15 is the moment when everything catches up to King Saul. Read: 1 Samuel 15:1-9 Discuss: What stands out to you (or what do you like)? WhatRead More →

Samuel’s story is significant from beginning to end. He is the final judge before the people of Israel get their earthly king. Samuel was the only son of Hannah. Hannah made a vow to God that if he would give her a son then she would give him back to the Lord as a Nazirite (just like Samson). She stood by her vow and after Samuel was weened he went to serve God with the priest, Eli. While there, God called Samuel to be a judge of Israel (1 Samuel 3). At the end of Samuel’s life one of the most significant turning points inRead More →

We move on from the book of Judges to the story of Ruth. Her story is one of love and redemption. It really is the thing of great film or novels. In it, we see the hand of God working in and through her story. Passage: Ruth Big Idea: God works all things for the good of those who believe. Reading: Ruth 1 Discuss: What do you like or what is important? What do you not like or don’t understand? What do you learn about God? What do you learn about people? What is your response? Who do you need to to tell?Activity:¬†Find a mapRead More →

We continue looking at the big stories and big characters of the book of Judges with the story of Samson. Samson, was a Nazirite (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/num.6). We will be using the “Six Big Questions” again this week. These six questions allow us to study any passage in depth. Passage: Judges 13-16 Big Idea: Our heart is deceptive. Reading: Judges 13 Discussion: What do you like (or what stands out as important)? What do you not understand? What do you learn about God? What do you learn about people? How do you need to respond? Who do you need to tell? Reading: Judges 14 Discussion: What doRead More →

This week we’ll be using the six big questions for each reading. These are five questions that you can ask of any text in the Bible. They are a great way to begin the process of learning how to study the Bible and apply it to your life. Passage: Judges 11 – Jephthah Big Idea: Hasty vows bring pain. Reading: Judges 11:1-11 Discussion: What stands out to you (or what do you like)? What do you not understand (of what do you not like)? What do you learn about God? What do you learn about people? What do you need to do in light ofRead More →

Passage: Judges 6-8 Big Idea: Do not fear, trust the Lord! Reading: 6:1-10 Discussion: What had the people done that was “evil in the sight of the Lord” (verse 10)? Why do you think this is such a big deal to God? Activity: Make a list of things that distract your heart from God. Reading: 6:11-27 Discussion: What stands out to you in the interaction between the angel of the Lord and Gideon? How does God’s view of Gideon and Gideon’s view of himself differ? Why do you think that’s important to the story? What is the first thing that Gideon is asked to do?Read More →