Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Love Under Fire - Ch. 5
The Light Breaks in England
Love Under Fire - Ch. 6
Two Heroes Face Death
Have you ever thought that God’s Word is merely a collection of irrelevant muck? A dull read? Think again!
Have you ever felt as if you had a mouth full of marbles, but needed a velvet tongue? It happens to each of us at some point in our lives. Many feel this way when they get pulled over for speeding. Others feel this way when they go on a date. These are relatively simple situations when wanting to have the right words to say to ease the situation. However, what would it be like to have to share your faith story in order to live? Our lesson today answers this very question—what do I say when being asked about my faith?
OPENING ACTIVITY: DRAW BACK
Supplies: paper, writing utensils
Words are important. Wars have been started by unkind words. Knowing what to say and when to say it can be very delicate. Do these words sound familiar to you? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney.” They are the Miranda rights reminding people that words are important and can get you in trouble. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about how we need to prepare for a time when we may be called to testify.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read Exodus 4:10-15.
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
Read Acts 4:13.
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Read Psalm 119:105.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Read Matthew 10:17-22.
17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
After reading today’s lesson, how confident are you that God will give you the right words at the right time? Many times in the Bible God promises that His people will always have the right words at the proper time—think: Esther, David, Stephen, Balaam’s donkey, Peter, and many more. God’s got you! Remember we know the end of the story—don’t worry!
What changes can you make in your life to be more like your Bible heroes, especially what can you do to be more like Jesus?
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
As we consider the words of John 8:12, Jesus’ announcement, “I am the light of world,” we can imagine that it must have caught the immediate attention of those attending the popular Feast of Tabernacles.
On the first night of Tabernacles, and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s recommitment to the God of light, and it was accompanied by festive music of the Levites and special dancing.
Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and claimed to be the luminary itself. Moreover, He claimed to be the light “of the world,” a role reserved for Yahweh, the Creator, who was regarded as superior to all deities including the sun god of the Gentiles. Jesus also picked up the theme of the wilderness wanderings and proclaimed for those who followed Him that they would not walk in darkness but have the light of life.
In John 1:5 John contrasts the darkness in the world that was as real as the light. The darkness is hostile to the light. The light shines in the darkness, but, however hard the darkness tries, it cannot extinguish it. Sinning humans love the darkness and hate the light, because the light shows too many things. Although people did all they could to obscure and extinguish the light of God in Christ, they could not quench it. In every generation the light—Christ—still shines despite the efforts of so many to extinguish Him.
Once we are infused with this light, we then have the privilege and responsibility to share His light with others, who are in darkness. Our lives should always be a contradiction to the darkness in this world around us. Nobody lights a lamp only to cover it up, but places it so conspicuously as to give light to all who need light. So Christians, being the light of the world, instead of hiding their light, are to hold it before others that they may see what a life the disciples of Christ lead. Seeing this, they may glorify their Father for so redeeming, transforming, and ennobling earth’s sinful children. And they may be open themselves for redemption and transformation.
These three texts in this lesson offer us much to consider regarding our responsibility to be connected to Christ, while sharing Him with others. Jesus is both Light and Life. Our embracing Him, and reflecting Him, will determine our ability to source the world around us with His light.
“Light It Up!”
Can you share about a time you were in a hostile environment?
Read John 8:12.
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Read John 1:5.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Read Matt. 5:16.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
1. What makes it difficult to plug into source of light—Jesus Christ?
2. What is John’s main point in John 8:12?
3. What is the meaning of John 1:5?
4. What is the purpose of the light in John 1:5?
5. What gives you confidence that you can live in light and be humble?
6. What does Jesus mean by “giving glory to your father in heaven”?
7. Are the choices you make every day about light or darkness?
8. How can your life influence others to live in the light?
The light is a symbol of radiance, of openness, of joy compatible with the lifestyle of one who has a blessed fellowship with Christ. Shining in this context offers more joy because it is very organic, coming from our experience with Christ. There is nothing secretive about the Christian commitment or way of life. The disciple is described as a light to the world, an influence for right living, openness, and honesty, for acceptance of what is good, and love. This is not a call to a retreat from life, but a call to manifest the joy of fellowship with God as a witness to the world. The disciples must not hide themselves, but live and work in places where their influence can be felt.
While a light is to be seen serving as a guide for travelers, it is basically to be of service. The disciples are lights in the world, not calling attention to themselves but pointing the way to God and His way. They obtain their light from the One who is the light of the world.
A light is often a warning; think of a lighthouse. It is often an attraction; think of a lighted window advertising some trendy product. A light is often a guide; think of a torch or a flare path. Above all, a light is visible. You don’t hide a lamp under an inverted bowl; you put it on a stand. There is no excuse for secret discipleship. The imperative of shining is based on the source of being lit up by Christ. Then people will see our good deeds and praise not us but our heavenly Father, who is the source of the light they see reflected.
Below, find some application activities to reinforce this lesson. These are simply to provide ideas for your use, or to invite you to imagine and create some of your own, as you impact the lives of teens for God’s glory.
The Beliefs and Practices of Adventist Adolescents
Created by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Do you want to know more about Adventist adolescents? So do we! It is so exciting to share the recent data from the 2017-18 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS) with you. This study encompassed 63,756 participants from 13 divisions; 7,490 of them (12% of the sample) were young people up to 20 years of age. Who are these Adventist adolescents? This book will tell us more about them. The data will shed light on key areas of their lives including where some improvements can help them continue to grow and thrive.
1. Food Care Kits For Homeless Shelters / Street Ministry
Help eliminate hunger. Purchase ready to eat and easy to open food items and assemble them in resealable plastic bags. Donate to shelters or use for street ministry.
Cost: Less than $10.00
2. Sleeping Mats For The Homeless
Re-use plastic bags for a great cause. Save plastic bags and convert them into a sleeping mat for the homeless.
Cost: Less than $5.00
3. Early Learning Bean Bags
Help small children learn at home. This easy sew bean bag craft can help children learn alphabets, numbers, or shapes.
Cost: Less than $5.00