God’s Anger for the Sake of Song – Zephaniah


The Prophet Zephaniah, 18th Century Russian Representation

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.
17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the LORD.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 ESV

Prayer Focus for Swaziland – Sunday, December 28

Swaziland, Africa: Quality Christian leadership is in short supply and sporadic in quality. Most pastors are unpaid and limited in the time they can contribute to the ministry. Few congregations are trained to share the gospel confidently with either traditionalists or intellectuals, and so have little impact on the unchurched. There are seven Bible schools or seminaries in Swaziland, and TEE is available through most of the major denominations. Pray for Swazi pastors and lay Christians to make use of the training resources in the country. www.operationworld.org



Prayer Focus for Suriname – Sunday, December 21

Suriname, Latin America: Nearly half the population profess to be Christian, but many have little understanding of their faith, and Christian belief is often mixed with spiritism. In the larger Catholic and Moravian denominations, growth has been incremental, but recent Pentecostal and charismatic growth has been rapid. Pray for new life and dynamism to replace traditionalism and syncretism practiced by many. Pray for increasing trans-denominational cooperation to continue in Bible-related ministries and outreach to every ethnic group in Suriname. www.operationworld.org


We’re on the Right Track – Amos 9:11-15

Amos 9:11-15 (ESV)

11 “In that day I will raise up

the booth of David that is fallen

and repair its breaches,

and raise up its ruins

and rebuild it as in the days of old,

12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom

and all the nations who are called by my name,”

declares the LORD who does this.

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,

“when the plowman shall overtake the reaper

and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

and all the hills shall flow with it.

14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,

and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

15 I will plant them on their land,

and they shall never again be uprooted

out of the land that I have given them,”

says the LORD your God.

Prayer Focus for Sudan – Sunday, December 14

Sudan, Africa: Sudanese Christian leaders have achieved so much against great odds. Many even lost their lives in serving Jesus. Few have opportunity for formal theological education. The sheer number of young converts overwhelms the number of trained pastors.

Theological training institutions. Trained pastors are a great need due to rapid church growth. All major denominations have Bible colleges and/or seminaries; altogether there are around 50 in the country. Large numbers of Sudanese also undertake theological studies abroad. Besides solid biblical teaching and discipleship methods, pastors and Christian leaders need to acquire skills in AIDS ministry, conflict resolution, trauma counselling and reconciliation ministry. Pray for the provision of facilities, staff and students adequate to shape the future of Sudanese Christianity.



No Justice, No Peace – Micah 5:1-6

Group Leaders: Please print off the following for group members

Choose 2-3 readers for the evening.


Downton Abbey TV Series

Ask group members if they have a favorite TV series of all time. Who were minor characters who influenced the overall plot?

Talk about what Tim means by saying that the Bible is a five season series and Micah is in Season 2. How does that help us understand the part we play?

Read Micah 5:1-5

Micah 5:5 says that the king born in Bethlehem shall be our peace.

Explain how holistic that peace is by contrasting it with the chaos of the Assyrian in 5:1. How is Jesus’ peace the holistic solution to the holistic chaos brought by the Assyrian?

Where have you experienced the chaos of the world most acutely in life? Religiously, politically, economically, socially? Tell a story about what that was like.

Do you grasp that the peace of Jesus’ growing rule and ultimate victory a comfort in the midst of a chaotic world? Do you struggle to trust that Jesus’ peace is greater than the chaos? Do you struggle to accept that there is great chaos in this world?

Micah and the other minor (as well as major) prophets write a great deal about God’s reign and his reign through the coming Messiah. This brings up the important whole-Bible theme of the Kingdom of God. Much of the following is taken from Christopher Wright’s excellent book Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament.

Read Luke 4:40-44

There are three important ways to view the kingdom of God is spoken about in the Old Testament that is then assumed by Jesus Christ when he came preaching about it:

Read Daniel 4:34-35 and Revelation 17:14

The above passages speak of the first facet of the Kingdom of God…

  1. God’s Universal Reign: He reigns over the whole earth. He is king of nations and nature. The widest and most basic sense of the kingship of God in the Old Testament is this universal sovereignty.

Jesus, the divine-human (theanthropic) King, now exercises this same universal reign.

Question: Are you resting in the reality of Jesus’ greater ability to bring peace than any other heavenly or earthly ruler?

Read Psalm 146:7-10 and Matthew 6:9-10

the above passages refer to a second facet on God’s Kingdom…

  1. God’s Redemptive and Theocratic Dimension: God’s Kingship over the whole earth is not acknowledged by all nations. However, Israel, through the covenant relationship, had accepted the rule of God over themselves. God was the acknowledged King in Israel…So, as well as the universal dimension of God’s kingship, the Old Testament has this very particular dimension. God’s covenant relationship with Israel was in a sense the relation of a king to his subjects…In the ancient world, it was the king’s job to protect his people from their enemies and to give them laws and good government….So the kingship of God in Israel had very practical, earthly effects. It was not just a theological item of belief. It was the authority of God as king which lay behind the specific details of Israel’s law. There was, therefore, a powerfully ethical thrust to the acknowledgement of God’s kingship. His reign was one of righteousness and justice, earthed in the real world of social, economic, and political relationships.

So when Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom of God, he was not talking about a place or an idea or an attitude. It was not just pie in the sky nor joy in the heart. The reality of God’s rule cannot be spiritualized into heaven (now or later) or privatized into individuals. Now of course it does have spiritual and personal dimensions which are fundamental also. But the term itself speaks of the aligning of human life on earth with the will of the divine government of God.

Question: How might Jesus’ rule over the his international Kingdom impact the social, political, economic or religious systems of the places where his people are found?

Read Micah 5:4-5 and Revelation 22:1-5

The above passages refer to a third facet of the Kingdom of God…

  1. The Eschatological Dimension: We see in the Old Testament that the kingship of God was in one sense a universal sovereignty over all nations, nature and history. And that in another sense it meant the specific rule of God over Israel within the covenant relationship where his kingship was acknowledged. But God’s kingship, thirdly, came to be thought of in a future perspective also because neither of the first two senses was being realized in full. On the one hand it was obvious that the nations did not acknowledge Yahweh as King, and on the other hand it became increasingly and painfully obvious that even Israel, who acknowledged him as King, did not demonstrate it. He was king in name and title, but not obeyed in reality in the actual life of the nation.

So there developed the hope and expectation that at some time in the future God himself would intervene to establish his reign in its fullness over his people and over the world. God would come as king and put things right.

Question: On a scale of 1 – 5 how much do you care that season 5 is about God putting everything right in the world? Are you bored by the idea? What can you do, by God’s grace, to “blow on the coals” of yours or others hope for this bright and beautiful future?

Prayer Focus for Sri Lanka – Sunday, December 7

Sri Lanka, Asia: Evangelism and church growth are priorities, but also present are many sober and serious challenges that need a major shift: a) The fixation with rapid growth has led to prioritizing winning converts rather than making disciples, to attracting crowds with promises of miracles rather than with Christ-like character, to filling seats instead of meeting needs, to a lack of accountability and to unhealthy competitiveness. b) The need for workers pushes undertrained and immature Christians into roles for which they are not prepared. It also allows unsuitable people to assume positions of ministry and church leadership on the false assumption that secular success equates to spiritual anointing.  www.operationworld.org



Christian Education Classes – Winter 2014

Crossroads Christian Education – Winter 2014

Sundays from 11:15 – 12:15

December 7 through March 1, 2015


Preschool (Ages 2–4) LEARNING TO LIVE IN GOD’S FAMILY – What is means to be part of God’s family and live as God’s child. Taught by Phillip and Bridget DiBella with Assistant Elena Mourad

Younger Elementary (Grades K–3) KNOWING JESUS – Inspiring Stories from the Gospels. Taught by Catherine Root

Older Elementary (Grades 4–6) ACTS TO ROMANS – The growth of the early church and doctrines of our faith. Taught by Maria Dunn

Teens The Gospel-Centered Life: Who sets out on a journey without a good map? Our class will be a road map for living a life centered on God and the gospel. In our discussions, we’ll help each other understand what the gospel is, what it does in us, and how it works through us for others. Taught by Aaron Root


Friendship Class (Special Needs Education)

Those with disabilities will study from the New Testament. The lessons will highlight the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church. Taught by Peggy Van Lowe and one adult/teen mentor for each student.


Adult Education

When Helping Hurts based on a paradigm-forming book regarding poverty alleviation and ministry to those in need. Emphasizing the poverty of heart and society, this book exposes the need that every person has and how it can be filled. Poverty is much more than simply a lack of financial or material resources and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve the problem. Taught by Deacon Jim Neice


Sanctification and Christian Practices – Christian practices are the ways by which we live the Christian life and deepen our relationship with God. Each practice addresses a basic human need, and is something we learn from and do together with other people. Participating in these historic Christian practices is a way of responding to the Father’s grace towards us in Christ.  Taught by Pastor Tim Carroll