The Christian Life Trilogy (Houston, TX: Bible Study Media, Inc., 2014)
The Christian Life Trilogy is a formation tool for the church and individual. At the heart of the Christian faith stands the Cross, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus Christ. These three redemptive acts of Jesus shape the character of Christian formation for the church and the individual follower of Jesus.
The Christian Life Trilogy is a 20-week Bible study curriculum that is divided into 3 studies:
Each study is designed to bring transformational change through in-depth study of what the Apostle Paul calls the “things of first importance.” “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
The Crucified Life focuses on the Last Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, and it is intended for use during the season of Lent. The Resurrected Life is intended to begin at Easter and walk us through all the areas in which Christ brings us newness. The Spirit-Filled Life is intended for use around Pentecost, and it instructs believers in the power that can be found through life in the Holy Spirit.
In addition to the Christian Life Trilogy leadership materials, The campaign kit will include a sample study guide, a daily devotional book, and a teaching DVD for each of the three parts of the Christian Life Trilogy. Order your Christian Life Trilogy Campaign kit today!
Campaign Kit includes:
- 1 Campaign Training DVD
- 1 Campaign Manual
- 1 Crucified Life Devotional Book (Paperback)
- 1 Crucified Life Small Group DVD
- 1 Crucified Life Small Group Study Guide
- 1 Resurrected Life Devotional Book (Paperback)
- 1 Resurrected Life Small Group DVD
- 1 Resurrected Life Small Group Study Guide
- 1 Spirit-Filled Life Devotional Book (Paperback)
- 1 Spirit-Filled Life DVD
- 1 Spirit Filled Life Small Group Study Guide
Christian Life Trilogy Campaign Kit
On sale now for a limited time! Click here to purchase your Campaign Kit for only $99! Start now to plan your campaign for Lent 2018!
The Campaign Manual and DVD provide resources and training as to how to maximize the engagement of your congregation by doing the Christian Life Trilogy as a church-wide campaign. Each of the three titles can stand alone. Many congregations use the Crucified and Resurrected Life for Lent and Easter, and then kick off the Spirit-Filled Life in the Fall season.
The Training Videos provide teaching for the senior pastor and campaign leadership teams, as well as the small group hosts.
SESSION 1: FOCUS ON THINGS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE
SESSION 2: EXPONENTIAL THINKING
SESSION 3: BUILDING A TEAM
SESSION 4: PLAN YOUR CAMPAIGN
SESSION 5: HOW TO RECRUIT HOSTS
SESSION 6: HOST TRAINING SESSION
SESSION 7: THE VALUE OF A CHURCH-WIDE CAMPAIGN
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. –Romans 1:1-4
And so Paul begins his great letter to the Roman church. Paul identifies himself as a servant, a slave, of Jesus Christ who has been uniquely called to deliver a message from God—a message of Gospel, literally Good News. The Epiphany is the Gospel of God in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel was foretold
In these first four verses we learn several very important truths about the Gospel which illumine the true meaning of Epiphany and its implications for us. First, the Gospel is something which was foretold in ancient prophecy. Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name “Immanuel” is Hebrew for “God with us”.
Through his prophetic spokesmen, God foretold that he would visit us as a man. Could you fathom hearing such a thing for the first time? The creator of the Universe is going to be born as a baby? Unbelievable really, and yet that is what the prophets promised beforehand in the Holy Scriptures.
Jesus is Israel’s long awaited Messiah King
Paul then goes on to say that Jesus was “a descendent of David” with regard to his “earthly life”. Being a descendant of David meant that Jesus was qualified to be the human king of the nation of Israel. David’s heirs would not only be the line of kings but everyone was expecting that the Messiah, THE KING, would be revealed as a descendant of David. In Luke 2 where we read the birth story of Jesus, Luke is careful to explain that the reason Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, had to return to Bethlehem for the Roman census was because they are descendants of David. The Angel of the Lord announced the “good news of great joy” that “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
The message announcing Jesus’ birth was good news not only because the promise of a human heir to the royal line of David was born, but more! Paul says, “through the Spirit of holiness [he] was appointed the Son of God…” Before Mary was with child, she was told by the angels of God, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” —Luke 1:35
Any one who bears the title “Son of God” by declaration of God is to be acknowledged by Israel as the rightful heir to David’s throne and there for the Messiah King of Israel.
Jesus is Salvation for all who believe!
Jesus is not only fully human and an earthly King, he is Yahweh God the Lord. Yes, Jesus is an earthly human king, but he is also the divine King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the creator and sustainer of the entire heavens and the earth. When Paul inscribed the letter to the church in Rome, he had the advantage of connecting the prophets of old with the full life events of Jesus. Paul saw that not only would Jesus’ nature as Yahweh God be revealed in his miraculous birth, but that his divinity was climactically on display for all the world to see and believe in Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead!
And so, Paul summarizes the heart of the Gospel message in three words: Jesus Christ Lord. Or if we were to connect them with their Old Testament equivalents: Jesus Messiah Yahweh. Those three words contain the message of the Gospel in its simplest expression as they frame the announcement: Jesus is the long awaited earthly Messiah, Jesus is Yahweh God in the flesh!
The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to what Paul calls the “obedience of faith”. Once the Gospel message is heard, one cannot remain neutral about Jesus; it is to be believed in faithful action. The revelation of Jesus Christ as Lord of the World, means salvation for all who believe in that message.
Paul would go on to write in Romans chapter 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The Gospel announcement is powerful. Those who believe in Jesus as Lord and God will find a glorious eternal salvation in Him. Indeed, salvation is found in no other name!
What is your response?
“Do you believe that Jesus Messiah is God? Does he reign over every aspect of your life? Do you obey him as your King and God? The invitation of the Gospel is for everyone, and everyone who calls upon Jesus Christ the Lord will be saved. That is the good news promised from the messengers of God to you, both old and new! Listen to the wonderful promise given in the Gospel of God:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NIV, Romans 10:9-13)
Today is the day, give your life to Him! Do not doubt, believe! Follow Jesus as your Lord and receive salvation in His Name!
Some of the simplest things in life are those we most take for granted.
The last speaker in the clip mentions three powerful sources of growth and unity for our community as a people:
- The Townhall
- The Church
- The Family Table
He says that we no longer have the first two, and that the family dinner table is the “last bastion of the great power to be united as a people”. Do you agree with him? Why or why not? From your experience and perspective what is the great power of unity in the table and how does this translate to the Communion Table?
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids
In our Gospel reading this Sunday from Matthew (25:1-13), we are challenged to compare and contrast the behavior of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. As with the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus is encouraging us to emulate the behavior of the wise while eschewing the behavior of the foolish. The key question to ask ourselves is: which bridesmaid is representative of my life?
Key Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13
At a basic level, the parable is a lesson in the importance of being prepared for the Day of the Lord. The foolish bridesmaids did not bring extra oil. They failed to plan for the possibility of a delay of the coming Bridegroom. The wise bridesmaids, however, provided themselves with an extra flask of oil, anticipating a worst-case situation. As a tool for self-examination, we might reflect on the threat to holiness of procrastination; or the human tendency to live for this life only rather than eternity; or the importance of short term costly sacrifice for long term security.
However, I would like to focus on another major theme in this parable: the issue of spiritual codependency. Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s faithlessness, sin, bad habits, immaturity, or irresponsibility. The wise (and spiritually healthy) person does not allow another person’s immaturity to drag him down into folly.
Here are the key verses (Matthew 25:7-8):
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
The foolish bridesmaids expected that the wise bridesmaids would give them some of their reserved oil. The foolish bridesmaids did not ask. They demanded. They did not take into account the grave damage which their demands would cause to their wise counterparts. Their only focus was on their own crisis caused by their own personal short-sightedness, laxness, and foolishness.
Many of us have people in our lives who make demands on us which might cause grave damage to our own relationship with God. No person has the right or authority to demand or prevent us from truly living under the Lordship of Jesus. He is the King.
Sadly, there are marriages, where one spouse demands of the other spouse that he or she give up the very things that lead to a vital and thriving Christian life such as, church participation, a ministry using the spouse’s spiritual gifts, or spiritual growth in study groups. Indeed, any relationship can become an occasion where one person sacrifices that which is precious to them in order to appease the self-centered demand of a foolish person.
A wise bridesmaid knows not to give away her precious oil reserves. In the parable, the wise bridesmaids refused to help the other bridesmaids by sharing their oil because to do so would jeopardize their own secure places at the wedding banquet. The wise refused to jeopardize their attainment of the prize of the Bridegroom and the banquet.
The key behavior in this parable is personal responsibility. Wise bridesmaids will not compromise their own place at the groom’s wedding banquet to help anyone who refuses to take personal responsibility for her own relationship with the Bridegroom. The wise bridesmaids establish boundaries. They say, “No”. They encourage the foolish to take responsibility for their own lives: “Go buy some for yourself!”
Learning to say “no” at the right time is healthy. So, when I allow a foolish bridesmaid to have some of my oil, not only does my apparent generosity not help them to become wise, it makes me as foolish as they are.
Ultimately, each person must be responsible for his or her own relationship with the Lord. Faith cannot be outsourced or delegated. No one can be or will be saved by riding on “coat tails” of another’s faith. One person’s faith cannot make up for another person’s lack of faith.
The idea of saying “no” to a fellow bridesmaid may seem a little harsh. Aren’t Christians supposed to share, give and sacrifice for others? After all, Jesus taught us to give to those who ask, to go the extra mile. Yes, that is true with respect to the material things of this world. But Jesus never asks his people to give away either their salvation or their personal relationship with God. Indeed, we Christians are actually forbidden to compromise or capitulate in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
So when another person asks us to give up the things of our faith in order to enable his or her lack of faith, the answer has to be “No”. The wise bridesmaids recognize that foolish bridesmaids do not take either the Bridegroom or the wedding banquet seriously. That is to their detriment– do not make it yours as well. The wise bridesmaids will not let anything or anyone prevent them from being a part of that heavenly banquet and their secure relationship with the Lord. Say “no” to the foolish person when a “yes” would cost you your soul.