Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Touching Base - Part 244


This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This week we started our new series and talked about Jacob’s great awakening. This TB is a tool to encourage you to pray for Bethel, that just like Jacob, many others would find Bethel to be a place where they awaken and respond to the heart of God.

Big Idea: When A Moment In Time Becomes A Moment Defined!

Question: What did that big moment for Jacob look like?

Text: Genesis 28:10-22

1. He built an altar, a place he will never forget (v.18a)

By building an altar he was stating that he wanted to memorialize the event. Perhaps this had been a place he passed through a thousand times, but on this occasion it was different. He memorializes it because he encounters God.

Prayer Point:
Pray that God would use the ministries of Bethel to be experiences that would build great memories into people’s lives, memories of God doing a great work. Memories of an awakening!

2. He poured oil on the altar, the place he first worshipped (v.18b)

From the beginning God put into the awareness of His people that they were to offer to Him in worship something that was part of themselves, something that they had produced with their own labor or purchased with the money that they had earned by their labor. Whatever they offered to Him, it was never to be second best (Malachi 1:7–8), nor was it to be something without cost or concern—convenient and easy to give. The stone pillar didn’t cost him anything, the oil did.

This place that Jacob is in may have been used as early as the 4th millennium B.C. by Canaanites in the area. Archaeological excavations at Chalcolithic levels (i.e., between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age) indicate that pagan worship of the Canaanite deity El took place on top of the hill at that early period. As a proper noun, El refers to a god in the pantheons of the Canaanite world.

What is amazing about this picture of worship is that here is a thief (check out Jacob’s criminal record) worshiping the one true God in a place that has a history of pagan worship.

Realize that God can reach anyone whenever, however and WHEREVER!

Prayer Point:
Pray that Bethel Church would be a place of genuine worship. On any given Sunday or at any small group or place of ministry people come worshipping the various gods of culture. We want all our ministries to direct people to the one true God.

Hebrews 1:1-4
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”

3. He called the place Bethel, a place of great intimacy (v.19)

El refers to a god in the pantheons of the Canaanite world. El is the most common biblical word for God. The name Bethel, means “house of El (god),” BETH-EL. El is combined with other adjectives to describe the numerous attributes of God; for example, God Most High (Gn 14:18–24), the seeing God (Gn 16:13), the jealous God (Ex 20:5), the forgiving God (Neh 9:17), and the gracious God (Neh 9:31).

I love this point. Our own church name says it all. We want our ministries to be a place where believers experience deep intimacy with God.

Prayer Point:
Pray that Bethel Church would be a place God uses to draw people close to himself. This was the first time that Jacob experienced God beyond just being raised in a God fearing home. It was now his faith, his experience, his personal journey. God was real. God was “ in the house!”

4. He made a vow, a place of great commitment (v.20-22)

Note that vow making and tithing were two steps by Jacob that indicated his heart was surrendered. Was he “fixed”, had he arrived, was he now good to be a shining example of spiritual maturity? Definitely not, but his journey had begun and his faith roots were starting to grow deep into the soil of his heart. God had not thrown him into the “microwave” of instant spiritual growth, but into the “crock-pot” of growth step by step, little by little.

Prayer Point:
Pray that Bethel would be able to provide the correct resources to help people grow spiritually. No one experiences “microwave” spiritually. We are all in the “crock- pot” of spirituality and need to be intentional about our growth, taking hold of opportunities to grow. We also need a nurturing community that is filled with grace and truth to be the right kind of place for people to grow.

May God use Bethel and all the churches and various ministries in Kingston to be places and spaces where people experience a great awakening!

When A Moment In Time Becomes A Moment Defined!

Mark Kotchapaw

If interested in joining or starting a small group contact bethelcommunitygroups@gmail.com

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