How important is it to know what you believe and why it matters? At Sweet Prospect General Baptist Church we are beginning the BELIEVE Sundayschool study, which is an innovative Bible-reading experience that will guide families on how to “live” out the teachings of the Bible. It focuses on 10 key beliefs, 10 practices and 10 virtues of the Christian faith, which will guide you to think, act and be more like Jesus. “Too many Christians attend church every Sunday, but don’t really know why they believe what they do about Christianity. This affects their actions, damages their witness and limits the true joy of being a Christian,” said Pastor Ray Rowland.
The best thing about the BELIEVE study is its grounded in the Bible and offers a unique discipleship experience that will help Christians of all ages become more like Jesus in their beliefs, actions, and character. This series illuminates the core beliefs of the Christian faith to help you think, act, and be more like Christ. The three sections will challenge you to ask yourself. What Do I Believe? What Should I Do? Who Am I Becoming?
Another wonderful aspect to this study is how the lessons are written for all age groups. The BELIEVE experience includes books of carefully selected Scripture for adults, students, and kids; a companion book for discipleship and growth; a storybook and a coloring book for children; and curriculum for every age group. Each Sunday the adults, teenagers, kids and even preschools will be going over the same 10 key beliefs, 10 key practices, and 10 key virtues of a Christian, so our whole church can learn to be more like Jesus together. Adult Sunday school member Mary Boyer added, “I love the fact that each week my kids will be studying the same key belief that we went over in the adult’s class and then the sermon will be on that same topic allowing me to go home and discuss how we are living out that week’s lesson.”
The first 10 lessons will make you think by asking, “What do I believe?” What you believe drives everything. The way you behave, the habits you form, the character that defines you – all are driven by your beliefs. The way we know we truly believe something is when it affects our actions. It’s not enough to believe something as the right answer; that belief must become a way of life. The BELIEVE study not only helps you understand the key beliefs of Christianity, but also allows you to explain why you believe them. Once we really know why we believe what we do, it can create true change in our individual lives, in the church, and in the world.
· Who is God?
· Does God care about me?
· How do I have a relationship with God?
· How do I know God’s will for my life?
· What is God’s call on my life?
At first glance these seem like easy questions, but can you answer them? What if someone asked you to explain these beliefs to them? What would you say? How would you prove you’re right? This study will give everyone a chance to think about the most important things in life and explore what the Bible has to say about these central truths.
The next 10 lessons will cause you to ponder, “What should I do?” Understanding what you believe is just the beginning. To become like Jesus, your beliefs need to not only inform you, but also transform you. It is the practice of reaching up to God and out to others that drive beliefs from your head…to your heart. The BELIEVE study will teach you the life-giving spiritual disciplines that will lead you in fulfilling your mission to love God and love your neighbor.
Here are 5 of the 10 key act questions the study explores:
· How do I honor God in the way that He deserves?
· How do I study God’s Word?
· How do I keep my focus on Jesus amidst distractions?
· How do I develop healthy relationships with others?
· How do I best use my time to serve God and others?
These are questions, or should we say actions that all Christians struggle with, but too often we don’t get an answer so we give up and just go through the motions of being a Christian. These lessons will give you and your family not only a chance to learn from each other, but to also encourage one another in doing what Christ teaches. “Hearing how others have overcome life’s struggles is so encouraging to me. Sunday school is exciting because each week I learn something new and am uplifted to hear how God is working in all our lives,” remarked adult Sunday school teacher Rod Jetton.
The last 10 lessons will help you explore, “Who am I becoming?” Jesus wants us to bear fruit that glorifies God and brings great joy to us and to others. For this to happen, we must remain in Christ. And the longer we remain in community with Christ, the more spiritual fruit, or virtues, we will produce. The BELIEVE study illuminates the virtues – the outward life changes in us – that are formed by the 10 beliefs and cemented through the 10 practices. It is a grand cycle that shapes us into the image of Christ more and more every day.
Here are 5 of the 10 key become questions the study explores:
· What gives us true happiness and contentment in our lives?
· Where do I find strength to battle anxiety and fear?
· How does God free me from addictions and sinful habits?
· How do I deal with the struggles and hardships of life?
· What does it mean to do the right thing? How do I know?
These are the types of questions everyone has to deal with at some point in life. When an unbelieving co-worker or friend is struggling in life and turns to us for help, we need to be ready to offer assistance and advice based on what Jesus taught. Can you plainly answer these questions today? What can you tell others to help them through difficult times? Are you living the Christian life described in the Bible?