Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Closed minds don't believe signs (and what you can do about it)

(If you want to print this Bible Study, try our PDF version

What goals do you have for this year:

* for your relationship with God?
* for your career?
* for relationships with friends and family?
* for your health / fitness?
* for your free time?
* for your unfulfilled dreams?

What action steps will you need to complete to fulfill those goals?

What’s the most important step to take today?

Many times commentators give people the impression that if they break a New Year's resolution early in the year that everything is over. Don't let those commentators fool you! If you forget or fail one day, there are many opportunities left to do what you really want to do with your life. Dust yourself off and start over.

What's the most important step for you to take today?

What is one of your favorite memories of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?

Wednesday Luke 16:19-26 (NRSV)
[Jesus said,] "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’”

Do you think heaven is a real place?

What about hell?

How much do your thoughts about heaven and hell influence your day to day actions?

How much do your goals for this year reflect your beliefs about what is ultimately important?

Thursday Luke 16:27-31 (NRSV)
“He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’"

Jesus says spectacular signs (like someone rising from the dead) won't convince people if they have their minds already made up. So it would probably be wise to ask God to help people see truth before talking to them about something they don't believe.

How many people in your family do you think will be in heaven?

How many people in your family are you not certain about?

How much do you talk to them about spiritual matters?

Friday Acts 26:20-23 (NRSV)
[I] declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

Paul encountered persecution for testifying about Jesus.

How much do you testify about Jesus outside your family?

How much resistance have you encountered?

What did you different this week because you’re a follower of Jesus?

What will you do different next week because you’re a follower of Jesus?

What help do you need?

Where will you get that help?