Faith and Friendship 2022 Spring Session

Ladies, you are invited to get together with women of all ages for encouragement, prayer, friendship, and faith conversations based on Scripture.

Groups meet every week on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Our Spring Session starts 04/19/22 and goes until 06/29/22. We will have brunch every 4th Wednesday. We will also have an Art Workshop Day every 5th Wednesday.

For more information contact: 
Linda Duncan, Faith & Friendship Coordinator
thefourduncans@yahoo.com
618 910-4014

TUESDAY GROUP OPTIONS

Group materials (if required) may be purchased at the Christ Church Bookstore or at mychristchurch.shopsettings.com

Option G: Tuesday Morning ZOOM Book Study

Book Title:  WOMEN OF THE BIBLE, by Jean E. Syswerda (blue edition)

“Focus on 52 female heroes in Scripture.  Each timeless biblical story mirrors the challenges and changes today’s women face.  Through understanding these women’s lives, this easy-to-use study resource will help you discover the God behind their stores—and yours.”

This group meets weekly from 10:00am to 11:30am online through Zoom.

 Led by: Sandy Hodel


Option H: Tuesday Evening Study

Book Title:  WOMEN OF THE BIBLE, by Jean E. Syswerda (blue edition)

This group meets weekly from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the Christ Church Fairview Heights Campus Coffe Café.

“Focus on 52 female heroes in Scripture.  Each timeless biblical story mirrors the challenges and changes today’s women face.  Through understanding these women’s lives, this easy-to-use study resource will help you discover the God behind their stores—and yours.”

The devotion and scripture are presented by a table facilitator in a discussion table format.

Led by: Eileen Burris
No weekly preparation or purchase is required.

WEDNESDAY GROUP OPTIONS

Group materials (if required) may be purchased at the Christ Church Bookstore or at mychristchurch.shopsettings.com

SIX Wednesday Study Group Options to choose from! All Wednesday Groups meet from 10 am – 12 pm at the Christ Church FH Campus.

Option A: Devotion & Book Study

Book Title: WOMEN OF THE BIBLE, by Jean E. Syswerda  (blue edition).

Focus on 52 female heroes in Scripture.  Each timeless biblical story mirrors the challenges and changes today’s women face.  Through understanding these women’s lives, this easy-to-use study resource will help you discover the God behind their stores—and yours.” The devotion and scripture are presented by a table facilitator in a discussion table format.

Led by: Pati Church & Nancy Weber
No weekly preparation or purchase is required.


Option B: Right Now Media Video Study

Study Title: THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS, by Jo Saxton

The life Jesus invites us into when we follow Him is one of sacrifice. But does sacrificial living mean the Christian should be riddled with sorrow? Paul answers that question in his letter to the Philippians with a resounding no. Join this study to find out why!

Led by: Micki Classen
Little preparation is required.  Study materials are provided by the leader.


Option C:  A Prayer Study 

Study Title: PRAY FOR ME PRAYER GUIDE, by Tony Souder

Do you struggle in knowing how to pray for the children and/or grandchildren in your life?  Join us for this study in building a strong foundation in prayer.  We will focus on essential prayer for praying for children–from little ones through teenagers.

Led by: Roni McDaniels
Book purchase is optional.


Option D: Video Study

Study Title: ONE IN A MILLION,  by Priscilla Shirer

One In A Million is an opportunity for you to experience your deliverance from strongholds, to conquer your wilderness living, and to claim your God-given inheritance.

Led by: Vicki Hake
Preparation is required with more in-depth study, reading, and questions each week. $17 Study Guide purchase required from the leader.


Option E: Book Study

Book Title: IN HIS IMAGE, by Jen Wilken

This study helps us answer the question “What is God’s Will for me?”
Together, we will explore ten characteristics of who God is–holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise.  These characteristics will lead us to the answer. 

Led by: Linda Duncan
Preparation is required. One chapter weekly with Scriptures and questions for reflection. Book purchase required.


Option F: Spiritual Disciplines

Study Title: Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes

Study of spiritual disciplines as outlined in the Bible. Prayer, worship, contentment, sabbath, marriage, and more.

Group size is limited in order to encourage in-depth discussion.


Option I: Sisters in Christ

Mentor/mentee will meet in person at Christ Church on the 4th Wednesday of each month (between 10:00 – 12:00) for one-on-one time at church, or attend Brunch with Faith & Friendship Connect Group, and/or on the 5th Wednesday attend Art Workshop Day.  Childcare and school-age class–> if space is available. Children must be registered online. 

CHILDCARE OPTIONS ON WEDNESDAYS

Childcare is available during our Wednesday sessions for infants 6 weeks through preschoolers up to 5 years old from 9:45am to 12:15pm. Parents must stay on campus and register weekly.

6 weeks- 5 years old
Parents must stay on campus and must register their child.

Kindergarten – 6th grade
2 ½ hours of fun learning about the Bible, life skills, art, science, games, character building story and skit/improv, and indoor/outdoor active time. Parents should provide water bottle & nut-free snack for their child. Parent must register their child for this group.


Reading for March 3rd – Luke 1

Shane L. Bishop

Two “great” birth stories are offered. The first is John who is born of God aided natural means and the second is Jesus born of supernatural means.
Google: Bible birth stories. The similarities between John and Samson are worth noting.
John has far more conditions attached to his birth (Google: Nazarite).
Zacharias doubted and was mute until the delivery. I guess if you can’t say something nice…
Priests were part time and bi-vocational. Zacharias would have served his time and then resumed his normal life. With her pregnancy Elizabeth would have the cultural shame of being barren removed. Mary would step fully into that shame.
Elizabeth and Mary could have been three decades apart in age. Mary probably traveled to Judah to avoid the small town scandal of being with child and unmarried.
That John leapt in his mother’s womb upon encountering the also unborn Jesus reminds us that the first person to offer praise to Christ was an unborn baby!
How does this act of praise speak to you?
The filling of the Spirit by Elizabeth gives her a gift of knowledge. She never doubts Mary’s story. The birth stories are really an encounter with God among two related women who each bear a “great” son.
Those sons will change the world.
Google: Gospel of Luke.
Luke would have never met Jesus but was most probably Paul’s personal physician. His account was a journalistic effort involving primary sources like Peter.
The song of Mary (Magnificat) is a wonderful piece of poetry that prophecies of the “other-nature” of the Kingdom Jesus will bring. The proud are scattered. The lowly are exalted. The rich are empty and the hungry are full. Everything we know will be turned upside down. Like many of the Psalms, it seems tragic we have lost the tune.
How does the Kingdom Christ came to bring contrast with earthly kingdoms?
Elizabeth’s delivery is a celebration of the community. Clearly, the much younger Mary is not nearly so prominent. Once the name John is straightened out, Zacharias can speak again and he offers a prophecy concerning his son. Of note is that people will serve God “without fear.” Certainly John would grow up to be a fearless prophet.
Finally, the connection between salvation and forgiveness and sin is noted. We must be emptied of sin before we can be filled with Christ. You can’t fill what is already full.
We are left with anticipation as to what kind of special man John will grow to be. The people had no idea how special! Everything was about to change and John would lead the way!
Google: John the Baptist
The John prophecy from his father continues today. Clearly John is growing up well. He is also connected with the deserts. Prophets are often forged in hard places where the most basic needs of life cannot be taken for granted. It is in life’s deserts we learn to trust in God. Serious theology comes from the deserts.
Do difficult times propel you toward or away from God?

Doubting God:
Even the strongest believers have doubted God, and Zechariah was no different. However, Zechariah is included in a strong list of men and women in the Bible who overcame their doubts and eventually accomplished great things for God. The important component to each of the following examples is that they didn’t stay doubting, they were willing to move from doubt to belief.

Doubter Reference

  • Abraham Genesis 17:17
  • Sarah Genesis 18:12
  • Moses Exodus 3:10-15
  • Israelites Exodus 16:1-3
  • Gideon Judges 6:14-23
  • Zechariah Luke 1:18
  • Thomas John 20:24-25

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke

Prayer for March 4th

Heavenly Father, you are so good! You bring us mercy, love, grace and peace even though we are so undeserving. You protect us when we don’t even know we need protection. 
Thank you Lord for all that you give, and all that you take away. We pray that we would have hearts and spirits that would be open to you. Please bless us with the faith to believe in great miracles. 
We desire to have the joy and gladness that only you can bring into our lives. Lord, we pray that you would help us to become like John, strong in spirit, and bold in faith. Help us to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation that he brings through the forgiveness of our sins. 
We pray this all in the powerful and unending name of Jesus Christ. Amen!
 

Reading for March 5th – Luke 2

Shane L. Bishop

Joseph would have been most suspect traveling with a woman carrying a full term baby who was not yet his wife. No one can deny there is a baby. He knows it is not his baby. Scandal.
The circumstances surrounding these two births are both very different and very much the same. That Joseph is of the family line of David has significance.
The “angels to the shepherds” Christmas account is well known. Note the shepherds immediate desire to see for themselves what the angels proclaimed. Some things you just have to see for yourself!
Google: Bethlehem
Like John, Jesus is given a name chosen for him by an angel. Names outside of family names were rare. The naming was an act of obedience. The Temple sacrifice made by Joseph is the “poor man’s offering.” Jesus is not even born into relative wealth or influence. John may have been born into both.
This passage is of the boyhood of Jesus. It is a gift Luke gives us. Jesus is prophesied over by Simeon and Anna in the Temple. Simeon was led to the Temple by the Spirit. Anna seemed to dwell there...
Twice in the passage, the boy Jesus is favorably described. He appears to be a child prodigy. Not surprising.
Joseph and Mary would have been most devout to make the long haul to the Jerusalem Temple each year. It would not have been required by law due to the distance from Nazareth. Clearly Jesus is being carefully raised in the Jewish faith.
Travelers normally stayed in groups for safety. They would have walked the Jordan River Valley. The 90ish mile walk to and from Jerusalem would have taken several days. You can drive it today in a couple of hours. The women usually went in front and the men protected the rear. A child of twelve might be with either group. The mix up is understandable.
Losing the son of God had to be tense for a while...
The “Father’s business” quote stands out leaving the reader to wonder how much the boy Jesus knows of his true identity. It should not be lost on us that Jesus obeyed his parents in the final thought.
Do you think Jesus always knew God’s plan for him or that the awareness grew as he aged?
Jesus is growing up well!
 

Do Not Be Afraid.

Throughout the Bible we see a consistent response from individuals who are confronted by God or his angels – fear. Along with that, we see an all too familiar phrase, “Do not be afraid.” The power and might of God can certainly bring fear, but we shouldn’t stay in that fear. God loves us, and he is communicating with us and the Biblical characters because he desires a close relationship.

  • Abraham: Genesis 15:1
  • Moses: Numbers 21:34
  • Joshua: Joshua 8:1
  • Jeremiah: Lamentations 3:57
  • Daniel: Daniel 10:12, 19
  • Zechariah: Luke 1:13
  • Mary: Luke 1:30
  • Shepherds: Luke 2:10
  • Peter: Luke 5:10
  • Paul: Acts 27:23-24
  • John: Revelation 1:17-18

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke

Reading for March 6th – Luke 3

Shane L. Bishop

Google every name and place in the first two verses of Luke 3. They are all important historical markers.
Note the word of God “came” and John “went.” His presence is fulfilled prophecy. He seems very Old Testament. John sounds very much like an Essene (another Google) in his preaching style. Note John has clear answers for what people should do in response to his message.
What would John say to you in response to what do I do?
There is a clear sense of public wondering if John is the messiah. John is most clear that he is not.
Clearly John is a transitional figure for the Gentile writer Luke. He gets about half a chapter, baptizes Jesus and hands off the baton.
With his baptism, Luke parts from John and focuses on the life of Jesus.
Do you have trouble keeping focus on Jesus? Why or why not?
Genealogies were vital to a wandering and often displaced people like the Jews. You were not a Jew because of where you lived (aka Americans); you were a Jew through racial lines regardless of where you lived. On the Joseph side, Jesus has many of the OT big hitters in his line. David. Abraham. Adam. You can’t do any better.
The term Jew seems to come from Judah who was one of the sons of Jacob. “Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
Jesus begins his ministry at 30. That was adult age in his culture and in some ways, it is arguably again in our culture. At 30 you were expected to be on your own, have a trade and be able to support a wife and eventually a family.
We really have nothing on Jesus between 12 and 30. We can assume that Joseph died (disappears from text) and Jesus took over the family “tekton” (Carpenter) business.
 

Inherited Faith
John the Baptist had a powerful message for the people who were listening. Simply being descendants of Abraham was not enough to bring them salvation. (Luke 3:8-9) We might not relate to being a descendant of Abraham, but is it really that uncommon to hear someone say, “My parents and my grandparents are Christian, so I’m Christian too.” Our salvation is has nothing to do with our lineage, but instead has everything to do with accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord.

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke

Reading for March 7th – Luke 4

Shane L. Bishop

The temptations occur in the Southern Desert around the Dead Sea. Jesus is tempted with food, power and fame. He wards off the temptations with his knowledge of scripture. This knowledge was gained as a boy.
Why is teaching children Scripture essential?
Note Satan departs but will return. Such are the terms of living in a fallen world.
Note Luke’s use of the concept of the Holy Spirit. It is linked with power.
Synagogues were located in villages with 10 or more Jewish families. Like churches today, some were large and others small. They were dedicated to prayer and Scripture reading and welcomed “all comers” to share.
Jesus often took the opportunity but this time it was in his home town. This is like going back to your “home church.” All seems well until they question him and after a rather scathing story about Elijah, they are suddenly enraged.
They took Jesus to a cliff to throw him off but he “slipped” through the crowd. There is a sense of the supernatural in this thought.
Next, we move to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It is called several names throughout history but it is a freshwater lake, not a sea.
Once again we note that Jesus both healed diseases and cast out demons. He is gaining fame because of his healing and deliverance ministry. When the people desire to keep him in the region, he cites a wider calling.
Teaching on the lake was all about the wind. A speaker just off shore with a wind to their back could be heard from some distance. Finding a good spot to preach was a part of the considerations Jesus had to make.
 

Forty
Forty is a number that is commonly seen throughout the Bible. The temptation of Christ lasted forty days. Noah and his family survived the forty days of rain and flooding. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai. And of course, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. The number forty in the Bible often signifies a time of testing or trial.

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke

Worship and Rest for March 8th

Psalm 31:1-5

O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
 

Leader Questions for Week 1

Questions for Luke 1 – 4

Feel free to add your own questions to your Connect Group conversations! 

Luke 1: 
What stands out to you from Luke chapter 1? 
Put yourself in Joseph or Mary's shoes, how do you think you would react to an angelic message? 
John grew up strong in the spirit and living in the wilderness. The wilderness is often a symbol for trials. Do difficult times propel you toward or away from God? 
Luke 2: 
What stands out to you from Luke chapter 2?
Jesus was found among the religious leaders listening and asking questions. They were amazed at his understanding. Would you be open to being taught about faith by a twelve year old? 
Do you think Jesus always knew God’s plan for him or that the awareness grew as he aged? 
Luke 3: 
What stands out to you from Luke chapter 3? 
What would John say to you in response to what do I do? (verses 11-14)
With the baptism of Jesus, Luke parts from John and focuses on the life of Jesus. Do you have trouble keeping focus on Jesus? Why or why not? 
Luke 4: 
What stands out to you from Luke chapter 4?  
Jesus was trained in scripture as a young boy. Why is teaching children Scripture essential to helping them defend against temptation? 
Jesus is rejected in his hometown. Have you ever been rejected in your hometown, your family, or your friends because they 'knew' you?

Reading for March 9th – Luke 5

Rev. Dr. Don Frazure

In today’s text, there are at least five instances of ordinary people who are made aware of Divine Presence in Jesus. At some point there is a moment when they realize they are no longer speaking with or interacting with just another human, but that this Jesus of Nazareth has authority and power beyond any understanding. 
In v.8, after hauling in the huge catch of fish – a miracle to them – Simon Peter becomes aware of Divine Presence in Jesus by his asking Jesus to leave him because he realizes his sinfulness. In v. 12, the man with leprosy is aware of Divine Presence in Jesus prompting him to say, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean. 
The friends of the paralyzed man, hearing the stories about Jesus, do whatever it takes to get their friend to Jesus because they realize the Divine Presence in Jesus that can heal him. (v. 18-20) The fourth instance of awareness of Divine Presence is immediately after Jesus heals the paralytic the people were “gripped with great wonder and awe.” (v.26) Lastly, in v. 27, Levi’s awareness of Divine Presence is what prompts him to leave everything when Jesus says to him, “Follow me and be my disciple.”
I have become increasingly interested in spiritual matters. This interest is not only in tending to my spiritual life, but in becoming more aware of, and indeed, becoming less apprehensive of, if not embracing, the spiritual movement of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. While I experience God’s presence mostly during worship, I find myself being witness to God’s Divine Presence in much more mundane circumstances. 
Simple moments where God lets me know that He is there and present with me in that moment. These moments are tangible and feel like he is literally in the room with me. I wonder if my experiences are anything like those in Luke 5. Of course, I’m not interacting with Jesus in the flesh, but I am no less aware of his presence in that moment. Well, isn’t that the point? 
We have the Holy Spirit who is very much present in our lives, and we should be just as aware and interactive with the Holy Spirit as if Jesus Christ in the flesh were there with us. This is one of those passages that I think we look at and see as something that happened then, but not today. Maybe we would see miracles once again if we truly accepted and were aware of the Divine Presence of Jesus who is always with us.  
 

Rejected
Have you ever been unwelcome? Not just denied, but rejected? Jesus made the rejected of his world a priority. Prostitutes, tax collectors, widows, orphans, the sick, and the demon-possessed. The sinners. These were the people that Jesus poured into and cared about. And these are the same people that we should pour into and care about as well. Luke 5:31 – Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke

Reading for March 10th – Luke 6

Rev. Dr. Don Frazure

In today’s passage, Jesus tells his disciples to love their enemies. He tells them that rather than doing to their enemies what the human heart would desire (i.e. punishment, reciprocity, holding a grudge, etc.) that they should do what seems completely counter-intuitive by instructing them to show love toward their enemies (i.e. forgive them, pray for them, go above and beyond for them, etc.) 
A different message indeed, and one that resonates just as much today as it did 2000 years ago. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to love our enemies and be the counter-cultural people Jesus teaches us to be. There, I’ve said it, I’ve written it so that is good enough, right? 
It sounds so good to say that we should love our enemies, and because we call ourselves Christians that we, by default, do just that...all the time...without fail...yes... usually...yep... sometimes...sure... uh, occasionally.... WOW, this is not as easy as just saying it and writing it down.
This passage is so convicting to me. While I truly do not hate anyone, and I don’t believe I have anyone that I could call a personal enemy, I have, however, been hurt by people. There are people who have hurt those whom I love. My heart has been broken by the actions of others that have caused pain in my life and in my family. There are people with whom I shared trust with, but they abused and broke that trust with me. I’ve had people speak ill of me - you can’t lead a church through major transitions in worship style and not expect some people to be unhappy with the changes and take their frustrations out on you. I could go on, but unloading my grief is not what this is about. 
What this is really about is that I am convicted that Jesus wants me to love each and every one of those people. Does he expect us to be close friends? I don’t believe so, but Jesus does command me to forgive them, to show love toward them, and to pray for them. Now think about this. Can you honestly pray for someone you consider an enemy, until you truly forgive them and, therefore, no longer consider them an enemy? Praying for them is maybe the most difficult thing to do, but I believe it is the greatest evidence of true forgiveness that there is. 
If I were to make a chart with those I love in one column, and those I consider “enemies” in the other, this passage teaches me that being a disciple of Christ means that I have to do the work of making sure that the names in my enemy column get moved over to my love column. With God’s grace, I pray that I’m always working toward that goal.  

Rejected
Have you ever been unwelcome? Not just denied, but rejected? Jesus made the rejected of his world a priority. Prostitutes, tax collectors, widows, orphans, the sick, and the demon-possessed. The sinners. These were the people that Jesus poured into and cared about. And these are the same people that we should pour into and care about as well. Luke 5:31 – Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke