Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Humble Hero (Desire of Ages)
Chapter 26 - Busy and Happy Days at Capernaum
The demon-possessed man had just enough spiritual power to come to Jesus. That was all he needed. That is all we need to come to Jesus.
According to Dictionary.com, an omen is defined as “anything perceived or happening that is believed to [indicate] a good or evil event or circumstance in the future.” Omens are a medium for messages in witchcraft and stand in sharp contrast against the Bible and God’s authority over the past, present, and future of His universe.
In this week’s lesson, Jesus tells an evil spirit to come out of a possessed man, and it is an amazing display of God’s power over Satan’s spirits. The people who witnessed Jesus speaking with authority recognized that His word was like an amen, which is defined as “so be it; let it be so.” Satan and all his deceptive methods had taken over the man with unclean spirits, but Jesus had the final word. Today, you might not see someone literally convulsing from demon possession, but evil spirits still attempt to get into hearts and minds. The choices you make each day will indicate if you accept God’s amens or Satan’s omens in your life.
SHERLOCK HOLMES CHARADE
Supplies Needed: Sheets of paper and pens
Although Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character created in the 1800s by English author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his fame for finding evidence and solving bizarre criminal cases is known throughout the world. Imagine you are Sherlock Holmes and use detective skills to find the evidence of God’s authority in your life.
A mini-episode of the great controversy between good and evil took place as Jesus cast out an evil spirit from a man. The crowd who witnessed this miracle, and those of us who are reading about it today, got a preview of the coming destruction of Satan and his evil deceptions. Christians should never put our faith in an omen declared by a sorcerer, but instead we should claim fully and completely the authority of God and His Word. Have you ever wished that the Bible would give more background story about the people Jesus performed miracles for? It would help us see what led to the bad circumstances they were in before Jesus helped them. Although you might not get the details, you can be sure that sin was the cause of the man’s problem and Jesus was the solution.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions. If you are still worshiping from home, consider discussing one or more of the questions on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or in a group chat with friends.
Read Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (NIV).
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.
Sin is Born
Read James 1:13-15 (NIV).
13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Sin and Grace
Read Romans 6:1-4 (NIV).
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Choosing a Path
Read Proverbs 23:19 (NIV).
19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.
God’s Holy People
Read Ephesians 1:18-19a (NIV).
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Consider applying what you learned in this week’s lesson.
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
We are about halfway through this quarter, and we have seen Jesus work through so many hurdles in His ministry. He dedicated His time on earth to preaching the gospel and attending to those in need. Much of His care involved miracles, signs, and wonders that restored a person for the work of the gospel while simultaneously evangelizing to the others around them. During His ministry, Jesus returned to Capernaum, the region where His hometown was located, several times. In this particular scenario, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and the narrative tells us He was preaching at the local synagogue on the Sabbath. Surprisingly, He had a positive reaction from the crowd, who were amazed at His style of teaching. In the middle of the passionate deliverance of the word, a possessed man cried out obscenities against Jesus. Jesus calmly but sternly ordered the demon out of the man, leaving the people in amazement and a desire to learn more about this mysterious teacher.
There is a fine line between spiritualism and divinity, which many people struggle to identify today. Although it is not common to see someone outwardly showing signs of possession by demons, many struggle with internal demons. These demons eat one up from the inside, causing various problems that can seem to define who the person is. In addition, there are some people who turn to these very demons through spiritualism and mediums as a way to relieve their problems, not knowing that in reality, these demons are ruining their lives. But there is a cure for modern day devils, just like there was way back when. In fact, the cure is still the same: Jesus. If you turn to Christ and beg Him to relieve you from those demons that torment you, or even have a silent plea in your heart, He will hear your cries and cast them out. Let’s remember every day that God is ready to cast out our devils. All we need to do is say a prayer and He will say, “Be silent, devil!”
Jesus casting out the devil may seem like a small story, but it brings many important lessons for us today. The setting of the church, a holy location, shows us that no physical building will prevent evil from being inside of us; instead only the presence of God can. The public setting shows us that even if something may seem like a hard or humiliating experience for us, it can actually be working for God’s cause. The verbal authority Jesus had over this devil presents a comforting promise that no force of evil will ever be able to beat God’s power. If we stay close to Christ, that power remains on our side, waiting to be called by even the smallest of His servants, and He is ready and able to cast out any demon we may feel too weak to defeat.
Let Me Go!
Have you ever experienced or known someone who dabbled in spiritualism?
Read Mark 1:21-28.
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Today, we all continue to fight our own devils, and are desperately calling upon God to help us. Below you will find some simple applications that can facilitate the removal of these evil presences in your life, while strengthening your experience with the Savior.
Understanding & Relating to Asian American Youth
By Jane Hong-Guzman de Leon, Kevin Doi & Mike Park
If you’ve read Growing Young, you know how important it is to engage young people in your church. But how? Even when we bring our best intentions to these conversations, the dialogue somehow flops.
This comprehensive 40-page guide is the perfect handbook for any adult looking for a starting point in conversations with today’s Asian American youth. It includes an overview of the reality Asian American youth face, fundamental principles of conversation, plus 30+ questions and ideas for next steps.
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
Help parents stay sane. Assemble bags with activities to keep small children busy.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Cheer up the homebound. Thoughtfully decorated placemats are a lovely extra to bring to meal recipients. If you’re able to laminate the placemats, all the better!
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help fight hunger. Pick up and deliver meals to seniors and people with disabilities.
Cost: Less than $5.00