August 7, “Whose Name Is Jealous”
Lesson 35: There Is One True God
The local baseball team is on the brink of winning the championship, when an injury sidelines their star player. But Gooz finds a “lucky” penny, and the Cavalry is on a roll. Now “The Club” must decide if the team’s dependence on the penny is just some harmless fun or takes their focus off of playing to please God.
In whose god do you trust?
We don’t think about idol worship much anymore, unless we’re sitting down to watch TV’s ratings darling, American Idol. In fact, most of us don’t pray to a hewn stone or wood-carved god or make sacrifices to appease a deity in hopes of making our garden grow. So the concept of “idol worship” seems foreign to us. Yet we may be guilty of placing an idol in front of the one true God when we try to wrestle control of our lives away from Him. In this week’s Director’s Notes, David Carl explains why anything less than fully trusting in God may be as bad as bowing to a stone idol.
August 14, “The Tribe”
Lesson 36: Sinning Hurts Our Service to God
C.J. tries to bring peace between “The Club” and Hugh. Being a peacemaker is certainly what God would want, right? But C.J.’s idea to bring the “two tribes” together explodes when his methods betray his good intentions.
God helps those who help themselves
The aphorism, “God helps those who help themselves,” is not in the Bible. But a nationwide poll conducted by the Barna Research Group concluded that 82% of Americans believe it is. To some extent the phrase has merit—we would be foolish to assume that God wants us to sit around waiting for Him to act when He has called on us to be His hands and feet. But in this week’s Director’s Notes, David Carl tells about the dangers of not “waiting upon the Lord.” When we place our goals above the importance of our relationship with God, we set ourselves up for catastrophic failure.
August 21, “Love Hopes”
Lesson 37: Love Hopes All Things
Staci tells “The Club” the shocking news: Hugh wants to join the club! But the club only wants him if he’s changed his ways. Hugh is seen doing good deeds and being kind to others. His transformation even impresses Miss Harbor. But C.J. quietly struggles with how one can know if a person has really changed.
Anyone who has wandered into a penny arcade has probably spent some time playing with a “love tester.” You know the one; you grip the handle and a ladder of lights flash from “clammy” all the way up to “hot stuff” as the machine “senses” your level of ardor. And if you were on a date, you hoped you rated pretty highly so as to not give any false impressions to your companion about your romantic ability. If a “love-o-meter” existed that could actually measure the love we have for others, would we ever risk playing with it, knowing we might rate “cold fish”? David Carl explains that, for Christians, true love for each other and for our neighbors is the distinctive quality that should set us apart as God’s people.
August 28, “C.J. and Ahab”
Lesson 38: Envy
When Ned refuses to part with an autographed baseball that C.J. wants, C.J.’s envy threatens to get the better of him. With the help of Mr. Collins’ cylinder player, C.J. hears the story of King Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard and discovers how destructive envy can be.
David Carl writes, “Desire is a monster that we have become comfortable with. We have been told that to always want more is simply living life to the fullest, grabbing the gusto. This is a lie. To fulfill any and all desires may feel like ultimate freedom, but it is actually the most profound sort of slavery.” In this week’s Director’s Notes, David explains why, with God’s help, we can refine our focus and learn to tell our sinful desires to “sit down and shut up!”