Monday Evening Bible Study – Fall 2023 – Tempe, AZ
Thanks so much for connecting with us this fall as we study and think about heaven and forever. I will post our calendar and weekly study pages here. We will still stay up-to-date on our Group Me app for meeting times and notices but the space there is limited, so we let’s meet here for longer communications and conversations.
A practice that I have found helpful when I begin a new study is to ask the Holy Spirit to be our teacher as we dive into a topic or passage from the Bible. If you’d like to join me, here is a beginning prayer for us. Feel free to comment below with anything you’d like to add to our prayer and we can revise as we go.
Our Father in Heaven,
Thank you for a place to think about where you are. Even though you are everywhere…. there is no place we can be where you are not there … the idea of heaven helps us find you. We wonder if your infiniteness doesn’t require a specific place, but you know that somehow it helps us direct our hearts toward you from this finite place. Thank you that when Jesus taught us to pray, he taught us to direct our prayers toward heaven.
When John was writing about Jesus’s posture of prayer in John 17, he wrote “he [Jesus] looked toward heaven” when he prayed. When we look to you from here, it is good to look up. It reminds us that you are over all things, and that feels safe.
Defining heaven is kind of hard for us these days. Maybe harder than it should be. So many of your followers have firm ideas about what the Bible says about heaven, but they are not all the same. Someday, when we see you and know your forever presence, I wonder if you will see us with love and compassion and say about the things we got wrong, “I can see how you would have thought that. The songs you sang, and the way people imagined eternity and life after death through the generations were the pictures that shaped your ideas of heaven. I wanted your ideas to be hopeful, not stressful. And I certainly did not ever want it to divide you. Here, let me show you what the resurrection life is.”
Holy Spirit, will you give us wisdom to look at the whole story of the Bible and see through your eyes what we need to see? Give us hope. Point us to your Word, and your followers who have thought about this for longer than we have and give us what we need to know for now. Be our teacher.
Help us to immerse ourselves in the promises. Even when we can’t put every detail in linear order, or fully understand the mysteries, remind us of the finished work of the cross, and help us hang on to the truth that your love defeats fear, Jesus’s tomb is empty, and you are making all things new.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
- What is your prayer as we study heaven and eternity this season?
- What questions do you have?