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Weekly Supplemental Teaching Plans



Explore the Bible

September 23, 2007

Always Trust Christ
Gregory T. Pouncey

Matthew 8:1-3,23-27; 9:1-8

Before the Session


Copy onto card stock the Door Hanger handout. Make enough copies for learners and visitors.



When You Are Ailing (Matt. 8:1-3)


Ask learners to read Matthew 8:1-3. Describe the disease of leprosy as it relates to the first-century society. Use the following quote from Stuart Weber’s commentary to set the context:

The mention of the word leprosy made the first-century reader gasp. Leprosy was the AIDS of the ancient world. Everyone was terrified of this disease. Anyone who came in contact with the leper was ritually unclean (Lev. 13-14) and at a risk of his or her life. Lepers were outcasts. They were to stay far away from healthy people and were obligated to warn anyone who might come near (Lev. 13:45-46). This man’s willingness to approach Jesus and violate acceptable practice was an expression of his faith. His confident words—not necessarily confidence in Jesus’ willingness, but primarily in His ability—further emphasizes the man’s faith.

Source: Weber, Stuart. Holman New Testament Commentary, vol. 1, p. 115.


  • Why did leprosy strike fear in people’s hearts in Jesus’ day?
  • Which do you think was the greatest need for lepers--spiritual, emotional, or physical? Why?
  • What risks did the man take as he approached Jesus and asked for healing?
Read aloud Matthew 8:2. Emphasize that the leper did not question Jesus’ power to heal, but he did submit himself to the Lord's will for his life.


  • Why is it important that the leper asked for healing?
  • Why is it important that the leper submitted himself to God’s will for his life?
  • Why does God not heal everyone immediately when they ask?

Remind learners that because he believed Jesus could help him, the leper asked for and received healing. Like the leper, we can trust Jesus to heal us or help us cope with our physical infirmities. Spend time sharing the names/stories of learners or their friends'/relatives' bouts with sickness. Take time to pray for those who currently are facing sickness.



When You Are in Danger (Matt. 8:23-27)


Read and summarize the situation in Matthew 8:23-27. Use some of the following facts to further explain the situation:

  • The Sea of Galilee was 690 feet below sea level.
  • Mt. Hermon rose 9,200 feet, and from May to October strong winds swept to the south of the mountain, causing brief, violent storms on the Sea of Galilee.
  • The contrast between the disciples’ desperation and Jesus' sleeping was great.


  • How did the disciples respond to the danger of the storm?
  • How did Jesus respond when the disciples woke Him?
  • What response did Jesus’ actions elicit from the disciples?

Read the excerpt of the testimony of Mrs. Chey Pok Lee in the disappearance of her son to Taliban captors:

Back home, families unite, pray for Korean hostages

GYEONGGI PROVINCE, Korea(BP)--"I spend one day in heaven and one day in hell. I am constantly shuttling between these two places." Mrs. Chey Pok Lee wipes her eyes as she describes the agony of waiting for news of her 38-year-old son, Chong Hee Chey, one of the 19 Korean hostages still being held by Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Chey, an overseas marketing agent with a Korean electronics company based in Seoul, has been on previous humanitarian aid trips, to Turkey in 2006 and India in 2005. He also has taught English to Korean students in an English language institute. He went to Afghanistan as an interpreter for doctors and nurses on the 23-member Korean team that was taken hostage on July 19.

And he went just to play with the children. "He learned magic so that he could entertain the Afghani children," his mother said. "He also left Seoul loaded with toys, books and other things that he thought the children might need and enjoy."

Lee's greatest fear is that her son will be executed by his Taliban captors. Chey is one of five men who were in the group, two of whom, 42-year-old Hyung Kyu Bae and 29-year-old Sung Min Shim, have been executed by the Taliban. Bae was an associate pastor of Saemmul Presbyterian Church, just south of Seoul, and Shim worked with handicapped students.

Source: Lovell, Ann (2007, August 14). Back home, families unite, pray for Korean hostages. Retrieved September 10, 2007 from www.bpnews.net.


  • Is Chey’s captivity a sign that he was outside the will of God? Why or why not?
  • How has Chey’s mother responded to the danger that her son certainly has faced?
  • Why is either the presence of danger or the absence of danger a bad indicator of whether a person is in the will of God?

Allow learners to share times when God has rescued them from danger in the past. Distribute the Door Hanger handout and ask learners to discuss their reactions to it.



When You Need Forgiveness (Matt. 9:1-8)

Ask learners to read Matthew 9:1-8 and give them a true/false test on the content using the statements below:

_____ 1. Jesus only commended  the faith of the man on the stretcher?

_____ 2. Jesus told the paralytic his sins were forgiven before He told him to pick up his stretcher.

_____ 3. The scribes rejoiced that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven.

_____ 4. Jesus knew the evil thoughts of the scribes who were present.

_____ 5. The crowds grew angry with Jesus for healing the paralytic.

(Answers: 1-F, 2-T, 3-F, 4-T, 5-F)

Highlight the following points from the passage:

  • The paralytic’s greatest need was forgiveness, not healing.
  • Jesus’ words did not imply that the man was paralyzed because of his own sin, but that he needed forgiveness.
  • The scribes recognized that only God could forgive sin, but they did not recognize that Jesus was God.
  • Jesus healed the man, which could not be denied, and he also pronounced that his sin was forgiven.
Read the following story about God’s forgiveness:

Diamond Club Ministry: Telling the Greatest Story Ever Told Through the Greatest Game Ever Played

Bernie Carbo remains a legend for many faithful Boston Red Sox fans. In 1975, he hit two pinch hit homeruns against the Cincinnati Reds, one paving the way for Carl Yastrzemski’s famous home run immortalized in baseball lore. Bernie had once been drafted by the Reds ahead of their number two pick—Johnny Bench. He was named the Rookie of the Year in Major League Baseball in 1970.

What started with such promise came crashing down as he developed an alcohol problem and started using drugs. These sins led him to begin selling drugs to support his habit. Life was tough for the former major leaguer, but he turned his life over to Christ and received the forgiveness that God offered in his life. Today, Bernie runs The Diamond Club Ministry, teaching children the fundamentals of baseball and their need for a relationship with Christ. He and his wife Tammera faithfully attend their local Baptist church and have a passion for seeing people come to faith in Jesus.

Source: More information about the Bernie Carbo and the Diamond Club Ministry is available at www.berniecarbo.com.


  • How are people often “paralyzed” by their sin?
  • How do their weaknesses often pave the way for Christ to intervene in their lives?
  • How would you describe your passion to see others receive the forgiveness that God has given to you?

Ask learners to share ways that they need to trust Christ more in their own lives this week. Spend time praying for one another.




EXTRA! is a supplement designed to enhance and expand the effectiveness of printed curriculum provided by LifeWay Church Resources.

EXTRA! is produced by Publishing Services and Multimedia, LifeWay Church Resources, Copyright 2007, LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

SPECIAL NOTE: Some Internet addresses given in EXTRA! are outside the LifeWay Internet domain. Because of the changing nature of the Web, EXTRA! editors cannot be held responsible for content on pages outside their control. At the time of this posting, the specific pages mentioned have been viewed and approved by the EXTRA! editorial staff. However, at the time of your viewing, the information on these pages may have changed. Links from the specific page addresses referenced in this material possibly could link to inappropriate material.


Weekly Supplemental Teaching Plans



Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life EXTRA

September 23, 2007

Handling Success Successfully
Dana Armstrong

Daniel 4:4-5,28-37

Before the Session


Make sure markers and a dry erase board or poster board are available.



Daniel 4:4-5



  • How would you define success?
  • What does success look like?

As class members call out answers, list them on the board.

Say: We usually define success as the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or status.

Enlist a volunteer to read Daniel 4:4-5. Explain that this chapter was written as a first person narrative by King Nebuchadnezzar. It is the only chapter in the entire Bible written by a pagan king. Nebuchadnezzar reigned as king of Babylon for 43 years. Chapter 4 takes place in the latter part of his reign, probably 32 years after his dream in chapter 2.

Say: King Nebuchadnezzar had arrived, or so he thought. He had become one of the most competent and wealthy rulers of the ancient world. He had conquered nations and built an elaborate kingdom. The beauty of his palace was beyond imagination, for it was adorned with Hanging Gardens—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—and protected by a wall surrounding it. Nebuchadnezzar had wealth, position, and power. He was successful by human standards. Can’t you just imagine him looking at his achievements and saying to himself, “I am 'at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace'” (v. 4)?


  • Have you ever looked around at your home, cars, job, and material possessions and considered yourself to be in a comfortable position?
  • What, if anything, is wrong with measuring success by only considering worldly possessions and positions?

Say: In verse 4, the king’s demeanor changed. Once again, his dreams made him fearful and alarmed. He had everything in the world, but peace.

Enlist a volunteer to read 1John 2:15-16. Explain that King Nebuchadnezzar had become wrapped up in all three sins listed in I John 2:16 – “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one's lifestyle.” God had made Himself known to Nebuchadnezzar in previous chapters through dreams and the fiery furnace, but the King had not truly understood the true and living God. Nebuchadnezzar merely thought of Him as the God of Daniel. In verse 5, we see God  giving visions or dreams to Nebuchadnezzar again.


  • Are prosperity and success dangerous? Explain your answer.
  • What can Christians do to guard against pride in our successes and achievements?



Daniel 4:28-30

Introduce these verses by explaining that the king summoned all the wise men of Babylon to interpret his dream. They all stood before King Nebuchadnezzar, just as they had done in Daniel 2, but this time Nebuchadnezzar described the dream to them. Again they were unable to interpret the meaning of the dream. When Daniel came before the king (v. 8), Nebuchadnezzar referred to Daniel as the one “named Belteshazzar after my god,” but he also recognized that “the spirit of the holy gods is in him.” Despite all that had occurred and despite the fact that God had revealed his power repeatedly, King Nebuchadnezzar still did not understand the true and living God.

God revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar the meaning of the dream through Daniel. Even Daniel became alarmed as he realized the full meaning of the dream. After serving under the king as an advisor, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar probably had developed a close relationship. In chapters 1—4, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the power of Daniel’s God, but he did not have a real understanding of or relationship with Almighty God. Realizing the seriousness of the dream, Daniel’s concern was evident in verse 27, for he pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar to “separate yourself from your sins by doing what is right, and from your injustices by showing mercy to the needy. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity.”

Enlist a volunteer to read Daniel 4:28-30.

Say: Careful reading of verse 28 reveals that a year had passed since the dream and the interpretation of impending judgment on King Nebuchadnezzar. He seemed to have forgotten the disturbing dream and as he walked on the roof of his palace reflecting on the greatness of Babylon. He proudly declared, “Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built by my vast power to be a royal residence and to display my majestic glory?” (v. 30, emphasis added). 


  • Why do you think that God seemed to continue to pursue King Nebuchadnezzar?
  • In verse 30, why do you think King Nebuchadnezzar seemed to have forgotten his dreams?
  • Have you ever been at point where we were living well and were quite pleased with where you were in life?
  • Is it wrong to be proud of some things? At what point does godly pride become sin? 

Divide learners into groups of no more than four people. Ask each group to read and discuss one of the following quotes by C.S. Lewis and answer the following questions. (You may want to write each quote on index cards prior to class.)

C.S. Lewis Quotes:

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.”

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way”

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”

Source: These and other quotes are available at www.thinkexist.com.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does this quote teach about pride?
  • How can we apply this to our lives?



Daniel 4:31-33


Enlist a volunteer to read Daniel 4:31-33.

Say: As Nebuchadnezzar was congratulating himself for his accomplishments, a voice came from heaven declaring judgment. King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would be taken from him, and he would live with the animals until he acknowledge that the true God is the ruler over kings and kingdoms. Not only did he lose his power and palace, but he also found himself dwelling with the beasts of the field and living on grass. This powerful king and conqueror of many was humbled quickly. Can you imagine having feathers like that of eagles and nails like the claws of a bird?   

Remind learners that God is sovereign. He rules heaven and earth. He had ordained King Nebuchadnezzar to be the king of Babylon during this period of history, and He knew Nebuchadnezzar’s heart. Consequently, God set into motion events that would lead to a life-changing moment for a powerful and prideful king. These circumstances eventually brought this proud king to a place of brokenness.

Ask: As you examine your own heart, do you find pride to be an issue in your life? 

Read the following illustration about brokenness from a sermon by Dr. Ronald Meeks titled From the Pit to the Palace - Qualities for a Blessed and Useful Life (Genesis 45:1-11):

Brokenness: Coming to the end of our self-effort and pride

One of the qualities God blesses and uses is brokenness. We are broken when we face our own inadequacy and pride in the light of God’s character. In his book, Born Again, Chuck Colson described his sense of brokenness before God. He had been President Richard Nixon’s Special Counsel and had helped Nixon win the presidential election. Now he was out of the White House and facing accusations of being at the center of the Watergate crimes. After speaking with Tom Phillips, then president of Raytheon, he went to his car. Colson wrote, “As I drove out of Tom’s driveway, the tears were flowing uncontrollably. . . . With my face cupped in my hands, head leaning forward against the wheel, I forgot about machismo, about pretenses, about fears of being weak. And as I did, I began to experience a wonderful feeling of being released. . . . And then I prayed my first real prayer, ‘God, don’t know how to find You, but I’m going to try! I’m not much the way I am now, but somehow I want to give myself to you.’ I did not know how to say more, so I repeated over and over the words: Take me.” That is a picture of brokenness.

Source: Charles Colson, Born Again, Fleming H. Revell, 1995, 116-117. This illustration and the sermon by Dr. Ronald Meeks can be obtained from www.lifeway.com.


  • How does God humbling Nebuchadnezzar provide a warning for us?
  • What are the positive effects of brokenness?



Daniel 4:34-37


Enlist a volunteer to read Daniel 4:34-37.

Say: According to verse 25, Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he would live as a beast in the fields and eat grass for a time of seven periods, which probably indicates it lasted seven years. At the end of the seven-year period, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity returned when he acknowledged and praised the one true God. He realized that this God he had referred to as Daniel’s God was the God of everything and that His kingdom would endure from generation to generation. He now understood that God is all powerful and in control of everything in earth and heaven. At this point, Nebuchadnezzar was released from living as a beast. After this, Nebuchadnezzar’s rule over his kingdom was re-established and even greatly improved. Nebuchadnezzar learned that God indeed is sovereign, and He humbles the proud.


  • How can pride lead us to experience a state of insanity?
  • At what point did Nebuchadnezzar’s healing and restoration begin?
  • What is the first step in our recovery from pride?

Read the following article excerpt about a present-day humbling experience:

FSU quarterback thankful 'God humbled me'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (BP)--Drew Weatherford was the stereotypical arrogant quarterback of his Land 'O Lakes high school football team. Although professing to be a Christian, Weatherford was not living for Christ when a knee injury as a sophomore sidelined him -- and God got his attention.

"God humbled me extremely" when the injury forced Weatherford to re-evaluate everything in his life, he recounted in an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness following a team practice in early August.

"I worked so hard at sports and I never really gave God the glory by the way I was living my life and the way I was playing the game. By God humbling me, it really made me for the first time in my life stop and reflect on the way I had been living my life, on the decisions I had been making, on what I looked like. I was proclaiming to be a Christian and not living it out at all."

Weatherford, now the starting quarterback at Florida State University, saw God's hand in the injury as he began attending a church pastored by his childhood football coach, Craig Altman. Without being able to play football, Weatherford accepted the invitation of Altman's son and daughter to nondenominational Grace Family Church's "180" youth group -– sparking his own 180-degree turn.

Marking it as his true Christian conversion experience, Weatherford said, "I completely did a 180 and my life changed rapidly. I became on fire for God."

Weatherford's spiritual turnaround was so obvious that other football players started attending the church -- and a revival broke out on the team.

Another knee injury on the first day of his junior football season almost sidelined Weatherford again. But after a prayer with his mother in which she felt a "peace" about him playing in spite of a doctor's contrary recommendation, a "miracle" in the second half "popped" his knee back into place. The season turned into a special one for Weatherford and his team as they went 10-0 in the regular season and played into the third round of the state playoffs.

And the season put Weatherford on the radar of Florida State where he had dreamed of playing since he was a "little kid," Weatherford said, adding, "I always wanted to play for Coach Bowden."

After being red-shirted his first year in Tallahassee, Weatherford told the Witness the college experience was at first a "rude awakening" for his Christian walk.

"Being a Florida State football player, there's a lot more temptations that I had to deal with. Truthfully, I struggled for a while. I had to battle back, and God showed His grace to me several times," Weatherford said.

After a spiritual rededication, he recounted, "I really grew a lot as a Christian in the last two years," crediting part of the renewed Christian focus on a Bible study led by Dean Inserra, which has led to the creation of a new church in Tallahassee geared to reaching college students.

Pastored by Inserra, Weatherford has faithfully helped begin the Southern Baptist church plant from the beginning. Called The Well (www.nomorethirst.org), the church started preliminary meetings in May and officially launched Aug. 19, meeting Sunday evenings at Godby High School in Tallahassee.

Inserra told the Witness, "Drew will be the first to tell you that he struggles with temptations that other college students do. However, this is a kid who truly loves the Lord and desires to know Christ in a deeper way."

Weatherford is recognized everywhere he goes in Tallahassee and is regularly stopped by well-wishers seeking autographs, Inserra said.

"As a lifelong FSU fan, Drew is living his dream," his pastor said, adding, "I think the important thing people need to realize is that Drew is a 21-year-old kid who is trying to live his life for Christ while having the entire hopes and dreams of a city on his back.... He needs grace and encouragement from other Christians, especially students."

Although he has worked for this opportunity since he was 8 years old and "it's tough" when he's pulled for poor performance, Weatherford said: "The Bible is full of so many encouraging things that talk about how to persevere and how perseverance builds character. I've learned more through my difficult times of playing football than I have through the successes."

Asked how Christians can pray for him this season, Weatherford told the Witness, "Just that I continue to have the strength to live the life that God has called upon his sons and daughters. ... There's a lot going on and our schedules are really packed and I've found myself not having the heart for people like I used to. I've been praying for that a lot and I think that's the biggest thing, that I get that back and to have the heart to witness and to use my platform to glorify Christ."

Source: Smith, Sr., James (2007, September 7). FSU quarterback thankful 'God humbled me.' Retrieved September 10, 2007 from www.sbcbaptistpress.org.

Provide time for learners to discuss how Weatherford’s lessons learned can help us handle success successfully. Close the session with a prayer of commitment.




EXTRA! is a supplement designed to enhance and expand the effectiveness of printed curriculum provided by LifeWay Church Resources.

EXTRA! is produced by Publishing Services and Multimedia, LifeWay Church Resources, Copyright 2007, LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

SPECIAL NOTE: Some Internet addresses given in EXTRA! are outside the LifeWay Internet domain. Because of the changing nature of the Web, EXTRA! editors cannot be held responsible for content on pages outside their control. At the time of this posting, the specific pages mentioned have been viewed and approved by the EXTRA! editorial staff. However, at the time of your viewing, the information on these pages may have changed. Links from the specific page addresses referenced in this material possibly could link to inappropriate material.