introduction

Jesus is always our primary example. He started his ministry by “Opening the Book” in the synagogue at Nazareth. Whilst the synagogue was the worship centre for his community, it was much more. It was the place for education, probably for local decision making, and undoubtedly for debate and gossip. The Open Book begins with churches but wants to move on to include education, politics, media and arts. If we want to reclaim the heart and mind of our nation from Secularism, the New Age and Feng Shui we need to “Open the Book” in these spheres of influence too.

welcome

In a bucket (or similar container) put pieces of paper (folded) with the names of current sitcoms and soaps on (make sure that each one is written on at least two pieces of paper). Invite people to pick out a piece of paper. They then find their “partner” and talk in pairs about their soap. Which characters appeal most, are strongest, most likeable etc? Which storylines engage them most, what will happen next?

How influential are TV series in forming people's views, and how biblical are the perspectives given on moral/social issues?

worship

Invite people to share a favourite verse or story from the Bible and explain why.

Thank God for who He is and for His revealed will in the Bible.

word

read

Luke 4:14-21

discuss

Verse 16 makes it clear that gathering with God’s people mattered to Jesus. Does it matter so much for us today? In what ways was synagogue worship like ours and in what ways does it seem different?

Jesus selected Isaiah 61:1-2 from the “Scroll of Isaiah”. What does this say about the mission of Jesus and our mission?

The five key themes for The Open Book are:

  • IDENTITY (who we are, where we come from, why we are here etc.)
  • FREEDOM
  • JUSTICE (what makes it possible, is life fair anyway?)
  • HOPE
  • FORGIVENESS

How many of these themes can you find in Luke 4:18-19?

action

Take each theme individually and discuss why it is so relevant today.

think

In verse 21 Jesus claimed that the passage was true and relevant for their “today.”

Why could he say that? Can we say this about the Bible to our friends for 'our today'?

further reading

Luke 4:22-30

Jesus told two Old Testament stories, one about Elijah and one about Elisha. Share what you know about these. If you don’t know much then you can always read them out (1 Kings 17:8-16, 2 Kings 5:1-14). What was his key point? Why did this get his those who heard this so mad that they wanted to kill him? (Think about why they usually liked to hear stories about Elijah and Elisha and how this clashes with Jesus’ perspective). Jesus was clearly claiming that God cares for Gentiles (people beyond “his people”). In the light of this, do you think The Open Book is right to want us to tell God’s story to everyone or is the Bible only for Christians?

application

Look again at some of the issues/storylines that you mentioned earlier. Can you think of any stories from the Bible (or sayings) which relate to these issues? Share together how you might be able to introduce these stories as either a Christian counter-cultural perspective or to affirm the attitudes in the soaps wherever they reflected Biblical viewpoints. Which approach is likely to be most helpful?

Pray for one another that you might be discerning of what you watch on TV. i.e. not absorbing the world’s perspectives, but alert and alerting others to God’s views on contemporary issues.

witness

action

Find ways of expressing some of these themes to your friends this week. Make time this week to have a social to bring friends along to. Use this time now to begin to talk, plan and pray about it.