Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: NT Lesson 1 “Elizabeth and Mary”

Featured Passage: Luke 1


Many years had passed since the Jewish people had returned to their homeland since the captivity. But the people were still not free. The land of Judea was under the rule of the Romans whose empire stretched far and wide across the continent. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah to save them from the Romans as many of God’s prophets had taught for hundreds of years before. God’s plan was to send His Son as the Messiah. He also planned to send a prophet to prepare the people to hear the Messiah’s message. 

The story begins in Jerusalem where there lived a woman named Elizabeth who lived with her husband Zacharias. They were both very old, and they had no children. One day, Zacharias went to the temple to perform his duties as a priest and an angel appeared! The angel had a special message for Zacharias and Elizabeth about the coming Messiah and the man who would prepare the way for His arrival.

Discuss:

  • What was the message the angel gave to Zacharius? How did Zacharias respond to the message? 
  • What did Gabriel tell Zacharias to name his son? What happened to Zacharias when he left the temple? How did he tell his relatives what his son’s name would be?
  • What was the message the angel gave to Mary? How did Mary respond to the message? 
  • What was Mary to name her son? What does the name mean?
  • What happened when Mary came to visit her cousin? 

Memory Challenge:

Luke 1:31. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.”


Forum Summary: “Quitters Never Win”

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


Estimated reading time: 1 min. 35 sec.

Mr. Dan Hall, the regional pastor of the southeastern U.S, attended his first Feast of Tabernacles when he was fourteen. Mr. Hall’s parents were called into the Church in the 1950s. He recalled, “During that early time, it was a rare thing for people to leave the Church.” But some people do leave the Church. Why?  

He began with a quote from Vince Lombardi, professional American football coach: 

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” 

 Since the beginning, Mr. Hall explained, Satan’s modus operandi has been to incite doubt in God’s people and cause us to give up. Yet, we must learn to hang on. In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to cross the Antarctic continent. The story goes, after pack ice crushed the Endurance, he and his entire crew survived under brutal conditions for almost two years before reaching safety.  “What did Shackleton do that caused people to hang in there?” He kept hope alive for his men.  

A Dealer in Hope

Mr. Hall quoted Napoleon Bonaparte, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” A past leader, the Apostle Paul, shows us this in Hebrews 10:22-23, “Let us draw near with a true heart… Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”  We were reminded that if Mr. Armstrong or Dr. Meredith had given up, many of us would not be in God’s Church today. Our leaders can inspire hope in us. They remind us that there’s “only one way to grow and that’s forward.” 

Mr. Hall concluded, “It’s not a matter of who gets to the Kingdom first, we’re all going to be together as a family… I want to encourage you to be winners and not quitters because quitters never win.” 


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.

Digging Deeper: The Bond of Peace

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated Reading Time: 6 min.

Did you know Christ realized that, even though He commanded the Church of God to be peacemakers, this ideal would be difficult to fully achieve since it had the potential to break down into bitter disputes?

If anyone knows the nature of human beings it is Christ, who is our Creator (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16). Even though He granted believers the powerful Holy Spirit of love and unity, He realized that fully meeting that standard would be difficult to attain at times. Nonetheless, He commands His followers to strive continually for the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). This Digging Deeper will explore this vital topic to remind Christians of one of our ultimate goals in the universal body of Christ, especially while we live at a time of global disunity, partisanship, and chaos.

Our primary text for consideration reads: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3 KJV). The cohesion that should hold together Christians as they unitedly preach the gospel is called a “bond.” The phrase “the bond of peace” can be understood in a couple of ways. Ethelbert Bullinger presents what he considers the most likely position in his Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: this phrase is a figure of speech called a genitive of apposition: “‘The bond of peace’: i.e., the bond, which is peace.'” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22). In other words, the bond consists of peace. A Popular Commentary on the New Testament edited by Philip Schaff elaborates further: “’ Peace’ is the result of peace with God, and, binding Christians together, it is ‘a condition and symbol of that inner unity wrought by the indwelling Spirit of God’ (Alford). Hence an outward unity, which does not bind Christians in peace, can scarcely be ‘the unity of the Spirit'” (e-Sword 12.1). This unity results from Christ, who is our peace, bringing together Jews and Gentiles into one united body (Ephesians 2:13-14). Peaceable relations between believers continue to hold them together.

Bonds and Ligaments

The Websters Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 defines a bond as: “1. That which binds, ties, fastens, or confines, or by which anything is fastened or bound, as a cord, chain, etc.; a band; a ligament; a shackle or a manacle” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22). Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines the Greek word (sundesmos) translated “bond” much the same way (e-Sword 12.1). Significantly, bond is compared to the ligaments that hold together parts of the human body. Christ likens his church to His body in the Book of Ephesians.

Peace of Believers

A couple of ways the English word peace is defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary are:

1. In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind…

5. Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquillity; calmness; quiet of conscience (e-Sword 12.1). Once again, the English translation agrees closely with the meaning of the Greek word (eirene) here (e-Sword 12.1).

Martin Manser in his Dictionary of Bible Themes defines peace as: “The state of harmony that is available to believers through having a right relationship with God and others and is especially associated with the presence of the Holy Spirit” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22). He next explains peace experienced among believers: “Peace is the birthright of every believer in all circumstances. It is found only in God and is maintained through having a close relationship with him” (Ibid.). Finally, he defines what destroys peace among humans: “Because of human sinfulness, God’s provision of peace is always under threat. Scripture shows that this breaking of peace has implications for the whole of creation” (Ibid.). The bond of peace is an on-going project, not only among humans in general but among believers in their congregations as well. Christians must ever be on guard for that which they might do or say that assaults this bond of peace.

Maintaining the Bond

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol 6 comments that in Ephesians 4:1-2 Paul enumerated the virtues to be exercised to maintain the bond of peace: to walk worthy of our vocation with all lowliness, meekness, longsuffering and forbearing one another in love. Following his admonition to keep the unity in the bond of peace, he lists seven particulars of which this unity is comprised (Ephesians 4:4-6):

  1. one body
  2. one spirit
  3. one hope of our calling
  4. one Lord
  5. one faith
  6. one baptism
  7. one God and Father of all (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980, p. 1021).

Peace is an aspect of God’s nature. He is referred to in Scripture as “the God of peace” (Romans 15:33;16:20; 2 Corinthians13:11; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20). Christians who serve the God of peace and the Lord Jesus Christ must actively preserve this precious bond among themselves. The Devil delights in and promotes strife and contention among God’s people. He is the great divider, not an uniter (except in rebellion against God).

Other notable Bible verses relating to the bond of peace include:

  • Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it (Psalm 34:14 KJV).
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9 KJV).
  • If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18 KJV).
  • For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV).

The Expository Notes of Dr. [Thomas L.] Constable provides us a fitting citation to conclude our short study on this essential Christian virtue: “Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church. Paul viewed peace as what keeps potential factions together. He had in mind peace between all kinds of diverse groups in the church, the most basic being Jews and Gentiles” (e-Sword 12.1). Christians’ goal is to live up to the peace that Christ has already afforded them. They must recognize that He has offered this same peace to every true believer through activating God’s spirit within them. Remembering this responsibility tempers our tempers and promotes patience, understanding, forgiveness, and love as we endeavor  “… to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 KJV).


Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Course Spotlight: Works of the Law

Some believe that those who keep the Ten Commandments are engaging in the “works of the law” and are therefore under a curse (cf. Galatians 3:10). What are the works of the law, and is obedience to God’s law a curse?

Course Spotlight From The General Epistles: (Part 1) The Letters of James and Peter

Assembly Summary: Know Those Who Labor Among You

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


Estimated reading time: 3 min. 35 sec.

This past week, Mr. Gerald Weston gave a “This Is My Life” style assembly. He began with 1 Thessalonians 5:12, relating Paul’s admonition to know and understand where our leaders are coming from. To help the students know him better, he told the story of his life.  

Early Life

Mr. Weston moved nine times by the time he turned fourteen; his father served in the Air Force. Living at the Vandenburg Air Force Base in California during the Cold War, he said, “If there ever was a war, I would be sitting at ground zero.” Mr. Weston “grew up in the shadow of the bomb.” ICBMs were regularly tested at the base. Mr. Weston’s father helped develop MIRVs, and his squadron loaded nuclear weapons onto aircraft.  

As a young man, Mr. Weston was in the Boy Scouts, the Civil Air Patrol, and Search and Rescue. He played baseball, football, swam, and ran track in high school. When he was fifteen years old, a friend on his bus gave him The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last; he finished reading it that evening. As he read more literature, his interest in the Church grew—as did his parent’s disapproval. Mr. Weston listened to The World Tomorrow on KGO San Francisco, with his hand on the dial—ready to switch stations should they walk into his room. He began to keep the Sabbath at the local library, finishing his work around the house earlier in the week to do so. Following the food laws was a challenge in his household; on one occasion, his father was not pleased when he refused to eat the pork spare ribs his mother had made. He said, “It was touch and go every time we had unclean meats for dinner.” 

From College to the Ministry

Finally, in 1964, he moved out to attend Ventura College. “The first thing I did was call up the minister.” After attending for only one Sabbath, he kept Atonement and then observed his first Feast of Tabernacles. The following year, Mr. Weston went to Ambassador College. He came to know Mr. Armstrong as a student in his “Principles of Christian Life” class.  Mr. Weston explained that he could not claim to be close to him personally. “He wouldn’t know me today,” he said, “But I do know how he thought on many different things.” Mr. Weston met his wife at Pasadena when she transferred from Big Sandy. Then, after graduating AC in 1969, he was hired to serve in the ministry.  

On March 11, 1995, nine years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, Mr. Weston gave his last sermon in the Kansas City congregation of the Worldwide Church of God. He asked three questions: Why are there such massive changes? Where is it heading? What should we do? After getting fired from the Worldwide Church of God ministry, he looked for where God was working and found Dr. Meredith continuing the Work in the Global Church of God. “That’s where the Work was being done and the flock was being fed.” He explained to us that we may one day have to make a decision that will affect the rest of our life and beyond—a choice between following our friends or following the truth.  

Over the years, Mr. Weston has lived in Houston, Texas; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Monroe, Louisiana; Michigan; Asheville, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Canada; the U.K; and finally, Charlotte, North Carolina. As a pastor in the Worldwide Church of God, he and his wife served at the youth camps in both Minnesota and Texas. In Global, he was asked to assist at the camps in Missouri and North Carolina. Then, from 1998 to 2008, he served as director of the Living Youth Camp in Michigan. 

Mr. Weston advised us to learn from history and people’s perspectives to understand what happens today. He encouraged us to “know those who labor among you.” 


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.

Student Life: A Common Enemy

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


Living Education students woke up to a brisk 39-degree, sunny Monday morning. Daylight saving time brings the sun an hour earlier, filtering through the women’s dorm windows at 7:15 a.m. By 7:55 a.m., all the girls are rushing around their kitchen, packing lunches, making coffee, and grabbing book-bags. Often, at about 8:15 a.m., you’ll see three cars filled with Living Ed students trailing each other on East Independence on the way to the Headquarters office.

Harmony Talbott | Student Video Editor for Living Education

Occupying the thoughts of the students this week is an assignment due soon: six teams of two were assigned a 60-second video submission on one of the “Seven Laws of Success.” Mr. McNair notified the students that these segments will be compiled and edited into a seven-minute video by Harmony Talbott, his student-employee this year. The goal of the video is to present practical applications of these seven laws in daily student life. If the students create quality work, it will be posted to lcgeducation.org.

When asked about her part in the project, Harmony replied, “I’m looking forward to creating a video with more of a story-flow that connects everything with good transitions.” She says that the challenge will be “having everybody communicate and work together so viewers can make sense of the finished product.”

The students already have had to work together to brainstorm and decide on the over-all flow of video. But clear communication and teamwork will be required in the next few days as they nail down their individual ideas and record their segments. This video, like the program as a whole, is a mechanism. The assignment to cement the seven laws of success in the students minds and to practice working together against a common enemy: a deadline.


Juliette McNair headshot

Juliette McNair is a student at Living Education Charlotte. She works in the Editorial Department transcribing sermons and proofreading transcripts. She also assists Living Education by writing Second Thoughts essays and Forum/Assembly Summaries for the website. Juliette recently graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in Upstate New York with an A.A.S in Horticulture, a B.T in Plant Science, and a minor in English with a writing focus. She loves playing soccer on the beach, getting up early to watch the sunrise, and playing piano with the lights out.