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November Illuminate

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Openers

A Revival Journal of Pure Bible Truth

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Summary: Jeff Finley is the current editor of Light + Life Magazine and in this article he tells the story of how the magazine came to be, what its intention was, and how it has changed through the years. This article introduces the 150th anniversary issue of the magazine.

1. We often lose sight of our connection to a long story of Christ followers, whether we grew up in the church or not. How has your story impacted your view of church history?

2. Spend some time thinking about people in your life who do not know Jesus. How might you begin a conversation with them about the gospel?

Further reading: Philippians 4:2-9, Acts 9:1-31

To read the article, click here.

Bishops

2168: 12 Reports About the Church 150 Years Forward

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Summary: In this short article, Bishop David Roller uses humor to offer what might be in 150 years. The article ultimately turns at the end and we are challenged to think about our purpose as the church.

1. Bishop Roller ends his humorous list by talking about the “Really Free Church.” What stands out about this “renegade movement?”

2. We often get distracted by things that don’t matter, even in our times of worship together. What does it look like for us to refocus our lives and our communities on Christ?

3. Discuss some ways that you could encourage those around you to live more like the “Really Free Church.” Write out a prayer asking God to give direction to the church and its leaders.

Further reading: Acts 2:42-47,, Acts 1:1-10

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Discipleship

Ought Women to Govern in the Church?

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Summary: B.T. Roberts was the principal founder of the Free Methodist Church and the editor of this publication from 1886 to 1890. This article from the Sept. 1, 1886, issue is Roberts’ reply to W. Gould’s seventh article in a series in which Roberts and Gould debate the appropriate role of women in the church.

1. B.T. Roberts begins his rebuttal by referencing Deborah. Who was Deborah, why is she important to look to as a biblical leader, and how does God affirm her authority as a woman?

2. B.T. Roberts cites several examples in the New Testament of women having been present during the apostolic movement. How do these examples support women in positions of church governance? Why is this important?

3. How can you prayerfully consider what it looks like to support God and the church in appointing the most suitable person, whether woman or man, to fill a given position?

Further reading: Judges 4 and 5, Acts 2:1-41

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Feature

The Object and Scope of This Publication

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Summary: Levi Wood was a Free Methodist elder who served from 1868 to 1870 as the founding editor of The Free Methodist, which began as a newspaper and eventually became the magazine now known as Light + Life. This editorial ran in Vol. 1, No. 1, which was published Jan. 9, 1868, in Rochester, New York.

1. The author calls the reader to reflect on the gospel and its power in our lives. In your own words, what is the gospel?

2. “[In the church] there is much form, much wealth and many communicants but comparatively little native Christian simplicity, spirituality and power. Converts to the church … are numbered by hundreds of thousands; but converts to God … are not so numerous.” Discuss whether, and in what ways, this is reflected in today’s church.

3. What things might you or your church be doing that actually distracts from the gospel rather than directing people to the cross?

4. Our hearts are drawn to popular applause. What examples does the author give for this? How is this issue present in your own life?

5.The author calls us “to get the pure, soul-saving truth of God before the people; and may heaven speed us in our work!” How can you step in to this call? What does it look like to hold the gospel in the forefront of our minds?

Further reading: Hebrews 12:1-3

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Action

The Progress of the Church

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Summary: J.T. Logan was a Free Methodist elder from New York who served as this publication’s editor from 1907–1923 and from 1927–1931. This article ran in the Aug. 9, 1910, issue that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Free Methodist Church.

1. According to the author, what are some of the ways the Free Methodist Church had justified its forming after 50 years?

2. Articles like this connect us to something bigger than ourselves and the local church. What are some ways that you are encouraged by the work of the larger church?

3.How can we strive to continue the work of the church? What are some new ways for you to remember the ministry to “the orphans, the aged and the downtrodden”?

Further reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Acts 20:32-38

To read the article, click here..

Pop Theology

Finding the Lord in “The Rings”

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Summary: Ralph Clark serves as the dean of students at Oakdale Christian Academy in Jackson, Kentucky. This article first appeared in the July/August 2003 issue a few months before the release of “The Return of the King,” the third film in “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.

1. The author discusses the hold that sin can have on our lives. What are some things that you have a hard time letting go of in your life? Why?

2. Have there been times in your life when things felt preordained or where you felt called to a place without knowing the purpose? What are some ways that you have experienced God at work in your life?

3. How can you use themes of good and evil in stories like “The Lord of the Rings” to talk to family and friends about God? To whom is God calling you to have conversations like this with?

Further reading: Romans 8:26-30,, Ephesians 6:10-20

To read the article, click here.