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Dos and Don’ts of writing articles/stories for this theme list:
DO read the Scriptures (these will be studied in class), as well as the suggestions of what to write in the Lesson Aims below.
DO dig in deeper. DON’T use obvious material the students will likely have studied in class.
DO employ supplemental Scriptures beyond the most well-known passages. DO quote from the King James Version.
DON’T put words in God’s mouth or suggest what God thinks. Quote what He says.
DON’T submit your first thoughts. DO some research and include the sources that verify your information.
DO stick to the desired word count: 850 words minimum, 1000 maximum.
DO use good grammar and spelling. DO rewrite, tighten, and proofread your work.
DO put the intended issue number and its date at the top of your manuscript or it will be rejected.
decision will be made on any manuscript prior to the submission due cutoff
date. Please e-mail your submissions to email@example.com.
Quarter titles for Summer 2015: Unit
1, Amos Rails Against Injustice (Issues 1-4);
Unit 2, Micah
Calls for Justice Among Unjust People (Issues 5-8); Unit 3, Advocates of Justice for All (Issues 9-13).
Issue 1: God Passes
Judgment (Injustice Is Intolerable)
June 7, 2015
Scripture: Amos 2:4-8
What to Write: Show from other Scriptures
that though God judges, His love is evidenced in that He equips us to know right from wrong-because He wants us to avoid the
penalty for choosing the wrong. Show in modern-day terms/examples how the
wrongs mentioned in today's text destroy the church community and the larger
general community; suggest real solutions for each. Warn against focusing on
non-Christians we consider to be unjust while failing to notice injustice among
ourselves (after all, Christians are supposed to know better!). Today's text
leads into the injustice theme by saying that the people have rejected God's
laws; prove from Scripture that obeying God's laws prevents one from becoming
Issue 2: God Is Not
Fooled (Justice Is Not "Just Us")
June 14, 2015
Amos 5:14, 15, 18-27
What to Write: This passage speaks of hypocrisy, with the people going
through the motions of spiritual activity (worship, sacrifice) while living
wickedly, at odds with God's justice (see also Isaiah 1:10-17). Review
Scriptures that use words like hidden,
secret, darkness; and help readers assess their own lives in light of what you find. Verse 15
in the NIV says to "maintain justice
in the courts"; retell true stories of lawyers/judges who made the news because
of their strong stand for justice.
Issue 3: God Abhors Selfishness (A Deadly Trio: Selfishness,
Greed, and Pride)
June 21, 2015
Scripture: Amos 6:4-8, 11-14
What to Write: Write something like "5
Ways the Comforts of This World Cause Discomfort," detailing the burdens of
material possessions; then counter with the freedom/blessing of living with
less in order to share with others. Report in depth on a family you know who
lives frugally-and who does not
exhibit the deadly trio of characteristics above. This Scripture reminds one of
HGTV's Million Dollar Rooms show. How
can we tell when lavishness is pleasing to God (such as when the Shunammite
woman created a room for Elisha in 2 Kings 4 or when the woman anointed Jesus
with perfume in Matthew 26) vs. when it smacks of the deadly trio in our
Issue 4: God
Will Never Forget (The End Has Come)
June 28, 2015
Scripture: Amos 8:1-6, 9, 10
What to Write: Verses 1, 2 indicate that time has passed as God waits for the people to come
to understanding; this would be a good opportunity to debunk the view that the
"God of the Old Testament" is cruel/unfair by pointing out cases when He gave
multiple chances and extra time. Explore the human tendency to want to rush
through worship or Christian duties and get back to our "real" lives. Profile some person who makes a point of putting
worship first (or profile a company like Chick-fil-A that closes on Sunday) and
what testimony or success has resulted from this effort.
Issue 5: No
Rest for the Wicked (You've Got to Change Your
July 5, 2015
Scripture: Micah 2:4-11
What to Write: It's so easy to point a finger at the social and moral
injustice of others, so this might be a good time for "The I Test"-in which
readers look inward to see where "I" really stand on social and moral injustice
issues. Explore why Micah's opponents would emphasize God's grace and
forgiveness at the expense of telling the people the whole truth about His
judgment; what similar scenarios play out today, of which we should be aware? The
prophets had the unpleasant task of warning the people that God would punish;
give a brief biography of a few of the Old Testament prophets and emphasize their
commitment and what they endured in order to help their people-and us!
Issue 6: No
Tolerance for Corrupt Officials (Public Trust Betrayed)
July 12, 2015
Scripture: Micah 3:5-12
What to Write: Illustrate with true
stories how readers can effectively deal with corruption in business, in
government, and yes, in the church. Use current news stories about the betrayal
of public trust as the starting point for drawing parallels to today's
Scripture; then address how Christians can respond. Revisit specific Bible
accounts of brave people calling corrupt leaders into account (such as Elijah
to Ahab, Jesus to the Pharisees); and come up with principles for today's
readers to emulate. Today's text can relate to corruption in the church (like
embezzlement), but it may be even more important to focus on spiritual
corruption like false teaching; note how both the Old and New Testament speak
of false teaching arising from within the group of believers.
Issue 7: What
the Lord Requires (What God Wants)
July 19, 2015
Scripture: Micah 6:3-8
What to Write: Verses 3 and 8 would indicate that what God wants from
us (justice, mercy, humility) isn't difficult (not a burden); then why does
living in accordance with these qualities seem
so difficult? In verses 3 and 5, the
Lord addresses "my people"; explore the heart of God and the truth that what He
really wants is us. Verse 4 mentions
that the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt. But all He requires in
return is what's stated in verse 8. What is the modern-day equivalent of our
being brought "out of Egypt," and why should our hearts naturally want to live
for Him in return for that salvation? This last could be illustrated by true
stories of people who, in gratitude to God, have dedicated their lives to
specific service for Him.
Issue 8: God's
Matchless Mercy (Mercy Me)
July 26, 2015
Scripture: Micah 7:14-20
What to Write: Report a true story of someone who credits God with
dispensing mercy or compassion beyond all expectation. Though this quarter
deals heavily with God's punishment, many Bible passages speak about how God
would rather forgive/pardon/forget our sin; compare this with a good parent who
will punish but would much rather the situation not come to that. How can we
today exhibit God's mighty works/mercy/forgiveness so that others can't help
but see it-and turn to God in reverence and submission?
Issue 9: A
Redeemer in Zion (The Rescuer Comes)
August 2, 2015
Scripture: Isaiah 59:15-21
What to Write: John 14:6 teaches that
Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life"; Isaiah 59:14, 15 speaks of truth
being cast aside; one concern about our society today is the denial of absolute
truth. Contrast misguided views of truth with the importance of truth,
according to God. Showcase some accounts of rescue/redemption as illustrations of
God as our rescuer/redeemer. The comic
book hero Superman fights for "truth, justice, and the American way"-that motto
can be tweaked as 3 subheads to discuss today's text in terms of: 1) truth, 2)
justice, and 3) God's way."
Issue 10: A
Choice to Be Just (Doing Justice)
August 9, 2015
Scripture: Jeremiah 7:1-15
What to Write: What is the role of the
church in helping us see those things in ourselves that we're blind to? That
article could be written as "7 Ways the Church Helps . . ." Verse 8 speaks of "lying words" (or deceptive words);
create a list of famous lies/deceptions that are highlighted in Scripture OR
lies/deceptions that occur in false religions-and explain how/why we're
attracted to those. Talk about making choices based on God's guidelines. Verses
9-11 speak to walking the walk, not just talking the talk; challenge readers to
be hard on themselves when it comes to being better ambassadors for the Lord.
"What Happened at Shiloh?" would be an intriguing title for an article that
digs into the meaning of verses 12-15 and applies that to us today.
Issue 11: A
Call for Repentance (The Error of Our Ways)
August 16, 2015
Scripture: Ezekiel 18:1-13, 30-32
What to Write: We can neither excuse
ourselves based on other people's bad influence on us, nor are we responsible
for the behavior that others choose to live out. Repentance is about me-"Oh,
What Have I Done!" List some
roadblocks to personal repentance: fear, pride, etc.; these are tough to
overcome but is the Christian life really so tough when compared to the "why
will ye die?" of verse 31? Today's passage
lends itself to a list-type article that details the characteristics of a true
believer; change the "do nots" of the text to the positive and provide examples
of real people who exemplified the behaviors/attitudes.
Issue 12: A
Demand for Justice (Making a Difference)
August 23, 2015
Scripture: Zechariah 7:8-14
What to Write: Today's text mentions
widows, the fatherless, foreigners, and the poor; report on some foreign
Christian missions that particularly reach out to these groups of people worldwide
(document your sources). Similarly, showcase some of your own church's efforts
to reach out to those groups in your neighborhood; such an article could take a
list form: "8 Things Our Church Does for ____." On those ideas, incorporate the
aspect of justice. Verse 13 of our text
shows how our failure to listen to God's instruction puts Him in a position of
not hearing our prayers; read Jeremiah 11:6-14 as additional evidence and write
about the importance of strict obedience. This last could include a
several-point self-evaluation along the lines of "How obedient am I when it
comes to ____."
Issue 13: A
Plea to Return to God (The Change Agent)
August 30, 2015
What to Write: The Lord does not change; He
is the agent who allows us to change!
Report on the benefits we receive because of God's unchanging nature, as well
as the benefits we receive when He changes us. Looking at verse 5 and back to Malachi 2:17-the people at fault are
God's people, not unbelievers. How could they have reached the point where they
accepted sorcery and adultery, in addition to the injustices described in 3:5?
Don't let readers brush aside these dangers; give hard evidence of how this
could actually happen (is happening!) in the church today and provide readers
with Scripture weapons to guard their hearts and stay close to God.