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December Illuminate

To download the PDF for the December Illuminate, click here.


Walk Healed:

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Summary: Free Methodist Church – USA Communications Director and LIGHT + LIFE Publisher Brett Heintzman introduces this issue by discussing the desperate need for deliverance in the church. He writes, “We forget that the source of our deliverance is only Jesus. … We forget that we might need to turn away from something or someone. … We forget that deliverance must deal with our mindset and identity.”

  1. Why do many professing Christians seem to “clutch their chains and forego freedom”?

2. At Christmastime, do we focus too much on Jesus the infant instead of Jesus the Deliverer?

Further reading: Luke 18:18–25, John 5:2–9

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Feature (Deliverance)

Our Rational, Relational Gospel :

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Summary: Mike Henry — the pastor of Freedom Ministries at Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee, Washington — encourages us to shift “to a higher gear of faith by knowing the Father and understanding who we are in Him” and to “live the rational gospel of truth that always leads us to the relational knowing of the Father.” He addresses stronghold that are formed by unconfessed sin, unforgiveness, generational sin or curses, and invitation.

  1. Knowledge is necessary. After all, Hosea 4:6 tells us “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Is it possible, however, to have the right knowledge but miss out on the right relationship?

2. Discuss Pamela’s story. What stood out to you or took you by surprise?

3.  What was your reaction when you read about the voice coming from Martin that said, “He’s not going to release me. He wants me here”?

4. How can we ensure that we experience God instead of just talking about Him?

Further reading:  Psalm 51:1–13, Ephesians 3:16–19, Hebrews 12:1–2, 2 Peter 1:2-3

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Bible Quizzing: Guideposts for Deliverance

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Summary: Laura Christensen Colberg, the new (and first fulltime) director of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing, reveals how quizzing is more than a teen competition. She shares how memorizing Scripture can have a lifelong impact.

  1. Were you familiar with Bible quizzing before reading this article?

2. Does your local church offer quizzing for teens? If not, is this something that would be beneficial?

3. Have Bible verses come to your mind while facing times of difficulty?

Further reading: Isaiah 55

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Creating Hope and Deliverance Through Opportunity:


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Summary: Free Methodist missionary Vickie Reynen, a regional coordinator for International Child Care Ministries, shares about Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK), a Free Methodist nongovernmental organization that desires for its 500-plus members to recognize their true worth as people made in the image of the Messiah.

  1.  Whom does our society consider “less than,” and how can we help marginalized people realize their worth in God’s kingdom?

2. Do we have a responsibility to help and support Christians in another part of the world? Why or why not?

Further reading: Luke 19:1–10

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Aloneness at Advent

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Summary: Carlene Nisley — the lead pastor of New Vision Fellowship in Hillsboro, Oregon — discusses how her life has changed after the unexpected death of her husband. She shares her discovery that “aloneness is something entirely separate from loneliness.”

  1. What have you learned through periods of grief in your life?

2. How can the sufferings of the Messiah comfort us when go through difficult times of our own?

3. How can you connect with people who are alone or grieving this Christmas season?

Further reading: Psalm 55:4-8, Revelation 5
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Feature (Messiah):

Still Awaiting the Messiah

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Summary: Melanie Eccles — the lead pastor of the Monroe Free Methodist Church in Monroe, Michigan — considers the effect of the Messiah’s birth on our everyday lives. Although the Messiah already has come once, she notes that we live in an “in-between space where God’s kingdom has come in the form of Jesus — in His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection — but has not yet fully come.”

  1.  Do most people today aim for “domination and wealth” or “submission and sacrifice”? Is that affected by whether the people profess to be followers of Christ?

2. How can we live in expectancy that, in the words of Rowan Williams, “there is always something about to break through from the Master, the Teacher”?

3. How do we see God’s kingdom come in our world?

4. How does the author say we can join Jesus’ work?

Further reading: Matthew 16:13–20
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Merry Messiahmas

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Summary: Before retiring as a bishop, David Roller wrote this final Bishops section article to match the issue’s #MyBibleJourney theme of the Messiah. Roller shares that he longs for and dreams “of the Messiah’s kingdom fully overwhelming and consuming the evil that so easily springs from us and our global neighbors.” Roller and his wife, Yvonne, filmed “Here’s Jesus,” a telling of the book of Luke, in 45 countries around the world. Visit for the videos and to buy a signed copy of the accompanying travel-guide book from the Light + Life Bookstore.

  1.  What do our daydreams reveal about us?

2. Answer Roller’s question: “If the Messiah came to fix the world, why was the world so dead set against Him?”

3. Is it hard sometimes to view Jesus as King when we look at the problems in the world today?

4. How does the author say we can join Jesus’ work?

Further reading: Luke 2
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