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The Emmaus Project

A Comprehensive Plan for Spiritual Growth

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Luke 24:13-35 (NIV84)

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he 

asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

The Emmaus Road. Try to wrap your head around the conversation these two disciples enjoyed that day.

 

They were the only two members of Jesus’ Bible class that Sunday morning. The risen Savior had prepared a special lesson just for them. It’s goal? To comfort and strengthen these two disciples in their grief (they were convinced Jesus was dead and buried). And when the class came to an end, they declared: “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

 

Imagine that!

 

A conversation with Jesus on that first Easter Sunday!

 

What would it be like to talk with Jesus?

 

How would He comfort, strengthen, and guide you? What would He have to say to you?

 

Would time spent with Jesus still result in hearts aflame with the joy of His victory?

 

Of course! And Jesus still speaks to His disciples…

 

…in the Word of God.

According to a recent study by Crossroads Consulting Ministry led by Rev. Elton Stroh, the typical WELS congregation looks like this:

 

  • 5% of the members make up THE CORE of the congregation. These are mature believers who know the mission and can handle criticism.

  • 20% of the members are ACTION-ORIENTED. These are members who don’t fit into the core, but they are willing to get involved and do work.

  • 60% of the members are SPECTATORS. These members like to watch what goes on in the congregation and be served by the congregation, but they have not yet discovered the joy of serving in the congregation.

  • 15% of the members are ELUSIVE. Members in this category are straying members who, according to the study, are absent, apathetic, and hard to reach.

 

The challenge every congregation faces is easy to define: How do we get our members to move up? Or, better stated, how can we help our members grow that they might do a better job of serving our Savior? How can we become more faithful and fruitful Christians?

The Word of God provides the answer: “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). If we want to grow (and we do!), then we need to be in the Word more. Or, better stated: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). Our congregation offers worship and Bible study every week, but could we do better? Worship is one thing—and we’re always looking to improve our services too—but when it comes to Bible study, could we implement a more directed approach to the Word to help enhance our study and growth? Certainly! To that end, The Emmaus Project has been assembled.

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I want to study God’s Word! Where do I start?

 

You already know that God calls His people to study the Scriptures. Good intentions and excitement get you started – but you might be wondering where to go from there.

Before you determine what to study (see the next pages for descriptions of different course studies), it’s important to understand why we read the Bible.

 

First, God has promised to meet us in His Word, so when we read the Bible, we encounter the living God. God is directly present there in the Scriptures, so reading God’s Word is one way (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the other two) we can experience God this side of heaven. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts to give us faith. Bible study in a group or on your own is imperative to your Christian faith and life.

 

The Christian life is all about relationships—relationships between God, you, and your neighbor. As you dive into God’s Word, you’ll grow closer to your Savior and to your brothers and sisters in Christ and more loving toward those around you. You’ll be better able to comfort others with the Gospel, to selflessly serve and love your neighbor, and share the Good News of God’s love in Christ.

 

And it all starts with God’s Word.

What is “The Emmaus Project”?

 

“The Emmaus Project” is a comprehensive plan for spiritual growth here at Hope Lutheran Church and at home. The project includes four levels of study.

Level 1 – All the lessons here are numbered in the 100’s. Here you’ll find studies designed to introduce a person to Christianity or get reacquainted with the basic doctrines of the Bible: Bible Information Classes, catechetical review as well as some topical outreach courses designed to pique a person’s interest in learning more about our Savior—studies like, “If God is Good, then Why Do Bad Things Happen” or “How Do We Know the Bible Is True?” These courses are all taught by Pastor.

Level 2 – These lessons are numbered in the 200’s (makes sense, right?). Here you’ll find our Sunday morning and Wednesday morning studies.

Level 3 – These are self-guided studies. A couple of years ago, in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, a series of self-guided Bible studies was introduced to our congregation. This series of studies has been re-worked, several new studies have been introduced and others have been updated. In addition, the advanced doctrine class, “Beyond the Basics” is also here. Special seminars are included here as well. The courses in this level are all numbered in the (can you guess?) 300’s.

Level 4 – Here you’ll find a very special set of courses put together by the Staff Ministry Department at Martin Luther College in New Ulm (our synod’s pastor-teacher training school). Those who complete the studies here not only receive excellent training as Christians but also as servants in 

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the congregation. Entitled “The Congregational Assistant Program,” this is a full-blown college-level course complete with homework, quizzes, essays and tests. These courses are all taught by Pastor or by one of the professors at MLC who helped develop the program. To complete the CAP Program requires additional training at MLC in New Ulm but results in a special degree from Martin Luther College. The CAP Program Courses are numbered in the 400’s and are only offered upon request and at special times. If you’re interested in the Congregational Assistant Program, please speak with Pastor for more information.

To review: What is the Emmaus Project?

 

A comprehensive plan for spiritual growth.

 

A walk with your Savior to grow in faith through the Word.

 

The journey of a lifetime begins here.

 

Ask yourself…

 

When was the last time you really spent some time reviewing the chief parts of the catechism? Perhaps it’s time to enroll in a Bible Information Class? Brush-up on basic Christian doctrine and get to know some of the folks interested in becoming members here at Hope Lutheran.

 

Has your Sunday morning Bible Class attendance slipped? Take a look at the current and upcoming studies and rededicate yourself to being a part of the class.

 

Do you find yourself wondering what to study in your personal devotions? Browse through the list of self-directed courses available (that’s level 3 – courses numbered in the 300’s) and pick one out. Select one of the Bible reading plans and get started.

 

Are you looking for more of a challenge when it comes to Bible study? Consider jumping into “Beyond the Basics,” a more in-depth Bible study offered every Sunday after the late service.

 

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, the essays mentioned are from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary online Essay File which can be found at www.wlsessays.net. These essays are “the best of the best” and written by Seminary professors and pastors. Essays that are available in the Seminary Essay file have undergone intense scrutiny by fellow pastors and professors. Hard copies are available in the church library. All the books mentioned in the course descriptions are also in the church library. If you have trouble finding any materials mentioned, please see Janet Fogarty, our Program Coordinator. Following is a rundown of the classes currently offered.

Classes are offered periodically. Speak with Pastor for more information.

Level 1

101 – Lutheranism 101

102 – Basic Bible Christianity – A Study in the Truths of the Christian Faith

103 – Sin, Grace, Faith, Works – A 4-part study on the basics of Christianity

104 – The Wonders of God – Bible Information Class

105 – New Life in Christ – Basic Christian Doctrine and Discipleship

Weekly, on-going studies at Hope

Level 2

Currently, we are studying Romans 1-8 during the Sunday morning Bible Class.

Our next study: a look at the Gospel of Mark

We are studying 1 Peter in the Wednesday morning study.

Our next study: Genesis

Self-directed, at-home study

Level 3

Please note: The People’s Bible Teachings is a series of books published by Northwestern Publishing House. You can find them in our church library. If your study suggests reading one of these books, you’ll find the highlighted title mentioned in the course description printed on the spine of each volume. (The subtitle mentioned in the course description is not printed on the spine of the book.)

301 - Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Hebrews

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Christ – He Is My Lord

  • Reading an essay entitled, “I Know Whom I Have Believed” by Professor Richard D. Balge, former Dean of Students at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin

302 - Christian Stewardship

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on 2 Corinthians

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Stewardship – What I Do with What God Gave Me

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Christian Stewardship Is Taking God at His Word” by Professor John Jeske, former Professor of Old Testament Studies and Homiletics at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

303 – Justification – Updated!

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Galatians

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Justification

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Universal Justification” by Professor Siegbert Becker of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

 

304 - Theology of the Cross – A Christian view of suffering

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on 1 Peter

  • Reading the book “The Theology of the Cross – Reflections on His Cross and Ours” by Professor Daniel Deutschlander (available in the church library but not a part of the People’s Bible Teachings series)

305 - Sanctification

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on 1 John

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Sanctification – What It Means to Be Alive In Christ

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Holy Ghost, His Person and His Work, with Special Emphasis on Sanctification” by Professor Erwin Scharf

306 - God’s Providence

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Esther

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on God’s Providence – He Cares for You

  • Reading the book “If God, Why Evil?” by Dr. Norman Geisler (not a Lutheran author, but a fascinating read; available in our church library)

307 - Heaven and Hell

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Heaven and Hell – Eternal Life, Eternal Punishment

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Heaven and Hell” by Professor Siegbert Becker of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

308 – Predestination

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Romans 8

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Predestination – Chosen in Christ

  • Reading Professor Siegbert Becker’s sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14, “God’s Eternal Election

309 – Holy Spirit

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on the Holy Spirit – The Giver of Life

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Working of the Holy Ghost” by Professor Siegbert Becker

310 – Angels and Demons

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Angels and Demons – Have Wings, Will Travel

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Ministry of Angels” by Professor John Jeske of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (This essay is also available in MP3 format. See Janet Fogarty for details.)

  • Optional: Read the book “Wizards that Peep – A Journey into the Occult” by Professor Siegbert Becker

311 – Man

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Genesis 3

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teaching on Man – From Glory to Ashes and Back

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Original Sin” by Professor J.P. Meyer of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (This essay is available in Volume 2 of Our Great Heritage – a 3 volume set available in our church library.)

312 – Creation

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Genesis 1-3

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Creation – God Made All Things

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Evolution and Genesis” by Professor Siegbert Becker (This essay is available in Volume 2 of Our Great Heritage – a 3 volume set available in our church library.)

313 – Church, Mission, Ministry

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 and 13

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Church, Mission, Ministry – The Family of God

  • Reading an essay entitled, “All Christians Are Workers in the Great Commission” by Pastor Ronald Roth

 

314 – Marriage and Family

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Ephesians 5 and 6

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Marriage and Family – The Family Photo Album

  • Reading an essay entitled, “A Changing World, An Unchanging Challenge: God’s Plan for Rearing Children” by Gerald Kastens

315 – The Lord’s Supper

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on 1 Corinthians 10 and 11

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on the Lord’s Supper – The Lamb’s High Feast

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Biblical and Lutheran Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper” by Pastor Seth Erlandsson

316 – Church Fellowship

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Fellowship – Working Together for the Truth

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Scriptural Principles Concerning Church Fellowship” by Professor Carl Lawrenz, former President of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (This essay is available in Volume 3 of Our Great Heritage – a 3 volume set available in our church library.)

317 – Law and Gospel

Study includes:

  • Reading the People People’s Bible Teaching on Law and Gospel – Bad News, Good News

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Use of Law and Gospel in Motivation for Christian Living” by Professor Siegbert Becker

318 – Civil Government

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible on Romans 13

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Civil Government – God’s Other Kingdom

  • Reading an essay entitle, “The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms” by Professor John Brug (This essay is available in Volume 2 of Our Great Heritage – a 3 volume set available in our church library.)

 

319 – Baptism

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Baptism – My Adoption into God’s Family

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Biblical Substantiation for Infant Baptism” by Pastor Wayne Vogt

 

320 - The Holy Trinity

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Trinity – One God, Three Persons

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Holy Trinity” by Professor J.P. Meyer (This essay is available in Volume 1 of Our Great Heritage – a 3 volume set available in our church library.)

 

321 – Prayer

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Prayer – An Audience with the King

  • Reading an essay entitled, “The Privilege and Practice of Prayer” by Professor Joel Gerlach of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

 

322 – End Times

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on End Times – Jesus Is Coming Soon

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” by Professor Richard D. Balge, former Dean of Students at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

 

323 – Bible

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Bible – God’s Inspired, Inerrant Word

  • Reading an essay entitled, “How to Study Your Bible” by Professor Siegbert Becker

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Practical Insights into the Minister’s Spiritual Growth” by Professor Forest Bivens of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (Yes, this essay is addressed to pastors, but in most cases, the insights are applicable to all Christians.)

 

324 – Conversion

Study includes:

  • Reading the People’s Bible Teachings on Conversion – Not by My Own Choosing

  • Reading an essay entitled, “Free Will and Conversion” by Professor Lyle Lange

 

325 – The Gospel of John – Highly Recommended!

This is a special study on the Gospel of John put together by Concordia Publishing House to teach Christians how to read and study Scripture on their own. The workbook is entitled, “Light of Life – A Personal Journey of Prayer and Meditation on the Gospel of John” and is available for $5.

326 – How to Pray

Since 1921, the Concordia Edition of Johann Starck’s Prayer Book has encouraged thousands of Christians in their personal prayer life. If you’re looking for direction and guidance in your life of prayer, be sure to check out this book which is available in our church library and also in Kindle format from Concordia Publishing House.

Courses taken from the Contregational Assistant Program (CAP)

Level 4

701 – The Life of Christ

702 – The Living Church

703 – Luther’s Small Catechism

704 – Law and Gospel

705 – Christ’s Church and Her Ministry

706 – The Christian Family

707 – Christian Leadership

708 – World Religions

709 – Biblical Worship

Traveling the Emmaus Road with Jesus

6 Vital Things to Remember about Spiritual Growth

(The journey begins here.)

1. Worship – every Sunday and special occasions

Growth in faith and Christian living begins with faithful worship every single week at church. To think that worship is optional is not only dangerous, but sinful.

2. Bible reading – every day

If Jesus called and said, “I want to speak with you.” Would you ignore Him? Of course not! But Jesus is calling, and He does want to speak with you. Just open your Bible and begin with this simple prayer: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Bible study plans are available to get you started and keep you going.

 

3. Bible study at church – every week

Applying God’s Word to your life can be challenging, but that’s the goal of every class at Hope Lutheran.

 

4. Bible study at home – whenever you want

Recommendations are available in this little booklet. Individual studies are being prepared and will be added every month. You can find copies in the church library.

 

5. Advanced study – periodically

Dig deep into the truths of God’s Word. Watch for announcements regarding special studies and seminars.

 

6. A Plan

No one “drifts” towards God. Spiritual growth requires your intentional planning and effort. Ask the Lord to help you make it your top priority. He will.

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