The Rev. Greg Smith has been writing books for small group or individual study on a book of the Bible. Here is information about the books, and links to purchase on Amazon.
You can see Greg's page on Amazon, with a link to all the books here: Greg on Amazon
Exodus: He Draws Us Out to Draw Us Close (September 2022)
“There is little point in being free from serving Pharaoh if we aren’t also free to serve Yahweh” A. Wilson
Exodus, the second book of the Bible written by Moses, is the continuation of a true and marvelous story. The genesis of our humanity was perfect but didn’t remain that way for long. We found ourselves in the plight of downward spiral and eventually destruction. But God chose to redeem humanity through a plan that included a most unlikely character named Abraham. This plan included a promise of God’s presence and provision of a good future.
But it has been a long time since Joseph (one of Abraham’s descendants) served as an advisor to the Pharaoh in Egypt… and a new Pharaoh has come. He rises to power but doesn’t know Joseph or the Lord – God’s presence, provision, and promise for Abraham’s people is lost on Pharaoh. He’s afraid of the growth of the Hebrews and locks them in slavery.
We’re to read about the exodus like we might read about the abolition of slavery, or the D-Day landings: as a defining moment in history that explains who we are.
But forgetting those defining moments can be as dangerous as the moment itself. When we forget … slavery happens. Wherever we live, no matter our time in history, we probably live in a place like Egypt. A beautiful, strategic, powerful place – that forgets God and His Promises. And the way out of slavery goes straight through the wilderness. Sometimes we must wander. Sometimes we must wait. But through it all, God is drawing us out to draw us close to Himself. Moses, whose name means “To Draw Out” leads the people into a journey that will draw them close as they learn to trust and follow the Lord. Ultimately the journey leads to Jesus our great liberator who journeys in the wilderness so He can draw us close and ultimately draw out to a greater freedom!
Join us on the journey in this Gospel-centered Bible study. Read scripture, reflect, and join a small group Bible study as you explore the Exodus.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Exodus
The Prophets Foretold: An Advent Devotional Bible Study. (November 2021)
6 Small Group Bible Studies following the Old Testament lesson from the ACNA Lectionary
Daily devotionals and additional reading for individual study
Robust leader notes for those teaching a group or wanting to go deeper
We long for someone, anyone, who can make sense of this broken world and bring healing. Prophets, those poets and sages of eons gone by, saw the grand story of what God is doing and will do to make things right. They looked into the Scriptures and saw the plan. They listened to the Lord and heard the plan. They waited on the Lord and tell us to plan in rhymes, song, and phrases that call our hearts in anticipation of the one who is coming.
In J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Return of the King, the hero, Aragorn, who is the rightful claimant to the throne of Gondor, returns to the city Minas Tirith. He is victorious in the battle against the dark lord Sauron, but he's not yet able to claim the throne.
He enters the city in disguise and goes to the Houses of Healing. There he seeks to heal his friends who were struck in battle. As he performs this healing, one of the attendants repeats an ancient verse: "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."
While Tolkien wrote fiction, his stories remind us of the rhymes and songs of Zechariah, Malachi, Zephaniah, and Isaiah who saw a true and better King.
The prophets foretold of a true King who would come to our cities. They wrote down what they saw and it seemed but a dream. But the good news is that He did come. First as a healer. And soon, He will come again as the rightful King.
Join us as we walk through the Scriptures, this Advent, to see Jesus. He is the true King the prophets foretold. See Him walk off the pages of Scripture into the hearts of all who will accept their King.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Prophets Foretold
James - Sage Wisdom for Faithful Living: A Study of the Book of James (August 2021)
Fr. Thomas McKenzie (1971-2021) wrote in The Anglican Way that we should imagine we are, “ what God says you are: a priest… This means that you are blessed, loved, needed, and accepted. It means that your life has purpose and value and meaning. It means that you are more than you realize. And, yes, it means that you are different–maybe even strange. We are an odd people with strange priorities. Our sins our numerous. But the grace we have received is total.”
As James, the brother of Jesus writes to all of the Christians scattered abroad, he is reminding them of this very fact. You are God’s people, chosen, and though you may sin and be scattered -- your joy should display a steadfast, serving, speaking, submitting and sharing faith.
This confident faith is at odds with the self-confident world and will put Jesus’ followers in harms way. But with sage wisdom from James we will see that God’s grace is sufficient to move us from a mere knowledge of our faith to a full bodied active life of faith.
Maybe we can be like Fr. Thomas and realize no matter how far we’re scattered, that our ministry is marked by the grace God gives – and maybe we can extend that grace to the world through our steadfast faith in Jesus.
Purchase the book on Amazon: James
Growing Together: In every way into Christ: A Study of the letter to the Ephesians (June 2021)
Scattered - It is so easy after the isolating effects of pandemic sickness, racial strife, political imbalance, expressive individualism, and crazed confusion to throw one’s hands up in the air and give up. We feel scattered and a little crazy ourselves by the fog of chaos that sometimes surrounds us. It’s tempting to just sit down, by ourselves, in the fog and let the world go by. We either sink deeper into our individual screens or walk further away.
But God has called us together.
And yet, it’s tempting to try and go it alone. We have multiple Bibles at home. We can get sermons online (really good ones, too!). We can listen to our local church from the couch -- and listen to our favorite worship music through earbuds.
But, when we try to do this, something is missing. Paul, speaking to an affluent church in an ancient port city. Everything you could want was accessible there. Sports arenas. Libraries. Abundant shopping.
But each of those distractions couldn’t fill the need deep in the heart of the people. They needed no small “g” god to bring them together (although a chap named Demetrius tried). They needed the God complete with the Father’s blessing, Jesus Christ’s grace, and the Holy Spirit’s guarantee to bind them together. Together they would find their blessing, unity, rootedness, purpose, and strength. Together they would find every spiritual blessing.
Christianity brings together redeemed individuals and places them in families to live out life together. Our active participation in the church raises us all, together, into full maturity. There is no sense in which a Christian is called to be alone -- but rather to be reminded and celebrate together the riches we have in Christ.
When we do the Christian life from the comfort of our couch, we may learn many things. But that limited individual perspective causes us to miss many things as well.
Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th century British prime minister, once said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own”.
In the Book of Ephesians, we are being called, together, to grow as we reveal to each other the riches we have in Christ.
Join us as we grow to understand the spiritual riches we have as the blessed, united, rooted, equipped, renewed, light, filled and armored people of God.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Growing Together
Growing in Grace: 5 Steps in Gospel Discipleship (May 2021)
How do Christians grow? How do we help Christians grow?
Tony Liciardello was one of baseball’s greatest scouts. He signed 52 ball players who made it to the Majors – and 2 who made it to the Hall of Fame. He didn’t have the best territory. And, he didn’t use the typical tools: radar gun and stopwatch. According to Jim Gilmore in the book “Look”, Tony would walk around the field and observe.
So how did he do it? According to Lucadello, there are four kinds of scouts: Five percent are poor scouts (who seldom plan), five percent are pickers (who just spot weaknesses), eighty-five percent are performance scouts (who look solely based on how players do—against amateur competition), but Lucadello was that rare breed of projector scout. He looked for how coachable a kid was, how a hitch in a swing or a throwing quirk might be corrected. He saw years "down the road" to envision, under the tutelage of better coaching and against stiffer competition, how a player would play. He used rose-colored-glasses looking to see the potential in talent, rather than just the current-state talent.
When it comes to Christian growth and discipleship, there is a clear pattern. We move from death to life, infant to child, young adult to parent. Another way to see it is lost, found, freed, discipled and deployed.
And it all starts with being found by Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate “projector scout” who sees us not as we are but who He wants us to become. And, by His Spirit we are invited to take the next step as He welcomes us further into the game of life.
Join us as we take an adventure. We’ll move along the path of lost, found, freed, discipled, and deployed. And along the way you’ll be invited to ask yourself where you are on the journey – and what the next step might be.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Growing in Grace
Victory! Six Easter Psalms : A devotional and small group study (March 2021)
Winston Churchill planned his own funeral. While some might think that a bit ghoulish -- Winston was confident that death wasn’t the end. And he knew just how to convey that message.He planned stately hymns in St. Paul's Cathedral and an impressive liturgy. But at the end of the service, Churchill had an unusual event planned. Following the benediction, a bugler high in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral on one side played Taps, the universal signal that the day is over. There was a long pause. Then a bugler on the other side played Reveille, the military wake-up call. Through those two buglers, Churchill was communicating that while we say “Good night” here, it’s “Good morning” up there.You see, Churchill’s confidence was no normal human bravado. His confidence was rooted in another’s victory. Churchill knew that Jesus had purchased a victory over death, given to him, and secured through the resurrection.The Psalms use similar sounds to awaken the reality of God’s victory in the ear of the attending worshippers. Each phrase, reference, and idea is a remembrance of how God has acted in the past -- and how He can be trusted to act in the future. The psalms are miniature Biblical theology lessons -- they recall the history of God and the nature of God for the purpose of encouraging the worshipper to trust the heart of God.Join us as in this six week devotional an small group Bible study to reflect on the Easter season through the lens of the victory God has secured through history before Christ and in Christ and continuing with Christ today.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Victory
Yes and Amen: A Lenten Journey - All God's Promises find their Yes and Amen in Jesus (February 2021)
Promises, Promises… Parents make them. Children make them. And, sadly, we all break them. Because of our inherent distrust, we spend inordinate amounts of money to lawyers to help us draft contracts. We have to get promises in writing because we often can’t trust other people. And, truth be told, we often can’t be trusted. Trust is hard to come by – not because it isn’t good, but because we’re not! Yet, there’s one type of promise, that God makes, called a covenant. It’s based on Him alone – and it’s a one-way, never compromising, always-for-us promise to save us. The Old Testament calls our attention to these covenant promises – and they’re fulfilled, and completely realized in Jesus.Over the next five weeks of Lent we will take a journey through some of the promises that God makes and seeing how they are fulfilled in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” Sufferings, challenges, disappointments are the natural course of events for us humans. And we long for someone to promise good for us. In the Old Testament, you see amazing promises made: God will provide a way through danger; God will provide a sacrifice; God will draw hearts to worship; God will be just; God will make things new -- each promise draws us closer to the reality our hearts long for, but our eyes never quite see. But (often when it’s the darkest) we do see: All those promises find their “yes” in Jesus -- and our hearts sing out, “Amen!”. Join us on the journey in this Gospel-centered Bible study. Read scripture, reflect, and join a small group Bible study as you explore the “Yes & Amen!” of Jesus.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Yes & Amen
Jesus in Strange Places: Six Gospel Epiphanies (December 2020)
Have you ever found yourself on a journey you didn’t expect? Perhaps alone. Perhaps surrounded. As we drift through life, we find ourselves in strange places. Sometimes we’re in the wilderness, sometimes in a new marketplace, sometimes with skeptics, sometimes with religious people and sometimes in the mountains. The Good News is that Jesus doesn’t leave us alone in those strange places. He meets us in strange places and calls us to follow Him. In fact, it’s in those strange places that Jesus will quiet our minds and rest our hearts so we can find Him to be the gateway to a new journey. Over the six weeks of Epiphany, we want to invite you into a Gospel-centered Bible study. Read scripture, reflect, and join a small group Bible study as you explore the strange places where Jesus meets us.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Jesus in Strange Places
And He Shall Be Called: Exploring our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (November 2020)
What kind of hero do we need? In real life, we are waiting for a hero who can save us from this world of dangers filled! And, in that great musical tribute to the prophet Isaiah, Handel reminds us of just who we need: A Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. This hero is ultimately realized in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Over the four weeks of Advent we want to invite you to read scripture, reflect, and join a small group Bible study as you explore our hero God.
Purchase the boo on amazon: And He Shall Be Called
God's Promises: Exploring the way God is faithful to unfaithful people (October 2020)
God’s promises are found throughout the Bible and are a testament to His character. God is decidedly FOR His people – not because they deserve anything, but because they recognize their need for Him. God’s promises are trustworthy, unchanging, and rooted in His lovingkindness for a broken and needy humanity.
And, most importantly, they find their ultimate fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Take a look at these six amazing promises through six short devotionals, daily Bible study, and small group meetings and guides:
1 God is With You
2 God will Guide You
3 God will Help You
4 God will Sustain You
5 God will Indwell You
6 God will Empower You
Purchase the book on Amazon: God's Promises
Jesus is Bigger: A Guide to the Supreme Life through the Book of Colossians (July 2020)
“Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder.” George ShawEvery once in a while, a shift happens: a child is born, a parent is dies, a job is lost, the earth shakes. Each one of these occurrences is life altering and worldview shaping. Life just isn’t what it was supposed to be.These shifts can happen to us individually or even to a society – big or small. But no matter the size, these shifts cause everything to be seen in a different light. What we thought was important we find to be insignificant. What we thought was minor becomes major. In the blink of an eye everything can shift. And, in the middle of such shifts we feel the change but often don’t know what to do about it! And, sometimes we don’t know what we can or should do about it. Such is the case in the ancient city of Colossae. They had become comfortable with the Pax Romana, a peace of their time that was secured with the military might of Rome’s emperors. Rome, the political powerhouse, traded in currency that had PAX (peace) on one side and weapons on the other. Caesar Augustus had offered peace, provision, and forgiveness – at what cost? The Supreme Roman Emperor had no power to grant life – only to take it away. Such raw power with a veneer of goodness temps many to give up hope and veer into philosophies that diminish the importance of the present. But, Jesus changes everything. The one who has all power not only has the power of life and death – but endures death so that we can have true life. Paul, throughout this book will point to Jesus as the way to have a Supreme life that transcends every change that we will ever face as humans. Jump into this simple guided study of the Book of Colossians. This workbook will guide you through the text and help your small group Bible Study join you on the journey.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Jesus is Bigger