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If you have it set to notify you when the blog is updated, you’ll need to do that for the new page as well…if you’re subscribed to this soon to be discontinued one but not the new one, you will–for instance–not be automatically notified that at next Tuesday’s meeting there will be homemade mozzarella and homemade italian sausage on hand to complement the frosty beverages.

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New name…new URL

Update your bookmarks. By popular demand we’ve abandoned our name for newer improved name “Theology on Tap” and with that comes a new URL.

I will continue to post links to the new blog for the next few weeks and then delete this blog. Here is the new site:

http://wp.me/p17Sv4-4

Off Topic (for the moment)

First off, I have to say I was completely blown away by our discussion on Tuesday about Destiny. It would be impossible to encapsulate all that was discussed, but I know for me personally, I took a few interesting things home with me to think about.

First, I know deep down inside I want to believe I have complete free will over my destiny. But as one person pointed out, this is certainly a form of pride–and being a follower of God is all about turning aside from one’s selfishness and aligning one’s will with that of God. Yet at the risk of sounding too Calvinistic, we all discussed several examples in the Bible where God is pretty clearly giving humanity a choice in whether to follow Him or not. It seems to me that a God who created people to have a relationship with needs to give the people a choice in the matter, otherwise there is no true relationship. So contradictory and inconclusive, as always; I love Tuesdays!!!

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In a (temporary) shift in format, we’re moving away from weekly topics for a little while and going through the book of Hebrews chapter by chapter. For one thing, we want to change things up a bit, but more importantly this book has many passages which are quite challenging and I just want to see how much we can help each other to find relevancy in this often difficult book.

So for this week, let’s read Hebrews 1:1-2:4 — I read through it in less than five minutes, so I plan on reading it each morning before work for the next week. Here are a few questions you may consider pondering each day:

Study Questions for Reflection and Discussion

First Day: Read Hebrews 1. Focus in on Hebrews 1:1-4.

1. List the characteristics or activities of Christ according to these focus verses. What overall picture of Christ emerges immediately?

2. What is the spiritual condition of human beings that is implied by these verses? In other words, why was it necessary for Christ to be revealed the way these verses say that he was revealed?

Second Day: Read Hebrews 1. Focus your attention on Hebrews 1:5-9.

1. How do you discover that most of the words in the focus verses are quotations from the Old Testament?

2. Verse 5 quotes from Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Find those verses and read the surrounding verses. What other insights into Christ do you receive from those Old Testament passages?

Third Day: Read Hebrews 1. Focus on Hebrews 1:5-12.

1. Verses 8 and 9 quote from Psalm 45. Read Psalm 45 and discover the verses there that are quoted. What does the author of Hebrews find in Psalm 45 that causes him to apply it to Christ?

2. What common elements do you discover between Psalm 45 and Isaiah 61:1-11?

3. As you compare Hebrews 1:8-9, Psalm 45, and Isaiah 61 what character of life is the Spirit calling for from you? What changes will you need to make in your life for that character of life to take shape in you?

Fourth Day: Read Hebrews 1:1-2:4.Especially focus on Hebrews 1:10-14.

1. Hebrews 1:10-12 quote from Psalm 102:25-28. Read Psalm 102. What other elements in the psalm seem to apply to the life of Christ?

2. The idea that Christ was the agent of creation is also found in John 1:1-5 and Colossians 1:15-20. Read those passages and think about why it was important for the New Testament to describe Jesus as being involved in the Creation of the world. Jot down some of your ideas.

3. If the role of angels is to serve, what role do you suppose we are called to fulfill?

Fifth Day: Read Hebrews 1:1-2:4. Now focus in on Hebrews 2:1-4.

1. What warning does the author give in Hebrews 2:1-4?

2. What argument does the author use to show how serious the danger was? Is the danger equally dangerous for us today? Why?

3. What activities and disciplines could help you to not drift away from what you have heard?

I’ll see everyone on Tuesday!

–Cheers!

More Thoughts on Destiny

I received an email this week suggesting I check out the concept of “open theism” as one viable way to view destiny and free will.  I’ve hunted a bit online and found some interesting reading for those who wish to research a bit further before next Tuesday:

Some sites which explain open theology:

http://www.opentheism.info/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_theism

http://www.fairblog.org/2010/01/20/lcm_open_theism/

http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/an-ancient-philosophical-mistake-in-the-debate-about-open-theism/

http://spectrummagazine.typepad.com/the_spectrum_blog/2007/11/richard-rice-di.html

Some sites which argue against it:

http://www.allaboutgod.com/open-theism.htm

http://www.ondoctrine.com/20openth.htm

http://seandoherty.blogs.com/welcome_to_seans_blog/2005/06/open_theism.html

Next Meeting-October 5th

Yes, that’s right–I need to postpone the next meeting until NEXT Tuesday, October 5th; I am out of town this Tuesday.

Last week, we had a challenging discussion of apathy and passion. Brad, who is about to leave for Afghanistan for 13 months, said now that he is only here with his family for 5 more weeks, he really feels a sense of urgency to get things done, but more than that he is concerned with how his own wife and kids (and family and others) perceive him as a man of God. This sense of urgency, he asked–why doesn’t he always feel that sense of urgency to live for God in the now?  We all echoed his sentiment, and I particularly feel challenged to live more “in the now” and to take the future less for granted.

We also decided to change the format up just slightly…at least for now. Tuesdays can be anything we want to make it, after all. So next Tuesday, October 5th, we’ll do our last (for now) topical day…as in, we pick a topic and discuss it. We’ll probably come back to it. But in recent weeks, it seems every time we do a topic, we come up with a great and logical understanding, only to have a verse in Hebrews smash it all down and question everything we think. So starting October 12th, we’ll actually be going through the book of Hebrews chapter-by-chapter seeking some understanding there. From there? Who knows?

For October 5th, our last (for now) topic is destiny. This ties in with free will vs. predestination a bit, although here we are less concerned with discussing the salvation aspect of destiny so much as how much of what we do every day has already been decided? Am I rich or poor because of destiny? Or do my decisions factor in?

I can’t wait to see everyone NEXT Tuesday, October 5th!

Does God look at me and gag?

It’s funny, we spent some time last Tuesday really talking about Mosaic law and how although they were invalidated with the new covenant with Christ, we also can’t invalidate them entirely and they still retain value to us today. However, I experienced a troubling and challenging challenge from God last Sunday and although last Tuesday was fun, I was too distracted to get fully into it. Here’s what I’m struggling with right now:

My pastor on Sunday read from Revelation 3:14-22. This is a letter written as a message from God to the church of Laodicea; a church which one can draw many parallels to the U.S. church–namely, the church was in a very rich and prosperous nation. The people of Laodicea had much more than much of the world around them, and its inhabitants were, for the most part, much more wealthy than many other places in the world. Yet in this letter, God says the people in the church there were “neither hot or cold” and that he would “spit” them out (some translations of this word would say God literally gags or vomits when he looks at them).

I find it interesting God, who has endless mercy and grace for all sinners, is so disgusted by Christians who are unmoved by their faith and have turned indifferent. This may have been directed at an ancient church, but it certainly parallels our church in the U.S. today. And what is worse, I know I am often guilty of being a passionless Christian–and I know I’m not the only one; this is an epidemic.

On Tuesday, I want to hear how people have experienced this indifference. What has caused it? What can we do to be “hot” instead of “lukewarm?” I feel completely challenged to not be without passion for the Gospel; the greatest news in the history of the Earth. I think I need to rekindle a fire, and I think others do as well. Let us come Tuesday ready to shed indifference and trade it in for some real fire!

Oh, and I had a delicious 6 beer flight for only $9 last week, and the bartender let me pick the six, so every one was amazing. I’d say I’d get it again next week but I know they have Stone Smoked Porter–the best Porter on the planet–so that will be something to look forward to.

Cheers!