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Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

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!

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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!

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Reminder: NO MEETING THIS WEEK. NEXT MEETING IS AUGUST 10th.

Last week’s discussion of sin was intriguing. We’ve all heard of the various descriptions of what sin is…in essence it’s the putting of ourselves before God…but the interesting question was raised by Jake, “okay, great….so why do I care?” It’s sometimes fun to attempt to figure out things like the essence of sin, but it’s another thing entirely to have a true reason to actually care why this information is valuable. I can’t speak for everyone there, but for me at least, I know I care about the nature of sin because I can’t come back into fellowship with God before I first see that I have removed myself from Him in some way. Once I’ve recognized it I can turn back to Him.

But I digress…this week (August 10th) is about divine healing. We’ve all seen the crazy preachers on the t.v. heal those in wheelchairs and cast out demons…or at least they appear to be doing these things. Although there are certainly charlatans out there, why do we so quickly discount miraculous healing when the Bible is very explicit about God’s healing power in our lives. Perhaps even worse, what does that say about our faith, that we doubt so completely in God that we can’t bring our disease and injuries to Him?

For me, this is not a question answered simply by talking about God’s healing power. One’s answer in this matter hinges quite profoundly on how one view’s God’s relationship with the world today. How active is God, exactly? If he isn’t active in our lives (or at least when it comes to healing) when did He stop? (Because he clearly at least USED to be involved in this sort of thing.) If he is active in our lives even to this day, what is God’s ultimate purpose? What is He trying to accomplish on this earth right now? I believe one’s answer to this question has a direct impact on whether one believes in divine healing.

See you NEXT Tuesday!

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Last week (2 weeks ago) we talked about situations which can/do divide people from each other. The issues discussed were so varied as to include parenting methods, politics, and at one point even communism (thanks for that, Cory). This leads us to the next natural question(s).

I think we can all agree God does not smile too happily upon people putting up walls between each other over personal differences; we should be seeking reconciliation and wholeness. However…the question is sitting out there on everyone’s mind:

Is there every a time, or is there ever an issue, which is so important–so central–that a differing opinion warrants division. In other words, when is it okay to allow divisiveness between oneself and another? Can someone else believe something which justifies you severing contact with them forever and live divided always? When does one not “agree to disagree.”

Now, I already know what the tempting answer to this is. It would seem to be natural that there is no room to argue over the fact that Jesus conquered death and sin on our behalf to save us. Surely someone who does not believe is someone who has cast our Lord aside for the world. But does this warrant division? Further, I’d like to point out Hitler, Charles Manson, David Koresch, and even Satan himself all believe in Christ–yet I would find myself wanting very little to do with any of them.

So think hard about division. Think of the people you are divided from and why? What should we do about it? Are we supposed to always seek reconcilation in all things? What if our offer of reconciliation is refused? How far should we continue to try? Or should we say “Good riddance?”

See you Tuesday (July 20th) – Alehouse Pub @7!

–Cheers!

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I mean, it was written a LONG time ago to different people. But before I dig into this, I must address something that truly upset me this last Tuesday:

In a surprising twist of events, the Ringwood Old Thumper Ale that used to be my favorite beer (I hadn’t been able to find it in the last 2 years though) was a severe disappointment. I walked in to Alehouse all pumped to see my old fav’ on draft and two sips in I was missing one of my beloved IPA’s. But that’s the fun of a place like Alehouse, I may not love everything I try, but it’s fun to keep trying new beers each week. My second beer more than made up for it, Mad River’s “Imperial Red” was mind blowing and if God is indeed good, they will still have it next Tuesday for me.

But I am off topic already. The woman/submissiveness talk was surprising as well. We had several guys and two girls present, and the strongest advocates for differentiated roles for men and women were coming from both of the ladies! All of us guys were like, “surely we are all equal before the cross,” or “how can we truly limit what God is able to accomplish just because of patriarchal heritage? But both ladies spoke of how they really felt men and women were different from each other; they are good at different things and think differently. To them, a woman is in her best spot by supporting a man as they work together as a team, supplying their different talents to the same aim, working complementary to each other.

This led to a natural question about the Bible’s applicability to our modern lives. As great as the Bible is an all, it WAS written for an an ancient Jewish culture. I think we really run into huge misunderstandings if we simply take a statement meant for them and carry it over straight to our modern lives now. I’m not saying the Bible is irrelevant, but this can be a huge problem if not given serious credence.

So next Tuesday’s (6/22) topic is: How much authority/relevance does the Bible really have for me today?

I took a class on this at Simpson called Hermeneutics, and I luckily still have the textbook. So I’ll be studying up there. For this week’s topic, I really suggest you ask everyone their opinion on this matter. Ask your pastors. Ask your friends. Ask your co-workers, even if they’re not Christians. I’m as interested in an atheist’s opinion on this as anyone else’s. This is an issue which each Protestant denomination can differ greatly on, so I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Cheers!

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Yes, we’re going for it. It’s time to discuss this whole woman thing. The sort of cliched picture I was sort of raised on is that a Christian woman is completely submissive to men, and in no circumstances belong in any form of authority over men.

Is this true? Or is it a hyperbolized form of the truth? Or is this a complete misunderstanding of the Bible? We’ll find out next week, but I suspect this will prove to the one of the more controversial discussions we’ve had yet.

On another note, I actually cannot make it on Tuesday due to graduation at my school. So I’m trying to either skip a week or move this next one to Wednesday. If you have a strong opinion on the matter, let me know before I make an executive decision!

–Cheers!

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Continuing our focus on the issue of salvation, this next Tuesday we’ll be discussing the opposite of salvation. In other words, “can we be unsaved?” You know the story: Nice guy/girl from your church that used to be passionate about God is now living a life completely removed from God–he/she may even outright denounce God’s saving Grace in this world at this point as a lie. Yet at one time, he/she was very passionate about God, believed wholeheartedly that Jesus was his/her salvation and lived a life of obedience…for a time.

Or another example from my own life: someone is passionate about God most of his/her life, but then suffers a tremendously painful loss due to terminal illness (or an accident). That person is now angry with God and denounces his/her faith. Is a lifetime of obedience undone in one fell swoop?

Another question I have is, “is there a sin God won’t forgive?”

In addition to more C.S. Lewis, I’ll be spending a lot of time going back through the Gospels and the New Testament to seek answers regarding this. I also think at some point I’m going to have to tackle Revelation…as that is where the saved and unsaved are finally separated.

…and is it too much to hope Alehouse has a Stone or Rogue beer back? It’s been two weeks without either of my favorite breweries. Although I have to say, last week’s “Dark Heffeweizen” was pretty tasty–and I was glad to see Union Jack IPA back up where it belongs.

Cheers!

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