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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

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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No one likes talking about giving money to the church. That includes me.

But does tithing matter? The commandment to Abraham in Genesis 14 and also in Leviticus 27 would seem to fall squarely in the realm of Mosaic Law–something most New Testament following Christians don’t follow terribly closely. Of course, the extend with which we follow Mosaic Law might even make a good topic some time, and may be a follow-up to this week depending on how the conversation goes.

Before coming Tuesday, I encourage everyone to take a peek at 2 Corinthians 8-9 and spend some time thinking about how we should address this issue in our own lives.

  • Do we need to tithe? If so, why?
  • Does giving/tithing only include money? What other ways can/do we give?

See you all Tuesday at 7!

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PS: I’ve signed up to put together a team for Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, October 30th. Yes, that’s “Halloween Eve!” If you’re interested, call or text or email or something; I need about 10 people, and so far I have me and my wife!

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Last week was really fun.  I figured I could hear from everyone there about their own experiences in church in the past to help me see how different people react to different church settings. I also pictured then taking these two approaches for church and trying to find a middle ground…a sort of Venn Diagram effect, if you will–where I could begin to see what is the ideal church setting for myself somewhere in the middle.

In the end I came away feeling like there isn’t really a true perfect balance or middle ground between a contemporary and conservative church, although some of us expressed truly feeling their own church did balance this quite well. So I alone came away feeling like church on this earth is so imperfect I should not really be seeking that perfect balance. I should seek godly people to surround myself with and to be a part of this community–imperfections and all. More than anything I feel like I should be more concerned with my own offering of worship on Sunday (and all the other days) than I am about the makeup of the service itself.

But this got me to thinking. What is the point of prayer exactly? I mean, they pray in church for people who are sick or injured or going through a rough time. We pray before meal times. We pray to praise God and to bring our sorrows to Him.  But WHY? Do we really think God won’t do anything if we don’t pray? What is it doing exactly? Will God cease to work miraculously in our lives if we don’t pray?  Let’s discuss!

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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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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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We have a great discussion. As much as I read and researched the topic of salvation, it was actually Jason bringing in the always classic “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis which gave us the most profound insight this time. I cannot put it better than Lewis, so I will provide the main excerpt we studied last week. Yes, it makes this post much longer than my usual, and may go largely unread, but it’s darn good stuff.

In short, Lewis talks about how we have a “debt” that Jesus paid for us, much like a friend would bail us out in life–but he quickly gets on to what true repentance is about. To Lewis, and I think to everyone at B&B last week, we agreed that repentance was the key to true salvation. But repentance isn’t simply a “feeling bad about stuff” kind of thing. Repentance, Lewis says, is a kind of willing submission to God; a death of sorts to one’s past and a rebirth. He also points out that the only way we can repent is because of Jesus, for reasons he explains so much better than me below. Finally, and the biggest point for me, is that repentance is not some set of “stuff” one does to get saved, it is a description of what going back to God is like. Asking God to save oneself without repentance is like asking God to let you come back to Him and then not coming to Him. Impossible.

Anyway, here is an excerpt–I’ve added red to emphasize the parts we discussed the most. I recommend re-reading several times as this book really rewards repeated reads; I’ve gotten new insight from this each time I’ve re-read it:

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“On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if you take “paying the penalty,” not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of “standing the racket” or “footing the bill,” then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.
Now what was the sort of “hole” man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of a “hole.” This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all.
It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen. Very well, then, we must go through with it. But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it. Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.”

—“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis; Book II, Page 33–

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