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Posts Tagged ‘church’

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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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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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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So next week we’re gonna go for salvation. This one can be broad too; I’m interested in seeing where it goes. Issues relating to salvation can include:

  1. How is one saved?
  2. What happens when one is “saved” and then only goes on to be a complete scumbag anyway?
  3. Is baptism important and/or necessary for salvation? If not, what’s the point? Is so, why?
  4. Can one be “unsaved?”
  5. I was just telling a very conservative Christian on Monday about Bible and Brew and she seemed concerned at first, and then said suddenly, “Well, Jesus went where the sinners were, I think that’s great.” Although I appreciate the vote of confidence, I am kind of offended on behalf of everyone at my favorite pub that they’re “sinners” because they go to a bar. So why is it we assume a regular Pub-attender is unsaved?
  6. How much of salvation is something we do and how much of it is God? It’s easy to say God does it all, yet why isn’t everyone saved then? Clearly we are responsible for something at least.

Okay, I’ve run out but I’m sure there’s more. Go find your favorite salvation verses…Paul’s letters, the Gospels are a place to start…although I think I’m going to hit up Genesis and Revelation again. I’ve noticed a fun trend that in every week’s topic, I’ve found something valuable at the very beginning and the very end.

Till next Tuesday!

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I was a little nervous heading into this discussion on Tuesday; it’s complicated topic and by far the most difficult concept we undertaken. Although I think every person in a discussion of the Trinity needs to admit at some point that this is a concept beyond a perfect understanding.  My main concern while researching this week was to find value in the concept of the Trinity–why should I care whether God is three or one?

The good news, at least for me, was that we had a great discussion about how important the Trinity is. The short version is that God created us in His image. So many of our characteristics and traits come from Him. We are relational beings; we relate to each other, and we relate to God. But we do this because God Himself if relational, since he is One God and Three Persons. Relationships are a part of God’s very nature; without this relationships would not exist. Taken further, it says in the Bible that God is love. We love because God first loved us. Yet if God was only one person, he could not be love. It is because He is both One God and Three Persons that He is love…it is part of His nature, which is then reflected in us who are made in His image. We love because God literally is love.

We also spent a great deal of time talking about Jesus. Most of the verses in the New Testament that describe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are made by Paul in response to heresies popping up in the early church. People tended to think Jesus was either only a man, or only God. They did not believe He was both. Yet Jesus has to be both. If he wasn’t fully human, he wouldn’t have been able to be a true sacrifice and would not have been able to overcome death (God doesn’t die)–but if he wasn’t wholly God he wouldn’t have been perfect and would have not been able to take on the sin of the world. So Jesus has to be simultaneously completely God and completely Human. Jesus also says he and the Father are one. If that is the case, God is clearly not simply one person, but three.

Plus Cory brought his mobius strip to demonstrate the Trinity, which was fun. In his words, “this may not help us understand particularly well, but it’s fun anyway.” I also enjoyed one of the last glasses of a Sierra Nevada/Anchor Steam collaborative Stout that was quite glorious–almost as glorious as the Stone Ruination IPA I switched to on the second round.

Cheers!

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I’m still collecting data from the survey, so continue to take it if you haven’t already.

In the mean time, the most popular topic of choice so far has been the “21st Century Church.” This is, of course a broad topic, and I’m interested in seeing where it ends up.  One way I thought we could approach this would be to read what several churches or religious institutions say they believe the goal of the church is, and to compare similarities and differences…but more importantly, to compare what we see to the early church described in the book of Acts in the New Testament (it is a Bible study, after all!).

Feel free to hunt around and compare for yourself, but here’s a few I found to save you some hunting time. Although keep in mind, many of these pages are filled with their beliefs on a variety of issues; we’re specifically interested in their thoughts on the church itself:

And don’t forget to run through the book of Acts, especially Paul’s actions from chapter 12/13 and on, so we have something to compare these to.

See you Wednesday!

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