Your turn Randy. What did you learn in church this week?
We are using material from The Gospel Coalition for our Sunday School church wide, and this week were in 1 Samuel. In chapter 11 verse 12 we see that after Saul affirmed his kingship with a military victory, his supporters came around and said something like,”Who was speaking against Saul being king? Let’s kill them!” Wow, just like today, once in power, people seek to use it for their selfish vindictive purposes. Saul, to his favor, stopped the crowd and put an end to such talk.
So, I suppose I learned that people have not changed that much.
I learned quite a bit…thank you! I will try to get back in a few days, though, if that is ok …am vacationing in a state park on Lake Michigan with extended family…
Beautiful. I appreciate the others’ input and accounts
Beautiful! Relax and enjoy your vacation.
Thanks! I had a great vacation. My mom, brother, sisters, and their spouses are really encouraging Christ-followers, and I loved talking with them about books and things they had been doing.
Last week was quite an interesting Sunday. We worked on James 5: 1-11, which, as our leader said, seems to convey how to make faith practical.
The emphasis that we should put God ahead of riches reminded one of our group of Jesus’ command to the rich man to give everything up. One questioned if God really meant that, as we have to live on something. Someone hazarded if Jesus knew that was specifically what would be best for him. I’m reminded of @DOL 's excellent testimony book, “Struggling with God and Origins,” in the theme that we have to put God prior to any other aims.
Our sermon was on Genesis 6. Our pastor, who is very definitely YEC, made some interesting points
–He said we don’t know what the Nephilim were. He doubts that the old idea of “angels who had sex with women” was right
–He noted that the NT authors believed in the Flood, and that there are Flood stories around the world that seemed to him to corroborate the story. I have a pretty good relationship with him, but did not email him to discuss that. I honor him for the next point–that these details aren’t the most important point. He thinks that the actual happening, how all kinds of animals got on, etc (he wished there were more exits on a big boat than one!) didn’t matter–that the theme of this passage was “God is God.”
My 12 and 15 year old boys keep me on my toes. We have a deal that they can watch a video of their choice on You Tube (they watch clean gaming videos) if they write down 3 points from each sermon or Bible passage. Both wrote down more than 3–about 6 each. They had good questions, as both know that I think that the Flood is not factual–that true history starts about Genesis 12, as @DOL wrote. We had a good discussion after. I think the fact that Dr Witter pointed out that there’s a theme, and that the details don’t matter much, helped. For example, we have in the past discussed how one of themes of the Flood is that God really cares about people’s actions–in contrast to Marduk and the other Sumerian gods, who, I think, were annoyed at noise. We discussed Gilgamesh and Atrahasis.
Some other things that I learned–how much church supports the lonely .I saw many single and widowed folks–some younger, some older; some mentally challenged–who really brightened up and needed support. They seemed to get it. I’m doubtless a thorn in the side of my pastor sometimes, but he genuinely seems to like me and listen. They also really care about my kids–they’ve babysat and taught them in Sunday School, Awana and youth group since they were born.
If anyone would like to listen to one of the sermons they’re here.
(Edited to reflect Dr Lamoureux points out literal history began about Gen 12, not 13) @DOL
A church community would have to turn a dark corner indeed if they ran you off, Randy!
You put me to shame in that I’m having trouble recalling what some of our recent sermons have been about - not because they weren’t worthy, I’m sure - but due to my not keeping notes like you and your family. I have vague recollections that they were good ones (well - okay, last Sunday was my first Sunday back in my home church after several weeks of being away). But for me it is more about trusting and knowing the speaker (which I do), that causes me to receive the message as being from Christ.
And to acknowledge the community nature of church - this week prior to this Sunday morning, I’ve already spent time with good believing friends in various contexts, and am continuing to learn in our interactions about the importance of relationship as having primacy over group identity. There is group identity in Christ - yes - but that is an idenity that is always inviting more in. No - I mean relationships (all the good ones I’m currently enjoying) are strong enough that any other group identities or tribalisms we may indulge in (and I’m sure many of us have supported contrary ones) all seem to be kept in their place. I.e. - those lesser gods - those principalities and powers are kept subjugated to the infinitely higher importance of the person standing before us, and to be at the beck and call of Christ.
Relationships that I have (or had) in which partisan tribalism is on the throne, and where Christ has been put in chains to be summoned or dismissed, pressed into the service of the partisan god - those relationships have tended to grow cold. That is what I’ve been learning from the body of believers around me these days. Trees are known by their fruit.
Thanks. I think that’s a very good point.
Re the note taking–I’ve become better since keeping my kids to the task–I have to admit that sometimes I’m like the man who reported to his wife, “Pastor talked about sexual sin in church today.” --“What did he say, Honey?” —“He was against it.”
We still use Hangman, Tic Tac Toe, and the Dot Game (Cornrows) after the first notes are taken. Sometimes, honestly, the kids and I have more questions than answers–but that’s a good start for me, still.
Today we finished James 5 --about involving God in rejoicing, prayer for healing, etc. We’re decidedly not Pentecostal, so we struggled a bit about the “and he shall be healed” after anointing with oil. After all, my dad had lung cancer, was anointed, and performed the ritual more to acknowledge God as Lord than to expect healing (he was a doc, too). In James, in context of Elijah praying for drought to incur repentance, followed by rain after repentance, it seems to fit more with the passage before–that maybe the sickness was emotional, from sinning. It’s hard to know–I’m not sure if James felt that all sin was from unrepentance or not.
In the sermon in Genesis 7, again the pastor emphasized that the theme was “God is the Judge; He can’t let evil go unpunished; and He provides a ‘but,’ as in ‘But Noah’==in a merciful escape.”
I felt a bit sick when he quoted Henry Morris as saying that he was convinced that the principal objection to the Flood was not scientific, but emotional–that we don’t want to accept judgment or mercy.
He seems willing to listen, so I’ll talk to him about that.
My kids wrote 3 notes --one was asking what happened to Noah’s grandchildren. I am not sure, either–I know that in Peter, there were only 8 saved–but I wonder if he was referring to adults, only.
I’ll have to ask my pastor about that position, too.
Another verse for the list:
– guarded by God’s power: 1 Peter 1:5
In our Sunday School, we continued our study of Samuel,and the verse that stuck out to me was 1 Samuel 15:22: “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
It reminded me of book by a Jewish rabbi discussing how Christians often mischaracterize Jewish beliefs, and how sacrifice (and now such things as keeping kosher) was done as a sign of obedience preceded by repentance by Judaism rather than as often presented by Christians being done as a transactional event. In any case, the same principle Samuel stated appears to be similar to Jesus’ teaching on separating the sheep and goats at judgement : obeying the law of love is what it is about, rather than the empty ritual. Sacrifice without obedience and repentance is just a barbecue.
That’s a very good point-- something I read in Enns (and the New View on Paul) pointed that out. Thanks!
And thanks to Dale, I corrected the rabbit as author typo, Everyone knows rabbits aren’t kosher.
A priest, a pastor, and a rabbit entered a clinic to donate blood. The nurse asked the rabbit: “What’s your blood type?” “I’m probably a Type O”
– Yeah, I think Dale or somebody may have already posted a joke like that in this forum somewhere, but I thought it worth repeating here.
So yesterday - our sermon was about God’s uses of water throughout scriptures. How the same substance can be both dangerous, and yet is used to cleanse as well. I’m not sure there was any new information for me in it - but we were challenged to venture out into the water as the Spirit calls us toward new and challenging adventures.
Note that I have moved off topic discussions to a private message. Hopefully, we can keep this on track discussing insights we have learned in church recently.
So I went to that Movement church today and it was interesting, instead of a sermon they have a discussion where everyone reads from the Bible and shares their thoughts. They started on the book of Romans with the first 12 verses. A lot of the discussion focused on Paul’s identification of himself as a slave of Christ. My realization was that most slaves are taken as a result of conquest and Paul was in a war against Christ which he lost, so Paul had good reason to see himself as this kind of slave.
At the church they mostly suggested Paul was more of an indentured servant focused on the fact that he was enthusiastic in his service to Christ and thus grateful rather than resentful. But it seemed to me that Paul had mixed feelings “wretched man that I am,” and just like a slave of conquest, he had to forget the life he had before as gone and focus on the new one.
I guess the point is that both ways of thinking about this are helpful.
That’s very nice. It reminds me of the start of our Baptismal service:
We thank you, almighty God, for the gift of water to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life. Over water the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through water you led the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. In water your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us from the death of sin to newness of life...
So in theology class we continued our year-long course on all the major areas of theology.
This week’s topic: “Was Jesus really God?”
It’s complicated, because the Bible is all over the map on this question. And Jesus never comes out and says directly, “I am God.” He wanted his followers to infer that He was God from his words, actions, claiming to be Lord of the Sabbath, etc.
We have to wait for the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE for the unequivocal confession that Jesus is God (that is almost three centuries after Jesus’ death). Before then many were prepared to say that Jesus was a divine being but not God in the same way as the Father.
I was surprised to learn that virtually every Christian thinker up to the 4th century was a subordinationist – believing that Jesus was somehow inferior to the Father. This notion has only weak biblical support in light of the rest of scripture. I was also surprised to learn that calling yourself “Son of Man” was considered to be far more blasphemous than calling yourself “Son of God.” Jesus preferred to call himself “Son of man.”
It was a very comprehensive study! The theology of Jesus’s relationship to the Father because stable after the councils. It only became unstable after the enlightenment with the advent of Deism, etc.