Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It Matters What You Believe

Fixing to study what we believe, and why it matters. Like me, others were  taken aback by the statistic Bryant had quoted last week: 52% of Christians in America believe adherents to other religions can have eternal life – that Jesus was lying when he said that no one comes to the Father but through Him. Should be interesting.
In his sermon Bryant spoke on why we can trust the Bible. Without naming names, Bryant went out of his way to disagree with a couple of recent statements Andy Stanley has come under fire for. I’m going to have to listen to several sermons to make sure I’m hearing things correctly.
Why the Bible is true and trustworthy (Bryant Wright sermon notes 8/19/2018):
1. I believe Jesus. In the book of Matthew in the sermon on the mount, Jesus said He came to fulfill the Old Testament and the prophets.
2. The Holy Spirit. Through the ages, faith has been based on the scriptures.
3. Scripture is inspired by God. 2 Timothy 3 16
4. The unity of scripture: forty writers but one author, and one message a unifying theme
5. In depth teaching ands reading there are always fresh insights things we miss earlier are revealed years later
6. The Bible is up to date and relevant in the world today to everyday life
7. The Bible is fulfilled prophesy. Today may be depressing but there is more history to be written
8. The Bible has power to transform lives it points us to God and Jesus, who do the actual transforming
9. The Bible is tied to archeology, history, and geography.
10. The Bible has survived the test of time. In the 1800's the atheist Thomas Payne hoped his book "The Age of Reason" would replace the Bible. Have you read The Age of Reason? How often do you even think about it?
11.  The Bible is how God speaks to us today, through the Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:1 is a radically countercultural statement. Rev 22 18-19: "If anyone adds or takes away from these words..."
How to study the Bible: (1) ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, and give you the desire to study, learn, and grow. (2) Pick a regular time. (3) Be open to let God speak to you. (4) Study scripture in light of scripture - in context. (5) Start with the New Testament and use the Old Testament as...hmm, earlier Bryant had slammed Andy's O.T. controversy. Now he's saying the same thing. Heretic! (6) Seek to study with other Christians. (7) Pray for those who teach the word of God, to make sure they don’t confuse or compromise or go off on tangents. Nothing about not fighting battles in public. 
Brian led us in an examination of Psalm 67.  We observed that when we are blessed, we are blessed to be a blessing to others.  Specifically in this Psalm, the result of God’s blessing was to include:  many nations coming to know God’s salvation, many peoples praising God, joy and gladness, many fearing the Lord.  As Christians, Brian reminded us from Scripture of many ways we’ve been blessed.  We’ve been Chosen, Made righteous, Reconciled to God, Given peace with God, Reconciled to others, Adopted, Promised that nothing can separate us from His love, Promised that He will work all for good, and Given at eternal inheritance.
Likewise, expectations could also be viewed through the lens of blessings we’ve been given. We have the privilege of spending time alone with God in Bible study and prayer, attending corporate worship, attending Bible study, obeying God’s Word, tithing, serving in ministry, tangibly showing love to each other in this class, and sharing the Good News with others.

Think about it: why would Big Think Science publish "controversial author and religious scholar" (actually a Muslim turned Christian turned Muslim, associate professor of creative writing) Reza Aslan's thoughts that Christianity is nothing but a "dangerous cult"? For any reason other than an effort to further tear apart the United States and American Christianity? Aslan's claims are completely unsubstantiated, mere rumormongering. Yet innocents believe and follow, and all the more led astray.

Guidelines from the book "Younger Next Year."
1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
a. Aerobic exercise four days a week.
b. Serious strength training with weights two days a week.
2. Spend less than you make.
3. Quit eating crap.
4. Connect with other people and commit to some group or organization.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.
I spend too much time on email. But when I’m somewhere by myself standing in a line or waiting for my car to have the oil changed or eating by myself, I can go through emails on my phone.
Gaming: people can’t believe it’s so popular. 17000 is a decent sized crowd for many pro baseball and basketball teams. My work neighbor just booked a cruise for Labor Day week, a balcony room.
I don’t like interruptions. Happens here at work, in meetings, on conference calls. You can usually tell the interruptor wasn’t listening to what the previous person had said. Some people I know that no matter what I say or email, their mind is already made up. Might as well not try to communicate to them. Last week our SS teacher gave a “charge” to the couples going overseas. Number one was to be a good listener.

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