Sermon Questions from February 7, 2016

What do I look for to know if I’m not ready for God’s message or if I’m walking in the ways of the world (blocking my understanding)?   How do we avoid feeling like “if I had more faith I’d understand” like the faith healer claim?

Some points in response:
1) God is faithful and so as we read God is at work.

2) as we open ourselves to what God is saying in scripture and try to live our lifes reflective of it we’ll see our outlook on the world change over time.

3) We’re told faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.

4) I hope we all continue learning and growing in faith throughout life.   We all have more to learn…. But this isn’t like a cup that we try and fill up and then say ‘we got it all’ – it’s ongoing for all of us.  God is so incredible that we can barely comprehend the truth of who God is.  All that we do grasp onto and understand is based on God’s grace and the work of the Spirit in our lives.


queCould you post the 4 application points?

1)            We continue reading scripture with humility and seeking God’s Spirit to inform and guilde us.

2)            We stop looking for information we don’t have

3)            We see the larger context….

4)            We ask questions of the body of Christ

Will you still continue this number and email since the sermon series is finished for people who still have questions?  You bet!

Some thoughts on some hard texts:

Jude 1:9  I find this passage fascinating referencing what to do with the body of Moses.  First off I don’t know why this is here.  But some Jewish tradition says Moses was assumed to heaven…. Yet here we see a different tradition (one keeping with scripture) that Moses died.  The question is why is the body even important?   Fascinating verse where I can’t help but think we’re missing some information.  So we do the best with what we have.

Judges 19 – this one is troubling because of the grotesque and graphic nature of it.  But it does make a point.  The whole book of Judges is a downhill decline?  Why?  Well it repeats the reason again and again…. Because Israel had no King.  The book is showing what happens when Israel tries to follow God as King – they wander and they stray and they sin.   The book is advocating for Israel getting a king.

There has been much discussion in our house about Elisha being teased for being bald and the bears eating the kids who were teasing him! Micah (age 7) loves this story and reads it over and over! But why did Elisha curse those kids and why did God allow the bears to eat them? It seems so harsh and random a punishment for teasing someone??!!

This is talking about 2 Kings 2:23-25 – yes a strange story.   I don’t get it but that’s our culture which is so sensitive to bullying.  I suspect it is included as a reminder to respect the prophets who are the very ones who bring the Word of God.    Do I agree with it?  No.   But it does make a point, doesn’t it?  It also shows Elisha’s power as a prophet.

 numbers 22:21 and on… Balaam’s donkey  —  I don’t get the whole donkey talking thing, but it is effective and gets Balaam’s attention.    There are some unusual things God does with His prophets to get the attention of people.   There is a certain creativity in all of it, though some of the passages themselves are strange in our culture and our time.  However they are effective.

 1 Peter 3:3-4  There are a bunch of different opinions on this  passage.  I hold that this was an issue in the church and was taking the focus off of God and putting it on ourselves.  In the church there was a greater sense of egalitarian relationships than there was outside.  The call in this passage is meaningful to us – choose which one we want – to please the world with how we look and what we do, or submit to one another in love and humility  and have a nature that is focused on pleasing God and not others.

Judah and his daughter in law. –  I chalk this passage up to showing the sin and brokenness of Judah.  It makes it clear that any keeping of the covenant promises is not because of what people do, but what God does in his graciousness.

How did Adam’s kids get married if Adam and Eve were the first humans?   The second generation of Adam and Eve leave the garden and find towns along the way.???   I discussed this a bit on Sunday and there are dozens of theories on this.    I hold to the concept that the creation story as we have it is oral tradition. It is accurate in what it says, but incomplete in terms of recounting history.   It shares what is needed to be shared and the rest is left to us to figure out.    I think this is more an issue for our generation that wants information galore.   We don’t get it here so we are left frustrated and assuming what is said is all there is.  I don’t assume that.  I assume the information we have is sufficient for the lesson we need to learn, and that lesson is not an intricately detailed lesson on how the earth fully became populated.  The lesson is about why we were created, our sinfulness and who God is, and who God is in relationship to us.