We have been talking through the questions that our congregation has had about faith.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The thing about children is this: They are never hesitant to ask a question. Not worried about being “dumb” or asking a stupid questions.
Then somewhere along the line we grow up and think that we need to know all the answers.
We’ve been led to believe that knowing all the answers = spiritual maturity. This is not a valid equation.
Think about all the people who “thought” they knew all the answers. Pharisees.
Barna study – 35% left the church because Christians are too confident and think they know all the answers.
It would be a good thing for some of us to remember that most of our life is a mystery. That we don’t need all the answers
1 Corinthians 2:2
For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.
Paul resolves to know nothing except for JC
Be in the spirit of answering questions
Question 1: Is it normal to not understand the Bible?
Seriously though, the Bible is hard and unlike any other book. It is ancient. It is not even really a book. It is a compilation of letters, poems, and literature. Written by so many people in different languages yet inspired by God.
Remember, the Bible is an Eastern Book, not a Western Book. It’s not “10 Tips for this…” or “Precious moments…”
The Bible is the story of who God is, meant to be read as a grand sweeping narrative. Not meant to be read in bits and pieces.
We need to understand the context that it is written in. Truth is, too many of us don’t want to take the time to read it that way.
We want answers, comfort, courage, and guidance. And if we don’t get that in five minutes then we give up! Don’t kid yourself! This book will test your will and passion to know and love God.
Don’t feel bad if you get stuck, or bored, or confused. But just because it’s hard stuff doesn’t mean you get to say, “I’m not going to read it.”
The Bible is a living and active book. God speaks to us through it.
If we are on this road to becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus, then we have to engage in his story, life, and teaching.
You can’t follow someone you don’t know. That’s the truth. So, how much do you know about Jesus? The Bible is so important for that reason. So that all of us can have better access to God’s Word.
OHC is about giving opportunities to engage in the Bible. Daily Scripture email and classes.
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”
Turn the other cheek
Pray for others.
Wash each other’s feet.
These are understandable, but we neglect them at times
Sometimes we “don’t understand” as a pass to not do what the Bible commands…
Question 2: Why do people say that you have to be in church to be in the presence of God?
They might be a guilt trip to get you going to church
Really though, this is an inaccurate statement. It reveals this belief that we think that we are the deciders of when and where God is present.
Look at it this way: We act as if we are the bouncers at the door to where we get to choose when God gets in or not. God must be laughing as he thinks, “Excuse me, I was here first.”
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
We have forgotten this truth about God. We’re living in a way that puts God in one place and our “real life” in a different plac
Spiritual Apartheid = God ______________________ Real life
Then we try to determine when they come together.
We’re kind of like little kids playing “peek-a-boo” When the child covers their eyes, they truly believe that the person is gone. We think that if we close our eyes to God then he’s not around…
” God does not need to be invoked. We do. We need to be called to our senses, to be as present to God as God is to us. To stop running and stand still.. Jesus is in the midst of our days and our events, our weeks and our weaknesses, our rising up and our lying down. If only we noticed.”
-Mark Buchanan, “Your God is too Safe“
Question 3: What is the role of the Holy Spirit?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
For some reason, we tend to treat the Holy Spirit like the weird uncle at the family reunion. “Ya just never know…”
Instead, God is 3 in 1. A part of God himself. Just like Jesus and the Father.
15 times in the Gospel Jesus says, “I am leaving but someone else is coming. I will send you the Holy Spirit.” Although Jesus was gone, God was present in a new way.
The Holy Spirit is God’s way of being with us.
After Jesus died, it was God the Spirit the descended upon the disciples and gave them the power to do God’s work.
The Holy Spirit equips the church through spiritual gifts to demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel to the world.
If you have any faith in God, then that testifies to the Spirit:
The Spirit guides us to truth.
The Spirit defends and supports.
The Spirit intercedes
The Spirit clarifies the Scriptures
The Spirit is the power of God in human beings
Question 4: My mind wanders in church- what can I do about that?
Welcome to the human race (!)
Some people almost died because of this:
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!”
Church sometimes is hard. Book: “The Shallows“ shares that our brains are actually altered by technology. We are having a harder time sticking to one task.
Corporate worship can become spiritual training ground. It’s okay if you feel bored here sometimes. Just say that. But, can God use that to grow us into fully devoted followers of Jesus? Yes, he can!
Maybe you need to consider how much sleep you get on Saturday night.
Maybe you need to eat a better breakfast than doughnut and coffee.
Maybe you need to sing the song, even if you don’t like it.
Maybe you need to realize that this is not about you and this is a bigger deal.
It is a great discipline to be involved in corporate worship in the midst of a world filled with youtube clips and tweets.
Question 5: How do I know God’s plan for my life?
“I wish I had the easy answer for ya…”
Story about this question:
This question dogged Alice and her husband Chuck for the first decade of their marriage
Chuck believed that God had a pinpointed plan for him to figure it out. For some reason, it was difficult for Chuck to discover this. He needed to find it though, or he would miss the boat.
Alice believed that God’s call was a hard, miserable, distasteful one that wouldn’t use her skills.
They were so off!
Together, they waited for over a decade for this miraculous sign to tell them.
She wishes someone would have told them this to their question about God’s will:
Know that God calls his children home
This is the primary purpose in the world.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
God’s guidance and direction is always embedded within a rich relationship with him
The first thing we need to make sure of in our life, no matter where we are headed, is am I in a growing relationship with God?
KNOW God’s Plan
“Once I know what God is doing, then I know what I need to do. The focus needs to be on God… God is at work all around you right now… Watch to see where he is working and join him.”
Want to know what God is up to? Immerse yourself in a community of faith. Immerse yourself in the Gospel.
When you do this, you will see God at work. And when you see this in Jesus, you will know how God is going about his work.
Jesus calls us to serve our neighbors, no matter the cost! Jesus calls us to pick up the cross.
We struggle with this because it challenges our self centered mindset.
God is not like a genie in a bottle, granting you all your wishes.
We need to try to understand and joyfully accept how God made us.
Those people who say, “You don’t need to know yourself,” are wrong. You need to understand your spiritual strengths.
“Let me know myself; Let me know thee”
“Nearly all wisdom we possess.. consists of 2 parts: The knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
Alice and Chuck spent ten years and a lot of money trying to crack the code of God’s will. And they never asked, “What is God up to? What are your gifts, strengths and passions? Do that!”
Chuck graduated from Harvard. He was already giving money. Alice knew “this was the one.” Here he was, wired and equipped and gifted to help people financially yet he was still wondering what God’s call on his life was…
God was waiting for Chuck to realize: Once you know what you love to do, do it for the Lord!
When you know what you like to do, take the step to trust God and use the gift to glorify Him.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I cannot see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But, I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”