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Posts Tagged ‘Q&A’

Church at 6 Q&A – Oct 23-29, 2016

Posted on: October 30th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

Why did you choose to say God had a dream as opposed to he had a plan?
(“God had a dream” wondering if there is a reason “dream” was used as opposed to a word like “plan”. Not super important just curious)

Ian used dream as a figure of speech. He could have said God had a plan for Joseph. But because Joseph had a dream of God’s plan, Ian choose to say, God had a dream for Joseph.

Using the word ‘dream’ may make us believe that God’s intended plan for us can differ based upon our action and response. Dreams are ideals, plans are concrete. This may just be semantics. God gave Joseph a dream of who Joseph would become. God’s dream for Joseph was also God’s plan. The story of Joseph reveals the very complex coming together of God’s sovereignty and human free will.

Much like in the New Testament. Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon to Peter. Peter means Rock. This indicates that Jesus’ dream and plan for Peter was that he’d become the Rock on which Jesus would build His church (John 1: 42)

The PAIN that we all have to go through, is this always the beginning of a new journey?!

Pain is definitely a journey. One that is experienced by all. It appears from Scripture that many of God’s leaders/servants were tried and tested before God unfolded His plan for them. Therefore, trial and God’s perceived silence can be an indication of a beginning of a new chapter or journey.

For example,
Joseph suffered in silence for 10+ years before he became prime minister in Egypt and was used to saved the people and his family (God’s people).
Moses: Exodus 2: 23 – “after that long period” God was silent in Israel’s life and Moses’ life before calling Moses to return to Egypt.
Interestingly Paul: Galatians 1: 18, Paul went away for three years before entering ministry. It appears though that this was not a time of silence from God about revelation. This is where Paul was trained. In the dessert, him and God. Unlike any other disciple, no one suffered more, endured more, or experienced more pain than Paul. From Paul’s life, pain doesn’t indicate a new chapter or beginning of a new journey. It was a reality he faced on every journey.

We live in a broken world. Pain is part of our reality. Does it indicate a start of a new journey. Perhaps sometimes, but not always.

Is God silent in your life because of unconfessed sin, or because of testing?

James 1:2, Consider pure joy, my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
– So there is evidence from scripture that God uses trials to test and develop us.

We have to be careful when we try to explain God’s silence. You can be obedient to God and still experience His perceived silence. Job 2: 10, shall we experience good from God and not evil (Job was a righteous man and experienced silence) was Job being tested. Maybe? Was it because of unconfessed sin, No (his friends were rebuked for saying that).

Legalism is not of God. Grace is of God. Grace is an undeserved gift. Therefore, I’ll never earn my salvation and therefore I’ll never have a speed dial phone call to God based on how ‘good I am’. ‘So silence as punishment’ vs. ‘do good, and get access to God and blessing’ God doesn’t seem to work that way.

However, Sin has consequences. So if you do decide to rebel against your creator, you will miss out. If you are obedient to God, and you learn his ways, you will perhaps become more attuned to God (because He is never absent). But silence and suffering is the human condition. Regardless of how good or bad you are, you will experience silence and suffering. This is the broken world.

Two part question.
Does God orchestrate or cause suffering in order to teach or show us grace? Or is it because of Gods grace, that he uses suffering (caused by God or not) to teach us and show us grace?

Based on Genesis 3 (the fall of man), one can assert that,
1. God is not responsible for evil or sin.
2. Bad things happen because of human free will.
3. Because bad things happened God created Israel and eventually sent Jesus into the world to make the world right again. The whole story of Bible is an act of grace as Ian stated.
Based on Genesis 50: 20, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
4. Therefore God orchestrated good out of suffering.

So based on Joseph God uses suffering to show us and teach us grace. I think your second question says it right, because of God’s character and grace that He can use suffering to teach and show us His grace.

Does God cause or allow suffering?

It seems to be that the better word choice based on the book of Job would be that God allows suffering. God didn’t stop the devil from making Job suffer. Some say, therefore God caused Job’s suffering because he could have stopped it. And clearly God could have stopped the devil but didn’t (perhaps because he knew that Job had strong character and would prove to the devil that He followed God regardless of material possession and health). Thus, Job is a great example of a man who did not let his challenges dictate his faith. This shows us that God clearly allowed and used suffering for His glory.

But what about Israel’s case. I am turning you over to your ways.

There are no accidents or coincidences in the life of a Christian so then no luck either?

I guess not. Though it certainly seems like we get lucky sometimes. But can there be luck or coincidence if God is all knowing? Through Joseph’s lens, he certainly seems to have gotten lucky that the Ishmaelites happened to walk by. If not, his brothers may have killed him. However, hindsight being 20/20, God’s hand was present. If the Ishmaelites didn’t come by at that moment, Joseph wouldn’t have been in Egypt.

God is not bound by time. Therefore he knows past, present and future. Which means, we have free will and possibly luck or coincidence and yet God still knows all and has control over all.

If sin is not outside of our control, and we have the power of the Holy spirit living inside of us, then in theory, could a person be sin free? Just a thought

James 2: 7 – Resist the devil and he will flee you. This verse affirms along with several other verses that we can resist and conquer sin.

However,

Romans 7: 19 – 20: For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
This seems to indicate that we don’t have power over sin.

So there is tension in the scriptures. We can control sin but at the same time we can’t. Based on Scripture I’d be led to believe one will never achieve perfection on this side of eternity. I also believe, given intention and because of the power of the Holy Spirit we can conquer sin.

Perhaps, though we may conquer lust. That doesn’t mean we’ve conquered greed. There will always be sin in our lives, but through the power of the Spirit we can conquer it. We conquer one area, than another area becomes visible.

Whose was the sin? the brothers who threw him in the cistern or Joesph who was so arrogant?

One could say Joseph got what was coming to him. His arrogance and hot dogging of his coat and dream reveals this. Jacob favouritism of Joseph also contributed to the brokenness of the family. And of course, the brother’s sin of throwing Joseph into the cistern. They all sinned and were guilty of it and thus there is brokenness.

Does the broken world that we live affect our reactions as Christians? I mean has the world we live limited our duties as Christian? If yes, what can we do?

I’m not sure exactly what this question is asking. I’m assuming you mean, the broken world has limited our ability to help because it is outside of our control. I can certainly identify with that. It would definitely be nice to know the plan and the why? But if God has a plan, as difficult as it is to see or as frustrating as it is. Trust and prayer is our response and we are called to help others where we can. But because of brokenness we are sometimes limited. The story of the prodigal son comes to mind. The son left and there was no stopping him but that isn’t the end of the story. This should give us both a sense of remorse (blessed are those who mourn) and a sense of hope (Lost sons/Lost Sheep are not forgotten by God and there is always hope).

So the lesson is that Gods love is compatible with bad things. But what if those “bad things” are too much and push you too far from God. Then it’s just too bad you didn’t have enough faith? What if it pushes other people away who never come back to God? Are we just supposed to believe that in the grand scheme of things the good will outweigh the bad? Those lost people were just part of the plan? A little collateral damage?

We discussed this question in detail at church at 6. It is true, often suffering leads you closer or farther away from God. For those whose suffering has caused them to abandon God. We don’t know their eternal destination. We know that God is Just and God is Good. So God will do what is Right. From the story of Joseph, one could say Joseph was collateral damage because of the brokenness and unfortunate circumstances. In the end, God did what was right. In the end, God will do what is right. As Christians, we don’t believe the good will outweigh the bad. We believe life is a gift of grace through Jesus Christ. In Him we find the God’s plan and it always involved lost people.

If God is Just and God is Good, He will do what’s right.

Q&A – September 11, 2016

Posted on: September 15th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

Thanks for all your questions. Hopefully, this blog catches you still processing what it takes for you to be a disciple of Jesus.

Here’s the recap of questions from this past Sunday:

On today’s world, is radical a good term to use to describe our journey?

Ian mentioned that people are often drawn to something Bigger and more important than themselves, a cause or a purpose. In this instance, radical is a good term to describe discipleship.

However, in today’s culture, Ian also mentioned how people misunderstand terms like Radical or Evangelical to mean, ‘people who are forcing their beliefs on others’. This has been a reality in our culture and it is important for us to clarify and be sensitive to the terms and semantics we use. Radical discipleship does not mean ‘forcing others to believe what you believe’.

Perhaps, it would be wise of us to consider our audience and platform before labelling ourselves.

Resource: Good Faith, by Lyons and David Kinnaman

 

“Taking up your cross”, what does that mean?

Reference: Mark 8: 34 – 38

Jesus uses, take up your cross and follow me as a metaphor for discipleship. Put simply, Jesus is calling his disciples to surrender/give their life and follow him. Ultimately, Jesus went to the cross and sacrificed himself for us. Therefore, ‘take up your cross’ is a metaphor for self-sacrifice. Do as I do… sacrifice yourself for others. Follow my example of living with the cross in mind.

When making fishers of men I’m asked what are you? Most people ask, are you Catholic, Mormon? I say, I’m Christian – part of evangelical church…. But they want more as they believe we are all Christians – what can we tell them?

Ultimately, I’m Christian and I follow Jesus. Some people may assume you are Mormon, so perhaps it would be wise to say, I follow Jesus and His teaching in the Bible (to differentiate from Mormons who have book of Mormon). But for those outside of the church (whether we like it or not) Christianity includes Catholics. So, I personally (Luke writing) don’t think it is necessary to point out the differences between Catholics and Protestants. I would tell others, I’m not Catholic but some will assume I’m the same as Catholic… and that’s okay. We ought to keep it simple, “I’m a Christian and I follow Jesus (the teaching of the Bible)” than simply let your life speak to that person. For outsiders, getting into the differences between denominations or Catholic/Protestant can at times be distracting (but beneficial to if they really want to know). But we need to keep it simple, I follow Jesus.

So is this calling to serve more of an act of obedience? Rather than volunteer sign up?

Yes. All disciples of Christ are called into discipleship. 1 Peter 2: 9 calls the people of God a royal priesthood. Therefore, we affirm the priesthood of all believers. In Ephesians, Paul calls pastors/leaders of the church, to “equip the saints for ministry”. Therefore, the church, not just pastors are called to ministry, and the pastors are called to equip the people in the church for ministry. Therefore, we all should be pursuing and doing ministry/discipleship because that’s what we are called as disciples to do. So yes, out of obedience to our call to follow Jesus we should be serving the church, using our gifts, and taking opportunities to minister to others.

How do we not get caught up in “churchianity”? I think we start focusing on church programs and church culture that we have a tendency to try to control it ourselves, instead of have God lead us.

Practical way to avoid getting to caught up in ‘churchanity’ is to ensure that you have friends/colleagues that aren’t church people. If our whole community is Christian, it is easy to slip into ‘churchanity’ because we aren’t be challenged by the worldviews of others. As Ian said last night, we have to stay tight on our mission. Everything we do needs to focus on our mission, make disciples of Christ. If we have a program that has an end goal that is not in line with our mission, than we ought to reconsider the program. So keeping focus on the purpose and mission of the church is important so that we don’t lose sight of what we are called to be.

What is the significance of church if our main mission is to simply, follow Jesus?

Following Jesus is not a solo effort. Without relationship there is no discipleship. If you had no church and you were ‘making disciples of Jesus’… I wonder if those disciples would look more like you than Jesus?? In Genesis 2, we see that God created us for community. In the Gospels we see Jesus in community with his disciples. The disciples were never alone after Jesus was taken up. The church as a community of faith is necessary to accomplish discipleship. As you read in Paul’s letters, the church (as a community of believers) was created to encourage, hold accountable, sharpen, and is called to be the ‘light to the nations’. As Ian said, without the church, discipleship will be limited. You can only grow so much without being a part of an intentional, Bible proclaiming community of believers.

Are we saved if we don’t give everything up to Jesus?

Yes. Discipleship is a process. As we grow in faith and understanding of Jesus’ call on our lives we will surrender more and more to Him. It is clear from Scripture that Jesus is calling us to ‘leave everything’ and follow him. So though it is a process, if I refuse to give up things I should, one would be missing out on a deeper more fulfilled life. Jesus calls us to follow Him alone. What is Jesus asking you to give to Him? As sinners, we should constantly remind ourselves, this life is not mine but His. Therefore, if I’m only holding myself back from what could be if I continue to follow Jesus without being willing to ‘give up’ or ‘surrender’.

 

Does Jesus feel the nails in His wrists and feet each time I commit a sin or has He already felt them?

Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. He suffered and died and is now in Glory with God the father. Therefore, we believe that Jesus does not feel the nails and pain of our sin. He already has taken that pain and conquered it. We are set free because of Jesus’ work on the cross. We should have a sense of remorse and sadness, recognizing that because of my sin Jesus suffered and died. However, guilt and shame should not be a mark of a Christ follower. We are forgiven and set free. Jesus is with the Father, He conquered death. This should not be reason to keep sinning, but reason to move forward to strive to follow Him.