A great talk about how being willing to think can lead to great discoveries!
Category Archives: Design
A great talk about how being willing to think can lead to great discoveries!
Where you grow up impacts the way you look at the world. Imagine with me if you would that you have been in Egypt for 400 years. You are a community within a community. One of the things that has formed you to this point is you believe in a different God; You’ve been slaves and all of a sudden you are now leaving Egypt and you are out in the wilderness. Moses is leading you. You have a collection of stories that have been verbally passed around for generations. For the first time you are by yourselves as a people and you are engaging with a God personally that you’ve known about mainly through stories. You have a change of environment, a change in position (you are no longer slaves), and you are getting to know again this God who has formed your community.
This provides the backdrop for Genesis. Genesis is a book written to reintroduce to a God they were in relationship with in a whole new way. Through Moses everything was brought together. I think that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Old Testament. And as you think about what he did, Moses is probably the most logical choice. He was trained in Egypt and trained in the house of Pharaoh. He most likely would have been educated and have the skill of writing. Also, he would have been introduced to the history of Egypt and other nations.
Moses also had many personal experiences with God. When you think about stories of Moses, there are details that Moses would have only known that are included in the writings. Moses probably did use some other sources to assist in his writing. There were also some stories that were passed around verbally that helped shape what we have recorded. If it was Moses that wrote the first 5 books of the Old Testament, then they were probably written around 15 century BC.
Moses was writing to the Israelites as they were on their way to the Promised Land. They had just come out of Egypt and so they are leaving patterns of worship and behavior and they are being introduced to new patterns of worship and behavior in light of their new provision as a people. There was a great need for this introduction. Even as they are in waiting for Moses to come back down from Mt. Sinai what happens? Aaron is asked to make for them an idol and what does he do? He makes them an idol. He is asked to personify God to them. And so, he goes Ok, this is the god that delivered you out of Egypt. While Moses is interacting with the God that did bring them out of Egypt, they are dancing around a lie.
What Aaron gave them was just an object to worship. Moses was about to introduce them to the God that they were in relationship with and how they were to interact with Him. It’s much different to have an object to put affection on verses being in a relationship with the supreme creator of the universe. Genesis is the start to that introduction.
Genesis as a book was to remind them of things that they may have forgotten. It was to help remind them of both the moral nature of their relationship as well as the spiritual nature. It was to remind them of what was required to be in right relationship especially when you put it into context of the first 5 books, you have a lot there about “since you are my people, here is how then you behave.”
One of the things that I think is interesting and the reason I started with the story of “where did you grow up” is because where we grow up so often defines us in ways we really don’t know much about until we experience other cultures. And, I just finished a book called Save Me a Place in Heaven by Jerry Deriso. The book centers on his experience growing up in South Georgia in the 50’s and 60’s. Those events and stories formed his outlook as he grew older and his outlook on his culture today. He wanted people today to have the same experience he had growing up and share in the values that those experiences formed.
Genesis has some of the same feel. The writings were being used to create a sense of time and place to reemphasize values. This helps explain the stories and the genealogies. There is also a wide range of literary devices used to create this feel. Genesis starts with a broad view of the world from the stand point of creation. And from creation, you have a narrowing down of this person called Abraham. And so you have this telescoping down to Abraham and then expansion back out to the twelve tribes.
Because the telescoping nature of the book focuses on Abraham, it is good to ask, “Why is Abraham significant in our understanding of the Bible?” God had a special relationship with Abraham, something very specific. God said that he wanted Abraham’s people to be His people so that through them the world could be blessed. God wanted a special relationship with them so that they could be beneficial to the whole world. We find this idea of God’s interaction with people for the purpose of displaying His character to the whole world so that the whole world can be blessed throughout scripture.
As we come to the Book of Genesis, I am going to focus on what does this passage tell us about this God that we are in relationship with. Because, even though the book was written to the Israelites as they left Egypt, God wrote it with the full accounts of scripture in mind. And he knew that one day, there would be a group sitting in McKinney opening up His word and studying it to find out what’s true because they’ve met Christ and they now have a relationship with Christ. And so He’s got very specific things to say to us about what is true of Him and true of His character that will then define how we should live in light of where we are in our culture. This makes sense because we have a right relationship with God, our job in this culture is to be men and women who live out kingdom values today. And in turn, that helps frame what our community of faith should look like, as well as what our lives and families should look like. My summary for this overview of Genesis is this: God gave us Genesis to help reveal who He is in regards to His plan for His people.
The communal character of the sacrament means that the communion is with each other as well as with God. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus bids us be reconciled with each other before we bring our gifts to the altar (5:23)….What role then to the gifts of the bread and wine have in all this? They are surely of great importance, but not in a manner that is detachable from the totality of what is going on. It seems to me of great significance that the bread and wine are not only gifts of created nature in that they derive from wheat and grapes, but are also the products of human labor. In liturgical words that are often used at the Offertory, the gifts are ‘what earth has given and human hands have made.’ They represent the drawing together, in the action of the Eucharist, of the fruits of nature and the fruits of human work and skill in the offering of creation.
I have benefited from books written by pastors. Over time I have found myself becoming cynical of the volume and reliability of what is being published from pastors. Then a friend forwarded a newsletter that echoed what I feared maybe true of some of these books. It was from The Pastor’s Coach and titled 3 Dangers Large Churches Face. Here is the part that stuck out to me:
A staff pastor and trusted friend in a very large church called me to talk about his frustration. The Senior Pastor of this church wrote and published a book about the story of their church and the ministry system it was using. The book was apparently good, and the story captivating, but unfortunately the ministry system wasn’t working. They needed to kill it or change it in a big way. But the pastor insisted that the staff stick with it since the book was out. It was obvious that changing the system would hurt the church’s reputation if word got out that the system didn’t really work and they therefore dropped it.
I know this story is not true for every book, every church, or every pastor. But I also know the temptation to prop ministries up for appearances or accolades. It breaks my heart when I see it so clearly spelled out. We must be careful when we seek to maintain something out of image.
The people of God must have a visible, tangible, experiential shape. This is not, however, simply a sociological or organizational necessity. It is essential to the mission Dei. The witness to God’s loving and saving work in history is through the people God calls and sets apart for this mission. Every mission community is a historical witness to the work of God being carried out; it is concrete evidence of God’s purposeful action. This is what the Holy Spirit does: it forms mission communities so that the gospel may be incarnated in particular places, to be the witness to Jesus Christ.
All truth must be experienced personally before it is complete, before it is authentic. This truth, that God shapes us, that we are shaped by God, was Jeremiah’s from the beginning. He had lived it in detail. He had been on that potter’s wheel from before his birth. No word would mean more to Jeremiah than this one, formed by God. Jeremiah experienced his life as the created work of God. He was not a random accumulation of cells; he was formed by loving, skilled hands….
The life of faith is very physical. Being a Christian is very much a matter of the flesh – of space and time and things. It means being thrown on the potter’s wheel and shaped, our entire selves, into something useful and beautiful. And when we are not useful or beautiful we are reshaped. Painful, but worth it.
A people’s lives are only as good as their worship. The temple in Jerusalem was the architectural evidence of the importance of God in the life of the people. All the lines of life crisscrossed in the temple. Meaning was established there. Values were created there. Worship defines life. If worship is corrupt, life will be corrupt. For fifty-five years lust and violence in the temple had percolated into the streets and homes and villages of the nation. Josiah began by cleaning up the temple.
I get to lead the graduating seniors during their Bible Fellowship Group time this Sunday. We are going to look at the topic of Discovering God’s Will. I think I may use this quote:
Also imagine a world, Jesus tells us, where there are ultimate consequences for what we do. Imagine a world where the reality hits home that some folks ruin their potential by ignoring the kingdom vision of Jesus. They get all exited about the dream vision of Jesus when they are in high school but fail to do anything about it in college and beyond, because they think it is too demanding. Or maybe they fool themselves in to chasing sex and drugs and drunkenness and money and fame and possessions and power, but fail to see that the Desire Dream and Dollars Dream fade fast. And they don’t even care.
Jesus wants his listeners to imagine a world where the one who wins at the end is the one who lets the kingdom seed take deep root and lets the Kingdom.Life shape all of life.
Christian theological claims about providence and anthropology are devoid of any meaningful content in the absence of eschatology. If there is no given telos, as opposed to a projected goal or objective, then the temporal acts of ordering creation are literally pointless meanderings, because they lack any point of reference for determining a direction over time.There is no eventual destination beyond the horizon only infinitely more horizons. If there is no given end, then providence is a vacuous doctrine, for there is no created order that can be said to unfold over time, and human acts are reduced to creative self-assertions, because there are no temporal trajectories with which humans may align their desires and will. Without an operative destiny, we remain enslaved to an infinite regress of historical cultural construction and posthuman self-creation.
>Christians need to so think like this!!!!