Category: Seminars

Wisdom

How Long?

For Sunday, March 3, 2019

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

 

  1. What questions or concerns remain for you about the judgment of God and/or the scenes of judgment in Revelation?

 

  1. If God did not deal with evil, would God be just? Would God be God?

 

  1. How does God’s wrath differ from human anger or wrath? Why does this difference matter?

 

  1. How does God’s character relate to judgment? Why is this so important?

 

  1. What biblical events demonstrate God’s delay in judgment?

 

  1. Are our prayers directed toward obtaining a benefit for ourselves or glory for God?

The One Who Is And Was And Is To Come

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

 

  1. Why do you think John “brackets” the prologue of Revelation (1:4-8) with identifying God this way (what is John’s purpose in beginning the document this way)?

 

  1. How does one’s understanding of God impact one’s spirituality?

 

  1. How is God described (including phrases and titles) in Revelation and what is the significance of those descriptions?

 

  1. What significance does God being always in the past, being constantly in the present, and coming in the future have for you?

 

  1. What is the difference between being “in control” and “in charge”?

 

  1. Why is it important that the text of Revelation ties the reader back to Exodus and the God of Exodus?

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HEAR AND HEED

THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF BEING BLESSED

The Popular Concept Is That “Blessed” Means “

“Blessed” Has The Idea Of Having (Being The  Of) God’s Favor Or Approval – Mt. 5:4; Jam. 1:12; Pss. 1:1-2; 32:1-2; 34:8

Biblical blessedness                         our circumstances

“Blessed” In Revelation

In Revelation μακάριος is used in similar fashion to the beatitudes of Mt. 5 and Lk. 6

The blessing texts are linked to the  purpose of the book

The blessing texts summarize the  and rewards of overcoming

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY HEAR AND DO

A  Blessing – 1:3

The first blessing  the reason readers should take the message seriously

A blessing on the one who       it aloud (in the assemblies) – Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; 1 Tim. 4:13; Rom. 10:17

A blessing on those who gather to  and            the message they hear – Rom. 10:17; Deut. 6:4; Ezek. 40:4; Mt. 13:9, 13-16

Blessed Are The  – 22:7; 2:26; 3:10; 14:12; Acts 8:30-31; Dan. 7:15-17; Rev. 7:13-14

Jesus                 this prophecy to be obeyed

The message of Revelation is not                          to provide fodder for intellectual speculation about the end times but is rather a series of commands addressed to the present-day lives of all who read it

The message of Revelation is a call to                         and                        in light of past, present, and future realities

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Why is the public reading of Scripture important?

Why is hard to be attentive listeners (what hinders listening)?

What can help us be attentive listeners? (get us into the world imagined in Scripture)

What does the phrase “being a people under the Word” communicate to you?

What should our motivations for engaging God’s Word be? (why do we read the Bible?)

Why is Revelation so neglected when it is the one New Testament document that pronounces a blessing on those who read, hear, and keep what is written in it?

Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “There is a correlation between understanding the ‘words of this prophecy,’ ‘keeping the words of this prophecy’ and the blessings that are given”? Why do you agree or disagree with the statement?

 

  1. A blessing on those who gather to  and            the message they hear – Rom. 10:17; Deut. 6:4; Ezek. 40:4; Mt. 13:9, 13-16

 

 

  1. Blessed Are The  – 22:7; 2:26; 3:10; 14:12; Acts 8:30-31; Dan. 7:15-17; Rev. 7:13-14

 

Jesus                 this prophecy to be obeyed

 

The message of Revelation is not                          to provide fodder for intellectual speculation about the end times but is rather a series of commands addressed to the present-day lives of all who read it

 

The message of Revelation is a call to                         and                        in light of past, present, and future realities

 

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

 

  1. Why is the public reading of Scripture important?

 

  1. Why is hard to be attentive listeners (what hinders listening)?

 

  1. What can help us be attentive listeners? (get us into the world imagined in Scripture)

 

  1. What does the phrase “being a people under the Word” communicate to you?

 

  1. What should our motivations for engaging God’s Word be? (why do we read the Bible?)

 

  1. Why is Revelation so neglected when it is the one New Testament document that pronounces a blessing on those who read, hear, and keep what is written in it?

 

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “There is a correlation between understanding the ‘words of this prophecy,’ ‘keeping the words of this prophecy’ and the blessings that are given”? Why do you agree or disagree with the statement?

FAITH IDENTITY AND POLITICS

I found the following article to be insightful and I hope you will also. One of the standards has been “you do not mix faith and religion,” yet that has been going on. I am not advocation a political party, nor do I believe the article below endorses a political party. What the article is pointing toward is that seemingly politics is displacing religion in many (most) Americans. In other words, the current trends make politics a threat to one’s faith. Much like the syncretism that took place in Israel’s history and the faith threats to several of the congregations that are addressed in Revelation.

Mark Johnson

There certainly has always been partisanship, deep disagreement, and name-calling in politics. But I do think there are some things that are intensifying this trend toward affective polarization. One of those trends is that, unfortunately, our identities are becoming increasingly political. You can see this in various ways. It used to be that people would marry across party lines – people with very different political views – but would almost always marry someone who shared their faith. Now, almost 40 percent of marriages are to someone of a different faith tradition, but only around 23 percent of people who are getting married, or even cohabiting with someone, are doing so with someone of a different political party. In many ways, political affiliation is now seen as somehow more intrinsic to our identities thank our faith commitments.

Our faith identities are also becoming more tribal in a sense. It’s been reported that around 80 percent of self-reported evangelicals are very strong supporters of President Trump. But if you look at the religious practice, church attendance, [and] adherence to particular doctrines of that group, the idea that they are “evangelical” in a doctrinal sense falls apart. In some ways, “evangelical” is becoming more of a tribal term than a creedal one.

At the same time, our politics are becoming increasingly apocalyptic… Pew found that two-thirds of those who are highly politically involved say they fear the other side. That sense of fear is growing. There’s more fear and, with it, loathing than there used to be… Now there’s a sense that both one’s identity and the future of the republic hinge on [your vote]. That makes it far more difficult to engage in any kind of compromise. It intensifies the idea that someone who disagrees with you is the enemy who needs to be vanquished rather than engaged.

Source: Cherie Harder, in “The New Morality Dilemma,” Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Advance magazine. Fall 2018, p. 44-49.

Death By Inches

The attention-getting phrase that came out of the introduction of Vic Fangio as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos was “death by inches.” When asked to explain what the phrase means, Fangio used the example of a player being late to a meeting by 30 seconds. That tardiness alone is insignificant. However, if it is not corrected it grows and spreads. That is what Fangio means by “death by inches.”

“Death by inches” is like: “sweat the small stuff,” “pay attention to the details,” and “death by a thousand cuts.”

“Death by inches” is an accurate proverb for the world of professional football and it is accurate for most areas of life. The employee who is late and whose work is sloppy. The student who does not study until test time. Relationships that gradually grow apart (how many songs have been written about this?).

“Death by inches” can also take place in the spiritual realm.  A congregation gradually grows sloppier in their worship assemblies. Failure to stay fresh in our relationship with God and each other. Giving God our “leftovers.” Unholy habits develop this way. Apostacy normally takes place this way, one’s spiritual life shrivels up little by little.

“Death by inches” goes well with our “Wisdom and the Road to Character” Seminar. Character formation and deformation often occur by “inches” (slow and progressive). The biblical wisdom literature addresses this concept. For instance:

Eccl. 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might

Prov. 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life

Prov. 10:4 Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich

Prov. 12:11 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense

Prov. 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty

What other wisdom texts would you add to this list?

Wisdom and the Road to Character Seminar

In just over a month, this congregation is hosting the “Wisdom and Character Formation” Seminar with Dr. Dave Bland who is a professor at the Harding School of Theology (HST) in Memphis, TN. Dave was born and raised west of Fort Collins and is excited to have the opportunity to present this material in Colorado!

You will be wise to make sure that you participate in as much of this seminar as possible.

Applying the wisdom literature to life has captivated Dr. Bland for several decades. He teaches a course on “Wisdom and Character Formation” at HST and has written three books dealing with this material: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs (College Press NIV Commentary), College Press, 2002; Proverbs and the Formation of Character, Cascade Books, 2015; and Creation, Character, and Wisdom: Rethinking the Roots of Environmental Ethics, Wipf & Stock, 2016.

Make sure your schedule includes this Seminar on January 19 and 20, 2019, you will be blessed.

The material below is from David Fleer & Dave Bland, Preaching Character: Reclaiming Wisdom’s Paradigmatic Imagination for Transformation (Abilene, TX: Leafwood Publishers, 2010).

Life is an exciting journey, an adventure with unknown challenges stretching before us.  But life often throws unexpected twists and turns along the way. While it presents wonderful opportunities and joys, hidden perils abound. It’s an exciting adventure that involves perilous risks and difficult decisions. In different ways both the novice and the experienced must remain constantly vigilant. Our world does not well prepare individuals for this journey, regardless of the level of experience.

It is at this point that wisdom speaks a profound word into our experience. Wisdom capably negotiates the complexities of life. The wise person is one who develops expertise in living responsibly. Wisdom seeks to discover God’s order in life and then proceeds to successfully fit into that order, always acknowledging human limitations. Divine order demands moral behavior and wisdom’s ultimate goal is the formation of moral character. This quality of character is the thicker, richer meaning of wisdom.

Our culture and churches desperately need wisdom. It is not a spur of the moment decision to try to be a wise person. It is a process of training.