Advent week 1: Promises and Patience

WEEK 1: PROMISES AND PATIENCE

11-27-11

Theme: The Lord makes and keeps His promises, and His people are called to wait with patient anticipation.

 

Isaiah 64:1-9

Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Mark 13:24-37

 

WEEK 2: AWAITING AN ADVENT

12-4-11

Theme: God made a particular promise of a Messiah, and Israel longed for His coming.

 

Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Mark 1:1-8

 

WEEK 3: INCARNATION AND IMPLICATIONS

12-11-11

Theme: God fulfilled the promise of a Messiah in the first advent of Jesus.

 

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Psalm 126:1-6

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Luke 1:46b-55

John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

WEEK 4: RESURRECTION AND RETURN

12-18-11

Theme: After dying to redeem His people from slavery, Jesus rose from the dead and promised to come again to redeem us fully.

 

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Luke 1:47-55

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38

 

WEEK 5: WATCHING AND WAITING

12-24-11

Theme: As we await the second advent of Jesus, we are called to a life of prayerful and prepared patience.

 

Isaiah 9:2-7

Psalm 96:1-13

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14

 

 

1. Don’t get distracted by inferior and temporal pursuits

 

A. What do you do daily that distracts you from eternal realities? What is the response of your     personhood to those things?

 

B. Consider what you place expectations on and how that affects you when they are not met.

 

C. If we place our hopes in finite things, which never fully meet our expectations, it seems that our  expectations are meant for something greater. What things have you trusted in for the joy of your  heart instead of Jesus?

 

2. Recognize you are a soul and that you must feed your soul as much as your body

 

A. Don’t buy the lie that what you see is all there is

B. Don’t listen to your body (The flesh is want to grumble dreadfully – Luther)

 

1. Pursue discipline (Scripture, silence, solitude, prayer, fasting) as a means of

listening to the Spirit’s leadership

 

3. Bury yourself in the pursuit of Jesus Christ

A. In his word (fill your soul with the promises of his return)

1. Isaiah 64:1-9

2. Revelation 22

 

B. In the Spirit

1. Romans 8:16-17

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

 

C. In his mission

1. Do Gospel work

 

4. Chronicle / Journal your growth in the Lord and celebrate the Lord in it

 

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Shorter University, A Different Angle

I was reading through my yearly bible reading plan and guess what? In the providence of the Lord I read across a passage that brought back a bitter / sweet memory.

Psalm 119:116 “Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope.”

Any who know me knows for sure I do not believe in the happy plunge method of bible study. Open the Scriptures with eyes closed, plop a finger down, read and know the Lord’s will for that particular situation. That is something akin to Ouija bible. Not good.

But Father is supernatural and can intervene in physical life to rescue his hurting people, no doubt.

This is what happened to me on a hard evening’s wrestling with hard questions. After having my simple and young trust in Jesus brought to the brink of annihilation with left leaning biases in every science I threw my bible against the wall, swore at Father (which I regret to this day) and yelled at him why he would give me untrustworthy counsel and lead me to a faith that is not defensible.

I went to pick up the bible to throw away and Psalm 119:116 caught my eye. It was supernatural. I can’t explain it. I don’t have words for it. It was supernatural. But that Psalm rescued me. Spirit birthed something in me. My confidence in the Lord grew instantly. My faith bolstered. Pieces of scholarship came together. I prostrated myself and gave thanks and made a vow that I would become the best scholar I could be regarding biblical things. I’m still working on keeping that vow.

Here is my thought: I was brought to the brink of walking away from Christianity because of the course content in every science, and for some reason I was rescued. Why I was rescued and others were not is a question for another blog. There were many who came to the brink and walked over it at Shorter because of the same content. Their young and vibrant trust in Jesus was crushed, not built up. There is a difference in challenging to build up and crushing for the sake of an agenda, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Do I believe professors were intentionally trying to crush faith? Not at all. They were not. However, that is what was happening. Many victims of a crushed faith. Many whose faith was severely bruised.

With all that has happened at Shorter over the past few weeks folk seem very concerned about faculty and students being alienated who have an unquestioned allegiance to things overtly non-Christian at a Christian school. But no one is asking about the students who were silent victims of having non-Christian values and left leaning teaching crush their faith. What about those students? Should not have Shorter lived up to it’s “Christian” billing rather than saying “Christian” and having young and unsuspecting students get their faith crushed with nothing to uphold it?

I get challenge. I teach Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology and Apologetics at a private school. I intent to challenge my students but not challenge their faith. I intend to challenge the level of their knowing and ability to critically analyze. I then delve into the depths of bible, why we have bible, how we got it, the historical process of canonization, the spiritual reality of that process, the trustworthy and inerrant nature of Scripture, why it’s inerrant and not just infallible (which it is), what this matters, etc…..

Should Shorter have done this rather than the former? I have to, because of what I read in Scripture, have more concern about the status of a student’s soul who has walked away from Jesus because of the authority in the class (According to James teachers have a stricter judgement) than a professor who has to find another job without having his presuppositions questioned.

Those who are Shorter alumni know some of the people who walked away or nearly did. I am one that nearly did because of Shorter and no one is asking about me or my friends who were in the same boat. All seem more concerned with the temporal welfare of faculty who will need a new job rather than the eternal state of the souls who were crushed because of the content of courses. That shows me that there are more practical atheists out there than Christians operating with a Christian worldview. Think it through.

Here is Jesus on that matter, and I’ll close my thoughts with his: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:5-6