Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Facts plus Mild Ranting

I went to my rival high school's homecoming game last week.  It's only fair that I go to my alma mater's homecoming tonight.  Here goes!

After refuge today, I tried to sent resume's to different court offices in Conyers.  I will try some attorney's next chance I get.  I might be better off just calling them ahead of time so that I feel less awkward.

In the past two hours I managed to sort some CDs, empty the laundry basket they were in, put laundry in there, find a place for my two remaining mesh bags from my old hamper, and completely type up this month's youth newsletter.  Pat on the back.

I feel like I'm about to aim 95 theses at Smyrna Pres, the church that will always be my home.  Why?  They want to cater to the anti-Christian pirates in the Greater Atlanta Presbytery.  They held some meeting at another PCUSA church in the area called "A Gracious Separation" with options for Conservative Evangelical churches still in the Presbytery.

What Smyrna should really do is take the last option: leave the denomination.  They say that they will just let the churches leave without any fuss.  However, there is a church in McDonough named Timber Ridge.  They defected to the EPC.  My church where I serve and am now a member used to be their plant.  The PCUSA has been litigating them for the past decade and still has not relented.  Unless they get their claws out of Timber Ridge, I will never believe their drivel about a "gracious separation."

If Smyrna takes the other option, however, they will be utterly useless to the Lord's cause.  Presbytery suggests that all the conservative fellowships form a mini-denomination and simply mind their own business, and they won't force the gay leadership on us.  This is a huge mistake.  One, we already tried this with the New Wineskins.  Now all those churches have joined the EPC.  Two, you can't just sit and close your eyes and hope it goes away. We've done that ever since the 80s.  It's grown worse and worse and now the denomination is completely apostate.  If you stay, you have to throw decorum out the window and stand up for our Holy God who will judge these liberals real soon, or you must decide that you love the Lord more than you fear losing funding or getting sued and join the EPC so that these false prophets lose power.  You can not be neutral anymore.  Either you worship the Lord or you worship people, and you will be judged for letting his Name be defiled in his holy Temple.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Prank

Here is my result from Eddie's recent word writing challenge.  The words were Painting, Clock, Spider, Wink. The following cartoon is my inspiration: 

This itsy bitsy spider went up the cuckoo clock
Bong went the chime and down the spider dropped
It was twenty-twelve at midnight on the brink
And the Mayans laughed at him as they saw him with a wink

A painting on their stone said "see the next stone."
They'd run out of room and could not use it alone.
But the paint wore off and their next stone it did break
So the Mayans laughed with mirth at their accidental prank.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jacob's Journeys

This Sunday is going to be a wonderful Sunday.  Why?  Because my Au kids will be back!  I could just dance.  But tonight I celebrate by doing laundry. 

Since I decided to split my last Jacob lesson into two lessons with the kids, they will actually be ahead of my lesson with Aubrie.  So the question is, should I proceed with the next lesson or discuss the past four weeks?  As I normally underestimate my time, and my lessons are way too short, I will probably ask if she has any questions from before and if we have time, we'll read the lesson I planned for this week.

This week, the kids will follow Jacob from his home to the place where he sees the stairway to heaven.  Now that Led Zeppelin is in your head, Genesis 28:10-22 finds Jacob passed out on a rock as a pillow as he envisions a stairway with angels going up and down.  God reminds Jacob of what he promised to Abraham, but includes that God will protect him and bring him back to Canaan.  Abraham only left Canaan once and lied about his wife in Egypt.  As Isaac did the same thing in Gerar, it was good to remind Jacob of his protection and return to Canaan.  Jacob made many mistakes, but he never repeated the lying mistake of his father and grandfather. 

And we must always remember that Jesus is the very stairway to heaven.  He is the one that lets people see the glorious entrance to his Kingdom and blesses anyone he wishes to bless.  Like I said yesterday, he's the Bridge to cross the Great Divide.

I still don't have my Sunday School material for Aubrie.  I gave them to her father, Shannon.  I've had a hard time coordinating.  I thought I'd do it today, but I remembered that I scheduled an interview with our State Court judge for a class project.  I suppose I might just facebook his wife, Megan or something. 

But according to plan, my lesson with her will be Genesis 29:31-31:55: Laban's trickery and Jacob's marriages and many children.  As we read, we might keep a chart of each wife with her respective kids. 
Was this home situation happy?  Why? God never approved of polygamy, and clearly, the wives were not happy because they had to share Jacob's love that God only meant to share with one person.  But in God's sovereignty, Jacob had children with four women.

What is Laban doing in 34-36?
What is Jacob doing in 37-43?  Who decided the outcome? 
Jacob is trying to manipulate the mating habits of the sheep through what seem to be some magic trick.  Laban is tricking Jacob again, and Jacob is onto him.  Laban takes the sheep that will produce Jacob's speckled wages, and Jacob cuts some branches near the water troughs to somehow hex the sheep into giving speckled lambs.  After the 14 years dealing with bickering women, Jacob has clearly forgotten God's promise and tries to use some witch doctor remedy on the sheep.  God, who never changes, still increases Jacob's wealth by causing the trick to work.

Why were Laban’s sons complaining?  All their flocks were slowly becoming Jacob's.  He sapped their resources.  And we must recall, when Laban hired Jacob for pay, he was not treating him like a son, but like an indentured servant.  He treated both Jacob and his daughters as property.

What does God start to do in verse 3?
Finally, God wakes up Jacob and decides to fulfill his promise to go back to home.
What does verse 4 reveal about Jacob?
Jacob believes God and immediately starts to make plans with Rachel and Leah
Who does Jacob credit for his success?
He finally remembers God as the one who gave him his wealth and children, not Laban, and not his striped branch.  God.

How does Rachel show that she is like her father, husband, and aunt Rebekah?   
She steals household gods.  She's trying to manipulate her fate, probably for another son or something.  But she tricks Laban and never reveals that she has them.  
Why should she have household gods anyway?
This also shows how far Jacob had forgotten the one true God.  He fell into the idolatrous practices of Abraham's home country.  It's no wonder Abe would not let Isaac go to Paddan Aram.  God still kept his promise to Jake and led him back to true monotheism, sadly to the detriment of Rachel.  Jacob rashly vowed that the idol thief would die, and Rachel truly did die in Bethlehem as she bore Benjamin.  As she did not trust God for fertility, he gave her her wish but at a fatal price.  He lovingly reprieved Jacob for the same thing with his branches.  

Reflecting on this, God must have preferred Leah to Rachel as he did Jacob to Esau.  Judah's tribe came from Leah which led to the Messiah.  Neither girl knew God, but Leah finally gave in to His sovereignty while Rachel could not be satisfied with Jacob's love and Joseph as a son.  She'd stop at nothing to have one more child under her lineage.  Ultimately, we won't completely know God's reasoning as all who are saved are saved because of him and not through any faithfulness of our own.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Struggle with Modalism

This post comes after I've watched James White's sermon about "The Forgotten Trinity."  It was wonderful.  It is so hard to grasp how paradoxical the Trinity is that the churches do go to two extremes: Arianism and Modalism. 

Most Christians who actually read their Bible and know what they are talking about know without much study that Jesus is God, but they are also aware that he's God's Son.  So when they lead in church they talk about God sent is Son.  Son of God, God's Son.  They say it so much, that the average person will never hear that he's actually God.  This is a huge shame.  As a result, people believe in a Jesus who is a doormat who let his terrible father punish him for everyone's sins.  He's not the Victor over Satan who always planned on giving his life for his chosen.

However, Jesus's deity is foundational to my belief.  Usually, I can tell that someone is not a Christian or a true church because they reject Christ's deity.  So, I make sure that I always emphasize that Jesus is both the Son of God and God.  It confuses one of my kids greatly.  It's like I almost have to resort to modalism to help them understand.  Any human analogy will fall short, and God doesn't really provide one in Scripture, mainly because his Triunity is so foreign to us that we'll never be able to explain it.  St. Patrick used the shamrock: three leaves on one stalk.  So far, that's my favorite, but it doesn't explain it best because the three leaves are still separate leaves even though they are one plant.  The Trinity can separate, not even share a stalk, yet be one being.  Another favorite analogy is water.  It can be solid, liquid or gas.  The problem is, however, God is all three at once.

The one I use is dangerously modalistic.  I use Play-Doh.  I can hold one lump of Play-Doh, break it apart to make it two separate lumps, yea, even three, and then put it back together and it's still the same lump.  What do you 11 followers think?

I still stick with the conclusion that a person can be a modalist and still a Christian.  He at least believes Jesus is God, and so I don't get so concerned about it as James White does.  It's far worse to be Arian like the JWs and Mormons, and pretty much every cult and other religion. 

But then, I see the need to believe it the way Church Tradition teaches because it truly is what the Bible teaches.
The main passage that shows all three members and the same time, together yet being separate is the Baptism of Jesus by John in Matthew 3 and all its correspondents in the other Gospels.  Jesus goes down into the water and comes up, the Holy Spirit descends on him, and the Father says, this is my Son in whom I am pleased.

The separation of the members is especially important in God's method of saving us.  Jesus is on the cross, and God turns his back on him so that Jesus experiences hell.  Mark 15:34.  Luke 23:44-46.  They had to be separate so that Jesus could take the full punishment for our sins.
Hebrews 7:25.  He ever lives above to intercede for us.  God cannot be approached by sinful men, but Jesus being both God and the only perfect man can stand before him, connecting us to him.
John 14:15-17a is where Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to live in all believers.  So, the HS has to live in us so that we have that interaction with God, the Father has to be in heaven ruling the earth and judging evil, and Jesus truly is, like the Point of Grace song, the bridge to cross the great Divide.  They truly have to be separate persons for our salvation to be complete.

But our salvation also, could not be complete unless they were all equally God.  Hebrews 1:6 where the angels worship the Son, Isaiah 41, where the Father says he is our only Savior, and Exodus 20 where he commands us to have no other gods.

The Trinity is everything to our faith and even people I don't agree wit.

So, we don't need a perfect understanding of it all, you just have to believe that God is three persons, yet one God and that the three persons can separate yet have always existed, and that this is essential to your faith.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jacob Wears a Snuggie

I was really happy about how Children's Church went yesterday.  The only sad thing was that Madison, Charlie's great granddaughter, didn't come.  Your prayers would be appreciated as I'm fearing she's not grieving as she should and trying to be happy up front but inside she's torn up.

That aside, I still had Alexis and Emily, but today I had four roles for Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau, and I wanted someone for all four roles, so I made 16-year-old Logan come back with me. 

I started with two facts:

Fact: God told Rebekah that the younger boy, Jacob would get his covenant blessing. 
Fact: Isaac was bound and determined to bless Esau, the firstborn.  Was he obeying or disobeying God?

Then, we acted out the story.  Logan played Isaac.  I gave him a blindfold and a script and somehow he saw well enough to read the script.  I was Rebekah.  Since Alexis is older I made her play Esau, and Emily was Jacob.  
To be Esau, Alexis wore my Snuggie.  Don't let anyone tell you those things are like backwards robes.  They really are blankets with sleeves and they are the!  Since it's my Snuggie, it was a whole lot bigger than her.  But alas, soon Emily had to pretend to be Jacob pretending to be Esau.  When she put on the Snuggie, it swallowed her alive.  But she was a convincing Esau, and Isaac gave her the blessing.

After that, discussion questions.
Fact: God told Rebekah that the younger boy, Jacob would get his covenant blessing. 
Did Jacob really need to cheat Esau out of his birthright?  Did he need to steal Isaac’s blessing?  Why?
Why does God still bless Jacob even though he lied, stole and cheated, showing no faith in God? 
Ultimately the real answer is God keeps his promises.  He promised Rebekah the he'd give the younger child the covenant.  And dad-gummit, he did.  Both Jacob and Esau were horrible people who were always forgetting God, but God gave Jacob the promise because he's God and he can. 

Then we colored velvet poster crosses.  Why?  Because the poster is smooth, but it's dressed in fur.  Even though Jacob stole what was already his by cheating and lying, God still colored his life with his blessing that eventually led to Jesus.