Monday, February 4, 2013

Paul, Charles, and Rebekah

DSC_0006imagesunday morning my “Everyday Christianity” study group spent the hour discussing Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi.
Our game plan for the first half of 2013 is to read all the books of the New Testament, but with the twist of looking at them in the order they were written (best guess by scholars). We’re encouraging participants to read each book in a single sitting, or over the course of one week, then reflect on the content the following Sunday.
Philippians is renowned as a positive, uplifting epistle. My week-long series of readings did not disappoint.
MOVING TESTIMONY: As always, we enjoyed an excellent discussion. But the highlight  for me was the heart-level testimony offered by my co-teacher, Charles.
Charles had attended our 8:30 (contemporary) worship service, and he kicked off the class by sharing a quote from Rebekah’s message. He said that he’s getting used to the way God seems to consistently bring the sermon and our study group together on a Sunday morning.
Rebekah – following up on last week’s message, “People of the Dirt” – preached from the Hebrews 5-6 passage about “giving up baby food” and becoming mature disciples.
“It’s not about knowing stuff about Jesus,” Rebekah had said, “but knowing Jesus in relationship.”
Charles said Rebekah’s phrase resonated with him because it represents the heart of the message Paul was communicating to the church in Philippi.
“It’s late in my life that I’ve come to recognize this,” Charles told our class. “And I invite you to experience the alternative to simply knowing the facts about Jesus.”
COOKING: Charles told us that he has spent his lifetime accumulating facts about Jesus. He said it’s a lot like collecting cookware, and recipes, and watching cooking shows, and learning everything there is to know about food, and even building a gourmet kitchen… but without ever preparing a meal.
And then he simply urged us all to know Jesus.
In Israel, asking questions
A follower of the Way of Jesus
MONDAY ENCOURAGEMENT: So that, my friends, is my traditional dose of “Monday Encouragement” via this Life-Charged Life blog.
Listen to the invitation offered by my friend, Charles, and then take steps to allow your knowledge of Jesus to migrate from your head and into your heart.
Then, respond to Rebekah’s encouragement and become mature disciples; embrace The Life-Charged Life and live as Followers of The Way of Jesus.
It would be the best possible way to kick off this new week, and every new day for the rest of our lives - DEREK
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity. (Hebrews 5:12 – 6:1)

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