Tuesday, July 31, 2007
4) We should study systematic theology because it will help us grow as Christians. We will learn more about God and his Word and how he relates to man which will enable us to trust and then more completely praise him and even be more likely to obey him. This will mature us as Christians. Doctrine is necessary for true Christian maturing
Review Question #4: Name six attitudes or activities that should characterize or accompany the study of systematic theology:
When we study systematic theology we should always pray because we need the Holy Spirit to give us the ability to understand scripture. We also should study with humility and avoid pride. It is appropriate to employ logical reasoning from the scriptures, but we must make certain not to draw conclusions that go beyond what is being taught or contradict other clear teachings of the scripture. If our reasoning brings us to a conclusion that contradicts other scriptural teaching we must realize that what we thought was a valid conclusion is in error and not conclude that the scriptures are in error. We should study with help from others - both teachers and books as well as through talking to other Christians about what is studied. Systematic theology must be studied by collecting and understanding all relevant passages of scripture on that topic by using books books like this one. If you want to study a topic on your own, use a concordance to look up verses with words related to the topic and find many verses with the same key words. After studying those passages, make notes to summarize points made. Once study is complete, the teaching should be summarized into a small number of main points stating what the Bible teaches about that topic. It's also useful to then study other theology books to see the topic from various perspectives that will either strengthen the position stated or make you realize that further research is needed. A study of systematic theology should be accompanied with rejoicing and praise since it's a study of our living and true God and what he did in redemption and as we understand more of God, we won't be able to help but to praise Him.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I was able to eat lunch with my family then spent an hour or so reading Hudson Taylor and Maria (I found some more interesting quotes that I hope to type in here sometime). I uploaded the video I put together before church this morning to both youtube and godtube. I've been wanting to start puting church videos online for some time and am glad to have finally done uploaded the first one. Hopefully, I'll be able to upload some more Peru videos in the near future.
While in the middle of uploading the video, twelve-year-old Toy from across the street came over to ask if I would play capture the flag with them. I thought, why not - I've been sitting around all day. We ended up playing kick-ball instead and after an hour were so hot and sweaty that we had to stop. After a stop at McDonalds for a McFlurry with my neighbors family and another neat new family from church, we went to the night service. After the service, I was able to talk with some people that I've been meaning to speak with for some time. I had an idea and found that what I decided to do while not knowing if it was a good idea or a God idea was a direct answer to someone's prayer. That was fun! I guess God can use each of his clay pots in the most unusual ways - PTL!
Friday, July 27, 2007
If you're like me, you probably have an age that you always kind of think of yourself as being. I don't remember a lot of my early childhood. My more vivid memories really don't start until I was about twelve, and even those are a bit sparse. Maybe it's partially because I stopped growing taller at that age, but for whatever reason I still kind of think of myself as still being a 12-year-old kid. It's amazing to me that I am now a working adult that a company has hired. Where did the time go?
I've read that typically first and second born children look up to their parents and from a small child desire to be grown up like them. Children further down in the birth order are often being told they are too young to do what their siblings do. They look up to their siblings and just desire to be "big like them." In my case, I think this is partially true. While growing up, I could never really imagine being an adult. I guess I didn't really think I would live that long, or maybe I just didn't like to think about the great unknown world of adulthood.
Romans Chapter 8:
Now, no condemnation exists for Christians. Christ set us free from from the law of sin and death by dying for us so that we would be able to live by the spirit instead of by the sinful nature. How you live will determine how you think: living by the spirit brings life and peace, and living by the sinful nature brings death. A sinful mind is opposed to God and can in no way please him, but a person controlled by the Spirit has a body that is dead because of sin (and yet life will come through the Spirit) and a spirit that is alive due to righteousness.
So, we are obligated to live by the spirit and put to death the sin of the body. You who are led by God's spirit are a child of God so you can call him Daddy and are will receive an inheritance of God and with Christ. If we share in his sufferings we will also share in his glory.
To me, the suffering we face now can't even be compared with the glory that is coming. All creation is frustrated and eagerly waiting for freedom from decay and to see the sons of God revealed. Creation groans as we do too as we anticipate the completion of our adoption and having a redeemed body. The Spirit helps us in our weakness in not knowing what to pray for by interceding for us according to God's will with groans that can't be expressed in words.
We know that for those who love God and have been called by his purpose, God works in all things for their good. God chose those he knew before, to be made like Christ. He called them, made them righteous, and glorified them. So our conclusion must be that no one can be against us since God is for us. God can do nothing but give us everything since he gave us the best in sacrificing his own son. Who would dare to bring a charge against people God chose since God made us righteous and Jesus is speaking up for us? No amount of hardship or pain can separate us from God's love in Christ Jesus, for in everything we are victors.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This looks like a great book for me to study. It looks like it will help to make more concrete many Biblical doctrines. I want to be able to more fully understand and explain concepts that I either should know or do know but don't know how to articulate.
The book is broken into 34 chapters and each chapter contains review questions as well as questions for personal application, special terms and scripture memory. As I enjoy blogging, I intend to post my answers for at least the review questions on this blog. This is mostly for my benefit (so I can have it saved and easily found no matter where I am) though I hope reading what I write may help those who read this site to study Bible doctrine for themselves. I also hope that if I write something that you disagree with or have another take on that you will respond to the post so we can get even more in depth in that area.
So this is the first installment for Chapter 1- "Introduction to Systematic Theology"
Chapter 1 - Review Questions
1. Define systematic theology and discuss its relationship with other theological disciplines (historical theology, philosophical theology, apologetics, Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, and biblical theology).
According to this book, systematic theology is 'any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?"' It endeavors to answer the question of what God desires for us to know and believe by looking at the teaching of the entire bible to understand each subject studied.
Although systematic theology my overlap other types of theology, there are distinct differences in focus. Historical theology examines how Christians in history have understood the Bible. Philosophical theology doesn't primarily use the Bible as it's text, but looks instead at philosophical tools and reasoning from observing the universe. Apologetics is focused on a defense of the truth of Christianity in order to convince those who don't yet believe. Old Testament or New Testament theology look at topics in the order they were presented in history or in the way a certain teacher or author address a subject in the Old or New Testament. Biblical theology does contain the Old and New Testament theology, but focuses especially on what individual authors taught and to each teaching in the "historical development" of the teaching as well as what the understanding was of the teaching to the original readers.
Systematic theology therefor concentrates on a carefully thought out and organized way on the collection of Biblical theology and "attempts to summarize the teaching of the Scripture in a brief, understandable, and very carefully formulated statement." It will use terms that may not be in the Bible but are useful in explaining things to summarize bible concepts in our current world. Practical application is necessary since systematic theology is looking at what the Bible teaches us today.
2. What is a "doctrine," and how does this relate to the study of systematic theology?
"A doctrine is what the whole Bible teaches us today about some particular topic." It is very similar to the definition of systematic theology, but narrows the systematic theology to one specific topic. So a doctrine is the teaching of systematic theology one topic at a time.
3. Give four reasons why Christians should study systematic theology
1) We ought to study so we can obey Jesus. He commanded his disciples to teach people to observe or obey everything that he told them to do. In order to teach others, we must first be able to collect and summarize what the Bible says on a particular topic so we understand his teachings ourselves. His teachings include the entire New Testament since it was written through the Holy Spirit as well as the entire Old Testament which must be understood in the ways it applies to the truths of redemption.
2) We should study systematic theology because it will "help us overcome our wrong ideas." It's easy to take something out of context and incorrectly apply that verse to many areas or to simply ignore teaching when it doesn't line up with how we prefer to think. A study of systematic theology will show us what the whole Bible teaches in a particular area.
3) A study of systematic theology will also help us to "make better decisions later". Questions may come from new controversies due to culture or from new situations we face in live due to life changes such as marriage, children, witnessing, or money. Since the Bible is useful in every area of life, an organized study of the topics will provide building blocks to base decisions on in the practical areas of life.
Question 4 to come sometime in the future.
" The C.E.S. [Chinese Evangelization Society] was in debt. Taylor believed no Christian, certainly no Christian mission, should live and work on borrowed money. "To me it seemed that the teaching of God's Word was unmistakeabley clear: 'Owe no man any thing.' To borrow money implied, to my mind, a contradiction of Scripture-a confession that God had withheld some good thing, and a determination to get for ourselves what he had not given." although deep in debt the C.E.S sent the Johnes, with four small children, to China, and sent them so ill-provided that to get to Ningpo they had to depend on the missionaries at Shanghai, which rocked at the scandel." [page 75]
"Maria Dyer, she of the squint, wrote to her student brother Samuel in London concerning these autumn days: "I met a gentleman and, I cannot say I loved him at once, but I felt interested in him and could not forget him. I saw him from time to time and still this interest continued. I had no good reason to think it was reciprocated, he was very unobrusive and never made any advances." She said she was led to take the matter at once to God" [page 81]
"Maria prayed secretly that "if it was God's will, if it was not wrong, we might have an interview." She was tempted to concort an encounter "but I preferred that it should be of God's over-ruling and not of my arranging" [page 87-88]
Anyway, the kids (as I've always called them) came over at 6:45 this morning and I had a great time eating with them. I have awesome siblings so it's nice to hear their unblogged stories in "real time!"
Thanks guys for coming - especially to Lydia for getting up early after working so late. Lets make this a habit. See you next Tuesday, bright and early!
Oh, by the way, if my other siblings (Luke, Michele, Maria and Ron) want to come with your children (my niblings Daniele, Alex, Zach, Nate, James, Sara, and Lisa Beth), you're more than welcome! Just let me know you're coming and I'll make extra food!
We learned something else this morning - a 2 second time delay on the camera is too short (see 1st picture) and a 10 second time delay is a bit too long (second picture)!
Monday, July 23, 2007
The first few verses of James 1 do (as Pastor Tony said) have to do with attitude. We're supposed to consider affliction, trials and testing to be pure joy (or to count it all joy as other translations say).
Tony reminded us that as Christians we're in one of three states: about to go into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. There are lulls at times, but the storms will come.
Our response to those storms reveals where we are in our spiritual life. I don't really like what it reveals about me because I tend to complain (though mostly to myself) when I'm in a storm or confusing time.
It's a comfort to be reminded that God is allowing us to go through trials to accomplish something as verse four says that "perseverance must finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." So these trials are not for no reason. They could be a gift to us so that we won't lack something in our lives. We're reminded of Romans 8:28 and how in all things God can work for our good and his glory (if we're of the ones who love him and have been called according to his purpose).
We're to pray that God will let each trial have it's perfect work. That's a hard prayer, especially if you're in a trial right now. But, if you and I want to be made more like Christ, isn't that what we really want? We just don't realize that it takes trials to make us who we want to be.
God, please use these trials in my own life to make me more like you.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
1. Serve God. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says ". . . An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. . . " I don't know if Paul thought so highly of Christian singles that he couldn't imagine an unmarried person in any other state, but notice that this verse doesn't say that she "should be concerned about the Lord's affairs" but that she "is". There are doubtless many things that the single people can do in the church to build up the church or to simply take a task that would otherwise of necessity be done by someone who needs to spend time with their children or spouse. Wisdom should still be exercised in choosing what to get involved in and boundaries must exist in a person's life so they can say no to things that they should not get involved in. But a focus on devotion to God in what they do should be a big part of a Christian single person's life.
These are things that I need to at times remind myself of and I'm sure there are many more that could be added. None of these things is terribly exciting or revolutionary, but it seems like the boring daily choices are the ones that really make the difference in the end.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Let me give an example. Over a year ago, while walking one morning I was praying and asking God if He could and would provide me with a husband. I knew that God can do all things, I just wasn't sure that he would or if that was something that he was concerned about for me personally.
Well fast forward about two days. I was at work and a friendly guy, who I didn't really know more than surface work stuff about, asked me if I would go out with him. I completely didn't see that one coming, and was quite rude by responding with the first thing that came to mind which went something like "aren't you a lot older than me?". The rest of the conversation was awkward as I told him no.
Now, as humans it would be easy to take the two events which happened in close proximaty to one another and interpret them into divine guidance that this is the man that I am to marry. It's tempting to do so and so easy in many areas to misinterpret God's will. In the case of being asked out by that guy it wasn't really hard to decide. Although he was nice and friendly, he was older than I, he alreay had children (whether from previous marriage or girlfriends I don't know), I don't know if he's a Christian, and our standards are different. He was not really the kind of guy I want to marry.
My non-inspired interpretation of that event is that God wanted to show me that he can indeed act at any time and in unexpected ways, that he does care for me personally, and that he is not bound by the circumstances of my life. It's almost more that he was reaching down and showing me that he can give me what I ask for, but it's probably not really what I wanted. (I need to be more specific in my prayers I guess!)
But in other situations, other prayers and other times the same question arrises. How is one to know the proper interpretation of what occurs in areas where you pray and something unexpected happens. When a circumstance occurs that answers a prayer in a way that you either want or that doesn't contradict biblical standards, how much should one attribute that circumstance to being an answer straight from God? Am I so warrry of turning a circumstance that God intended to test me or to show me his presence into an absolute guidance by God's hand that I miss his direction? There is a feeling a peace that He gives when one makes a decision that makes you think that it is of God. I wish (like many others I'm sure) that God did audibly speak or write us personalized emails when we pray to tell us what he plans or if a situation is an answer to a prayer. In fact, the emails would be best because then you could print them out and have them for a reference! However, for the time being, I must just trust God's character, rest in confidence of His direction and continue to pray for His guidance and thank God for his providence.
(Side note on providence as defined in Westminster Shorter Catechism Question #11: What are God's works of providence? God's works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing of all his creatures and all their actions.)
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Romans 8:20 "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope"
What I glean from that verse (and the ones following it) are as follows:
1) Frustration is actually something the God wants for us to feel at times
2) This frustration is felt by all creation so you're not alone in feeling that way and at times there may actually not be a concrete or definable reason for your frustration
3) As a Christian we do have hope since we can look forward to our new bodies
4) However as a Christian, we also still "grown inwardly" as we wait since we don't yet experience all that is to come in heaven.
Hopefully I haven't taken too much out of context. Those are simply my thoughts on these verse at this point in time.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
At 5:30 this morning, Pam and I started our walk to Doug and Lori's to get some exercise (and blueberries!). We brought Pam's 1 year-old Joel with us in the stroller which doubled as a great berry holder on the way home. I had walked to Doug and Lori's house alone before, but never with a friend. The time sped by and the miles were quite enjoyable when spent talking to Pam. The mouthful of blueberries from their amazingly abundant bushes was satisfying like nothing else afer our 1.25 hour (4.5 mile) walk to their house. We picked berries for two hours and then headed back. After showering and eating lunch, I crashed - sleeping all afternoon. The weather was nice with a cool morning and cloud cover there for all but the last 30 minutes of the walk back. We are so blessed to be able to pick blueberries each year from Doug and Lori's bushes. We freeze the berries and are able to enjoy them year round.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I used to get real down on myself when I felt I had made a bad decision, but have come to realize that God created me as I am. Being a mistake-prone human who is not yet perfect is what God created. So, a mistake is something that I not only have made in the past, but will definitely make in the future. God doesn't condemn us for mistakes. In fact he looks at us through the lens of Christ and what Christ does and forgives our sins and failings when we confess them to him.
And. . . somehow he can use our decisions and actions that are often reached through strange logic or poor impulse for His good and glory. It's hard to see it at the time, but easier to see from the past. Based on past events in our lives and the lives of those we read about or see around us we can trust God in the present.
I'm trusting God for the future as He not only knows it, but cares about me and will give me strength to face it.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
The swing was a big hit for kids of every age. Some thought it was too scary, but everyone who took the risk and jumped off seemed to enjoy the thrill.
Most of us took advantage of the pool which felt especially refreshing after playing many games of volleyball.
We also played Amoeba War in which teams form circles and launch water balloons from the center of their circle into the center of the other team's circles. It was fun, though with a lot of young children, we couldn't move around or aim very well. Eventually only one team had balloons left so it became a water balloon fight. Overall, the day was perfect. I played hard, ate a lot and simply enjoyed hanging out with my church family. By the way, if you would like to see more pictures from this and other church events, check out http://picasaweb.google.com/FountainofGrace
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
It is true that all but one of my siblings already have blogs. So, maybe I should have one since it's become a family thing to do? No, that's not a good enough reason either. However the fact that they have blogs has played a part in my decision to have one as well.
Through the my sibling's blogs, I have begun to read about their lives and learn more about what they think in many areas. I have also linked from their sites to blogs written by many other interesting people, and it has become a habit to check on my favorite blogs each day over lunch. These blogs have me think and consider other points of view. I have always intended to journal and maybe a blog is a better way to do so. The blog will enable my family and friends to be better aware of my thoughts and the things I face in life. Hopefully it will deepen the "real" or "face to face" relationships in my life and spark deeper or less surface conversations between those I know.
Creating a blog is a somewhat self-centered or self-focused endever. As someone who is already an introvert, I hope that blogging doesn't increase my introverted characteristics but possibly makes it easier to express the things I already think in a way that many people will be able to understand.
The name of my blog (Not Her Own) is taken from Jeremiah 10:23 which says "I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." Since man in this verse seems to equally apply to woman, I chose to call this blog Not Her Own. I don't see my life as mine, but choose to remind myself that this life I live is a life that belong to my Creator. It is to be lived for His glory. My blog posts will most likely be somewhat random in topic, but I pray that the posts will honor God and be used in some way to further His glory and purposes on earth.
So, in the end I'm not sure why I'm finally beginning a blog today. But as I had some time to fill while my pictures uploaded to walmart, this seemed like the perfect time to start a blog. I will find it interesting to see if this will be some passing hobby in my life or if it will be something that will become second nature for me. Only God knows what the future holds for this blog and for our lives. To Him be all the glory.