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Friday, 30 July 2010

For at the proper time...

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galations 6:9-10.

Not becoming weary, getting down or frustrated but continuing to do good to all people, especially to the family of believers. If we do that the bible promises we will reap of harvest - IF we do not give up. Please pray for staying power for Alan and me with our work in the church - despite the discouragements and the lack of leadership we've experienced. Right now the church is in a sort'of transition time and we really need God to step in and speak as to how He wants us to proceed. Also please pray that God would have his hand on our house here in Moreton and that it would sell or rent, according to His purpose and His timing for us to move to Germany.

Last Friday Alan put in his notice at Save the Family - H A L L E L U J A H ! ! !
We've decided we're going to put the bulk of both our time into the church until we leave for Germany, orientation with Pioneers and Georgia. In actuality it's a little less than 2 months but we're hoping to get a lot of work done in that time. Dates so far are visting and volunteering in Germany for a week in the middle of October, orientation the week of October 24th -29th and Georgia from November 1st until December 29th. God willing then we'll move to Germany in January.

We appreciate each of you so much and covet your prayers...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Mere Christianity

By far, Mere Christianity has to be one of the best books ever written. My dad read it 30 plus years ago and it in part led to his becoming a christian. I read it for the first time in a C.S. Lewis devotional study where it and about 5 of his other books were broken apart, one page at a time so you could digest this mans intellect and the power with which God spoke through him a little bit at a time.

Lately I've been re-reading the book and I can't seem to get enough. So much so that I decided the youth at our church would really benefit from reading it as well but instead of giving them all a copy and wishing them luck I decided to teach on the book during our Wednesday night Influence meetings. We've had two so far and we haven't even touched on christianity yet. The first week we talked about the Moral Law, or Law of Human Nature, Law of Decency or Fair play. We talked and came to agreement that there was such a law pressing on each of us and we talked about how it describes not the behavior that we do exhibit as humans but the behavior we "ought" to exhibit.

So point one in lesson one was there is a moral law. Point two was we break it.

Simple enough, the group seemed to enjoy the interaction and the excuse to use their brains during their summer holidays.

Lesson two started last night and I got so pumped up in preparing that my notes alone were 13 pages long. As the night approached I got more and more intimidated by the study and the power of the words of the book and its implications and really had to give it all over to the Holy Spirit to say what he wanted me to say. We started with instincts and impulses and how the Moral Law is not one of our insticts but instead is the voice you hear that helps you to judge between two competing insticts (Millo saving Josh who is currently drowning in the Mersey (instinct to help someone) versus his instict not to drown (instinct for self-preservation). The moral law says it really doesn't care how difficult or how dangerous something is to do, if it's the right thing to do then we should do it all the same.

We discussed about whether the moral law was simply something passed down to us and taught to us by our parents and our teachers and we discussed that yes it probably is but we also discussed how there are two classes of things that are taught to us, 1) the class of things which could be different depending on where you live or the time you live in (driving on the right hand side of the road in America versus the left hand side (in England)


2) pure truths (multiplication table 2x2 = 4 everywhere you go).

Our goal was to determine which one the moral law belonged to.

As the moral law is the standard by which we judge two moralities or two impulses, we concluded that it was pure truth (the real right). This moral law is something we haven't made but nevertheless seems to be pressing on us and it's something that is above and beyond the ordinary facts of mens behavior.

We asked what this tells us about the universe. We looked at science and what the goal of science must be and we discussed how science works by experiment but how science can not say if there is anything behind the things science observes or "why" that something is there or why the universe is there or why it goes on and on, etc. However we do have one thing that we know more about than we could learn from external observation and that thing is man.

Because we are men, we have inside information so to speak and we do find that men are under this moral law. We then talked about how if the moral law showed how we "ought" to behave rather than how we "do" in fact behave (unlike the stone who obeys the law of gravitation, we're showing what the stone in fact "does") then that something else is above the facts and can not itself be one of the facts. We used the illustration C.S. Lewis uses about the architect of a house can not also be one of the walls or doors in the house and just like there is one behind the design of a house there is a mind or power behind the universe. This mind or power must be a great artist (because the universe is very beautiful) but he must also be very merciless to humans (because the universe is also a very dangerous and terrifying place).

Since this mind or power could not make himself any of the facts inside the universe then the only way it could show itself to us would be inside us as an influence trying to get us to behave in a certain way and this is exactly what we do find. This bit of evidence about a "somebody" behind the universe shows he's intensely interested in right conduct, in fair play, in unselfishness, courage, good faith, honesty and truthfulness. C.S. Lewis talks about this power behind the moral law being tough as nails and there was no pointing in asking it to let you off any more than it would make sense to ask the multiplication table to let 2x2 = 7 in your case. It's also no use in saying you are not going to bother with him because at least a part of you agrees with him. You disapprove of human exploitation, greed, treachery. You may want him to make an exception in your case but in your heart of hearts you know that unless the power behind the universe really and unalterably detests that sort of behavior, he cannot be good.

BUT if there is an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do and this is the terrible fix we are in.

We read the passage about how we have made ourselves enemies to God and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow. Here is the passage because I think it's one of the most powerful passages I've ever read. "If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the last likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we must need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger - according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way."

Powerful stuff.

The last point for the evening was the fact that Christianity does not make any sense without facing the facts C.S. Lewis has described thus far. Christianity tells people to repent and promises forgiveness. It has nothing to say to those who think they've got nothing to repent of. It is only when you realise there is a moral law and a power behind the law and that you have broken the law and put yourself wrong with that power - it is only then that Christianity begins to speak. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you realise your position is desperate you will begin to understand what Christians are talking about.

Christianity offers an explanation of how we got into our present state and how God can be this impersonal mind at the back of the moral law and yet also a person. They say how the demands of the law that we cannot meet, have been met on our behalf. How God himself became a man to save man from the disapproval of God.

We must all face the facts and if we are honest they are, as C.S. Lewis describes them, terrifying facts.

We have set ourselves up against the God of the Universe. The one that made the sun that would pelvarize you in an instant if you came too close.

Christianity is a religion of unspeakable comfort but it does not start that way. It begins in dismay.

Thank you God for C.S. Lewis and for his brain and for his willingness to allow you to speak through Him and thank you for a youth group that is at least willing to challenge everything they think they know about Christianity...

Next week we discuss Christianity and "the invasion" :))

Saturday, 3 July 2010

My Georgia trip thus far...

Well, all I can say is I'M TIRED!!!

So why am I deciding to update my blog instead of go to sleep? I have no idea. Probably because I'll forget to do it if I don't do it while it's on my mind.

Let's see... today is July the 3rd (Saturday). I got here on June the 22nd (Tuesday) so I need about a week and a half update. Ok wait for it... here it is... YARD SALE>>> CRAIGSLIST>>>EBAY!! These three little words (well four if you count yard sale as two) have absolutely consumed my first week and a half here at home.

Today we held what I consider to have been an incredibly successful yard sale to support Alans and my ministry to Germany. We had it at Christine's. I was up at 5:30 after not getting to bed until midnight and there were people coming TO the yard sale at 6:30. There are actually people in this world that I believe do nothing except anticipate yard sales, wait for them, get up SUPER early for them and then run around to as many as possible BEFORE any of them officially open. These people are what I call "NUTS!!" One lady who visited me today I am now lovingly referring to as the whirlwind. She was a PRO. That's all I can say. She came, she conquered, she took a ton of stuff and she got a GREAT deal for it all. She said it was because she was a very good shopper. Either that or I was a very BAD saleswoman! Ah well, she was taking it to Africa to folks that needed it and I figured God would be happy with me giving her all sorts of bargains so I did.

It's Monday night now - I was too tired to finish the other night so I'll finish now.

I just completed a rough draft of our support letter that I need to print, address and mail before I head back to England. Mom and Dad are looking at it now and Alan still has to look at it but it would be great if I could get them off before leaving. This by far has been the busiest "vacation" I've ever had. The stuff I listed on ebay sold last night so now I have to get it all packed up and mailed tomorrow. Once I get that done, I'll get the support letters off and see about half a dozen people for coffee or lunch plus get a few more supplies to take back and pack and then and only then I'll be ready to go :). Today was a great relaxing day though. It started with swimming at Russ' and Christine's house, then a great barbeque grill out followed by pedicures and eyebrow waxes for the sisters. My eyebrows looked like a bush and my feet - well let's just not talk about my feet. When I worked at Microsoft and made a bunch of money I went to get my nails done every two weeks like clockwork. Now I go when I come home to Georgia - so about every 3-4 months :)). Ah well, it was great fun being with my sisters. Mom made spaghetti for dinner and I was able to skype Alan and other than being very tired himself, he was well.

Pastor Carlos has been preaching on the minor prophets this summer so I've been able to hear him preach on Nahum and Habakuk so far. Both good messages. Last Sunday college class was on and I enjoyed hearing Vic speak as well. We always get into some good debates. Unfortunately Vic decided to be a slacker and take a mini-vacation to Alabama last week over the 4th of July so college class was cancelled this week. Too bad.

Alan and I could use your prayers to find a renter for our home here in Athens. The girls that have been renting are moving out at the end of July and having the house sit without renters will cost us a fortune. Please pray God brings the right people and if He's willing, by August :).

Being home is always wonderful because I love seeing family and friends but I have really missed Alan. It'll be great getting back to him and back to our church. I was sorry I missed Julian speak and I always hate missing our housegroup and youth but I've needed to be here and so far we've made close to $1500 from the yard sale and ebay/craigslist stuff selling and I've cleared out everything in the attic so we're pleased.

God is good.