Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wednesday thoughts - 4/20

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning and to the men's Bible Study at 6:00. But what a blessing. I will admit that I am often discouraged by our men's lack of ability to interact with a text. They need simple questions - often not really about the text. When real questions are asked about the text there is often confusion or just silence. "Jesus" is not the answer to every question about the text. Example - Why, in Mark 6, when Jesus walks on water, - why is Peter walking on water totally left out by Mark? It's not so much they don't know the answer, but that the thought of asking such a question is so strange. I don't know if I'm making sense. Anyway. In our men's Bible Study we are following a simple devotional thing - which does the questions for us - but more and more we are interacting with the text - on our own. I love that. It seems like I've seen some progress in some of the men as far as thinking about such things goes. The ramifications of having men in a congregation rarely interacting deeply with God's Word are scary. I enjoyed today's study and am encouraged by the bits of progress I see.

I may sound conceited - such is not my intention. I realize I have far to go (I sure hope the 40 year old me looks back at the 31 year old me and is amazed at my foolishness) and that my desire to study Scripture is a gift from God. I guess I just often expect more. We have not taught our adults to fish - and they definitely aren't teaching our students to fish. That's a general statement and not fair - as we have some adults teaching students to fish.

Which gets me on this train of thought. As I think about raising my kids - spiritual formation is number one on my list. Not only do I want them saved, but I want them to be students of God's Word. I have almost never run across one parent that has spent true quality time teaching their kids how to use God's Word. If our true desire is that our children love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, what's up? Similarily, I have rarely heard of parents teaching their kids to pray (other than the very basics). Parents don't work with their kids on these things. Ok - unfair again. What do parents work with their kids on?

I'm really not in a bad mood this morning. I had one of those devotional times with the Lord that was longer and better than normal (and normal isn't bad). Mark 6 still has me thinking - and thinking. Why did Mark leave out certain things (like the fact that the crowds wanted to make Jesus King after he fed them - or that Peter walked on water)? And I still am absolutely amazed at Jesus' compassion for the masses - even as he was exhausted. It seems to me that the disciples may have been angry - hence their hearts were hardened and they didn't learn from the feeding of the 5000 (mentioned twice in Mark - that their hearts were hardened). How often is my heart hardened and I totally miss what God is teaching?

I often wonder what my children's future spouses are doing right now - what their families are like and such. I realize they may not have been born yet. I pray that 1) they would be very godly; 2) they would have a great relationship with my children and me and Lori 3) they would grow up in a godly home (and I wonder if that's a bad prayer - for many reasons - like - I just can't relate in a great way to how so many of my students come from poor to horrible homes - when I say my parents never disciplined me in anger or yelled at me in anger - well - it's a foreign language - and I just feel very selfish and maybe foolish praying that last part of the prayer). 4) I pray for purity for those kids (not just sexual, but in every way - what a scary culture to raise kids in - not that my kids will necessarily marry Americans). What do you pray for for your future children's spouses? (I do pray for my born and unborn children every day too - not just for their spouses).

I so enjoy Wednesday night youth group (I think I'm the only "old school" youth pastor around here that has such a thing). I feel like students come in with their heads down, tired, discouraged, needing a major overhaul. By God's grace, and probably mostly apart from me and what I do, they walk out with their heads up and ready to face life again (especially Senior High). The world weighs so heavily on them. I guess it's a reminder that we are not home yet - this is not heaven. Which leads me to Doug's quote - "For the unsaved, earth is as close to heaven as they will get. For the believer, earth is as close to hell as we'll get."

Nothing real deep today - just thoughts floating around.


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