Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bible Basics

Last night we had the first introductory session of the first class that I'm teaching at Crossroads.  I say the "first" introductory session because I know there are some who could not make it last night and who might want to come next week, so, next week we'll repeat, more or less, what we covered last evening.  I'd like to share a bit of it here too because there are those who can't make it next week either, perhaps because of travel plans around MEA weekend.

I'm calling the class "Bible Basics."  It's based partly on a book called The Bible for Dummies, one of a many in a "For Dummies" series of non-intimidating reference books.  I encountered this book a few weeks ago and have been looking through it and much of it I really like.  For last night's class I distributed a few pages of the book ("fair use") and asked those attending to read that part before the second official session, scheduled for Oct. 26--the week after our second introductory session.  Pick up a copy of those pages at church or pick up a copy of the book itself at the bookstore of your choice.

The other book that we'll be using in the class is Covenant and Kingdom by Mike Breen. We started introducing the concept of "Covenant" in worship over the past two weeks.  A Covenant is a trustworthy relationship, a relationship that, like a marriage, has been sealed by some sort of "covenant act."  One commonly known example of a covenant act is the placing of the rainbow in the sky after the great flood.  A lesser known but deeply significant covenant act is found in Genesis 15 -- see this brief article for an explanation.

Last night we looked at signs of the covenant in Genesis 1.  We see that in the act of God to make human beings with a special divine connection.  God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."  This making of human beings in the image of God means that we are imprinted with God's own self, imprinted in the sense that a hand print, pushed into something soft (like clay), leaves a place especially made for the hand.  This not only tells us that we are made special, but that human beings are designed for a relationship with God, a relationship that God seals with his promises and demonstrates with covenant acts.  As we look at the Bible we will see many signs of this wonderful covenant, excellent promises that God will not break.

We also then looked at the other half of what Mike Breen calls "The DNA of the Bible."  Like DNA has pairs (Adenine-Thymine, Guanine-Cylosine) so God's work in the world is based on COVENANT (a sure, solid relationship with God that we can trust) and "KINGDOM," the first sign of which we see as God gives his authority to human beings over the earth and its creatures.  We human beings are truly blessed!  We'll be looking for signs of this "Covenant-Kingdom" structure throughout the Bible as we move from week to week.

Sadly, we human beings rejected that original blessing.  We chose to reject our maker and believe the devil instead.  So, we hide from God (leaving an empty place where the imprint or image of God should be filled by Him) and to turn over the authority to the devil, bringing much evil.  BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL!  He has a plan to bring us home to him, and to restore us an the rest of creation to how it should be.  The Bible is the story of how that has taken place in the past and how it will be in the end.

That's a brief summary of what was presented last night.  We also took a quick look at some questions (about picture/poetic langugage in the Bible, why there are lists of names, whether God knew evil would come to be) and had a bit of  time for conversation!

This pastor's class will continue for six weeks (beginning with next week's "second introductory" session and the real "second session" on Oct. 26.  Come when you can.

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