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Archive for February, 2008

A Gathered People 6

Greetings one and all! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I have read another fascinating chapter in A Gathered People and will talk about it here.
Chapter 6 in this book is Gathered to God: Divine Presence in the Assembly. In this chapter the authors eloquently discuss the assembly in the New Testament and about it’s historic backgrounds in the Old Testament as well. The book of Leviticus talks about sacrifices that are to be made by the priests through out the year and the worship that is due to God during those sacrifices. The New Testament book of Hebrews draws on those themes in the “context of assembly (Heb. 10:19-25)”. The authors also talk about the importance of worshiping in spirit and truth and what that meant then and now. In John’s Gospel chapter 4 Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman. She asks Him where worship should take place, in (literally “en”) this mountain (like the Samaritans do)or in (“en”) Jerusalem (like the Jews do). But Jesus seems to say that it doesn’t matter in what physical place one may be, but in their spiritual state. Are we worshiping in the Spirit and the truth.
An important thing to remember in worship, is that isn’t not just Theocentric- directed toward God. It is also Christocentric – directed toward Jesus the Messiah. In his gospel account Matthew draws this out perfectly in stating Jesus is the Messiah. The writer of Hebrews does as well in showing that Jesus is higher than all of the Old Testament heroes.
As we enter the Holy of Holies, we enter a sacramental encounter. In Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy we see that only the priests can enter the Holy of Holies and offer sacrifices. Hebrews draws on this theme and also states that we don’t need priests to worship God. We can do it ourselves. And we don’t have to give sacrifices like they did any more. We just need to live our lives for God with all we have.
Just as we are gathered in the Spirit, so we must be mediated by the Spirit. We do this when we worship in spirit and truth (Jn. 4). We are to pray in the Spirit, wait on the Spirit, and so forth. In Ephesians 5 we are told to “be filled with Spirit” and that way we can “speak to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks to God in the name of Jesus submitting to each other in the fear of Christ”. We are to “be filled with the Spirit” and not with things that can do bodily harm to us.
And the assembly helps us focus on the end of time and dawn of eternity where we will be in eternal assembly at the throne of God. What an awesome thought!
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Thank you for reading my thoughts on this chapter in A Gathered People. This a very thought provoking study. It is really making me think and turning me to the Bible. I highly recommend this book! Next time I’ll blog about Blue Like Jazz. I am also reminded of other blog series I’ve started but haven’t continued in some time (opps!), so we’ll get back on those in the coming days. So please stay tuned in for that.
Thank you all and God bless!
Zack

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Missionaries

Greetings everyone! Like I said yesterday, the AIM students are in Mexico City right now working with the missionaries there and helping them out. The AIM students drove from Lubbock, TX all the way to Mexico City. Holy cow! That’s a long way! Please pray for all of them as they’re down there and that they get back to Lubbock safely. I think there are two groups of the current AIM class that will serve in Mexico for their mission experience. All the teams have been announced, so pray for all of them as they learn to work together as a team and getting ready for the mission field. And please pray for all of the AIMers who are currently on mission fields all around the world. Please pray for my friends who are preparing to leave for their mission fields: the Hindman family and their team as they go to Russia, the Peters family and their team as they go to Auckland, NZ,
and all other missionaries who are preaching the gospel the world over.
And lastly please pray for Craig Peters and his family as they prepare to go to Sydney, Australia to work with the Sunset Branch school there, as well as Charles and Tamara Cook as they prepare to go to Singapore to work with the Sunset Branch school there. Thank you all! God bless!
Zack

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A Gathered People 5

Greetings one and all! Chapter 5 in A Gathered People is Assembly Among Churches of Christ: Our Formative History. This chapter addresses Churches of Christ in the US and about the assembly and it’s role in the church. Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell are father and son. They both grew up in the Presbyterian church. They and Barton W. Stone sought to restore the ancient order of things. They aimed to sanctify the Lord’s Day. They said that “every occasion of the ‘assembly of the saints’ is a ‘meeting with the Lord’.” They believed people couldn’t be so casual on Lord’s Day and believed that we were aware of the Lord’s presence we wouldn’t be so causal when we met together. Gathering in the Name of the Lord was serious business. The Regulative Principle stated “Restoration of the Ordinance of the New Institution to their place and power”. Divine Ordinances for Christian Assemblies echoes the Five Acts Model (of sorts) mentioned earlier in the book. They stated five acts that were included in worship services (singing, praying, preaching, communion, and contribution), but wasn’t mandatory. At least these five things were included, but sometimes more than that. Word and Table was a special time that included those five things and a lot more involved. Christian Assemblies as Test of Loyalty seems to go on among some. One church does worship one way, another does things differently. And both churches go to war over it. How rediculous! Thus, the Regulative Principle is clarified. Acts 2:42 is seen as the most basic worship needs. Everything else is do-able. Positive Law and the Assembly is big. Positive Law states, “the highest test of respect for divine authority since it tests the condition of the heart as it penetrates deep down in to the in most depths of our hearts”. Meaning, it tests our attitudes and desires. Here they read from different parts of the Bible and test themselves there. The Sanctity of the Assembly is where we encounter the presence of God in the assembly. We are not to rush into God’s presence, but must ready our selves and make we are sanctified to meet Him in the assembly.
In conclusion, worship is where we encounter God. He meets us there and transforms us as we worship Him. What a marvolous thought!
This is a facinating book! Please get it and read it! You’ll be blessed!
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On another note, the current AIM class in Lubbock is in Mexico City this week. The AIM students go there to work with missionaries there for a week to gain a world mission. Please keep them in prayer especially during this time. They will get to go on the buses, the mass transit system, and lots of walking. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. Please keep all of those who are there in prayer. More about AIM on Wednesday. God bless you all!
Zack

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Greetings one and all. I would like to take a moment and tell y’all about two families who are about to do mission work. Both of these families need our prayers and financial support.
Craig Peters and his family are going to Sydney, Australia to be part of the School of Preaching there. This school recently signed on with Sunset International Bible Institute to use there ciriculum, books, and so forth. I believe they are aiming to leave the US sometime in March. Please see their website at australiaforhim.com.
The second family is Charles Cook’s. He and his wife are preparing to go to Singapore to help train ministers to take the gospel in the continent of Asia. Asia is the largest and most populated continent of the world. China and India are the most populated countries in the world (1.3 and 1.2 billion people respectively). The Lord is opening doors for missionaries to go to these two countries and all over Asia. Are we ready to take the gospel to them? Please see Charles’ website at focusonasia.net for more information.
Please keep these two families in your thoughts and prayers this week. God bless you all.
Zack

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Blue Like Jazz

Hello everyone! I have read three chapters (4, 5, and 6) in Blue Like Jazz that we need to cover. So let’s get started on that.
Chapter 4 is called Shifts: Find a Penny. In this chapter Miller talks about wanting to attend Reed College. Some people called Reed one of the most ungodly places on earth. He grew an interest in auditing a few classes there over time. One of his buddies decided to take some classes there and asked Miller to join him. And he did. He met a lot of people in his classes there. Some believed in God and some didn’t. One girl he met there, her father was a Methodist pastor and most of her family believed in God. But she didn’t. This girl really struggled in life and just couldn’t find it in herself to believe in God. He talked about another girl who grew up not believing in God. That was until she went to a semester abroude program in France. There she met a fellow Reed student who did believe in God. They didn’t know each other while in the US, but met and became good friends while they were in France. They talked about life and their struggles in life. But the girl who believed in God turned their conversations about Him. Eventually the girl who had grown up not believing in God turned her life to Him during this experience. All because a friend of hers shared her faith in Him and showed her God can help her in her struggles in this life. That is truly a commentary on how we should evangelize today.
In chapter 5 Miller talks about Faith and penguins. There isn’t any one on earth (including myself) who can explain God. If any one could, God wouldn’t be God. He is uncomprehendable and unexplainable. And the same is true with our faith in Him. We can do our own research in our Bibles about Him. We can find the sites mentioned in our Bibles on world maps. But there isn’t any scientific evidence we can point to. Can’t see Him, touch Him, taste Him. All the things that science says proves something is real can’t be done with God. All of that to say there is a great deal of faith that goes along with believing in God. Near the end of the chapter Don talks about penguins and how they hatch their eggs. The momma penguins give the eggs to the papa penguins. And the momma penguins go off somewhere to get fish while the papa penguins all sit around in a circle with all of the eggs to keep them worm. But the momma penguins instinctively know when the eggs are going to hatch. After a while they start back home and always get back at the correct moment when the baby penguins are going to be born. Absolutely amazing! No one can explain how they just instinctively know when the eggs are going to hatch. They just know. Miller says it’s the same way with us. Some times we just know that God is real.
And lastly is chapter 6 and this chapter talks about Redemption: The Sexy Carrots. Here Miller talks about an experience he had with two high school friends of his who got him to do some crazy stuff. That experience was a turning point in his life. It got him to be serious about God and about life in general. He talks about a little children’s book he had written (included in this chapter with very funny animated characters). It was a bunny rabbit who was chasing the sexy carrot. The rabbit chased the rabbit across the US and even to the moon. Eventually the rabbit got the sexy carrot and ate it. The moral of the story is if you chase your dreams for long enough, you’ll get it eventually. Of chourse, another moral is some of the things we want in life will kill us (the story ends with the sexy carrot killing the rabbit- so sad).
More on Blue Like Jazz later on next week.
Sorry I haven’t talked about the AIM students in a long while. The AIM students in Lubbock know who their teams are now and where they will be going for their mission fields. So please be in prayer for them as they prepare for their mission fields with their teammates. Pray for those who are on their mission fields right now all round the world.
Be in prayer for my friends who are heading Moscow, Russia: Rob and Denyce Hindman and their two sons; Mike and Lucy McDougle and their son; and David and Olivia Nelson. These are all dear friends and they plan to leave this summer.
For all missionaries who are preaching the gospel all over the world.
And lastly that the Lord will raise up more workers for His harvest fields (Matthew 9).
Thanks and God bless!

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Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged. No excuses.
I have decided to write about A Gathered People today and blog about Blue Like Jazz tomorrow. It’s been longer since I’ve blogged about it. So, to keep this blog entry from being incredibly long I’ll write about A Gathered People here today. With out further adieu, here we go.
Chapter 4 in A Gathered People is Assembly in Christian History: Word and Table. In this chapter the authors look at the assembly in the second and third centuries. They look indepth at Justin Martyr and Tertullian two of the outstanding church leaders in those days. It is very important to note that there are no formal orders of worship in the New Testament nor in the second and third centuries either. Justin Martyr and Tertullian write about worship, but their reasons for writing is to tell non-Christians about Christian worship and life. It wasn’t to strengthen and encourage brethern like what the apostle Paul did in his letters back in New Testament days.
Then they talk about Assemblies in the Imperial Era. Here they talk about the Western Order and the Eastern Order in light of the Basic Liturgical Order. The basic liturgical order has four things. 1. Assembly-Greeting-Entrance; 2.Liturgy of the Word; 3.Liturgy of the Table; and 4. Dismissal-Benediction. This is basically about reading passages in Psalms, or Acts, or the Gospels. Pretty much a good mixture of all three of those interspersed with prayers and singing.
The Western and Eastern Orders represent the two religous bodies at the time: the Greek Byzantine Church (Eastern Order) and the Latin Roman Catholic Church (Western Order).
The authors list the order of worship most previlant for the two religous churches (including the entrance and biblical readings from Psalms, Acts, and the Gospels, weaved into and out of prayers and singing).
Then they talk about The Assembly in the Reformed Tradition. These talk about other religous groups that come on to the scence: Lutherns, Anabaptists, and Anglicans. First we read about The Reformed Regulative Principle. This talks about John Calvin and Huldrich Zwingli and how they used this principle. First, the Reformed Regulative Principle says that the Bible and the Bible alone says how we are to worship God. There are no other methods allowed other than what is written. Next is the Liturgical Reformed Tradition and how Calvin used it. Then we read about the Puritan Reformed Tradition and how Zwingli used this tradition. And lastly we read about the Eighteenth Century Dissenters. These were John Glas, Robert Sandeman, and Archibald McLean. These three ministered in Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom and apparently stirred up trouble in a religous since.
In a few days we’ll look at chapter 5 and see Assembly Among Churches of Christ: Our Formative History. This book is extremely enlightening! I highly endorse this fine book!
Tomorrow we’ll talk about three chapters in Blue Like Jazz.
Before I close, please be in prayer for the nation of Kenya. I know there has been a lot of political turmoil in there the past few weeks, including people being killed and church buildings being burned down. There is some really intense stuff going on there. Let’s all be praying for our brothers and sisters there and the nation as a whole.
And lastly please be praying for the AIM students on their mission fields all around the world and those in Lubbock preparing to leave the country. More about that tomorrow. Until then, God’s richest blessings on each of you!

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