Friday, January 25, 2008

small group, tough questions

I am really excited about our small group. I have been praying for christian friends for us for...literally YEARS. I have been abundantly blessed with friends along the way and mentors who have encouraged and lifted and helped teach us.... but I have been seeking deep christian friendships of people that love God and are passionate about Him or maybe who are just new christians but WANT to grow and be passionate about Him.

There are plenty of people we come across who are the well mannered, overly involved in church 'things' christian type --- which is better than being non well mannered, not belonging to a church not involved at all type of christian......but those things mean nothing if they are not actively pursuing and seeking God and growing. I want something deeper than what serving alongside somebody at a church function can offer. Saying hey on Sunday and Wednesday isn't enough -- I want to be around others who want to grow deeper. People who are passionate in their love of Christ (or want to be) and want to truly make Him the priority. I have been blessed with 2 friends like this through the internet (this blog!) of all places!! And now, we have now finally found couples interested in a small group! In fact we have found so many couples - we'll probably end up splitting into 2 groups!

We meet on Thursday nights. We've just been getting to know each other the past weeks, talking about some scripture, where along the path we are, etc. But we're starting a book series next week. I came home and started reading it right away. The series is called Tough Questions - it's an awesome discussion series for all kinds of small groups - seeker groups (non christians who are open minded and want to discuss) or christian groups wanting to learn more definitive answers to tough questions we hear, just a great series.

It's all about really finding the answers for yourself - it is full of questions but no answers. It does give scriptures to refer to - but I love that it's meant for people to journey and seek out the Truth for themselves. These types of questions used to 'scare' me. Maybe because my faith wasn't strong enough, my doubts were too heavy, maybe because I never really understood how to get my point across without seeming demanding, unloving, pushy. But for whatever reason, I am so intrigued and pumped about diving into these discussions.

I truly believe there is a right and wrong and that it's black and white. I believe there is ONE God, the only God, the creator of the whole universe and I believe He created us each unique and individually in His image. I believe the Bible to be the absolute Truth and word of this One God, Lord of Lords. I believe that anybody who has the courage to truly seek out the Truth and opens and studies His Word, will be given the answers, the Truth. Matthew 7:7

The book we are starting is called, "Don't All Religions Lead to God" Tough Questions series. I was reading in the back looking at the author and I realized that the man who wrote most of the other books in this series is a dear friend's father!!!!! In fact, she was one of my bridesmaids! Her name is Anna - her family is involved at Willow Creek Community Church - this series we're doing is a Willow Creek Resource. They have done soo much good in the christian community - what an awesome organization they have! Isn't that crazy though - what a small world! She lives in Chicago, we met doing an internship down at Disney - only were with each other for about 4 months -but she had (and continues to) have a wonderful impact on my life! We really don't talk to each other a lot at all - but we are joined in our love for Christ. It's amazing how the Body of Christ is all connected and He finds ways to get our paths to cross....and to continue to cross over the years!

(a brief rundown of bridesmaids: Donna (college roommate) Christin (kind of hard to explain but mother to my nephew and niece) me (the bride), Roxie (with hunter in her belly), Anna (that's the one I'm talking about! Real name Anastasia), Kimberly (swimteam friend), Meagan (hometown friend), Lisa (best friend from childhood) -- the little girls are Ashton my niece, and Alexandra whose mom & dad have been great friends and mentors to us.

Here are some of the questions from Discussion One!

Why do you think there are so many religions in the world?
Do you think all the major religions are fundamentally the same or fundamentally different?
True or False: If a religion inspires people to live better lives, we shouldn't question it.
What difference, if any, would it make if the source of an idea or concept of great value to you was false?
True or False: People who claim to have the only truth about religion are arrogant, and such conceited attitudes are the cause of great strife and conflict in the world.
What is the difference between toleration of all religions and validation of all religions?
Do Christianity's exclusive claims worry, bother or embarass you?

I'd LOVE for YOU to join in the discussion too!!! Even if you've never commented before - or want to do it anonymously - please share your heart if you'd like to!! Coming soon!

1 comment:

Candy-Faith said...

Great post!

Why are there so many religions in the world?
hmm, I guess maybe because over the years people wanted to make things to their own liking. Maybe all the type A personalities wanted to start their own religion. I dont know. Its a really great question! I dont really know why. I know one thing we have to be very careful which religion we follow, and I think how we become careful and discerning is by reading the inspired word of God, the Bible. And attending a Church that preaches from the Bible.

Are all major religions fundamentally the same or different?
I dont feel that ALL major religions are fundamentally the same. There are some major ones out there that are way "out there" its scary actually. There are some religions that are very similar like baptist and pentecostal. Catholic and Protestant is different in many ways but they do share some important beliefs so thats good.

T or F if a religion inspires you, you shouldnt question it.
FALSE! There are many sheep in wolves clothing. And yes you should question it if the preaching is not from the Word of God. Just because it might inspire you and sounds good and all positive and everything doesnt mean its right.

T or F.. people who claim to have the only true religion are arrogant and their attitudes cause strife..
I think that anyone who is coming off with an attitude of conceit or arrogance is not the best.. God wants "spiritual fruit" not "religious nuts". BUT-- if the person is claiming in a right way, that the Bible is the inspired word of God then you know what they are saying is true because the Bible IS the inspired word of God. We dont want to be shoving the Bible down peoples throats but instead we need to be an example, so that others see the light of Jesus in us and desire it too..

What is the differance between tolerance and validation of all religions?
Well tolerance means that we can tolerate someone of a different religion but it doesnt mean we accept or believe their religion so we tolerate them..instead of hurting them or belittling them...but we just dont have to accept/validate their way as truth.
We still believe the Gospel, the word of God.

Do Christianitys claims worry or bother me?
No, none of christianity claims worry or bother me at all. What might bother me is if people that talk the talk but dont walk the walk (hypocrites). People need to see that we are following what we believe otherwise they will think whats the point, that person is no different than me so why do I have to accept Jesus..
None of christianity claims bother me that I can think of. If its from the Bible, its as good as gold to me because if the Bible says it, then I believe it!
Great topic!! Have to answer too.