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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pushed

On Thursday mornings I have two studies back to back.  The first is with a group of guys that have embraced the methods I shared with them two years ago and wanted to keep digging through the Word.  We are in Jeremiah about half way done.
Who pushes you in the Word?  Thoughts at DTTB.
The second study is on line.  It is with a pastor I have been working with for the past two years.  We went through the methods I shared with the first group of guys, and then applied those to Ephesians, Romans, and now Jeremiah.  We are in the first part of the book.

To say that I am challenged by this three hour part of my day would be an epic understatement.  The first six guys are continually pushing for more clarity in the Word.  They are dealing with how to really understand and apply the Word to all aspects of their lives as husbands, fathers, professionals, and men who are striving to represent their Lord in each of those roles.  The dialog is good, the questions are deep, the time flies by…

Then I drive home and fire up the video conference with a man half way around the world.  It is slower.  We sometimes struggle understanding each other, I talk to fast, and sometimes he has to search for the right English word to express his thoughts.  Then he starts asking questions.  They are coming out of a totally different context.  He is dealing with people who have come to Christ out of Islam.  The questions with which he deals are different than the earlier group.  They require me to listen and think in completely different ways.  I have to really work to understand the issues on the surface and behind the questions he poses.  This morning as we worked through the first part of Jeremiah 3 I felt like I had not begun to understand the book and this is my fourth time through it since last fall.

People tell me that to work with people that are not in my culture that we have to be sensitive to what they are dealing with.  OK.  But my experience in the past two years has been that when it comes to the Word, it equalizes the cultures.  If we approach the text honestly, openly, admitting and acknowledging our presuppositions, it pushes us.  If we listen to one another, listen to the way the other person’s gifts and experiences are interacting with the Word, it pushes us.  If we engage with people who do not live in the same circumstances as we do, if we listen to them, embrace their questions and look together with them to the Word for answers, it pushes us.

It pushes us closer to our Lord and each other.

3 comments:

  1. Good points:
    1) the Word equalizes the cultures;
    I made a topical study on "Relationships with foreiners" in mid 1990s, and my conclusion then was: "People of the same Spirit coming from different cultures have more in common than people of the same culture and even family, who do not share the same Spirit".
    2) We need to be sensitive to the circumctanses of others and beware own presuppositions.

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    Replies
    1. Well said, good conclusions. From my study on the Kingdom of God I have begun to sense that people of the Book are to be as Paul states in Philippians 3:20 citizens of a different country, we are all citizens of heaven.

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    2. Yep, citizens of heaven, and to bring different, Kingdom values to this world just like the Romans brought their culture to Philippi -- a Roman colony.

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