Thursday, December 30, 2010

The new year is coming!

Christmas has come and gone! Can you believe it? Wow, that was fast. Seems like it was just yesterday (more like 2 months ago!) that I was telling my daughter people would be putting up Christmas lights soon. Despite some stomach flu I had a great Christmas. How about you? All I wanted for Christmas this year was just some time with family and rest.

Well, New Year’s Day is coming. Any goals to set for this next year? I’ll be working on mine today. I think it’s good to set goals. Gives you something to aim at and it can be a humbling and fun experience to look back and see how you did. One of my goals last year was to read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation. I did not achieve that one. I’m still reading (in 1 Kings), just that things are going a little slower than expected. One of my goals for next year is to finish reading through the Bible.

Well, I would love to hear some of your New Year’s goals and maybe how you did last year. Care to share?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Catholic Mary

Finished the 3-week series on Mary last night. It was interesting to talk and discuss what the Catholic Church teaches about Mary. I pulled all this material from Scot McKnight's book The Real Mary. Thought the book was an easy read and very helpful in laying out what Catholics really think about Mary. So, we will start with some similarities bewteen Catholics and Protestants.

- Would believe with us Protestants in the supernatural conception of Jesus
- Would believe with us Protestants that Mary is the mother of God

- Believe Mary was sinless (still had to grow and mature, just never chose to sin, sinless because God enabled her to be)
o We, in the Wesleyan camp, believe a person can live above sin and not choose to sin, we believe that such a life is only possible because God enables it.
o This could be a good stepping stone to talking about Christian Perfection, or entire sanctification.

- Perpetual virgin (so did Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley)
o Arose around the time when the commitment to celibacy was thought of as noblest form of the spiritual life.

- Immaculate Conception – Mary, the moment she was born, was made sinless by God.
o In our view of sinlessness we would disagree because we believe heavily in choice in regards to these matters.

- Glorious Assumption – Mary taken to heaven with God. The stories tell that she died in the presence of others and was placed in a tomb, when they checked on her, she was gone. Believe this because they say Mary was not affected by Original Sin (aging, death, decay, etc.)

- The Mediatrix – Catholics pray to Mary by asking her to intercede for them.
o From incident in John where Mary intercedes on the behalf of others for her Son to make wine.
o Catholics do not look at Mary as an idol (though we may think they do).
o Believe so strongly in the fact that there is life after death that their prayers are heard by saints in heaven.

That is a summary of Catholic teaching on Mary. Any thoughts?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Mary's Servant Attitude

I've been learning a lot lately about Mary (mother of Jesus). Of course teaching a series on her forces learning. But, there's one verse, from her story as a teenager, that has been particulary challenging. It's Luke 1:38 (just the beginning portion). It's her response to the angel after he announces she will give birth to the Messiah.

It reads,

I am the Lord's servant.

Questions to ponder
- Can you say this to Jesus today and really mean it?

- What does it mean to say something like this?

- What doesn't it mean?

- What kind of life would one have to live to say this and mean it?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Could the real Mary please stand up?

I began a 3-week series with our adults last night on Mary. Advent is a great time to look at her story and hope-filled life. Along with Scripture, I’m using The Real Mary by Scot McKnight for fodder. Great book! Scot is a great New Testament scholar and friend to the church.

In this book Scot presents to us evangelicals a Mary we appreciate and learn from. To be honest, when I think of Mary I think of a young woman kneeling beside a baby. It’s the classic nativity scene Mary. This book has caused me to look again and dive into the scripture to see the real Mary.

This book does a great job of laying out the historical context to Mary’s story along with the overall mindset of those in the First Century. You’ll get a great amount of easy-to-read exegesis on passages pertaining to Mary in this book.

One thing unique to this book (at least I thought it was) is the emphasis on Mary’s role as Jesus’ teacher. Of course she was His mom, but have we given much thought to the fact that Jesus was fully human and had to learn in the same way we learn? His mom played a key role in his upbringing and training in the Old Testament stories. If you doubt Mary knew much about the Old Testament compare her song in Luke 1:46-55 to Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel. Mary had a huge influence on Jesus and His teachings.

Well, I’ve still a couple chapters left in this book and will post more about Mary next week. If you have any thought would love to hear them.