Saturday, August 28, 2010

4: Biblical Patterns for Living w/ Pastor Ingle (T.T.A.T.F.)

Last week, we were on the road, so the author (Pastor Vernell Ingle) guest lectured on Sunday morning. Here are some of his reflections:

"Singles in the U.S." He started with the following stats *
  • Singles are defined as adults who have never been married or divorced, or are widowed
  • 43% of all Americans over 18 are single
  • 61% of them have never said "I do"
  • 46% of American households are maintained by a single
  • In 2008 over 6 households were made up of singles who were cohabitating
  • About 500,000 of those households were same-sex couples
[Pastor observed that the same sex statistic seems far less than what is being portrayed by the media]
  • 766,000 single grandparents were caring for grandkids in 2008
Discuss: Pastor asked the following questions that we now ask you
  • What does this tell us about our American culture today?
  • How do we relate as a Church?
  • How do we reach them?
  • When there is a mindset that marriage is no longer necessary or sacred, how does the Church relate to them without compromising the Biblical standard?
The young adults talked about showing compassion, being non-judgmental, and still offering restoration and reconciliation.

"We live in relationships and every relationship involves certain responsibilities. These relationships and responsibilities are outlined in God's Word" (p. 43).

Ephesians 5.1-2: Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (The Message)
1) To do what God does literally means "to mimic" in the Greek
2) His love was not cautious but extravagant - this is what we mimic

Philippians 2.1-5
1) Paul repeats the term if, which is also translated "since," changing the dynamics of the verse
2) "Since" we are receiving these graces in our relationship with God, then they should become part of our relationships with others

LIVE RIGHT: Ephesians 5.3-14
1) "Living a godly life means that we live a life of love and holiness" (p. 47).
2) As children of the light, we are now separate from those in the dark (verse 8)
3) "Separation does not mean isolation, but it does mean insulation" (p. 49)

BE SPIRIT-CONTROLLED: Ephesians 5.15-20
1) The word circumspectly means to have an awareness, to be aware of our surroundings
2) Redeem the time is to purchase or take advantage of every opportunity to do what is right

Ephesians 5.18: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (NIV)
1) To be filled or "controlled" by the Spirit is an on-going, daily control
2) "The negative is, 'Don't get drunk!' The positive is, 'Get drunk!'" (p. 51).
3) "If the Christian is going to get intoxicated with anything, it should be with the Holy Spirit" (p. 52).

Ephesians 5.19-20: Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
"Spirit-controlled Christians have a song in their heart. They know who their Lord is. They know who they are in the Lord and it comes out in their relationships with others. There is mutual love, respect, and submission" (Vernell Ingle).

* Statistics available from C.N.N. article Single? You're Not Alone (Census information)

Adapted from Vernell Ingle. (2005). The truth about the family: Biblical patterns and principles. Joplin, MO: Messenger Publishing House.
  • T.T.A.T.F. is available for half-price (courtesy of F.P.C.) to all who meet with us Sunday mornings
  • Online orders available at M.P.H. for The Truth About the Family

Thursday, August 26, 2010

3: The Key to Meaningful Relationships (T.T.A.T.F.)

"There is no other factor that distinguishes the unique Christian ethic more than the love of God. It begins and ends with Him. Ethics may be described as a system of moral values and/or a system of expected behavior. Since the love of God is the foundation of Christian ethics, the love of God should govern all that we are and all that we do. Thus, the standard for the Christian is not the Law, the Sermon on the Mount nor the epistles of the New Testament. The Christian standard is God Himself. God’s Word reveals who He is. And there is nothing that reveals God more accurately than His love for us" (p. 31).

1) What is there about me which cannot be explained in natural terms?
2) What is different about me from non-Christians?
3) What is unique about me that can only be explained through my relationship with Jesus Christ?

GOD IS LOVE: 1 John 4.7, 8, 13, 16
1) Why is it so difficult for us to comprehend the love of God?
2) In what ways do we tend to make God out to be human?
3) How is the love of God perfect?
4) Why is it better for us to dwell on God’s love for us rather than our love for Him?

LOVING GOD BACK: Matthew 22:34-40
1) How can a finite creature love an infinite, eternal and holy God?
2) What is significant about the heart in Scripture? Why is the heart the target of God?

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S LOVE: 1 John 4:19-21; Ephesians 5:32
1) What is the primary proof that we love God and why?
2) What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? How do we do that?
3) What is the earmark of the love of God?

"The key to meaningful relationships is the love of God. For it is through our relationship with God that we experience His love for us. That love comes to us and fills us, and in turn flows out of our hearts toward others" (p. 40).

Adapted from Ingle, V. (2005). The truth about the family: Biblical patterns and principles. Joplin, MO: Messenger Publishing House.
  • T.T.A.T.F. is available for half-price (courtesy of F.P.C.) to all who meet with us Sunday mornings
  • Online orders available at M.P.H. for The Truth About The Family

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2: Why Marriage? The Truth About the Family

"The truth is, as goes the marriage, so goes the family; as goes the family, so goes the church; as goes the church, so goes a community; and as goes the community, so goes the nation. Note that the institution of marriage is the foundation upon which all other social dynamics rest" (Ingle, 2005, 21).

Because of the amount of content in chapter 1, we took 2 weeks to work through it. Last week, we waded into chapter 2, Why Marriage? We zeroed in on the section THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE: Matthew 19.1-4.

Haven't you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? (Jesus in The Message).

"The terms 'husband' and 'wife' are being replaced with such terms as 'significant other,' 'domestic partner' and 'companion.' The legalization and recognition of same-sex unions being placed on the same level as the traditional marriage is quickly gaining ground" (Ingle, 2005, 21).

We discussed the following questions from chapter 2:

Why has the institution of marriage been under attack?

How would you describe the meaning of marriage? How would you describe the value of marriage?

What is a covenant? How does the idea of a covenant relationship relate to the marriage?

How should the love of God play a part in the marriage?

There are other questions from chapter 2, and yet more to consider. However, these were enough to get the conversation started.

Adapted from Ingle, V. (2005). The Truth About the Family: Biblical Patterns and Principles. Joplin, MO: Messenger Publishing House.