Monday, April 7, 2008

Learning from each other.

I love my Truth Project group that meets on Sunday night. There is nothing like time to make the relationships in a small group richer. As the group gets more comfortable with each other, interaction seems more natural and easy. One of the great things is being able to learn from each other.

During our discussion someone brought up John the Baptist. Here is what he said. He discussed how at the end of John's life he was sitting in prison. John must have been in some kind of a faithless fog. It all started out so wonderfully. He was the Holy Spirit filled introducer of the Christ. He had heard the voice from heaven after baptizing Jesus say, "this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". But John was not included in the twelve. His calling as a prophet kept him separate from Jesus and his disciples for some reason. John knew that he had to decrease while Jesus increased. But to disappear, to be forgotten, to end up in jail and ultimately beheaded at the whim of a dancing girl and her mother. Where was God in that cell? Where was the power of Jesus for him? And so John sends someone to ask "the question". Are you the one who was to come or should we look for someone else. It is almost like the painful circumstances of his life had squeezed out his faith. It seems that he had forgotten the powerful effect of his ministry that was a result of the power of God and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It seems like he no longer could remember with confidence that he, himself, had heard the voice of God identify His Son. Circumstances have power to squeeze us in a way that diminishes our faith.

Jesus responds this way,

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

John already knew about the miracles of Jesus. It seems that Jesus simply reminds him.

John is a lot like us. Our faith gets squeezed out of us when life gets hard. That is why we need to hold on to each other. Hebrews tells us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need to sit in church and be reminded of what we already know is true but sometimes find hard to hold on to. We need sit around living rooms in our small groups and borrow each other’s faith from time to time. God shows up in a very subtle but real way when we get together. I love my Truth Project group.

5 comments:

TangoDelta said...

According to Jewish tradition, the Jews were seeking two different Messiahs - one was Messiah, the Conquering King. He was often known as Messiah ben David. The other Messiah was a Suffering Messiah. He was known as Messiah ben Joseph.

John knew that Jesus was the suffering Messiah, as indicated in John 3:22-36 and may have been asking Jesus, "are you also the Conquering King or will another come?"

We as believers today know that Jesus came first as the one who Suffered, and in the future will return Victorious!

SammyB said...

I, too, love my Truth Project. It has been very educational and eye-opening for me. I am very glad that our church made the decision to start doing this.

Natalie and I (and our kids) meet at the Hillens, and we absolutely love it. They have opened up their home to us and others & are such great people. I am proud to call them my extended family.

I agree that as this Truth Project has gotten deeper we have become closer and closer to one another. ....and I also love that fact as well. I look forward to how much closer I can be to God and these people in my Truth Project.

The fellowship, learning, praying, and community that this has brought us has been fantastic. I hope that others are getting the same or better experience out of their Truth Project.

Just like church & life, this Truth Project could easily be something that we fall into "the routine" of doing. I want to encourage myself, my wife, my group, and the rest of the church to not let it get this way.

Keep sharing with one another, keep praying together, keep that close-knit relationship with God, your family, and your small group (which will also extend to the rest of church). If we focus on these things, then our church will be just THAT much stronger.

Thanks Eddie for being such a wonderful Pastor. We love you, and appreciate your leadership, honesty, and your love for your family & your church family. Keep it up!

--SammyB

SammyB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hillenblog's Wife said...

Sunday night has become my favorite night of the week. We do have a great group and I love having everyone out here. I will miss this when the bible study ends, but we have already been talking about "what will we do this summer?" And, "can we keep the same group in the fall?" It is great to learn from each other, and feel like we can be honest with each other.
Thanks Eddie, for getting our church into this. It is a huge blessing for our group, and for our family.

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