It’s now Wednesday morning in Elista. We’re ready for the second day of class. Here’s a report of yesterday’s activities. Thanks for praying.
Monthly Archives: March 2016
This morning, we worshipped at Holy Trinity Church in Anapa. They had a display in front highlighting 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails.” Children sat in the front row and then were prayed for before going to Sunday School. Pastor Vanya used PowerPoint to preach about true heroes from Hebrews 11. The church enjoys a time of fellowship after the service. It was encouraging to worship with God’s people.
“What if each Sunday every Christian chose to be pastor of his or her pew? Every week people come to church looking for something to mend the brokenness they feel inside. Often they leave and no one has spoken a word to them the entire morning. Why? Our mirrors are dirty. Jesus isn’t being reflected to others because we are not revealing ourselves to Him first. The world sees our lack of love rather than His love. But we can do something about that. We can go to God unlike Him that we might be more like Him in the world.”
From “Mirroring the Presence of Christ in the World,” chapter 10 in The Sacrament of Evangelism, by Jerry Root & Stan Guthrie
On Sunday, I taught my Sunday School class about the importance of being intentional about what we allow into our minds.
I began by having the group analyze a number of comics. As I have explained on other occasions, comics are a great source of fun entertainment. But they also provide insight into culture. Each writer weaves a worldview into his particular comic. I asked them to discuss what theme was in each comic.
After talking about the comics, I discussed a recent episode of the TV show, “Once Upon A Time.” The prior episode, “Souls of the Departed,” the twelfth episode in season five, presented the idea that you can work your way to heaven. In the episode, the characters of Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Henry, Robin, and Gold take the S.S. Purgatory to the Underworld to rescue Hook. (I know, you have to suspend some disbelief to watch the show.)
While they are there, they meet several characters who are confined in the Underworld because they have “unfinished business.” Henry Mills, Regina’s father, helps Regina, and thus is able to cross over to a better place, while Cora, Regina’s mother, fails in her task, and receives greater punishment.
The episode communicated an underlying philosophy that you can live your life without any thought of the consequences because you will have a second chance after you die. If you do enough good work in purgatory, you can still work your way to heaven.
I used the comics and the TV show to illustrate what Paul was teaching in Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, that we are to control our minds.
Romans 12:1–2 – 1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 10:3–6 – 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
In Romans 12:2, Paul says that we are resist going with the flow and becoming just like the world. Instead, we are to be transformed by renewing our mind and testing what is the will of God. In 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, Paul says that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and part of the battle is in the world of ideas. The world erects ideological strongholds such as selfishness and earning your salvation which need to be torn down. But it is not enough to merely tear them down, we also have to bring our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ in order to be obedient.
Whether reading the comics or watching TV, whether going to the movies or listening to talk radio, we need to keep our minds engaged and thoughtfully analyze what is being presented. Will it help us become more like Christ? Does it teach a philosophy contrary to God’s will? What does Scripture say in regards to what is being presented? What would God have me to think on this topic?
To become like Jesus, we are to exercise intentionality in what and how we think.
We arrived safely in Anapa this morning after two and a half days of traveling. A bit road weary and jet lagged, but no worse for wear. I connected with John & Naomi Musgrave (the missionaries with Mentoring Matters that I work with) in Amsterdam, and we traveled together from there.
After our arrival, we went grocery shopping for the class that will begin on Thursday. Since there will be between 12-17 students in the class, John & Naomi are planning meals for 20+ people. We headed to Magnet, the main grocery store in Anapa to stock up. It is an ultramodern store with lots of selection. One nice feature is the bulk frozen foods section where you can purchase as much as you want rather than a prepackaged amount. Three baskets later, we had food for seven meals over three days, minus the things we forgot which we’ll get tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be a day of rest before the people arrive and the class begins on Thursday. Thanks for praying.