"NEW LIFE" BULLETIN – VOL. 25, NO. 40-43 – IT DEPENDS ON WHERE WE STAND AND WHAT WE WANT
When I say it depends on where we stand, I mean our point of observation, as if we were looking at something from just one angle. That’s where some of us are when it comes to God. Not intentionally, but because that’s where we have found ourselves due to external factors such as family traditions, both religious and social.
If Christmas was not a happy time for you as a child, your view of Christmas will be shaped by those experiences. It would be the same for birthdays and personal relations. Growing up in a home where there are drugs, drinking and abuse will shape how one sees domestic life. It is the same with religion, and especially the view of all things God.
When it comes to God all of us are introduced to a religious viewpoint, primarily by our parents, or some other person. That would involve certain doctrines, i.e., teachings.
Historically, at least since sometime after the first century, sin and hell were among the first words that pierced our brains. The idea of being born sinful dominated the Christian religion, and in some cases, still does. Sin and sex were twin siblings. We could have easily coined a new word called “sinuality” which would have defined sexuality.
Think about your own developmental beginning as a Christian. Was not your sexuality, your coming of age, the beginning of your serious concern about being a sinner? Perhaps not, but there is significant evidence that in many cases it is.
I’ve mentioned before that the time the Jewish boy was “bar mitzvahed” at age 13, he was not being cleansed from sin. The term literally meant “son of commandment,” meaning he now had the rights of Jewish manhood. The Jewish girl was “bat mitzvahed” at age 12. Actually, both the boy and the girl were automatically “mitzvahed” at that age. The celebration ceremony was optional. However, it did exemplify joy of the occasion as an important moment that had nothing to do with sin.
Somehow, those ages, or the age of Jesus when he was in the temple, became for many, “the age of accountability.” Which had far more to do with sin than reaching a time of maturity toward God’s commandments, which was the emphases of Jesus in the temple. We do not teach that Jesus became accountable for his sin at twelve years old. He was actually about thirty when he was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness.”
However, many young, “You’d better become” Christians, face the dilemma of becoming something they cannot stop, becoming sexually aware, and the helplessness that it’s very happening has made them sinners worthy of hell. “Dirty” and “Nasty” are familiar words to many a preteen.
So rather than being introduced to a loving parent who understands everything about us and has declared it good, we are introduced to a God who created us in a certain way, but is now disappointed, especially in the area of our sexuality. “Put on some pants, Adam!”
God, from that viewpoint, sees our sin first and our worth last, if we dare use the word “worth” about ourselves. As long as we never see God from another viewpoint, we will live a life of guilt and shame, even if we theoretically say we are forgiven for our constant sinfulness. We will never feel secure in our relationship with God because it is all based on how well we keep the rules, and they are many. Grace is what we receive when we pass the test with a perfect score, less a few jots and tittles along the way. We become attracted to passages that suggest God punishes us to make us better. In fact, there are those who feel punishment is God’s way of showing love.
I knew a family that adopted a little girl who had been abused by her parents, but especially by her mother. Her adoptive mother told me during the first few years the little girl would come to her and say, “Do you want to spank me?” Why? Because the only time she had any emotional contact with her mother was when she was being punished, so the punishment became warped love. It is sad when God is seen that way. It destroys the possibility of a healthy relationship and becomes the eyes through which everything is evaluated about God.
From such a relationship there come certain demands on the part of the one who sees God as an unsatisfied father. If the child has to please the unpleasing parent, then the parent should respond in kind. If there is punishment for failure, then there should be rewards for success. Therefore, God should do God’s kind of stuff. God should give the child who has the best grade what the child asks for. God should answer that child’s request for safety, providential protection, good health, wealth, and so on. If the reward of such things is not the result of working for the grade, what good is any of it?
What is interesting is that none of those things which have been preached and seen as the reward for obedience, are the qualities of being a good and loving parent
Is a parent unloving because they bear children they cannot be sure they can always keep safe? Is the parent unloving because they give life to a child they know they cannot always protect? Can the loving parent guarantee good health? Even being born with the proverbial silver spoon in the mouth is not set in stone. But when love has to be earned, then such rewards are to be expected.”What kind of a God lets these things happen?” The same kind as a parent who knows the dangers of life but still gives life to a child.
So what does God want? First of all, God wants us to know we are loved, with no conditions. God wants us to know we are all God really has. What purpose does God have without us? Who would there be to know the purpose of God, if not us?
The psalmist grasped the concept when he said we were created a little lower than the angels. That’s not bad.
CONCERNS: Betty Branch has returned home. Stephanie Dixon had surgery on her arm to see if there was a cancer related problem there. Zona Fisher is dealing with undetermined back pain. Mike Brown has been able to return home to Ala after emergency surgery in California for a detached retina. Mary Smith is about the same. Both Susan and Wayne Phlegar are dealing with back pain and other issues. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, is not well at this time due to the cancer. Rich Crites sister is now in a nursing home Those recovering from, or dealing with cancer are: Rich Crites, Deana McRoy, Hannah, a school friend of Garrett Lee Williams, Jim Hunter, ten year old Regan, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, one of Connie Crite’s brothers and Sharon,. Others with prayer
needs are Gil Richardson, Gary Overstreet, Richard, the grandfather of Regan, (car accident) Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Alma Martin, and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 18-23
Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 25-30
Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Luke 15:1-10
Thursday: Galatians 6:1-10
Friday: Psalm 23
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14
Today, Nov 17 is Super Sunday. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the service.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
There will be a steering committee meeting in the library following the Super Sunday meal. The budget for next year needs to be planned.
THE ADULT CHRISTMAS PARTY
The adult Christmas Party this year will be on December 14. A sign-up list is on the foyer table. Please note the time suggested for the party. If that is too early and an hour later would better suit you, write “later” on the line with your name. The theme this year is a traditional Christmas. We will have the tree up by the next Wednesday we meet.
As we have in past years, we will not meet on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving due to those who will be away and involved with activities of the day.
We thank those who were able to come out and help split wood for the fireplace. Especially Roger Fisher for using his truck to pick up and return the rented log splitter, and Wayne Flora, who while he could not be here, worked on two Wednesday evenings before the soup supper cutting up the fallen tree in the lower church yard so it could be split as well.
Please remember to pick up the things the troops ending the war in Afghanistan need. Especially at this time of year when they are far from home. They need mixed small assorted cereal boxes, granola bars, pop tarts, instant grits, instant oatmeal, and Little Debby’s, but no chocolate. Also coffee, sugar, sweetener, and powdered creamer.
Judy and T. J. Hall are grandparents again. Kin and her husband, Tyler, had a baby boy a week or so ago. His name is Thomas Grady.
If you are a Sams card holder through the church, your membership is due by Dec. 3. The cost is now $45. Let Keith know today if you want to continue.