No TD Fri./Service Opportunities Sat.

Hey TD!

Just a reminder that we do not have TD this Friday.  Our next TD meeting will be next Friday, May 6.

However, there are two great service opportunities on Saturday:

  • Convalescent Home – from 10 a.m. – noon.  Meet at my home at 9:30 a.m.
  • Coaching kids with autism – from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. (must register with me first). Meet at my home at 3:30 p.m.

Not only are these great ways for us Christians to reach into and serve our community, you can also satisfy your service hours requirement.

Hope to see you on Saturday! – Arthur

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Is Singleness God’s Idea?

If God Made Woman for Man, Then What Is God’s Plan for Singleness?

Hey TD,

Here’s a meaningful article that I came across back near Valentine’s Day.  I meant to post it then, but then it slipped my mind and remained in the draft folder.  It’s an honest and good read that I really appreciate that calls us to focus on What we need to focus on while we’re here on this planet.

You may be thinking, “I’m just a high schooler.  I don’t need to think about this right now.”  Perhaps.  But I’m always interested in reading not just about what I’m going through in the present, but preparing myself for issues to consider in the future, whether by me or by others.  I also like to read about issues that others may be dealing with today.  If that resonates with you, read on. – Arthur

If God Made Woman for Man, Then What Is God’s Plan for Singleness?

by K. Marie Adams on February 12, 2016

Table for One, Please

If there’s one thing I absolutely don’t want to do on Valentine’s Day, it’s to go to a restaurant by myself. Not that I begrudge the happy couples around me their status, chocolates, or flowers. As someone who is single, I’m not prone to notice whether most of the people in a place are paired up, single, or in a group. But on Valentine’s Day, it’s different. The scenario of me as the lone single in a roomful of couples—each focusing on their relationship—is something I prefer to avoid. And by prefer, I mean go to any lengths to prevent. The combination of a public appearance during the dinner hour, plus that holiday, plus me by myself isn’t good. However, it gives me some compassion for Adam in theGarden of Eden. Did you know he was the first person to be single? We find him in the second chapter of the Bible, knowing a bit of what it’s like to be alone.

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:19–20)

Here we see Adam before the creation of Eve. He’s fulfilling his God-given occupation of naming all the animals, and while the Bible never mentions Adam was lonely, I’ve got to assume he was very aware that none of those animals made a suitable companion. In fact, God Himself is aware when He makes the statement one verse prior: “It is not good that man should be alone” (verse 18).

If you read the whole creation account, it’s filled with many statements of what is good, yet in the middle of all this perfection, there’s one thing that God declares is “not good”—man being alone. With this declaration, God isn’t stating that something is bad. He’s proclaiming that Adam is incomplete. Obviously, we know that Adam is without Eve for only a little while, yet I find it interesting that God doesn’t immediately set about fixing the one thing in the garden He proclaims wasn’t good. In those verses, God allows the tension of Adam being single to remain while he names all the animals.

So What’s a Single to Do?

I don’t know how Adam handled living under the knowledge that it wasn’t good to be alone while still being in that state. But I can speak for how I live in that tension. It’s not always easy living as an “I” and a “me” in a world of “we’s” and “us’s.” If you know the account of Adam, you know that he soon went from a “me” to a “we.” But Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones in relationship featured in Genesis 1–3. Before the creation of the first couple, God records an “us” when He states, “Let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26). In that “Us,” many Christians believe we get our first glimpse at the Trinity—our primary example of perfect relationship.

So what does the Trinity have to do with those who are longing for a relationship? To answer that, I’d like to go in the New Testament to John 15. Here Jesus is talking to His disciples the night before He’s going to be handed over to Pilate to be crucified. In some of His final moments with His disciples, Jesus discusses love, relationship, and the Trinity.

He uses His relationship with the Father to be an example of how our relationship with Him should look. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9–10). What’s so good about abiding in Jesus and His love? What if I still want earthly love? What if I still want someone to be sitting across the table from me on Valentine’s Day and every other day?

The truth is that love between people may fail. It may go through a rough patch and falter or, sadly, it may wane altogether. The couple that has a bouquet of roses at the table next to mine may go home to bitter fighting. The love between the couple that’s sitting beyond them isn’t always perfect either. Some days it might be just as lonely for them to be a “we” as it is for me to be simply “me.”

The truth is that what I long for isn’t really going to be met with gifts of chocolate and roses or someone to have dinner with. My soul longs for a greater love. And if we continue reading in John 15, Jesus tells His disciples (and you and me) where that kind of love can be found. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:13–14).

I ENCOURAGE YOU IN YOUR SEARCH FOR LOVE, FOR BELONGING, FOR ACCEPTANCE, TO NOT MERELY LOOK FOR IT IN HUMAN CONTEXT.

I encourage you in your search for love, for belonging, for acceptance, to not merely look for it in human context. Look for it through what Jesus offers in John 14–17. He doesn’t offer His greatest love in the midst of roses, joy, and happiness. Instead, He mentions love in the context of a lot of tension and pain: hatred from the world (15:18), persecution (16:2–4), suffering the rejection of His closest friends (16:32), and attacks from the evil one (17:15).

So it seems that God is comfortable with using tension as a way of getting us to understand love. He starts with allowing Adam to live in the tension of knowing he is alone and that it’s not good. We see it again as Jesus talks to His disciples about His greatest love in the midst of many sorrows. And you and I know it daily as we walk in our own tensions of loneliness and pain. Yet in the midst of this, we can know the love of God. We can walk in close fellowship with Him.

Jesus finished that conversation by praying for us to have relationship. He prayed to the Father saying, “That they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (17:22–23). Embrace the tension in your life as an opportunity to learn more of the love of God. Seek time alone with Him today. Purpose to know His love and to abide in oneness with Jesus. Let me encourage you that in doing so, you will have joy. In fact, I have found that, as I take time to pursue relationship with Him, suddenly that table for one becomes the best seat in the house.

TD CHANGE on Friday!!! Not at Church!

Hey Everyone,

We decided on a last minute change to TD tomorrow.  Instead of meeting for the small group study at church, we will be going to Maranatha High School and watching the Performing Arts Showcase, “Beauty in Brokenness” at the world-renowned Ambassador Auditorium!

“Beauty in Brokenness”:

“Join the Performing Arts Department as we take you through the struggling journey of brokenness in the world, in culture, and in ourselves. This show uses the elements of dance, choir, and orchestra to bring awareness into places of need. We are blessed to serve a God who brings hope into dark spaces and is able to create beauty out of our brokenness. We hope you are able to join us for this one-night-only event!”

The show starts at 7 p.m., so if you can get a ride to Maranatha and meet at 6:45 p.m., that would be much appreciated, as our car space is limited.  If you need a ride, however, please let your small group leaders know ASAP and we’ll get you one!

Please contact your small group leaders NOW to let them know if you can make it!

 

TD Fri. – “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made … For What?” (small groups)

Hey TD!

This Friday will be one of our last small group meetings of the year!  Come join your small group to encourage one another, grow together, and consider the way God made us and what He made us for!

Please listen to the message and ponder the small group questions posted below before TD:

“Fearfully & Wonderfully Made … For What?” Pt. 1 mp3 (Arthur)

“Fearfully & Wonderfully Made … For What?” Pt. 2 mp3 (Arthur)

“Fearfully & Wonderfully Made … For What?” (SG study)

Lastly, have you been memorizing Psalm 139?  If not, get on it!  Here’s where you should be by now:

Psalm 139:1-18 (NASB)

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know [a]when I sit down and [b]when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You [c]scrutinize my [d]path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
[e]Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [f]Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will [g]overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark [h]to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my [i]inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for [j]I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My [k]frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

Accidental Perfection? Nope.

 

downloadHey TD,

I walked out of the hospital this morning saying to Sandra, “God is just absolutely amazing.”  I mean, how many of you would be perfectly content and happy if you had a 99% success rate in everything you do; if everything you tried was 99% successful?  I would be absolutely ecstatic and would take that deal in a heartbeat … well, at first blush at least.  99% on tests, 99% winning percentage in sports, 99% going right in my relationships, 99% accuracy in the things that I do.

Being at the hospital so much this week, seeing lives lying on beds looking their worst, feeling miserable, with many there because perhaps 1% of their bodies aren’t functioning right reminded me of the precision with which God operates.  I thought about how exact our bodies regulate our body temperature day in and day out. 98.6 degrees. One degree off and our bodies our out of whack; we have a difficult time functioning.  Two or three degrees off and we’re laid up in bed.

It’s incredible to me – with all the hundreds of variables within our bodies going on all the time – that our bodies are so fine-tuned and self-regulated that they maintain that precise 98.6 degree temperature for nearly every moment of every day of the entire year … every year!  So so many things could alter that equilibrium at any time.  Yet, for nearly all of us, that equilibrium remains constant 99.9 percent of the time. Just stop and consider that for a second.  Amazing.

Thank the Lord for the sustained, precise, calibrated excellence that is you!

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together – Col. 1:17

TD Friday – “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made … For What?” (Ps. 139:13-18)

Hey TD!

At first, I smiled.  Then, I wondered if it was alright to add that extra bit in there.  What do you think?

At any rate, it got me to think.  And that’s what we’re going to do in TD this Friday – think! We’re not only going to think, however.  We’re going to feel.  We’re going to experience. Through music, video, poetry, examining, and teaching, we’re going to explore how Psalm 139:13-18 anchors life.

Then we’re going to consider how to make this actionable.  Then … it’s up to you to take action with the life God designed for you! See you at TD! – Arthur