Monday, October 1, 2012

A little reminder of why we are here

I had a conversation last week which was a good reminder of why we need to be here, and what we can and can't take for granted.

I was chatting with someone I have got to know over the last year or so. He's a christian and a great guy, very keen to be doing what he can to encourage others, but hasn't really been settled in a church for a while. He has recently started studying a couple of the courses I am running, and we are also both part of a mid-week Bible study group.

We were talking about what he'd been learning as he studied his first Old Testament subject. The conversation went something like this. He is 'F' (for friend), I am 'M' (for me).

'F' : Do people really study the Bible?
'M': Do you mean, do people really study the Bible - in terms of where it came from, how we got it etc, or, do you mean, Do people study it in terms of what it says?
'F': No - do people study it deeply or just skim over it? I mean, I have learnt so much from studying this course and I wonder if others do it or they would benefit from it?
'M': Yes - people do study it in depth. There are some places, like in Sydney where I come from, where it is totally normal for people who are members of a church to also be involved in a Bible study group each week where they read the Bible carefully and try to apply it to their lives and encourage the other members of the group to do the same. Each week in the sermon the preacher also tries to carefully teach the passage for the day and apply it to our everyday life.
'F': Really ?! Wow, that would be really good if we could get people doing that sort of thing here.
'M': Well, I'm running a group on Sundays at our church in which we are reading through Ephesians. Looking at 10 or so verses each week, thinking about the details and how those details speak to us.
'F': That's fantastic - that is exactly the sort of thing people here need, because they just spend a lot of time skimming on the surface.
'M': Yes.

For readers in good churches where this sort of detailed study is par for the course, can I make two requests.

1. Don't take it for granted. Keep pushing your leaders to do a good job of careful teaching from the scriptures.
2. Don't forget that there are whole lot of places in the world where things are very different. So please keep on remembering those places in your prayers and in your giving.

(Photo: Holy Cross Anglican Church, Tarija, Bolivia)

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