Christian Lifestyles 2006

We are on a journey to move closer to the life Jesus taught us about. Each Sunday, we will discuss another small step and hopefully throughout the week, we will all have a chance to join in and continue the discussion until we meet again.

Just a note before you begin. This is in chronological order, so please read from the bottom up and then feel free to comment and join in.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Week 5- Support: What will Help?

This week's lesson lets us know that we do not have to do this alone and gives us some ideas for help and support. As I explained at the class, I am a little behind, so my comments for the class will follow the scriptures, below.

Our scripture readings are:

Ephesians 6:10-20 (The Armor of God)
Matthew 25: 31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats)
Galatians 6:1-10 (Doing Good to All)
Matthew 6: 25-34 (Do Not Worry)
Luke 1:46-55 (Mary's Song)
Luke 1:52-53
Matthew 6:20-36 (Store up treasures in heaven)
Luke 5: 1-12 (The Calling of the First Disciples)
Acts 2 (The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost)

See you Sunday morning.

Tony tells us that we have 4 places we can get help with our "Affluenza."
  • Spirituality- ask God to take charge of your life. Ask, and He will help us become "sensitive to the sacredness of other people." Remember, Jesus told us that "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25: 40 NIV).
  • Transformational Travel- Live among the people of Haiti for a week and you will get a feel for how great is our "affluenza" and what we could be doing with our prosperity.
  • Support group- Get together with others, pray, talk, share, create a "plausibility structure." We are called to live a radical life for Christ. Remember that Jesus had his group. They were with him when he needed help the most, in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36). With a group, we can ask, "Is there a Plan B," and help "carry each other's burdens" (Galatians 6:1-3) as Paul reminds us to do.
  • Get into the Bible- What the Bible says makes having a simple life so obvious. "You cannot serve both God and Money" (Matthew 6:24 NIV). It is a prescription for a revolutionary lifestyle. Reading the Bible is revolutionary. It radicalizes your life. The gospel is not the gospel of today's America! We need the poor to help read the Bible.
Video Discussion:

Jesus' main job when he walked the earth was to tell of "man's connection to God and to one another." He came to speak about what gets in the way of that.

Why do you think The Lord's Prayer says we should "forgive our debts" (Matthew 6:12)? What would you think of a National Jubilee Day (Leviticus 25) where the U.S. forgives all the debts of the third world countries and gives them a chance for a fresh start?

How to change within the context of the family? Start bringing the entire family into the decision-making process. Have a family budget meeting- make it a part of your family life. Make the decisions together- how much for toys, how much to the church and how much to support a child in the third world.

Tony says that every family should support a child in a third world country. It doesn't cost very much and makes a tremendous difference in that child's life. He jokingly(?) adds that on Judgment Day, it would sure be nice if at least one person would stand up and say that you affected their life in a positive way!

How do you negotiate when there are differences in interpretation of what a Godly lifestyle is? Tony says to give in. Over time, you may be able to win them over, but it may be wrong to impose our sacrificial lives on others.

In-class Discussion

We had a lively discussion on a number of these topics.

Marian shared about her trip to Haiti and how that transformational travel affected her outlook.
We heard about a family who lost everything but whose life work and blessings are repaid in their hours of need by people who gave financially. We discussed that sometimes the only way we can do what is right is when we "stroke out a check."

A final comment is that we should remember that we may be the only Bible our friends may ever "read."

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