Saturday, August 2, 2008

What Went on at our Fourth Meeting (for those of you who weren't there)

meat eaters’ crash course
summer 2008

Week IV: Summary

We started our evening with a game – a trust fall, in which everyone lined up in two rows, facing each other with their arms extended. I, Andrew, was the first to fall. I stood up on the back of a sturdy armchair (don’t try this at home) and, holding my arms tightly at my sides, fell backwards, without supporting myself (and most importantly, without bending) onto the platform of the Meat Eaters’ arms. I survived to write this summary of Meat Eaters’ Crash Course, Week Four, for those of you were not there to catch me.

After the trust fall’s commotion, we broke into two groups to share with one another. We each talked about the applications we had come up with from our study of Ephesians 6:10-20, selecting two specific ones that we felt that God wanted us to put into practice (the others were sort of ‘samples’). As an example, here are the two I committed to put into effect. First, I will keep the list of prayer requests that were shared at our church meeting on Sunday – I will keep this list with my contact lenses, so that each night as I take my contacts out, I will be reminded to pray for each person who shared, as I am commanded to in Ephesians 6:18 (make supplication for all the saints). My second application was that I should make a list of promises that I can cling to and put my faith in (Ephesians 6:15) as a shield for each way in which I am routinely tempted. As each person shared, we prayed for them, that God would bless and be honoured in their endeavour to put these applications into practice.

When both groups had finished sharing, we briefly reviewed the three steps of Bible study, by way of a simple quiz – Christiaan made a number of statements. We had to decide whether those were statements of observation, interpretation, or application. For each question someone got right, they earned another point for their starting score in a game we played before and after, called ‘silent football’. Everyone did very well!

Here began the last segment of ‘teaching’ time. Following is about what I said.

It’s pretty clear that you have observation, interpretation and application down. That’s awesome! These are among the most important and valuable skills you will ever learn. You have learned how to feed your souls – what were some of the verses that we looked at four weeks ago when we started? Psalm 1 – it says, ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. ¶ He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.’ Psalm 19: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.’ Psalm 119: ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.’ And II Timothy 3:16-17, ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.’

These are just a few! We’ve only scratched the surface of passages on the blessing that comes from studying God’s Word. Now we must continue in it. James makes it clear that it’s no good if we stop here, if we leave serious Bible study behind as something from summer 2008. He says ‘the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres’ – the NIV says ‘and continues to do this’ – ‘will be blessed in his doing.’ We can not stop! Jesus says to his disciples in John 15, ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.’ We are commanded to abide – not to come every once in a while to get a refresher or something – we must stay with Jesus like we stay with our own family. How? He says, ‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you’. It’s by his Word! It’s by this study of the Bible! We’ve learned how to do it – now we must continue, abide, persevere! And the end is God’s glory when we bear much fruit and so prove to be Jesus’ disciples. What’s better than that? What else is our goal as Christians? Nothing!

Independent planning for future Bible study
So, that said, we shouldn’t just agree to keep doing Bible study – it’s just like the applications we talked about last week – we must be specific or it won’t happen. So I have some worksheets for you to take and fill out for yourselves. I’d like for you to make specific plans for where you’re going to ‘feed’ next in the Word. Just take about five minutes or so and give this some good thought.

Future of Meat Eaters’ Fellowship
All right, let’s come on back in. This, as you must realise, is the last week of Meat Eaters’ Crash Course. But I for one don’t want to disperse as Meat Eaters for a while yet! I think the most exciting part for me of this whole crash course was you guys, seeing how God brought together so many awesome people! I’m really thankful for that and I don’t take it for granted. I’d like to see a Meat Eaters’ Fellowship continue for a while. So the Capobianco family has offered very kindly to host an afternoon and evening of worship, prayer, fun, and dinner for us on Saturday, August 23 and we’ll also talk then about where we should go from here – what we should do together, when would be a good night to meet during the school year, and so on. I will post directions to the Capobianco’s house on the blog.

Closing Remarks
As we wrap up the last week of the Bible study crash course, I’ve asked Mr Zulker and Christiaan to pray for the group, for our continuation in study, and for where we should go from here as Meat Eaters. And that concludes the evening! Thank you parents so much for all the driving you’ve done to bring us together, thanks Jarrod for letting us use the Judson House, and thanks to my Dad and Jon Hinkson for teaching me and Christiaan pretty much all that we’ve taught here!
Dessert in the kitchen!

And there we ended. In the next post, I will give you the handouts from week four, including the one for planning future personal Bible study. Over and out!

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