Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Questions I recieved via text on 1.16.10

Question One: Are things like TV and the Internet OK on the Sabbath?

Answer: I think God wants us to think and to think we need to look at the principles he has given us, not the mechanisms. First, are you keeping the principles of the Sabbath (rest, blessed, and set apart)…in this case, set apart. The Sabbath is not for you, but building your relationship with God and others. Can that happen through the TV or internet? Sure? But, I am going to guess that it depends on what you are watching or doing on the web. I think if you focus on the principles of Philippians 4:8, you will be on the right track.

Question Two: Why did the change the Sabbath?

Answer: The short answer is the change happened gradually as “new” Christians I nRome began to keep Sunday (resurrection day) as the Sabbath. Constantine, the emperor of Rome added to this practice to help Christians avoid persecution that occasionally broke against Christians in this pagan (Greek Gods) Rome. Later, Papal Rome (which became the Catholic church validated this change by saying it had the authority to change the day to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Question Three: Do Sunday worshippers keep the “Lord’s Day” from sundown to sundown?

Answer: The short answer is “No. Not typically.”

Question Four: How do we spread this “new” understanding of the Sabbath?

Answer: It is actually quite old. God gave clear instructions and purpose for the Sabbath at creation (Genesis 2:2, 3). The best way to spread it is to invite people to read what the Bible has to say about the Sabbath. Those that really want to know will read every text in the Bible on the subject.

Question Five: Why not just a day in seven? Some say any day in seven will do?

Answer: This is a common argument. As I read the Bible, THE 7th day is the only day God blessed and set apart, not a day every seven days.

Question Six: What about celebrating the Lord’s Day, i.e. the day of resurrection?

Answer: I am all for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, but that is not the day God blessed or set aside, the seventh day is (Genesis 2:2, 3). It is not the day God commanded us to keep holy (Exodus 20:8-11).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thoughts on Sabbath

This week’s sermon topic is the Sabbath, so I thought I would share some thoughts regarding the Sabbath and the seven day cycle. One thing I have noticed is that as Seventh-day Adventist we tend to put our focus on keeping the Sabbath legally, but we tend to abuse it emotionally and physically. Not good.

Did you know, we were made in such a way that requires us to stop and rest every seven days? Studies have shown that a weekday of rest is just as important as eight hours a sleep at night. As human beings, we are dependent on rhythms. Life is rhythmic. The most known are the biological rhythms tied to the earth’s movement around the sun. Things like: Body temperature, which reaches its maximum on the afternoons; the heartbeat, which accelerates during the day and slows considerably after four hours of nightly rest; the kidneys and liver which reduce their activity at night, etc... Experts have discovered that we have this internal body clock. One notable rhythm of this internal mechanism is the circaseptan rhythm. It represents a seven day cycle. Why a seven day cycle? Nobody seems to know why? Hmmm. This makes even those who do not believe in God wonder.

The reality is we were created with the need to stop, rest, and rejuvenate every seven days. The physical arrival of darkness every 24 hours reminds us of our need for daily rest, but there is no natural phenomenon that reminds us of the arrival of our weekly rest. I think this is why our Creator said to “Remember. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” And, he did so from the beginning (Genesis 2:2, 3).

Oh, well does it matter which day we rest? According to God, “Yes”. According to God, everyday is not the same. There is an ideal day to rest, the seventh-day. He specifically blessed that day. He did not bless the third day, Tuesday. He did not bless the fifth day, Thursday. He did not bless the first day, Sunday. He blessed the seventh day. (Genesis 2:2, 3) And, he set it apart to not only be refreshed physically, but to have time to be refreshed emotionally and spiritually in worship and relationship building.

I am so glad we have a God who loves us and gave us a way to stay healthy physically and emotionally, and connected to him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Questions I recieved via text on 1.9.10

One: How can you define God to a toddler? from 293-6990
---Tough to know. Best answer I can give you is that since God is love the best way to show them God is by loving them with you actions and words.

Two: I heard all of our names are written in the book of life, but there are names being erased because they don't want to be connected to God. At one point is our name put in the book of life?
from 293-6990
---The short answer is at the judgment. My best understanding is that our names are in the book of life until the judgment, at that point those who have rejected God will have thier names removed. But, this is not God's choice or desire, it is each individual's choice.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Questions I recieved via text on 1.2.10

Question One: What about the Gnostics? From 953-3151

Answer: Gnosticism was the most influential heresy faced by the early Church. The Gnostics did not agree how the New Testament described God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, so they offered their own writings as inspired scriptures. Some of the most well know are: The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Peter, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Judas. In essence, Gnosticism is about acquiring knowledge, and is based on matter being evil and spirit being good. The Gnostics prior to Christianity taught that man is composed of body, soul, and spirit. The body and the soul are man's earthly existence, and were considered evil. Enclosed in man’s soul, is the spirit, a divine substance of man. This “spirit” was asleep and ignorant and needed to be awakened. It could only be liberated by this special knowledge.

Question Two: I heard the Catholic Church decided what would end up in the Bible. Is this true? From 481-7312

Answer: No. This is not true. The books in the Bible were chosen over time. The Old Testament books were chosen by Jewish leaders about 200 years before Jesus was born. Jesus validated these choices by calling the Old Testament scripture and inspired. It took about three hundred years for the final New Testament books to be “canonized”, but the ones in the New Testament that were accepted, were widely accepted as inspired right after they were written in the First Century AD. Hundreds of years later, the Catholic Church changed the Ten Commandments and added books, called the Apocrypha, to the Protestant Bible.

Question Three: You said some of the authors were pagan. Who were they and how were they inspired by God? From 508-9876

Answer: My point was that not all the material in the bible came from Christian writers or God followers. One example is Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4. Others examples are writers from which biblical writers took material from: Paul quoted from Greek poets, the Edict of Cyrus in Ezra, the poetry of the Psalms, etc...

Question Four: After changing the bible into different translations don’t you think the meaning of God’s Word would have changed and led to the meaning of sentences or even paragraphs changing too? From: 569-6727

Answer: That’s what made the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls so important. Here, they found documents dating back thousands of years, and when they compared them with the current bible translations, they discovered the bible was still 99.9% accurate.

Question Five: Scripture states God won’t give you more than you can handle. Then, why does he put you in situations you can’t get out of? All it does is break your heart in two.

From 480-3042

Answer: First, this saying is actually not in the Bible. It is a misrepresentation of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says, “God will not let you be TEMPTED beyond your ability…” Second, God never tempts anyone (James 1:13), he is allowing the results of living in a sinful world to run its course. And, third, we will never be TEMPTED beyond our ability to say “No”, but only if we have him by our side.

Question Six: What are the Dead Sea Scrolls? From: 615-977-5974

Answer: They refer to a group of manuscripts discovered in 1947 near the Dead Sea in Israel. About 900 scrolls were found that help establish that the Old Testament we have today is essentially the same as the one 2000 years ago.

Question Seven: How does Ellen White compare to scripture. Some say she is outdated. What do you think? From 694-5885

Answer: There is much to be gained from reading Ellen White. Unfortunately, she is often misused, often placed above scripture by some. She herself said she was “a lesser light pointing to a greater light,” meaning she was not to be placed above the authority of scripture. She stated that ONLY scripture should be used to prove any theological point.

Question Eight: What do you believe happened to the Ark of the Covenant? Has God ever spoken to you? From 326-6565

Answer: Many believe the Ark of the Covenant to be buried in or near Jerusalem. Many believe it will be found before Jesus comes again. My guess is that it was lost long ago. As for second question, the answer is “yes”. But, God speaks to us in many ways. If you are asking if he has spoken to me out loud, the answer is “No”, although sometimes the voice I hear is almost audible.=)

It's a New Year

I am back. It is the start of a new year, so let me tell you the new focus for this blog (at least for a while).

I will posting answers to the questions I receive via text about the sermon. Obviosuly, I can only answer a couple questions there on the spot, so I will be posting answers to all text questions on this blog during the week.

I am not sure what I am getting into....=)

Smile, God loves you!