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Life is funny.  At times it is so good; just can’t get enough.  At other times, the oncoming train looks like an inviting out.  We all swing about in our moods and attitudes.  This is true with almost everything; including God.

God is not visible.  Ignoring God is possible.  Good things can happen without any known reference to God.  It seems as if it is possible to live without God.  But it’s not.  Avoiding God is only temporary.  We all come back to the gnawing questions of meaning for now, questions about where did we come from, questions about what matters and where are we headed.  The question of God seems inescapable.  We can’t seem to live without Him.

But most people, particulary university students, are not all that focused on God.  It is hard to live with God.  There are problems with having someone to whom we should submit.  We are learning how to take charge of our own thoughts, our own choices.  God over us seems to get in the way.  And then there is the partying issue.  How can I be focused on God and available for a really exciting relationship or party or whatever?  It’s just so hard to live with God.

Can’t live with Him, can’t live without Him.  I guess it is easiest just to postpone the God question when it pops up and get on with life.

But maybe easy doesn’t equal best.  Maybe there is an understanding of God that incorporates the difficulties of integrating life experiences such that we can live with God.  Maybe I should not avoid God but should be intentional about considering God even if it seems hard. 

This site is intended to explore that possibility.

1Telos

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Short review from the first week

Here is a short review of the first week:

 

“Blessed” has nothing to do with being spiritually ‘zapped’.  It basically means ‘well off’ ‘in a good way’  ‘on course’ and other rather regular, positive phrases. 

So the question is:

Do you want your life to be ‘blessed’?

 

That of course leads to the question:

Do you trust that Jesus is able to speak how a life can be ‘well off’?

 

We talked about his temptations.  Good things were offered to him when he really wanted them.  In each case his concern was not whether it was ok to want good things (physical needs, relational needs, even spiritual needs).  Jesus’ concern was that he pursued goodness from God and not by going around God.  Jesus’ decisions not only worked for him personally, he then gathered apprentices (disciples) and had them travel with him as he helped other people’s physical, relational and spiritual problems.

 

The message of Jesus was:

Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

We talked a bit about what that means:

Repent = effective change of mind.  Like realizing you just rode past a station on the tube, you act on that realization by getting off and heading back the other way.

 

What are we supposed to change our thinking about?

 

Kingdom of heaven is at hand = God is in charge here and now.  A kingdom is where a king is in charge.  At hand means available (the biscuits are at hand mean they are accessible).

 

Jesus message: Change your thinking (repent) God’s rule is available right here and now (the kingdom of heaven is at hand).

 

That message is what he displayed by healing, casting out demons and proclaiming truth to the crowds.  He took his message about God being available here and now and showed them.  

 

That is when he sat is apprentices down (disciples) and explained to them:

Blessed… for theirs’ is the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

What he does is link his experiences for himself and others to the needs of everyone around them.  That is where we should get excited.  The poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry for righteousness… we could use some good news.  We wish we were more merciful, pure in heart, peacemaking and righteous… that is why we want to learn from him.

 

By the way, righteous?  Psalm 1 helps.  Righteous is a life like a tree; beautiful in its strength, freshness and timely productivity.  It is not about stiff conformity, it is about naturally being who God always intended we should be.  Not religiously stifled, genuinely alive.  That is our hope.

 

So.  Shall we press on?  The questions for Thursday March 5th at 7:30 (110 St. John’s Rd. TW7 6PG):

 

The first beatitude explained has a few questions for us to consider before we go forward:

1)      Do we want to align with God even if it means we get out of synch with those who are not aligned with God.  Is it worth it?

2)      If it really is possible to be of one nature (character), not mixed but consistent.  Do we want that?

3)      If we do have consistency of character are we willing to let that be useful to others, not just ourselves?

4)      Are we willing to trust Jesus and work out his plan for living such that we really do experience God in charge here and now (the Kingdom of Heaven)?

THURSDAY MARCH 5

The first beatitude explained has a few questions for us to consider before we go forward:

1) Do we want to align with God even if it means we get out of synch with those who are not aligned with God. Is it worth it?

2) If it really is possible to be of one nature (character), not mixed but consistent. Do we want that?

3) If we do have consistency of character are we willing to let that be useful to others, not just ourselves?

4) Are we willing to trust Jesus and work out his plan for living such that we really do experience God in charge here and now (the Kingdom of Heaven)?

This will be the main part of our study tomorrow night. We will look at Matthew 5:11-20 to help us answer these questions. That will set us up for the actual character growth Jesus will then describe (followed by the ‘how to’ and the FAQs he anticipates).

Learning practical wisdom from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

What is this course for?   This course is designed to show the condensed teachings of Jesus on how life should work. The main point is that a good life (a blessed life) is one where we are appropriately growing in our character with God’s help.

How will it be done?  We will gather on Thursday nights to highlight the main points of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7) and to interact about how it can be understood and then applied in our lives.

What do I need to do?   You will need to decide how much you want to get from it. The more you work with the message and consider how it can work in your life, the more you will get from it. Your participation level is up to you. If you would like to work at a more advanced level arrangements can be made for supplemental study between sessions.

When are the sessions? There will be 7 sessions, starting Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. 26 February.

Where are the sessions?  We will host the sessions at 110 St. John’s Road, Isleworth, TW7 6PG.

Can I bring a friend?   Yes, this is offered free of charge to anyone who would like to learn.

Who will lead the sessions?  Russell Minick M.Div. M.A.I.S. is an experienced Bible teacher specializing in cross-cultural communication. He will guide the sessions to make them as useful as possible for each person’s own background and goals.

For more information contact russell.minick@gmail.com or his wife karla.minick@gmail.com