Friday, June 17, 2016

Bible Study
Notes and observations
From June 6th

Francis Chan's message
When God Doesn't Listen

Francis Chan looked at Isaiah 58:1-9 among other Scriptures in his message entitled, When God Doesn’t Listen. I found the message challenging because I believe God always listens and I should be aware that He is my sovereign when I pray.

Chan suggested that he wanted a do-over, (my words, not his.) That he wanted to start over with God, that he hadn’t been taking God as seriously as God does. That hit home. I too take short cuts with worship, prayer and Children's Church, even this Bible study. As a consequence I feel myself further from God than I would like, and the Peace of my Savior lives as a too distant memory.

He spoke about how we will go to church, worship, pray and participate if all the elements are just right, if there is something good for the children at the church of our choice, if the music suits our ears, if the preacher doesn't go on forever.

I've heard the same complaints, I've even spoken a few demands myself, but I have been in the position of fighting for my church, in a sense owning it. Once when I felt myself particularly un-favored in the congregation, due in large part to my singular talent and taste for argument, I told my pastor that this was my church and I wasn't leaving. Let everyone else leave, I was staying. I believed then and still believe that a church works though troubles in relationships and it is called to do so. As we are with each other so we are with God. He reveals. We confess, ask for mercy from Him and one-another, we give and receive and for this poor living heart donor, we may in this way, actually love each other. I think that the church I belong to is much smaller than the one Francis Chan speaks of.

He went on to discuss our relationship, not only to our church, but to God and concentrated on how we pray. He spoke of a man who was leaving his wife and family just because he didn’t think things were going so well and the man wanted prayers for blessings on a new start. Francis Chan wondered aloud why the man would even pray for that, why after such great sin would he want to drag Chan with him into prayer to keep sinning. Good question. I have to believe there is much more to the story.

Isaiah 58:6-11 rights us when we begin to think prayer is our own free candy shop.

6“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed
 go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.

Thanks for reading and thank you Karen for causing me to look further into Isaiah 58. BEV

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