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OTC Old Testament Challenge - Message 1
My sermon notes | 9/5/07 | By John Ortberg with Kevin & Sherry Harney, preached by Charlie Dean

Posted on 01/13/2008 10:18:08 AM PST by Forgiven_Sinner

OTC – Old Testament Challenge

Sources:

Old Testament Challenge 1 – Creating a New Community Discussion Guide

By John Ortberg with Kevin & Sherry Harney

On line links: Northwoods Community Church http://www.nwoods.org/storyWithChart.asp?storyid=393

Willow Creek Church http://www.willowcreek.com/resources/courses/otc/

Charlie Dean’s Blog http://charliedean.wordpress.com/

Part 1 – Genesis through Deuteronomy – Life-Changing Stories From the Pentateuch

This series is being covered by Northwoods Community Church in Peoria Illinois. I’ll transcribe the messages and add material from the small group discussion guide.

Message 1 – 9/5/2007 – Charlie Dean

“God’s Greatest Dream”

See the links for resources, the Reading Guide and the Discussion Guide .

Mark your Bible - There is no harm in this and it helps us remember points about the verses the next time we read them.

Use “?” for things you don’t understand. Use “!” for “Pay attention to this. Use a heart for “My heart burns within me.” Use a triangle for the character of God.

Consider getting a journaling Bible with lots of white space for recording your thoughts.

Great books are known by great opening lines. “In a hole, there lived a hobbit.” - The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien. “There was a boy named Eustace Stubb, and he almost deserved that name.” – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

The greatest opening of all: Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In one verse we learn:

1. God is. We tend to forget God! This is repeated all through the Old Testament.

God is Three in One, the Trinity. 2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. In the first three verses we have God, the Spirit of God, and God said, the Word of God. John 1:1 God is a community in His very Nature.

2. God wanted His community to have a wonderful place to live.

4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Genesis 1 is in the form of Hebrew poetry. God is delighting in His creation, which He made for us.

3. The climax of creation is community with God and mankind.

Genesis 2:18 God made Eden and placed man there. He showed Adam he was unique by having him name all the animals. Once Adam realized there was no help mate for him, God made a woman for him. In Hebrew “Ish” is man and “Isha” is woman. The ending “a” or “uh” is what a man says at the sight of a woman.

The earth is here for mankind. There is no point in the earth without us. Only people are made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 Imago Dei = the image of God. We are created to live in community. And yet, we are made of dust.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

God made the creation “ex nihilo”—that’s Latin for “out of nothing”. We are not now in Eden—that’s been broken. Romans 1:18-24


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: bible; christianity; oldtestament
This is the first message of the Old Testament Challenge series at Northwoods community Church. I will post a message every week until we're done with the whole Old Testament.

Willy Pink is the only one I have on my ping list for this series. Freepmail me if you want to be on the ping list.

From the discussion guide I have these questions for further study, or you may reply to them on this thread.

1. What insights do you gain about the character of God from Genesis 1?

2. How do you see the distinct persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) working in harmonious partnership in the opening three verses of the Bible?

3. In light of Genesis 1 and 2:15-25, how does God feel about His creation in general and human beings in specific?

4. How does your perspective on human beings compare with God's?

4. What do these opening chapters of Genesis teach you about the relationship between the creation and the Creator?

5. In light of God's view of human beings, respond to one of the following questions:

5a. How will you be changing a behavior pattern toward one of your family members?

5b. What will you be doing differently in how you relate to a person at work or school?

5c. How will your attitude and behavior change as you relate to a person you don't tend to get along with?

6. Tell about a time when you experienced God's presence and power while in his creation.

7. How did the beauty and majesty of God's creation move you to give praise to the Creator?

8. Give an example of how we can fall in love with the things of this earth and how they can become more important than God, the one who made them.

9. How can an excessive passion for material things break down our community with God?

9b. Describe a time when you saw this happen in your life.

10. How can an excessive love of material things erode our community with one another?

10b. What do you do to battle against this happening in your life?

1 posted on 01/13/2008 10:18:10 AM PST by Forgiven_Sinner
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To: WileyPink

Ping to WileyPink! First edition of OTC - Old Testament Challenge here.


2 posted on 01/13/2008 10:21:16 AM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

Are you part of the Willow Creek and Rick Warren crowd?


3 posted on 01/13/2008 10:44:23 AM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

What do they mean when they say “God’s Greatest Dream” ?

Does that suggest anything about God that is less than Sovereign?

Does the Bible speak anywhere of God dreaming?

Is this a different kind of dreaming than humans do, whether having visual activity during sleep or desiring something as yet unrealized....

God spoke, and we all are informed about what happens as a result. Ex Nihilo, He creates and He also wills sovereignly.

Where does “dreaming” come into this?

If not, why is this included?

Valid Questions.

Thanks.


4 posted on 01/13/2008 10:45:20 AM PST by bperiwinkle7 ( In the beginning was the WORD................)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

“There is no point in the earth without us.”

I think that this is stretched so far as to be untrue. All creation was made for and by the pleasure of God, for Him.

The Salvation of God shows first of all, His Righteousness in saving us.

Also, I am not comfortable with, or understanding the use of the word community.
“God is a community in His very Nature.”

Well, I think it is good to have a Bible study, but
these things arrested my attention.


5 posted on 01/13/2008 10:59:57 AM PST by bperiwinkle7 ( In the beginning was the WORD................)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

If you want the skinny on Willow Creek and the PDL of Warren, go to paulproctor.com. I hope your “community” with God will get a wakeup call.


6 posted on 01/13/2008 12:46:31 PM PST by widowithfoursons
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To: widowithfoursons

These are also very good links with lots of information.
http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles.html
http://www.newswithviews.com/


7 posted on 01/13/2008 1:22:12 PM PST by Esther Ruth
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To: Coldwater Creek
Yes and no.

Northwoods Community Church is part of the Willow Creek Association. Denominationally, it’s part of the Evangelical Mennonite Church.

I’m not sure how Rick Warren’s Church is associated with WCA, if it is.

It’s kind of irrelevant—there is only organizational connection, not a doctrinal connection.

8 posted on 01/13/2008 2:57:56 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner
Thank you,

Stand strong and stay Scriptural. Be prepared with the shield of faith for the fiery darts.

In Christ...Alone!

9 posted on 01/13/2008 3:00:08 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: bperiwinkle7

You asked: “What do they mean when they say “God’s Greatest Dream” ?

“Does that suggest anything about God that is less than Sovereign?

“Does the Bible speak anywhere of God dreaming?

“Is this a different kind of dreaming than humans do, whether having visual activity during sleep or desiring something as yet unrealized....

“God spoke, and we all are informed about what happens as a result. Ex Nihilo, He creates and He also wills sovereignly.

“Where does “dreaming” come into this?

Good questions. You might want to post those on Charlie’s blog. But I’ll give my opinions here.

“God’s Greatest Dream”, as I heard it in this sermon, is akin to “goal”, “plan”, or “desire”. This does not reflect on His Sovereignity, other than to say, this will come to pass.

The word “dream” has more meanings humanly than just the sleep or desire dreams we have. When applied to God, it can only be a metaphor, as all human terms are only metaphors for what God is really like.

“If not, why is this included?”

With any metaphor, the goal is to communicate something to the audience. We relate to God by what we know—our own dreams and desires. Charlie picked this picturesque term to emphasize (I think!) God’s desire to live in community with us and to connect on an emotional level.


10 posted on 01/13/2008 3:09:37 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

Well, Forgiven, you are very kind and have gone to some trouble to answer.

“...God’s desire to live in community with us and to connect on an emotional level.”

This phrase and the use of “community with us” just doesn’t accurately represent reality concerning God’s desire to reveal His Glory and Righteousness to humans that need Salvation. His motive is Love, and He is Love, but using language that is not Biblical, may obscure the correct meaning for some, and for me, it does.

Why be so picky?
Because we have an enemy who desires to continue to blind the eyes of all mankind.
Also, it is best to use Biblical language. It alone is “incorruptible seed” which, when heard by a human acted upon by the Holy Spirit, brings forth Faith.
For such an all important, desperately needed power, why use language that will not save...?

“God is a community in His very Nature.

2. God wanted His community to have a wonderful place to live. “

The bizarre nature of these statements, because the Bible doesn’t say this, is striking.

That’s my beef with this stuff.
I don’t know Charlie.

Thanks.


11 posted on 01/13/2008 3:44:06 PM PST by bperiwinkle7 ( In the beginning was the WORD................)
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To: bperiwinkle7
Hi bperiwinkle7

I’m enjoying our dialog. If you have some scriptures to show errors, by all means share them!

I’ll address this post now:

“Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

“There is no point in the earth without us.”

I think that this is stretched so far as to be untrue. All creation was made for and by the pleasure of God, for Him.”

The scriptures you’ve given do not contradict this. All things made for God’s pleasure—>that includes mankind.

Charlie’s statement—>all things created for God to enjoy (pleasure!) community with man.

I think your point is that God has pleasure with His creation independent of man—and that is correct. But mankind is the crown of God’s creation. With no other part of His creation does God establish a family relationship—Father to son, brother to brother, husband to wife.

What is the relationship of man to the rest of creation?

Psalm 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [c]
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

“The Salvation of God shows first of all, His Righteousness in saving us.”

“Also, I am not comfortable with, or understanding the use of the word community.
“God is a community in His very Nature.”

Yes, I’m not comfortable with it either, yet I have it in my notes, and unless I misheard Charlie, he said it. I would not have used it, yet it made me think:

“Why does it make me uncomfortable?”

And the answer is, because it seems to go against the Oneness of God. The real issue is the nature of the Trinity—how is God One? How is God Three? Charlie suggests in His Threeness, He is a community. Again, this is a metaphor. Certainly it is true the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. Certainly, humanly speaking, that is a community. Is it wrong or inappropriate to apply that to God? I doubt it, since I know our understanding of God is limited and He has issued no commandment regarding sin concerning speculation on His nature.

12 posted on 01/13/2008 4:08:23 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: Esther Ruth
http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles.html

Thanks for that. I learned about ‘facilitating directed outcome meetings’ when I earned a certificate in Supervision & Management, back in the late 1960’s. I had no idea churches were using it to replace Spirit led Scriptural teaching & doctrines, by manipulating congregants.

Makes me shudder, when certain supporters of a certain candidate wonder how one be a Christian, if are not in regular attendance.

Sounds like the wife & I have been a lot safer & ‘orthodox’ staying home to study & worship, rather than attend ANY of the local churches, all of which seem to espouse ‘strange doctrines’. Could never put our finger on where this stuff was coming from, other than “Liberals” in the leadership...and Satan.

We will not support, nor even wish them ‘God speed’.

13 posted on 01/13/2008 4:26:48 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (2 John: 9-11 Too often ignored. Short Books are equally important parts of the Bible!)
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To: bperiwinkle7
“Well, Forgiven, you are very kind and have gone to some trouble to answer.”

Thank you! And there is no trouble at all.

“...God’s desire to live in community with us and to connect on an emotional level.”

“This phrase and the use of “community with us” just doesn’t accurately represent reality concerning God’s desire to reveal His Glory and Righteousness to humans that need Salvation. His motive is Love, and He is Love, but using language that is not Biblical, may obscure the correct meaning for some, and for me, it does.”

Certainly “community with us” is non-Biblical, yet I’m not certain the idea is against the Bible. God dwelt in the midst of the Israelite community in the Tabernacle and later, in John 1, John says

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[d] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“made his dwelling among us”, has the verb “to tabernacle” or to “set up a tent among”.

“Why be so picky?
Because we have an enemy who desires to continue to blind the eyes of all mankind.

“Also, it is best to use Biblical language. It alone is “incorruptible seed” which, when heard by a human acted upon by the Holy Spirit, brings forth Faith.”
For such an all important, desperately needed power, why use language that will not save...?”

I looked for the phrase “incorruptible seed” and found

1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

I think this is the verse to which you refer. Your point is, I believe, that unless we use only Biblical language in our preaching, we cannot be saved.

I am sympathetic with your position, but I think the position limits God. After all, the Bible itself is only a tool for salvation. The words themselves do not save us. Salvation requires God Himself in the full Trinity to save us: The Father to draw us to the Son through the Holy Spirit, working in our hearts. This can be done without the Bible, as it was done in the first century, in the 20th century in the USSR, where the Bible was banned, and in the 21st century where the Bible is banned in Islamic countries.

“God is a community in His very Nature.

2. God wanted His community to have a wonderful place to live. “

“The bizarre nature of these statements, because the Bible doesn’t say this, is striking.”

The Bible does say the creation was wonderful. It is a place God created for mankind to live. I don’t really see any bizarreness in the deduction. Do you know any scripture contradicting this statement?

14 posted on 01/13/2008 4:31:21 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not die)
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To: Forgiven_Sinner

Here is my perspective which I am afraid I may not be able to express well.........

The Bible is not just a tool. God’s Word, His Truth, is active and living, one of the Names of Jesus Christ, goes forth to do His will and does not return to him void, because Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God.

The Bible that was used in the first century church was the Jewish Tanach, until the writings of the Apostles were circulated, which didn’t take overly long. It was because of that Word, and the testimony of first hand witnesses, that those who believed knew Jesus is the Messiah.

The Word of God on the lips of those who have read and recall it by the Assistance of the Holy Spirit is the Bible to many hearers, and we also know that Bibles were smuggled to closed countries by the millions in the 20th century and many got through.

There are Bibles in Muslim countries, and there is the internet. What do people want when they thirst after God? They want His Word.

I do not believe that you intend to marginalize the importance of Scripture. It is the sole authority and rule for our faith.

My desire is to see greater reverence than is often paid by the church in America these days, for Holy things of God.

It creeps me out to read that God is a community by his nature.

That is clearly not Biblical and the idea that it communicates, of a group or crowd, is a false God. Perhaps the hearers of this sermon are sophisticated and have often thought upon the unknowable nature of the triune God, and so this would only be shocking and annoying instead of a stumbling block....

If you had reservations as you listened to the sermon and some of these statements, you should hearken to the voice of the Spirit and not second guess yourself and your judgment of Truth.

My desire is to see the LORD lifted up and for Him to be Glorified.
I could write more, but I think the drift of what I think is clear.

Even now, I think I still did not express my objection to things being added to Scripture.

You are right about the Tabernacle of God being with us. That we shall see with our eyes.

I think that we experience the greatest Spiritual and emotional “connection” when we contemplate the Power and Majesty of the LORD and what he has done for us who had no right or claim to his mercy and forgiveness.

1Ch 29:11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria


15 posted on 01/13/2008 10:07:30 PM PST by bperiwinkle7 ( In the beginning was the WORD................)
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