Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review of Study Material by Andy Stanley

I've been teaching adult Sunday School class for 25 years and Mark and I have been facilitating a Tuesday night group of young professionals for 7 or 8 years.  Over all these years there have been a few STAND OUT studies -- those studies that leave you thinking -- those studies that change your mind -- those studies that make you grow.  Do you know what I'm talking about?

We just finished an Andy Stanley study last night -- Christian: It's Not What You Think.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many conversations Mark and I have had as a result of this study.  In one of the very lessons, Andy (can I call him that?  I feel like I know him.  He's been in my living room!!) talks about the difference in being Christian versus being a Disciple.  Many people give lip service to being a Christian -- yeah, I'm a Christian . . .but when it comes to being a true disciple . . .where do we stand?  Do we constantly look to Jesus as a model and standard for everything in our lives? Do we love others as Jesus has loved us?

One week's lesson is titled "When Gracie Met Truthy" and Andy challenges us and makes us think about the tension between grace and truth.  We need both truth and grace.  Some denominations swing toward truth and often forget about grace.  Other denominations swing so far towards grace but fail to preach the truth.  It takes both grace and truth but as my boss says about many things, "it is better to err on the side of grace."  We get caught up in what we THINK is truth but we often miss the TRUTH that Jesus taught.

In one of my favorite lessons, Andy talked about how we make up so many man(woman) made rules to go along with the truth that Jesus taught.  We get so caught up in the extra rules that we love the commands more than the Commander.

Andy challenges us to continually ask ourselves, "What does love require of me?"  He also remind us that what we believe doesn't play as big a part in our influence in other's lives as how we love.  Love, Love, Love . . .what does love require of ME?  If I love others the way Jesus loves me, imagine how we could change the world!!

We finished up last night and I want to share one thing that Andy wrote,
"One day some people came to Jesus with a trick question.  They wanted him to tell them which was the greatest of all the hundreds of Old Testament commands.  Jesus quickly answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)  Somewhere along the way, the followers of Jesus have lost sight of what Jesus said next: "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:40)  Note from Lisa -- this next part is SO PROFOUND TO ME that I'm going to type it in all CAPS.

THIS MEANS THAT EVERY TIME WE PICK UP OUR BIBLES FOR GUIDANCE, EVERY TIME WE TEACH A LESSON FROM THE BIBLE, EVERY TIME WE SEARCH THE PAGES OF THE BIBLE TO DISCOVER WHAT WE SHOULD DO IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION, EVERY TIME WE ASK, "WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THIS?" WE'RE TO MAKE SURE WE LOOK AT IT THROUGH THE FILTER OF LOVING GOD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, SOULS, AND MINDS, AND LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES.

Of course, I knew this on some level but for some reason it hit me afresh this week.  When I look someone in the eyes . . .I need to remember that Jesus loves that person JUST AS MUCH as he loves me.  He died for that person just like he died for me.  If we remembered this ONE thing each and every day . . .we might be able to get along.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  We might be able to get along in this place we call earth and maybe we could stop the name calling , too.  I think that would make Jesus happy.

"A new command I give you: Love one another.  AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  John 13:34

What studies have had a profound impact on your life?


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