Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mini Skirts & Muscle Shirts: What does Fashion have to do with Holiness?

Sunday Night Recap
March 19, 2006

Pictures Coming Soon!!!!

The fashion runways all across the world are teeming with skinny models showing off the latest looks for spring and summer 2006. Will you be the first to own the new look (most of which look hideous anyway)?

So, how does the idea of fashion or clothing in general play into living our lives holy before the Lord? Is it bad to be fashionable? Is it bad to have new clothes? Is it bad to have a closet full of shoes?

A Question: What is your most important piece of clothing (not favorite...most needed!) Many will say underwear, and I agree. Keep that in mind.

As has been discussed many times, the Bible has some clear direction about how we should dress: modestly (1 Timothy 2:9) and appropriately (guys wear guys clothes, girls wear girls clothes:Deuteronomy 22:5).

But there's more to it than that. You can dress modestly and appropriately and still be siful in your fashion sense. (I'm not talking about the sin of wearing stripes with polka dots, but that's pretty horrible).

Jesus told a parable that involved a wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14. The King invited all the important people of his time to the wedding, and they not only refused to come, but even killed his servants and messengers. The feast was already prepared, so he sent his servants into the street to invite anyone and everyone they saw. The banquet hall was filled, and the King came to look over the guests. There was one guest who made the worst mistake possible. He had attended a wedding without wearing wedding clothes. Not only was this guest kicked out of the feast, but he was bound, hand and foot, and tossed into outer darkness...HELL!

So, what does this parable have to do with fashion and holiness? The King is God, and the wedding is for his son, Jesus. As Christians, we are the bride of Christ, and we must be clothed in a certain way to be acceptable to God as this bride.

So, how must we be clothed?

Galatians 3:26-27-We must be clothed with Christ!
Psalm 132:9-We must be clothed with Righteousness...which only comes through Christ.

See, the problem with the one wedding guest wasn't with what he was wearing, it was with what he wasn't wearing...He wasn't wearing Christ.

So, here's the question again...what is your most important piece of clothing? It's got to be Christ.

"But still, Ryan, what does this have to do with Abercrombie, Tommy, and AE?"

Only this...if what we wear, or how we live our lives, relegates Christ to the position of underwear, then we are not living in a holy way.

If what we wear, or how we live does not allow people to see Christ first and foremost, then our fashion is detrimental to our witness and holiness.

What is your focus? Looking good or showing Christ (which, by the way, will make you look better than the world ever will!!!)

Let's show Christ this week...and for the rest of our lives!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Question of the Week-3/13-3/19

Mini Skirts & Muscle Shirts: Is Fashion Dictated by Holiness?

This one may be a little more difficult to answer, but put your thoughts and ideas down. Think beyond the idea of girls and modesty (although that is part of it) and more toward how our clothing affects our witness, is evidence of the status of our relationship with Christ, and shows conformed thinking or transformed thinking...plus anything else relating to the idea of fashion and holiness.

We'll discuss them on Sunday!

If you're reading this, have some courage and take time to post!!! We promise we won't laugh at your comments...for too long!

Girls v Guys-Week 2

Wednesday Night Recap
March 15, 2006

Well, we tied last night, 12-12, and that brings the total to Girls 22-Guys 18. Great job, and thanks for bringing new people. We're proud of your guys!

This week focused on how the world's expectations often overpower and cover up those true deep passions and desires that God has given us. Our culture thinks guys and girls are supposed to act in a certain way (i.e. guys are to be stoic and strong, never crying and getting a high paying, successful job in the top of their field) but often, God has made us for a purpose that is counter-cultural. He wants us to express ourselves in a way that displays who we truly are, surrendered to him.

We saw that in the two stories we studied last night. One, David was King, but at the potential death of his son (2 Samuel 12), he wept and fasted, crying out for mercy, and once his son had died, he got up, washed himself off, worshiped and ate. His servants were so confused by his behavior that they thought that David would kill himself when they told him his son was dead. David was broken over his sin, and the consequence of his sin, and was laid out at the feet of a Holy God, begging for mercy.

The woman in Luke 7 that washed Jesus feet with perfume and tears knew she was walking into a situation where ridicule was certain. Everyone knew she was a prostitute, but she recognized the Holiness of Jesus and came to his feet broken and poured out, with tears in her eyes over her sin in front of a Holy God, begging for mercy through her actions.

That is something that our world doesn't want to see...vulnerability, brokeness over sin, and a willingness to be exactly who you are, with all the raw emotion and personal traits, right out there in the open for everyone to see.

God has made you who you are. He wants you to trust his creative ability and follow those dreams, desires, passions, and drives that he has placed in you...with every area of your life...even if it means putting yourself out there in a potentially embarrassing display of loyalty and brokenness to your King. Only then will you find out who you truly are.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Girls v. Guys Week 1-Girls 10/Guys 6

Wednesday Night Recap
March 8, 2006

Well, Guys v. Girls has started, and we have 9 more weeks to go (with a couple of weeks off for Wednesday Night Worships).

So far the girls have a 10-6 lead (they had 10 people here, the guys only had 6)...SO GET WITH IT GUYS!!! Not to mention, the girls actually brought friends!

Our first week of study focused on the difference between what the world expects from us as girls and guys and what God wants from us. The world expects us to look, act, and live a certain way, often contrary to the Word of God. If we fall into the mold that the world has of men and women (by the way, its impossible to live up to because the world's ideal is always changing) then we are living unbiblically.

We want to encourage you all to live as biblical men and women. God's ideal, what He wants you to be, NEVER changes. Sure, holiness is a difficult race that will take your whole life to run, but as Ethan said, "you have God to help you."

Live transformed. Break the world's mold. And see how God will use your commitement to holiness and biblical manhood and womanhood for His glory.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Question of the Week 3/6-3/12

Allright...things have been pretty heavy for a while, so here's this week's question...

Meat or Potatoes, Carnivores or Herbivores: Is it unbiblical to eat meat?

There you go...that's the "heavy" topic for this week (although it may be pretty heavy for some). Get ready for a veggie fun-filled night!!!

Post your comments prior to bible study Sunday night. Let us know where you stand and what you eat!

Why the Whoopin?

Sunday Night Bible Study Recap
March 5, 2006

I remember when I was a kid and I got in trouble in church. My mom was in the choir, but that didn't save me from her wrath. She actually left her choir seat and had me meet her in the hall. She took me to a room and proceded to give me a spaking. When she was done, I remeber looking at her and saying, "that didn't hurt." She said, "do you want me to do it again." I forced out a cry and said, "No, no. It hurt. It hurt."

Now, I don't remeber what I did to deserve that discipline, but I know I deserved it. I never received discipline I didn't deserve (although, one time, when I lived in Africa (*chuckle*) I almost got in trouble for eating the last pieces of a special candy that we didn't get much of over there, which I didn't eat, until my mom smelled the peanut butter on my sister's breath and not mine...)

See, parents my get it wrong sometimes, but God never does. And that's what we're talking about here. Why the Whoopin? What is the purpose of discipline from God?

Think back to the most memorable trouble you've ever gotten in to. I love hearing stories of creative punishments, especially now that I'm a parent, and the reason those punishments were given. Typically, why are we punished or disciplined? Because we have done something wrong. We have broken some stated code of rules/code of conduct. When God disciplines us it is because of the same things. We have broken his established rules.

But that's not the purpose of discipline. We are disciplined because we do something wrong, but for another purpose...so that we know that it's wrong and don't want to do it again.

But sin is fun...and the consequences that we know we will face don't keep us from sinning for very long. We have to desire holiness. And holiness is a process. Discipline helps us move toward holiness.

Galatians 5:17-26 shows a contrast that leads us to deserving the whoopin'. See, our flesh is fighing with the Spirit for control of our lives. All those things we want to do that go against the spirit (immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.) Our flesh sets itself against the spirit.

Now the spirit offers these things to our life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentelness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Godly dicipline leads us away from the flesh and toward the spirit. But the flesh is so attractive, and we keep going back to it. Why?

Jeff Bridges quotes Jay Adams in Pursuit of Holiness (a good book that I recommend):
"we were born sinners, but it took practice to develop our particular styles of sinning. The old life was disciplined toward ungodliness."

Bridges goes on to say: "christians tend to sin out of habit. It is our habit to look out for ourselves instead of others, to retaliate when injured in some way, and to indulge the appetites of our bodies. It is our habit to live for ourselves and not for God. When we become Christians, we do not drop this all overnight. In fact, we will spend the rest of our lives putting off these habits and putting on habits of holiness." (if you want a theological term, this is called sanctification.)

And there it is.

The purpose of Discipline.


God disciplines us to make us more like Christ. To reflect Christ and therefore comform to the image of God.

Discipline is no fun, but if you want the peace, joy, love, hope that God promises, you have to be open to the discipline that God wants to give to you to develop those characteristics.

So often we want to hear from God. But do we really want to hear what he has to say? Are we willing to hear the discipline? We usually just want to hear the "beaches and sunshine" aspect of blessing from God without being willing to hear discipline.

I challenge you to be open to the discipline of God. It won't be easy, but it will produce Godly character. If we truly want to be holy as He is holy, we must be willing to hear from Him, even when it means that He's trying to break us, scatter us, and make us depend on nothing but him.

Welcome discipline as it leads to holiness.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Question of the Week 2/27-3/5

Hey Everybody...

I know this question is a little late this week...sorry...still, we'll be talking about it Sunday night, so get your comments in here and let me know what you think!

Is Discipline Necessary? Why or Why Not?

And tied in to that, what is the purpose of discipline? Do you like it when you are disciplined (by God or parents)? Does discipline ever have benefits? ETC. ETC. ETC.

If you have read this, take an extra 2 minutes to post something!!! Be open and Honest!!!