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Oak Hall Bible Study

Q & A Panel Pt 1

4/7/14

All questions are anonymous

The Panel - JC: Jacob Cool, JM: Jordan McGirt, HW: Heather Wade.

1. Why is cursing bad?

JC: 1 Corinthians 8:9. Don’t do things that cause other people to stumble in their walk. Col 3:8. No Filthy Language. JM: Our culture says profanity is frowned upon. Scripture tells us to abide by laws and customs of the land. You can also potentially damage your witness because not cursing is ingrained in Christianity. Ephesians 4:29 says to not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. This includes both cursing and putting other people down. JC: Some use “Be all things to all people” (Paul). In trying to be all things, Paul showed his Christianity to them, but didn’t adapt his life to match theirs. Be understanding and appreciative, but show God’s light.

2. How do we stop becoming emotionally distant?

JM: If we’re talking about growing distant from others, sometimes we don’t like sharing feelings (guys especially). A psychiatric study found that people who vent live happier lives because sharing with other people gets past the difficulties. James 3 tells us to share one another’s burdens. Forgiveness comes from God, not people, but people can help you get through the healing process of forgiveness. It’s important to speak out and be emotional. JC: If we’re talking about growing distant from everything, Christ came to give us life and life abundantly. Finding joy in the Lord helps you begin to live and grow. Depression can put you through a cycle of apathy and distance. One important thing can help you through it: pray for eyes, ears, and a heart for

people and give thanks for our life. Psalms is full of thanksgivings. Some points to help you: 1). it could be worse, 2). we have Christ with us (always a foundation of strength), and 3). you have to ask to love others. Ask, it will be granted.

3. Is there anything that God cannot do?

JC: I know of two things: God can’t defy his nature of holiness, therefore He can’t lie and He can’t sin. JM: He can do anything else JC: Basically, God can’t sin.

4. When it comes to inter-religious discussions, should we be objective?

JC: 1 Corinthians 8:9. Christ came to set us free. It’s important to consider the purpose of the discussion:

if it’s not grounded in love and a desire to understand others, it will fail. Slanderous debates are the

wrong perspective. If you’re genuinely curious or want to share your faith, you have to do it out of love, not to put them down. As long as we love, we can have these discussions Should we be objective? Be understanding, but have the passion and religious fervor. Feel free to admit

if their logic makes sense, but still be bold in your passion.

JM: Also, when having conversations like this, don’t “intend” to bring the person to Christ: let Christ work. Don’t contradict yourself, saying “we’ll just discuss it,” when you’re just going to try to bring them to Christ, because that’s lying. JC: Sometimes we think we need to trick people into believing, but Jesus leads them to belief. You’re a tool of Christ: let him use you. If you try to just slip it in, people can think you are cowardly. Be bold.

Also, doing it sneakily doesn’t exude the security we have in Christ. God will protect us, and we need to show that we believe in Him. JM: You never know how God will lead. Sometimes you start with a discussion, and God leads it to salvation. JC: Keep in mind, if Christ does come into it, let Him in. Be passionate about it, but be understanding of their views.

5. What does the Bible say about suicide? JM: This is coming from someone who struggled with suicide: it’s a sin. Suicide is murder. Murder is killing without justification. There is never a good reason to commit suicide. Do you go to hell? In my opinion, since murder is a sin, and we are to repent from our sins, if you commit suicide, I believe you do go to hell. If God says someone is truly saved, I don’t think he’ll let them commit suicide. I’ve had many attempts, and I’ve survived. I think it’s a heart issue: if your heart is truly changed, I don’t think you can. JC: Also from someone who is ex-suicidal (which has failed every time), I agree with Jordan. I’m not saying you won’t struggle with it, but God won’t let you fall to the wayside because of it. God’s hold is permanent. *Guest* Charlie: Suicide is wrong. In the case of extreme mental illness, I don’t think the intention to destroy their body is clear to them. If they can’t get help, or couldn’t control it, I don’t think a loving God could send them to hell. JC: I think that’s viable. JM: There’re lots of things to consider. Was it really suicide? Did someone else drive them to that? If so, it’s not so much suicide. JC: If it wasn’t purposeful, i.e. they’ve lost all cognitive reasoning, it’s a different matter entirely. I have personal experience with this as well, and it can be argued either way: sometimes they hate themselves, but any logic or reasoning either way doesn’t stay for long. It’s a different issue if they can’t really reason for themselves. *Guest* What should a friend say? Do you ever walk away? JC: First, we should always care, because we are Christians, and we should love everyone. We have to love everyone. It happens often, and it’s tricky. I think Christ empowers us to deal with situations He places us in. *Guest* Hannah: you don’t have to be a professional: you can always help in the moment. JC: My personal experience: if I’m that serious about it, DO NOT RELENT. Love, love, and keep loving. You don’t have to be trained. *Guest*How do you love? JC: Be there for them. Don’t relent, that’s saved me many times. Christ works through many things, and that’s one way he’s worked with me. When people love, it shines like a light in the darkness. HW: You don’t have to be there physically to help. I had a friend who messaged me often with suicidal thoughts. The only thing I could tell him was I love him, and people do care, and if he wouldn’t accept that people care, I told him I was there for him and I care. JC: Handle the situation with love, tenderness, and care. *Guest* Charlie: and if there’s an imminent threat, it needs to be reported. JC: They’ll be pissed at you, but if it saves their life, it’s worth it. You still show love for them like this, because they’ll get over it, and may even thank you for it over time. *Guest* Sheyanne: And even if they seem to get over it, don’t let up. Stay on it. Even if you think they’re okay, keep loving them. JC: The overarching answer: show love, like Christ loved us.

6. How do you pray?

HW: People pray differently; there’s not really a set way. Prayer isn’t just talking to God: it’s allowing for a conversation. It’s not always about asking for things. Don’t just ask God for things, thank Him for what you already have. He’s given you life, salvation, and tons of blessings, and you can ask Him to see the blessings you don’t realize. JC: Another thing: try to pray like Jesus prays. He had a constant connection with God. There are times where He went off and prayed alone, but he always had the connection, kind of like He had a Bluetooth link straight to God. Use the connection you can have with Christ. Call on the power of His name. Scripture has examples: when Christ was in the garden, He prayed for Himself, the disciples, and the world. He prayed for others, He sought direction and sought guidance. Prayer shouldn’t cut you off from the world, talk about the world with God. Even though God knows how we feel, a relationship is built by communication. Talking to Him shows dedication. The more you put in, the more you get out. JM: Prayer is talking to God. It’s fine to ask for things, but remember God isn’t Santa Claus. God wants to hear the thoughts and desires of our heart. When we pray, we’re approaching the throne of God. Prayer

is meant to be taken seriously, because it’s our time to talk to God. If you remember how serious it is, the seriousness will become evident in your prayers. JC: God wants an intimate connection with us, and prayer builds that connection. *Guest* Dream: One of my Sunday school teachers told us to always remember the A CTS of Prayer:

A doration, C onfession, T hanksgiving, and Supplication. I used to think it was a list to follow, but now I see it was showing what thoughts should become a prayer: if I have a thought about adoration or confession, I pray it there and then. JC: 2 Corinthians 10:5. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Every thought can be made a prayer. If something’s on your mind, pray about it. God listens, no matter how long it is. God won’t judge us based on our communication skills, he judges us by our heart. If your heart is earnest in prayer, God sees it, even if you don’t know how to say it.

7. Does Jesus love me?

JC: This is going to sound cliché, but John 3:16. It’s beautiful to think about. Romans 5:8 says before we were even born, while we were still sinning, Jesus sacrificed everything for us. JM: John 3:17 and following tells us condemnation doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. People are condemned to hell for nonbelief, but Jesus still loves them and His heart breaks for them. There is no punishment for those who love God. JC: I’ve heard people take it as “love me or die,” but that fails because we have the choice. If we want to reside in sin, it’s our decision, and God lets us live in it. If it was “love me or die,” then the moment you rejected Him, you would die. It’s “I want you to love me, but it’s your choice.” It’s true love because we choose to love.

8. What kind of music should we listen to?

JM: Whatever kind you like. It’s okay to listen to secular music, listening to it isn’t a sin. What is a sin,

however, is not doing what is edifying to the body. There are songs we shouldn’t listen to, because it isn’t edifying or encouraging. That should be moved away from because it tempts us to sin. It also depends on what you can handle. Some people are tempted by the slightest failings in music. Know your limits. However, as you grow in your faith, you tend to want to hear songs that uplift and glorify God. It’s okay to listen to other music, but avoid songs that can cause you to struggle with sin. JC: It depends on why you’re listening to it. “Be renewed by transforming, do not be conformed.” Don’t be conformed to the music we hear: music is a blessing. Phil 4:8 tells us that if it creates bad thoughts, don’t listen to it. *Guest* This applies to TV and movies, too, right?

JC: Right. It follows the same concept. If it causes negative emotion or causes you to fall, stay away from it. There’s a difference between testing your limits and putting yourself in danger. *Guest* Charlie: Also avoid being a stumbling block. I can stand secular music, but if I’m around people who don’t care for it, I avoid it. *Guest* Brandon: The same goes for posts on social media, too. JC: You have to live in a way that’s edifying and glorifying to God. Like with alcohol: if you can stand it, then it’s okay, but if it’s going to cause someone to stumble, don’t do it.

9. Why does a kind God let bad things happen? JM: Job has a lot of bad stuff happen to him, and spends the book trying to figure out why. In the end, he finds out it’s not our position to worry about why. In order for us to appreciate heaven, we have to know what it’s like to not be in heaven. If God took away all the bad, then earth is already heaven. We have to experience the way heaven isn’t to truly appreciate the glorious dream that is heaven by enduring the nightmare of the world. JC: Something else: Some say, “Don’t bother praying for me, because God doesn’t love me.” Pray anyway. We all know what it’s like to lose things, and this question is dealing with pain. Sin is a problem in our hearts. The wages of sin is death. Understanding that God can enact pain to have a purpose for a glorious end, it doesn’t mean every death of every child was God saying “X is going to die.” We have to understand that as humans, death is a natural part of life. Death is going to happen. Same with natural disasters: the world is corrupted with sin, that’s why in the end God will give us a new Earth. Also, Satan has power over elements/disease/pain (like in Job). I think instead of “Why did God do it?” it’s “Wow, this is the result of sin. We really need God.” The pain should usher us close to him, because we need help, we need salvation, and we need God. HW: When we pray for it to not happen, we look in a limited scope. God knows past, present, and future. Just because we think that if it happens, it’s bad, sometimes it ends up being good. JC: A lot of bad happens to good people and good happens to bad people. Satan is “prince of the earth” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan isn’t chilling in hell, he walks the earth and has dominion over it. Not everything is God picking and choosing, but it’s God letting things run their course to help show that we need Him. Satan doesn’t always pick on evil, because there isn’t a fight. Charlie: Not only that, but since Christ is in us, we never suffer alone. Christ knew suffering, and he suffers with us. JC: Romans 8:18 says sufferings now are nothing compared to the glory that is to come.

10. How do I “test everything?” JM: When it comes to testing things, here’s a formula: God gives us two commandments in Mark 12:30- 31. He tells us to love God and love people. If you’re going to do anything that violates that, you shouldn’t do it. If it doesn’t violate those, try it. Will what I’m doing show my love for Christ? That’s the criteria I use. JC: If you’re loving God and your neighbor, go for it. JM: And keep in mind, it has to show both.

11. When a verse keeps coming up, is it God speaking, or coincidence? HW: I don’t think there are coincidences. We can tell from scripture that if something is repeated, it’s important. Even if it doesn’t seem relevant, pray about it and see how God leads. JC: If it’s something that keeps popping up, it can be because we, as humans, don’t always see things the way they should be the first time. If it’s something that seems bad, don’t always see it as inherently bad, meditate on it. See if you can apply it to your life, and if something needs to change, then change it. God knows we can be oblivious, so maybe it is something we need to meditate on and pray about.

JM: Ecclesiastes 3:11. If something keeps popping up, God’s trying to get you to think about it. He gives us a desire to know the future. God likes to give us signs. He doesn’t give us the full answer, but he does give sneak peeks.