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Archive for February 2015

So why didn’t God ever completely outlaw Slavery in the Bible?

Week 08 Slavery

The most obvious answer to this week’s UNCONVINCED question is that Yahweh didn’t really HAVE to condemn slavery.  Didn’t he say enough about slavery by delivering the Israelites from 430 years of oppression in Egypt?

But it still comes up in conversations from time to time.  If God could give what ever laws and statutes he desired, why not be completely clear about it?  “No slavery of any kind, People!”  Why leave it so open to interpretation?  It’s fairly common knowledge that Christian slave owners in the antebellum south often quoted the apostle Paul in their justifications for slavery:

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (Eph 6:5 NIV)

Turns out there are good reasons why God did it this way – in Moses’ day.  We’ll explore those this week when we meet.  Maybe you’ll find it convincing, maybe we’ll leave you unconvinced.  Come on out and let me give it my best shot!

Click here for this sessions notes:  Week 8 resource sheet

UNCONVINCED meets weekly in the Atrium at Christ Community Church at 10:45.

Yahweh said he’ll eliminate your enemies. Jesus said to love your enemies.

week 07 Holy War

Don’t you love it how the Bible gives us such striking contrasts sometimes.  This week in UNCONVINCED, we’ll launch a series we’re calling Yahweh vrs Jesus.  Each week from now till Easter, we’ll be exploring some of the tensions between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Tensions between how God reveals himself and how people understand him.  Here are a couple of classic texts:

God to the Israelites through Moses:

If you carefully obey my voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.  When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorite and the Hittites and Priezzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces.  Exod 23:22-24.

Click here for PDF of session resource sheet:  Week 7 Handout

Jesus to the disciples in the New Testament:

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matt 5:43-44

So which way is it?  Yahweh helps you kill your enemies in the Old Testament.  Jesus tells you to love your enemies in the New Testament.  As we do each week in UNCONVINCED we’ll explore the options- this week two broad options of faith and war:  Pacifism and Just War.  We’ll take an honest look at the Christian view of war and the justice of God.  Did God really command Holy War in the Old Testament?  Come on out and join the conversation.  We’re meeting in the Atrium at Christ Community at 10:45 till Noon during the second service.

 

Exodus/Yahweh will fight for you!

Exodus/Freedom

Update from Dominican Republic

Here is the latest update from the Perrotto family and their ministry in the Dominican Republic.

family pic 1What’s happening in the DR?

In the past few updates, we told you that there were going to be some changes here within our mission team.  Up until a recent announcement, our assignment was still yet to be determined, but we remained confident that God has us here for a purpose.  Our former site leaders are moving out of the leadership of the Envision Mission and into a different branch of ministry.  Brandon and Bethany Nutter are now the site leaders and our role will be to work in support of them, and along the C&MA church in the DR to help them grow their ministry to reach more people with the Gospel.

Through these past few months, we learned more than ever what it means to wait on the Lord.  I can’t say it is easy, but I trust the He knows more about what we need than we do.  I am thankful for the people he has put in our lives during that time who encouraged us and walked alongside us.  I also want to thank all of you for your prayerful support and messages of encouragement.  We needed it these past few months more than ever.

Our upcoming schedule

We are in the preparation stages for hosting 19 short term mission teams in Santiago this summer.  These teams are coming from all over the U.S. and they will be helping the DR churches with projects that they would have a difficult time getting accomplished otherwise.  Through this process, the churches who come and serve will not only have a tremendous impact in the DR, but will return to serve in a new way in their home churches.  As for our responsibility, it will still be to facilitate the work that the teams do when they come, with a few more added responsibilities.

Please pray with us…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness, your kindness, your gentleness and your willingness to be involved with all the little details of our lives.  We praise and thank you for the plan that you have in mind for each one of us and how your grasp around us cannot be shaken.   Please bless all the missionaries here and around the world in the ways that only You know they need.  Please guide us as we prepare to host mission teams to do your work here in the DR.  We pray that your work will be accomplished in and through all who come here to serve. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Thank you all so much for your faithful support!

Matt, Teri, Alec, Marcus, Ellah, Madelyn and Isaac

Scott & Tami Wade need your support to reach children in Peru

Wades to PeruI’m excited to introduce Scott & Tami Wade to everyone at CCC. I’ve known the Wades for several years and they have been amazing volunteers helping with missions work overseas (in places like Mali and Peru) and locally in Omaha. In fact, Scott & Tami got engaged just four years ago on a short-term mission trip to Mali, so serving in Missions is just part of their marriage DNA.

It was a few years ago that they came to tell me that they are confident God has called them as a couple to serve as a light to the world somewhere overseas. For a while it was unclear just where this might be, until they went on a short-term trip through CCC to minister in Peru. This was a simple trip to build a bathhouse at a youth summer camp, but God had much bigger plans. It was here they learned that the missionaries who run the camp are close to retirement and in need of a new couple to come and take over their ministry. It was in that moment that God grabbed their heart for the children in Peru.

Here in Nebraska our camps (like Camp Rivercrest) can only run a few months out of the year. But in Peru, where the weather is pretty much always nice, the camps can run year round. So this camp has over 3,000 children and youth coming throughout the year, many of which do not yet know Jesus as their Savior. So its that simple – children in Peru need Jesus, they can find Jesus at this summer camp, and you can be a part of that right from the comfort of Omaha.

In 2014 the Wades applied with the mission organization SIM (and will work under CCC missionaries Dr. Allen & Amy George) and have been accepted for a long-term position in Peru. Now they are asking other Kingdom followers at CCC and beyond to join their team. They really need three things:

Like all of our missionaries, they need tons of prayer, and I don’t say that lightly. The forces of evil will be working hard to keep Scott & Tami from getting to Peru, and prayer is our most powerful weapon.

Like all of our missionaries, they need your friendship. Having a long-lasting relationships with people here at CCC that they know will pray for them and support them is vital. Once someone decides to go to the mission field they often end up on a relational island, which can be a lonely place.

And like all of our missionaries, they need your financial support. The wades need over $4,500 per month in consistent support and $70,000 up front to make this all happen. Those are daunting numbers for us but they are trivial to God.

You can stop by their booth in the Atrium on Sunday to meet them and start to build a relationship. You can give one-time or monthly through CCC by going to www.cccomaha.org/give. And you can contact the Wades directly to learn specifically how to pray for them and maybe even invite them to your small group at scott.wade@sim.org.

Craig Walter, Missions Pastor

Fuzzy Math in the Bible? Can we really trust the numbers?

Week 06 Numbers

This week Jared and Brad are going to preach about how the Israelite community abruptly faces the prospect of starvation.  God had been doing dramatic miracle after miracle throughout their deliverance from Egypt.  Deliverance only to face thirst and starvation in the barren surroundings of the Sinai Peninsula.  It got me thinking about the mathematics of the situation.  Seriously?  2 Million people starving to death in the desert?

Click here for this week’s resource sheet:  Unconvinced Week 6 Fuzzy Math

Exodus 12:37 indicates there were some “600,000 men on foot” that left Egypt during the Exodus.  A common estimate of the entire community is about 2 million people.  Scholars have questioned the integrity of a number that huge.  And for good reasons when one pries open the Hebrew language.  Come on out to UNCONVINCED this week as we look at the most common solutions to this challenge.  While we’re at it we’ll throw in a couple other examples of “fuzzy math” from Exodus and other parts of the Old Testament.  You’re welcome to join the discussion.  We meet in the Atrium at Christ Community during the 10:45 service.

Feel free to connect with me if you have questions:

Tim Perry   timp@cccomaha.org

 

Topics coming up the next few weeks:

02.22  Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament?

03.01  Why did the law of Moses merely regulate slavery instead of abolishing it?

03.08  Women seem to be devalued in the Old Testament.  Did Jesus really change that?

03.15  When Jesus was asked which command was most important, why didn’t his answer include any of the 10 Commandments?

Exodus/Blood on Your Doorframes

Exodus/Plundering