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Archive for January 2016

Did you really have to say that, Jesus?

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This week in Unconvinced we’re doing part one of Jesus’ famous I AM statements.  When you read the Gospel of John you’ll notice he records Jesus making a series of theological identity statements.  There are 8 of them that are commonly talked about by bible scholars.  “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the Bread of Life.”  Each of the next two week we’ll take a look at four “I AMs…  Each revealing something core to Jesus’ identity.  Each of them somewhat controversial based on the reaction Jesus got from them.

How controversial could Bread really be?

One thing I keep seeing again and again in John’s Gospel is TENSION.  The verbal barbs Jesus trades with the Pharisees are smokin!  Not even Donald Trump can get himself in as much hot water as Jesus.  How controversial could “I am the Bread of Life” really be?  When I’m reading it in my Bible, I think… “Nice Jesus.  Great comparison there to manna.  You’re speaking to their Old Testament story-line with that imagery.”  Then the next thing know Jesus just pushes it over the cliff!

“My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them.”  John 6:55-56

Little wonder that you see in that same passage:  “Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves – How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Among the 8 I AMs…this is one of the more tame examples.  Jesus draws even more heat for some of his other identity claims.  The reason we’re going after the 8 I AMs is to wrestle with the person of Jesus for ourselves.  Can we really come to grips with who he claimed to be?  If we were in his audience that day, would Jesus push our buttons?  Most people think Jesus was about as controversial as a blond-haired, blue-eyed sweater model who carried lambs around on his shoulders.  Jesus was no wimp.  Just about everywhere he went he nearly got himself killed.  Come jump in with us and find out why.

Unconvinced meets Sundays in Room D-126 at 10:45am.

In case you missed last week, here’s the notes from our discussion – thanks Cheryl Perry for doing an awesome job as our facilitator:

Week 04 Resource Sheet

Week 5 Resource Sheet

Week 5 – Manuscript

Hope to see you Sunday.  Bring a friend with you!

 

10 Minutes on Inductive Bible Study

Who would you be if you lived in Jesus’ day?

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As I’ve been studying through the Gospel of John these days, I keep watching for the characters in the story I relate to best.  I keep asking things like:  Can I see myself as one of the 12 disciples?  Would I be a tradesman like Simon, James or John?  Could I have ever been a rogue prophet like John the Baptist?  An ethnic outcast like a Samaritan, estranged from the Jewish majority culture?  How about you?  Who would you see yourself as?

Well I found myself in a character in Chapter 3!  Not sure I liked myself by the way!   Given my socioeconomic station, my education level and my connection with organized religion…so far in the Gospel of John I would  be most like Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council.  The ironic thing about being an educated religious leader was that it actually makes one LESS likely to connect with Jesus!

Click here for session notes:  Week 3 Resource Sheet

How do we know that?  We’ll take a look at it this week in Unconvinced.  If Nicodemus was a likely fan of Jesus, why was he so secretive about his approach?  If Jesus saw the religious establishment as essential to his success, why did he invest so little time engaging them?  Why weren’t they drawn to him?  Why so much conflict and rejection?  Come on out and we’ll explore the text together.

Unconvinced meets Sundays at 10;45 in Room D-126.  Bring a questioning friend with you and bring your honest doubts!

If someone like John dared to doubt!

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Every once in a while I get an email notifying me that someone has endorsed me on Linkdin.  Ever happened to you?  I looked at my profile just now and I’m amazed at what people see in me.  I wonder to myself,  “Is there another Tim Perry out there far more gifted than me?”  Before my swelling ego gets any fatter,  I’m reminded of scripture’s absolutely most stunning endorsement.  Here it is:

“I tell you the truth, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”    – Jesus

John the Baptist was the greatest human being ever in the surmise of Jesus the God-Man.  That’s saying something!  Yet even John the Baptist reached a point of desperation about Jesus and his mission.  Simply Unconvinced explores the tension of faith and doubt in an effort to understand the significance of the person and teachings of Jesus.  Come on out this week and join in the conversation.  Bring a friend.  Bring your toughest  questions.

Unconvinced meets Sunday’s at 10:45 in Room D-126

Here’s a link to the  Week 2 Resource Sheet

Each week we’ll also post the teaching notes from our sessions in this blog.  Scroll down if you’re curious about past sessions.