What does God think about some of the sensitive and complicated life issues like abortion, euthanasia and suicide? How does God want his people, Christians, to respond to these things? This chapter addresses these questions.
What kind of book is the Bible?
Is it just an ordinary book? Is it a magical book? Is it a boring book? Is it a book with the right kind of pages for rolling cigarettes? Is it a book of myths and legends? Is it a book of lies or make-believe?
People have all sorts of analogies about, and descriptions of, the Bible. Some call it a love letter from God, others call it a guide book for life, and still others call it a list of rules and behaviours for how to live. What is the Bible?
These days with the increased usage of ebooks our answer might change. I haven’t regularly read a physical Bible for years, but I read the Bible on my phone or tablet most days. Apart from the nature of a physical Bible, what do you think about its contents?
Are God and science mutually exclusive? What about faith and science? What about when scientific discovery contradicts something we know to be true from the Bible? When it comes to faith in God, do we have to check our brains at the door? Should we tell people, “Sorry, you can’t bring that in here. Leave your brains behind and trust blindly in God.”? When we write about Science for a handful of pages we are barely going to be able to scratch the surface of biblical interpretation or scientific discovery. But we’ll scratch at least a little bit.
How do we know for sure that Jesus lived, died and rose again? Is there historical evidence for Jesus from outside the Bible? Why is this important for Christians?
Jesus is the central figure in Christianity. Christianity isn’t a religion. It is a relationship with God that centres around who Jesus is and what he has done. Jesus is God, so his life and teaching reveal God to us. He lived and died for us, so that we could freely receive the gift of acceptance by God. Jesus is more than a point of interest for Christians, he is a point of reference.
Sometimes your Christian friends, or Christian organisations, can make you feel like voting one way or another is the Christian thing to do. And to do anything else is entirely UNchristian! The problem is, good Christian people on all sides of politics can make you feel like that, no matter who you’re voting for.
As God’s ally, how should I treat money? What should my relationship with money be like? Do I have enough? Do I have too much? How much is enough? These are the kinds of questions we often have about money. Especially at key points in the year like tax time and Christmas time. This chapter addresses these questions.
Why does God seem so different between the Old & New Testaments? How do we understand what seems like violence and anger compared to love and compassion? What about God’s judgement?
Homosexuality is a very important and sensitive topic, and it affects everyone differently. The potential for misunderstanding is very high. But the opportunity for discipleship – each of us becoming more like Jesus – is also very high. So let’s talk about it.
Gender roles is a topic that is shaped very much by our own gender, our family experience growing up, our experiences with people, churches, groups and the general culture that we’ve grown up with.
There is some variation of views on what the Bible contains about gender roles, and you may have read or heard about it before. I’m going to explore a number of passages throughout the Bible and explain our approach to gender roles as a church.
Why do bad things happen? Where is God when we suffer? How should we respond to suffering? This chapter addresses these questions.
Are there any beliefs that Christians share with people of other religions? How does God want us to treat and relate to people of other faiths? This chapter addresses these questions.
At The Lakes Church we worked through a series called Imagine Heaven, based on a book of the same name, written by John Burke. Using stories of near-death experiences, Imagine Heaven helped our church imagine heaven from a Biblical perspective. This was important for us at The Lakes Church, because a view of eternity changed so much of our identity and our lives.
Rather than starting with what’s right with the church, we more quickly and naturally gravitate to what’s wrong with the church. In our own conversations, and when other people ask us about the church. It’s often quicker and easier to start with the question, ‘What’s wrong with church?’
What is the church, why did Jesus begin the church and what did he have in mind? And especially, how do we respond to problems in the church when we come across them?
There are many topics, questions and issues that we didn’t cover in this book. However that doesn’t mean that you’re left stranded. By this stage in the book you have probably already noticed a few principles and a framework for how we tackle topics. We’ll outline a few suggestions for you to shape your own response to any issue, question or topic in your life.