Saturday, September 20, 2008

No Other Gods-Week 1

Are you ready for this? I am super pumped about this study. God's really been working on me in some specific areas of my life and I anticipate that He is just going to make it even clearer through this study. I'm sure I'll be sharing more about that in the weeks to come, but for now, I want to welcome you!

Aimee-I am so glad you are joining us, and we can't wait to celebrate the birth of your baby with you! I hope that you are able to kick your feet up these last few weeks and really soak God in with us!

Nancy-I so enjoy seeing your beautiful face every week at church. I'm praying for you in the adoption process and hope to be celebrating with you too soon! Oh, and we can totally hold you accountable, if you really want us to. :)

Carrie-I'm glad you stumbled upon my blog too! You're probably the most sleepless one of us right now, so we'll forgive any grammar and spelling errors in your comments, though Aimee will be rivaling you for that position soon. :) With your husband doing school and working, I'm sure it is difficult to have a break from the kiddos. I hope that you will be able to find some special time for you to grow in Him each week with this study and with us here on the blog!

Kim-I'm looking forward to doing this study with you too. I've already been enjoying your blog and getting to know you some that way! You'll be our resident NOG expert, so please feel free to impart any wisdom you have from doing this a second time. I love how much God can give us a fresh perspective each time we study His Word.

Dianna-I hope the family travel has been going well and pray you will make it safely home. I miss your joyful presence on Monday nights, and I'm totally looking forward to what God does through this Bible Study too!

Kari-Kari didn't make it to the roll call because she is having some technical difficulties, but she will be joining us also. I'll let her introduce herself in her first comment, but I'll just tell you that she is another one of my Monday night Bible Study friends from this summer and she is the sweetest thing! She's a teacher and in the throws of a new school year, so I'll be praying for her to find time too. I can't wait to see how God works in your life through this study as well Kari!

Okay, so that makes seven of us. I think that is a great number. We should have a wonderful time getting to know each other and really be able to pray for each other and learn from each other over the next 8 weeks. I would really like to make prayer an important part of this study, so if you would like, please send me a brief email each week telling me a specific way we can all be praying for YOU. I'll then put them all together and send out a group email so that we can be praying together. Send them to hdvogel@gmail.com Alrighty then, let's get started...

Here are this week's discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all of them as you feel led.

1. Think of a few examples of functional gods in our society. (top of page 15) Are there any new functional gods you've come across this week?

2. Can you think of any biblical character who had the same plight or idol you are dealing with? How can this person's story help you to put aside your idol?

3. Share the situation you wrote about in response to the Personal Reflection prompt on page 20. Did reading about the Israelites make you feel any better or give you any comfort about your situation?

4. Share your answers from the bottom of page 23. What skills do you have that you can use for God's glory? Help one another think how you can use your skills in your church or community.

5. At the very end of the week on page 27, we were given a Creative Reflection challenge. If you came up with one, share it with us!

See you in the comments, and remember to check back often to add more to the discussion! Have a great week in the Word!

10 comments:

Kim @ My Journey said...

Hi Study Gals,

I just wanted to quickly check in. I really LOVE this study and NEED to go through it again. My computer time is limited today, so I'll jump back here tomorrow.... probably after my kiddos are in bed (sorry for the delay).

Hope thank you so much for putting together prayer requests.... Truly appreciate it and will be honored to pray with and for you all.

Have a wonderful start to the weekend. Look forward to jumping back here tomorrow evening.

Hope said...

1. Money, materialism, success, jobs, children, spouses, entertainment, hobbies. New one I came up with this week, blogging. OUCH!

2. I don't think they had blogging or soda in Bible times, so this one is hard. Food however, is my biggie and there are many examples of that one. Currently, the Israelites in the desert come to mind. I have a feeling I would have been pretty ungrateful and grumbly with manna every day too. God's working on me big time here.

3. The most powerless time in my life was when I was pregnant with my first daughter and new something was wrong with her, but I had no power to heal her. I was completely at His mercy. There were times that I couldn't even cry out, I had to rely on "the groans from the Spirit." I absolutely find comfort and encouragement in the Israelites powerlessness, it shows me God's POWER and Faithfulness!

4. I'm not entirely sure about skills, but I enjoy writing, and I am a great planner/organizer. I've mostly been using my skills in Women's Ministry because that is what God has given me a passion for. We've got some stuff up our sleeves for Women's Ministry at Central (Nancy, Dianna, and Kari might be excited to hear that!)

5. This Creative Reflection thing was pretty easy for me because we LOVE movies around here! One of my favorites is "Sweet Home Alabama". If you've seen it, I think it is fairly obvious that her functional god was fashion and success. She completely became both, but it wasn't worth "the knew Melanie" once she realized how much she missed "the old Melanie". Oh, I love that movie! Can't wait to hear from you all!

Kari said...

Hello!

I'm Kari, the technical difficulties girl! I don't have my own computer at home and use the one at school (I teach Spanish 1), but they block a lot of sites from the kids and all, so for some reason, I can read the posts but I can't post from school computer.

A little about me in brief, I'm in my early 30s, never married, no kids. I bought a house last spring and feel like a real grown up now! As Hope said, I was in her Beth Moore Bible study this summer, and I really enjoyed that. Thanks to a brilliant sermon by Anthony the former intern several weeks ago, I realized that marriage (and my desire for it) was my false idol, what I put ahead of God, and that's what brought me to this study.

1. One functional god I would add to Hope's list is government/politics. I'm very opinionated on this subject and have been very emotionally invested in this election for a long time. We just had a sermon/lesson this week at church on being encouraged by heaven/the second coming. That was good b/c it reminded me that as important as this world is, taking care of it, making the right choices as a nation, eventually it's not going to matter that much. I've been really working on keeping that in mind.

2. I don't recall any biblical characters whining about not being married. Although, was it Jacob who worked for 7 years to marry the one sister, then was given to the other and had to work another 7 years to marry the wife he really wanted? That's close, I guess. But I think Abraham and Sarah's story is really the closest, even though their's is about children.

3. For me, this extended season of singleness is my time of being powerless. Nothing works out for me. I try to learn from my mistakes and do better the next time, I don't make the same mistakes, but still, nothing works out. (Only one other person knows this, but I tried the eharmony, and it didn't work for me at all!) I can't say the Israelites have helped me with this, what does help me is seeing other couples in my small group, and being reminded how difficult marriage can be, and how much of a BLESSING it is for me to be able to go home to my nice, quiet house. I can spend all day watching tv or reading or transfering irises from planters to the ground. But ask me over the holidays how much I appreciate my singleness, and you will get a different answer!

Okay, I think that's enough! ha ha!

ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

We just did this book over the summer - it was great! Really gets you thinking...

Kim @ My Journey said...

For the first chapter, what struck me was that SO many things can be idols. When I read those definitions, I realized that (for me) it's hard not to turn things into idols. Where is my trust, my security, what gives me joy? Oh goodness, even coffee is an idol! :)

Nancy said...

1.) I will add friends/people/people's opinions, financial security, seeking knowledge or being "in the know", lists, busyness, and "getting things done". Yes, that is the big one for me. I idolize that sense of accomplishment to the point of being unable to focus on anything else, even Bible study, until my mental list is complete. Yes, I'm a bit OCD.

2.) Well, it's pretty obvious that I identify Martha as having hte same idol as me. In my Bible, the sidenotes about Martha could be written just the same for me: was used to being in control; worried about details; wished to please, to serve, to do the right thing; found it hard to relax and enjoy her guests; had begun to learn what her younger sister already knew- that worship begins with silence and listening. Martha gives me hope that by talking with and listening to Christ, I can become more relaxed in daily life and know that I am still serving when I am quiet.

3.)For me, several seasons of my life have brought about the sense of powerlessness when all I could do was cry out to God. This would include during years of infetility, our adoption journeys, coping with the loss of my Dad to suicide. I have a favorite quote by Abraham Lincoln that provides encouragment that strength can come as a result of being in captivity "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."

4.) I have a passion for serving our world's orphans and children living in poverty. I have always had a heart for serving underpriveleged children, but haven't always taken advantage of opportunities because of lack of confidence, fear, doubt. I feel called to action to use my passion and talent for organization to respond to the needs of our world's orphans.

5.) To add to the commentary earlier about Martha, my Bible devotional reading adds that Martha feared shame if her home did not measure up to expectations. She tried to do everything she could to make sure that wouldn't happen. She was held captive by the fear of disappointing people and that took away from her ability to trust and faithfully serve her Master, Jesus Christ. What we treasure (fear, serve, think about, fret about) is where our heart is.

Dianna B said...

Question #1) Examples of functional gods in our society...internet, TV, wealth, porn, food....

Functional gods I came across this week?...One thing I noticed while at my sister's (mother of 4 boys, ages 10-14-15-19) busy, fun, hectic, household full of guests last week because of a couple of weddings taking place, is that we had 2 laptops in the living room! Another computer was in the bedroom. At any given time nephews, nieces, my sisters & myself were using them...someone was always on them! It was just so handy - right there at your fingertips! At the same time the TV was on non-stop in the living room & also in a bedroom! Another big screen TV was on downstairs in the family room - sometimes nobody was watching it - the kids had just left it on! It really hit me...how easy some things, even good things, can grab ahold of us...& slowly...so subtly...or even sometimes overnight...they take over & it becomes the norm!
I must admit, there are times when I'm on the computer when I should be in bed! :-)

Questions 2-5 later.

Carrie said...

Sorry I am so late getting to this...

Wow, my eyes were totally opened during this chapter.

My personal idols have been cleaning/organizing the house. I put it before my God time, as well as before I school with the kids. I really become a slave to 'doing', as Martha in the Bible did.

Also, the computer becomes a huge time waster to me. I find myself sitting here mindlessly, 'unwinding', yet I haven't spent time with God yet. An idol I guess?

I wonder if self could be considered an idol?? Because a great deal of the population definitely thinks of themselves ahead of God/others, and goes through whatever lengths to make self happy. Spending too much time/money on self.

Sorry this is so disorganzied and haphazard... I am nursing a babe and am going on three days of no sleep (a cold, baby has a fever from immunizations, we ripped up the kitchen floor this weekend.) I am also going to come back and read everyone else's answers when I have a minute....

dianna b said...

Question #3)Personal Reflection about a time I felt absolutely powerless where all I could do was cry out to God. I felt absolutely powerless while going through the heart-wrenching pain of my marriage falling apart & the eventual divorce. The horrible feeling of rejection threw me into depression, stress & anxiety & full blown panic attacks. I cried out to God all the time. But I knew God had saved me a year or so ahead of time to get me ready to trust Him as I went through this scary & awful time. He took me by the hand through one storm after another & right when I thought it was the darkest right before the dawn...no dawn came...it just got darker! But God was still there...making my faith in Him grow stronger & stronger as I relied on Him for...every...single...little... thing. It was like going through the desert waiting & wondering when I would get to the "promised land" which would be the day I could feel free from the pain & sadness & the messiness of a divorce. It was also a time of great spiritual growth for me & the beginning of a deep & intimate relationship with the living God! A time of waiting on the Lord, of leaning on Jesus as my husband & seeing God provide for every single need in my life. I guess I could compare that to the Israelites depending on God to provide manna every day for them to eat & water to drink. God was going before me...like he did for the the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day & as a pillar of fire by night...protecting, leading & providing for me & my kids. As hard as those times were, I can actually look back & say wow, that was an awesome journey! Why? Because I got to see God!!!

dianna said...

Well, Hi there Hope! I am having a crazy time getting my thoughts organized this week! Between recovering from our trip to Nebraska & attending 2 fun, family weddings and now unpacking, doing laundry & next week's bible study...I am finally getting around to posting my answer to Question #4 Regarding Skills used for God's glory...I would say parenting is a skill! I am so blessed when my kids call & ask for advice. I can glorify God by giving them wise & Godly counsel, encouraging them & pointing them to certain scriptures to stand on. I am excited to be glorifying God with what He has taught me over the years, beginning with...the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is exciting to pray with them & to pray for them because this is a desire of my heart coming to pass! I end up glorifying God & helping my kids to glorify Him too & this just brings God all the glory!

I would say grandparenting is a skill too. I can love on the grandkids like crazy & be a good role model for them & pray for them. I can teach them good & Godly things, have fun times with them & just be a safe harbor for them. They will remember those things. I got the biggest smile on my face & in my heart when my 7 year old grandson said, “Grandma, you’re my best friend!” I want to give them a big ol' bunch of God's love in their lives that will leave a lasting impact!

PS Ooooo.....I am excited to see what you have up your sleeves for the Women's Ministry!

PS Aaahhh.....Sweet Home Alabama...I loved that movie too!
What a perfect example!