Thursday, October 06, 2005

ALPHA - Week 3

Tonight's topic : How can I be sure of my faith?

Well, I thought this would be the easy one. After all, I'm quite sure of my faith. I've had times when my faith has been shaky, weak, and downright non-existent. But not now. I am super Christian!

So, I thought, tonight will be easy.

Ha! How wrong I was! Yes, my faith is still strong, and tonight did not bring up any doubts. But it was a humble reminder of how much I have yet to understand about receiving and living in faith. I didn't realize how many questions I had - not about God or Jesus, but about how God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit enter and work in my life.

I did disagree with one thing Nicky Gumbel talked about. He was speaking about the "free gift" of the Holy Spirit, and how this gift is given with "no catches". But isn't being a Christian the catch? "Yes, you can get the free gift of the Holy Spirit, but first you must give your life over to Christ." That sounds like a catch to me. I know he means catch as some kind of deceitful trick, like the small print in a sales ad. But to say that God's free gift is freely given to all doesn't quite seem correct to me. Yes, it's given to all, but you must choose to accept it through Jesus Christ. After all, if I said to a non-Christian friend, "You have the free gift of eternal life, but first you must accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior", they'd probably call that a catch.

I also had some difficulty with the "fruits of the Holy Spirit". Something I've heard about my whole life, but revealed to me in a new light tonight. By accepting the Holy Spirit into my life, am I guaranteed these fruits, or am I guaranteed the opportunity to attain or achieve these fruits? Very confusing for me!

Despite the fact that I leave each Wednesday with my head spinning, I really am enjoying this course. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to everybody - Christian and non-Christian alike. There are so many things we assume we know, until the question is asked a little differently, or the fact is given a new presentation.

In a practical sense, Alpha is getting me very excited about reading the Bible. My homework requires rooting around several different books for quotes, and when I find the quote, I always want to read the chapter so I can get the context. Last night, I got so excited by the process, that I stayed up and read Revelation. I'd never read it before, and my initial comment must be: What the ?????

1 comment:

Allison Lynn said...

I'm not posting on my own blog! Debbie asked me to leave this comment. Thanks, Debbie!

- Hey Allison.....Your Alpha Course sounds very interesting! As far as God's free gift of is "free" because we don't have to "work" for it...there's nothing we have to do to obtain it other than believe and repent of our sin. The gift is there and free to all who come and open the gift. That's it. Simple...too simple for some....they think you HAVE to do stuff for God BEFORE He offers the gift of salvation therefore THAT would be the catch. And...once you truly believe in His Son, he washes you clean, forgives, and NEVER LETS YOU OUT OF HIS CARE. The Bible says He'll NEVER leave us or forsake us and Jesus said we're ALWAYS in His hands. What a comfort that is. Some faiths believe you have to do (works), this, that or whatever to become a Christian.hence, "the catch" ..but it so much simpler...accepting and believing in Jesus and His sacrifice is THE KEY. The fruits of the Spirit are always there, but it is up to us to tap into them (after we've become
believers). There are so many blessings and benefits we never enjoy because we never use them. As far as Revelation, I have gone through a study in our church Sunday School class some years ago and it was interesting, but I really enjoyed the "Left Behind" series of books. I know they are fiction, but they are based on the scriptures using fictional characters. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are the authors. You can find them at a local library and I have the video "Left Behind" if you want me to send it to you. After reading the first book, it really comes alive. I know it is just their opinion on how things will be at the end time, but it is based on the Bible and I really enjoyed it.