What an awesome meeting again last night!  We really missed Ashley, though, as we had the babies in the meeting again.  We’ve gotten quite spoiled with our babysitter.  We had a dinner of spinach lasagna, tortilla soup without tortillas, and brownies.  A couple of new people joined us, Ryan and Sarah, and we really enjoyed their fellowship.  Kiondra joined us again, which was exciting too!  We took communion together with our meal and had a great time fellowshipping.

After dinner, we messed around with musical instruments for a while and then Les started a discussion on Romans 4.  I think he’s trying to post his part of the discussion on the blog, but he’s having some issues with formatting.  He had us all give our responses to what we feel like God was telling us while Les read the chapter.    One response was that we are free from having to be righteous under our own power, that God makes us righteous Himself.  Also, because of that freedom, we are free to be vulnerable with each other, knowing that in Christ’s body we are not supposed to be judgmental.  We can be genuine in discussing our hurts and our struggles, knowing that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Indeed, we should be at our most vulnerable within the church, not putting on a happy show for everyone while we cry or seethe in private.

We discussed how some of us have feelings of incompetence that can be battled by knowing that we are in God’s will.  Just as Abraham didn’t look at how old he and Sarah were when God told them they would have a child, we don’t have to focus on our own inadequacies when God has given us a promise or a command.   God will equip us.  We must “plunge into the promises” that he has made us.

Les mentioned a Scripture that he was reminded of from the Message:

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  – Matthew 6:30-33

This responding to God’s giving is another way that we can plunge into his promises.  He has promised to take care of you!  So relax!

Ryan brought up Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

He tied this verse together with the story of Joseph…a wonderful example of God working out things for the good!  Too many times Christians use this verse as a cliche, trying to make people feel better when things go wrong.  We examined the story of Joseph, and saw that even though eventually God worked things out, a lot of Joseph’s early life really sucked.  The fact that God worked everything out in the end didn’t make it any less sucky.

This set off a rousing discussion of the Old Testament as a picture of Christ.  We discussed the Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacles of David and Moses.  I could go into great detail here, but I’m afraid I would be plagiarizing Frank Viola’s teaching on the subject.  If you wish to hear that teaching, I’m pretty sure we have the CD.

We discussed the origins of our house church network for Ryan and Sarah (I believe April is going to post on this later) and closed in song.

* an allusion from The Office. One of the “black” phrases that Darrell teaches Michael so that he can “sound black.”  We repeated these often throughout the night.