Out of Context – T3 Bible Study October/November 2017

Out of Context – T3 Bible Study October/November 2017

Third Thursday Theology – October/November 2017 Bible Study

We thought it might be interesting to look at some bible passages that are sometimes taken out of context and discuss them as a group. I hope we can dive deeper into the bible and really think about how those passages can speak into our lives.

Powerpoint with notes from discussion: out of context

If you have questions or comments about the group or the presentation please feel free to contact us through this page or the groups Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/t3study/


Respect For The Integrity Of Every Life!

Respect For The Integrity Of Every Life!

I received an email today from my employer … below are several excerpts:

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen hatred and disregard for life resurge in our own back yard, across our country and throughout the world in ways, many of us thought we would never see again.”

“I believe this means that we must further strengthen our message of respect and acceptance of all people. We must be direct and clear in this message, supporting one another in our efforts to convey respect for the integrity of every human being, every life.”

“For me, these last few weeks have felt like stepping backward in time. But I believe that we will move forward by gaining a greater understanding of what drives the hatred and disregard for human life that we see around us.”

While I think this was a well written and moving letter from the CEO/Vice President of VCU/MCV, and understanding that these words were written in the wake of some disturbing racial/political/hate-group demonstrations, my first thought in reading this was not about how I or anyone else react to the color of someone’s skin … my first thought was: “what if we applied this same rhetoric to the terrible hatred that is abortion?”!

One person died in Charlottesville because of the wickedness and selfishness in people’s hearts toward those who are different … and though that is one too many and I DO NOT condone hatred of those different than you … over 25 hundred babies are aborted in the US every day!  We will scream and cry and argue and relive the tragedy of Charlottesville for weeks on the news and Facebook willing to lose friends and stand up for our “convictions” (condolences to the family of Heather Heyer’s family who will live with this for the rest of their lives), we will take down monuments and try to “erase” history so we don’t have to be reminded of our past and failures, we will turn against our neighbor and divide our country to be “right and justified” … but who will cry for the unborn, who will stand up for what is right and try to erase the millions of murders, and who will heal our country and unite us in the REAL fight for “conveying respect for the integrity of every human being, EVERY LIFE”?!?!?!

I recently saw a powerful video of John MacArthur speaking about the biblical reasons “why Charlottesville happened” (link at the end of this article).  He attributed it to three foundational reasons:

  1. Breakdown of moral law
  2. Breakdown of the family
  3. Lack of respect for governing bodies (police)

In the same way I think these principles apply to the abortion debate as well …

  1. We have gone away from the biblical view of love. We do not value life and the fact that we are made in the image of God.  We have selfishness in our hearts and think more about what a child would do to us then what that child can do for us and the world.  We rid ourselves of anything that might cause stress or make us look bad (an unwanted pregnancy, a deformed child, the shame or guilt of a decision fueling our want to rid ourselves of the “consequences”).  We disregard what God says about the love between a man and a woman and what responsibilities we have to each other within the parameters of that union.  We set our lustful desires above the obedience of a God who knows what is best for us.  And when we find ourselves in a situation that isn’t optimal for us, we throw aside moral law and life itself.  We have become a society of death and then we wonder why there is so much disregard for human life in other areas of our mindset.
  2. When you disregard God’s structure of the family unit with rampant divorce rates, soaring out of marital conception numbers, gay unions, cultural disrespect for the father role, the government stepping in to teach our kids about sex (“safe” casual sex instead of abstinence), lack of discipline breeding an entitled generation, a porn driven society, and a “what is in it for me” mentality … no wonder there is no reverence for life on a basic scale!
  3. We have not only thrown aside believing in the government (whom we have elected according to our corrupt views about what is important), built a thriving disrespect for our civil servants (I agree there are police that take advantage of situations, but there are just as many people if not more judging men and women on the basis of what they might do), and treated our elders with disgrace … we have stopped having a healthy fear and reverence for the law of God. We believe we can say anything we please on social media because it is not face to face with anyone, we think our opinion is all that matters while lashing out at others when they think the same thing about their opinion, and we allow adults to act like children because there is no discipline or consequences in our homes.

In my home state of Virginia this is coming to light in the fight for life against our governor (McAuliffe).  He has gone against laws that allow for stricter regulations of abortion clinics to ensure a safer experience for women.  In rolling back restrictions this allows clinics to operate in unsafe ways to make more money.  He also “awarded” Planned Parenthood (a company that was essentially founded as a way to keep the amount of black children born in this country at a lower rate) government funding to operate.  And now Planned Parenthood is thanking him by backing his political agenda and pouring campaign money into pro-abortion candidates (how is this even legal?!?!?!?!).  But at least one group is fighting back! (Link in bottom of article)  We need more people to stand up and fight for life and to let it be known, that just like taking a life because of racial discrimination, it is not acceptable to take a life by abortion either!

So today let us go forward with pure, unadulterated, Godly love (for our fellow man, for the unborn, for ourselves, and most importantly for God).  Let us break the chains of sin and death.  Let us value life in every form – not just what looks like us or makes us comfortable.

With love for EVERYONE,


John MacArthur video I referenced: https://www.facebook.com/GracetoYou/videos/10155701072921602/?hc_ref=ARST_Wa43R3j5AF5kkXkqO3ea854QR7IZsxf_u1hSdmHFikQPMo0nv_y8qNosxsrpH8&pnref=story

Abortion/McAuliffe article I referenced:



Being an Ananias (Scottie Pippen) in a Paul (Michael Jordan) World!

Being an Ananias (Scottie Pippen) in a Paul (Michael Jordan) World!

Scottie Pippen was an amazing basketball player, but just happened to be playing at the same time as Michael Jordan. He may not have had as many commercials as Jordan, but he was part of the same team and so had just as many championship wins as him. He was still great in his own right and on his own path!

Most of us want to be the one to do something great for God. We look up to great men like Billy Graham and wish we could lead millions of people to salvation. We aspire to be like Mother Teresa and have people praise us for our compassion. We see the Newsboys band and wish we could usher the masses into worship. But sometimes we don’t get to be “The Guy” … sometimes we have to be content to be the assist man! I have heard a million sermons and studies about Paul, but the last one I heard opened my eyes to someone I hadn’t thought much about: Ananias!

Ananias was on the path to be “The Guy”. He was a known servant of the Lord, willing to do what the Lord commanded, and apparently had enough faith to heal Paul. But setting up Ananias to be the leader of a nation wasn’t in God’s plan. The bible talks about Ananias being scared of Paul, but it doesn’t allude to another feeling he must have felt: jealousy. Akin to the way the older brother in the prodigal son felt, Ananias may have been a little upset that a new-comer – an ANTI-Christian of all people – was coming in on the last play to throw the winning shot! Ananias went from being the game winner to being the assist man real quick … but the difference about Ananias is that he did so with grace and love for his new team leader. What if Ananias had gotten an attitude and told God to take a hike? The greatest evangelist of all time could have still been sitting in that back room – blind and unproductive. Ananias had to swallow his pride and teach Paul what he needed to know to transform the world. Maybe our role isn’t to be the front man, but to be the teacher.

A couple practical examples from my life:

1. Years ago my boss moved into another position and I was doing both jobs while a replacement was found. I applied for the job obviously, but was not granted an interview because I had not finished my degree. Then I had to train my new supervisor. I was a tad upset to say the least, but had to remember that it wasn’t the new girls fault. I couldn’t treat her with disdain because she was on the path she was supposed to be on. If I had gotten that job I would not have had time to be in my Christian band and would not have felt comfortable later to quit my job and go back to school for ministry. God was saving me for my path, but also helping someone else to be on their path as well. When we don’t get what we think is due to us, it can breed resentment and make us stray from the greater job God has in store for us.

2. I am a church kid, and had my own Christian band for over 5 years. I became a youth minister at a church and took my kids to youth retreat. It was the first time I had ever been at camp where I wasn’t one of the youth or part of the band/speakers. Even though I was one of the leaders, I sort of got upset and doubted what I was doing. I began asking God if I had given up my gift of singing and been wrong to stop using what He had given me to serve Him. I had jealousy and an attitude about the band on stage … thinking that that was my rightful place to be. Later that night there was a candle light service and I looked at my youth’s little faces in the soft light and began to cry. God reached into my heart and told me that I had had my time to travel and tell others about Jesus. Now my new mission and my new path was to teach these kids and prepare them so they could have their time to proclaim the name of Jesus. My time in front of the crowd had transitioned for the time being to lead a small band of disciples so they may take the message and spread the gospel. I couldn’t argue seeing that emulating Jesus is the greatest privilege we have. It still stung for a little bit, but the rewards of seeing those kids love the Lord was worth it. I had to step out of the spotlight and bury some of my passion and pride to follow the new path God had laid out for me.

3. My father has always lived a life set apart from most. He has a wonderful character, has never even tasted alcohol, and knew he was different than most of the kids in his small town. He always felt God was preparing him for something great. He has never been a rich man or been in a huge spotlight, but he has touched countless lives with his steadfast passion to try to do what is right no matter what others may think of him. He has been a beloved coach to hundreds of young men and also a bible study leader. He can’t go anywhere without seeing someone he knows, and will friend anyone and put a smile on their face. He told me the other day that even though he doesn’t feel like he has done some great feat for God, maybe what he was supposed to do was raise his kids to go on to do great things. We have each gone on to do some relatively big things in our community and beyond for Christ (in no way meaning to brag) and I believe my father was right in the fact that his legacy remains in the way he taught his children to stand up for what is right and follow what the bible says no matter how we feel. And one day we will bring our children up in the ways of the Lord.  His favorite saying is: “what is right might not be popular, and what is popular is not always right”. He is a great example of perseverance in the midst of struggle. He may not always make the right decision, but he always tries to return to God’s word and live for Him. If that is the only thing anyone remembers about him, I believe it would be enough of a witness to the dedication of faith and a slam dunk for his life. Sometimes we think we are not the leading actor in our own lives, but if we can remain unyielding to the end we may just get that academy award for best supporting actor. There are no small parts … only small actors.

Ananias decided to put aside his pride and do what God asked. He may not have been as popular as Paul, but his name is in the Bible forever and he was a very important assist to countless people (even now) hearing the gospel. No matter how big you think your role is in the furthering of God’s will, if you do what the Lord asks then you have completed a great feat for Him! Sometimes being the assist man is your moment in the spotlight. In all reality – hearing the words “well done My good and faithful servant” when we step into eternity is our three point shot at the buzzard!


Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

“Be Thou My Vision” has been in my head for the last few weeks, and I didn’t know why. Today I decided to look up the words (because I did not know them all). In looking at just the first line of each verse and thinking of a few of my interactions lately, it really puts the last month in perspective:

  1. “Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart”: God should be what we look to, and if He is the Lord (that would make Him the master and us the servant) of our heart then what He wants is what we should do. He should be the driving factor of everything we do or don’t do … so we can bring Him glory. When we get up for church even when we don’t feel like it (self-control), when we tithe even though we don’t know where the bill money will come from (faithfulness), when we give to those less fortunate (goodness), when we look people in the eye while talking to them (kindness), when we don’t give into anger (patience), when we don’t listen to our doubt and anxiety (peace), when we listen to someone who is hurting (gentleness), when we are thankful in spite of our circumstances (joy), and when we show the light and compassion of Jesus to others even when we don’t agree with what they are doing (love). (Fruits of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23) All of the things that God is whispering to our hearts should give us the picture of who we are suppose to become.
  2. “Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word”: God should be the final authority (truth) in our lives, as well as the standard for what we base our actions. There have been a few times this month where I felt under attack for what I believe or for the work that I was trying to do for God. Normally I would have responded with a list of reasons about how I was justified in my actions and the reasoning behind my motives (I mean really how is giving per-natal vitamins to a pregnancy center “not a worthy cause”), but then I remembered that people that don’t know the light of Jesus are blinded in their ignorance and sin. The devil was using them (and their whistle-blowing tactics) to try to steal my joy, make me feel foolish and be afraid to do the work of God, and pull me down in cowardliness by not standing firm in what I believe to be true. I guess the older I get, the more I realize that I need to let the Word of God speak while I remain silent. Sometimes you simply need to keep your nose down and keep pressing through. And all the horrible things I thought might happen – didn’t! If I had been antagonistic, the situation might have escalated and I may have had to stand up and fight. When I “killed” my pride, the situation died with it.
  3. “Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight”: Sometimes we are called to stand up and fight. I had this happen a couple weeks ago. I headed into a situation that had been escalating and really needed to be handled and fought for, but I didn’t use all the right armor. My righteous anger was justified, but I took the wrong sword. The outcome may have been what it needed to be, but a couple of my tactics could have been more lovely. I went off on someone. Did they need to hear what I had to say and some threats in this life or death situation? YES! But could I have used a little more compassion and a little less ugly words? YES! When I went in with guns blazing, I thought God was my battle shield, but I forgot to use it to protect me from myself. I didn’t fight fair, and even though I thought I was “driving the money changers out of the temple”, I will always live with the regret that I let my love of good get twisted momentarily by the devil into something that sought to wound another.
  4. “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise”: Everyone likes to know they are doing a good job, but is that our motive? Last week was my busiest of the year for my job. We had our annual symposium and I worked ALOT! After working all year for this day, and then running around like a crazy person all week, we finally got to the start of the event. In the announcements my boss recognized me for my work and said that I should be commended even though I am shy and wouldn’t want the praise. I don’t think he knows me very well to say I am shy (LOL), I felt like I was just doing my job (and who doesn’t like overtime pay), and while I did appreciate his thoughtfulness – being honored for putting on an event was not my greatest accomplishment of the day. Everyone clapping and telling me the that the event was great just kind of got shrugged off, but I almost cried when I was taking care of an older lady at the conference and she said “Melissa, you are such a good person and take care of everyone.”. That is what I want to be remembered for – the light of Jesus showing through in my actions and service to others. I want people to look at me and say “There is something different about her and I want it – she is good”.
  5. “High King of Heaven, my victory won”: Heaven should be our ultimate goal and our ultimate joy. No matter what happens in the day to day, we need to realize that there is something much better coming. This life is simply a dress rehearsal for eternity. It is hard looking at everyone and feeling unconditional love all the time … but once we get to heaven and God gives us our new bodies I am assuming He will also equip us with “Jesus eyes” so we can see others how He sees them. (So here is praying that my new body is a little thinner or that everyone’s “Jesus eyes” do the opposite effect as the camera and take 10 pounds OFF!) Our lasting victory is not in our heart being pure, our words being lovely, our fights being fair, or our heads not getting to big … but the fact that Jesus’ blood washed away all of our impurities in spite of our screw-ups! Yes we should try to emulate the words of this hymn, but the author also knew that we would one day be made perfect when we are transformed by the holy light of Jesus as we enter His kingdom.

So the next time someone tells you hymns are outdated … remember “Be Thou My Vision”. Remember the strength and hope it gives, as well as the instructions to put you on the right path. Here’s to humming your way into a more victorious day serving the High King of Heaven!


Be Thou My Vision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIMhshpf0Y4