Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I want to share with you.
God makes incredible promises to us that impact us for all of eternity. You may wonder why is the journey from the promises to the full experience of the blessings so difficult?
God promised Jacob the land of Canaan. As we continue our series on "The Gospel According to Joseph" this weekend, Jacob learns that Joseph is alive. But to be reunited, he must walk away from the land of promise. His descendants will experience hundreds of years of forced labor in Egypt. And they will all ask the question you often ask, "Why does God seem to take the longest, hardest route to accomplishing his will?"
That's one of the questions we will explore as we look at two of the most emotion packed chapters in the Bible, Genesis 44-45.
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra on "Will InterVarsity Losing Cal State Standoff Be Tipping Point for Campus Ministries Nationwide? America’s largest university system withdraws recognition from 23 student groups for not allowing non-Christian leaders."
Despite a year's worth of persuasion and a New York Times article that sparked widespead support this summer, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has lost campus access in America's largest university system because it requires student leaders to affirm Christian doctrines.
Kelli B. Trujillo on "Embracing Science: Let’s put the faith vs. science mentality to rest"
While there certainly are arenas in which the interaction between faith and science may be difficult to parse out, those experiences of tension certainly don't mean science must be rejected as a matter of faith. "We live in a culture in which science and faith are often presented to us as being in conflict. As Christians, though, if we believe that the God of the Bible is the creator of all we see, and if nature is—as the apostle Paul suggests—just as much God's book as the written Word, then science and faith cannot be in conflict," asserts Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University.
One More Thing
When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, it's arguably one of the most emotional scenes in the Bible. At that point it is obvious that he had forgiven the brothers that had stolen thirteen years of his life and caused him so much pain and grief. How did he do it? That's one of the the things we'll look at this weekend. We can and should see things as Joseph did.
But as believers we have another important key to forgiving others that I will not talk about this weekend. One of the keys to forgiving is to learn to value reconciliation as Jesus valued it. Here are the words of Jesus' prayer for his disciples recorded in John 17.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21)
Unity among God's people witnesses to the world. It's a sign of the kingdom. It's a picture of heaven to a world hungry for true reconciliation.
If Jesus valued unity among God's people, and if we learn to value it also, it means we will do all we can to learn how to forgive and to seek help for an unforgiving heart. We have to learn. We can learn. We have to have heart inclined to surrender to God on this and start or complete the journey of learning to forgive.