WELCOME TO A NEW STUDY ON HEBREWS!
AGAIN AND AGAIN DURING THE INTERVIEWS FOR IDOL LIES LAST WEEK I WAS ASKED,
“OKAY — I’M SEEING IDOLS RUNNING THROUGH MY LIFE,
BUT HOW DO I GET RID OF THEM?”
AGAIN AND AGAIN I SAID,
“IDOLS CANNOT BE REMOVED, ONLY REPLACED”
SO HERE WE GO — WE ARE GOING TO BEHOLD CHRIST IN A BOOK
THAT WILL MAKE YOUR HEART HOT FOR HIM
LOVE FOR HIM WILL RISE
EXPELLING THOSE IDOLS
TIM KELLER CALLS THE OPENING OF HEBREWS
BECAUSE HE IS SO HIGH AND EXALTED
IT MAKES YOUR NOSE BLEED
BUT IT DOES SOMETHING ELSE
IT CHANGES YOU
THIS BOOK IS ALL ABOUT JESUS
AND WHY HE IS BETTER
THAN ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
I AM EXCITED TO TELL YOU
HOW GOD HAS LED ME HERE
AND WHY I KNOW YOU WILL BE BLESSED
IF YOU FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS
AND FINISH THE RACE
FOR THOSE JOINING US FOR THE FIRST TIME:
Welcome! Just click here to find instructions on how to begin. If you have trouble, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so glad to have you here and pray that you will “run this race with endurance!” The author of Hebrews says to cast off every weight so that you can. I want to warn you about some hurdles you will need to jump to finish well:
- Your idols of comfort, affirmation, and control will call out to stop you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and do not let them win.
- You may feel this is such a close knit group you cannot get in — but that’s a lie. THIS GROUP IS NOT LIKE THAT. We will welcome you and if you stay and contribute, you will become a part of this close knit group.
- Go at your own pace — guidelines are given. I would rather you chew carefully than gulp — even if you don’t finish that week. Just begin at the beginning the next week.
- Purchase the sermons. There are 14, and they are on sale at Redeemer.com. Only 22.75 for 14 stellar Keller mp-3 sermons! No more purchases until next year! Here’s the link. (If you cannot afford the sermons but commit to actively participating with us through this year, we’ll find a way to help you. Just let Rebecca know at email@example.com)
- We will start on the first sermon next week — this week I want to whet your taste for why we are doing what is often considered a very challenging book. Pray you start well, continue well, and finish well!
Personally I want to thank you so much for last week and your encouragement to me as Idol Lies was launched. The title on my home page is “Is it possible to experience God in a place like this?” I could add to that, “Is it possible to experience real fellowship in a place like this?” YES! YES! YES! EVIDENCE FROM LAST WEEK —
Cyndi started a cyberparty, complete with dance and music, to celebrate what God was doing with Idol Lies — the book you have been so much a part of. She reminded me of David, dancing before the Lord. Soon Elizabeth, Chris, Joyce and more were joining in, contributing song (and dance) suggestions! You were SO supportive — even when I made big gaffs on the air. My worst was on Janet Parshall when I said I had a former assistant who was Gay — I meant her name was Gaye! OHHHHH. I got e-mails. “Why would you mention her sexual preference?” But love covers over a multitude of gaffes — and you covered me well.
This week on Thursday the broadcast we did in Chattanooga will be aired nationally. You can hear it on Thursday at noon central or by Friday you can hear it online. I pray that what I felt that day in Chattanooga will somehow come across — for the presence of God was so strong — I leaned over and said to Anita, “Do you sense Him here?” And she nodded in awe. Why should He work through us when we are so sinful? Because He loves His children — and wants to rid them of their idols so that they can experience Him. This week you will also watch a 7 minute clip from Jennie Allen — on the change in her life as she is seeing God more and more for WHO HE IS and surrendering to Him. I’ll be giving you links.
Last week Renee and Joyce had an interesting discussion, as caregivers who have witnessed dementia, at how memorizing scripture can help keep our minds sharp. It can also change our hearts, conforming us to Him. We will be memorizing a few key passages — and this week we’ll start with Hebrews 1:1-3. That will be the heart of our study this week — and yes, it may give you a nosebleed. Just seeing WHO HE IS! Hebrews, because it is a sermon, has a flow, often like a string of pearls, that lends itself to memory. Write out these three verses and put them a couple of places you tend to be: the car, the treadmill, the mirror… Word by word or phrase by phrase — it will begin to move your heart and take you up the mountain.
How was I led to lead us through Hebrews? I knew I wanted something that would fix our eyes on Jesus so that idols could be replaced. I prayed and had a good conversation with Elizabeth on why Hebrews was her favorite book (she’ll share below), then I saw that Hebrews is the series that is on sale this month at Redeemer. I studied the book at Covenant Seminary, found it challenging, but also exciting. We read a commentary by William Lane that was very good. He said something so interesting to me. Hebrews is not a letter (as most people, even Keller refer to it) but a sermon. He gives great support, which we look at next week. But the reason this is so interesting to me is that a letter may not get your heart hot, but a sermon, ESPECIALLY A SERMON WRITTEN BY GOD, will! That’s what a good sermon does. As Keller says, unless a sermon gets an individual’s heart hot for God during the message, transformation may never take place — for despite the best of intentions, he may never apply it if heart transformation has not begun. This is a book designed to CHANGE US! TO KNOCK THOSE IDOLS TO SMITHEREENS.
AND SO, GOD HAD LED US TO HEBREWS.
Are you ready for “nosebleed Christology?” I am! Let’s start up the mountain, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
1. Are you going to join us and stay with us? If so, why?
2. What comments do you have on the above and why?
Monday-Thursday: Incentives to Climb The Mountain!
1. BEGIN MEMORIZING HEBREWS 1:1-3 IN YOUR FAVORITE TRANSLATION. TAKE A WORD AT A TIME, AND MEDITATE AS YOU MEMORIZE. IF ANYTHING QUICKENS YOU, STOP. SHARE.
I want you to hear from Jennie Allen — one of the women who stood out to me at the Women Gospel Coalition because of her humility and heart. For example, she wrote this after listening to John Piper:
God was showing himself to a room full of women, and staring at the carpet felt like the right thing to do.
Piper said, “If you love the glory of man you do not love the glory of God.” I started shaking, but the room was already trembling. We weren’t trembling before a man, we were trembling at our souls before God. Scary thoughts raced through me as he spoke.
Do I even love God?
Why do I crave everyone’s approval?
I want to fear you, God, above all else.
I want to tremble before you every day.
PLEASE WATCH 7 MINUTES OF JENNIE AND NOTICE WHAT IT WAS THAT CHANGED HER ANEW — FOR IT IS SO RELEVANT TO OUR STUDY:
2. What comments do you have on this video? What arrested Jennie so she re-surrendered?
In the book/movie Blue Like Jazz, the Christian who had retreated watched a Christian so bold that he was changed. When we watch a surrendered life, it impacts us. But even more, when we behold Christ, the ultimate surrendered life, we become like him.
- Andrew Murray said: Brother! beholding Jesus and His glory, you can confidently expect to become like Him
- John Piper said: Beholding is becoming
3. They are basing their thoughts on 2 Corinthians 3:18. What does Paul say beholding the glory of the Lord will do?
4. Why is this an incentive to study Hebrews?
5. Keep memorizing Hebrews 1:1-3. Share any thoughts.
I was visiting with Elizabeth who told me Hebrews was her favorite book. I asked her why — and in part, she responded:
The whirlwinds of suffering and trials come in many forms but most often are unexpected, and always uninvited. When I feel completely ineffective as a parent or exasperated by physical suffering, I experience a desperate need for something more. An urgency to believe that there is something unshakeable, unalterable by the pain and sin in this world.
Hebrews reminds me of my True Hope. I have an eternal hope, a kingdom that IS unshakeable. But I also have hope for today—hope in Christ who reigns over my circumstances, over my pain. He is not a high priest who does not understand—but One who empathizes with me in every way. And this hope, is not earthly hope, it is not a “wish” or a dreamy desire. It is a PROMISE—of a future inheritance—and for today, I am never forsaken. In this place between what is now and what is not yet, Lord, strengthen my faith. That I may cling to that hope as an anchor, trusting that no matter what happens in my earthly life, my anchor of hope will bring me safely Home.
6. Share any thoughts on Elizabeth’s entry.
7. Without looking, write out Hebrews 1:1-3. (Practice first — but then do it here!)
Thursday-Friday I’d love for you to listen to Midday — either live on Thursday at noon central or online on Friday. You’ll have to hear my same old story again in the beginning, but then there are fresh things — and what I pray you will sense is the presence of God.
Here’s the link: http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection/
8. Comments or questions after listening?
9. What’s your take-a-way and why!
Next week — we officially begin Hebrews! Pray!
I’m still working on the scripture memory – and will need to listen to Dee’s radio cast again. I’m having difficulty staying awake. 🙂 We are in an exhausting season – but all the more reason for me to persevere in study and quiet time.
AHA moment (and not sure how to respond).
A little ways up, Cyndi wrote “We have mastered the art of LOOKING like we love God without REALLY loving God,” and Dee dittoed. Double ditto 🙂
Here’s my dilemma: I USED TO BE a master of the art of LOOKING like I love God — even fooled myself sometimes. But eventually that art became TOO MUCH WORK; and it can be awkward (or worse) to be in some Christian settings without being able to “perform well” as an artist. (I strongly believe that the programs of many churches would fall apart if people didn’t perform well; i.e., “volunteer” or participate).
When reading the quotation posted by Cyndi and again by Dee, God began to show me my own thoughts:
“I don’t have the energy to perform the art of LOOKING like I love God” -> I’m going to avoid many “Christian” settings.
In the meantime, I miss fellowship with a bunch of people when I avoid a few people.
It sounds as if I might be seeking approval, but I don’t think that’s what is going on (it might be control — that I don’t want to give up control of who I am to someone who thinks I should march to another drummer). I wonder if my desire to preserve my “sense of self” (and not be worn down) is greater than my desire for intimacy with Him? Or if my desire for intimacy with Him makes me more vulnerable to or tired of “rantings” of a few people? Hmmmm???
I don’t like having this post at the top 🙁
I think your last line may be where you are.
I also think it’s a great top post. 🙂
Renee, I agree with Dee. This is a great observation. It is wrong and no doubt dishonest to cover up brokenness within but I don’t think that all of the blame belongs to the person doing it. The sad truth seems to be that many churches don’t know how to deal with broken people or how to foster healing. They want works so they can grow for whatever reason. I am still extricating my family from a church like that. When Joey had a brush with sin, he listened to the conviction of the Spirit and confessed to the youth minister who promptly kicked him to the curb. Damaged goods. Joey told me recently that he will never trust another youth leader. My heart is so broken by this.
I think people are afraid to open up, yet if the church can’t lead them to healing who will? This really opens the door for idolatry in the church.
“Damaged goods” — what a great choice of words. The Bible tells us that God redeems and uses “damaged goods,” but showmanship often APPEARS to win the day.
I think Joey is smart to be cautious of some leaders.
That is so sad…for Joey:(
I have found that I have just stop letting those few get to me…..i just dont care anymore. I have found a few likeminded people and have found the ways to serve that I love and just ignore the rest….
I like your answer to it, Cyndi
Still stuggling with the verses..to memorize:( But I’m not giving up!
Renee, this is a great point that Joey is learning caution. That learning curve from private to public school is what got him in trouble in the first place. He was so trusting. I know it is good that he learn.
I also know that this has become a bitter root for me, with this church and youth leader. I saw it so clearly after I posted that comment.
I hope this is not too off subject but I think when I look for my take a way this afternoon it will tie in. This week I have studied Genesis 1 and my take a way from that was the Light shining into the formless void and separating light from darkness. This is happening for me in my heart this week. He is peeling off the layers.
6. Elizabeth, it is so beautiful and inspiring how you have clung to the Lord through the truths in Hebrews. I love the words you use anchor, true hope and unshakeable kingdom. Your testimony shows us how it is possible to cling to Jesus no matter what our circumstances. It helps us to see how you do it.
oh thank you dear anne–i needed to be reminded of this truth again today. He is our anchor–so thankful He is worthy of trust, and we are never without HOPE. Why do I still so often feel something is hopeless? Especially easy for me to do that with relationships…but that is not trusting.
When you spoke of Joey and the youth group–do you mean the more recent one–or the previous? I had thought there was a problem with one before, and then he had found a better fit–but I am so sad if this has happened again. Will be praying for him.
It was the first one and he has been going to that church now that he can drive. I am still praying about a youth group for him. He really seems to be struggling with social issues.
I know what you meaning about feeling hopeless. It seems to be a default with me. I have to catch it and talk to my soul again.
Thank you all for the warm welcomes. I am grateful to join in to this supportive bible study blog to strengthen my relationship with our Father. Dee, my email is just my last name and then my first name. I just happen to have Outlaw for a last name!
8. My take a way is from Jennie’s testimony about being changed by seeing a surrendered life. I cant wait to see in Hebrews how Jesus is the One we can surrender to in complete abandon.
Greetings. I heard Dee on Susie Larson’s, Live the Promise, and determined that I indeed had idols of my heart. I want badly to replace these heart idols with a love for Jesus that puts Him first and center in my universe. When I saw that this bible study was being offered, it seemed like I was being nudged to participate. I look forward to being in community with you all.
I have Tim Keller’s sermons and have ordered “Idols Lies”. I have begun memorization of Hebrews 1:1-3…I have it written on a card that is close to me at just about all times for reference.
Jennie Allen…she touched my heart. It led me to ponder once again (after listening to Dee) whether my actions and heart were consistent; did I truly love God with my whole heart, was He number 1, or was God being first and foremost in my life just a facade? I came up with a big, fat question mark. I’d like to think that God is first in my life, but I know that isn’t always true, such as when I get distracted with work thoughts during devotional time, or thinking about what I will wear for the day, or when my obedience is lacking. I am saddened, disappointed, and ashamed of myself for these times. I am thankful that God is a forgiving and merciful God, that He knows my heart better than I do. I am thankful for this study; I believe that it will help me to grow in an area where growth is desperately needed.
I’ll try to get a picture uploaded… 🙂
by the way, I’m from Wisconsin.
YES — WELCOME WELCOME — I POSTED THIS COMMENT ON THIS WEEK’S POST FOR I FEARED OTHER MIGHT MISS YOU —
PLEASE COME SEE THEIR WELCOME AND JOIN IN!
Wow, God is incredible! He led me to your broadcast on midday, at the very moment He was asking me to give up my idols of self. Yikes, I have so many, and miraculously God enabled me to surrender my most deeply rooted idol yesterday. Its scary, but I really want to move forward with God, I have been stuck for so many years. For the last two years I would share with my friends and my husband, I just don’t understand what intimacy with God is like, and have no idea really what that means. I never got a response. Well, God is so good, it’s just like Him to answer the prayer of my heart, as He was helping me acknowledge and repent of my idols.
welcome marilyn!–love how God answered the prayers of your heart. Here is the link to this week’s study:
Welcome, Nanci J. I hope you will join us on this week’s study called “A String of Pearls”.
Hello, I am a german missionary in Burytia/Russia and I am glad that I found your bible-study in time before you really start! 🙂
Two years ago I moved to a village to start a church and I really feel the need that Jesus starts a church here and that He will be glorified through this and not me!!!
After a very busy summer, we are going into the long winter right now and this year I don’t want to fall into “laziness” but use the time to get to know God better and to listen to what He has in mind for me to do!
I desire to His work and not mine, but too often see my self doing the things that I think best.
I want to throw the idols out of my heart and put Jesus in more deeply.
Thank you for letting me join you.
And by the way, I do know the first 2 verses of Hebrews by heart b/c we had to learn them at my bible college, but never learned the third so I will do that now and do it in english. So funny how another language can open your eyes!
Just got started in this study yesterday. interesting. All chaos broke out. Lots of distractions. I want to go through the whole study with you guys. I don’t have any comments about the stuff above, just hope I am posting properly.
Stephanie, I don’t know if anyone else has responded to you, but if you wish to do the Lent Bible study, please find the study entitled Lent Begins: Gospel Transformation. This link may help. We are looking forward to you joining us.
in order to keep up with the pace of everyone else, how many audiosermans per week do we typically listen to?
We usually listen to one sermon per week.
The link Diane provided above is the current week of study, come and join us there so that everyone will be able to interact with you.
I don’t know if we are allowed to submit article links, but this REALLY convicted me. I agreed with most of what this article said, except for a couple of things about being suspicious of your mate near the bottom. I thought this was an excellent article for ALL relationships. The part about the baby and the two women that Solomon dealt with was especially convicting.