Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sermon Discussion: God the Father Almighty

Study notes and Questions for 08 - September 28
Title: God as Parent: Growing Pains and Gains
Text: Romans 8:12-17



Like any good parent, God is wanting to bless His children. Further, God is able to bless His children, along with nurturing and fortifying us so that we grow into our full stature as heirs with Christ, doing our part in running the family business. Yet, the notion of God as Father is off putting to many. These questions are designed to begin the conversation about what it means to live in relationship with God as our Father. As we consider these things it's vital to remember that we're invited to rethink fatherhood by looking at God, rather than rethinking the character of God based on what we see in human fathers.

1. What adjectives describe your relationship with your father?
2. How easily do those adjectives transfer over to your relationship with God?
3. Is it easier for you to think of God as deeply personal, or as all powerful? Why?
4. What helps you build trust in God when things don't turn out as you'd hoped, or prayed for?
5. What kind of elements in one's life contribute to building our relationships between children and parents? Do any of these carry over into building our relationship with God?
6. What do you to in order to overcome your tendencies to disengage from relationships: with others? with God?

8 Comments:

At 24/9/08 14:26, Blogger greg said...

Richard wrote: 4. What helps you build trust in God when things don't turn out as you'd hoped, or prayed for?

Just a quick thought about this one. This is a bit secondary to the actual question, but I've found that the biggest factor for me is knowing that I have obeyed Him unconditionally, listened to His voice, and held nothing back. That doesn't really change my level of trust in God; but it does allow that trust to flourish, knowing that whatever happens I have no regrets, and that I can rest in His power and love.

That obedience includes prayer. We are commanded to pray, and somehow He has sovereignly made it an integral part of the outworking of His will. Even when (or, perhaps, especially when) things seem remarkably unlikely to turn out for what we would regard as "good".

 
At 26/9/08 00:40, Blogger postcall said...

For me, the challenge is understanding grace. Like the prodigal son #1, I have often willfully disobeyed, and as a result, am deeply shamed and afraid to approach my father. But like prodigal son #2, I also place far too much stock in the areas of my life where I am obedient, and I become angry and arrogant with my father when things don't turn out the way I had pictured it in my head. I wish I knew how to use the grace that extends in my relationship with my father without abusing it and disrespecting Him.

 
At 26/9/08 15:29, Anonymous Tessa said...

We had an interesting discussion last night in small group. We've been reading a book about prayer and this past week was about whether or not we believe God is generous with what he wants to give us, his children who hopefully remember to pray. Because the examples of God's generosity used money, it was a tough concept to swallow for some of us. I wonder if/how that's connected to how we see God vis a vis an image of Him as our father and His "training us to be heirs in the family business."

 
At 28/9/08 15:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As i have grown up in a family that are Alcoholics or drug addicts,having a Father who was abusive to me or can't stand the sight of me,makes me wonder, What is a Father & How can i have a father who hates me for who i became. It isn't that my own Father wasn't there he just didn't lead me to a good life, i had to follow my own way of life and learn from doing. So when i became a christian six years ago, i was pleased to know that God will be taking care of my life from now on and it has been a Joy to know that i have a Father who does Loves me, Cares for me and knows that i am trying my best to serve him and others.
Thanks,Michael H.

 
At 30/9/08 08:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, I really enjoyed your teaching on Sunday and this topic. It definitely is very reassuring and comforting that God is the Father Almighty. The biggest challenge I face as a child of God is not responding to situations in a way that expresses God's kingdom in the world. Whether it is losing my temper at my sons or others; letting greed take over; or any other failings that seem so prevalent.

I love the picture of a loving father and the story of the prodigal son. I also really loved the video you showed on Sunday. The love of that farther was very powerful and another great picture of what a fathers love can look like and what more Gods love for us must be.

Thank you for that and the encouragement it has brought me so that I don't let shame block relationships with God and my fellow man.

I also would love it if you could post a link to the video you used.

 
At 30/9/08 13:04, Blogger Joanie said...

Richard ~ Sunday's sermon was "outstanding" and a definite "home run"! Wow! Everything related to each of our lives and I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what you would share next. Our entire family was blessed by what you shared! Just what the congregation and the world truly needs to hear (and believe).

Hearing your words puzzled me though ~ as there are many youth who don't think 'adult' church relates to them. My heart broke during the service realizing a whole population that needed to hear the message God had for you to share ~ only a tiny percentage actually heard it... I continue to pray for our young people!

And yet, I, too, went through that very struggle ~ my earthly father affected my 'understanding' of my Heavenly Father. I'm so thankful that God brought special people into my life (you and Donna) many years ago and I was able to make that breakthrough. It changed my whole faith journey. Thank you seems so inadequate. I still struggle with people (and know they will always let me down and I will likely do the same to others), but I try to seek and discover the parts of each person that are a real reflection of our wonderful Heavenly Father!

Your sermon and the movie clip brought tears to my eyes, intercession to my heart - knowing that God is our Father (Daddy) and He desires every person to come to that understanding in their relationship with Him. He is truly amazing and it fuels my 'personal passion and fire' to get busy learning more about Dad's business, so I'm productive and a reflection of Him!

 
At 30/9/08 21:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kind of off topic.... but i'm wondering if either richard or anyone else can tell me where to get the video clips from blood diamond that was used this last sunday? i searched on youtube and godtube and couldn't find it. any help??

 
At 1/10/08 08:13, Blogger Richard Dahlstrom said...

the video from this past sunday is only licensed for showing in our services and so isn't available for public distribution. so sorry!

 

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