Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Better Hobby...

It's been recently suggested to me that I should find a better hobby...

The person who suggested that was kidding, or at least I think he was...I'm not altogether sure. I don't really know him, so for all I know, he probably thinks I'm an idiot! If so, he'd probably be right! : )

But, in all seriousness, those words have been resounding in my mind for a while. Perhaps because I, myself, have felt that way for a long time already...I've felt like I should be doing something better with my spare time. I am at a very rare and temporary portion of my life where I can honestly say that time is abundant. I am single (at least I hope this portion is temporary!) and thus do not have such family responsibilities. I work in accounting at a credit union where I generally work 8--5, Monday thru Friday. I would like to further my education in the not-too-distant future, but I am not currently taking any classes. I go to work...I come home...I go to church...I come home...I go out with friends...I come home. I've said before that one of the things that I LOVE about being single is that I don't have to answer to anyone. I can do what I want to do, when i want to do it, without worrying about what anyone thinks.

But then I remember the words of Paul, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." Or better yet, the words of Christ, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it," and "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

Why, then, do I find myself living my life as though it were my own??? THIS SHOULD NOT BE! I should be willing to give of whatever I have...time, money, talents...in order to bless others and glorify God. And right now, it just seems like I have more time than I do money. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty to support myself and then some, and I try to be generous whenever the opportunity arises. Indeed, there are many times that I wish I had more money to be generous with! If any of you would like to help correct this problem, please, feel free to mail your check to 701 Gr...

Just kidding...

Seriously, though...I must use what He has given me, which, right now, is an abundance of time, and learn to be generous with it, as well.

As for talents, I don't know, really...I guess there are certain things that I'm good at. And there are other things that I have a heart for and would love to do, but I know I'm not very good at.

Therein lies the problem. I know I should be using my time to do something for Him. I just haven't figured out what that something is yet.

*SIGH*

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Most Awkward Post I've Written Thus Far...

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.--Matt. 22:23-33

This past Wednesday evening, in our Singles class...yes, that's right our SINGLES class...we started out by reading this passage of scripture. We began with a discussion about marriage in heaven. This, of course, led to a discussion about the afterlife and heaven in general. And naturally, this flowed into a discussion about sex in heaven.

Do I have your attention yet? I thought so...

Our minister shared with us some ideas on this, and we spent the evening discussing them. What does this very vague reference to being "like the angels" mean??? Does it mean that we will no longer be gendered bodies??? Our minister doesn't seem to think so...neither do I. We looked at the only example we have of the resurrected, redeemed body so far...that is Christ. His resurrected body, although able to do some weird things like going through locked doors, was still a physical body with flesh and bones and the ability to digest food. Also, it had a resemblance to His body before His death--retaining the scars in His hands and feet. Based on this example, I believe it is safe to at least speculate that our resurrected bodies will be exactly that...they will still be our bodies--just different--changed--redeemed.

We discussed the idea that there will be a new heaven and a new earth--and the idea that these might be actual physical places, just better than what we know now--more physically real than what we know now. Is that the case? Is the earth we live on now a mere shadow of the new earth, and are our temporary bodies merely shadows of what our redeemed bodies will be??? I think that's a very valid possiblity...and in fact, seems to be the one that makes the most sense, at least in my mind.

And if this is the case, is it safe to say that certain activities of this world, such as sex, are mere shadows of what is to come? This is an idea that we talked about in class, an idea that some of us girls were still discussing after class...the idea that there will be something to experience in heaven relating to our sexuality. We discussed some of Hank Handegraaff's ideas from his book, "Resurrection," about this topic. He believes that, because God made us as sexual beings, our sexuality is part of who we are, and will likely remain so, even in the life that is to come. Will there be sex in heaven? "Yes and no, " he answers. He says no, there will not be a physical act such as what we think of now in this world. Rather, sexuality, which God intended to be pure and yet humans have corrupted it, will be redeemed, like everything else. Male and female will enjoy each other, not necessarily in body, but in soul. He says this pleasure, which will be infinitely better than what we know now, will be driven, no longer by our selfish physical desire, but rather by selflessness and agape love.

I'm not sure how much of those ideas I am ready to buy into...or even understand for that matter. Like I said, some of us girls were sitting around talking after class...still asking questions that we didn't have time for in class. So I believe I will ask them here and see what you all think...

One friend of mine stated, "I always thought the primary purpose of sex was procreation, and that the pleasure of it was secondary. So what purpose would this serve in heaven?" She raises a valid question. However, I'm not sure I subscribe to the idea that procreation is the primary purpose of sex--for there are many who either cannot or choose not to procreate, yet I would believe there was something wrong in their marriage if they did not have sex. Any thoughts on this?

Earlier in our discussion, our minister very emphatically stated about his wife, "She's a great girl, and I love her! But I am NOT going to be married to my wife for eternity!" In the midst of our gasps and laughter, he continues, "Hey! Jesus said it, not me. So I'm counting on it..." To which our Singles minister interrupted with, "I'm sure she is too..."

Now if this is the case...and I believe it is, as Jesus did, indeed, say that there would be no marriage in heaven...the next question my friend had was, "If there is no marriage, how is this experiencing of the sexes to take place? I mean, if sex outside of marriage is sinful in this world...how will that work in heaven?" I don't think I have an answer for that one either. But perhaps it's the physical act that is sinful outside of marriage...the physical act that will not necessarily be taking place in heaven??? I dunno...the whole idea makes my head hurt a little.

Are you as confused yet as I am??? Good! Feel free to comment to that effect.

If it seems as though I am speaking about something of which I have no clue...you're exactly right. As someone who has never been married, and someone who really never has...

I look forward to hearing some ideas and possible answers to these questions from some of you with different...older and/or married...perspectives.

I think that's enough headache inducing questions for a relaxing Friday evening--I need sleep! Much love to you all!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Corinthian Conundrum???

"When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk."--one of many of the criticisms from the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth (can't those people get anything right???)

However, I must ask--could this Corinthian conundrum possibly prove to be a present-day predicament at Pleasant Valley???

Okay...maybe I'm exaggerating...a little... ;)

Nevertheless...this verse came to mind as the events unfolded in my fellowship Sunday morning, and I was almost unable to partake of the blood of the covenant.

I was in the second of the two worship services that my congregation offers on Sunday morning, which, surprisingly, is the smaller crowd. Perhaps this was part of the problem. And I was sitting at the end of a pew, because I gotta have my aisle seat. Perhaps that was also part of the problem...because my sitting on the aisle, and my neighbors' sitting on their aisle left a grand canyon of empty pew space in between us. Such was also the case on the row directly in front of me (though not to such an extreme extent.)

Round one went seemingly well. The Guy on my aisle served the bread to the people in front of me, and the Other Guy at the other end of the pew served the bread to those across their grand canyon pew. So the folks in front of me simply returned their tray to our Guy; he, in turn, served me, and I had my fill of the body.

Round two did not progress as smoothly. The folks in front of me decided to reach out across their chasm (which, as mentioned, was slightly smaller than mine) and go ahead and pass the blood of Christ on down to those brethren.

So there stands my Guy next to me, with not a single tray to serve me. I look down to my right, where Other Guy is in the process of serving the three trays that got passed his way...poor Other Guy had an armful, and my Guy had none.

Throughout the years that I've been a Christian, there have, undoubtedly, been situations in which I did not partake of communion on a particular week. There have also actually been at least one or two times that I partook twice in one Sunday. (Hey, I wonder if any of the times that I took it twice can help make up for a couple that I've missed??? But I digress...) However, I have NEVER been in a situation where I was offered one and not the other! I began to get a little nervous...the little beads of sweat started to form...pulse started racing...certain familiar phrases started rushing through my head like "In remembrance of Me," "As often as you do this," and "Proclaim the Lord's death," not to mention that one above about some being left with nothing! This was serious business! The body without the blood??? Is that scriptural?!?!?

Fortunately, my Guy noticed and did not forget about me. Three rows later (when all the trays were back his way), I was served and was able to partake of the blood. But what if he had forgotten? Would I have been immediately struck down, Sapphira-style, for participating in the body without the blood? Would my soul have really been in jeopardy??? Somehow, I doubt it. Nevertheless, I'm extremely grateful that I was served both!

After all...

What good is the body without His blood???