The Normal–a Coincidence–a Good Thing, A Bad Thing, Neither?
It’s more than coincidence when the daily prompt request, “The Normal,” falls on the heels of the end to a 7-week teaching series at my church on “The Real Normal.” So, feeling compelled to respond from a higher authority, and with the help of my church teachers (Robert Hahn and Ann Edwards) and note taking daughter, I have summarized what we learned about “being normal.” For those who want to hear from the teacher, I also have included the 30-minute podcast for each week’s topic.
The Real Word –
To understand what God says is ‘normal,’ we need to understand why the Bible is the only reliable source of eternal truth. We say we believe the Bible, yet we often knowingly and unknowingly reject its most basic teachings. We learned why accepting that The Real Word is the only path to The Real Normal.
Some people think the Bible is irrelevant and out of touch, so they do not take it seriously. They think believing in God is one thing, but believing and reading the Bible is not normal.
At Chesapeake Church, we believe the Bible is the authoritative source on how people should live. We believe that Christian living is normal; that full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal. We believe the Bible is the Real Word and it is real reliable. To understand this, we need to understand oral tradition and the fullness of time.
In Jewish culture, oral tradition is as reliable as scanning a document. For them, knowing the first five books of the Bible (their “Torah,” or the “books of Moses”), is critical. They serve as the foundation and the full expression of how God’s people are to live. They were written by scribes and defined who they were as a nation.
The time between the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi and the first book of the New Testament, Matthew was 400 years. It is referred to as “the 400 years of silence” because there were no prophets. During that time, God was silent, but not dormant.
During those 400 years, communication via a single language (Greek) was established and travel was made easier by the creation of a road system. Both of these allowed for information to spread freely.
Then Jesus arrived in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). He was born, lived, taught, died, and rose from the dead. Within 30 years, the Gospels were written and within 100 years from the death of Jesus, copies of the Old and New Testament were available in the common language.
Institutions of higher learning teach from the writings of historians and scholars like Plato, Herodotus, Aristotle, and Homer when few original copies of their writings exist. 24,000 original copies of the Bible exist. Not accepting the Bible as reliable is an uneducated stance. (Check out these charts http://chesapeakechurch.org/uploads/20130406therealword.pdf)
God’s word reins and is the center of our lives. The Bible is God’s promises to us. They are real and immeasurable. Live the life.
The Real Problem –
We all sin. It’s that simple and yet it’s so difficult to deal with. The Bible teaches we’re not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we’re sinners. Every struggle in our lives can be traced back to that truth. No matter how we try to rationalize the troubles of life, ever since Adam & Eve, one thing remains clear: sin is The Real Problem.
The Real Love –
The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) but that doesn’t mean anything done in the name of love is of God. In this teaching, we looked at how the Bible says we are to express love by looking at the source of love, the God who so loved.
The Real Reason –
People are sexual beings; God created us that way. But does that mean anything goes? Is anything between ‘consenting adults’ of God? We studied the Bible and learned that God gave us physical intimacy for a purpose – His purpose.
The Real Mom –
In a contest of which job description has gone through the most change over past decades, the role of the mom has got to be at the top. In this week’s lesson, we honored moms everywhere and learned that being a “mom” isn’t a job. That it’s a calling intended to fulfill a specific purpose in God’s eternal plan.
The Mother’s Day message is simple. The perfect mom is not the real mom and the real mom is not the perfect mom.
God didn’t design us to be perfect, he designed us to teach and help and pave the way for future generations. We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78:4). Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:3-4).
The Real Joy –
“Doesn’t the Bible say that God wants me to be happy?” You may have heard that question – you may have asked it. But the answer may surprise you. Rather than happiness, which the Bible doesn’t promise, God desires us to have joy and even better, He wants us to be joyful people. There’s a big difference.
Joy seems to be in short supply. It’s hard to stay upbeat when you’re facing difficult circumstances.
Philippians 4:4 tells us to always be full of joy in the Lord. The apostle Paul was no stranger to difficult circumstances, yet he had joy. He knew it came from Jesus Christ. Paul knew joy is not the absence of problems. It is God who is with us during difficult circumstances.
Real joy comes with the presence of God. Zephaniah 3:17 explains that joy originates with God. In John 15:11, Jesus tells us that as we get to know Him and do life with Him, we will have joy that is overflowing.
Thank you Ann Edwards for instructing us that no matter our circumstances, we need to bring joy.
“That’s not normal!” “It’s normal now!” “Welcome to the new normal!”
Just what is ‘normal’ and who says so? We, at Chesapeake Church, say that ‘full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal,’ so when it comes to how we live, we turn to Him and His Word for direction. Normal isn’t new – it’s eternal. Welcome to The Real Normal.