Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In the Dust of the Rabbi

I have just finished leading a five week Bible Study at church called "In the Dust of the Rabbi." It is a DVD with 5 sessions, with Ray Vander Laan leading a small group of Christians -and us- through the world of the disciples: Galilee, Bethsaida, pagan temples in Turkey, etc. The lessons are on discipleship. The premise is based on an ancient Jewish proverb, “Follow a rabbi, drink his words, and be covered with the dust of his feet.” We should follow our rabbi so closely that the dust he kicks up will cover us. If Jesus is our rabbi, and he is, we should be true disciples, which means that we have to eat, sleep, breathe, live, and die His words.

It was a challenging series. Pagan worshippers would spend their entire lives (literally, like 57 years) building ONE column for a temple for their non-existent god so they could hear maybe one oracle from him in their whole lives, "And you can't even get up ten minutes early to read your Bible," the host yelled out, and we have the complete Words of the true God!

I reccomend this series. It's volume six in an eight DVD series put out by Zondervan and Focus on the Family. There's other ones on Old Testament and early Church themes, all archaeological, on-location, and practical/devotional. We see the pagan society in which the Christians lived and how they had to be countercultural in almost every aspect of the lives, from economics to politics, and how nothing has changed today.

Example: an ancient businessman or craftsman makes his living selling his wares in the large agora (marketplace) in the city. He's wealthy because of it. Suddenly he becomes a Christian. When he goes to sell his products in the market, the agora's president says, "Welcome to our city! We're so glad you've come to our market, you have the finest cloth in the land. Go and place some incense on the agora's altar to Zeus, and then set up your table."

"But I don't believe in Zeus."

"Wh-- You don't believe in Zeus? You reject our gods?! Well, you can't sell here!"

Now the Christian is cut off economically and has to find something else to do, or some other way. Most of us don't have physical altars to pagan gods at our work (unless you work in China Town), but how about, I don't know, working on the Lord's Day? Sometimes disciples of Christ have to obey his Word and cut their earthly losses. He'll take care of us, he always does.

In the fall I started a series on 1 John, ended it March, and now completed this one. Next we're starting a series guessed it, The Da Vinci Code! After much interest, I'll start this series in anticipation of some visitors from outside the church, because it will be advertised in the newspaper. Pray that folks will be reached and taught.