Archive for October, 2010

The Word: Context Is Everything

Have you ever overheard a conversation and got just enough of it to completely misunderstand what the person is actually saying?  I have.  I rudely jump in and say, “Hey! What are you talking about?”  Then they tell me the whole story and I realize that I’m just an idiot who misunderstood and busted in on their conversation.  That’s kind of like trying to grasp what a writer is saying by just picking out a verse here or a quote there.  Even news reporters have to learn that context- is everything!

This was made hilariously obvious when Liz Lemon read random portions of the Bible at a wedding in an episode of 30 Rock.  Even non-Christian people get that it’s ridiculous and sometimes horrifying to just pick a verse at random and start reading.

What’s worse is teachers can pretty much say whatever they want to “from the Bible”, by choosing a few verses and then not referring to them in the context of the whole passage, chapter, book, and Bible.  Hoards of people are squandering their money on relics, TV host’s empty promises, prayer cloths, and special blessings because of some teacher’s twisting of a few verses.  Even Satan uses scripture when he argues, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t polluting the meaning (Matt.4:1-11).

So what’s the solution?  Well, we need the Holy Spirit of Truth, and we need the community of believers, but we also need to study books in their entire context.  We need to read books straight through in a few sittings (like you do with most books).  When you get a letter, you usually read the whole thing at once.  What if you miss some really important part at the end like, “I’m coming to see you” or “Your dog died!”  We should read the Bible’s letters the same way.

That’s why in our new series we’re studying characters from the book of Judges in the context of the entire book.  We have to understand how the miniature stories fit within the larger story and then in the even-larger narrative of the whole Scripture.   But just as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, “Every story whispers His name.”

– Ryan Donell


Fusion: “Creation, Fall, Redemption” (Week 6)

Key Passage:

  • Genesis 3:8-19, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23

Main Point:

  • Sin is the cause of chaos and death.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are consequences to Adam and Eve’s sin of proud unbelief: separation from God, shame, guilt and death.
  • Adam and Eve tried to fix their sin by covering themselves with fig leaves.  They could not fix their sin or the consequences to their sin.
  • There are consequences to our sin: separation from God, shame, guilt and death.
  • We try to fix our sin in many different ways.  We cannot fix our sin; we cannot avoid death on our own.


  • What are the results of this sin of proud unbelief (wanting to be like God)?  How do you experience all of these things in your life every day? 
  • How do we try to fix our sin and/or the consequences of our sin?  Does any of this work?  Can we make any of this right?

Wafuasi: Judges (Ehud)

Key Passage:

Judges 3:12-31

Key Takeaways:

  • God can rescue anyway he wants.
  • God may mock those who oppose him and his people.
  • God is not a boring God.


  • No matter what kind of trouble you are in, whether self inflicted or not, God hears you, and he has sent a rescuer to save you.
  • God is willing to intervene in even the messiest circumstances of life.
  • God does not want you to clean yourself up, he simply wants you to acknowledge that you need him to rescue you!
  • Ehud was not a sufficient savior. He could not change the hearts of Israel. He provided relief and motivated them, but they eventually went back to their idol worship.


Dioko: “Rock Solid Faith”

Key Passage:

  • 1 John 2:28-3:1

Key Takeaways:

  • Those who trust in Christ are God’s children.
  • God’s children do what is right and do not persist in sin.
  • Those who do not live righteously and do not love other believers do not belong to God.


  • Believers are to find their identity in being a child of God.
  • Believers have the hope of one day being made like Christ, and, therefore, should pursue purity since Jesus is pure.