It seems like we cruise right from the Easter story immediately into Christ’s ascension into Heaven without much thought or study into “everyone else”. I have often wondered about the 12 disciples…..now only 11 with the death of Judas. Were they hunted? Were they faithful? How did we get from “then” to “now” as Christians.
I’m one week late as we started this new series called “My Favorite Disciple” last Friday with Rob Miller sharing his thoughts on the apostle Peter. I’ve asked four others from our group to likewise follow suit, sharing their thoughts on their favorite disciple. Here’s the current plan:
APR 29TH: John (Luke Nelson)
MAY 6TH: TBD (Jason Schubert)
MAY 13TH: Thomas (Jon Paschal)
MAY 20TH: Judas (Mike Lenhart)
Gathering times will remain the same each week. 7:30 am for fellowship with lessons kicking off at 7:45 am. Meet over Zoom or in-person at our South Park location.
No formal homework required but you are encouraged to do some self-study each week on the individual disciples to make the conversations even more engaging!
We’ll wrap up the study of Governor Bill Haslam’s book, “Faithful Presence”. This week, please read Chapter 14 as well as the Epilogue. Haslam does a great summary of the book this week, calling out the major themes of text including:
-Salt and Light
-Religion driving your politics or politics driving your religion?
My favorite passage this week comes on page 198:
“Our response to a world that seems to be slipping out of control has too frequently been to enter the public square out of anger and with our focus on winning. Because of that, we have added contempt and division into that arena rather than helping to heal it. But God always starts with us when he talks about change. Again, if the meat has gone bad, it is the fault of the salt, not the meat. Those of us who call ourselves Christians now have the privilege and the responsibility of being God’s ambassadors to a world that is weary and desperate for good news. There really isn’t a plan B when it comes to God’s plan for how the earth gets salt.”
We’re gathering in fellowship this Friday at 7:30 am at The Flying Biscuit at Park Road Shopping Center. I hope to see many of you there as we anticipate the beginning of another Holy Week.
Two weeks left on the current book series. This week, we’ll focus on Chapter 13 and a few examples of other people’s lives in the public square; how their efforts “mattered”. Names include:
Martin Luther King Jr.
George W. Bush
“Reasonable people” in reasonable places
Another easy read this week and you’re welcome to look ahead to next week’s assignment: Chapter 14 and the Epilogue
Speaking of next week. We’ll gather for breakfast at a location to be determined to wrap up the book series and have some fellowship before the start of Holy Week.
We won’t meet on Good Friday and after that, we’re going to do a quick 5-week study I’m calling “My Favorite Disciples”. I’ve asked a handful of individuals from our group to prepare one Friday over that 5-week span and share their thoughts on “their favorite disciple”. Some might reference the book, “Twelve Ordinary Men”, a study we’ve done a couple times. But more importantly, when we exit Holy Week and the celebration of the Resurrection, I want us to think about what was going on for the disciples. They were scattered, hunted, and full of doubts. How did they ever get it together?
The schedule for the next few weeks is posted on the SignUp Genius (click on image below):
Anyway, that’s looking ahead.
Dig into Chapter 13 this week and I look forward to leading the discussion on Friday. Have a great rest of the week. We’re meeting over Zoom or in-person at South Park.
We’re getting close to “breaking the tape” on another study series. This week, we tackle chapter 11 “My Life in the Arena”….leaving just three more chapters after this week! Our author discusses very specifically his path from considering a life in ministry, to (instead) falling into the family business…and eventually dipping his toes into the political waters in Knoxville (as mayor) and the state (as governor).
Haslam will explain how EVERYTHING was planned out perfectly as he wanted it to be…….NOT!
As we’ve heard time and time again, the Governor looks back on his career in politics and can artfully trace God’s hand in all the key decisions.
Join us this Friday as Luke Nelson leads the discussions. Join via Zoom or at the South Park location. 7:30 am ET start. 7:45 am ET kickoff to the lesson.
This week’s topic is one that’s been around for as long as I can remember: separation between Church and State (Chapter 9 of our book). As the story goes, Governor Haslam was visiting a Tennessee farmers’ market and had taken time to purchase local fruits and vegetables, as his wife had instructed him to do. (He must be a smart man by listening to his wife’s wisdom!) An elderly man was patiently waiting his turn to speak to the Governor. When the man finally got to Haslam, he simply asked, “So, why did you veto the Bible?”, referencing a recent reversal of legislation by the Tennessee state house making the Bible the official state book.
Haslam outlines how our founding fathers established the First Amendment as a way that no preference would ever be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. So, when the legislators created the Bible as Tennessee’s official book, they did not specify it for it’s religious significance; rather, as one with historic and economic significance.
I’m sure the press only shared one side of the story but Haslam’s explanation in his veto letter speaks about our nation’s ongoing struggle of the separation between church and state. He writes:
“If we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we shouldn’t be recognizing it as only a book of historical and economic significance. (And) if we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee by designating it as the official state book.”
Join me this week as I’ll lead our discussions around this topic. We have Zoom option or we’re back to gather in-person in South Park. I’ll kick things off at 7:30 am in fellowship and will open up on discussion at 7:45 am.
Chapter 7 of our book this week begs the question of “who are the best leaders?” Ruthless leaders like General Patton or Emperor Caesar? Or passionate, thoughtful leaders like President Lincoln or Philosopher Socrates?
We’ve probably all thought that in this time and age, any politician or leaders who’s soft-spoken will get run over in a heartbeat. I mean, don’t really really want a leader who says “charge that hill” and bounds up in front before we think otherwise.
Ernie Meland leads us this week. And I finally am back to sending out reminders! Work schedule is finally starting to lighten up……for now, at least!
Gather at 7:30 am over Zoom. Ernie will kicks things off at 7:45 am.
I’m curious about breakfast. How many of you prefer your eggs made “sunny side up”? Meaning, only one side of the egg is cooked. If you do, then maybe this week’s chapter is not for you!
This week, we’re discussing Chapter 2 of our series, “Faithful Presence”. The chapter is titled “What is Happening Now?” Our author paints the picture of the need to listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision. One of my favorite messages that I’ve highlighted this week is on pages 18-19:
“If my goal is to solve a problem, and get to the best answer, I found there are two keys: first, an awareness that my answer might not be the best answer; and second, a commitment to hear the other side of the argument.”
Have you ever eaten a pancake that is only cooked on one side?
Rob Miller leads this week and will help paint the chapter’s lesson from all sides. Reminder, also, that Rob will spend a few minutes on our planned retreat later this month.
We’re continuing all Zoom for the rest of this month so grab your coffee and dial in starting at 7:30 am ET. We’ll tackle the lesson starting at 7:45 am.
New year….new study series. This week we’ll launch into the book, “Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square” by Bill Haslam. You can find the link to order the book in a previous post on this website. And if you haven’t ordered it yet, no worries. Please plan on joining us this Friday regardless. You’ll always pick up some nuggets or two without even reading the weekly assignment.
Speaking of this week’s homework, if you have the book, please read the book’s Prologue and Chapter 1 (“Divided and Angry”). I’m excited to introduce the book to everyone on Friday.
We had planned on continuing to have two options for our Friday gathering: Virtual over Zoom and in-person at Southpark. However, for the next few weeks, as the Omicron variant remains prevalent, we are going to stick with virtual only. If you need the Zoom invite, please reach out to me separately.
I appreciate your patience and flexibility. Reminder that whenever we gather, virtual or in-person, God is in our presence and for that we remain grateful.
Enjoy the rest of your week! I’ll “see” you on Friday beginning at 7:30 am ET. Lesson begins at 7:45 am ET.
Happy FINAL week of 2021! Wow…..this year seems to have flown by, hasn’t it?
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Great to see many from our men’s group when we gathered for breakfast a couple Friday’s back.
There were several of you who indicated you’d like us to read “Faithful Presence” by Bill Haslam so I’m recommending that as our first study of the new year. Please go out and purchase the book in your preferred format (hardcover, audio, ect.). It’s available by clicking on the book image below.
Lastly, please consider signing up to lead a lesson or two. We’ll have a total of 14 Friday’s for lessons in the new book plus a breakfast fellowship on the 15th Friday…which also happens to be Good Friday!
Link to SignUp is below:
Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations! I’ll see you next Friday, JAN 7th!