“Are you brave!?” Nannygranne shouted to the faces on the monitor, students of her zoom class.
Laughing, the students declared, “YES!”
“Are you bold?” Nannygranne shouted.
“OH, YEAH!” they called back.
“Are you willing to go to the death for God’s Way?”
Silence. A long silence.
Nannygranne waited, refusing to release her students from the reality of the challenge. She needed to return them to the ramifications of their discovery last week. They’d talked about the “Acid Test” for all decisions in life, the answer to all questions. Would they be willing to step up to the heights of God’s Way?
Eventually, Amanda raised her hand, then extended it higher. One by one, others followed, but not all.
“Then let’s begin,” Nannygranne said. She shared her screen with the following points:
“Based on these truths we’ve established in our class, we believe God’s way is the way to live well. We don’t just want to survive, but to thrive! 7 We filter our unknowns through His great Known given to us in His creation and in His message, the Bible.
“Now, I’m going to reread your questions. I want you to take fifteen minutes to do word searches, study, and see what you can find out God has spoken about that question. Work in teams of two. Then give me a summary of your discoveries.”
Nannygranne set teams, assigned questions, and the work began.
After the set time, the teams shared their findings:
QUESTION #1 “How do I know what’s right about anyone’s gender? There are so many views and ideas, and I get confused. Is there really just one way to be?”
* God made them male and female (Gen 1:1).
*There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end, it’s a road to death. – Prov 14:12 and 16:25.
* Not all ideas are based on truth. I Timothy 6:20 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the pointless discussions and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.”
* Jesus said that not everyone has the same needs, but wants everyone to be pure.8 The disciples struggled with Jesus’ expectation of sexual purity and marriage, too, but obeyed. “The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the case of a husband with a wife, it is better not to marry! He said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this statement, except those to whom it has been given.” from Matthew 19
QUESTION #2 & 3 “Isn’t it judging to think someone is wrong just because they feel differently from you?” “We aren’t God. How do we have the right to decide what’s right for somebody else?”
* Mistreating others because we disapprove personally is wrong. Matt 7:1
* Thinking – judging for ourselves – is “discernment” – and is our right. Psalm 1:1
* Jesus taught and told us to teach His ways. He didn’t force people to His will. He allowed people to choose to trust His ways or not. Then they had to live with the consequences of their choices. The same is true with us.
QUESTION #4 “I think the world would be a better place to live if everyone would be kind to everyone else and not get upset about how anyone lives.”
* Jesus was kind to everyone, but they killed Him. Just trying to be kind isn’t enough. If everyone was perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus. He knew we couldn’t live well on our own.
* Jesus understood human nature to be ungodly. “John 2: 23 While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, many people believed in him because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 Jesus, however, did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and didn’t need anyone to tell him what people were like, because he himself knew what was in every person.
QUESTION #5 “My parents have a lot of old ideas, and they get mad if I don’t agree with them. I feel like I can’t make them happy and be true to myself.”
* Respecting parents has always been a command. (Exodus 20:12; Eph 6:1; Col 3:20)
* Jesus parents did not understand Him, but He still obeyed them (Luke 2:41-52)
* But Jesus followed God’s plan when His family wanted to do an intervention because they decided He was crazy. (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:20-21, 31-35)
QUESTION # 5,6,7 “I believe in God, but I don’t feel my faith like I think I should.” “I can’t help how I feel. Why would God want me to lie to myself?” “I feel worried because I’m not like I’m supposed to be. What if I find out I’m not. What can I do? I feel judged no matter what I act like.”
* God understands our feelings better than we do. (Romans 8:24-27) “But the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words, 27 and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to God’s will.”
* We can’t always trust our thoughts. Sometimes we feel guilty when we’re not. “This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be able to keepourselves strong in his presence.If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than ourhearts and knows everything.” (I John 3:19-20)
* We can’t always follow our hearts. We have to lead our hearts in God’s way. “For the weapons of our warfare are not those of the world. Instead, they have the power of God to demolish fortresses. We tear down arguments and every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive in order to obey the Messiah.
Nannygranne thanked the teams for their work, then said, “Are you brave? Are you bold? Will you trust His Ways? Will you accept what comes when you do? The Apostle Paul wrote, ‘… I pray that [your] hearts may be encouraged by all the riches that come from a complete understanding of the full knowledge of the Messiah, who is the mystery of God.’ 9 As I’ve said before, it’s the mystery of the Upside-Down Kingdom.”10
Amanda raised her hand. “Upside-Down Kingdom? Mystery? What does that mean?”
Nannygranne laughed. “Amanda, are you hoisting the sails for our next adventure, or would you just rather go to lunch and talk?”
Amanda frowned. “I like our classes.”
“Me, too,” said Derrick. Can you tell us what you are talking about?”
Nannygranne smiled. “You all are brave! All right. Then let’s take a Mystery Tour to the Upside-Down Kingdom. It could be a bumpy ride, but I think this group is up to the challenge—the same time next week. In the meantime, you can Google the Upside-Down Kingdom and get a head start on the mystery. You can also do a word search for the word ‘mystery’ in the Scriptures. Come with your questions. See you then.”
1 Matthew 10 & Luke 14
5 John 14:1-3
6 2 Corinthian 5:1-10; Matthew 10:26; Mark 8:36
8 Luke 20:34-36
9 Colossians 1:26-27