The week after Easter, friends of ours began an English fellowship group at their house. It was open to anyone who wanted to learn/practice English. We viewed this as a great opportunity to get to know Indonesians. My Indonesian language isn't that strong, but maybe we could find some middle ground using a mix of Indonesian and English and establish friendships.
Most Saturdays we sing, listen to a Bible based lesson, and discuss various topics in small groups according to gender. One Saturday a month is a fun game night.
My friend asked us to consider leading small group discussions. She said," It's easy! You'll answer easy questions like where does God come from..." I thought to myself if that's an easy question my friend might want to continue looking for more capable discussion leaders!
Our family decided to check it out together. We committed to participate each Saturday. Kate comes and plays with others while we build relationships with others.
The lessons help to lay a "firm foundation" (which is the name of the series) by starting with discovering who God is and the progressing to creation and eventually through the life of Christ. It has been such a blessing for me to evaluate the firmness of my spiritual foundation. As Christians it can be easy to accept things that others say as Truth, without evaluating it through the lenses of Scripture. So we build our fundamental beliefs on half truths or thoughts that have shifted through years of memories or even church history. These half truths cause cracks in our foundations, which can cause the whole structure to be weak.
Here's one truth that I go back to after each lesson. We've been talking about creation. Everything that God created- land, seas, sky, fruits, trees- He didn't *need* any of it for survival. So, why did He create it?? He created it with US- me and you- in mind. He is kind and loving. God knew that humans would need land, food, and light to survive. He created them in an order that shows His kindness towards us. He didn't create people first and then those things we need in order to survive. He's thoughtful and orderly in everything He does. God had a plan from the very beginning, and no one was there to give Him tips or suggestions on how to create things. He spoke and from the power of His voice *everything* happened. Wow. So now when I look at creation, I can see how even from the beginning God was expressing His love towards all mankind- not just those who would choose to love Him.
Another truth that is helping repair the foundations of my Papuan friends is that God's power is greater than any evil or power of this world. Satan's power is strong here. My friends have seen spirits do things that mimic God's power, but are counterfeit. It's difficult for them to accept that good and evil are not equal in power. They (and Westerners too) tend to view God as ultimate good and Satan as ultimate evil, equating them with equal good and equal evil powers or abilities. BUT, friends, here's the Truth- Satan was in Heaven with God at some point (Isaiah 14:12). We know that God created all things (Colossians 1:16) and this must include Satan. God, the Creator of everything, has more power and authority than anything He has created. Therefore, Satan or other spirits can not have equal or more power than God. The powers of darkness may mimic the power of God, but do not be mislead that does not make their power equal. In Exodus 7, Moses and Aaron approach the throne of Pharaoh. God tells them specific instructions. Aaron throws down his staff and it turns into a serpent. Pharaoh gathers his magicians and sorcerers, who throw down their staffs which turn into serpents. I image that Pharaoh is feeling a bit smug, possibly thinking God lacks respect or honor because his magicians can perform the same "trick". Then something incredible happens- Aaron's serpent/staff swallows up the other serpent/staffs. Do not be mislead- others may mimic God's power and authority, but God stands sovereign over all His creation.
- "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all" (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).