Lu Daoming welcomes you on a journey of friendship and hope. Together, let's learn new ideas: how to live with real meaning and joy.
New Birth, Living Hope! (Peter’s First Letter)
神 has done something very powerful in this world – and when we make connection with it, it changes many things about us: it changes the way we think and feel – and it changes the way we relate to the rest of the world. There is a specific point in time, a specific place, where He changes us: He moves us from being “outside” to being “inside” His covenant blessing. He moves us from having no hope to being filled with a sure, confident hope for the future. He moves us out of an empty way of life into one that is full of meaning and strength.
But it doesn’t always look that way to everyone else! In the ancient Empire, no one really knew much about The Teacher, and not much about His followers. So it was easy to be mistaken, to say ignorant things, to make life difficult for those who were living in the new way. This letter will help us find our centre of strength, our magnetic field of hope, our vision for the future – and all of these things will keep us joyful during the hard times that sometimes come to us now.
2014 January 5: Welcome to the New Year – and welcome to the new world! We’re exploring the beginnings of the document called “1 Peter.” It’s a real letter, written to real people in real locations, facing real life situations – some of which will be familiar to us! Ancient letters always had a beginning, which was supposed to help the reader understand the meaning of the rest of the letter: this one is very rich with meaning. Lots of stories behind these words which help us find our place in the world. If we find our place, we’ll know what to do.
2014 January 12: Welcome to the New Year – and welcome to the new world! New birth into a living hope, and an inheritance that’s greater than anything in this world! The ancient gods – and the gods we worship nowadays (money, politics, education, entertainment) – can’t provide what we really need to live larger than the world. But this is the great gift that 神 gives us: so great that nothing can stop Him from accomplishing His plan.
2014 January 19: What it means to believe! There’s a big difference between dealing with the question of “believing in 神” in a philosophical, abstract, vague, general sense, and “believing in 神” according to what He has shown of Himself throughout the history of His dealings with humans. Trying to understand 神 in an abstract way doesn’t do much for your life! But seeing what He has done and is doing, and putting your trust in that – will make all the difference! It’s not so much an “evolution,” a slow million-year Long March toward freedom: it’s a change of destiny, a change of goal – a change that produces a new lifestyle!
2014 January 26: Set free from the empty way of life! The society around us is full of the empty way of life: people live by the identity that this society gives them, by the destiny of death, by the sad truth that we’re all going to die, that the people we love will die, that every worthwhile thing we’ve ever done will die with us. It’s impossible for us, on our own to change it. 神 has made a way into real freedom – where we’re given a new identity, a new destiny, a new reason to live, a new reason to love and do good! You’re going to like how He does it!
2014 February 2: Temple, priests, sacrifices, people – how 神 communicates with us! Each of these things are familiar to people of the ancient times, though we don’t see much of them today. Each was a gift from 神 to help us know Him. In the distant past, He used these things in a literal way – but now, in His new plan, He uses our lives in a new way to communicate and reach to us!
2014 February 9: Living out the vision: all nations! One of the really beautiful things about 神’s work in His people: He’s trying to reach everyone! The way He does it: to strengthen us to handle living with injustice and wrong things, so He can help us – and so we can learn to do this for other people!
2014 February 16: Living out the vision: working for agreement, giving blessing even when it hurts! In this one, we learn about how to live the vision every day in our relationships with each other, and with other people who don’t know yet. 神’s vision of what we are, as the meeting-place for Him and people, helps us to do good and respond good, no matter what happens to us!
2014 February 23: Living out the vision: from the deepest rebellion, to highest glory! More of this movement between the spiritual side and its influence on how we live every day in the world we see: why we can do good even when we’re not understood! The victory is so deep, so high – we have nothing to fear!
2014 March 2: Living out the vision: from the deepest rebellion, to highest glory! In this session, we use a brief PowerPoint presentation (click here to download it) to clarify the incredible blessing 神 gives – all to empower us for living here, in a world that is living in darkness. The Powerpoint starts at about 8 minutes in to the audio. When the world around us seems so big and intimidating, we can respond and do what is good, because of the greater vision we have!
2014 March 9: Living out the vision: in the spiritual “magnetic field”! This session also uses a brief PowerPoint presentation (click here to download it). As we’ve seen throughout this letter, Peter moves us from the “unseen” spiritual realities to the everyday world we “see” and live in. What does it look like when we live in the strong influence of 神’s Spirit with us? Also, an extra story: what actually happened in the first- and second-century history.
2014 March 30: Living out the vision: overcoming the unfairness and pain of life! We explore chapter 5, noticing how life together in the circle of faith-friendship makes us strong to overcome the trouble. Also an extra story: what happened to the old enemy “Babylon”? Most unexpected: 神’s strong hand and never-ending love changed the situation from hatred to hope!