A response to the "small group questions" for the 14 April 2019 message at First Pres, Boulder. 1
When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
excerpt from the New Living Translation of the gospel according to Mathew 2
How would you describe the current posture of your heart towards Christ? Are you giving him a warm Hometown Hero's welcome? Or are you battling unbelief like the people of Nazareth?
I don't struggle with unbelief towards Christ; or, when I do, I wholeheartedly trust that Christ will "help my unbelief." 3 I expect that where I fall short is in the warmth of welcome; I let myself become distracted by the mundane logistics of life, even with Christ. I am "anxious and troubled about many things" and neglect the "one thing that is necessary." 4
How would you describe the difference between doubt and unbelief?
I don't know, man. I expect the intent here is to differentiate between doubt that is covered by faith vs. unbelief that rests final; but the father in Mark 9 describes his "unbelief" while asking Christ to help him through it.
I think I've got to call "meaningless rhetorical difference" here.
Can you identify any ways that your intellect may be limiting you from experiencing all that Christ wants to offer you?
Sure! For lots of examples, see basically the entirety of my medidations here so far. It's basically my own personal little microcosm of sin.
Are there any areas in your life where disappointment has left you disillusioned? What do you think God wants you to do with your pain?
Probably the closest thing was when we left New York. I left feeling defeated--like I had either not understood God's direction to go in the first place, and had led my family down a needless path of stess; or that I was failing, giving up on God's plan for us.
I am blessed now to have been given peace; both at the time, by virtue of God's faithfulness in leading us here, where I am confident we are in his will; and later, when we briefly (and accidentally) passed through Manhattan and God sent me a spirit of peace unlike anything I had experienced before.
In all things, I think God wants us to praise him.
If there are any areas in your life where you are battling unbelief, take some time to confess those to one another and to Christ. Repent and choose to believe. Remember, even when we don't understand what God is doing, we can trust who He is!
I believe; help my unbelief!