Have you ever been astounded? Have you been so shocked that you were speechless? Has something happened so unanticipated, so unimaginable that your mind spun in silence as you tried to grasp the happening?

If God changed us as a congregation in any way He wished, every one of us would be astounded and shocked speechless. As God announced His desired changes, the unexpected and unimaginable would fill His announcement. Christians would whisper among themselves. "God does not even like that! I know God!" "God condemned that! I know God!" "That deeply offends God! I know God." As God announced His desires, we would shake our heads in shocked silence.

Every member [man or woman] and every age group [young, middle aged, or elderly] would be astounded. No one would say, "I told you!" The more certain we are about God's preferences, the more astounding we would find His desires.

Our priorities tend to stress organization, structure, money, buildings, aesthetics, personal preferences, local concerns, area priorities, or regional issues. We tend to measure faithfulness by acceptance of our conclusions and convictions. Our logical conclusions and necessary inferences receive the status of clear Bible principles.

God's priority is people--people who need compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, saving, atonement, redemption, justification, sanctification, and such like. Jesus was impressed by a wealthy tax collector, a Roman military officer, a prostitute, a divorcee, and a dying thief who trusted him. He was not impressed by experts in the technicalities of the law, rich rulers who kept the law, financial successes who built bigger barns, or people who tried to commit without counting the costs.

God wanted basic changes in congregations at Rome, at Corinth, in Galatia, at Ephesus, at Philippi, at Colossae, at Thessalonica, and in Asia Minor. God's priorities: (1) total trust in Christ; (2) personal behavior consistent with godliness; and (3) respectful, loving treatment of people. Be assured that He wants changes in us. Be certain that His priorities have not changed.

Remember Jesus' parable of the judgment in Matthew 25:31-46? Those who heard, "Come ... inherit the kingdom," were astounded. So were those who heard, "Depart from me, accursed ones ..." The Lord's priority? Respect for and treatment of the least of people. Astounding! Shocking! Unimaginable!

Adult Studies for the Summer Quarter
Ignorance cannot and does not lead to God's mind and heart. Apathy quickly becomes ignorance. An hour of worship cannot prepare us to walk with God for a week.

Our adult studies build faith in Jesus, open lives to God's Spirit, build relationship with God, and encourage behavior based on God's moral teachings. All adult class teachers received this message: this quarter's lessons require class members to study.

To assist students, each lesson is posted on our Web site with access to the teacher's guide. Suggestions for the busy:

  • read the lesson Monday;
  • read the texts Tuesday;
  • think Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday;
  • review the lesson Saturday;
  • participate in class Sunday; and
  • record your impressions in lesson 13 on Sunday after class.

Learn, and allow God to help you with life.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 9 July 2000

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