God’s Spirit implants His standards

We must learn to faithfully listen to the Word of God – for as we do, God’s Spirit will enlighten us —

 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b] – Romans 12:2

The Spirit uses the Word in this way to bring individuals and communities to Christian maturity.

The role of culture and community in conditioning our understanding of sin is seen in Romans 14.  In the Roman church some people were vegetarians because they had formerly worshiped idols by eating sacrificed meat.

Paul responded that it is not the act itself that is important, but the underlying character of one’s relationship with God.  A person must do what he or she believes is pleasing to God.  Different people will choose to take different and maybe even opposite actions to please God.  This is why Paul taught that it is wrong to be contemptuous of those who follow rules that seem irrelevant to us; we should not feel more spiritual than those who don’t follow our own ideals of Christian behaviour.  Put another way, each of us is answerable to God.

Instead of teaching biblical principles, the human tendency is to substitute rules about foods, ceremonies, rituals, times and places.  Paul responds —

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. – Romans 14:17-18

As more and more people become believers, a non-national missionary can help the group to discover God’s will for them and of course a national missionary has no difficulty at all.  They will both direct new believers to the Word of God where they will work out their salvation —

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12

 

 

God’s Love Washes and Renews

THE CHRISTIAN CONFESSION OF FAITH

 

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Core Mandate

The mandate to bless the nations began with Abraham.  God’s promise to bless all nations through Abraham provides the biblical foundation and the proper heart attitude for ministry.

“Blessings” refers to God’s gracious favour and power bestowed on those who respond to Him by faith.  The blessing so His favour draws us into relationship with Himself, resulting in peace, well-being and salvation.

In Christ, we discover the demonstration of God’s liberating power,  Paul highlights the relational and powerful dimensions of blessing in Christ most explicitly in Galatians.

Implicit in the Abrahamic blessing, we find our mandate as well as our message.

 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” – Galatians 3:8

Our core message of the blessing which is in Christ aligns with our core mandate to bring Christ’s blessing to all nations.

Exploring globalization

Isabell Ides, one of the last living links to old Indian ways on the Northwest Coast, died Wednesday, June 21, 2001 on the Makah reservation. She was 101.

Known by everyone in the small fishing village of Neah Bay simply as Isabell, this eldest of elders had more than 100 direct descendants. In this tribe that is so focused on authentically living their ancient culture, Isabell served as the matriarch of the Makah.

She was one of just a few people left who grew up speaking the Makah language. Isabell did not learn English until her teenage years, when she was sent away to a boarding school in Tacoma. There, like thousands of other native children of the time, she was punished if she was found speaking her native tongue.

But the language and culture have endured and even prospered since then, in part because of Isabell’s lifelong commitment to teach what it means to be Makah, say many at Neah Bay.

“She taught literally hundreds of people language and basketry,” said Janine Bowechop of the Makah Museum and Cultural Center. “Those were the formal things she was known for as far as cultural preservation goes. But she was probably loved by more people than anyone I’ve ever known.”

“She taught me who I was,” said her grandson Gordon Smith. “She emphasized how you should act, how you should be, how to participate in culture.”

When a fierce storm in the 1960s unearthed a centuries-old Makah village at Ozette, Isabell and other tribal elders were called upon to identify perfectly preserved artifacts that were a mystery to archaeologists.

“When they were growing up at the turn of the century, they still had some of the kind of toys that they had, had for centuries,” said Clapanhoo. The toys, he said, were a reflection that the culture was still alive.

Isabell also taught numerous outsiders what it meant to be Makah as a kind of informal ambassador for the tribe.

In the summers, Isabell would move from the village to her home on a dirt road along Tsoo-yes Beach. It is the last house, on the last road in the farthest Northwest tip of the United States. Hikers on the way to the Olympic National Park’s wilderness beaches would park in her yard and put a few dollars in the milk box on her porch. The lucky ones might spend a few minutes with her, or buy one of the baskets for which she was famous.

“She had baskets all over the world that she sold to tourists,” said Smith, who is vice chairman of the tribe.

College students would come with their professors to visit Isabell and spend the day weaving baskets while she told them Makah legends.

Isabell credited her longevity to her strong Christian faith. She was a Sunday school teacher and member of the Assembly of God church. While she sustained her spirit in the church, she sustained her body with a more native diet than most people consume.

“She kept up with eating a more traditional diet for so long,” said Bowechop. “And she taught so many people how to cut and smoke fish.”

Tribal member Bobbi Rose tells the story about the first time she tried her hand in the smokehouse. When she took the fish to Isabell, the old woman ate some and said: “Take me to your smokehouse. Your wood is too dry — it makes the fish bitter.”

Rose said that when they got to the smokehouse, “the alder was bone dry. She knew just by the taste.” – PAUL SHUKOVSKY, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

 

 

Did the basketry matter as well as her Sunday School teaching to God – how important was her ethnic heritage in the Kingdom’s big picture?

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