The Stranger on the way to the story of Everything

As our small groups begin a study of the book, “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” the weekly study questions are going to mostly focus on this book.  Each week I’ll try to adress some connections between the sermon and the book, but I want to reward all the good do-bee’s who are doing their homework, so I’m going to try and draw lots from the book.

To find a link which will allow you to download this book for free, or to watch or listen to the sermon, go to http://fellowshipholden.com.

I think I might begin the practice of emailing a thought, question, or interesting point from “The Stranger” every few days.  Whether you attend Fellowship or not, if you’re in a small group or not, if you send an email to jeffcampbell7@hotmail.com, or leave a comment to this post requesting it, I’ll add you to the email list.

“Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” is a really outstanding book.  It’s an exploration of the whole bible from the perspective of looking through the lense of what we know about Jesus.  It doesn’t dumb anything down, but it also doesn’t get it’s head lost in the clouds.  It’s particularly useful for filling in the gaps in the scriptural knowledge of long-time Christians or giving new Christians a powerful, big-picture overview.

At any rate, here’s the discussion questions for Fellowship Church’s small groups on February 8ths sermon and the first chapter of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus”

1.  Elijah experienced some things that many of us go through.  We look for God in the huge and so-called miraculous, but fail to see him in the quiet and every day.  Can you share any stories from your own life or others lives that illustrate this idea?  What are some ways that God is in the quiet and every day that are easy to miss?

2.  Another thing that we often do is feel sorry for ourselves because we think we’re the only one following God.  God often demonstrates that we are far from alone, despite our feelings.  How have you seen this dynamic played out?

3.  Marty described God as the ultimate friend.  The ultimate friend would sit with us through pain, would have our backs, and tell us the truth in love.  Chapter one of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” states the meanings and purpose of scripture.  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God sits with us through our pain?  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God is with us?  In what ways does the bible demonstrate that God speaks the truth in love?

4.  Read Luke, chapter 24 outloud.  This scene is dramatized on pages 5 and 6 of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.”  What are some differences between the scriptural account and the one written by John Cross?  In this chapter of scripture, what are some ways that Jesus fits Marty’s description of the iddeal friend: some one who suffers with you, who provides for you, who protects you, and who speaks the truth in love?

5.  The beginning of the book states that it’s important to know how the whole of the bible works together.  How well would you say you know the bible as a whole?  What portions do you know the most about?  What portions do you know the least about?  Do you spend much energy working out how the whole bible fits together?  Is there any specific questions that you hope would be answered for you if you got a better understanding of how the whole bible fits together?

6.  Chapter 1 states that we ought to focus on the important themes of the bible.  Can you list 3 themes that you feel are the most important in the entire bible?

7.  Did you find anything surprising in chapter 1?  Did you disagree with anything in chapter 1?  What was the part that effected you the most or that you most agree with?

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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