Monday, February 27, 2017

Pork, Alcohol and the Adventist Christian - Discussion Guide


What are some drugs available today? Which ones do you take? Why? Not take? Why?
What about drinks? Are there some things you don’t drink? Why?
Are there some foods you do not eat? Why?
(Safety, health, culture, Bible)

What different laws were there in the Old Testament? (list as many as you can)

Three categories of OT laws:
Ceremonial laws – pointed to Jesus (fulfilled at the cross)
Civil laws – governed the Theocracy (laws of the land)
Health laws – based on our human nature (we are still human, they still apply)

Unclean Foods: To eat or not to eat

Read Deuteronomy 14:8
Why use the world Unclean? What other  beings were called unclean  in scripture? (leprosy). Why? How do the two compare?
How is a pig ‘unclean’ in its diet/lifestyle? (eats rubbish, lives in filth)

If you use the Old Testament to support not eating unclean foods what problem do you face?
(As a young church, Adventists argued heatedly about this!)
Uriah Smith rejected using the Law of Moses against eating unclean foods: "We believe there is better ground on which to rest than the ceremonial law of the former dispensation, for if we take the position that that law is still binding, we must accept it all, and then we shall have more on our hands than we can easily dispose of.” (Uriah Smith, "Meats Clean and Unclean," Review and Herald, vol. 60 (July 3, 1883), p. 424.)

Is it a sin to eat unclean food? (No)
"We do not, by any means, believe that the Bible teaches that its [pork] proper use, in the gospel dispensation, is sinful." (James White, "Swine's Flesh," Present Truth, vol. 1 Nov. 1850, p. 87.)
So why not eat unclean food? (Health as shown by God in the Bible. Science is catching up!)
How does this apply to being a vegetarian? Why?

Alcohol: To drink or not to drink

What are some reasons people drink alcohol? (Social lubricant – good thing?)
What are some reasons that drinking is not wise? (Safety, health, loss of filters/boundaries)
Are there any laws in scripture about drinking? (No laws, just proverbs)

Read Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:21
Where do proverbs come from ( life lessons)
How do you learn life lessons? (from living)

Read Proverbs 23:29-35
What experiences do you think Solomon went through to come up with such proverbs?
What experiences have you had or heard that shape you in this area? (Dad cold turkey)
It is a common occurrence for people who become Christians to be convicted that drinking alcohol is not what God wants them to do. Many received special help/miracle to help them quit. Why do you think this happens?

Read Ephesians 5:18
What does being drunk do to you in the moment?
What does being a drunkard do to you over time?
Why does Paul compare being drunk with being spirit-filled?
What does having God’s Spirit do to you in the moment?
What does having God’s Spirit regularly do to you over time?

Conclusion: The heart of the matter

Read Romans 14:1-4
What character strength is Paul encouraging?
(Treat others kindly)
Continue reading: Romans 14:5-6
What spiritual strength is Paul encouraging?
(Conviction followed by action)
Continue reading: Romans 14:7-8
What conviction is Paul encouraging?
(Live and  die for the Lord!)
Continue reading: Romans 14:9-10
What end game is Paul calling us to focus on?
(Jesus' salvation in the judgement)

Read Romans 14:13-23
Some Bibles call this section: The Law of Love…. Why?
How has our Bible study today challenged you to live your life tomorrow?

Research Notes:
The Development of Adventist Thinking on Clean and Unclean Meats

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saying Sorry - A formative experience

Our church has two really great traditions.
1. Family Worship: Every week the entire family sits together for the Divine service after participating in aged-based Bible study classes.
2. Children's Story: Almost every week we have a story for the children before the sermon.

When I preach, I use the children's story time to prepare the kids (and the big kids) for the topic of the sermon. I often give the key point of the sermon away in the kids story. But I never tell them I've just set them up to think more deeply about the sermon.

For the children's story before the sermon "When the Lost are Found" I told a story which happened the day before in my work as a chaplain.

I told the children the following story:

On my way out of the school for a meeting with a local pastor, I encountered a grade five girl crying uncontrollably in the school foyer. The receptionist said, "She was very rude to her mother and ran away when I told her not to speak to her mother like that! Could you talk to her?"

I invited the girl to my office and texted the pastor as I walked, "See you in a bit. Caught up in something!"

When we got to my office we played UNO until the silent sobs stopped. Then I asked, "What happened?"

"I just wanted to say bye to my Mum." She started to sob again.

"But she was gone when you got back?" I asked.

She nodded as she cried.

We played another hand of UNO.

Her composure regained, I asked, "When will you see your mum again?"

"After school. She picks me up." Choking back a sob, she added, "I just wanted to say sorry!"

"What will you do when you see her after school?" I asked.

"Hug her," she said. "And say I'm sorry."

"I bet she will hug you back," I said. "And she will tell you she loves you. You know she loves you, right?"

She nodded and sucked in a ragged breath.

We played another hand of UNO.

"You know," I said, "this is a good thing - that you have to wait all day to say sorry."


"Because, you will think about it all day. And you will play out the upcoming conversation with your mum a thousand times. Do you know why this is a good thing?”

She shook her head, “No.”

Do you think today is going to be an easy day for you?”

“No,” She said, “My class is gone on an excursion. We were late and I missed the bus. That’s why I was mad.”

“Wow, that’s even more time to think things through,” I said.

She nodded.

“That’s why it’s a good thing.” I said, “You will be practising saying sorry all day long! That is a very good thing!”

She looked at me like I was a bit odd. I get that look often from kids.

“Next time you get mad at your Mum, do you think you will say something mean and run off?”

Her eyes widened in understanding, “No way!”

We played another hand of UNO.

"I know something pretty amazing about you," I said.

She looked up startled. "WHAT?!"

"I've been here at this school for three years and this is the first time I've had one of these chats with you. This means you are a pretty amazing kid and have your stuff together. You’re a good kid!”

She nodded. It was obvious this fall out with Mum was a rare and very difficult thing for her.

“And I know, after today, you will be an even more amazing kid!"

She didn’t look convinced. “Why?”

“Because you want to say sorry! That means you are already awesome.” I smiled. “It’s a lot harder to say sorry than it is to be nice in the first place.”

I paused in my storytelling to the littles at the front of church and scanned the audience. Looking back at the kids, I asked, “It’s not easy to say sorry because we have to admit we did a bad thing. When I do something that hurts someone else, I have to say to myself, “You did a bad thing, Dave.” Then I need to tell the other person I am sorry. It’s not easy.

When we say sorry, it shows that we have love in our hearts. Listen carefully to the stories I tell in the sermon and see what else you learn about saying sorry!”

After the Sermon:

A man who has two kids in our church said to me afterwards, “I think I learned more from the children’s story than any of the kids.” He laughed. “I find it really hard to say sorry. Thanks for today. I was very challenged.”

After watching the video of the Sermon:

I received a facebook comment from a friend who watched the sermon "When the Lost are Found." Mike Freisen asked: "How do you approach desire as a formative experience?" The children's story wasn't on the video, so I wrote this blog to explain how I introduced the sermon with this children's story. Thanks for the question, Mike! I hope the children's story is a fitting answer to your question.

The process of confession involves a time of sorrow for your sin. This is the 'walk home' the Prodigal son embarked on in which he practiced his speech of repentance. The forgiveness of the Father is much more deeply reformative when we have spent time in prayerful confession and passionate repentance.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

When the Lost are Found - A fresh look at Luke 15

Through the Lens of a recent trip to Maasai Land in Kenya, I explore the context and content of Luke 15. Could it be teaching us something completely different than we thought?

The Text: Holman Christian Standard Bible - Luke 15

15 All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to Him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!”
So He told them this parable: “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.
“Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ 10 I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. 15 Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthyto be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast,24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he summoned one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’
31 “‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Monday, February 13, 2017

Joseph rescues yet another victim of female circumcision and child marriage

Having spent a week in Joseph’s world, my heart is easily pulled back there. Moments ago, this story popped up on Messenger and now I’m back in Kenya, sitting at Joseph’s feet studying the tears in his reddened eyes as he tells me what he did today. 


** This story has been edited and photo removed due to people fearing for the girl's safety. Thank you for your concern for her privacy and safety. Hopefully someone is concerned enough to help! **


Joseph wrote:

It was another beautiful dawn when, once more, I had to hit the ground going with hope as I embarked on a Rescue Mission in a land that is miles away from home, perhaps the most daunting journey that anyone can keep in the deepest canyons of their hearts.

The day was calm, the sky so clear and my heart beating at my chest wondering how it will all unfold.

**** is a 10-year-old girl from a village in the remote part of Kenya. In January this year her step mother lied to her about going to visit an aunt in a nearby village. Little did she know there was an arrangement made by her parents for her circumcision.

They set out together at 11am and after two hours of walking found themselves in an old hut at the edge of a forest. They had a nice traditional meal and afterwards she was informed by the old women living there of her imminent genital mutilation.

As if her well-being was important to them, they briefly counselled her. Then they went ahead and circumcised her using an old blunt knife they sharpened with a stone while she watched.

Her cries to stop it all fell onto deaf ears.

Immediately after the circumcision, she bled so profusely that she went into a coma for almost three hours. She came back to her senses at about 9 pm in evening. Two days afterwards she was taken home for recovery and traditional teachings.

Two weeks later a 66-year-old man came to visit her parents accompanied by three elders. They were there to make dowry negotiations.

**** felt the world was coming to an end as she watched the old man, looking frail and disgusting, settle with her parents on a dowry of 7 cows, 5 litres of beer, 4 blankets and 4 bedsheets. That is all she was worth. What seemed like an impossible nightmare was a painful reality.

She vehemently refused but all was in vain.

Her suitor organized for a group of nine men, who came for her by force, tied her by hands and legs and when she screamed for help they tied her to a nearby tree, beat her terribly until she bled profusely. They stripped her naked and walked her for 16 kilometers. Women and children along the way cried all they could to plead for mercy but with no success.

She was taken to the old man's property and put in a specifically built small hut. She came to learn it was built in preparation for her arrival.

Because **** was a virgin, the man hired a traditional midwife to prepare her. She made a fitted pair of pants that held a buffalo horn at the middle. Reason? The sharp pointy part was to be inserted into ****’s vagina to break her virginity and within a few days and to make it easier sexually for her husband.

**** told me this story at 3am in the morning when I rescued her under the cover of darkness. This was an ideal time for the rescue due to security issues and it was all organized by a lady friend who saw it all and the only hope was me.

My worry now is the old man's man hatred for me. Because of his age, he has the respect of others. This is our culture. He also has political connection because of his influence and wealth.

I have placed  **** with a motherly woman who will care for her until I decide the best course of action.  ****’s birthday just passed. I would love to see  **** placed in school like a normal eleven-year-old girl.

I call upon friends and well-wishers to join me in prayer as I seek a better future for this little innocent girl.  

Life, at times, gives us no reason to keep pressing on.

But destiny is in all our hands.


If you would like to help go to and make a donation putting “Help Joseph” in the second “Address” line (or somewhere else where you can write a note). Or contact myself and we will arrange it.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...