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  • The reason I wrote 'This Risen Existence' was because I read a lot of Lent books that reflected on the lead up to Good Friday but had all stopped before Easter Sunday.  As a result we ended up talking more about penitence, temptation and Jesus' death (hugely important though it is) than about his resurrection. So I thought I might ask - how important is the resurrection in your life and faith?
  • March has arrived, and with it has come a free book from Dr. ! Follow the link below to get your free book, and then pop back here to read it in community. We're looking forward to some great discussion this month,  led by Dr. Gooder herself.
  •  — Edited
    Hi everyone, My name is Paula Gooder and I thought I'd pop into the group today to tell you a little about me, and a little about my book.  I trained in New Testament studies in Oxford (my tutor was Tom Wright ...you may have heard of him?) and since then I have been teaching in seminaries and churches trying to communicate my joy in, and passion about, the Bible. I currently work for the Bible Society in England and Wales as their Theologian in Residence and Head of Bible Engagement. I wrote this book because I love Easter and the resurrection so much and wanted to explore it more.   I hope you'll enjoy reading it, but more importantly, I hope you will enjoy thinking more deeply about the resurrection and all it means for us.
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  • Will there be a book for April?
  • Thank you and for making this Eastertide reading possible. It has been much appreciated.
    • I really liked Paula Gooder's wrap-up of the book, especially the way she displays the in-between nature of our life in these end times. I think we can never be reminded too often that we should be governed firstly by spiritual concerns as we "await the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). "Resurrection existence is Spirit-filled and Spirit-led existence. The world to come is a world governed not by earthly concerns but by spiritual concerns. The resurrection pulled the world of the Spirit—at least in part—into our own world. The resurrection allowed us to live the Spirit-filled lives that became possible at Pentecost. These four events (death, resurrection, ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit) are closely interwoven and, although we can see their individual threads, they should not really be separated too far from each other. The Spirit continues to explode into our lives just as it did with the earliest disciples, transforming us, helping us to be the people that God wants us to be, groaning with us with sounds that reach deep into the heart of God and drawing us more fully into this risen existence." Gooder, P. (2015). This Risen Existence: The Spirit of Easter (p. 125). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
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      • Since I finished the book early I took time to put my review up on the Goodreads web site.  Here is a link if you are interested.
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          Thanks Robert!  Very kind of you!
      • P. 113 - I had never seen the comparison to the giving of the law and the Pentecost, with fire and sound of trumpet.  Thank you for that.  It is interesting also the contrast to stay away and the fire going to the people.
        • I know this comment comes from last week's reading, but I wanted to share how Paula's thoughts on Thomas challenged my thinking. I have been guilty of stereotyping the poor fellow!   I appreciated the reflection on the each of the accounts of Thomas in the book of John, instead of simply misreading the last episode where he can appear to be skeptical. In the end, I think his passionate belief stands out to me more clearly now.
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            It seems Thomas may have traveled all the way to India, where he is credited with starting the first churches there. Just a day or two ago I heard a message that Ravi Zacharias gave where he mentioned that his ancestors were Christian priests in India, part of an order apparently started by Thomas. So, if this is true, can we say that Thomas was a factor in Ravi Zacharias' global ministry, in addition to many of India's redeemed?
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        • p. 96 It is a good point about the ascension. I volunteer with Lifechurch as part of the church online team. We have a user come in often who is an atheist and uses this as an arguing point. Since satellites have never shown us where heaven is, it must not exist.  This may give me some material to talk to him about however I doubt that he will change much.   p. 98 "Heaven could exist in a way that transcends our three-dimensional view of the world—though we might still need to develop language that communicates this and doesn’t just fall back on old three-dimensional ways of describing things." Thank you for this thought.   P. 105-106  I have never thought of Jesus not being able to be my representative as I have always thought of him as being tempted like us. However, this gives me insight in talking to people who are struggling with the fact that God cannot forgive them.  They cannot see Him as being equal to them and do not see Him as representing them.
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            Hi Robert, I like your story about the atheist. I think his frequent visits indicate an interest that shows he may not be so convinced of his "atheist" stance. I think it is certainly worth investing time in him, who knows what the Holy Spirit may do in his life? Regarding his questions, you might want to direct him to Hugh Ross' book, "Beyond the Cosmos" which gives accessible, scientifically-based answers to his questions. Ross' ministry, Reasons to Believe, has many resources for those who want solid answers for why we should believe in the God of the Bible. https://shop.reasons.org/Beyond-the-Cosmos-p/rb1001.htm
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            I'm a novice on theology but my take is we believe in and walk by faith, so therefore I must also believe in a place called heaven by faith.  God says there is a heaven, Jesus went to prepare a place for me (us).  So it may not be a literal place in our feable minds; not a building, not a star out there that hasn't been discovered, or some other as you say three dimensional view.  God says there is a heaven and I believe it.
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            That's true, Ron, even when our minds can't grasp all of what God tells us, we can trust and believe him, because he is always faithful. I do find the question regarding heaven's location, which Robert's friend asked, to be an interesting one, and a logical one for people to wonder about. For me, it helps to think about heaven, God and angels as part of the spiritual or angelic realm. Michael Heiser calls it the "Unseen Realm". We know that angels and other spirit beings, such as God and the preincarnate Christ, are not always visible to us, even though we know they exist. After his resurrection, it seems that Christ could appear suddenly inside of a locked room. So, to me it seems that heaven would not be visible to us. I also found the book "Flatland" to be helpful in this regard. Flatland is an imaginary place of only 2 dimensions where all of life takes place on the surface of a plane. For creatures in that world, the idea of a third dimension, one in the "up" direction is doubtful and non-intuitive. It is in fact, alien to their entire universe. When we think about the angelic realm, we are a little like flatlanders trying to imagine a world of 3 dimensions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8oiwnNlyE4
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        • P. 83 - I am thankful that we do not have to keep the law either.  I cannot imagine what it would be like going to church and having animal sacrifices.   Also, so true, we act like the dwarves and do not see the gifts God has bestowed upon us.  Love this quote:  It is the ultimate Monday morning theology: true, it is theology, but unless it transforms what we do and how we think on Monday mornings (as well as every other day of the week) it is of no value whatsoever. P.87: If we are in relationship with God and not religion, wouldn't we want to be doing the good works as that pleases HIm.  Like our relationship with our spouse, we would to please by doing what they would like.  I understand that you are saying that we move into this nature by using the sock draw example, relationship is not like that I feel.
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          • I liked this, never thought of it this way before. Paula Gooder writes: "Not only did he bring the dead to life but he collapsed the boundaries of time, so that an event that should only have happened at the end of time occurred right in the middle of it." The idea of moving a properly "end of time" event into the first century adds another dimension to the resurrection, don't you think?
            •  — Edited
              As we draw near to Good Friday and Easter, it's a good time to be thinking about what was accomplished by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ through his crucifixion, death and resurrection. Isaiah 53:1-12 makes it clear that Christ died in our place, in order to make atonement for our sins. His suffering and death were a penal, substitutionary atonement for us, so that by his work, the wrath and righteousness of God was satisfied. However, these biblical truths are denied by some today, as can be seen in this article: http://bit.ly/2nyPST1 However, as Owen Strachan points out, "The atoning work of Christ is not an optional add-on to our doctrine of God. The cross displays the very heart of the divine. It shows us the burning center of God’s character, what David Wells calls his 'holy-love.' Our Lord is revealed in the cross, uniquely, as a warrior-savior, the God who solves the terrible problem of his justice by the depths of his love." Amen to that!
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