Impossible Odds (Episode 2)

EPISODE 2 of 3: I Deserved Hell

This week (May 19) on Shabbat Night Live, YeHoVaH has always guided us and protected us — even while we strayed from him. That’s the realization that Rodney Thompson had after being arrested and committed to a mental hospital.

In this episode, in his own words, you will hear why Rodney felt he “deserved hell” but was spared thanks to the obedience of Yeshua’s servants.

Watch the episode — included on this blog post.

While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section, and let’s get some discussion going!

  1. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) As noted previously, a private epiphany is often the most representative expression of YeHoVaH’s will in our lives. How does our exercise of free will to the point of our own degradation serve to impact our conscience in a more significant way than outside efforts such as rehabilitation or family pressure, however well-intentioned?
  2. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Similarly, how do benevolent but superficial gestures like the slogan, “Relax, God has a plan” tend to trivialize the subtle truth of private revelation? How do these experiences in the lives of believers dramatize both divine grace and the unavoidability of recognizing and following Yeshua as Messiah, as illustrated by Peter’s testimony?
  3. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) How does this testimony reflect the challenge for the faithful that is offered by the parable of the Good Samaritan? How must we face the inherent risk of generosity toward others as exemplified by Yeshua’s words and by John the disciple’s reminder to “love one another” in light of our inherent human weakness regarding our choice between good and evil? 
  4. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) Similarly, how does the experience of conversion recounted here dramatize the difficulty of responding to the promptings of YeHoVaH in light of our own level of spiritual formation, however flawed? How do the words of Jeremiah 16:19 regarding false received wisdom remind us of the need for discernment between the truth and the influence of human conceits?
  5. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) How is the gift of evangelism often perceived unimaginatively as an elusive or pedestrian gesture, one that must be relegated to private devotion or professional activity by members of the clergy? What are some contemporary examples of individuals who have responded to the “great commission” (Matthew 28:16-20) in their diverse professional capacities as lay apostles?
  6. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 37:00) How does 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 pose a challenge to all believers with respect to obedience and the imperative to evangelize? How must the faithful attempt to negotiate their engagement with unbelievers and even heretics without becoming vulnerable to the temptations of idolatry or unclean practices?  How does this recall Yeshua’s gesture of dining with sinners in three gospel accounts?
  7. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 41:00) How does the providential meeting between Abraham’s servant and Rebekah in Genesis 24 dramatize the importance of marriage in YeHoVaH’s plan for our salvation and its influence in the complex process of evangelization? Why is the phenomenon of conversion within marriage so often overlooked as a divinely-inspired example of conveying truth and bolstering unity within families?
  8. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 45:00) How must an individual who has accepted the call of YeHoVaH also answer for his past misdeeds in this earthly life without compromising either his faith in redemption or his debt to society? How does the unexpected return of the “badde peny” as described in Langland’s 14th-century homily in Piers Plowman compel us to keep our sins in perspective as we cultivate a lifestyle that is predicated on obedience?
  9. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 49:00) Similarly, how does the example of out-of-court settlements for serious crimes demonstrate the power of forgiveness as well as the inherent limitations of legalism? How must believers be willing to “render unto Caesar” while still recognizing both the prospect of unexpected grace and the need for avoiding deception and self-serving testimony?
  10. (VIDEO TIMELINE: 55:00) How does the reference to Elijah in Malachi 4:4-6 serve to remind the faithful of the example of this largely overlooked prophet with regard to his presence in the final judgement? How does his defense against Baal worship and his suffering while fleeing from Ahab serve to dramatize our experience as mortals who must endure trials while avoiding temptation toward paganism and remaining obedient to the commands of YeHoVaH?

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