InterVarsity Alumni Bible Study: Philadelphia

IV Alumni

I love to give others a love for God’s word (see here), and the context where I learned to love the Bible was InterVarsity, where we studied the text in depth.  Because of my experiences doing Scripture study as an undergrad, I came on IV staff, and then later felt a call to teach Old Testament, where I now teach at BTS.

Many IV alumni find it difficult to reproduce their Bible study experiences in churches, in small groups, or in other ministry contexts once they graduate.  There are books out there to help them transition from the campus to the real world (see in particular Rich Lamb’s, Following Jesus in the “Real World), but still they long for a profound experience in the word like they had as undergrads.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, you’re in luck.  On April 17-18 (2015) InterVarsity will be hosting an alumni Bible Study at the Conference Center at Valley Forge.   It will be a great opportunity to study Scripture, to listen to God, and to others.  Jen Eisenberg, Becky Detrick, Liz Kidney, and a few other folks (including Shannon and I) helped organize it.

We’ll be looking at the end of Matthew’s gospel, the less familiar parts that sometimes get ignored.  Here’s the schedule:

Friday evening:          Jesus’ anointing at Bethany                (Matt 26:1-16)
Saturday morning:     Jesus’ burial in Joseph’s tomb            (Matt 27:57-66)
Saturday afternoon:   Jesus’ resurrection and commission   (Matt 28:1-20)

Here is the link to register.  You can either stay overnight, or drive home Friday night and come back Saturday.
Here is the link to the Facebook page.

It will not only be a chance to study Scripture, but also to re-connect with old friends.  So, don’t just register yourself, invite some friends you haven’t seen for awhile.  Please tell other IV alumni you think might be interested, or send them a link to this post.

We plan to schedule more of these alumni Bible studies in the future.

I’m going.  Hope to see you there.

Is God Loving or Angry? on Vimeo (Swarthmore)

On Good Friday (4/6/2012) I spoke at the InterVarsity chapter at Swarthmore College on the second chapter of God Behaving Badly .  It was filmed.

The sound is pretty good, considered I wasn’t miked.

Here it is on Vimeo (37 minutes):
David Lamb – Is God Loving or Angry? on Vimeo.


David Lamb – Is God Loving or Angry? from Swarthmore Christian Fellowship on Vimeo.

Behaving Badly at Bucknell

This past Sunday-Monday (Feb 12-13), I spoke at or near Bucknell University four times on topics related to God Behaving Badly. It was fantastic.

Sunday morning, at First Presbyterian Church of Lewisburg I addressed the question, “Is God angry or loving?” looking at the story of the smiting of Uzzah for touching the ark (2 Sam. 6). It’s a talk I’d given over ten times. The advantage of giving a talk over and over is that it has the potential to get pretty good eventually. The church seemed to enjoy it. We sold out of copies of GBB. Afterwards, I had a great time eating lunch with a bunch of Bucknellians.

Sunday night, I led a leaders’ meeting on the topic of Tackling Tough Texts. We discussed how the church does a disservice to its members by avoiding problematic passages. Let’s face it, we’re afraid of these texts. We’re leaving church-goers helpless, essentially throwing Christians to the lions, the atheists and agnostics who stump ignorant Christians with questions about Uzzah and Elisha the boys and the bears (2 Kings 2:23-25).  So we then discussed God’s problematic command to a woman who has been raped to marry her rapist (Deut. 22:28-29) and then the troubling story of Elisha who calls down she-bears to maul boys for calling him “baldy.”  (When my teenage sons rub my bald spot, I ask, “Where are the she-bears when you need them?”)

Monday morning, Jesse North, IV staff at Bucknell and I had a great interview with Larry Weidman from WGRC radio.  In the evening, I re-did the “Is God angry or loving?” talk, modified slightly for the campus context.  The room was full, about 150 people.  Afterwards, it was Q & A.  I was warned that the Bucknell Atheists and Agnostics club were coming.

I tried something new.  Whenever someone asked a question, I responded with a question.  The first question: “Do you think God is omni-benevolent?”

I replied, “Do you think God is omni-benevolent?”

She replied, “No, I don’t believe in God.”  I think we found the atheists.  (They took up a whole row.)

I said, “I believe God is good, very good, but I’m not sure what you are asking.  What do you mean by “omni-benevolent?”  We had an extremely lively discussion.  I think Jesus was on to something with the respond-to-a-question-with-a-question thing.  (I did also give a lot of “answers”.)

After we shut the Q & A down, the atheists kept wanting to talk (about 10 came up afterwards), which I think is a good sign.  A few of them were pretty intense, so at the very end, one of the atheists, E, said to me, “I need to apologize for my ‘colleagues.’  They are pretty intense.”  We laughed.

I continue to pray for them: two women (M and L) and two men (M and E).  “God reveal yourself to these atheists.”

Do you respond to questions with questions? 

The eye of the whirlwind

Things have slowed down.  Last week, I asked for prayer for the whirlwind.  Now, I’m in the eye.  Not sure if whirlwinds have eyes like hurricanes, but you get the point.  Things pick up next Thursday.  Here’s an update of how the first stage of the whirlwind went (thanks for your prayers).

Last Thursday I got up at 6 am, prepped for 3 hours, taught Genesis for 3 hours in the morning, drove for 3 hours (to Baltimore), prepped for 3 more hours, taught and discussed for 3 more hours, then drove home for 2 hours (traffic was better–arrived at 12:30 am).  I was speaking for the InterVarsity group at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County addressing the question, “Is God angry or loving?”  I love hanging out with students.

The highlight was talking to skeptics, agnostics and atheists about the loving God of the Old Testament (YHWH) and the loving God of the New Testament (Jesus).  It made me miss doing campus ministry.  (I was on staff with InterVarsity for 14 years–Shannon is in the midst of her 27th year on staff.)

On Sunday, I gave a similar version of the Angry/Loving God talk at Woodland Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, the church that we attended from 1992-1997 when Shannon and I were the IV staff workers at Penn.  It’s a great church with students from Penn (3 blocks away) and diverse mix of people from the community of West Philadelphia.  They bought 15 copies of GBB and are planning on discussing the book in one of their small groups.

If you’re the praying sort, I’d appreciate prayers for Thurs through Tues (Nov. 17-22).  I’m speaking a total of 8 times– at Biblical, at a retreat with Shannon and at churches in Santa Cruz and Palo Alto (CA).  It’s good to be in a place of dependence.