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Living Tselem- by Clifford Schrock

Also in this newsletter- Israel Study Tour update – spots still available!, New CD Release and cd sale, Minister’s Week sessions available to order. To see more go to the following:

Ancient Egypt was a very religious culture with hundreds of deities. Most of these deities also had a physical representation that was intended to reveal something about the character and nature of the deity. Before reading further, look at the image of Osiris. What does it say about him? Osiris was ruler of the underworld, so he is portrayed with full headdress, a whip and a shepherd’s staff. The Pharaoh was also thought to be his representative and upon death became Osiris. So, the Pharaoh is also almost always portrayed with a whip and a shepherd’s staff. The whip spoke control and maintaining order while the shepherd’s staff identified the Pharaoh and the god as the provider of all things.

Moses, of course, grew up in the courts of Egypt and was very familiar with this concept. The Israelites, in general, demonstrate their familiarity with image making just days after their departure from Egypt with the casting of the golden calf. The Hebrew word that they used to identify these images is tselem.

With this background in mind, consider how Moses, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, describes the creation of man. “And God said, Let us make man in our tselem, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own tselem, in the tselem of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:26-27) So, God created man to display His character and nature to the world. In addition, he selected Abraham that through him “shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3) Just days after Abraham’s descendants came out of Egypt, God specifically forbade them from making graven images because they were to be a “holy nation” to “declare His glory among the nations” (Ex. 20:4, 19:6, Ps. 96:3) Finally, Peter describes us as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, an holy nation, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9). We see, then, a theme that God intends for His character and nature to be revealed to the world through the way we live– the way we bear His image as living tselem.

How do we live tselem? First, in Gen. 1:26, we are specifically created for dominion. We are beings of free will and choice. The means we respect the free will and choice of others. At the same time, this dominion is to be exercised in harmony with His sovereignty. When we fail to do so, it will lead to curse, catastrophe, and confusion as it did in Gen. 3, 6, and 11. It also means that while all things are lawful, not all things are expedient and we should not be brought under the power of any (I Co. 6:12). Addictions and bondage to anything– pleasure, work, money, acceptance, bitterness, power, etc– is contrary to God’s nature. When we are set free in Truth and are free to do the will of the Father we are living tselem.

Second, it is clear that in the original design, God had immediate (not mediated) face to face relationship with Adam and Eve as He walked with them in the garden. Following the fall, this relationship was no longer possible. However, after calling the children of Israel out of Egypt, God established a relationship with them that took place through the medium of the priesthood and sacrificial system. It wasn’t wrong, but was certainly inferior to what Adam and Eve originally enjoyed. Jesus came to break down this barrier so we are restored to immediate relationship with the Father and can come boldly to the throne of grace.

As tselem, this means that when we live in personal relationship with God we are the light of the world. We yet see through a glass darkly, but look forward to when we will see Him face to face. It also means that when we love our brother that we interact with from day to day, people will know that we are His disciples. Further, we value immediate relationships over those that are mediated. For example, when we choose face to face relationship instead of relationships mediated through our electronic devices we are living tselem.

Third, during fourth term, I taught a class on Christian Morality. In thinking about that subject in the context of tselem, I am impressed with how it touches every aspect of our lives. We are the temple of the Holy Ghost. That should be obvious through the display of the fruits of the Spirit seen in every day life. When we talk with our children, sit in our house, walk by the way, when we lie down or when we stand up the character and nature of God should be clearly seen (Deut. 6:7). Scripture is more accessible than every before with smartphones and Bible apps, but hiding it in our pocket is does not have the same life shaping, sanctifying effect as hiding it in our heart. Know and live the biblical text.

These are just a few examples, but ask God how He wants to be displayed in your life. You are living tselem!!!
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2 months ago  ·  

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Mexico Tour Update- Final #14
Sorry, now that the tour is over, I haven’t got to wrapping these emails up until now.

On Thursday we had our tour banquet at Hoss’s Family Steakhouse in Somerset. We had a wonderful program at Myerstown. The smaller sanctuary was full, with lots of family & friends in attendance. We sang our full repertoire, with some of the Spanish and German songs switched to English. It was our only program totally off book. A lot of us stayed with prearranged hosts for the night.

Friday morning we left the church by 8:30 and got back to SMBI, where 5th term is running. We tried to stay out of their way, but it wasn’t hard since it’s a smaller term with 3 men and 13 ladies. The men seemed happy to have more guys around, at least for a bit. As tradition decrees, we went to Bob Evans for one last meal together and started our goodbyes. Some left from there, and some left from school after.

It was a great tour, and I’m so thankful for God’s hand in it. It went surprisingly smooth, with no major hiccups, no bus problems. It felt like our songs left an impact on people we sang for, which is what we went for. Thank you to each one for praying for us. I am telling you, it made a difference. God cares.

Thank you,

Curtis Cressman
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2 months ago  ·  

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4th Term Tour Final Program
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2 months ago  ·  

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Mexico Tour Update #13- (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Good Morning!
This is our last day of tour! There are a lot of mixed feelings that go with that knowledge. I want to go home - back to my family, church, workplace, yet it will be sad to say goodbye to these friends & good times.

We had ‘story time’ on the bus after quiet time before lunch. The mic was open to anyone with a story or talent. We were entertained for over an hour! It was great. We enjoyed a delicious meal that Amy’s family made at a park. Amy’s father highly recommended we stop at this famous ice cream place in St. Louis. We did and it was amazing! We arrived at our hotel by 6:30, which gave us plenty of time to eat at one of wide selection of restaurants in walking distance. It was probably our nicest hotel of the trip, being a new La Quinta Inn.

We met at the hotel at 8:00 and stopped at a nice park for a food committee lunch. We had more salad bar and cereal! From the park we drove straight to Antrim Mennonite Church. The start time had been changed to 7:30 from 7:00 due to funeral proceedings of a family member of one of the church leaders. So the benches weren’t as full as sometimes, but it was still a decent turnout. The amount of family and friends of the choir in attendance steadily increases these last three programs. I stayed with three other guys at a third termer’s aunt & uncles' place.

We plan to sing at Myerstown Mennonite church tonight. It’ll be a large program with lots of people we know. We’re planning to have our tour banquet at Hoss's steakhouse in Sommerset.

Prayer requests:
- People with colds: Trina, Clayton, Kyle, and Kaleb dealing with allergies
- That we finish well.
- For safety as we travel home from SMBI. The total amount of miles being travelled this weekend by our group would be staggering.
- And along with that, transitioning back into life at home.

Thanks for following and praying!
-Curtis Cressman
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2 months ago  ·  

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sharon mennonite bible institute introductionIntroduction to SMBI

The Lord of the church has given his body a variety of gifts and roles “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). This verse contains a three-fold directive for every born again follower of Christ.  As saints, we are called to move toward and into the ongoing work of sanctification and perfection in our own lives.  As Christ works in us, we become His hands and feet continuing the ministry of redemption which He initiated before mankind ever needed redemption.  Finally, since we are designed to function as a body and not an isolated ear or foot, we must band together as a body to build up and encourage our fellow pilgrims as we journey together.

At Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute it is our vision to function as a support to churches and families as together we endeavor to see these directives fulfilled in our lives and the lives of our students.   We have no desire to become another option in the smorgasbord of entertainment and diversion, but rather to be a dynamic tool that God can use to perform His work in and through each of us.  We appreciate your support as we strive to perfect the saints, equip them for ministry, and build up the body of Christ.

Clifford Schrock, Administrator