Second Thoughts: Thank God for Personalities

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Staff, Living Church of God


Personality can sometimes be a bit of a touchy subject, since… well, look at the word. Most of it is literally “personal.” Personality is personal, so approaching it as a topic inevitably asks you to look at yourself and wonder, “Is mine okay? What do people think of it? What do I think of it?”

This was the subject Mr. Richard Ames broached in his recent LivingEd-Charlotte Assembly, and he emphasized that while God intended none of us to be unique in character (one’s character being defined by how closely it resembles God’s), He absolutely intended us to be unique in personality. 

If you’re like me, that can be a little confusing, so consider the example of the introvert and the extravert. Some would say, “Well, that’s a matter of character, since God wants us to be friendly and sociable,” but that’s really missing the point. Yes, introverts can be perpetually silent and thus spend all of their time either holed up in their bedrooms or creeping people out with thousand-yard stares—but extraverts can also be perpetually obnoxious and abrasive, making everyone around them wish they would just be quiet a second. There’s a dark side to both of these personalities, and whether or not someone falls into it is a matter of character.

More Than One Kind of Sociable

A sociable extravert can make a group feel energized and excited, bringing people together in a lively discussion and making everyone in that group interested in contributing to it. Extraverts gain energy from being around people, so groups are like giant batteries for them. By combining that energy with the character traits of kindness and empathy, they can lead a whole group of people into a genuinely great time, fulfilling and productive work, or even a lively, respectful, enlightening debate. Some of the most fascinating discussions I’ve ever been a part of were begun by sociable extraverts who started things off with, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you guys…”

Introverts don’t do groups. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in people. An introvert spends energy on people, rather than gaining energy from them, so in a group setting, it’s like every individual in that group is taking energy from one source—the introvert is drained faster, and no recipient of that energy is getting very much. That’s why even sociable introverts might be quiet and reserved in group settings—their element is focused conversation where their social batteries can be spent gradually on one individual. A sociable introvert is interested in making a person feel safe, valued, and heard. Some of the most uplifting conversations I’ve ever had have been with sociable introverts who generously spent their energy on me.

The Vast Character of God

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that—people are deep, and most are way too complicated to just be labeled “introvert,” “extravert,” or even “ambivert.”

But God bestowed an incredible blessing when He made such a range of personalities, enabling His perfect character to be expressed in a variety of ways, ensuring that we would never be an army of righteous robots. Who knows—maybe Christ and the Father even have different personalities. Maybe Christ, as the pre-incarnate Spokesman for the God Family, is more of the extravert, while the Father, as the one we pray to one-on-one, is more of the introvert. 

Or maybe not—such things are mere speculation. Regardless, the image and character of God is vast enough to house a multitude of personalities, and we can all be sincerely, deeply thankful for that fact.

Forum and Assembly

Fall 2019 Schedule

Thursday Assembly
Date Speaker Topic
Aug 22 W.Smith The 9 C’s of Editorial
Aug 29 No Assembly
Sept 5 D.Wakefield God’s Family Business
Sept 12 G.Weston A Meaningful Life
Sept 19 R.Ames Protocol
Sept 26 D.Winnail The War Against God
Oct 3 Cancelled
Oct 9-23 NO ASSEMBLY Fall Festival Break
Oct 24 Cancelled
Oct 31 M. Hernandez Keep Your Lamps Burning
Nov 7 P. Nathan (CofE) Africa
Nov 14 M.Desimone Digital Media/Television Overview
Nov 21 R.Ames
Nov 28 No Assembly Thanksgiving Break
Dec 5 D.Guidry
Dec 12 G.Weston


Tuesday Forum
Date Speaker Topic

Aug 20 J.McNair A Path to Success
Aug 27 S.Winnail Treasure Your Experience
Sept 3 J.Ruddlesden How to Use Credit Wisely
Sept 10 K.Frank How to Study Your Bible
Sept 17 R.McNair Goal-Setting
Sept 24 D.Hall Setting a Godly Example
Oct 1 J.McNair Boundaries in Dating
Oct 9-23 Fall Festival Break
Oct 29 R.Ames The Privileged Planet
Nov 5 D. Brinson MPD Overview
Nov 12 K. Frank Jesus and the Old Testament
Nov 19 No Forum
Nov 26 S.Winnail
Dec 3 R.Pool
Dec 10 S. Monson

Biblical Communication

OVERVIEW

Biblical Communication is a two-semester course designed to give students exposure to and experience with speaking in public – both in small groups and to larger audiences. This class will emphasize important elements of public speaking, the developing an understanding of different types of speeches and speaking formats, experience delivering speeches to an audience, as well as critical elements of interpersonal communication. The class will be a mix of lecture and practical application, as well as speech presentation and in-depth evaluation. A biblical approach to these topics will be emphasized when appropriate.

Course description

This first semester course will focus on public speaking background information, speech types, audience assessment, and speech delivery techniques.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.

Course Credit

Two (2) semester hours

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES

As a result of participating in THL 150A, students should be able to:

1. Choose suitable topics for public speaking;

2. Understand the impact of poor grammar, diction, regional colloquialisms, slang, and jargon on public speaking;

3. Develop confidence in public speaking;

4. Recognize the importance of understanding the audience when preparing and delivering public speeches;

5. Differentiate between speech delivery methods designed for different audiences;

6. Organize, develop, and support a chosen topic with appropriate sources;

7. Deliver a speech within a specified amount of time;

8. Be able to effectively assess one’s own and others’ speech delivery and effectiveness;

COURSE TOPICS

FALL SEMESTER

Introduction
Get to know your audience
Basic Speech Development
Icebreaker Speech A
Icebreaker Speech B
Learn to Listen and Analyze Your Audience
NO CLASS – Follows Feast of Trumpets
Speech 2A
NO CLASS – FOT BREAK
Speech 2B
Outlining, Editing and Using Language
Speech 3 – ALL
NO CLASS – Field Trip
Using Presentation Aids
Speech 4 – ALL
Dress for Success
Speech 5 – ALL

SPRING SEMESTER

Class Participation
Speech 1
Speech 2
Speech 3
Speech 4
Speech 5
Persuasion Lecture
Ethics Lecture
Listening Lecture
Interpersonal Communication
The Impromptu

Principles of Christian Living

OVERVIEW

Christian Living is a survey course that reviews foundational principles essential to the Christian’s life. In this course students will delve into and review key truths that are critical to their faith. The reality of God’s existence and the validity of the Holy Scriptures are the starting point for the semester. Goal setting and the vital keys to true and lasting success will be covered, as will principles for successful marriage and family life. This entry-level course is designed to set the stage for further study into both the Word of God and into the life of a true Christian. It focuses on the practical application of godly principles and knowledge that are essential in one’s Christian walk.

Course description

This covers the purpose for human life and biblical principles for achieving that purpose. Topics include the foundations for choices in life, life plans, interpersonal relationships and fundamental values related to health, social development, Christian financial planning, life transitions, aging and death. Upon completion, students should be able to explain and demonstrate a basic knowledge of practical Christian living. Prerequisites and Corequisites There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.

Course Credit Three (3) semester hours

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES As a result of participating in THL 200, students should be able to:

1. Provide sound reasons for believing in God and for using the Bible as a guide for making fundamental choices in life;

2. Contrast what the Bible reveals about the purpose and path of life with assumptions made by atheists about life and values;

3. Describe biblical principles for setting goals and achieving success in life;

4. Discuss biblical principles that promote health, the wise use of time and the choice and preparation for careers;

5. Demonstrate a basic understanding of family finance principles;

6. Describe biblical principles for Christian social development and family Discuss what the Bible reveals about aging and death;. 7. Describe what the Bible reveals about spiritual growth and maturity.

COURSE TOPICS

FALL SEMESTER

  • Lesson 1: Choices in Life
  • Lesson 2: The Spiritual Dimension of Life
  • Lesson 3: Keys to Godly Success
  • Lesson 4: Redeeming the Time – Using Time Wisely
  • Lesson 5: Education and Careers for the Future
  • Lesson 6: Christian Social Development
  • Lesson 7: Wise Technology Use
  • Lesson 8: Biblical Health Laws
  • Lesson 9: Biblical Health Laws Continued -STRESS
  • Lesson 10: Family Finance CH 1-3
  • Lesson 11: Family Finance CH 4-9
  • Lesson 12: Asset Protection and Investments
  • Lesson 13: Retirement and Estate Planning
  • Lesson 14: Mid-Life and Aging
  • Lesson 15: The Grave and Beyond
  • Lesson 16: Continuing to Grow — Life-Long Learning
  • Week 16+ — Semester Completion Assignments

SPRING SEMESTER

  • Lesson 1 – Introduction and Cultural Crisis for the Family (Jan 9-13)
  • Lesson 2 – Blessings of Singleness (Jan 16-22)
  • Lesson 3 – Dating (Jan 21-27)
  • Lesson 4 – Christian Courtship & Engagement (Jan 28-Feb 3)
  • Lesson 5 – Leaving and Cleaving – Marriage in the Old and New Testaments (Feb 4-10)
  • Lesson 6 – Nature of Marriage (Feb 11-17)
  • Lesson 7 – Building a Happy Marriage (Feb 18-24)
  • Spring Break – (March 2-10)
  • Lesson 8 – Romance, Sex and Contraception (Feb 27-Mar 19)
  • Lesson 9 – Family in the Old and New Testaments (Mar 18-24)
  • Lesson 10 – Parenting – Part 1 (Mar 25-31)
  • Lesson 11 – Parenting – Part 2 (Apr 1-7)
  • Lesson 12 – Homosexuality and the Family (Apr 8-14)
  • Lesson 13 – Divorce (Apr 15-May 5)
  • Unleavended Bread BREAK – April 19-28
  • Lesson 14 – Importance of Seeking Counsel & Continuing to Learn (May 6-10)
  • Semester Ending Assignments (May 13-14)

Survey of the Bible

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 40 “Rehoboam’s Reign”

Featured Passage: 2 Chronicles 11 and 12

Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon, was selected to be king after Solomon’s death. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he took the throne. His first instinct when the ten tribes declared their independence was to declare war on Israel and bring them back under his rule. Would he succeed and rule over Judah and Israel? What type of king would Rehoboam be? In this lesson, we will learn more about King Rehoboam and the legacy that he left.

Discuss: 

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  • God told Shemaiah to tell Rehoboam that He inspired Israel to be split. To his credit, Rehoboam did not try to subdue Israel; he accepted what God had done.
  • The Levites who were living within the Kingdom of Israel left when they started worshipping idols and joined with the Kingdom of Judah. 
  • Why was Rehoboam strengthened when the Levites returned to Judah? 
  • What is the relationship between obedience and blessings? Rehoboam was blessed during the three years he followed God.
  • Rehoboam started out well, and he had many great works. Rehoboam built walled cities for security and encouraged the people to worship God. 
  • Rehoboam had many wives, which is contrary to God’s instructions. What place in the Bible makes that very clear? 
  • People can often forget about God when things are going well (Deuteronomy 8:18–19). Was this what happened with Reheboam? 
  • God sent Egypt against Rehoboam because of his transgressions. The Egyptians took all the treasury back to Egypt with them. There is always a consequence for disobedience to God. 
  • Rehoboam reigned for seventeen years. He left a legacy of disobedience toward God, unlike King David.

Memory Challenge:

Deuteronomy 8:19

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.


Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 40 “What Is It?”

Featured Passage: Exodus 16

About a month after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at a place called the Wilderness of Sin. They were running  out of food and getting hungry. Again, instead of asking God for help, they complained to Moses. The people were forgetting the promises that God had given them. They still did not trust God to take care of them. Even though they did not have the right attitude, God still loved His people, and He was about to give them something to eat that no one had ever heard of before!

Discuss:

 Richard Gunther (www.lambsongs.co.nz) | FreeBibleImages.org
  • The people blamed Moses and Aaron, saying they brought them out of Egypt to die of hunger. What should they have done?
  • God does not like complaining. One way we can learn not to complain is by being thankful.  What could the Israelites have been thankful for? 
  • God gave the Israelites food which they called “manna,” which means “what is it?” What do you think it would be like to be given food straight from God every day? Do you think it tasted good? 
  • Gathering manna would have been hard work. God showed the Israelites which day is the Sabbath by not giving them manna on the seventh day. Why didn’t God want them gathering their food on the Sabbath? How did God make sure they had enough to eat on the Sabbath day? 

Memory Challenge: 

Exodus 16:4

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”


Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 40 “Deborah Judges Israel”

Featured Passage: Judges 4:6-12

Israel had no king and the people were being treated harshly by their enemies the Canaanites. God told Deborah the judge that the time had come for deliverance and He had some special instructions for the Israelites. Deborah sent for a man named Barak who she knew would be able to prepare an army as God had instructed. The problem was, Barak did not want to go—unless Deborah came with him. So, together, Deborah and Barak went to gather an army for Israel in preparation for a battle that God Himself was planning. 

Discuss:

 Richard Gunther (www.lambsongs.co.nz)
  • Deborah was both a judge and a prophetess. There are several women besides Deborah mentioned as prophetesses in the Bible, including Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3), Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22), and Anna (Luke 2:36). 
  • God reveals to a prophet or prophetess what He wants the people to know, and they have the responsibility to tell it to the people.  What instructions from God did Deborah pass on to Barak? 
  • God told Deborah He was planning to deliver Israel from their enemies the Canaanites if they followed His directions. What are some promises God gives us if we follow His directions? 
  • Why do you think Barak wanted Deborah to go with him to gather the army for battle? What did Deborah tell Barak would happen if she went with him? 

Memory Challenge: 

Judges 4:9

“So she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.”


Second Thoughts: Lamps, Not Torches

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Department, Living Church of God

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light,” said Jesus Christ in Luke 8:16.

Here’s a thought: They had portable torches way before Christ’s ministry. Why didn’t He say, “No one who has lit a torch sticks it under a bed, but waves it around so that everyone can see him”? I mean, we’re supposed to make our spiritual lights obvious, right? Why are we lamps, not torches?

After hearing Mr. Michael DeSimone’s Assembly on how God’s people are making encouraging progress in getting the Gospel to the world, part of that scripture jumped at me in a new way. Mr. DeSimone showed us that when the titles of certain Tomorrow’s World telecasts are changed, made a little more “punchy,” those telecasts start racking up the YouTube views in a way they simply weren’t before. As it turns out, “clickbait” titles are used because people actually do click on them. Furthermore, when ads for free booklets are kept to a minimum on YouTube, Millennials such as myself tend to stick around longer, since we tend to appreciate ads about as much as Dracula would appreciate fresh garlic bread.

What We Have in Common

Those who have lit their spiritual lamps set them on lampstands, Christ said, “that those who enter may see the light.” Hopefully, those entering our houses are doing so because they actually want to be there—they already find us interesting, and want to get to know us better. We’re not to go out and coerce anyone into entering our houses, as if Christ expected us to be all “You will get in my house, you will look at my lamp, and you will like it.” 

When we’re trying to befriend someone, or even convince someone, where do we start? With what we have in common with them, is where. We don’t open with, “Howdy stranger, that sure is some sinful music you seem to be listening to—interested in hearing why it’s completely of the devil?” No, because no one thinking they have nothing in common with you is going to enter your house, and they’ll never see the light of your lamp. 

An Inviting Light

We’re to keep the lamp in the house, where it belongs, letting those who enter see the light—not bring it outside to shove it in unsuspecting faces. After we’ve made friends based on mutual interests, then we can look for opportunities to show them the Gospel in ways that speak to those interests. They’re our friends, or at least our acquaintances—they’ve “entered our house,” so to speak. And once they’re in there, it works even better if they notice the lamp before we point it out, so we can respond to their comments: “Oh, that? That’s my lamp. It’s actually extremely important to me—the most important thing in my life, in fact,” as opposed to, “And over here, you can see my truly amazing lamp, take a closer look, bask in its light, baaaaaaask.

We’re lamps, not torches, because lamps are friendly, even intimate. Torches… well, there’s a reason they’ve often been accompanied by pitchforks. If we strive to reflect God in everything we do, and truly care about preaching His message to the world, we’ll do it in a way that will reach the world—not with the invasive, antagonistic light of a torch, but with the inviting, loving light of a lamp on a stand.