We have long passed any sense of searching for truth… or wanting it… in our American culture. We have moved to echo chambers and ideologies. Purity of “doctrine” isn’t something for the Church any more. It’s a new fundamentalism on the left and the right and it’s not just in churches. It’s in the political system.Read more
Open the Bible and listen to the Spirit. The message is not, “God is there.” It’s, “Look: I am here.” Chris Webb
— Renovaré (@renovareusa) May 19, 2016
Social media has truly helped us with staying panicked almost all of the time. There is something to worry about every minute of every day.
We can hate Muslims.
We can hate Christians.
We can hate cops.
We can hate blacks.
We can hate liberals.
We can hate conservatives.
No one seems to have stayed at the station when the crazy train boarded!
We won’t stop the lunacy, but I will indeed poke a bit of fun at it. Here some real headlines, statements, or Facebook memes in the past week or so:
A Facebook meme that had a picture of a church sign that said: “The Bible trumps the Constitution” and the meme then read: “And that, friends, is how terrorism starts.” (Yeah. That “love your neighbor as yourself” stuff is incredibly threatening.)
In addressing the “climate change” conference in Paris last week, President Obama (and I did hear this with my own ears) said there were reports of fish swimming down the streets of Miami. (Turns out it was a dolphin… a real Miami Dolphin… trying to run down a wide receiver headed for another touchdown against the Dolphins. Who knew?)
We can’t forget the Trumpster. BAN ALL MUSLIMS from immigrating to the U.S. (The U.S., of course, has proven winning track records when it comes to interning Japanese-Americans in WWII, Jim Crow laws, treaties with Native Americans… Yeah… that will be another winning national security policy for the U.S.)
And coming to a Christian University near you… free gun safety classes for all students so they can shoot Muslims if they are attacked. (Because free use of laundry facilities is so last year when it comes to attracting new students.)
There is always something to tempt us into fear or anger. Always.
This is precisely the point where that “terrorist” religion called Christianity should shine. We serve the King of kings and Lord of lords. We serve the One who spoke, and things happened. We serve the One who raises up empires for his purposes, and then tosses them aside.
So when this King says to his people, “Fear not,” we may want to pay attention. If he can calm the storm, he can keep us in his grip for all that we face in this day.
Please exit the “crazy train” at the next stop… and wave good-bye as it pulls away.
Let HEAR HIM in these last days.
7 “Be very brave and strong as you carefully obey all of the Instruction that Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t deviate even a bit from it, either to the right or left. Then you will have success wherever you go. 8 Never stop speaking about this Instruction scroll. Recite it day and night so you can carefully obey everything written in it. Then you will accomplish your objectives and you will succeed. (Joshua 1:7-8)
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
Not that complicated. What you’ve been taught… go and do.
But… we complicate it.
I want to center my life on the written Word, leading me to the Living Word, and saturate it with prayer and the power of the Spirit. Let’s see where that may take me.
2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.(1 Sam. 22:2, ESV)
If there is anything I could tell anyone at any time it is this: your discontent is welcome at our church.
The questions. The searching. The “wanting to be real.” All of it.
David, as a leader, gathered around some pretty hard-nosed characters but he then directed them in their bitterness toward something greater.
This is the Kingdom of God as well.
Some read the Sermon on the Mount opening as a list of “things to do” or “things to be.” We call it the “Beatitudes.”
Dallas Willard in his book The Divine Conspiracy flipped my thinking on this. It’s not about what to achieve. Jesus is giving a list of “losers” in the current culture that are WELCOME in the Kingdom of God. Just come in and explore what the Kingdom is about.
Poor. Meek. Downtrodden. Beat up. Distressed. Bitter.
Come HERE. Explore the Kingdom. Listen. Understand. Find fresh water. Find some healing.
Bring your questions. Bring your attitude. Just know that the “attitude” you throw around will get banged up by others throwing their “attitudes” around. 😉
The bitter. The questioning. The hurting. The imperfect.
We are working through memorizing Scripture as a church. The set we are on right now covers some of the attributes of God. Today our passage is Rom. 11:33-36. I am blown away by the depth of this passage. Paul is so overwhelmed with the majesty and wisdom of God and I can almost feel it when he writes these incredible words:
33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
I love the Word of God. Bible study is a deep passion of mine. The story of God. Learning the text, the context, the story, the lessons, etc. All of it. As an extension, I love what the Bible can do to bring me into a deeper communion with God. The Psalms are my prayer book. Any part of the Word has such a deep place in my heart.
In Bible college I took Bible Study Methods from a professor who had a love for the Word. In a four-week summer class he gave us several basic methods to use throughout our lives and ministries. When the class ended, he gave us the challenge to go through each Book of the Bible and outline it. Have some basic notes. Get the basic understanding of each book. Then, spend the rest of our lives becoming experts in particular books of the Bible.
I took up that challenge. I determined to finish that project in 18 months. When I was leaving school a few months early, I made an appointment with the professor and brought my notebooks to him. He asked, “What’s all this?” I said, “It’s what you challenged me with in that class! I’ll be done in 6 months with this phase. Then, I’ll spend the rest of my life studying a few books of the Bible every year. You have equipped me like you’ll never know.”
He said softly, “In all the times I’ve taught that class, no one has ever taken me up on that challenge.”
I was stunned. At the time, the school was operating primarily as a ministry training school. NO ONE had gone out to study the Word like that? And we were filling pulpits?
Part of being evangelical is a dedication to the authority of the Word of God. It’s not something to simply say. It needs to be lived. I don’t always meet that standard, but I know I have a deeper passion for the Word than I did 23 years ago when I finished that class. That professor ignited a passion that the Spirit has not let die down, and I am deeply grateful.
Mark Galli has an excellent piece at Christianitytoday.com. We are so easily BORED with the Word these days. What is our problem?
This paragraph is challenging to me:
Whenever the Bible is read, a hush should come over us. We should be inching toward the edge of our seats, leaning forward, turning our best ear toward the speaker, fearful we’ll miss a single word— the deeds and words and character of Almighty and Merciful God are being revealed!