Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to get the most out of studying the Bible?

The biggest obstacle to understanding the Bible is time. The books of the Bible were written nearly 2000 years ago. Other books were written approximately 4000 years ago. This presents a huge obstacle for us to understand what was written and how to understand the Truth in our culture. I think over the years two tools have been important for me in my growth.

First, read the Bible.
This may seem obvious but if you stop and think about all the tools available for us to understand the Bible we can often forget the book itself. I have caught myself preparing for a message on a particular passage and completely failing to read through the passage myself. Now in my preparation I try to avoid any commentary, online resource, or other material until I have worked through the passage on my own. I consider it one on one time with God. It is a part of my prayer life.

Second, choose your companion wisely. Reading the Bible is a conversation with God. It is his word and your thoughts integrated together into a powerful interaction of creator and creation. Any other resource (book, blog, commentary) is like inviting another person into the conversation. This conversation will influence both how you hear God and how you form your thoughts about God.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Better David

I have long held to the view that I am David in the David and Goliath story. I believed it because I experienced it. I often felt that I had to fight for everything that I accomplished. Almost as though the world's situations were a Goliath against me. I failed to understand what Paul was writing about when he said that his life counted as nothing compared to Christ. I never thought to put these two stories together until one day I realized Goliath beat me.

Facing moments in life where life goals die causes spiritual angst. Much like the angst caused Saul in 1 Sam. 18. It says the spirit of the Lord departed him and he was tormented with a harmful spirit. I know that harmful spirit and its desire to settle into the broken heart. David never provided me with victory over the life defeats.

It was at this point that I had to learn that Jesus was my better David. Jesus not only experienced great victory, but he did it through the greatest curse. He faced defeat and victory and because both were his path, both could help me in my path. In the moments of my great victory I can understand David, and I can identify with Jesus. However, in my moments of darkness it is only Jesus that reveals my ultimate victory. David can encourage me to buck up and try again, but Jesus says rest in me and I will heal you.

My encouragement is to live life with the Better David. Don't fall into the trap of proving to Jesus your worth and value. Instead embrace your worth and value because the Better David had redeemed you. He had fought the fight and won over death and invited you to partake, celebrate and rejoice with him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This video addresses a real important issue for church. In church we program. When we program we expect people to be a part of program. When they don't want to be involved in the program we get frustrated so we ask them to rethink their commitment to the Lord. We challenge, "If you would just give up "your stuff" and join "our stuff" you would really be showing how much you love God." My question is, "When did doing church activity equal doing good with God?"

Our life is called to be an expression of the gospel not activities. It is the freedom we find in expression that allows us to draw towards who we were created to be. If we have gospel motivation in the center of our existence then we are free from the bondage of activity based living.

Thursday, January 6, 2011