Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Barak Moments

8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” 9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. (Judges 4:8-9)

            How often do we know what God wants us to do but we simply do not do it? Or perhaps we want to add our own conditions to it? This is a great example of a lack of faith and trust in the Lord.
            God called Barak to lead the army to victory. Deborah the prophet was speaking for God when she said, “This is what the Lord commands you…” Barak did not want to go alone. His lack of faith in the Lord led him to ask that Deborah go with him.
            We too like to strike bargains with God. Our faith in His ability to get us through may be weak at times. God had guaranteed Barak the victory, but he still wavered. God had already determined the number of men needed and from which tribes these men would come – still Barak wavered. He never thought about the consequences of those actions – but they were there.
            Deborah could have been harsh with Barak. This, after all, was a direct command from the Lord, “Go…” But she obliged him and went along, allowing him to reap the consequences of his disobedience.
            God worked out His purposes even through Barak’s wavering faith. Too often we can look back at our lives and see God working out His will even through our disobedience and weaknesses.
            My own journey seemed to have many detours before I totally surrendered to what God wanted me to do. There were questions, and fleecing like Gideon, and many prayers questioning the path to which I felt drawn.
            The biggest comfort is knowing that grace covers all of those errors in judgment, all the weak times in our faith, and all of the wrong path we have taken. When we truly love Him, He will work things our in spite of all of our “Barak” moments.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On Mission or Going Through the Motions?

Matthew 16:18
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
            This verse gets a lot of attention for the way in which Jesus connects to and plans to build upon Peter’s confession that He is the Christ. But that is not the thought on which I am going to build. My focus is on the word ekklesia.
            In 1526 William Tyndale had completed his translation of the Bible from Greek texts rather than Latin and began smuggling printed copies of this English Bible into his homeland. This caused a huge stir. It was about control. The Church officials had total control of the Scriptures. How dare he translate it so that the common man could read the Bible for himself? This made him an outlaw in his own country.
            Another problem was Tyndale’s translation of the term ekklesia. He did not superimpose the German word kirche (church). Instead he translated the term as congregation. This correctly reflected the Bible’s original emphasis on church as a movement rather than a location, on church being a people rather than a building, and especially on the message of the Gospel rather than traditions, preferences, and hierarchies.
            In the 21st century, how often to we substitute kirche for the ekklesia of Jesus? Are we a part of a movement or are we simply meeting? Are we making a measurable, noticeable difference in the communities in which we live or are we simply conducting Sunday services? Do we have a solid, organized mission around which to rally or are we simply following an antiquated model inherited from previous generations? Are we using our resources, time, and talents to deliver of the message of hope that is Jesus Christ or are we spending our time greasing the squeaky wheels?
            Are we truly ekklesia or have we settled for kirche?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just the Facts...

Did you know…

Did you know that there have been over 6 billion Bibles printed?
Did you know that the Bible has been translated into 451 languages?
Did you know the shortest and longest chapters in the Bible are both in the book of Psalms (117 and 119)?
Did you know the shortest verse in the Bible contains only two words?
Did you know the longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9?
Did you know the longest word in the Bible is found in Isaiah 8:3?
Did you know “God” appears 4379 times (KJV)?
Did you know “Lord” appears 7738 times (KJV)?
Did you know “fear” appears 397 times and “hell” 53 times?
Did you know there was a person with a 13 ½ foot long bed (Deut. 3:11)?
Did you know there was a man with 12 fingers and toes (2 Sam 21:20)?
Did you know there was a man who had 88 children (2 Chr 11:21)?
Did you know that Jesus was born of a virgin?
Did you know that Jesus feed 5000 people at once?
Did you know that Jesus put mud on a man’s eyes and he regained his sight?
Did you know that Jesus walked on water?
Did you know that Jesus healed lepers?
Did you know a woman was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment?
Did you know that Jesus turn water into wine at a wedding?
Did you know that Jesus raised a man from the dead?
Did you know that Jesus walked on water?
Did you know that Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?
Did you know that Jesus’ ministry only last a little over 3 years?
Did you know that Jesus was brutally beaten and crucified and laid in another man’s tomb?
Did you know that Jesus was only borrowing the tomb because He walked out of it three days later?
Did you know that knowing a bunch of facts about the Bible does not make you a Christian?

Did you know that knowing a bunch of facts ABOUT Jesus does not mean that you KNOW Jesus?

Did you know that the way you act, the way you treat others, the way you tell people about Jesus, the way you pour your heart out in worship, the way you make disciples of others, and your priorities already tell the world whether you KNOW Jesus or you simply know ABOUT Jesus?

Do you KNOW Him?