Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why are you reading the Bible?!??!

As time passes, for the aged Christian, things that were once alive and vivid become rote and less colorful. Think of the main occupations of our faith, prayer and Bible reading. Are we really, I mean really consistently finding God and experiencing His face in these daily endeavors as we once did, or have we either abandoned the daily work or come to see it as chore and ritual.

What do I expect when I read God's word? The disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize the risen Christ because they did not expect to see Him. They knew the living Christ but they were not familiar with the Risen Savior. Of course God's word supplies more than we could ever expect but to expand my limited understanding of what to expect when I approach His Word I want to experience at least these five things when I meet God in His word.

We read God's word to grow in faith, to learn about God, to become wise, to understand the world, to grow our imagination.

I will leave it at that. Stop reading this and go experience God in His word.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Power of the Gospel

We have just finished celebrating the resurrection of Christ, more commonly known as Easter. On Sunday I preached at Orangewood Children and Family Center on what the resurrection means for us today. While my message to the abandoned, abused, neglected, traumatized and displaced youth of Orange County was centered on hope, with the resurrection we have real hope based on a real and risen Christ, one of my themes was the power we have as believers in Christ.

Paul says in Romans 1:16
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile". (NIV)

The Gospel is power but what is the source of that power? It is in the resurrection. Paul writes in Phil 3:10-11
"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (NIV)

Finally, we are identified and united with Christ in his death and resurrection, which is symbolized by baptism

Romans 5:4-5
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his" (NIV)

Power of the Gospel then comes through our identification with Christ, our participation in his death and resurrection, being placed in Christ by the Holy Spirit through faith.

Together we can say with Paul in Gal 2:20:
 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (NIV)