Monday, 19 May 2014

Dot to Dot

I wonder if there is anything better than those dot to dot moments in life.  You know the ones, when things connect to form a picture.  Out of seemingly random points comes definition, clarity, in unmistakeable design.  The dot to dots of life.

The page took shape one weekend when the dots starting joining, first with a verse I had never read that way before - dot.

Chapters in a book someone else was trying to read, but I kept stealing glances at every moment I got - dot.

A Womens' conference DVD that was shown earlier in the week at an evening I couldn't attend. A friend had borrowed it and together we were catching up on watching it - dot.

Poignant conversations that expand on thoughts lingering from earlier in the week - dot.

The final dot of the weekend brought all the dots to explicit clarity, the sermon at church Sunday morning - dot.

The picture was beautiful and sacred.

Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Convinced about Jesus

Some days I think about the hugeness of the universe and the vastness of our world and wonder is there another earth like planet out there, in another solar system.  As these thoughts tumble down the warn path in my brain, I become overwhelmed, and doubt creeps in.

I don't freak at times like this, I just push doubts aside and chant repeatedly to myself some Biblical mantra like, Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth."

Not a bad way to combat doubt. The Bible is called the Sword, it seems an appropriate weapon to draw. Jesus quoted scripture when he was tempted.

During a recent sermon something dawned on me, I don't have to believe in all the mind blowing concepts that cause a sense of overwhelming. I don't have to believe in creation, I don't have to believe in eternity. The Bible doesn't call me to believe in grace, or mercy or forgiveness.  I am not required to believe in one earth in the infinite vastness of the universe.  I am not required to believe in the overwhelming nature of omnipotence or omnipresence.

This particular sermon gave an overview of the book of Luke, chapters 1-9, the doctor and disciple whom the book is named after, leads us through, 'carefully investigated' details from the 'beginning', so that the person he is writing to has certainty of the things he has been told. (verse3-4).  In the first 9 chapters of Luke, the teacher identified groups who do not know who Jesus was.  The Pharisees did not know who Jesus was (Luke 5:21), the crowds didn't know who Jesus was (Luke 7:49), even the disciples ask the same question, who is this man? (Luke 8:25).

Who is Jesus?

The first point of the sermon was 'We need to be convinced in who Jesus is'. Luke spends 9 chapters convincing us of who Jesus is.  That is quite a lot of convincing.  Why?  Because the Bible says; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" Acts 16:31.

So when the old abductive thinking becomes fuzzy logic, I can quit trying to figure out why an all knowing, all powerful being would bother creating this tiny yet beautiful earth and all these self absorbed persons in it.  Sounds depressing right?  And it is, if I don't know who Jesus is.  If I'm not convinced about the details of creation, it's ok.  If I'm not convinced about one earth, it's ok.  If I'm not convinced about the details eternity, it's ok.  My only need is to be utterly convinced about who Jesus is.

Jesus.  A man, who is like no other man who has ever lived.  A man who is God, the Son of the Most High God.  Who is the Most High God? I wonder if He is a bit more of a mystery, so much so His chosen people didn't even say His name. But this Jesus, sent by His Father, he chose to come to earth, as a tiny baby, vulnerable and having to learn what all babies have to learn, how to get fed, how to walk, what is hot, what is cold, what bites, what's wet, he had to learn it all. Him, who was active at the creation of the universe, (John 1:1-3). His place was at the Right Hand of the Most High God, and he became a tiny baby.  He chose to experience this world, this life, as we do, and worse.  He knew what he was getting himself into, and he chose to do it anyway.  His teaching was hard to swallow, still is, if we are willing to admit it.  He didn't preach every Sunday on love.  He is love, but his message isn't, well not the way we think of love, it's not about what's in it for me.  His message was, follow me.  It will be hard.  You will hurt.  You will be rejected.  It will cost you.  If it doesn't, then you are not really following me.

Jesus. God who became a man, who told it straight, straight to the heart, our heart.  Why?  Because his was broken and our faith will restore the broken.

Who is Jesus?  Are you convinced of his man the Bible talks about, do you like the nice bits?  Do you want to hear the passage, 'Come little children unto me' (Matt 19:14), but feel a little queezy over the passage 'Eat my flesh, drink my blood' (John 6:56).

I fear that we, the church, have turned Jesus into a white middle-class mediocrity, instead of the Holy One of God. If you baulk at that sentence I would challenge you to read Follow Me by David Platt.

Who is Jesus?  He's not who we have made him.  He is who the Bible says he is.  He will not bend to the will of humanity, just like he did not over throw Rome, as his followers had hoped. He will not be the person I want him to be, because he is God and even my best desires of who I want him to be will be hidiously lacking.

If I am to be convinced of who Jesus is, I need to know him.  How do I know Him?  I get to know him through time, and understanding, he is the God Man the Old Testament points to, and the New Testament tells of. He is radical, truthful, understanding, powerful, tender, passionate, socially unacceptable, Man, common, honest, exquisite, anti-religious, gracious, forgiving, generous, perfect, God.  Are you convinced of who Jesus is?

If the concept of time and space cripple you, look to Jesus.  If the macro and micro of this Universe make you dizzy, look to Jesus.  He not only created time, space, huge and tiny, he entered into it. God Man.