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What if I told you that creation didn’t happen the way the bible says it did? What if I told you that there is evidence that the events of Jericho never happened? Or what if I told you that there are some recent discoveries that could lead to proving homosexuality isn’t a choice?
What would you say? How would you respond?
How did you respond while reading those statements? Were you defensive? Did it even phase you?
So, what if those statements were factual? Does this affect your faith? How you see God?
If you got a little defensive (be honest!) why do you suppose you got defensive? Were you chomping at the bit to correct me?
I certainly wouldn’t hold it against you if you felt or thought any of that. I would do the same.
I saw a documentary about a Christian biology professor who also happened to be an evolutionist. He said it didn’t affect his faith in God. In the documentary, they interviewed another guy who was a creationist and worked for a creationist organization. He made the statement that if Gen.1-12 didn’t happen then there is no reason to believe the rest of bible.
I was stunned!
So is our faith in God who abides in us or is our faith in our interpretation of the words of the bible? Keep in mind, I am a bit of a stickler for biblical accuracy and am not suggesting in any way that we ignore the bible.
But have you ever thought about the fact that for almost the first 30 years of the church there wasn’t any bible or any writings at all other than Old Testament? One of the only reasons we got writings is that Paul needed to address some problems in a church. Then, we got the gospel recounts and more letters. I am so glad we did. That would have been an exhausting oral tradition to carry out! Now if we can’t remember a verse we just Google it. I’m totally guilty of that.
So, how did they learn about God? By the nature of some of Paul’s corrections, it looks like there may have been a lot of presence based ministry going on. People had faith in God, because they experienced God. Paul just needed to refine things a little bit and make sure to keep pagan rituals out of Christian church.
My concern for us, the American church, is that if things don’t go according to our plans and interpretations, we will be derailed. My concern is that we have more hope in our stances on issues than we do in God himself. Is our experience of God falling into second place behind our platforms?
Yes, I know, I am asking a lot of questions. It would be so much easier if we just had answers rather than questions. Questions are good for us though! If we really want to find answers we need to get quiet before God.
In getting quiet before God, we experience God in ways that we don’t in corporate worship or conferences. I love those times, but roots grow in dormancy. When the grass is brown on top its typically growing underneath. And guess what else, this produces stronger, healthier and more beautiful grass come spring time.
Recently, Sarah and I have been going through a difficult time trying to figure out some things. Sarah needs to work if we want to keep feeding the kids. Which is sometimes up for debate. Like when they despise food that just the day before they loved! But, I’m not bitter about it….
As I was saying, Sarah is now a health coach. She happens to be very good and has helped many people heal and lose weight. This has led to more business. Awesome! Right? Well, this also requires more of her time which is less time for Shiloh Place. This presents us with a conundrum. We have a calling for Shiloh Place. We know that. But we also feel that God is in the health coaching. That it is not just a distraction we are falling for because it brings in money. We are trying to figure out how this affects Shiloh Place, our kids, managing the house, and how we should handle it.
Here is why I bring that up. A couple of days ago I got a text from my friend Dave, who happens to be a life coach. It was part of an ongoing conversation we have been having. It said,
“You are in a life transition. It takes time and it builds dependency on God. Read the stories of Joseph and Moses. They parallel what you are experiencing.”
Well that was not encouraging! What would have been encouraging to hear is a prophetic word that Shiloh Place was going to experience a financial breakthrough. Then, we would be able to hire the administrative help we need. Then I could move away from admin and focus on teaching and product development. That would have been much better Dave.
However, after the initial hissy fit (southern slang alert), I found comfort. There is freedom in being able to open myself up for a greater dependency on God and less dependency on controlling circumstances around me for my comfort.
Which leads me back to where we started. I know you were wondering where this was going. I believe that church in America is in the place that Jack referred to as the Inlet of Transition. There is a peaceful bay ahead if we can learn not to sweat the secondary stuff. We are losing a culture war. Maybe we should change strategy. What if we stopped trying to control ideas and we decided to just bring our experience of God with us wherever we went? Let’s get rooted in Him and start with the basics. Like Jesus told the lawyer…
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” – Luke 10:25-28
Love God, Love Others,