My Worldview is Unique to Me


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

garyguarujaIt’s not uncommon to hear someone express, “I have my own standards”.

It seems common place for us human types to judge each other by our own individual standards.

It is from my “standards” created by my own experiences that I interpret the world. The accumulated mass that feeds into my brain makes up my worldview.

From my worldview, I interpret everything that crosses the path of my earth walk.

It is through this worldview lens that I read my Bible.

worldview2

worldview13The way I am wired colors my worldview. My particular personality follows me to the text.

Since I have a creative gene my tendency isn’t to read my Bible through the precise lens of a banker, a scientist or an accountant.

I have little interest in the periods, comas, sums and formulas each uncovers with abundant joy.

worldview14I read more as a builder, an architect or a city planner. I am a “big picture” type of guy. It is through the “what is and what can be” creative lens that I tend to see the world.

I can only read Scripture from the vantage point of who I am. I cannot read my Bible like you do because I am not you.

My own view of God influences my worldview. It colors the way I see myself and those I encounter. Thus, this God view aspect influences my open Bible. What has been my experience with God? Has He answered my prayers?

worldview20Do I look at Him as a Holy Santa Claus or as an ever-present Guide who sometime sends me down rocky trails?

Is He a clock winder God who wound up the universe like a time piece or an action toy then backed off to let it run down or is He active in my present?

My worldview is form by what I read and hear from others. To a certain extent the things I read and hear—that make sense—become a part of the way I see the world. It is with those same preconceptions—some right and some wrong—that I approach God’s Holy Bible.

Unfortunately, my prejudices—known or unknown to me—sway my worldview. I think of an extreme but real example of slavery. Sadly, slavery is more prominent across worldview23the face of the world today than it has been at any time in human history.

Not all that long ago in my own nation the way people viewed a different race made it possible to read their Bible and from it justify slavery.

The way I view others shapes my worldview. Do I see my co-travelers as inferior, equal or superior to myself?  Here I am in the twenty first century living in one of the neighborhoods of the world that are in a major shift.

Up and down my street I have neighbors from Africa, Brazil, France, Mexico, Porto Rico and even a few from Texas. The way I see those of my own race and the way I look at those of other nationalities impact my worldview.

worldview11My view of self plays a role in the way I see my world. Am I self- centered living with the expectation that everything should come my way?

Do I have a view of my role on the planet? Do I see myself as an instrument of God? Do I feel capable? Or, do I view myself as inferior to others?

All of the above—and much more—compose my worldview one that is unique to me alone.

It is from my one-of-a-kind view of the world that I come to Scripture.

So here is the big question.

If each reader of the Bible brings her or his exclusive worldview to the way they read the text, shouldn’t I offer a little slack and breathing room to others who don’t see everything in Scripture the way I see it? Shouldn’t this fact alone make me less judgmental?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: My Worldview is Unique to Me

Gary@Godreflection.org  http://www.GodReflection.org  http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

Are Diverse Interpretations Legal?


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours


garyguarujadiverse9All it takes to discover how differently two people interpret the same Bible is a conversation over a cup of coffee. Honest disciples of Jesus actually hold different opinions when it comes to an encounter with Holy Scripture.

The Bible is inspired by God. It is interpreted by flawed humans.

I would think it to be apparent that when it comes to the Bible—one  size doesn’t all.

Scripture1Some believe silence within the Bible equates to license while fellow disciples are sure silence prohibits anything not specifically addressed in the sixty-six Biblical books and letters. Both groups draw their conclusions from their Bibles.

I find in my Bible support of the death penalty while others read Scripture as teaching the exact opposite.

One is a committed pacifist yet another believes in justifiable war. Both views are drawn from Scripture.

diverse1Recently, while doing some spring cleaning I came across a ten-year old aerial photo of a small section of Sao Paulo the thirty-plus million populated city of Brazil. The picture was captured at such an elevated altitude that the thousands of skyscrapers appear as no more than little stacks of legos.

From this lofty point of view the essence of the city is missed. The texture of buildings, streets, parks, people and culture is not apparent. What is core to the city is absent.

The richness of the city that comes in its diversity is missing from the picture. The aerial snapshot completely failed to share the down-on-the-street view.

diverse8Like an “on-the-street” view of the city I see my Bible as rich in texture.

Texture is purposefully reflective of a God who majors in layer upon layer of richness and variety. Both gush from His creative nature.

I cannot read my Bible without the backdrop of inventive diversity that flows from Creator God.

The God of creation ties Himself tightly together with variety as the common thread to make Holy art from the diverse.

diverse4Each created one is unique and different from all others. Of the seven billion residents on planet earth no two people are alike. Yet God links us diverse ones together with Him—and each other—by His Spirit.

To speak to a diverse people God left a diverse Bible.

The text is so rich I can never claim to have mined it to its deepest depth.

Due to the one of a kind design of each person created by God the richness and the texture of the Bible ministers to every individual at just the right point of need.

In a time of trial, I may see for the first time an interpretation of a certain verse or a particular section from my Bible that specifically fills my soul. In turn, another person may read the same verses hundreds of time over a lifetime and never encounter the exact same fit that so ably fit me.

diverse7Any person whose face is turned toward God, Son and Spirit finds relevance within Scripture that is perfectly aligned to fit a unique situation.

The result provides growth and care at a time of need.

It seems to me the God who created diversity designed a rich Biblical text that not only allows but demands diverse interpretations to meet His ultimate objective—to form His creatures into His image.  

I would say, diverse interpretations of the Bible are not only legal but a fact of reality. What do you think? What would you add to this reflection?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Are Diverse Interpretations of the Bible Legal?

Gary@Godreflection.org http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

You and I Read Our Bible Differently


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

garyguaruja“I didn’t fall off a turnip truck yesterday,” was the way an old elder friend often led into words of wisdom he was about to express.

Since I’ve never seen a turnip truck—much less fallen from one—I’m not sure I completely understand the origin and the complete meaning of his expression. I think that was his way to state what seemed obvious to him.

different4As I begin this series of blog posts I feel as if this is a treatment of the obvious. My Bible doesn’t read like yours. You and I read our Bible differently.

It doesn’t take an overabundance of brain cells to observe the fact that the body of Christ is split into thousands upon thousands of tribal churches. And, within each church exist countless divisions.

I hear all sorts of what seems to me to be unreal explanations. Like one I’ve heard most of my life expressed in one form or another: “If only a reader was honest, she or he could correctly read their Bible the way I read mine.”

Although, I’ve observed—to my mind—some rather screwy interpretations of Scripture, I have to believe a lack of basic honesty is not the problem across the body of Christ.

different8In this set of posts, I want to explore the effect that worldview, background,  church traditions, Bible exposure, feelings, religion, tribal warfare and expectations have upon how each of us encounter Holy Scripture.

Is it possible that the way God divinely and uniquely wired every one of us, when mixed with our imperfections as descendants of the Eden fall, make it impossible to see everything alike—even our Bibles?

Since I’m not wired like you why should I spend time and word count on the obvious?

It is because the heart of Jesus expressed time and again His desire that WE ALL love God and each other. Being the human that I am, I find it is far too easy to withhold love from someone who disagrees with me or does not see Scripture the exact same way I do.

different11If we can’t seem to see things alike then what do I hope to accomplish by highlighting our differences?

It is my hope that a look at the differences we bring to our Bibles will help us grow in unity with the Savior and with each other.

If I can better understand why God’s children read Holy Scripture differently I might just see that a sibling in the Lord is not wrong in their interpretation of the Bible; but their different6unique perspective comes through the use of a valid lens that helps them gain greater eyesight to walk with the risen Christ.

I believe the Bible to be true and the inspired word of God. Yet, I know the infallible Bible is always read by fallible men and women.

Isn’t it more important to follow Jesus—The Truth—in faith and trust then it is to demand from each other a unified interpretation of all sixty-six of the books and letters that make up the thirty-one thousand one hundred three verses of our Bibles?

different9There is an attitude I want to cultivate throughout this series of posts in hopes that it will spill over into my life. It comes from a contrast greater than I can possibly imagine.

It is my affirmation that I am a flawed, limited human being with only a speck of a brain when compared to perfect and unlimited God.

In light of my own humanness, shouldn’t I be willing to give a fellow Christ follower a break when our Bibles don’t seem to read the same?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: You and I Read our Bibles Differently

Gary@Godreflection.org  http://www.GodReflection.org

http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

The Secret I Must Share


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret

garyguaruja“It’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” is shouted with joy and great excitement to family, friends and strangers. The secret is out. It cannot be held.

Secrecy and elation wrap gifts meant to surprise those we love.

share4Carefully calculated cameras reveal a secret from jumbo stadium screens to catch an unsuspected recipient off guard. A ring is presented and the question: “Will you marry me?” is popped.

The young lady screams and bounces with excitement. The world now knows. The secret is no longer held.

The Gospels burst with announcement, excitement and celebration as they reveal God’s secret plan through Jesus to make available forgiveness, salvation and Holy friendship to us flawed and sin filled creatures.

The surprise was that Jesus would come to stand in the place of my sin so that I can stand next to God.

share8The Gospel of Luke shares stories Jesus told that characterize people’s reaction to the salvation secret with celebration.

When the secret of total and complete forgiveness was revealed, parties broke out.

When the lost were found friends and neighbors came together to rejoice, feast, and celebrate with dancing and music.

Jesus states:In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

I could fill this space with those I’ve met whose hearts seem to almost explode with gratefulness because Jesus transformed their lives with secret grace held by God up until their “now.”

share13Francisco, a friend remembered with warmth comes to mind. He has since crossed over where he will receive his eternal reward.

Francisco heard the salvation secret. He couldn’t keep it to himself.

It was a secret he had to share. In the spirit of Jesus’ rejoicing stories, shortly after his baptism, he chartered three or four busses to bring  friends together for a great party to celebrate. He had to tell them all of his good fortune.

I lament that I’m not more like my friend Francisco. Truth is I’m not the party type. Perhaps, it is being a genuine introvert. However, I do wish I were more exuberant in my ability to share the secret.

share2But here is what I know.

I am super grateful for God’s grace, Jesus sacrifice and my forever canceled sin debt.

I am at peace in the knowledge that the Spirit of God walks with me throughout the day and stands with me each night as He lives in my deteriorating body.

I await with great anticipation the reality of a new heaven and a new earth.

I look forward to intensified blessings and total freedom from all of life’s wretch. All of which is party and celebration worthy.

Maybe I can at least be a window God can use to show others His love so that they can throw their own parties.

Let me close this series of posts by one more remembrance of Paul’s description of the Divine Secret found in his letter to the Ephesians:

share9For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.

In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

God did what He had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan He had already decided to complete by means of Christ.

This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.

All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be His own people in union with Christ because of His own purpose, based on what He had decided from the very beginning (Ephesians 1:4-11).

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

My Reflection on The Secret I Must Share

http://www.GodReflection.org  Gary@GodReflection.org

Secret Earth Walk


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret

garyguarujaMy parents taught me how to navigate the streets of our hometown.

Firsts, by repeated routes in our old car or work truck, then by parental permission of discovery with my bicycle.

My Grandpa and the Boy Scouts taught me about the four compass points. For Grandpa, as long as his old chevy and the road was pointed in his predetermined compass direction life was good. Scouts used merit badges to teach me how to follow that same wiggly needle.

My dad taught me how to read roadmaps that were usually given free at gasoline stations.

walk9Not long after my twenty-first birthday at the end of the Junior year in college, I loaded my baby blue Ford Mustang with all possessions—roadmaps included—and navigated the southern Interstate routes from Abilene, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.

The returned to the New Mexico desert was plotted by a northern interstate route that took me through Indianapolis, St. Louis and Tulsa.

walk1.jpgEach journey built on cumulative experiences prepared me for a move to the mega-city Sao Paulo, Brazil at age twenty-two. There the maze of streets was so extensive that maps took  the form of a thick book, O Guia São Paulo. In size, it was more like Genesis to Revelation.

I find my early life of direction acquisition to be a wonderful analogy of my earth walk under the canopy of the Holy.  It too was a learned navigation experience.

From cradle to adolescent baptism, to family and church I was provided basic instruction in Holy Compass Points.

walk14I did not emerge from baptismal waters ready to read topographical Spirit walk maps.

However, there was a God-secret about map reading I didn’t understand at the time. In fact, it took more years than I would like to admit to learn the secret to navigate my earth walk.

There is an aspect of how to earth walk that perhaps I knew intellectually but only now can I see with greater clarity.

Let me explain.

In the one of the first two blog posts of early September 2012, I observed that the years of my life walk took on three phases: learning, doing and being.

walk10Over my prime “doing years,” God used the gifts He issued to me, for my own growth and for His advancement into the lives of others.

In His graciousness, He allowed me to feel as if I was a player who brought talent to His game plan.

Here is my new aha. Here is what I now see with greater clarity.

No longer am I a sharp tool. The once honed edges are now worn. So, at the sunset of my walk12walk I judge my effectiveness as minimal.

As this old earth body continues to wear, tear and disintegrate, I am less and less of a problem solver. There is very little I can do to discover solutions  (as if there ever was under my own steam).

As Moses said to the Hebrews so I say to my earth walk: “You are too heavy of a burden for me to carry alone” (Deuteronomy 1:9).

I now see with greater clearness the secret gift of life navigation that God issued to me at my baptism. The Holy Spirit really does live within and in fact does guide my life walk.

This is my current game plan.

Throughout the day and night, I rehearse with the Creator my daily unsolvable concerns. And leave it to His Spirit to run the plays. Sure, I feel concern. Yes, worry has less and less of a presence. Don’t tell anyone—it’s our secret—God shared it with me.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Secret Earth Walk 

Gary@GodReflection.org     www.GodReflection.org  www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

The Secret Body


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret—We are Body

“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) “. . . for we are members of his body”. (Ephesians 5:30)

garyguarujaJesus, on the eve of his crucifixion spoke of his body gift for the disciples. I doubt that any of them had a clue at that point what he meant.

I wonder who the first person was to use the body analogy? The apostle Paul was the first to express it in written form but I wonder if he heard it from fellow apostles or from Jesus himself? Perhaps, it was a Spirit inspired idea given directly to him.

Doctor Luke, as he summarizes Jesus post resurrection activity cites from his eyewitness research: He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

body22I am curious how much Jesus told them as he spoke about the kingdom of God? Did he tell them about his plans for his church that would cover the face of the earth? Did he tell them that his body would remain on the planet in the form of his church?

It was a secret held by the Holy for thousands upon thousands of years.

The revelation came shortly after the ascension. The Godhead announced the body secret with the prelude of a loud roaring wind sound and with flames aglow above the body12head of each disciple as a visual aid.

Before it was all over  three thousand men and women repented of their sin, identified with the Son of God, and submitted their lives to Jesus through the death, burial and resurrection in baptismal waters.

And . . . Viola! The church appeared. It was them and they were it.

Twenty-plus years later—for the first time in Scripture—the apostle Paul uses the analogy of the body as a visual for this ever-expanding assembly.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. (Romans 12:4-6)

Yes, to be clear he wants all of us who make up the church to understand, you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

body15And, our corporate body has only one head the risen Christ who is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (Colossians 1:18)

I don’t know if Paul was the first to share the secret that the church—you and I—are the body of Christ. However, I have to believe it is a shear genius idea from the Holy.

Here is what I think:

It doesn’t matter if I am a big toe or a little pinkie. I am body. I am to function as designed. It is not my role to judge you or your function. I am a vital part of the whole body4just as you are a vital part of the whole. I united with you and you are united with me because we both belong to Jesus.

The body operates with cleansing blood. When any member of the body aches, I feel the pain.  At any given time, a portion of the body hurts and so do other members. Through Jesus the body is always in the process of healing.

The big toe and little pinkie are united by the Holy Spirit. When one pumps Jesus-blood it flows from a healthy member toward another member. Together we are a work of art. Together we grow in wisdom and understanding. Together we grow toward immortality.

body14The headline for all to read is that the secret body functions as one unit because Jesus is the head. Whatever function I may have I am not the head. Only the Christ functions in that role.

The head too is part of the body. My role is to seek to know what the head is thinking and march in unity with those thoughts.

Fortunately, the Gospels show me his thought process.

I want to tune in as a body member.  The head thinks forgiveness. The head generates love. The head serves and wants me to follow in his steps.

The head values peace. As the big toe or little pinkie, I’m not to be jealous because your body17function is the smile or the beautiful eyes. We are both holy because Christ leads.

The former body of Jesus was broken for me. With him as my head and my example, I am willingly broken for others. With him as the head we are to function out of a spirit of thanksgiving.

And just think, His invitation remains open to join His secret body.

Yep, I have to believe it is a shear genius secret direct from the Holy.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Secret Body

Gary@GodReflection.org   www.GodReflection.org  www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

I Believe What You Believe


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret on Unity

garyguarujaI would sometime joke when asked how to raise funds for a Non-Profit Organization: “It’s easy just begin by telling a prospective donor, ‘I believe what you believe.’” Obviously, a person of integrity would never make such an assumption nor believe such an outlandish declaration.

Because each human being is wired and gifted by the Creator as a one-of-a- kind creation and is formed differently through years of unique experiences no two people believe exactly alike.

unity3So how is it possible to live in unity with another person who cannot mirror my belief system—much less attempt unity with millions of individuals who claim to follow a man called Jesus? Especially, when each one differs in the details of the life and worship of a Christ follower.

In Jesus’ last garden prayer, he prayed for the unity of all believers:

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one . . . I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:11&23)

In one sense his prayer was answered, in another sense it was not.

unity17His church stands unified in belief of Creator God. We share unity in our affirmation that Jesus is the Christ.

The church is in agreement that Jesus is the only means of salvation and we his disciples are his ambassadors to all the earth.

The church is united on belief in the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus and the hope found only in him.

Should I take the time and the space to do so, I’m sure I could compile a rather long list to demonstrate the unity and “oneness” we now experience as a fulfillment of Jesus’ John chapter seventeen prayer.

unity26However, we sin when we divide his body into rival church tribes, apply the war paint and throw spears and Satanic missiles at other Christ followers.

When I catch myself in this posture I stand as a roadblock to Jesus’ prayer.

It concerns me when I find myself as a participant in disunity through my own likes, dislikes and prejudices. I am ashamed when I promote a lack of Christ-like behavior by a commitment to my own unbiblical opinions.

unity22I would like to think I am making progress in being less of a disharmonizing person.

It continues to be an enigma to me how on the one hand I know we are all wired differently and think differently and then on the other hand expect others to embrace my opinions as their own.

Could it be that one purpose God has for our walk on earth is to help us gain wisdom in failures; and gain joy in our successes when we see Jesus’ garden prayer being fulfilled in small ways?

Could it be that a primary purpose of my walk on earth is to learn how to, make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) so that I can look forward to my next life when unity is the natural Holy-state of all eternity?

unity8I have a current role within God’s revealed secret of His desire for unity. I am to LEARN and to LEAN on His Spirit to be a man of peace.

In my struggle to do so, I am to share with my fellow travelers the secret of peace and unity found in Jesus. A secret learned and expressed through compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

And, all of that because He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and unity16blameless in his sight . . . God did what He had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan He had already decided to complete by means of Christ.

This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head (Ephesians 1).

And, Jesus’ garden prayer will be answered in full.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Secret of Unity

Gary@GodReflection.org     www.GodReflection.org