My Bible Is True—But JESUS IS TRUTH

GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitNext week I plan to bring this fourteen-post series to a close.

Thanks for reading along with me as I’ve attempted a preliminary look at factors that can cause me to see one of God’s children as an imposter; rather than as one who is in fact my holy sister or brother loved by our Father. We could just be reading our Bible from different perspectives.

When I look at my own church tribe—not to mention when I consider others that claim God as Father and Jesus as Lord—I see a wide variety of views, beliefs and definitions of doctrine.

Within my church heritage we gather to worship with different understandings of discipleship, roles of men and women in worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and money, local church function and communion. Certainly not a complete list. How about a common view of John’s Revelation among us?

truth6If we were to place a random fifty of us in a room we could fill multiple whiteboards with lists of our own counter views drawn from our Bible. I dare say some of our differences would center on what we define as doctrine.

Yet, we hold in common the belief that our Bible is true. We believe that our Bible was designed, preserved and inspired by God.

What is it that could help us extend a greater portion of grace to each other?

I have come to believe that perhaps our search in scripture is for the wrong truth. Maybe we should first look for JESUS THE TRUTH.

truth7Is my truth search for procedure and for the purpose of building my own body of doctrine? Rather, shouldn’t I place at the forefront of my reading the one who assumed the very definition of truth?

Jesus declared—as a matter of fact—“I am the way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The entirety of the Old Testaments moves toward the introduction of Jesus Messiah. The Gospels record his life, death and resurrection, and the remainder of the New Testament his presence as THE TRUTH empowering the church.

With Christ at center stage of Holy Scripture shouldn’t He be the Truth lens through which I read my Bible?

I can trust Jesus to be true.

Now back to our differences in viewpoint drawn from our Bible.

truth14Were we to look first at Jesus, how can we then deal with such disagreements as the roles of men and women, worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and giving, local church function and communion?

What if I explored Jesus’ example and instruction found in the Gospels? What is Jesus intent. What happens at each encounter? Is his attempt to teach something significant beyond the literal encounter that is a mere illustration of his point?

Is his concern really how I calendar communion or is his concern that I recognize the cleansing power of his body and blood on my behalf through the symbols of bread and wine? And from that recognition, I am to observe his symbols with consistency and humility.

Is it important to Jesus that I speculate on the specifics of heaven and hell? Isn’t his concern and intent that I set my focus on him and by so doing I will live with him eternally?

Isn’t the reality of eternal separation from the Holy the real deterrent of hell rather than how I might envision its hellish features?

truth1Last evening in a re-read of the late Henri Nowen’s book, In the Name of Jesus, I came across this passage that clearly expresses the core consideration of this post:

But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative (page 32).

If we will only listen to Jesus speak and grow more familiar with his life, priorities and the way he treated people, don’t you think JESUS THE TRUTH will give us more common ground as we read our Bible?

And, as we make the effort to grow in love with Jesus, I suspect our Bible will sound more and more alike. What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: My Bible Is True—But JESUS IS TRUTH

My Bible Isn’t About Religion

GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitReligion drains me. I am tired of religion. I wish it would go away.

We humans tend to create religion. We build systems of belief and interpretation based on our own opinions or acceptance of views from a previous generation.

Before I know what has happened I codify my beliefs and assume they are precisely what Jesus thinks.

religion8Then I begin to judge others relationship validity with the Holy based on whether or not they observe my belief system.

Religion tends to serve the movement rather than the Master. When I’m concerned with my religion I seek laws instead of Jesus’ heart. I can be committed to religion yet find myself far from the heart of Jesus. After a time, my religion can actually oppose Jesus’ values.

Pardon me for my momentary audacity, but may I say what I think Jesus would say should He address our churches?

religion15“Come on people, please wake up and stop the time and effort spent to build and protect your religion.”

I suspect the furthest thought from Jesus mind as he set out on his mission was to start a religion. He came to restore relationship between God and humanity.

As I read my Bible I see Jesus ready to challenge the builders of religion. His confrontation was always provoked by their allegiance to self-imposed rules rather than alignment with the heart of God.

Far more times than I like to admit I find myself among the crowd of the religious builders.

religion10One of the most obvious ways is when I find myself reading my Bible to find support for an idea that I have predetermined to be true or so want to be true.

Such behavior on my part lays another brick in the structure of religion.
To steer clear of participation as a religion builder I think of a few guidelines I want to follow:

1. I want to learn to read my Bible with one eye centered on religion19the page and my other eye focused on Jesus. At the heart of my Bible is the story of what Creator God has done and is doing through Jesus. Jesus is my link to the Holy. Everything in my Bible is to be interpreted through Jesus who mirrored Father God.

2. To avoid transformation into a religion builder I want to remember that my Bible is written for my own transformation and growth. Its purpose is not to support political policies or religious darts hurled at others.

3. I draw myself into the practice of religion when I start to seek Biblical support for a valued tradition or for something that I would like to see changed. The way I read my Bible can transform my traditions into my gospel, rather than the gospel of good news brought by Jesus.

religion174. I want to take care not to read my Bible to take proof texts and change them from their given context to justify my tribal practice.

5. When I read my Bible with the sole intent to make my views right and your interpretations wrong I act as a contractor of Religion.

What if I attempt to consistently read my Bible with the humility of a listener and the anticipation of a learner? Wouldn’t that act alone keep me from religious construction? Wouldn’t that act alone take the focus from me and place it on the Master Builder where it belongs?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: My Bible Is Not About Religion

By Faith We See the Future

GodReflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11: 24-26

garyguarujaI’ve changed my mind about heaven.

The best I can tell what I think about heaven’s details—even if I am dead wrong—won’t cause me or anyone else to be lost.

I cannot remember a time during my life when I didn’t believe in an eternal heaven even though my early concepts were rather blurred.

I wasn’t sure how we were all going to fit onto one street paved with gold, not to mention how we were to walk on it if we were floating spirits confined to an eternal chorus.

Truth is the details of the eternal city aren’t all that important to me. I suspect whatever God has prepared will make me laugh when I realize   what I thought was a grand vision back on my old earth home was only puny speculation when compared to God’s new heaven and the new earth.

For now, it is enough to live with Jesus promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

future10By faith—confidence and assurance—I envision the future.  

To trust that Jesus will fulfil his word to me and all who sign on to trust him as Lord is sufficient to believe he will have an eternal home ready as he promised. I take him at his word. It is enough to have a vision of my future by faith. By faith I see the future.

After a lifetime of Genesis to Revelation travel through Scripture and incalculable hours of thought let me describe the future I anticipate.future5

I anticipate a new earth under a new heaven. Both will be recreated and restored by perfect God to align with His perfection.

There will be no further degeneration and decay. God will return the creation to perfection where He can once again pronounce His blessing, “It is good.”

Since Satan will have received his own final judgement he will not have a presence on the face of the new earth. Thus, there will be a complete absence of sin, suffering and death. Evangelists, lawyers, physicians and undertakers will all need a new profession. 

future2On the restored earth, I will inhabit a new eternal and perfect body. There will be no need for diets, Pepto-Bismol, or blood pressure cuffs.

Every relationship will find eternal fulfilment. No harsh words will ever again pass through my lips. I fully anticipate a rich friendship with every person in God’s family who I knew on my earth walk.  

In addition, I look forward to dialogue and rapport will those from other centuries and from other nations. I suspect I will be surprised at the size and the make-up of God’s family.

I anticipate a new life in new city with blessings and amenities beyond what I could imagine in my wildest dreams.

future11And best of all I will live with and in the eternal presence, warmth and light that flows from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Just think, I will be able to see and to know more fully the Creator, the Christ and the Spirit. What an experience it will be to hear the sound of each Holy One call me by name as we live forever in perfect relationship. 

Yes, one of the many ways I am blessed is the absolute fact that I am blessed to see the future.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on By Faith We See the Future

What’s the Big Deal?

GodReflection: What’s the Big Deal?

garyguarujaThis begins my fifth year to post on the GodReflection Blog. Throughout four hundred eighty-six post I’ve attempted to reflect on God.

Last year my spirit grew as I explored Power Words that guide my walk and looked closer at the phrase It’s Jesus to clarify what God desires for me.

And finally, I became more aware of God’s care when I considered His actions of breaking into the lives of ordinary people. Still, God Breaks In.

With the beginning of a new year my plan is to work on other facets in my quest to reflect on God.

I want to look at several sequels of six to eight posts each. Three ideas are currently on the radar: Life Ain’t Fair, Living Grace, and Life with the Holy.

Truth is, I still may visit my growing collection of Power Words and be tempted to slip in one from time to time.

Big Deal1My plan is to begin next Wednesday with a series of seven posts to seek to answer the question: What’s the Big Deal?

My premise is that there are seven things I want to get right during my walk on earth. The idea is that if I get these seven “biggies” right everything else in life will follow.

I realize it is rather an ambitious thought to tie my hope and my destiny to seven words.

As I reflect on seven areas with strong implications, I hope you will consider with me the significance of owning a clear awareness of each one. I would love to hear from you as I explore closer each idea.

So I will start with the question: What’s the Big deal about Life?

If you haven’t been following, I invite you to join me as together we reflect on God.

If not a current follower you will need to go one time onto the site and signup by clicking on the Blog Tab to the left and reenter your email address in the “follow” space to the right of the Blog.

THEN from the confirmation email sent to your email address you must simply open the confirmation email and you will receive automatically each GodReflection post.

Hope to see you next time.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on What’s the Big Deal?





Let’s Have an Advent Year

GodReflection: God Breaks In Monday

garyguarujaMy introduction today is redundant with the past two posts.  However, to place today’s post in context I want to highlight the three lines of inquiry I intend to excavate through the GodReflection blog in 2015.

God Breaks In Mondays will reflect on times past, present, and future, when the Holy visits earth. What are those implications for me?

On Power Word Wednesdays, my intent is to reflect further on the power words that shape my walk on earth. I remain intrigued at the power behind a God driven vocabulary. Followers of the Holy guide their lives by a dictionary of the Holy.

Jesus walked the earth to show me the heart and face of God. I designed Its Jesus Friday to help me see Jesus as the first place I look for clues on how to live and worship rather than to the rules and traditions set by past and current generations.

Thus, I begin with my first 2015 Monday post on God Breaks In.

advent intro7When I allow myself only to live in the here and now of Christ’s church, I find it is like sealing off the entrance to a deeded diamond mind, never to be aware of the brilliant gems that are mine for discovery.

Deep in the tunnels of the church the gem of Advent appeared.

Starting in the 5th and 6th Centuries the Latin Church began to celebrate anew the Advent of God entering the world.

The church celebrated God’s historic acts of breaking into history and the anticipation of the final event when God through Jesus will break into history one final time to judge and to restore creation for eternity.

Although, I’ve never heard it referred to in this manner there is a sense in which Paul’s letter to the Roman church is the greatest document ever written on Advent.

advent intro 12It tells of Adam’s sin and God’s “Break in” into a world estranged from its Creator. God breaks into His own story to reconnect with His condemned creation through Abraham, the children of Israel, and the Promise.

The Roman letter tells of God breaking into His world through Jesus, through resurrection, and through the Spirit. The letter tells of God breaking into His story to make eternal salvation available to all humankind who will align their lives to Him through His Son Jesus.

Toward the end of the treatise Paul reminds the church of the expectant end-time return when God will break into His world to Judge.

I stand in the company of all God followers of all time who attempt to grasps even the smallest insight into an Advent God who breaks onto the scene of His world to benefit His creation.

During 2015 as I write each Monday’s GodReflection blog I want to reflect on times past, present, and future, when God Breaks In.

advent intro9Scripture shares dramatic occasion when God makes contact with humankind to make known His love and His future design to restore a fallen world.

God is not a “wind up God” who set His world in motion and walked off. Rather, He is our active, ever-present, loving Creator who breaks into the world watching over my walk every millisecond of the journey.

I so anticipate the final advent of God that at this point in life it is what sustains me. I can hardly wait for His return. I suspect I will be a mixture of the emotions of fear, joy, anticipation, awe, and unworthness.

I invite you to reflect along with me each Monday morning during 2015 as together we watch, God Break In. Let’s have an Advent year.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on an Advent Year.

December Sabbatical GodReflection


garyguarujaI found this definition of sabbatical:

“a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year.” 

I do not receive pay to blog.

sabbatical1I am no longer a college teacher.

I haven’t yet spent seven years on my blog site.

Neither study nor travel is my objective over the next 30 days.

However, I’ve granted myself a Sabbatical that fits none of its definition. 

I am taking a December Sabbatical for the noble purpose of taking a break.

I will resume my GodReflection blog on January 7 the birthday of my favorite older sister. (I also have a favorite younger sister.)

Tentatively, I will begin 2015 on a three day per week schedule.

Mondays, I want to reflect on times past, present, and future, when God Breaks In.

On Wednesdays, my intent is to reflect further on the Power Word Series. I remain intrigued at the power behind a God driven vocabulary. Followers of the Holy guide their lives by a dictionary of the Holy.

The focus of Fridays will be Its Jesus. Since Jesus walked the earth to show us the heart and face of God, I wonder why he is not the first place we look for our clues on how to live and worship rather than to the rules and traditions set by past and current generations. Some of those rules we even take erroneously from Scripture.sabbatical2

May God make your own holidays rich in Him.

My plan is to begin to think once again on January 7. Until then I will try not to ponder while on my self-defined and self-assigned sabbatical.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – December Sabbatical GodReflection