Is My Bible a Big Deal or Not?

GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitIt seems everyone has a survey to send out. I go see my doctor and out of the digital sky a survey appears. My local supermarket chain wants me to complete a survey after every basket of groceries. Make an internet purchase and poof a survey follows.

I wonder in the history of the world—other than at a research organization—has anyone ever taken time to read the responses? After all there are only deal2a gazillion questions.

Whether or not I like the generous abundance of surveys, I’ll have to admit they can be a rather good tool in any attempt to read public opinion when properly designed and used.

It only takes a cursory scan of Pew Research Center’s religious surveys to see that the world does not exactly place a premium on familiarity with Bible content.  From the surveys, it would be easy to conclude that for the vast majority the Bible is no big deal.

When it comes to the way I read my Bible I find that time and effort is a screen that has a lot to do with the way my Bible reads.

That brings me back to my question. How big of a deal is my Bible?
I must examine additional considerations to answer my inquiry.

deal5Am I a frequent or an occasional reader?

I would assume the person who is an hour a year reader will not read and understand their Bible in the same manner as the person who spends an hour each day allowing the words of the Bible to flow through their mind and heart. Most likely, if my Bible is important to me I will be a frequent reader.

Do I enrich my Bible reading with the use of a variety of translations?

deal8One of the great benefits of life in this century is the advancement of Bible translation. Those who read from the English language can read Scripture from dozens of translations and paraphrases.

The comparison of a text through three or four different translation often adds texture to a section of Biblical verses.

Is my Bible important enough to me to make the effort to learn from insights of other believers?

I moved to South America in my early twenties. Quickly, it dawned upon me how blessed I am to be an English speaker. Not because I might have thought English to be superior since any attempt to elevate the English language would not hold a candle to the beauty and expressiveness of the Romance languages.

deal16No, Jesus didn’t speak English as he walked the streets of Jerusalem. My English language blessing is due to the richness of Christian publications.

In addition to journals, articles and Christian Blogs, Intervarsity Press estimates there may be as many as eight to nine thousand religious books published each year in English.

The rich treasures found through the printed page allow me to explore gold mines of accumulated knowledge of the church that can enrich my own insight into God’s Holy Bible

My Bible becomes a big deal when I realize it is the one tool at my disposal to align my heart to God’s heart.

deal22I would like to think that the more Bible knowledge I gain the better chance I have to know and understand a tad more about the Holy that has gone to such lengths to demonstrate love for me.

The greater my degree of comprehension that my Bible exists to align my heart with Father Son and Spirit the less I will misuse it in proof text fashion to shoot arrows at others.

The way I read my Bible is a big deal because it teaches me how I am to treat you.

Since Jesus came to earth to show us the Father it is through the transparency of Jesus that I see God’s heart. When I spend time in the Gospels I learn to incorporate the way Jesus lived. I see the value he placed on others and his ultimate desire for the good of his neighbors.

When I know God my task becomes to reflect Jesus in every encounter. (Boy, do I wish that I had a better track record on that one).

From the Jesus of my Bible I am to learn how to treat you as a valued possession of God. I am to respect you in the same way the Holy gives value to me.

deal10Isn’t it a fair assessment to recognize that we each read our Bible differently due to the fact that we each approach the Bible with different degrees of intensity and frequency?

And, by reading from other Jesus followers don’t we each bring sharper tools to more clearly understand the words before us?

All of the above is dependent upon How big of a deal is my Bible?

Certainly, this is a post where I would love to get your feedback and insight. Take a few minutes and let me hear from you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Is My Bible a Big Deal or Not?

God’s People Wait

GodReflection: God’s People Wait

aboutI wish it would happen today.

God will again break into history in a big way.

He promised—and God always keeps His word.

Jesus will descend from the sky to usher out all hurt and wickedness while ushering God’s children into a new earth and a new heaven.

Until then—God’s family grows and waits.

The essence of the Advent season is to anticipate the return of Jesus.jesus return2

I think about how the New Testament’s writer-physician Doctor Luke set the stage for this final chapter of Satan’s defeat:

I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Jesus told his closes followers prior to his death, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

After 2000 years, God’s people wait.

His people—the church—wait in worship and witness.

God’s people are still awed at His majesty. So they worship. They worship in private and in assembly. The worship looks to the time when the wait will be over and worship can flow from perfect hearts to a perfect God.

God’s people use wait time as a time of witness. They live before their neighbors as the reflection of Jesus. The great serendipity of witness is God’s family grows as His people wait. I suspect this is at the heart of the reason for the Father’s delay. His loving nature wants a huge family around the table.

jesus return6God’s people wait in faith with trust and expectation. By faith they see evidence of the unseen. By faith they trust God will deliver. By faith the wait causes expectation and anticipation to intensify with each passing day.

I wish it would happen today. Until it does—God’s people wait.

For God’s people the final advent will more than justify the wait.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on the Advent of God.

Church Is A Verb

aboutI give definition to words. I use words in ways the originator would never have imagined.

I learn word uses from our kids. Today’s “cool” has a meaning far from reflecting weather 1

When Jesus declared, “On this rock I will build my church,” obviously, the totality envisioned far exceeds my brain.

I suspect he didn’t have an address at Third and Main in mind.

Yes, church is a body. Yes, Christ is the head. Sure, church is a noun.

The richness of church goes far beyond its noun use of body. The nature of body is movement. In the human body there is movement.  In the human body there is life. For life to exist movement is essential.

It is exhilarating to think of church as an action word. Church is movement.

For centuries, God’s people worshiped at a temple. It was nothing less than a place to meet with the Creator of the universe.

As Church breaks into Jerusalem life, both Roman and Jewish authorities felt threatened. This new Church must die. With the death of Stephen by the hand of the Temple leaders—in plain sight of the Romans—Jewish Christ followers left Jerusalem in flight for their life.

With Temple left behind believers left Jerusalem. They told the story of Jesus wherever they went. Their church encompassed action.

Here is what I think.

travel 1As a descendant of Jerusalem Christ followers I am still traveling.

Each day I want to look for “Spirit nudges” to tell the story. I want to be church in motion. I want to speak kindness and encouragement. I want to look for dark places in need of grace.

Like that first disbursement of Jewish Christians, I want my high beams to pierce the darkness as I travel forward to meet those God places in my path.

I am no less than church in motion. I am the verb in church.verb action

I move. I do. I serve. I love. I care. I sing. I pray. I help. I lead. I shine. I visit. I write. I read. I encourage. I proclaim. I cry. I hope. I trust. I give. I hurt. I listen. I laugh. I worship.

“Dear God, Forgive me when I see church as an address rather than action. Place before me today dark corners where a word about Savior can bring light. Forgive me for arguing and fighting with brothers and sisters as we travel together telling the story.”

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on Cross Church