Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When sufficiency isn't enough

I could grab my Bible, mount the pulpit at almost any fundamental church, and few sermons would get me more "amens" then one on the authority and impact of God's Word. We love the Bible and we are proud of our strong stance on it's principles. I would say,
"This book we have in our hands is the very WORD of God!"
"It's powerful!"
"It's infallible!"
"It will never ever fail! It will last forever!"
"Preach it, brother!"
"And it is sufficient for our faith and practice! It's our only source of truth!"
At this point I envision the people being so excited that they can no longer contain themselves! They jump up and parade me around on their shoulders chanting "Amen, amen, amen." Not that anything remotely close to this has ever happened to me...but hey! It's my fantasy! it REALLY our only source of truth?

We Baptists are pretty hard on the Catholics for their authority being founded in the Bible and tradition. And yet, we are guilty of the same thing. There are areas that we hold as dear and unchangeable...yet these traditions lack any biblical grounding. We would even condemn some who don't practice our traditions the same way we do. And what we are saying by our actions is that God's Word isn't really enough. We need other standards for our practice.

We often say by our actions and attitudes that the Bible is really not sufficient in the area of music. We need to add our own preferences. What scriptural background do we have for our condemnation of the styles we don't like? What makes music acceptable or not acceptable to God? What chord progressions honor Him and which ones don't? Which rythms is He pleased with and which does He hate? The Bible doesn't speak to these do we really believe it says enough about the topic?

Though we proudly stand on the cessation of God's revelation and say that the Bible is complete and perfect, yet we often seek additional revelation to determine God's will for our lives. We throw out fleeces and pray "Reveal your will!" Wait. Isn't the Bible enough? Isn't it sufficient? Why do I need additional revelation to determine if God wants me to buy the red car or the blue car? Aren't the principles of wise stewardship enough for me make a decision?

Sufficient means just MUST be enough. It's time we really "Amen" it and LIVE by it!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Awesome Goodness of God

As I look at the weather map at it's a little intimidating. We are currently experiencing a tip of a stream of thunderstorms that stretches from northern IN to somewhere in CA...or so something close to there. As a father of three kids, I know it's going to be an interesting night. My wife and I decided not to fight it...and we just brought all three into our room. She's on the bed reading, I'm blogging...and the children are refusing to sleep. This is just too exciting!

There are lot of emotions that arise during a thunderstorm. But tonight it's a little different. It's not fear...or worry...or excitement with me. Tonight I'm awestruck. And the thunder and the lightning have only a little to do with it. I'm awestruck by an awesome God. And I'm not using the word in the Bill and Ted's kind of way...I mean it as it should be used. I'm in awe of God.

As we were nestling down tonight, Courtney and I exchanged glances. I love being married for 11+ years. We can say more in glance than a lot of couples can say in hours of conversation. The glance tonight said "Holy cow...we have three kids!! How did this happen? How good is God is give us this?!?!?! We are soooo blessed."

You see, the reality is we....well me...that is I don't deserve this (Court's an angel...yeah she's a sinner but just barely). Somehow along the way God has given me a whole bunch of things I just don't deserve. My ministry...the wonderful people in my friends...and most of all the relationship I have with His Son. Just reading that line puts shivers down my spine! I can have a relationship with GOD (proof text is 1 John 1:1-4, by the way).

Today I mowed my lawn and that gave me a good hour to pray and reflect. (what do you do when you mow the lawn?) Even before the thunderstorm I was thanking Him for not wiping my off the planet today (this, you see, would be what I deserved). As I was pushing the mower, God was with me...listening to my heart. He cared about what I cared about. He inclined His ear to me...He listened...and He will answer the concerns of my heart! Why? Because I walked in a way worthy of Him? Because I earned His compassion? Get real! It's only because of His goodness...His storehouse of grace that didn't run out for me today...and it won't tomorrow either. Grace that covers every one of my sins and failures...amazing grace...awesome grace...awesome God.

They finally dozed off and now I can just look at their serene faces. Tomorrow I will worry about feeding them, getting them dental insurance, teaching them to love the Lord their God will all their hearts, souls, and minds (Duet. 6). Tonight I'll just sit and reflect on how good I have it and how good my God is...and I'll listen to the thunder...and watch out for stray lightning bolts!