3/30/13

From Gary... BYOR (Bring your own rainbow)


It is obvious to anyone who has read this blog for any length of time that I am fascinated with rainbows. I probably have done fifteen or twenty posts about "rainbows"  since I started this blog about five years ago.  When I started, I had no idea how many kinds there were, but they all seem to have something in common - until today, that is.  The one in the picture is man-made.  High above the Earth, it proclaims the technological supremacy that man has attained and is a testament to his ingenuity!!!!  The plane promises a safe journey to all who board it and the fact that its jet engines are functioning properly is revealed by the contrails and that beautiful rainbow it leaves in its wake.  A safe journey is quite a promise, especially when you consider this jet is probably flying at 30,000 feet or more above Terra firma.  After thinking about it a bit, I realize that we all make promises, from mundane things like "I'll be home on time tonight, honey" to the more significant ones like "I do"!!!  God makes promises too- and for most of us, the promise of the rainbow (Genesis, chapter 9 below) is the first thing that comes to mind.  But, what other promises God has made?  If I were to list them all, I would make this post so long that very few would bother to read all of them, so lets just talk about the most significant...

Genesis, Chapter 9
8  God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,  9 “As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,  10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the livestock, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ship, even every animal of the earth.  11 I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off any more by the waters of the flood, neither will there ever again be a flood to destroy the earth.”  12 God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  13 I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.  14 When I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud,  15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.  16 The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  17 God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” 


Luke, Chapter 24
 45  Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.  46 He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,   47  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.   48  You are witnesses of these things.   49  Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.” 

Acts, Chapter 2

 1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2 Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3 Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.  4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.  5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky.  6 When this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language.  7 They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, aren’t all these who speak Galileans?  8 How do we hear, everyone in our own native language?  9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia,  10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,  11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!”  12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, “What does this mean?” 13 Others, mocking, said, “They are filled with new wine.” 

  14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words.  15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 
  17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions.
Your old men will dream dreams.
  18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
  19 I will show wonders in the sky above,
and signs on the earth beneath;
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
  20 The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
  21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

  22  “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in your midst, even as you yourselves know,  23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;  24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.
  26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope;
  27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay.
  28 You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

  29  “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,  31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay.  32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.  34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
  35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

  36  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

  37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

  38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 


2 Corinthians, Chapter 1
 18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not “Yes and no.”  19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.”  20 For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen”, to the glory of God through us. 

Ephesians, Chapter 1
 3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ;  4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love;  5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,  6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved,  7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,  9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him  10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;  11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;  12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:  13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  14 who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

The Bible is the story of beginnings and endings.  From purity in creation to sin and separation from God.  It is also the narration of God's working with his creatures to bring them back into good fellowship with him - without sin!!!  First and foremost it is the revelation of the completed promise; that is, "the promise" that God would provide a way to do this!!!  So, we have the above passages of Scripture.  God miraculously exhibits his power (Acts, Chapter 2) and gives of himself (HIS HOLY SPIRIT) as a seal of approval to those who repent and do his will.  Better than any wondrous rainbow you or I could imagine, The Holy Spirit is God's pledge of his most important promise to us!!!  We are "living rainbows" and THE promise given to us is not just something beautiful in the sky, but God's own seal.  Question: do YOU WANT THAT FOR YOUR LIFE?  Read Acts, Chapter two, verses 14 and following once again and do what you are commanded to do!!!  Humm, I wonder what kind of rainbow, YOU WILL BE????

From Gary... Bible Reading, Mar. 30



Mar. 30
Leviticus 15, 16
Lev 15:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Lev 15:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'When any man has a discharge from his body, because of his discharge he is unclean.
Lev 15:3 This shall be his uncleanness in his discharge: whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body has stopped from his discharge, it is his uncleanness.
Lev 15:4 " 'Every bed whereon he who has the discharge lies shall be unclean; and everything he sits on shall be unclean.
Lev 15:5 Whoever touches his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:6 He who sits on anything whereon the man who has the discharge sat shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:7 " 'He who touches the body of him who has the discharge shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:8 " 'If he who has the discharge spits on him who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:9 " 'Whatever saddle he who has the discharge rides on shall be unclean.
Lev 15:10 Whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until the evening. He who carries those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:11 " 'Whoever he who has the discharge touches, without having rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:12 " 'The earthen vessel, which he who has the discharge touches, shall be broken; and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.
Lev 15:13 " 'When he who has a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, then he shall count to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes; and he shall bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.
Lev 15:14 " 'On the eighth day he shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before Yahweh to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and give them to the priest:
Lev 15:15 and the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. The priest shall make atonement for him before Yahweh for his discharge.
Lev 15:16 " 'If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:17 Every garment, and every skin, whereon the semen is, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:18 If a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:19 " 'If a woman has a discharge, and her discharge in her flesh is blood, she shall be in her impurity seven days: and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:20 " 'Everything that she lies on in her impurity shall be unclean. Everything also that she sits on shall be unclean.
Lev 15:21 Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:22 Whoever touches anything that she sits on shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:23 If it is on the bed, or on anything whereon she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:24 " 'If any man lies with her, and her monthly flow is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed whereon he lies shall be unclean.
Lev 15:25 " 'If a woman has a discharge of her blood many days not in the time of her period, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her period; all the days of the discharge of her uncleanness shall be as in the days of her period: she is unclean.
Lev 15:26 Every bed whereon she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her as the bed of her period: and everything whereon she sits shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her period.
Lev 15:27 Whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Lev 15:28 " 'But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
Lev 15:29 On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Lev 15:30 The priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her before Yahweh for the uncleanness of her discharge.
Lev 15:31 " 'Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, so they will not die in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is in their midst.' "
Lev 15:32 This is the law of him who has a discharge, and of him who has an emission of semen, so that he is unclean thereby;
Lev 15:33 and of her who has her period, and of a man or woman who has a discharge, and of him who lies with her who is unclean.
Lev 16:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Yahweh, and died;
Lev 16:2 and Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron your brother, not to come at all times into the Most Holy Place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark; lest he die: for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat.
Lev 16:3 "Herewith shall Aaron come into the sanctuary: with a young bull for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
Lev 16:4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches on his body, and shall put on the linen sash, and he shall be dressed with the linen turban. They are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and put them on.
Lev 16:5 He shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
Lev 16:6 "Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house.
Lev 16:7 He shall take the two goats, and set them before Yahweh at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Lev 16:8 Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats; one lot for Yahweh, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Lev 16:9 Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for Yahweh, and offer him for a sin offering.
Lev 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before Yahweh, to make atonement for him, to send him away for the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Lev 16:11 "Aaron shall present the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.
Lev 16:12 He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before Yahweh, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:
Lev 16:13 and he shall put the incense on the fire before Yahweh, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, so that he will not die.
Lev 16:14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
Lev 16:15 "Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
Lev 16:16 and he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, even all their sins; and so he shall do for the Tent of Meeting, that dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanness.
Lev 16:17 There shall be no one in the Tent of Meeting when he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, and has made atonement for himself and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.
Lev 16:18 "He shall go out to the altar that is before Yahweh and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the bull's blood, and some of the goat's blood, and put it around on the horns of the altar.
Lev 16:19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and make it holy from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
Lev 16:20 "When he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat.
Lev 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.
Lev 16:22 The goat shall carry all their iniquities on himself to a solitary land, and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness.
Lev 16:23 "Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting, and shall take off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there.
Lev 16:24 Then he shall bathe himself in water in a holy place, and put on his garments, and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people.
Lev 16:25 The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar.
Lev 16:26 "He who lets the goat go for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
Lev 16:27 The bull for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried forth outside the camp; and they shall burn their skins, their flesh, and their dung with fire.
Lev 16:28 He who burns them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
Lev 16:29 "It shall be a statute to you forever: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and shall do no manner of work, the native-born, or the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you:
Lev 16:30 for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before Yahweh.
Lev 16:31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict your souls; it is a statute forever.
Lev 16:32 The priest, who is anointed and who is consecrated to be priest in his father's place, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, even the holy garments.
Lev 16:33 Then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary; and he shall make atonement for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar; and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
Lev 16:34 "This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel once in the year because of all their sins." It was done as Yahweh commanded Moses.

From Gary V. Womack... THE GREAT INVITATION


THE GREAT INVITATION

Mt. 25:10-13 "...and the door was shut." What a 
                      sad ending -


Our mission is to prevent others from such a fate The mission of the church is a spiritual one - proclaiming Christ.


1 Tim. 3:14-15 "These things I write to you though I 
                        hope to come to you shortly; (15) 
                        but if I am delayed, I write so that 
                        you may know how you ought to 
                        conduct yourself in the house of 
                        God, which is the church of the 
                        living God, the pillar and ground of 
                        the truth."

As God's own special people - we have a great purpose & mission:

1 Pet. 2:5, 9-10 "you also, as living stones, are 
                          being built up a spiritual house, a 
                          holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual 
                          sacrifices acceptable to God 
                          through Jesus Christ." (9) "But you 
                          are a chosen generation, a royal 
                          priesthood, a holy nation, His own 
                          special people, that you may 
                          proclaim the praises of Him who 
                          called you out of darkness into His 
                          marvelous light; (10) who once 
                          were not a people but are now the 
                          people of God, who had not 
                          obtained mercy but now have 
                          obtained mercy."

Acts 2:47 "...And the Lord added to the church daily 
                    those who were being saved."

1 Cor. 12:18 "But now God has set the members, 
                     each one of them, in the body just as 
                     He pleased."

Where do you fit in?

Evangelism is one of the privileges & responsibilities of citizenship Jesus was looking for fishermen - to catch men for the kingdom - do we?

Mt. 4:18-19 "And Jesus, walking by the Sea of 
                   Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called 
                   Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting 
                   a new into the sea; for they were 
                   fishermen. (19) Then He said to them, 
                   'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers 
                   of men.' "

Evangelism can be done by personally teaching others

Acts 8:3-4 "As for Saul, he made havoc of the 
                  church, entering every house, and 
                  dragging off men and women, 
                  committing them to prison. (4) Therefore 
                  those who were scattered went 
                  everywhere preaching the word."

2 Tim. 2:2 "And the things that you have heard from 
                 me among many witnesses, commit 
                 these to faithful men who will be able to 
                 teach others also."

Evangelism is shared by supporting those who preach
Either individually or collectively

Phil. 4:15-17 "Now you Philippians know also that in 
                     the beginning of the gospel, when I 
                     departed from Macedonia, no church 
                     shared with me concerning giving and 
                     receiving but you only. (16) For even 
                     in Thessalonica you sent aid once and 
                     again for my necessities. (17) Not that 
                     I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that 
                     abounds to your account."

Sometimes we evangelize just by inviting someone to come hear truth

Jn. 1:35-ff Andrew invites his brother Peter to 
                 see Jesus Philip invites Nathaniel to 
                 see Jesus.

Lk. 14:15-24 Jesus tells the parable of the great 
                     feast.

The one you invite may be the one whose soul is saved from eternal loss.

How can you invite others if you are not in Christ - or not faithful to Him?



INVITATION

Mt. 11:28 Jesus offered the great invitation into 
                His rest.

Rev. 22:12-17 Heaven's invitation is offered to all 
                      - to "Come"

From Jim McGuiggan... GOOD NEWS AND REAL ADVENTURE

GOOD NEWS AND REAL ADVENTURE

This is said of God: "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15)
He triumphed over all the powers and authorities, whoever or whatever they are, and he exposed them in a public manner. He didn't out-talk them! He outlived them! He didn't simply out-fox them! He out-suffered them! These powers and authorities that dominated the creation and showed their character and power in and through the structures by which humans live, they were stripped of their grand reputation and made a public spectacle. And it was done in the crucified Christ in the crucifixion itself. The cross, in the most graphic way, spoke of weakness and vulnerability and yet it was there the powers and authorities that claimed world dominion were exposed. Sin and suffering and loss weren't the only realities that were present in that supreme moment of human history—triumph was being worked out!
And that way of humiliation and vulnerability that the Blessed Lord took in his earthly ministry he takes in this very age when he offers himself to people all over the planet as a preached Christ; a Christ who now reveals himself not only in what is preached but in the act of preaching. In 1 Corinthians 1:17-21 Christ is the one who reveals himself in the form of a preached Christ [see Ephesians 2:16-17]. What is preached is folly and those who preach it are fools but it His chosen way [1 Corinthians 4:8-13]; this is the way the blessed Lord Jesus goes about his redeeming self-giving. It isn't only what is preached—it is the act of preaching.
Is that not astonishing? Is that not adventure?
Can you believe that even in and through the presence of your pain and suffering and loss that Jesus continues to choose the way of humiliation and vulnerability? If you could be persuaded that this was true—could you embrace it and bear your awful burdens with a gladder heart and filled with faith?
This timeless act in history speaks its message to every generation that is intimidated by the powers. Every new generation invests these satanic forces and powers with an authority they don't have but all who have seen—really seen—the cross and been drawn to it, they have accessed the truth that the death of Jesus heralds. The powers are helpless before the weakness of God!
But that truth's shown not in the absence of all suffering and loss—it's shown in the very place where some silly people say God is not! And the suffering of Christians (if and when it comes) is their destiny! They are the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24) and Peter told his suffering brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:12-13), "Don't think it's a strange thing that is happening to you..."
The Christ bore the sicknesses and the disease of the hurting human family (Matthew 8:16-17) and so do Christians! Christ continues to work in us for the world! We are up to our necks in trouble for the world!
Agnostic psychologist and pragmatist, William James, said more than he knew when he said it seems as if "there is something very wild in the universe and we are required to redeem it."
There's a God-denying look about this life and this world. The truth of Colossians 2:15 is to be brought to the whole of creation in every generation. This is the adventure! This is what the elect have been called to bear witness to in life and liturgy. Baptism is death-defying; even in a world filled with death! The Supper of the Lord is death-defying; even in a world where Death struts as if it were Lord.
Colossians 2:15 makes the truth known that God's power is always made fully present in and through weakness. It is the ever-present cross that defeats the ever-present evil. This is the adventure!
The gospel has been reduced to a tame humaneness. Let's all be nice people, saying nice things, going to nice churches and having nice kids so that we can be sure of a nice place in a nice city in the here and now and then after death we can go to live in a nice one that has golden streets.
This isn't what Christ came to the cross for. This isn't what ripped Paul away from his blameless life under the Torah and sent him careering half way across the world leaving pints of blood on the streets he ran through or was beaten senseless on. And it isn't what made believers leap out of bed in the morning with shining eyes when they remembered they now lived in a world that had a new Lord and King. Well, all right, we're not all going through that kind of experience but our faith-brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers down the centuries have and we're their children! Their story is ours and the grand finale will be glorious beyond our imagining!
T.S. Eliot sensed this and it led him to say, "I would rather walk daily—as I do—in terror of eternity as to believe that this whole life is a child's game, at the end of which, every participant receives an equally worthless prize."
We didn't learn a watered-down view of the gospel from the Christ or from any of those who knew him best. The gospel is the good newsabout God! It's the good news about God being righteous because he is faithful to his commitment to his beloved creation. He came in and as Jesus Christ on a rescue mission to save us from ourselves and to give us fullness of life; life that is brim full of life. He came to make war with the satanic powers and authorities that we've invested with dominion and to expose them in the most profound but ironic way; by enduring a public "hanging by the neck until dead" and then showing himself alive, glorious, majestic, deathless and a world's Savior.
Wouldn't it be wondrously good news if it were true that one day, at a given moment in history, all the satanic forces were gathered together in all their perverse power and that they were defeated? Wouldn't it be wondrously good news if it were true that one day, at a certain spot on this very planet all the demonic forces that show themselves in corrupted and corrupting political and social forces were gathered together in all their power and they were made a spectacle of? The good news is that that's exactly what happened!
"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15) By the Cross! And suffering Christians today for all their tears and awful pain gladly embrace Christ's agenda and method because that's who they are! They participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God and of glory rests on them (1 Peter 3:13-14 and 4:13). In the face of Matthew 8:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 1, what nonsense it is to narrow the significance of Christian suffering down only to that which is "persecution". As the body of Christ they bear the hurt of the world!
Now that's adventure and that's good news! In his body, the Church, Jesus Christ is showing again and again and again and again and again, all over creation, what he did with once and for all effectiveness—proclaiming his Lordship.
Don't mistake ceaseless hand wringing for biblical based sympathy. Don't mistake the whimpering preaching/teaching you hear or the repetitive trotting out of moral platitudes for the throbbing gospel that comes gushing from the heart of God, written in his Drama and lived out in the world. Nobody loves you like God! Nobody! But Christians are the extension of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and that Christ lives and triumphs in and through them every day, making the Lord's power perfect through weakness and vulnerability (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). The dynamic and creative Spirit of God is still very much alive and shapes and sustains the new creation in Jesus even during the dullest looking days.
If the sense of adventure's gone out of us it isn't because the gospel's become dull, it isn't because God has gone into permanent hiding or that Jesus wishes he were the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! If it isn't there it's because we and our leaders have lost our way, lost our vision and have fossilized.
Ask for the gospel!
You might want to listen to this in the audio section under ADVENTURE.


©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made. 

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.