Unknown Areas of the Bible

I think every Christian loves to read their favorite passages from the Bible. It’s good to hear again and again the accounts of Jesus’ life, and be reminded of all the promises made to us by our heavenly Father. When we venture into unknown areas of the Bible, however, we sometimes find ourselves scratching our head.

Two who are reading through the Bible with me this year recently found things in Isaiah that raised questions they wanted answered. The first was concerning Isaiah’s attire, or lack thereof.

In the 20th chapter we read that God told Isaiah to loosen the sackcloth from his hips, and take off his shoes. He did so, and went naked and barefoot for three years.

“Did he really go stark naked?” was the question. It’s a question commentators have struggled with for years. It seems so unlike God to actually tell someone to go naked, and all kinds of attempts have been made to cover up the bare facts. But the bottom line is that God was using Isaiah to warn a disobedient people that they were going to be led away as captives; naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered to their shame. It is shocking, but it exposes the extent to which God will go in an attempt to bring people to repentance.

The second question was related to all the details about people and places and events that are pretty much meaningless to us today. Of course, that should be expected of 2,700 year old history with which we are unfamiliar. Those who lived it knew it to be true, and Isaiah was told to write down his prophecies so they could serve in the time to come as a witness to the truthfulness of what he was saying. Even if we don’t take the time to actually dig into the history, the details presented give us the assurance that the Bible is not fantasy, but an actual record of historical facts.

Don’t be afraid to venture into that which is unknown to you in the Bible. You may not understand everything you read, but I guarantee you’ll learn things about God that you didn’t know.

God Bless, Rick

Relationship in the Church

We were encouraged by the Apostle Paul last Sunday to think of, and treat one another, as family. I noted that some have bought into that idea more than others, and through involvement in church functions and activities have actually found some of their closest relationships developing within the church. The key, of course, is involvement with others.

Coming together regularly on Sunday mornings is obviously a good thing, and there is a beautiful sense of community when we worship together. Deep friendships, however, usually require more than a shared pew, and we therefore offer additional opportunities to study, play, work, and eat together. Those who take advantage of such often find something unexpected taking place. I know it did in Mexico.

When I asked Anna, my 13 year old granddaughter, what her favorite thing was about the trip to Mexico, she said it was the bonding that took place. When I asked her who she bonded with, she said everyone. When I pressed her further, she specifically mentioned Kirk, Andrew, Tate, and Judy Marlow.

In case you missed Kirk’s meditation last week, he noted the language barrier that existed while working in Mexico. He went on to explain that it took him three days to understand what the teens were saying. Apparently they ended up connecting pretty well. He also mentioned the age spread in the group, and that was created by Anna and Judy. Again, something unexpectedly beautiful can take place when we spend time together. We can actually come to know, and grow to love one another, as family.

In view of that, it’s been suggested that it’s time to resurrect Dinner-8. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a simple program where four couples are encouraged to have pot-lucks in one another’s homes. We haven’t done it in several years, and I’ve made some revisions to the program that lessen the time commitment. Details can be found inside, and I’m hopeful that many, especially those newer to our family, will sign up.

God Bless, Rick

Nine Rules from Chris Pratt, Generation Award Winner

Last Sunday we noted that millennials are much less involved in church than are baby boomers. Where to draw the lines between generations is a bit fluid, but it does appear that I’m on the upper limit of baby boomers, having been born in 1947 after Dad returned from WW II. And that may account for my living under a rock, as my son-in-law recently noted.

Nikki and the girls had showed me a video that made me laugh, and gave me hope. The one speaking looked young, and after reading about the challenge of reaching millennials with the gospel, I assumed he was one. Wikipedia informed me, however, that he had been born in 1979 instead of in the 80’s. So while he may not actually be from the generation that is 35% anti-church, he is definitely an unexpected voice of hope. And until last week, to me, an unknown voice.

If you, like me, haven’t seen the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World movies, you may not know that Chris Pratt is the hottest actor in Hollywood. He was recently given MTV’s Generation Award, and when accepting it he had some hilarious, and unexpectedly positive things to say. He began by stating, “I’m going to cut to the chase, and I am going to speak to you, the next generation. I accept the responsibility as you your elder. So, listen up.”

He then listed nine rules for life which were practical, instructive, and even silly; like how to go to the bathroom without stinking up the place. Four of them, however, blew me away.

  • Rule 2: “You have a soul. Be careful with it.”
  • Rule 6: “God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do.”
  • Rule 8: “Learn to pray. It’s easy and it is so good for your soul.”
  • Rule 9: “Nobody is perfect, People will tell you that you are perfect just the way that you are, you are not! You are imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. Like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget that. Don’t take that for granted.”

Even if he’s not your elder, listen up!

God Bless, Rick