Solitude

“All the unhappiness of humanity arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own room.”

(Blaise Pascal, Pensees section 136)

He goes on to say, “Hence it come people so much love noise and stir; hence it comes that the prison so horrible a punishment; hence it comes that the pleasure of solitude is a thing incomprehensible.”

This deep discomfort he suggested is what drives us to stay busy, distracted in our work and play. We sense deep longing within us, but we are terrified to explore it. This is why solitary confinement is considered such a high form of punishment. Forced off the treadmill of rhythmic busy we realize we are not the sum of our doings, and are forced to learn ‘We have a soul, that God is here, that this world is my Father’s world’ (Willard). 

Solitude and soul rest is not a punishment but an “invitation to enter more deeply into the intimacy of relationship with the One who waits just outside the noise and busyness of our lives” (Barton). 

Perhaps in this quarantined isolation we will respond to this invitation, embracing the surprising gift that we’ve been longing for beneath the surface of our busy lives. I recognize the struggle, the push-pull of longing-but-terrified of facing deeper fears.

We are wired for interaction with our Creator. We supplant this inner desire with easier, lesser things. I agree with Pascal, this is a crying shame! We are duped into thinking restful listening is being unproductive. Finding harbor in the love of our Creator brings meaning to all our productivity.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus

Silence is often deafening. Yet is there a treasure to be found on the other side?

“Solitude and silence is the most challenging, most needed and least experienced discipline among evangelical Christians today.” It’s much easier to read about it than actually do it. Our post-modern faith has become overly heady, stifling under certainties that rob us of experiencing the holistic relational nature of God, and ourselves. We think we know God out of the frontal cortex, like how we might study a recipe rather than know a person. We are starved for the reverential experience of being in the sheer silence of God’s presence. 

We are like jars of river water, Barton explains. We need time to sit still long enough and allow the sediment to settle and the water to become clear. To guide our souls towards rest is counter intuitive, beyond the “addictions to noise, words, people and performance.”

Jesus often slipped away from his friends, into places of solitude. He longed to be with, and our Father. Do I? Dare I come and sit, rest and be?

Yesterday, new age wellness guru Deepak Chopra’s live meditation received over 1 million concurrent views, crashing their servers. People are going stir crazy at home. Think about that for a minute. The isolation is driving a culture for existential meaning, seeking refuge from the outer and their own inner chaos.

What is our answer to this overwhelming cry? Come visit our online church service? We should not dismiss the deep hunger within our generation. They don’t reject mystery and experience, nor necessarily Jesus. They do reject a post-modern, scientific approach to religion. The grand meta-narratives of Western civilization are no longer accepted at face value. Our neighbors are desperate to tap a greater reality than the one served up to them. We need a Christianity that dives into this misguided hunger.

Unless we are ourselves are experiencing the reality of God’s presence, we have very little to offer this world. This is challenging. It’s not what we know, but who.

“When we are willing to be transformed, we stop wasting time theorizing, projecting, denying, or avoiding our own ego resistance” (Rohr).

Step away to a quiet place. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit and wait. Read a Psalm, or the Lord’s Prayer. We don’t have to grope for some existential reality, Jesus has already come and show us the Father. Let’s visit our Creator God and follow the path of His Son.

Sojourning with you –

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What does wisdom look like?

When you think of someone that is wise, who do you picture? For some reason, I often picture a robed Roman philosopher with a long beard.
 
We rarely consider youth as possessing wisdom. We picture those with miles under the hood. There’s something about pure life experience that outshines intellectual smarts when we think of true wisdom.
 
I just thought of Yoda from Star Wars. He’s my generation’s incarnational wisdom.  The fount of wisdom in the Galaxy. “No! Try not…? Do, or do not, there is no try.”

I enjoy philosophy, which means “the study of wisdom”.  I think it’s because I enjoy questions. I might enjoy questions more than answers. If an answer comes too quickly, I’m often suspicious. The older we get, the less answers we seem to have, and more questions!  The young have all the answers and are attracted to those who have the most.

Generations rise up following those who know it all. The pursuit of wisdom by nature requires us to acknowledge our lack of wisdom. It’s taken me far too long to learn this, but it’s leading me to ask better questions.

God’s wisdom in scripture reveals some interesting principles!

1. God’s wisdom is foolishness to the world. 

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Cor 1:20

The world seeks certainty, to prove or disprove certain things. Before Jesus came, you can read Aristotle, Plato, or Socrates and find a fascinating pursuit of wisdom and meaning. Their theories helped form western civilization as we know it as concepts of logic and rationality began to take shape. It was a valiant attempt; some of their writing reveals brilliance before their time. Their theories were revised and integrated into theology through the centuries.  Aquinas in the 13 Century in his argument of 5, Anselm’s development of Ontology (nature of reality), Descartes during the Renaissance, Pascal and his “wager,” all attempting to wrap mortal minds around an infinite topic.

Yet, God’s wisdom is not intimidated by the world’s wisdom. He sees us groping in the dark and clinging to our discovered fragments.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  1 Cor 1:21-22.

2. God’s wisdom is missional.

The wisdom of God is not some arbitrary concept, but conceived in the heart of our Creator for a purpose. He has shaken the fabric of created order by wrapping Himself in flesh, “in love” and by the “kind intention of His will which He purposed in Him” (Eph 1:5-8).

God’s wisdom is packaged in mercy and love. It’s aim is to attract humanity to His character, “in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing greatness of His grace and kindness towards us in Jesus Christ” Eph 2:4-7). 

Instead of simply revealing wisdom as a thing to possess, God’s wisdom seeks to possess. He reveals reality that we might be subsumed within it. His wisdom is a magnet which draws those believe (Eph 1:13). Once we are drawn in by the tractor beams of God’s wisdom, we become stewards and ambassadors of the wisdom of God in the Gospel.

“..to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Eph 3:9-10


3. God’s wisdom is personal. 

Finally, and most importantly, God’s wisdom is no mere collection of ancient proverbs. God’s eternal wisdom blows the mind as He personifies reality and meaning in the person of Jesus Himself. 

“…but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:24-25)

While the world gropes for meaning and answers to life’s greatest questions, God answers them all in Jesus. 

Summary

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor 1:30). 

The world seeks a wisdom, but not the Source of it. They seek answers but not the Truth.

To know Jesus is to gain access to unending, satisfying wisdom in the heart of our God. He bypasses the world’s wisdom, He intentionally pursues us with His, and His name is Jesus.

Are you a wisdom seeker? Do you want to know a secret?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7)

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Искусство подчинения

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Только Бог заслуживает абсолютного подчинения, поскольку только Бог может предложить незыблемую любовь. Цитаты в этой блог-публикации взяты из книги «Сдайся Любви» Дэвида Бэннера (“Surrender to Love” by David Benner).

Наш Создатель желает подчинения наших сердец, а не просто внешнего послушания. Что дает Ему право на это? Всё в нашем земном бытие подсказывает нам, что, чтобы выжить, мы должны держаться (или даже цепляться) за что-то, стремиться к чему-то. Если мы просто «сдадимся», то по утрам не будем даже вставать с постели, кушать, строить в той или иной мере значимую жизнь. Что же делать с этим настойчивым приглашением сдаться, подчиниться?

Когда мы встречаемся лицом к лицу с различными формами власти, перед нами возникает выбор. Обычно мы думаем об этом в контексте послушания и непослушания. Тем не менее, когда мы откинем всю шелуху и наслоения, то обнаруживаем, что то, с чем мы действительно сталкиваемся, намного глубже и сложнее, чем просто внешний акт подчинения или неподчинения. Доверяем ли мы этой власти? Можем ли мы ей доверять? Мы начинаем искать «лёгкие пути», основываясь на нашем уровне доверия, чтобы приспособиться, не теряя при этом ощущения контроля.

Если у нас мало доверия представителю власти, будь то родитель, учитель, или президент, мы будем подстраивать наше послушание таким образом, чтобы всё же сохранить свою волю, наше внутренне чувство самоопределения.

Полагаться на волю христианского послушания означает укрепить наше природное своевольное самоопределение.

Подчинение включает в себя намного бОльшее, нежели внешнее преднамеренное поведение. Это касается способности отпустить, прекратить борьбу за самосохранение, в то время как мы учимся находить покой в чём-то лучшем – в этом суть любящих отношений!

Мы воспитываем восьмерых детей, четверо из которых уже совершеннолетние. Удивительно, как легко манипулировать малышами, чтобы добиться внешнего послушания. Так много средств в наличии – от страха и наказания, до обещания награды и прочих заманчивых предложений. Мы всё это испробовали на практике. Тем не менее, когда дети растут в своей независимости, ситуация начинает меняться. Ребёнок начинает осознавать собственные желания, предпочтения, страхи. И что работало раньше, чтобы добиться внешнего послушания, теперь уже перестаёт работать. Нечто более глубокое, более мотивационное и прекрасное должно появиться – отношения доверия.

По мере взросления детей, их вхождения в подростковую фазу жизни, должно произойти соединение сердца, которое превосходит просто просьбы и их внешнее исполнение. Отношения основаны на обоюдном осознании и принятии другой личности. Со стороны ребёнка требуется подчинение и доверие по отношению к надёжности имеющему власть. Это внутреннее подчинение, противовес попыткам удержать, это возможность отпустить. Никто не может (и не должен) подчинить своё сердце тем, кто зарекомендовал себя не заслуживающим такого доверия.

Наша семья: как родители, мы начинаем с внешнего послушания и двигаемся в сторону внутреннего доверия и подчинения. Семья – это Божий замысел, несовершенное отражение Его собственных Совершенных отношений любящего Триединства.

Мы благодарны за ту благодать, которую Бог позволил нам пережить, будучи родителями, которая помогла нам строить возникающие дружественные отношения с нашими подростками. Мы росли от ранних стадий видимого послушания до более глубокого взаимного уважения. Это нелегко даётся как для родителя, так и для ребёнка! На нашем пути нам потребовалось повышать доверие, проявлять благонадёжность и жертвенную любовь. Я знаю, что мои отношения с моими детьми-подростками будут глубже по мере того, как я всё больше и больше переживаю Божью любовь и преобразовываюсь ею. Это меня воодушевляет. Не имеет значения, где мы находимся в наших отношениях с детьми, если мы вернёмся к тому, чтобы лично пережить Божью любовь, мы получаем лучшую возможность на исправление.

Как родители, мы являемся несовершенным отражением Отцовского сердца Бога. Но наш Отец, тем не менее, хочет, чтобы мы Ему доверяли; доверились достаточно для того, чтобы отпустить, чтобы по-настоящему подчиниться. Наше послушание тогда обретёт форму ответной благодарности, а не борений и попыток что-то доказать. Если бы Бог хотел только лишь внешнего послушания, которое мы так широко практикуем с нашими детьми, разве Он не добился бы этого? Мы склонны думать, что Бог является таким же родителем для нас, как и мы для наших маленьких детей. Иисус открывает нечто намного более смелое, глубокое, и разрушительное для нашего своеволия. Как Пётр, который просился пойти по воде, мы обнаруживаем, что это приглашение намного больше простого перенесения ног из лодки на поверхность воды. Когда мы только начинаем наши отношения с Иисусом, мы сталкиваемся один на один с благонадёжностью Личности – потеряй это из поля зрения, и мы барахтаемся среди волн своеволия и религии.

Богу нужны наши сердца, а не только наша воля.


Подчинение экзистенциально; оно превосходит просто функции лобной доли мозга, логического мышления. Как сильно наш западный процесс мышления, наши книги, наши проповеди сфокусированы на следовании Иисусу, рассматривая это как умственное усилие. Правда в том, что мы можем быть послушны без подчинения. И мы не в состоянии по-настоящему подчиниться без принятия Его воли в послушании.

Наш природный инстинкт – выживание; мы от природы противимся подчинению. Мы знаем, что такое подчинение. Мы даже хотим этого – возможности наконец подчиниться какой-то исключительной власти, которой можно целиком довериться. У некоторых из нас это вызывает ужас. Мы получали негативный опыт после доверия неправильным людям, и как естественное следствие этого, теперь очень осторожны в отношениях. Тем не менее, наш Творец приходит к нам с единственным видом отношений, в которых Он заинтересован – отношений, основанных на любви; поскольку Он Сам есть Любовь, и это именно то, чего так сильно на самом деле жаждут наши сердца. Справедливости ради, по Своей любви, Он требует подчинения, поскольку только в Нём мы находим полное удовлетворение. Любовь требует полного доверия и способности отпустить (такой внутренней веры, которая проявляется в виде «не моя воля, но Твоя да будет»). Бог знает, к чему (или к кому) мы безусловно привязаны. И Он идёт нам навстречу в качестве Иисуса, приглашая к подчинению, бросая вызов нашим изматывающим страданиям самоволия.

Вне этого подчинения мы остаёмся зацикленными на себе, в то время как наши упрямые попытки сохранить контроль отрезают нас от самой жизни.

Св. Игнатий де Лойола (St. Ignatius of Loyola) утверждает: «Грех – это нежелание поверить в то, что Божья воля – это наше глубочайшее счастье». Бэннер (Benner) говорит, что пока мы не будем абсолютно в этом убеждены, мы будем делать всё, что в наших силах, чтобы удержать руки на пульте управления нашей жизнью (хотя бы в какой-то степени), поскольку думаем, что мы лучше Бога знаем, что именно нам необходимо для полноты самореализации.

Доверяю ли я безоговорочно Богу насколько, чтобы подчинить Ему своё прошлое, настоящее и будущее? Принимаю ли я Иисуса, как наивысшее проявление жертвенной, доверительной любви? Осмеливаюсь ли я получить Его безусловную любовь, отпускаю ли я контроль над своей жизнью, принимая Его волю как свою собственную?

Уделите время размышлениям о любящем взаимном подчинении, сокрытом в самой природе Бога!

Подчинение находится в самом сердце Бога, и в самом сердце всех Его подходов и действий. Когда Он просит нас подчиниться, Он просит нас исполнить то глубочайшее в Нём самом, и то глубочайшее в нас самих. Стэнли Джонс (E. Stanley Jones)

Отец подчиняется Сыну. Дух постоянно хочет воздать славу, но не Себе, а Отцу и Сыну. Существует ли вообще любовь вне такой добровольно подчиненной воле, направленной на желание абсолютного блага для другого? Любовь – три Личности Троицы полностью и всегда открыты, взаимно подчиняясь друг другу. Мы можем доверять Богу в нашем личном подчинении, поскольку Он Сам практикует это в Себе Самом. Иисус знал, что, если Он подчинит Свою жизнь, человечество сможет получить любовь Отца, сможет войти в любовь Отца через Евангелие.

Потрясающая любовь Бога, проявленная во Христе и на Голгофе «не является произвольным выражением Божьей природы; такова жизнь в Троице, объяснённая миру». Симандс (Seamands)

Прочитайте слова Апостола Павла и поразмышляйте о Его любви к вам!

31 Что же сказать на это? Если Бог за нас, кто против нас? 32 Тот, Который Сына Своего не пощадил, но предал Его за всех нас, как с Ним не дарует нам и всего? 33 Кто будет обвинять избранных Божиих? Бог оправдывает их. 34 Кто осуждает? Христос Иисус умер, но и воскрес: Он и одесную Бога, Он и ходатайствует за нас. 35 Кто отлучит нас от любви Божией: скорбь, или теснота, или гонение, или голод, или нагота, или опасность, или меч? как написано: 36 за Тебя умерщвляют нас всякий день, считают нас за овец, обреченных на заклание. 37 Но все сие преодолеваем силою Возлюбившего нас. 38 Ибо я уверен, что ни смерть, ни жизнь, ни Ангелы, ни Начала, ни Силы, ни настоящее, ни будущее, 39 ни высота, ни глубина, ни другая какая тварь не может отлучить нас от любви Божией во Христе Иисусе, Господе нашем.

Рим. 8:31-39 (Синодальный перевод)

Сегодня я проведу какое-то время в размышлениях не только о сферах моей жизни, которые претерпевают трудности в подчинении, но и о природе моего глобального подчинения. Подчинение – это не борьба, оно освобождает и отпускает меня в любящие руки моего Спасителя.

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You Have Heard it Said.

Hockey, the Bible, and the new broadcast. 

As a Canadian kid, I lived and breathed hockey. At least twice per week in the winter, I would be on the ice, practicing or playing indoors and outdoors. I wouldn’t miss a Toronto Maple leafs game each Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada was and still is a national religion for most Canadians. However, I had a small problem. Our family lived in rural farming country, and television reception was very limited. Through an old towering metal antenna placed atop our house, we could pick up two channels.

This was the exact TV I remember watching hockey on. Change the channel with your foot!

I. The Game. The Context.

If the weather cooperated, my hockey game was visible and I could sit back and enjoy the game. Unless you know hockey well, it’s a difficult game to watch on TV. For one, the speed and constant motion of the ten players and two goalies is more like a dance rather than static one-off plays you can follow specifically like baseball, golf or American football. Secondly, the size of the puck. The rather obscure rubber disk can fit in the palm of your hand, and ricochets around the ice surface like a splitting atom.

Trying to follow the puck on an old standard definition TV set is difficult even for seasoned hockey fanatics with 20/20 vision, let alone the far or short sighted amateur sporting enthusiast! To make matters more difficult in viewing and understanding the game, the real strategies and momentum of the game takes place usually away from the puck, where the game is emerging. I think this is why I’m so attracted to the game still after all these years – the goals come from strategic shifts in the play well before the dangerous scoring chances.

II. Poor Reception

When the weather would take a turn for the worse, I was really in a pickle. The static interference would come in waves, like a snow storm over the glass television tube. Sometimes I could make out which team had the puck, other times I had to settle for fragments of the announcers voice that would break though with some commentary. I think it would have been easier at times to listen to the radio like my grandparents did. I remember a few times during my youth, especially during the Olympics or important playoff games climbing on top of my house and repositioning the antenna, working in tandem with my kind mama who would yell up to me if the picture quality improved from my twisting and bending of the antenna. I recall one particular time when it was in the winter, the roof was covered in snow, a small voice whispered inside, “What are you doing? This is insane, you could die up here!” But I was always so close to good reception!

III. Restored Vision – A Satellite Dish!

One Canadian summer as a young teenager, I took matters into my own hands. I worked all summer on the farm, saved up my money and bought a satellite dish. This thing was huge, not like the little dishes we see today on the sides of houses.

Overnight, everything changed. Hundreds of channels, and not one hockey station, but dozens, all crystal clear!

For the first time I could see the puck perfectly, the players faces, even their expressions. The game took on new pleasure as I was able to rest, and take in the most realistic expression of hockey aside from going to a live game. I stopped my roof-top adventures and never looked back.

IV. HD Viewing

In Ukraine, I’m not able to watch the true HD experience yet, but we occasionally return to visit my parents and experience it on my parents +80″ TV. Notice I said, “experience it.” Against the backdrop of my static antenna experience, I’m mesmerized by the clarity. For me, it’s a thing of beauty as I’m transported to the arena, I can almost smell the air, the open sound of an arena, the crunching sounds of the blades. I read they now have 8k, I can’t imagine it, but I’m excited to see it. The high definition of digital viewing reveals the clearest representation of the game of hockey.

While I’m thankful for the old analog childhood experience, I’m never going back!

V. The Bible & the Analog Antenna

While I enjoy musing about hockey, I obviously didn’t write this post to educate readers on my favorite sport. As a believer, my fascination takes root in the life of Jesus. I relate His coming to my childhood hockey viewing experience. Allow me to explain!

In the thousand years before Christ, there was something underfoot, something really amazing taking place behind the scenes. Our dynamic, sovereign Creator was at work, slowly and deliberately working with a chosen people. Under the cloud of mystery, and alongside this imperfect people, God was revealing Himself, and also revealing just how far humanity had fallen from His original design. Like the old antenna, in the Old Testament writings we are invited to journey with a sojourning Nation. We catch movement, glimpses, but often veiled illusions of what was actually going on. We follow a story, but like the nation and its players, the static of God’s mystery shrouds the experience of what is to come.

When I read the Old Testament, it’s like watching a hockey game on a fuzzy channel. It’s at times clear, then we’re hit with obscure cultural references, people speaking for God (called Prophets), some thinking they are speaking for God, and decisions and activities that make us cringe (many in the name of God). We see elements of beauty, then destruction. We’re motivated by tremendous acts of courage, then raise our eye brows at petty jealousy and acts of revenge. We see a nation struggling to understand who God, believe and trust. Some times they get it right, sometimes they don’t.

Now before evangelicals begin to throw things at me, I am not rejecting the authority and inspiration holy scripture. I believe all of scripture is inspired and useful for our journey (2 Tim 3:16-17) but only as far as its doctrines nourish us in the Son. The letter kills, the Spirit gives us life, and life is in the Son.

What I am suggesting is that we are in danger of making the Bible an idol if we don’t rightly centralize Jesus Christ and believe His words? If Jewish leaders were capable of fanatically following the Torah and yet missing the teaching of the author (Moses), what makes us think we aren’t capable of fanatically following the Bible without knowing God (Jesus?)? God didn’t drop a magic book from the sky, but He did drop into the form of a Jewish carpenter. Believing this radical event is the essence of true Christ following. We are not biblians, we are Christ-ians.

The Bible reveals and leads us to Jesus. This is why it’s so powerful, and why it has stood the test of time under the sovereign work of the Father. It is the preserved covenant of Jesus in written form, for all ages. Those who have championed scripture for any other purpose have found themselves champions of religion, using it as a means of control and self-preservation more than liberation for the masses.

It’s not until Jesus the living Word of God comes, that we are able to decipher and comprehend the Bible as a grand Divinely inspired work that points to the coming Son.

Jesus unblocks the static and pulls back the curtains to God’s master performance. Creator is expanding a family, from every nation, every culture on earth, and He is doing it through His sent Son.

Like trying to watch hockey in a snow storm, the Jewish nation was receiving signals, capturing bits and pieces of God’s intentions and heart that were ultimately to be broadcast in living color in the Person of Jesus. When we read the bible, we need to read it through the lens of Jesus, or we too will remain stuck in the analog static channel of the past.

VI. Enter 4K Jesus

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:18

Oh the beauty!

When Jesus arrives on the scene, He quite literally takes over God’s communication to humanity. We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a live announcement!

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Heb 1:1-3

Prophets, take your seat. Burning bushes, clouds by day, parted seas, and even talking donkeys God used to speak to His people. When Jesus came, the last days began, and the Father launched a brand new technology for communication, His Son.

God’s 4K, crystal clear relation of Himself had arrived.

Many believers, in my opinion, are inadvertently making an idol of the Bible. They think that worship of God looks like embracing and following the letter of Scripture. They think that an accurate reflection of God’s character is found in the Old Testament. By elevating the “Bible” to a place of supremacy against the source of life, we will remain in our sins. The bible didn’t die for us, the Son did.

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. Jn 5:39-40.

Like becoming convinced that my old antenna was providing me an accurate reflection of the real hockey game, Israel had embraced their experience, history, and writings as the exclusive signal and reflection of God to humanity. When Jesus arrives, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col 2)began to broadcast what God was ACTUALLY like.

The early Church understood this, as they worshiped the risen Word of God as the Word of God before the New Testament was canonized in the 4th century.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is.” Irenaeus (130-202)

Jesus HD clarity doesn’t illuminate the old channel, but provides the means of rightly understanding it. His life and teachings fulfill (Jn 5:17) and fill-in the missing pixels which produced the static in the first place. Israel’s ignorance, legalism, their neglect of the weightier matters of the heart and motivations were immediately understood through the life and teachings of the Logos of God.

In His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5) Jesus repeatedly took Israels scrambled signals and re-established the true Spirit of the Father. “You have heard that…But I say to you” is repeated throughout this powerful sermon in Matthew chapter 5. The stunned audience, grown accustom to the fuzzy projection of Judaism was blown away by the details and clarity of Christ’s HD reflection:

“You have heard it was said, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Mt 5:43-33

Jesus regularly took Scripture from the Jewish writings from the Torah and revealed how far off the mark they had become. He wants us to reflect the Father, it’s important for His family to know His real heart! To hate is the spirit of murder. To lust is the heart of adultery. To love is to embrace not just your friends but those who despise you. Let the children come, not just the important people. Stop casting stones of judgement, you are all guilty! I haven’t come to judge, but to save!

Clarity, definition, now the people could see the Father, and He is good in every sense of the word. We see Jesus as just, humble, self-sacrificing, inviting, pursuing. All the things we could ever hope for as a created people, our God is. He wants us to reflect His heart so He takes the commands Israel had received on the earlier channel and connects them to the digital stream – the Kingdom is selfless love, the King is selfless love, and his Kingdom people receive and share in this love!

The gospel means ‘good news.” The good news is not only that Christ has come to suffer for our sins, but that we can now see, and trust wholeheartedly that the Father is essence of goodness!

Imagine if the 4K Jesus revealed something other than goodness. What if he elevated the Jewish religious leaders in their pride, and created an isolated group of elite soldiers for disciples instead of the rag-tag group we see in scripture? What if He ruled like Hitler, punished dissenters and vaporized the weak? Some believers secretly battle trusting God because they read the Old Testament and see an unpredictable, ruthless and yet all-powerful God. Many struggle to believe prayer accomplishes much of anything because the god of their mind has been shaped by influences that don’t elevate Christ supremely. Without Jesus, we’re left watching a fuzzy channel that can come across like God is obtuse, distant and doing His own thing. Thankfully, we do have Jesus, and it’s through His revealed life that we are introduced to the true character of God as present, working, and co-laboring with us in a broken world. Start with Jesus, build your faith on this rock, it’s a safe place!

Jesus is the primary signal for understanding the hockey game. We tune in and give the Father the final say about His own character.

We don’t need to fashion a relationship with God in our own minds. We no longer need to grope in the dark. We have seen the Father, His revelation is love and His invitation to receive it.

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Jn 14:9

Final Thoughts

In recent years, I’ve enjoyed a resurgence of joy and rest in knowing Jesus personally. He has become for me the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24) and glory of God (2 Cor 4:4). I’m becoming a Jesus fanatic, help!

He has become my primary starting point, my subscription to God, making Christ supreme in the formation of communicating the God that I serve. That’s not to suggest that I don’t value the entirety of the Bible, I consider it divinely inspired and invaluable to my faith journey. It affirms my faith in Jesus, and more concisely, clarifies God’s intended broadcast as we see God’s overall enterprise and synthesizing in both testaments.

“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” Spurgeon

The reason scripture widens is the insights and humbling depths of Creator’s sovereign love towards us in Christ. There is no ending to the depths of this love and knowing God through the resurrected Christ (Phil 3:8). Jesus doesn’t conflict with scripture, He helps us rightly understand it and the Father.

As the wise-men were guided to Christ on the night of His birth, the Bible is is our north-star that leads us to Jesus. We don’t worship stars, we worship the Son.

He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. Revelations 19:13

I highly recommend spending some time journeying through the Gospel of John. You don’t have to study the Greek and get into deep cultural studies at first. You don’t need a teacher or pastor to inspire you with their particular revelation. The Holy Spirit is our gift from the Father, He fills and teaches us (Jn 14:26). As you read, place yourself in the scenes, ponder and listen to what the Spirit might be saying through the story. I believe the Spirit loves to connect the 4K broadcast if we humbly come with open hearts. Consider the means and cost the Father endured to bring you His very heart. Allow the fuzzy to become clear as the life of Christ widens your eyes and inspires you to trust your Creator in new, deeper ways.

This is the nature of saving faith, a surrendered trust in the revealed character of God. 

The very best times in my journey have been walking through the Gospels and sensing the heart of the Father in Jesus words, actions, and humble inaction. What a God we serve!

The hopes and fears of all the years. Are met in thee tonight.

Thank you Jesus for coming as the very Word of God. Thank you for the written revelation that informs our hearts and draws us to yours. Thank you for your broadcast in living, breathing color. I’m so thankful for the experience of knowing you, and that we don’t have to climb roofs and turn antennas anymore.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Col 3:16

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