March 28, 2006

Are We "Biblical"???

Not so long ago, local priests used to charge money to get people out of hell. The people may or may not have believed it, but they often paid the money! After all, what did they know? And what right did they have to argue? The priest's word was GOD to them. This happened all over Europe, in the 1400's, until someone found a weapon stronger than the priests...

They found the Bible! (This is NOT where the story gets better...)

Guttenberg printed a few Bibles around 1454, in Latin of course, one of which made it's way down to Saxony, Germany, where a monk named Martin started to read it! In its pages, he found statements he thought would rebuke the priests. And so, armed with his hours of careful study and arguments, Mister Luther took on the establishment - and won!

(Again, this is NOT where the story gets better...)

A scary thing happened that century. Men all over Europe realized that studying and quoting the Bible would give them authority in the eyes of those who had not done so for themselves. (Please stop and read that sentence again.)

This is the Horrible Side-Effect of the Protestant Reformation!

As a matter of fact, almost all of the common folk could NOT read, nor even dream of paying the King's Ransom it would have cost them to get a copy of Guttenberg's Bible... or Tyndale's in English (which were all being burned) or Luther's in German. The common folk were STILL at the mercies of the powerful men who had resources and time enough to buy, read and study their Bibles!

Sadly, it's not very different today.

Every day, men use the Bible as an means of gaining control over others. People say, "The Bible says" and then say "so therefore you've got to!" (It's worse than that, actually - you don't even have to say the second part - everyone just assumes it!) How... sad... is... this? And more importantly, why do some of those men sound as if you don't even need the Lord - but just the Bible?

I want to go on the record: I do NOT believe that ANYONE must "do what the Bible says."

I certainly don't live that way! So how could I ask others to? :)

Do I follow the 623 laws of Moses? (No.) Have I made a list of all the hundreds of things the New Testament seems to be telling us to "do" AND tried to follow it to the letter each day? (No.) Am I part of a church that has "elders" like Ephesus and the Galatian churches did? (No.) Did we have Paul live here for a year and a half before leaving, like Corinth did? (No.) Did we have Luke stay for seven years until Paul appointed elders and then left with Luke, like they did in Philippi? (No.)

I didn't come here because I thought we were "biblical". I came here because I wanted to know the Lord together with all the saints! And that's all I want to do here...

Except, maybe, for one more thing! :)

I'd also like to pass a LAW (!) that says no one's allowed to preach or teach "We must do what the Bible says." BUT since I know I can't control the controllers or keep them from trying to control others, then I suppose - instead - that I'd like to help others be free from that ridiculous burden.

The Bible is NOT here so we can teach others how to "Follow" it. The Bible is here so we can use it to Know Jesus Christ, more and more. Whoever uses it to exert control over others is robbing those people of knowing its true benefit.

March 21, 2006

One Hour. One Life.

I know chess. Bobby Fisher knows chess. (NOT the same thing!)

I know basketball. Kobe Bryant knows basketball. (NOT the same thing!)

I know the guitar. Eric Clapton knows the guitar. (Get the point yet?) :)

I sat and talked with a brother in the Lord. Because Jesus lives in both of us, I can say we “shared” Him. But this morning I woke up an hour before I had to and went to a brother’s house. (I won’t tell you exactly what we did but it was NOT all in that room!) And we shared the Lord! (It was NOT the same thing!)

What DOES this mean? To “know” Him? To “share” Him?

Is that something that’s simply true because we’re Christians? Does it merely mean the same thing as saying that we’re saved? Or is “knowing” and “sharing” Him ACTUALLY an active, ongoing, daily, deliberate thing?


There is a story of a wealthy woman who went to Rome, Italy, and hired the very best professional guide money could buy. She was proud of her own ability to get things done quickly and so she asked the guide, “How long do you think I need to really learn and appreciate this great city?”

And the guide said, “Senora, Una Hora, Una Vita.” (Which, being translated, means…) “Ma’am, one hour, one life.”

I can type this and say to you, “I know Jesus Christ.” I can tell you I know Him. I can share Him with you. (A little bit, over this internet, but how MUCH more if you were HERE!)


What is this even like? Do you know what I mean?

It's a little like a marriage.

I LOVE my wife. I love here even more because she understands me better now, than ever before. She KNOWS me. And I know her so much MORE now, than I did when we first met nine years ago. And yet, deep down, she hasn’t really changed. (In a way, none of us ever really do.)

The day we met, all that she is now, she was then. (But she's a better HER now. Like wine!) And I knew her. And then we became engaged and I knew her better. And then we got married and I got to know her in all kinds of new ways! And that was as much fun as it was terrifying! (I mean being a newlywed – what’d you think I was talking about?) :)

Still, today, nine years later I’m starting to feel like I know her through and through. But in so many ways I have yet to KNOW her as well as I yet may… in time. I’m still learning how to understand and care for her. I’ll be failing (and hopefully getting better) at that for the rest of my life. Which is a very nice thought! (Hi, Sarah! I love you, dear!)

But I DO know her – all of her – right at this moment. And yet I’m growing to know her more. (And thus, to love her more.) I know her AND I can yet know her more. Both are true. Right Now.

Life in Christ is like that.

We GROW in KNOW-ing… HIM.

Life grows and ripens, like a vine. Like new wine. Always NEW. Wine.

Yet so many American Christians do not seem to speak as if knowing HIM is their central ambition. Not even as if seeking to know HIM more and more is even a high priority, or a necessary thing. So many seem to speak as if they ALREADY know Him, and so now let’s just enjoy life, or else let's just get on with the business he’s laid out for us. (And it’s usually either evangelism or social projects – neither one of which jazzes me up much at all. ESPECIALLY when it steals the center stage and focus of everything... but that's another topic!)

BUT WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THIS EARTHLY LIFE HE'S GIVEN US!?!?! Could He possibly want us... to KNOW HIM? More? And More? (Do you think?)

I DO know Him. Right. Now. And this Knowing Him is NOT an unattainable, unreachable goal, as some have often taught. I do NOT mean that I will keep trying to Know Him. I KNOW HIM!!!! :)

And yet I know Him more… Because I seek to know Him more… AND BECAUSE…

BECAUSE I live among some saints who actively and frequently encourage me to keep on seeking… to know Him… MORE! (And this might just be the most important thing of all.)

This is not a concept, or a truth to be realized.
It doesn’t come from studying the Bible.
He is real. He lives in a place.
You can go there. Anytime.

IF you know the way… (and all Christians do, or once did, and can learn), and IF if you don’t listen to those who talk as if you go there just once, and then you “know”. (That’s not what Knowing is.)

But what is Knowing? We pursue. We press IN. We press ON. For WE are hungry.

For MORE of You, Lord.

Una hora. Una vita.

Si, Maestro!
Gratzi, Maestro!
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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton