Posted by Scott Thompson on Jul 28, 2011 in Musings
I’ve been bombarded lately with the idea of knowing God, actually knowing him in an experiential way, no just knowing stuff about him. Everywhere I go, I bump into this concept. It’s clearly possible because Jesus himself says, “this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The word there is ginosko, which means to to have first-hand knowledge or experiential knowledge. This is not an intellectual concept. This is knowing God in the same way that I know my wife, my friends and my kids.
Then I picked up Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. Wow. Quite challenging. But, he reminds us that this knowledge, when we live out of this proper relationship with our creator, the easy yoke and the light burden Jesus promises is the natural result. To this end, he quotes Oswald Chambers as saying,
The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.
These thoughts are rather scattered and random right now, but I’m in a rather scattered and random place, so I ask your forgiveness. But, the more God leads me to dig into this concept, the more convinced I am that most Christians skip the first step in the discipleship process. We meet the risen Christ and are so excited to start doing stuff for him, that we don’t take the time to really get to know him first. Don’t get me wrong, we should always be about our Father’s business, but there seems to be this understanding that if a complete understanding of God’s character and identity isn’t instantly downloaded to your brain as you cry and pray at the altar that you’ve somehow done it wrong.
As I read the Gospels, Jesus spent a lot of time alone with his Father. He was never in a hurry, and he did a large portion of his ministry while he was on the way to someplace else. I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I know that I don’t have it yet.
Posted by Scott Thompson on May 6, 2011 in Ramblings
It’s been a couple of weeks since Easter, but I’m still wrapped up in the resurrection. I don’t mean this in the churchy sense. I’m not trying to sound super spiritual. But someone said something in a podcast that I was listening to that has me thinking. He said that Jesus was resurrected and not resuscitated. I’d never heard anyone make this distinction before. His point was that what happened to Jesus was something that had never happened before. Lazarus had been returned to life, but what he experienced was resuscitation. Lazarus eventually died again.
And while it was this new thing, it is somehow connected to his earthly body, because it wasn’t there anymore. Somehow, this new body, this new way of existing used the previous body, but it was configured in a way that it was new. It could pass through walls, travel great distances at incredible rates of speed, disappear.
My head is still spinning with this. I’m not sure if it’s just new words for what I have always understood or if this is something new for me to incorporate into the way I understand resurrection. Thoughts?
Posted by Scott Thompson on Apr 26, 2011 in Ramblings
The transition from Story Point to Chelan has put a damper on my blogging, but hopefully I’ll get back in a groove here soon. If you’re curious how we’re doing you can check out chelanigans.posterous.com or listen to the messages at chelannazarene.org.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Feb 25, 2011 in Bible Experiment
Deuteronomy is beginning to sound a bit like a broken record. It’s the same things over and over. But, there’s good reason for that. Humanity is notoriously forgetful and rebellious. The term Moses uses is stiff-necked. God repeats himself because we need him to. We’re pretty obstinate. In today’s reading (17-20) what stood out to me were two more phrases. We see God tell us to “purge the evil from among you” and that we must be “blameless before our God.” If we don’t keep these things in mind, the context of these commands can seem quite brutal and mean-spirited. They are mixed in with commands to slaughter animals and commit what can only be described as genocide. It sounds terrible. But its always about God continuing to reveal himself and his plan for redemption. He is calling Israel (and by extension all of humanity) out of sin and rebellion into a relationship with him. He is reminding us that even the smallest bit of impurity can keep us from him. We must be blameless in front of him. Thankfully, he has made a way for us.
If you’re reading along, keep it up. You’re doing great.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Feb 24, 2011 in Bible Experiment
We’re about half way through Deuteronomy today, I’m beginning to notice a trend. There are a couple of phrases that repeat over and over. If I let myself be lulled into a trance by the rituals and feasts (all of which we have read before in Leviticus and Numbers) it’s easy to miss them. The first is “the place he will choose as a dwelling place for his name.” First, jump back to Deut. 12:4.
You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Feb 8, 2011 in Bible Experiment
I continue to wrestle with Leviticus this morning. It’s a struggle some days, especially at 6 am. But I noticed something repetitive today. And in scripture when something is repeated it’s important. I noticed this phrase repeated Many times “who makes them holy”. It was preceded in almost every case by this phrase “I am the Lord”. In the midst of all these rules and regulations, God is reminding the people that it’s not the sacrifices that make them holy, but him. It’s his holiness that spills out all over us when we are up close to him. The rituals are just the means for them to get up close to him. They allow the people to safely connect with their creator.
Am I getting up close to God? Am I allowing him to make me holy? I don’t have to bring a lamb without defect, but I have to bring something more painful. I have to offer myself up each day.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Feb 7, 2011 in Bible Experiment
Have you ever moved in some place where you could tell the previous tenant was a total slob? Maybe it smelled funny. Maybe they left stuff in the cabinets or maybe there were stains on the carpet. I think this is the message of Leviticus 18-20. Look at verse 24 of chapter 18.
‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.’
The rules here (and some of them are selectively quoted by hate mongers in an effort to judge and persecute) aren’t meant to be restrictive and oppressive. They are meant as protection. Preventative medication. A vaccine against sin. God is letting them know where the previous tenants missed the mark in an effort to keep the Israelites from making the same errors. It’s like your parents telling you not to touch a hot stove or put your finger in a light socket. It’s done out of love.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Feb 5, 2011 in Musings
The sacrificial system has always been a little bit odd for me. But this time through Leviticus has shown me something. It was the antibiotic for sin. It was the pill to cure the disease. But like antibiotics, it wasn’t a long term solution. We developed a resistance to it. We needed a real cure. That’s where Jesus came in.
Now I realize the irony of making this statement as I type on my iPhone, but there is no app for sin, no pill, no silver bullet. Jesus is the cure, but he’s more like a lifelong medical regimen than a short course of antibiotics. It’s in the ongoing personal sacrifice that God shows up and changes who we are. But, apps are still cool.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Jan 31, 2011 in Bible Experiment
Today we finished off Exodus in the Bible Experiment. The closing chapters are all about instructions for building the tabernacle and how to then use it in the worship of God. God is very specific and adamant about how things are to be constructed, what they are to be made of and how they are to be used. There is no wiggle room. This is the way it is. This is the way you worship. But something stuck out to me. Repeatedly in the course of these instructions, God says “if you are willing.” Even as he lays out how things are to be, leaving no doubt that he is in charge, he reminds us that it’s always our choice. He wants a relationship. He wants us to engage with him, worshiping him, obeying his commands. But, he will never force us. We must be willing.
Posted by Scott Thompson on Jan 27, 2011 in Bible Experiment
I’ve actually been wrestling with this concept for a while now, before we started the Bible Experiment. I’ve been looking at different translations, original languages, commentaries, even the twitterverse to try to figure out whether there is a difference between the Tent of Meeting and the Tabernacle or if they are essentially synonyms. As I was reading Exodus 26 & 27 this morning, I think I finally found my answer. Read more…