The Only Question that Matters…

The Evangelical Methodist Church says: “We believe in Jesus Christ, who is both God and man; His virgin birth, His sinless life, His substitionary and redeeming death, and His physical resurrection.” Again, this statement is the concise communication of Article II of the Articles of Religion that guide the doctrine of the EMC. As with the doctrine of God, the Father Almighty, the doctrine of Jesus Christ the Son is equally difficult to parse in one blog post.

But, I’m always up for a challenge, so…

Did you know Jesus took the first public opinion poll? In Matthew 16: 13 – 20, Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say I am?” The interesting thing is, pollsters have been asking that same question ever since. The disciples gave varying responses: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet.

Today, we might find responses like “God among men,” or “human but divinely called,” or “a good, moral teacher.” There are others, but now as then, the answers are varied. Does it matter who we think Jesus to be?  Well, it mattered to Jesus.  So much so that he asked his disciples the question. For them and for us, it’s really the only question that matters. All else in our lives revolves around how we answer that question. How do we answer?


Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew Yeshua, which means, “God is Savior.”  Joseph and Mary gave him the name in obedience to the command given by the angel Gabriel when Gabriel announced Jesus’ conception.  God was working in Jesus to bring salvation to His creation.  We believe Jesus is our salvation.  Through Jesus, we have fellowship with the Father, we are redeemed from the bondage to sin, and we know we have security in heaven with him.  But there is more.


Jesus is also the Christ.  This is the title Peter gave to Jesus in Matthew’s gospel.  Christ in the Greek literally means “anointed one.”  It, too, is a transliteration of the Hebrew word  “Messiah”, which means “anointed one.”  Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  It is a title given because of who he is and the role he fills.

Jesus understood his role as Messiah.  He is/was the divinely anointed king sent to usher in God’s kingdom on earth.  Not, however, the Kingdom the Jewish nation was looking for. The Jewish nation was looking for a king who would deliver them from the political bondage they were in, and would establish a political kingdom ruled from Jerusalem by God. Not much different than what we see in much of the Middle East still today. Jesus understood the Kingdom of God was not established by physical force and violence, but through love, humility, and service.

Too often, we’re looking for the wrong Jesus. We’re looking for the one who will save us from our circumstances. We make bad decisions, then go running to Jesus crying, “Save me!” That’s not the real Jesus. He didn’t die to change our circumstances. He died to change us. He died to reconcile us to the Father through himself. Sin is that which separates us from God. He died to forgive our sins, and rose to give us new life, eternal life, which is not necessarily length of life, but quality of life.

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he walked into the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth.  He took the scroll of the day, opened it, and read these words:

Luke 4:18-21

    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

        for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.

    He has sent me to proclaim

        that captives will be released,

        that the blind will see,

        that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,

        [19] and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

        [20] He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue stared at him intently. [21] Then he said, “This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!”

We believe, as Evangelical Methodists, that Jesus is both “Savior” and “Messiah.” Like the people in the Nazareth synagogue, there are many in the world today who don’t know quite what to make of Jesus.  Let us not be so timid. We know who Jesus is. Yet there is still more to unpack in this powerful doctrine.


Jesus is Lord.  When we proclaim “Jesus is Lord,” it can fix your life, but it will sure mess up your day! “Jesus is Lord” was the confession of the early church, and it is the confession that continues with us today. What does it mean for Jesus to be Lord?  For the early Christians, it meant that he was sovereign over their lives, that their lives had become subservient to his.  It literally meant their lives were no longer their own.

Guess what?  It means the same thing for us today.  It means that we have surrendered our lives to his.  He is sovereign over us.  It means we have been to the cross and left ourselves there.  We walked away from the cross, and we were no longer the same.  Our lives were no longer our own, but they belong to Jesus. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship Our fears, our doubts, our pride, our selfishness, our lust, our greed, our wants, our desires, our very will, are all left at the cross when we acknowledge Jesus is Lord.

Jesus acknowledged his place as Lord in John 13:13: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true.”  The angels announcing Jesus’ birth proclaimed him Lord: Luke 2:11 “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  Thomas, on seeing the nail-scarred hands of Jesus after the resurrection proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”  Paul and his colleagues also declared that Jesus was Lord when they were dragged before in Acts 17.

The biblical understanding of Jesus as Lord goes far beyond our simple confession.  Its affect reaches God’s entire creation.  The Bible speaks of a time coming when “Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11) and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philip. 2:9-11).

I believe the day is ever closer that we in the United States may have a cost to bear when proclaiming “Jesus is Lord.” It is easy enough to gather in like-minded crowds on Sunday morning to make that proclamation, but to now do so in the public square could be costly. And, it may become even more costly. I am concerned by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to refuse to hear an emergency appeal from a Nevada church challenging the constitutionality of their governor’s order capping worship gatherings at 50 people, while allowing casinos to operate at 50% capacity. It is a sign that religious freedom is waning. Will we be up to the task in the western church? I wonder?

A Unique Birth

If Jesus is Lord, then we must accept, as a matter of faith, the unique circumstances of his birth.  We accept that he was mysteriously conceived by the Holy Spirit.  This simple statement reveals the true divine nature of Jesus.  He was born of God, and he was born God.  He is fully divine.  He is not some highly exalted person, but God in human flesh.  He was “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”  Yet he was at the same time born of the virgin Mary, thus revealing his human nature.  He was the God-man, fully divine, yet fully human.  Through his birth, Jesus brought divinity and humanity together once and for all.

Has the mystery of the virgin birth been debated, even by Christians?  Yes, it has.  To deny either his mysterious conception and unique birth is to deny the very foundation  of the orthodox Christian faith.  To deny the virgin birth divorces us from the foundation of the past, and leaves us nothing but rubble for the future.  Jesus understood his unique relationship, and he communicated that relationship to his disciples.

A Unique Death

We accept his death, too, as the full final payment for the sins of the world.  The mention of Pontius Pilate locates Jesus in the historic record of humanity.  It sets in context the events surrounding his life and identifies the circumstances surrounding his life and death.

Jesus paid our sin debt, but also the sin debt for every person, but his work did not end there.  His resurrection is the one event that singularly defines the unique nature of Jesus Christ.  The resurrection is what makes Jesus special.  No other religious leader or founder ever made claim to the resurrection.  The empty tomb stands as proof that Jesus was who he claimed to be.  We believe he was taken away into heaven as witnesses watched, and later recorded the events they saw.  And if he is who he claimed to be, he sits today at the right hand of power of God the Father, pleading our case before the throne of grace.  And he will come again.

We have this assurance because Jesus is Lord.  It is all captured right there.  For Jesus to be Lord at all, he must be Lord of all.  C. S. Lewis captures, in his book Mere Christianity, the essence of our confession concerning Jesus Christ.  Lewis writes:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of hell; you must take your choice.  Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a mad man or something worse.  You can shut him up for a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God.  But don’t come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher.  He hasn’t left that alternative open to us.  He didn’t intend to.”

Who do you say that Jesus is? Isn’t that the only question that matters? Not perhaps, as much as your answer.

Until next time, keep looking up…

Who’s Your Daddy?

I thought the title might grab your attention. Perhaps it is a bit crass when you consider that I’m writing about God, who is the Father…you know, as in Father, Son and Holy Spirit…the Trinity.

God as Father is a core belief of the Evangelical Methodist Church. Their website says, “We believe in God the Father Almighty, revealed to mankind as an awesome God of Grace, love, might, mercy, justice and holiness.” That’s an overwhelming statement when you consider God who is full of grace, love, might, mercy, justice and holiness. Each of those adjectives deserves its own blog to even halfway understand, so I’ll just stick with God, the Father for now.

When I say I believe in God, the Father, I offend some people. Well, that’s nothing new because everyone lives to be offended these days. People are offended by calling God Father because they claim it is not inclusive, or that God is neither male nor female. This post is not written to demean those who get offended by my use of God, the Father. It is written for me to share my core beliefs, and I hope, the core doctrines of the EMC. So, if you’re already offended, there’s an easy fix. Stop reading. Problem solved.


For those not offended by God the Father, the statement of the EMC echoes the historic document of the Christian faith–the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed contains only the essential, Biblical elements necessary for a strong Christian faith. Its brevity is its beauty. The Creed is not weighted down with confusing verbiage. The Creed is historically rooted, and it is widely accepted across many denominations as the most concise expression of our historic faith.

The Creed begins “I believe in God the Father Almighty…” The most elementary aspect of our faith is in God, who has revealed Himself to us as Father and Creator. The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible reveals God as Creator, but it also goes on to reveal God as Father. He is God the Father Almighty.

How do we unpack that phrase? How do we unpack the infinite with the finite? The truth is that God is unknowable unless God chooses to make Himself known. Isn’t that true of any person, though? People remain a mystery to his/her companions as long as they are silent. As soon as one speaks, though, others catch a glimpse of that person’s character, intentions, and personality.


God is knowable to us because God spoke to us. He has spoken in His creation, and He has spoken to us as Father through His son, Jesus Christ. The revelation of God in the Bible, through His Son Jesus reveals God who is righteous and merciful. In Jesus, we see the heart of a loving God reaching out to his creation that is longing to be reconciled to its creator.

To believe in God, the Father Almighty is to confess that we believe in this one God, and no other. For all that God is, God is supremely Father and Creator. If God is Father, then we are his children. When we embrace God as Father, suddenly all of creation becomes our family home. That should certainly change our perspective about creation, and about how we deal with it.

While it’s true we could seek to explore the depths to which God is Almighty, and all that Almighty means, but in so doing, we might miss the fact that this God who is beyond our description and comprehension is supremely interested in a personal relationship with each one of us.


We did not invent the idea of God as Father. God did. It was the relationship with Jesus that shows us the way to the Father’s heart. In Luke’s Gospel, we encounter Jesus as just a lad, left in Jerusalem by an unsuspecting family. Their search finds Jesus at the Temple speaking with the teachers gathered there, and Jesus’ reply to Mary and Joseph is, “Didn’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:41-52). While Jesus was dying on the cross, it was to his Father that he committed his spirit, and when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to say, “Our Father.”

To embrace God as Father takes the abstract notion of philosophers of an impersonal, first cause or prime mover, and reveals to us that God is a personal God, who seeks a relationship with us. God as Father becomes more than some exalted being who thunders from a mountaintop, and whose face could not be looked upon, and reveals God to be one who is filled with love and grace.

God as Father makes God as one who is approachable, and who longs to embrace us as much as we long to embrace God. As God’s children, we are welcomed into a family that is more extensive than even the purest bloodlines. From God, who is Father, our being and blessings descend, and to God, we can turn our minds and hearts in love and gratitude. When we become God’s children, we enter a relationship that showers us with love, intimacy and care. And we respond with faith.


That type of relationship is exemplified best in our children. Their trust is such that they can ask God anything. Perhaps you’ve heard some of these letters to God children have written. Perhaps your own child has written a letter like these, and you were touched by the intimacy contained in their child-like faith:

  • Dear God, If You watch me in church on Sunday, I’ll show you my new shoes.—Mickey
  • Dear God, I read the Bible. What does “begat” mean? No one will tell me. Love, Alison
  • Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?—Neil
  • Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.—Joyce
  • Dear God, My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t sound right. They’re just kidding aren’t they?—Marsha
  • Dear God, We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said You did it. So I bet he stole your idea.—Sincerely, Donna
  • Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.—Eugene

The trust and intimacy these children, and almost all children, place in God is the kind of relationship God desires with us. It can be ours when we respond to God’s call to us in Jesus Christ.

So, that’s what I mean when I say “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” There’s a whole lot more to unpack in that almighty part, but it all starts with God as my Father.

Until next time, keep looking up…

Figuring God…

Let’s continue to reflect on the core doctrine of the Evangelical Methodist Church. The EMC says, “We believe in the Godhead, the Holy Trinity, in which there are three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”


That’s the Reader’s Digest version of Article 1 of the Articles of Religion going all the way back to Wesley’s Sunday Services. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most complex, difficult-to-grasp doctrines of our faith, yet it is the most central to all of orthodox Christianity. The doctrine of the Trinity causes us problems because we like to figure things out. Especially us guys. Our wives present us with a problem, and our first inclination is to figure out a solution. Problem, solution. That is way life is supposed to work. Right?

Our natural proclivity is to do the same with God. We think we have to figure God out before we can trust him. This doctrine of the Holy Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—is a mystery that theologians have pondered for centuries. We can’t quite figure out how there can be one God eternally existent in three persons. It just doesn’t quite make sense, but we think about it, we look at it from different angles, we try different illustrations to explain it, but we just can’t quite understand it.

Nowhere in the Bible is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity explicit. We will not find a chapter and verse that references the doctrine, but when we hear the words of Jesus, we know that the idea of God in Three Persons is implicit in his life and teaching. We know that God relates to His creation in the manner of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet He is not three gods but one God.


One passage of Scripture demonstrates somewhat of the mystery that exists, but also relates Jesus’ understanding of the inter-relatedness of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John 16: 12 – 15 says:

[12]”Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. [13] When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. [14] He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. [15] All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me.

So where did this doctrine of the Holy Trinity come from? The doctrine developed as a means to describe how the One God in whom we believe relates to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it was formed (wouldn’t you know it?) out of argument.


A fellow named Marcion in the second century taught that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament were two different gods. God, in the Old Testament, was harsh, cruel, and full of wrath and judgment. Jesus, on the other hand, was kind, gentle and loving. Therefore, we should reject the God of the Old Testament and believe in Jesus Christ.

Another guy named Arius taught that Jesus was not really god, but rather a demigod created by God the Father to be a mediator between heaven and earth. Then there was a group called Enthusiasts who believed the coming of the Holy Spirit replaced God the Father and God the Son. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was formulated by the early church to describe the basic belief in God in three persons, each co-equal, co-eternal, one in essence and substance.

The debate rages still in the church among Christians and among denominations even. There are some denominations who baptize in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Isn’t that what Jesus commanded? Look at Matthew 28:19:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Another denomination baptize in the name of Jesus only. There are still other denominations who have started baptizing in the name of “Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.” That is the politically correct way of saying Father, Son and Holy Spirit, lest we offend anyone anyone by the male gender usage of the original formulation. These are all contemporary debates, and they grow out of our incessant desire to figure God out.

The first temptation the serpent offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was the temptation to “be like God, knowing everything.” Guess what? That temptation is still with us today. We like to nail everything down, put everything into neat little boxes. That way we can control every situation.

The quest for knowledge is a good thing. In Genesis, it was God who gave humanity the directive to till the soil, and to name the animals. God was laying the foundation for the scientific enterprise, and the exploration of God’s creation helps us to fulfill the task appointed to us by God Himself.

The great mistake we make is to make God a part of His creation. God is not a part of the creation. God is wholly other, and therefore, God can never be the subject of scientific investigation. God is not some riddle or mind puzzle that can be solved with enough thought and reflection. God is a mystery, and mystery that is solved ceases to be a mystery. God is a mystery to be adored rather than a riddle to be explained. All we can ever know about God is what God chooses to reveal to us. Beyond that, God will always remain a mystery.

The mysteriousness of God is the whole point behind the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine does not define God, but it does describe what God has allowed us to know of Himself. It will always remain a mystery because God will always be a mystery—at least in this life anyway. I am reminded of the words of Paul writing to the Christians at Corinth:

Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. ( Corinthians 13:12)

There is coming a day when we will understand all things completely, but until that time we live in the mystery of this life. Jesus told his disciples “there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.” I think what Jesus means is pretty clear. If we knew all things and had full knowledge, it would be completely unbearable for us. We think it would give us freedom, but it would really serve to enslave us. The spontaneity of life would be eliminated, and grace would be a formula of cause and effect. Life would be reduced to a mathematical equation.

We simply cannot bear all truth just yet, but Jesus promised his disciples, and he promises us, that the Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth. Not suddenly and instantaneously, but slowly and gradually, in a measure appropriate to our ability to receive it.

I am reminded of the story Corrie Ten Boom told of her father’s illustration of faith. Corrie was lamenting the persecution endured by the Jews at the hands of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Fearing the time might come for her to endure such persecution, she was adamant to her father that she could never endure such suffering, that her faith would surely falter. Her father sought to reassure her that trusting God was the key. Still she persisted in her concern. Finally, her father said, “Corrie, do you remember when we used to take the train?”

“Yes,” Corrie replied.

“Do you remember when I would give you the ticket to board the train?” Dad asked.

“Yes,” Corrie responded.

“Yes, I gave it to you when you were ready to board the train,” Dad said. “So it is with faith, Corrie. God gives it to us when we need it. Not before, not after, but as we need it. To give it early may cause us to lose it. To give it too late does us no good.”

So what are we to do with this doctrine of the Holy Trinity? Perhaps we do well to remember the Good News is not that we have God all figured out, but that God has us figured out, and He loves us anyway, and he forgives our sins in spite of everything he knows about us.

We might also need to be reminded that our journey of life is not one in which all the mysteries will be solved, but one in which we know that God is behind us, ahead of us, and beside us leading us to that day in heaven when all the mysteries will be revealed, and all the doctrines of the church will be meaningless in the presence of God Himself. But, that’s another doctrine for another day.

Let’s suffice it to say that as an Evangelical Methodist I “believe in the Godhead, the Holy Trinity, in which there are three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Until next time, keep looking up…

Always Start with the Word…

As many of you know, I was recently ordained an elder in the Evangelical Methodist Church. Many of you have also asked about the beliefs of the EMC, so I thought this might be a good way to share the basic tenets of belief of the EMC. Though a blog is not the best place to do a deep dive into theological issues, I will take several weeks to offer my reflections on the core beliefs of my new faith family. I pray you stick around for the journey.

I’ll begin with the Word of God–the Bible. The EMC says, “We accept and believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We receive it as the revealed will and way of God for our daily life.”

Article V of the Articles of Religion of the EMC also states, in part: “The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”

Article V is the same Article V embraced (ostensibly) by the United Methodist Church originating from John Wesley’s The Sunday Service of the Methodists (1784). We Methodists have a long history of trust in the Bible as God’s Holy Word. Sadly, we live in an age when the validity and truth of the Bible is consistently called into question. I, for one, will continue to trust God’s Word over the changing tide of culture.


A poll by George Barna found that 52% (yes, over half) of Christians believe the Bible teaches the self-reliant notion that “God helps those who help themselves.” Self-reliance is a false theological cornerstone that finds its roots in thinking we (humanity) and subsequently I (individually) am at the center of the universe.

We are not the center of the universe. The world does not revolve around our lives, our problems, our desires, or our needs. This inherent selfishness (caused by sin) drives our need to look at the Bible and see the things that are wrong with it. One traditional saying puts it this way; “Men don’t reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.”

Trusting the Bible lies first in understanding what the Bible is. The Bible tells God’s story–the story of God’s creating and redeeming acts, and where we (humanity) and I (individually) fit into God’s story. It is the story of Paradise lost in Genesis, and of Paradise restored in Revelation. In between, we find the character of God as God moves in steadfast love to reconcile humanity and the creation to Himself.

The steadfast love of God is revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ, and made real to us through the Holy Spirit. The truth of the Bible is communicated through the story, and to leave out part of the story is to omit part of the truth, and the search for truth and understanding is garbled and confusing. Our trust in the Bible is confused if we fail to see that the Bible is God’s story, not our story.


Not only do we trust the Bible because it is God’s story, but the words of the Bible itself give us confidence in its contents. I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote to a young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3: 16–All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

We can find the Bible trustworthy because it comes from God to give us direction for our lives as God reveals where we fit into His story. Jesus himself quoted the Old Testament when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Jesus used the Scriptures to refute the Pharisees and other opponents of his ministry. The Scriptures strengthened Jesus when he was on the cross as he cried out to God the Father, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” And Jesus referred his disciples to the Scriptures that must be fulfilled concerning his death and resurrection.

You may be thinking, “We can’t trust the Bible because the Bible says we can. That is circular reasoning, and logical arguments cannot be sustained by circular reasoning.” Okay. I’ll just point out some external evidence that points to the trustworthiness of the Bible.


Bible means book. But, it is not just a book, but a book of books; sixty-six books altogether. The Bible is a book compiled over a period of approximately 1,500 years, over 40 different generations. Over 40 authors wrote it from all walks of life on three different continents, in different moods, and in three different languages. Think of a servant, a king, a military general, a doctor, a fisherman, a tent maker, a poet, a farmer, and a tax collector all writing from places such as a prison, a dungeon, a pastoral hillside, a palace, and a ship during times of war and of peace. Yet they all tell the same story–the story of God’s activity in redeeming humanity.

Factor in the evidence that there are over 5,300 pieces of preserved text from the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, and over 10,000 from the Latin Vulgate, and at least 9,300 other early versions of the Bible, and we have more external evidence for the trustworthiness of the Bible than any ancient writings. More than Homer, more than Aristotle or Plato, more than William Shakespeare himself. Yet we do not question the validity of their writings.


Honestly, though, we will not trust in the Bible through documentary evidence preserved through history, and debated by historians, theologians, and philosophers. We will not even trust the Bible because we see it as God’s story. We will trust the Bible because we accept it as God’s story, and how do we accept it? By faith.

Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of faith, and God gives us the faith to trust His word for the salvation of our souls, and the redemption of creation. Our faith is confirmed by the experiences of our lives, and the experiences of our lives confirm the truthfulness and validity of the Scriptures. The impact the Word has had on countless saints through the ages stands as a testimony to its truthfulness and dependability in leading and directing each person on our journey of faith.

Phillips Brooks said it this way, “The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it and so they see only the dead letter.”

The Bible is something to see life through. If we focus on the book itself, rather than what it reveals about the nature of God and the nature of humanity, we will only see its faults and foibles. We will miss the joy of finding God’s will for the redemption of humanity, and we will miss the blessing of knowing God’s will for our lives.

Then again, it’s not about us. It is about God, but we find meaning, purpose and joy for the journey that is life when we understand where our story fits with His story. Our story fits with His story through Jesus Christ. In the power of the Holy Spirit, “we accept and believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We receive it as the revealed will and way of God for our daily life.”

I count it all blessing to be an Evangelical Methodist.

Until next time, keep looking up…