Monday, August 17, 2009

A Biblical Foundation

We began our series Sunday, Aug. 16, on our Core Values at Bethel. I said that the idea for this series came from a story that I read about a coach who decided to teach/coach basketball for children saying that he had become frustrated that older kids don't know the basics. He said that no one knows the basics anymore.

I think that goes for Christian faith as well. We get along in our faith and get to thinking that we no longer need to master the basics. But, as the coach said: "Michael Jordan was great because he had mastered the basics. That's what set him free to be great..." So, the first basic for us is a Biblical Foundation.

The Bible has a privileged place among us. I cannot go rummaging around in "Newsweek, or Psychology Today, or the New York Times for a text from which to preach on Sunday. I may, in fact, read them, but I must go the Bible for a text.

The Bible is a our agreed-upon text, the main rule for faith and practice. While the Bible is not a science book or a history book, not primarily, the Bible is a book about God. It is God's word and all who read it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit hear God speak and are formed into that story.

The Rabbis say that God got tired of being mis-quoted and wrongly reported; so, he decided to write his own story. So, he hired a personal secretary to write as he dictated. Everybody knows that while God likes to talk, he hates to write. For forty days and nights God told his story and his secretary wrote it down.

Finally, it was done and God sat down. God had been pacing back and forth while dictating. Suddenly, the secretary wrote the last word and stood up. He threw down his pen and said, with rage of someone who had been plagiarized: "My God, that's my story..."

As Christians, we are a people who are enrolled in a story. We bend our lives toward that story. We stand under the judgement of that account of reality. We read it and cry out: "My God, that's my story."

John Wesley said that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation. We read the Bible, if only a verse, every day. We study the Bible with others. And, we remain open to God's Spirit.

Blessings!
Dave Nichols

2 comments:

  1. Regarding the construction by the Holy Spirit of my biblical foundation, the two things I am trying to earnestly learn now in the "pleasant fields of scripture" are scriptures pertaining to repentance and scriptures pertaining to salvation. Instead of this being a “back to basics” for me, this is really a “begin with the basics”.

    Repentance I have learned is "a change of mind" where we turn to God and turn from sin. The direct path for turning to God is to turn through the pages of His eternal word and to study the scriptures.

    For me personally, studying the early chapters in Revelation recently has been valuable because Jesus emphasizes what he loves and what he hates in the body of Christ or church.

    The characteristics of the church at Ephesus or "Apostolic Church" are emblematic of the ideal church or what we should strive for. And even they began to leave their first love, devotion to Christ. Jesus' command to them was to repent. This gets us back to our first love. This is where the Holy Spirit and earnest devotion bear the fruit of an intimate relationship with Christ.

    Regarding salvation, the images in Revelation are majestic. I don't know about you brothers and sisters, but I want one of them crowns! These passages of scripture inspire me to study more and more scriptures pertaining to salvation so that I can be a more effective witness for Christ and His salvation amongst unbelievers.

    In Revelation 2 and 3 Jesus says to each church as the opening of His message to them, "I know thy works...." Scholars say that this is the Lord Jesus looking for fruit. The Church in Philadelphia was commended for keeping His word. Their foundation was built on His word. They were revived by His word. Alleluia!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Yes, and YES! Thanks for this post.

    ReplyDelete

Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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