Wird Geladen

Lessons from my own bible study

Archive for the tag “Life”

1 Corinthians 2:10

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

At the time of Paul’s missions, the resurrection was fresh. It brought along Pentecost, and the deliverance of the Holy Spirit to the hearts of all humanity. If Paul was fired up about any one thing, it would have been the resurrection of Jesus, the abolition of the Law which heretofore damned all humanity, our salvation from that damnation by what was, I’m sure, the completely unpredicted, uncharacterized, misunderstood grace of God. People would not have understood the opportunity it gave us to go into the Cave of Wonders and find totally new, hidden, secret, miraculous treasures of God. That is, people would not have understood the opportunity God’s grace gives us humans for growth and progress in understanding. Unfortunately, they still don’t. That progress has stalled over the last 2000 years, and we’re still caught up on the whole salvation through grace through faith thing.

The focus of Paul’s whole ministry is that Jesus was resurrected, exactly like he said, so therefore he is to be trusted as a demonstration of God’s Power and faithfulness. What this told the early Christians is, “apparently God doesn’t work exactly like we’ve been thinking lo these thousand years. Apparently God has forgiveness, and grace, and unconditional love in His heart. Apparently He doesn’t want us to die. Apparently He’s personally, deeply, lovingly involved in our lives and maturation. Apparently he’s our father…” The thing Paul understood about the teaching power of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just some kind of self-improvement wisdom. It wasn’t a wisdom that helped clarify a lot of problems and questions the learned had been struggling with for years. It wasn’t good to know, privileged information, truth for truth’s sake. The wisdom that Paul understood was: the dynamic of our relationship with God has changed. Our lives mean something new now that Jesus has died and come back from the dead. The development of humanity has had a complete saltation, and it all has to do with Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, his ministry of truth and understanding, and the Holy Spirit whom he poured out onto all of us so that we could begin to live in this new way. We know something you don’t, which is that we are now alive.

Now the name of that life is Slavation. The source of that life is Salvation. Without being saved from the Law, we could not live. We would indeed have to keep on living to avoid sin, living to fulfill the law. But with the Law abolished, we can live to fulfill God’s purpose for us. We no longer have to have God come down and bless exceptional men. We no longer take our orders in solitary, mysterious bursts. Every moment of our lives can be connected to God, who before could have nothing to do with us because we were sinful, unclean, and not fit to be in His presence! The dynamic of our relationship changed when Jesus rose from the dead because it tore down the curtain, turning us into creatures of love instead of creatures of sin, putting us into direct contact with our Maker, the one and only God who has the power, and wisdom, and knowledge, and love, and passion, and reality to deal with our lives in a truthful, meaningful, fulfilling way. The gift of Slavation is not “not damnation”. The gift of salvation is God himself, bridged by the Holy Spirit, “who searches all things, even the depth of God.” 

For my entire Christian life I’ve been taught the gospel in relation to “Your sins are absolved. Be glad and grateful you’re not going to Hell.” What we teach people when we teach the salvation from sin in church is the very nature of sin. What’s happening when we focus our teaching on how great it is not to have to pay for our sins anymore is that we get a great, deep understanding of Sin. Why are we studying sin in church? Sin ought to be the last thing on our minds! It doesn’t exist, technically; on paper there is no such thing. The law which defined and tallied sin no longer exists as of the resurrection of Jesus. So why do we go to sunday school to talk about a thing which is no longer relevant? It’s a terrible tragedy, a complete halt of progress, that our churches today focus on sin-and-Jesus’s-lack-thereof. We are meant to be mining the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God, wherein the Holy Spirit will be our guide because he KNOWS the depths, he’s searched them and mapped them and will bring us through with Power and Glory. We ought to be much farther, as a race, in our relationship with God, than we are right now. We’ve had 2000 years, and we spent every one of them looking over our shoulder saying “I’m glad I avoided damnation!”

Now is the time for us to forget about sin. Now is the time for us to move forward in our relationship with God. Now is the time to take things to the next level. The days of Jesus’s ministry and the evangelical missions of Paul marked a radical shift in the course of Human development. They were the period of time in which God came available, freely, completely, biblically, personally, to each and every one of us. What is the next step in our development and understanding? Where are we going as Christians? What are we learning that will help us to stop fighting wars? Will help us to stop dying of disease? Will help us to stop polluting this gorgeous planet of ours? Will help us to stop worrying, crying, destroying, sabotaging, sinning, hurting, wondering? Does that sound like Heaven to you? Heaven is meant to be brought to Earth. We’re meant to bring ourselves up to God. The way I see it, we’ve been waiting 2000 years for Him to come down to us. If this section of Paul’s letter makes one thing clear, it’s that God is an actionable God, and we are meant to be actionable followers of Him. Paul explains here that we have the Power, given by God, through understanding, enacted by the Holy Spirit, to change the world completely, just like Jesus did. We have God’s power to stop wickedness, evil, unfortunate circumstances, sadness, badness of all kinds. We have the power to enact understanding in the hearts and minds of everyone we meet, and collectively raise the human consciousness to the next level of life, which will include none of the bad, and more of the Spirit of God. It starts with ourselves. God does reveal that power. He does give that understanding to those who see demonstrations of it, are hungry to learn, and willing to sacrifice whatever stupid Gods, rulers, and wisdom they chase around in exchange for solid substance, a joy which will anchor us in reality and understanding, make us feel like kids again, and raise us up from the dead. There’s no use working for salvation. Or trying to keep up with salvation. It’s over. It’s done. Move on. Ask God what’s next, and work for that instead.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

The Encouraging Story of Joseph

I like the story of Joseph. I find it very encouraging in my current place in life. Working hard to move forward while keeping God in the center. Not sure of where I’m headed or what good it’s doing. Unconvinced that anything I do is the best option.

Joseph grew up out of a middle-class farming family to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. His leadership saved every Egyptian citizen, and most of the Hebrews, from dying of starvation. He was the hero of his time.

But it took him a long time to get there. And he never made any decisions that led him there, per se. Rule over Egypt and adoration were not lifelong goals he had been working toward. Joseph came to fulfill his destiny because he spent his whole life loving and working for God.

A few months ago when I moved to Berlin I went to talk with my friend Erika. She loves living in Berlin even more than I do. Now she’s getting her masters here, but before she could do that, she had to teach English in a little down in central Germany for two years.

“Was it what I wanted to be doing? No. But it got me here.”

It’s the same with Joseph. He went from shepherd to captured slave to head of an enormous estate to prisoner to savior of Egypt. Every step of the way Joseph’s work was good enough that he was promoted quickly. People trusted him and gave him enormous power and authority. It wasn’t the type of work Joseph was doing that gained him renown- it was just slave work. And the quality of his work wasn’t because Joseph was a particularly adept or enthusiastic worker. Again, he was a slave. Rather, Joseph put his hand into God’s and trusted His grace and goodness to bless everything he did.

It was God alone who was moving Joseph toward what turned out to be his great destiny and the salvation of all Egypt. Did Jo enjoy the work he was doing? Perhaps. Did he take pride in being very good and high up in his position? Probably. But what’s absolutely certain and most important to remember is that Joseph begged God’s help in all things. He had to have done. God doesn’t go to work for those who don’t ask for it. But those who work by love for the Lord, earn His wages.

Joseph put God and all of his heart into whatever work was before him. He moved forward toward God’s good blessings for his life by staying continually grounded in the Lord. No matter what unfortunate, unfair mistakes came into his path, or how down and out Joseph became, he never stopped serving first and foremost the Lord. And that’s what led to his ultimately coming into his own- the golden cup that was waiting for him.

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New Project- “Putting God at the Center Series”

The goal of every Christian is to live a God-centered life.  But what does that mean, “God-centered life?”  First thing that comes to mind:  God has to be at the center of my life.  Brilliant deduction.  What’s that mean?  How do I get him there, and what will happen when I do?  What does it look like to have God at the center of my life, and more importantly, what’s there now?

Over the coming weeks Wird Geladen will be be entering into a short series focused on searching the Bible for clues and suggestions on how one can rearrange himself to make God the center of his life- his universe, his existence, his heart.  I invite you to introspect yourself right along with me, and together we will strive to find out exactly what it means if something is at the center of the self.  How is it reflected in behavior, attitude, priorities, desires?  Whatever’s at our center must manifest itself in a stronger way than anything else having to do with us, right?  So what’s already there, and what of those manifestations have we taken for granted and just never noticed before?

We shall peer into our depths with the goal of making sure that God is what we see.  I’m also looking forward to finding out what kinds of things will change about us during this process.  With God at our center what will we want- and not want- anymore?  What doors will open up (see On The Pursuit Of Your Passions for insight into how these things correlate)?  How will our friends/family/strangers view us differently?  How different will we feel, and most importantly what will happen in our relationship with God?

To life a God-centered life, honestly, sounds scary.  I believe that the closer God gets to the center of a life the happier and fuller the life becomes- that being the nature of God- but making God the center of one’s life requires a lot of sacrifices, a lot of decision making toward that end, and some of that, I predict, will be painful.  When you say yes to something you say no to something else.

Luckily Paul talks about just this very topic in First Corinthians, and that seems a great place to start our journey.  Our first post in the “Putting God at the Center” Series is about making sacrifices.  I do not foresee disappointment resulting from this exercise.   With that, we shall commence.

PS- sorry I don’t have a clever name for this whole thing; marketing was never my strong suit.  If you want to suggest a better name than “Putting God at the Center Series” PLEASE do so!  Here’s a picture of some rope.

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