The Toronto Blue Jays are winning games by lop sided scores, the weather is beautiful, and my health is the best that it has been in years. I could say, “all is right with the world”, but in reality all isn’t right with the world. Just because I’m doing well and am happy doesn’t mean that everyone else is.
An occurring theme of this blog is that we North American Christians believe that the world revolves around us and we ignore what is happening to the rest of our planet. I believe that we are seeing prophecy fulfilled every day all over the world but because it isn’t happening directly to us in Canada and the United States we don’t think it counts.
We live in a culture that mimics the society around us. We have to have Christian comedians and recording stars to entertain us. We only go to churches with super-star pastors, who preach socially acceptable sermons, and we worship in multi-million dollar campuses with dozens of satellite churches listening in through multi-media.
I wake up sometimes and wonder if we have any idea about what it means to be a disciple or the meaning of “pick up your cross and carry it.” I recently went into a Christian bookstore and was surprised to find the store had Bibles, greeting cards, crosses, wall plaques, a wide selection of Christian fiction, coffee mugs, T shirts but almost no theology books. I think I counted seven commentaries and they were all short, not very in depth and written by people I had never heard of.
A friend wrote me about the last blog and how nice it was to see me quote F.F. Bruce and that is what got me thinking about this post. There was a time when Christians really studied and read commentaries and Biblical classics. I’m not sure if we’ve stopped reading as much theology because the local bookstores don’t carry the material or if they don’t carry the material because people don’t buy the books.
I do know that when I became a Christian my pastor introduced me to Christian literature like Pilgrims Progress, Screwtape letters, Who Moved the Stone? and scores of other great inspirational books. I thrived on Christian biography and the adventures of men like Hudson Taylor, William Carrey, David Livingstone, and John Newton. I probably knew more about the China Inland Mission than I knew about my own city. This pastor encouraged me to read the life stories of John Calvin, John Knox, Martin Luther, and John Wesley amongst others.
Later I would fall in love with the writing’s of F.F. Bruce, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, John Stott, Francis Schaeffer, and the scores of writers who were writing for Intervarsity Press. Today I continue to read commentaries, but I listen more and more to online sermons and enjoy the host of inspirational blogs, websites and podcasts dedicated to the serious study of God’s word.
I know from your emails that many of you who read this blog enjoy studying the Bible and are serious about your spiritual growth and development. You’re not interested in big churches, famous ministers and multi-million dollar television ministries. You’re interested in knowing Jesus as a personal savior and sharing that relationship with others so that they can know Him as well.
We need to stand firm against the creeping compromise that infiltrates our churches and our lives by staying focused upon Jesus. It becomes easy to become nominal in our faith. Too much work, too much fun, too much leisure time and a thousand other things can tear away the fabric of our commitment to keep Jesus first in our lives. When our schedules are hectic and our days overwhelming it becomes easy to snatch a few minutes out of our prayer time in order to get something else done.
As we set sail on our journey into the book of Judges I encourage each of you to study along with us. Invite a friend or two to go over the comments and thoughts that we will share each posting. Look up the Bible verses and read some of the commentary quotes online. I believe that we can all grow closer to God and more fully committed to God when we study together, so let’s do it.
Our culture might have an amazing hold upon North American Christianity but that doesn’t mean we have to give into it or be part of it. May the Holy Spirit bless you and keep you as we determine to study together and grow closer to God as a true Biblical family.
* All’s quiet in the front…really? Just because it’s hardly reported in the news these days doesn’t mean it’s not happening anymore. Many people around the globe are STILL experiencing persecution for their faith in God, and many even unto death. They need our support and continuous prayers. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet but you have to search for it