Say, “Father!”

When I was a child, we attended a small church in Bristol, England.  Outside was a low wall forming a small courtyard where people would gather after church.  Teenagers would laugh and chat while younger children would weave in and out, playing tag.  It was a happy bubble of fellowship and laughter.

One Sunday, a group of local teenagers was on the other side of the street.  One picked up a stone and threw it at the church, smashing a small window high above the door.  As the glass shattered, that safe bubble burst.  I immediately ran inside and went straight to my Dad.  As far as I could tell, he was the tallest and one of the strongest men on earth.  I felt fearful and threatened, so Dad was the one I wanted to be close to at that moment.

The idea of a loving and protective father is not just important for children.  It is also important for all Christians.  In one well-known Bible passage, Jesus uses four words that should influence our lives every day.

In Matthew 6, Jesus addresses the subjects of giving, praying, and fasting.  In all three cases, he urges his followers not to make a show of their religious practice but to do them in secret.  After all, God knows what happens in secret, and he is all that matters.  So with the subject of prayer, Jesus warns against being showy visually or in our vocabulary.  And then, he gives a model prayer in verses 9-13.

When you pray, say, “Our Father in heaven….”

Familiar words.  You can probably quote the prayer.  Maybe you have noticed how it starts with one address, asks two things regarding the Father, and then three things regarding the family.  Let’s ponder the “address” some more. “Our Father in heaven.”

Many things should be true of a father.  Let’s be simplistic.  On the one hand, a good father is supposed to be an authority figure with power and strength.  On the other hand, a good father is supposed to be loving, kind, and close.  That immense strength has to be under control for the good of those under his care.

A. Our Father on Earth – Sadly, we live in a world where so many Dads have done a poor job of impersonating our heavenly Father.  They have been missing, angry, drunk, and even abusive.  Many Dads resemble the devil more than they do God.  But even if we did have an honourable Dad or even a Christ-loving Dad, we probably all feel a lack in our hearts.  Whether that is a slight lack or a gaping wound, it only underlines how we were created for closeness with a father.  We long for a father who is powerful and strong so that we can feel safe and secure.  We long for a father who is loving and close so that we can feel held and happy.  Our father on earth may not have been what we needed, but what about our Father in heaven?

B. Our Father in Heaven – Jesus was on a mission.  It was not just a mission to rescue us from sin and bring us into a relationship with God.  It was also a mission to reveal God’s heart to us.  What is our Father in heaven like?

i. Authority & Power – When the stone bursts the safety bubble of life, we need a Father who is big and strong.  In Matthew 8:23-9:8, we read three stories that show us a glimpse of God’s authority and power.  Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea during a great storm, and they obeyed him.  Jesus commanded demons to leave the two demon-possessed men on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus forgave and healed the paralytic.  Jesus demonstrated his divine authority over creation, the spiritual forces of evil, physical healing, and forgiveness.  At the end of this trio of stories, we read, “When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (To one man in particular! – see Matthew 9:8)

ii. Love & Closeness – When the bubble bursts and the glass rains down, we need a Father whose heart is towards us.  In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus encouraged his followers to pray and ask because of God’s good heart.  Who gives a child a slice of slate to chew on when they ask for toast?  Who thinks a poisonous snake is a suitable alternative to a healthy protein and omega-3-laden fish for a hungry child?  We are fallen creatures in a fallen world, but we know how to give good gifts to our children.  So “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

iii. Who is in Heaven – There is one moment in Matthew’s Gospel where heaven bursts onto the scene.  In Matthew 17:1-7, Jesus takes three disciples up on a mountain, and the curtains are pulled back.  Suddenly they see Jesus in his heavenly impressiveness, conversing with Moses and Elijah.  Peter panics and suggests a tent-building plan.  Then there is a bright cloud and a booming voice from heaven. “When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.” Quite right.  It was terrifying.  But notice that Jesus was not on his face.  Why not?  Because he knew the voice and the heart of the one who spoke.  On that mountain, they got to experience God’s terrifying power and authority, but take note of what they heard!  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (v. 5). Our Father in heaven is both terrifyingly powerful and wonderfully loving.  Jesus has made him known to us!  That is why it is crucial to be sure that he is not just The Father in Heaven, or even Jesus’ Father in Heaven, but Our Father in heaven.

C. And What About Us? – Whenever we think about prayer, we tend to start thinking in terms of a religious burden.  “We are a month into a New Year, and I should do better at praying.  I need to be more diligent, more purposeful, etc.”  Maybe there is another way to look at this. 

If God has all authority and power, then that means I can come to him as one who is frightened and weak.  If God is loving and close, then I can approach him as one who is childlike and weary.  I don’t need to impress him.  I can just come as I am, start with “Our Father in heaven…” and then pour out everything on my heart.  What a privilege!

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Please see the new series of videos for 2023 – Enjoying the Word . . . all about enjoying Bible reading and Bible study.

Bible Reading Basics – Part 2

If you have a good Bible reading and study plan that works well, that’s great.  But what if you don’t?  What if others don’t get on with your approach?  Well, for you, or for someone else, this video might be helpful.  It shares a reading and study approach that I believe has a lot to commend it. 

There is flexibility – you choose what time to give to it. 

There is motivation – you choose where to put your energy. 

There is potential – I’ve not found a plan that seems more likely to build solid Bible-shaped believers.

One of the challenges of Bible reading is maintaining momentum. There are a number of momentum killers, like long lists of names and unpronounceable places. What should we do?

One way to evaluate your Bible times is by checking in on what is happening in your mind and heart the rest of the time. What does it mean to meditate on God’s Word day and night? Check out this video for more:

The question that I hear more than any other is this, “what should I do when I don’t feel like reading my Bible?” It is an important question. We all need a decent answer that can help us when we inevitably get those days. Here is a video that may be helpful.

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That Succinct Single-Sentence Summary

What is the difference between one sentence and half an hour? That is a key question in preaching.

We work hard to understand a biblical passage. We look at the context, wrestle with the flow of thought, analyse the details, and work out what the author was trying to communicate. Our end goal in studying the passage is to summarize the passage with a succinct single sentence.

However, when we preach, we don’t just say a sentence and sit down. So what makes up the difference? Let’s assume that the single sentence is an accurate summation of the passage. As we prepare the message (the second half of the preparation process), we essentially have two options:

Option 1. We carefully plan how to land that main idea in the hearts of our listeners. What form of introduction will best draw people into the message, making them thirsty for the passage and eager to hear the main idea? When should we present the main idea in the message? Should we repeatedly drive it home using the movements of the message to repeat the presentation of the idea? Or should we create greater anticipation so that once it is stated it will hit deeper? To put that another way, will the main idea be like a series of well placed sniper shots, or will it hit home like a bunker-busting missile? How will we explain the text, prove the points, and apply the truth in ways that reinforce the main idea of the message? In every aspect of content creation, structural formation, and delivery nuance, we seek to make that main idea so clear, transformative, evident from the text and applicationally earthed, that we will genuinely have preached the text before we sit down.

Or . . .

Option 2. We fill the half hour with material that will drown out the main idea. This is where we instead choose to fill the time, not to support the main idea, but at the cost of the main idea. We provide a series of informational segments, background descriptions, vaguely connected cross-references, somewhat amusing anecdotes, random highlights from our exegesis, favourite soapbox digressions, and illustrations that may or may not be well-suited to this particular moment. While most of these could be helpful, if we are not careful they can end up putting down a cover of smoke to keep the main idea from landing. Or we might hide the main idea beneath three or four points that tie to the text, but do not hold together effectively. The listeners will have an array of mini messages from which to select their favourite, but they are unlikely to have noticed the main idea.

While we probably would not consciously opt for option 2, we do so inadvertently when we embark on planning a message without crystallising our main idea first. After all, if you don’t have a sniper bullet or a bunker-busting missile ready to go, surely a random spray of machine gun rounds might hit home?

Moving from the passage to a single sentence is the first half of the preparation process. Moving from a succinct single-sentence summary to a fully formed message is the second half of the process. Let’s be sure to take option 1 as our approach to preaching.

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Bible Reading Basics – Part 1

When you first open the Bible, it is an overwhelming tome, to say the least.  Over time we can start to find our way around the Bible, just like we can learn to find our way around a big city – one landmark at a time.  In fact, the Bible gives us a great example of such landmarks right at the start of an important chapter.

Why do so many believers lose their love of Bible reading before Valentine’s Day?  Could it be that they are trying to read and study simultaneously?  Have you ever found yourself struggling through Leviticus and taking very little in while longing to be in Philippians (and knowing you won’t be there anytime soon)?  Perhaps it is time to make a helpful separation.

The Bible speaks of delighting in the words of God.  Other Christians sometimes seem to sound so delighted by the word of God.  So why do some of us never seem to reach those heights?  Perhaps a simple suggestion relating to concentration might prove helpful.

7 Reasons Guests Don’t Return

Why don’t guests return? This is a question most church leaders will ask themselves. It is encouraging to see visitors come into the church, but it can be discouraging when the vast majority seem to only be one-time visitors. Here is a list of possible reasons that may be helpful as you evaluate what is happening in your church. Some churches run guest services every week for years with hardly any outsiders ever coming in – that is a different situation that will also benefit from honest evaluation. But if your church gets lots of one-time visitors, what could be contributing to their reticence to return?

1. It is not the church for them. Not every visitor is new to church world. Some will be new to the area, or leaving a local church and considering their options. Your church might not be what they are looking for, and that might be perfectly alright. Your church should not be trying to attract and keep every possible churchgoer. They might want a legitimately different type of church, and you do not want to become that type of church in order to attract them. Or they might be troublemakers that continually need to find a new church to get their hooks into, and hopefully, your church might seem too healthy for them to be able to influence in the negative way they prefer. For good reasons or bad reasons, let’s recognize that no church is ideal for every visitor. And some visitors are just visiting their family members. Change whatever you like, they will not be joining a church that is hundreds of miles from their home!

2. It is not a friendly church. It is so hard to sense this when you are in a church. When you walk in, people smile, people talk to you, etc. But what about the visitor? I am amazed at how unfriendly some churches are. No conversation, no welcome, no friendly questions, no clarity on where to go or what is happening with the children. Some churches are also effectively unfriendly by being awkwardly friendly – putting visitors in the spotlight is not helpful. Don’t ask visitors to stand up and feel awkward, it doesn’t help. And don’t expect them to just enjoy the service and return without any meaningful connection with other humans – they might, but it would not be normal. If church culture is new to them, then look for ways to make them feel comfortable, don’t just underline their awkwardness.

3. It is too much of a mystery. The sub-culture of a local church is very alien to some visitors. If they come from a similar church, then they already know the language and rituals, but if they are new to church it could be like a foreign country to them. If they spend their time guessing when to stand at the start of a song, guessing where a Bible reference is without any page number to help them, guessing when they are supposed to say something out loud with everyone else, guessing how long the service will go on for, etc. then their experience will be draining.

4. The children did not have a good time. If a family comes, then every voice in that family matters. But some voices can be louder than others. If a parent feels uneasy about the children’s program for any reason, that will be a loud voice in their decision making. Does this church look after the children? Are they safe? Is it clean? And the children’s voice will speak loudly too. If they loved it and made friends, they will push to return. If they didn’t, then parents will probably keep looking rather than try to convince them. The children’s ministry of your church matters – whether it is three volunteers in a room or a purpose-built facility with paid staff.

5. The environment was offputting. Was it easy to find the church? Was it easy to park? Was it easy to find your way in? Did you feel safe? Was it easy to find seating (the front row does not count)? Was the atmosphere before and after conducive to conversation and connection? Did the place have a strange smell? Was it warm enough? There are so many details that can have a bearing on the suitability of a church facility. Whether you have your own building or are renting the space, you need to somehow see it through the eyes of a first-timer. Ask family members who visit what they noticed. When people keep coming, ask them, before they get used to everything, what they noticed their first week.

6. The service needs to make sense. We thought about some elements of mystery in point 3 above. People will be drained trying to work out what is going on. But there is another way the service needs to make sense too. The elements of the service need to be explained and need to fit with the experience as a whole. If the style of the church is somewhat contemporary and appropriately warm (not flippant, but somewhat informal or casual), then it doesn’t make sense to have an overbearing pipe organ to lead the sung worship. And there probably needs to be some consistency between the size of the gathering, the quality of the music, the standard of presentation from the front, etc. It might be fun to hear “quirky Quentin” mess up the notices at the start of the service for people who know him, but for a visitor, his weird manner may be off-putting (especially if it isn’t a cosy group of thirty friends like it might have been when Quentin started “doing the notices” – a church phrase, by the way). Actually, the exact style of music or format of service is probably not as important as the consistency between the size of the church, the quality of the music (whatever style is used), and level of participation. A professional quality band with a congregation that doesn’t seem to care does not make sense. Neither does poor music in a significant-sized gathering.

7. The preaching didn’t connect. The preaching could fit into what was said in point 6 above, but let’s place the sermon in its own point. It really does matter. People will join a church because of the preaching, and they will leave a church because of the preaching. Therefore visitors will stick or move on because of the preaching too. If the manner and style is too lofty, too academic, too angry, or too affected, then there will be a disconnect with the listeners. If the manner and style is too flippant, too humourous, too desperate to sound relevant, or too weak on Bible, then there will be a disconnect with some listeners. Can they follow what is being said? Does it feel like they are being pastorally fed from the Scriptures? Does it lift their gaze away from themselves and point them to God’s goodness in Christ? Unbelievers motivated to find the truth, or believers starving for good food, will be drawn or pushed away by what they hear during the preaching segment of the service.

Ultimately, we cannot cherry-pick our visitors, nor determine who will choose to settle in our church. Jesus is the one who promised to build his church, and he is still doing that. But let’s evaluate our churches and make sure we are not adding any unnecessary barriers for guests that come along. It does not have to be all about the guest. But if we never consider their experience at all, we shouldn’t be surprised if we seldom see them again.

John Wesley’s Advice – Part 4

The final part of the list of John Wesley’s advice to preachers.  Points 1-2, and 3-5, and 6-8 are already covered.

9. Take care to avoid anything awkward or affected either in your gesture or pronunciation.  It is interesting to see this from Wesley.  I tend to think of affected pronunciation as being related to vocal projection in vast unamplified venues – a concern that we no longer have.  But that would not be the only reason for it.  There is the awkwardness that comes from feeling self-conscious, or from attempts to be theatrical, or from a learned “pulpit voice” that attempts to sound more “hallowed.”  To connect with coal miners on Hanham Mount in the 18th century, or normal people anywhere today, it is better to communicate naturally and authentically.  Nobody likes listening to an actor.  Actually, the reason real actors are so good at what they do is that they convey that natural communication as someone they are not.  As preachers, our only goal is to convey natural communication as someone who we are!

10. Don’t just say ‘I read only the Bible’ in order to preach, read the most useful books, and that regularly and constantly… at least five hours in twenty-four… or return to your trade.  Can I be brief on this one?  I don’t know, but I suspect he wouldn’t include social media surfing in that at least five-hour goal.  Once we limit this to book reading, then it does feel like a big ask for many today.  Perhaps we should take this away and ponder it.  Are we neglectful of our calling, responsibility and opportunity to not give ourselves to as much reading as we should?  (And if you are a “lay preacher” – you can determine the appropriate goal for your circumstance.) 

11. There is no need to throw away old sermons just because they are old – the best can be reused.  I agree.  I would add that when reusing a sermon, it is helpful to spend some time refreshing it and making sure that it is current in your heart and not just present in your notes.

12. Never preach without doors when you can with any conveniency preach within.  This is the advice that probably needs the most pondering.  For Wesley, his move to preaching outdoors was radical and had huge implications for his church relationships.  But once he got known for it, it is intriguing to think about this advice.  Maybe the point for us is not so much about whether we preach indoors or outside.  Perhaps the point is to not allow anything we do to become a gimmick.  Don’t get known for something and then keep working that thing to the detriment of what really matters.  Be a preacher of the Word.  End of.  Once you get known for a specific type of sermon, a particular location(!), a specific type of biblical text, or even a specific subject, then you have to reckon with this point of advice from John Wesley.  What does this mean for you and me?  Maybe nothing at the moment, but it is a good one to prayerfully ponder.

There we go!  All done.  I have enjoyed thinking through these brief thoughts.  I hope that has been helpful for you, too.

John Wesley’s Advice – Part 3

Continuing our walk through twelve points of advice from John Wesley.  So far we’ve looked at numbers 1-2, and numbers 3-5.  Let’s move on…

6. Speak justly, readily, clearly… Clearness in particular is necessary…because we are to instruct people of the lowest understanding… Constantly use the most common, little, easy words (so they are pure and proper) which our language affords.  Most of us are not preaching to uneducated miners like Wesley did, but don’t let out-of-date phrasing obscure the point he is making.  Our job as preachers is to communicate, not to show off.  If you don’t have a theological and grammatical terminology that is higher than your preaching vocabulary, then you are either aiming too high with your words, or you are too weak in your study.  Say the profound things that the Bible says.  And say those things in the simplest way possible.  Even if ten PhD’s walk into your church, you still need to preach so that people with the least understanding (by means of their education, church being an alien environment, English not being their first language, or whatever) will be able to understand what you are saying.  Be clear.  Simple.

7. Beware of clownishness… Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.  Again, good advice.  There is a place for humour in preaching, but we do need to be very wary of entertaining or making the sermon about us.  I suspect that if we avoid jesting and foolish talk, as well as clownishness, then we are on safe ground.  We don’t have to come across as sombre in every moment, but we should speak as if we have a very important message to convey – which we do if we are preaching the text properly.  We need to be wary of inappropriate formality.  Just as wearing a tuxedo can feel out of place, so can a strange and affected formal tone or a presentational gravitas that is not consistent with our personality and natural demeanour.  In our fear of jesting, let’s not come across as unloving, lacking in warmth, or out of touch with the room.  

8. Never scream.  Never speak above the natural pitch of your voice.  This was probably a greater concern before amplification equipment.  Nevertheless, this point still applies.  There is a natural upper limit to your pitch, your power, and even your pace.  Don’t go above that level to achieve some kind of emphasis.  The screamer seldom communicates anything other than a loss of control.  In fact, it is good to consciously work on going down instead of up for emphasis.  Down in pitch.  Down in power.  Slow down the pace.  Emphasis sounds very natural in the opposite direction, but it takes unnatural work to develop the skill!  And even more foundationally, your emphasis and impact is not ultimately determined by your vocal delivery, but by God’s Spirit bringing conviction to your listeners.

Next time we will finish the list.

Is Biblical Interpretation Boring?

When Paul wrote to Timothy, the senior apostle urged the younger Timothy to do the work necessary to “rightly handle the word of truth.”  The implication is that it is possible to mishandle the word of truth.  You only need to listen to a few sermons online or visit a few churches to start your collection of scary examples! 

Nuanced technical caveats notwithstanding, it is essential to recognize that every passage says something specific.  Our job as we study is to determine, as best we can, what that something is.  That is to say that each passage has one accurate interpretation.  It cannot mean anything, and it does not mean everything.  It means something.

Once we determine that meaning, that one interpretation, we can then begin to evaluate the many potential applications of the passage.

Here is a video on this specific matter:

But if we are going to talk about the rules and principles of interpretation, then are we not embarking on a tedious task?  After all, who wants to memorize rules?

You could say the same thing about other processes too.  Learning to ride a bike feels tedious, but it opens a new world of adventures for a child.  Learning to drive a car safely can feel overwhelming, but it creates new freedom that is a wonderful blessing.  Learning anything will involve some rules or principles.  The real question is this: is it worth learning?

When we learn to handle the word of truth rightly, we start to see the richness God has put in our Bibles.  We get to understand his glorious message to us.  We get to enjoy the beauty of the divine revelation in all of its literary splendour.  We get to experience the life-change that comes from living a Bible-marked life.  The rules of interpretation sound dull, but they are a means to infinite treasure!  Boring is not the word; let’s try exciting instead!

Check out the video to see which Bible passage I use to introduce this point!

John Wesley’s Advice – Part 2

So last time we started this list of 12 points of advice to preachers from John Wesley.  Let’s keep going!

3. Choose the plainest texts from the Bible to preach on.  Again, if I were purely speaking to non-believers then I would completely concur.  However, in a typical church setting, we will be speaking to both Christians and non-Christians.  A steady diet of the same evangelistically oriented passages will lead to some malnourishment among God’s people.  I think it is good to help our churches experience the full breadth and scope of God’s Word.  You might preach more from the New Testament than the Old, but if they never hear the Old Testament preached, why would they read it?  And if they don’t read it, what a vast vista of theological truth is lost.  Different types of text are also important for the health of the church.

So on the one hand, I would agree that every passage has a redemptive force that should be brought out because believers never move beyond the need to hear the gospel being applied to their lives.  On the other hand, while every passage is useful, not every passage is equally useful on every occasion.  Don’t be stubbornly preaching through Jeremiah when people are coming for a Christmas Carol Service.  Bottom line?  Be selective and choose what you are going to preach appropriately for the listeners and the occasion, but in a church choose from the whole Bible because people need more than your favourite five passages.

4. Take care not to ramble from your text but to keep close to it.  Can I just say I agree and move on?  Of course not, otherwise this would be a “Quote” rather than a “Blog!”  It is quite remarkable how little weight the Bible passage will have in some sermons.  Some will leave it behind to ramble into excessive personal anecdotes and humorous illustrations.  Others will leave it behind to ramble into theological presentations that resemble explosions in a concordance factory! (Hyper cross-referencing is very common in some circles!)  Few seem to recognize that this passage is uniquely powerful and should not be missed by superficial coverage in the sermon.  Your church may not be back in that passage for several years.  Keep close to it, do it justice, allow time for clarity to emerge and its impact to be felt.

5. Be sure to begin and end at the time appointed… People imagine the longer a sermon is, the more good it will do. This is a grand mistake… the Methodist rule is to conclude the service within an hour.  Several points in this one.  Let’s go one-by-one – (1) begin and end on time.  I understand that different cultures have different expectations in terms of time.  But the point still applies.  Abide by the expectations of the culture.  Once we break the general expectation, then we distract attention from the sermon.  If we go 10 minutes over, parents are concerned about children in kids’ groups, volunteers in kids’ groups start to lose their joy in serving, and others are concerned about their plans, their lift home, etc.  Generally speaking, stick to time.  Seems fairly simple.

(2) Longer is not necessarily better.  Again, agreed.  Haddon Robinson was captivated by how some preachers preach for ten minutes and it feels like an hour, while others preach for an hour and it feels like ten minutes.  Length tends to become the key focus when too little attention is given to clear, engaging and relevant content and delivery.  Generally speaking, longer sermons could be sharpened into shorter sermons.  But shorter is not automatically better either.  Some things take time.  Just as an illustration might be lost in two sentences, but really capture hearts in two minutes, in the same way, a sermon can be technically precise in a shorter timeframe, but more vivid and engaging with enough time given to let the listeners’ imagination flourish.  There is no right length of sermon.  It depends on preacher’s skill; listener’s background, expectations and focus; and the occasion too.

(3) Service length should be less than one hour.  That feels quite arbitrary and culturally bound.  I imagine that didn’t translate effectively in some other global contexts!  But, service length should be considered for the sake of church attendees, as well as their perception of service length for potential guests they might invite in the future.

Ok, let’s leave it there for this time.

Bible Posture – 2 Points

We live in an age marked by resistance to authority.  The idea of submission has fallen on hard times.  But don’t miss either the logic or the blessing of this concept:

The Logic – Submit yourselves to God (James 4:7).  This is logical.  God is God, and you are not.  And being a Christian involves a thorough acceptance of that reality.  Nobody else has ever achieved even a tiny fraction of success in their attempt to usurp God’s role in the universe.  It is so simple.  God is God.  And I am not.  It makes sense not to pretend otherwise.

The Blessing – The Christian faith is not simply about logic, however.  James 4:8 goes on to describe how we can draw near to God, and he will draw near to us!  What an amazing thing!  If we try to usurp his place, we create a conflict between ourselves and God.  He opposes the proud.  But if we will humble ourselves and submit to him, he gives grace to the humble (see 1 Peter 5:5-6).  The blessing of submission to God is closeness with God.  And since he is a good God, this is a good thing!

So the first posture point to ponder: Be under, not over, the Word!

It would be bizarrely arrogant to think that my finite mind and experience can evaluate and judge God’s Word.  Who am I to imagine that I can decide what to accept, what to dismiss, etc.?   

In Acts 17:11 we read about the Jews in Berea. They were commended for receiving Paul’s message with eagerness, and then checking that teaching against the Scriptures.  May that be our posture too . . . leaning forward, hearts open, head nodding, eager to hear from God’s Word!

Post point two: Receive God’s Word with eagerness!

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