Elevated Eyes

Look above. Fix your eyes on Jesus. See life from a different perspective

Author: Andy Haddow (page 1 of 2)

New you

In becoming a Christian a change takes place in our fundamental identity.

In identifying and believing in Jesus death on a cross, our inner being is not mended, it is not fixed. Something in the core of who we are dies.  Early Christians called this our ‘old man’.

The idea of our ‘old man’ is said like this by Paul

“For you died, your life is now hidden with Christ in God”

Colossians 3:3

There is this old nature of ours that is broken, selfish and is always pulling us to live in ways we aren’t called to live.

God hasn’t come to fix our old nature He came to kill it. However many times it tries to raise it’s head and pull us back into our old way of life the reality is that it is dead.

God doesn’t only kill this old person but He then gives us beautiful new nature, we have taken on the very identity of Christ.

It’s not that we are perfect now or that we will never struggle again.

This new way of life needs to be consciously brought to mind. It is a process of having our mind renewed as we begin to believe the truth about the life God has given us.

You are a new creation.

You are not who you were.

You are in Christ, when God looks at you He sees Christ.

You are God’s chosen people made holy in Christ. Without blemish and unstained.

The issues isn’t about striving to do certain things that will make me holy but it is about me understanding the work God has already done in me. It is about me waking up to the new creation God has made me.

We are called to live up to what we have already attained in Christ.

As we share our faith, I don’t believe we are to use shame to call people to a list of things that they are not doing. But we are called to share who people are from God’s perspective.

When people fall back into old life we do not shame them but we call them again to who they are in Christ.

We do this not because sin isn’t serious but because we are meant to take seriously what God says about us.

 

You are a new creation.

Change your Thinking: Standing to Sitting

Final part in the the change your thinking series is here. We’ve looked at victory in the Christian life is so much more about changing the way that we think than changing our actions. Out of the heart the mouth speaks and it’s so often the thought life that dictates the type of fruit that grows in our life. If you want to read my two previous posts you can do so here (Part 1 – http://elevatedeyes.org/change-thinking-death-to-life/) (Part 2 – http://elevatedeyes.org/change-thinking-sin-saviour/)

 

In this final post in this series I wanted to look at the idea that we need to learn to sit with our saviour  Jesus.

 ‘And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’

Hebrews 10:10

You’ve been forgiven once and for all.

 ‘And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,’ Hebrews 10:11-12

Christ is our great high priest.  He made one sacrifice, for sins, forever. He bled out on that cross, once and for all. The saviour of this earth breathed his last and then rose from the grave.

To destroy death and what is His position?

He is no longer standing He is Seated because the job is done.

Our high priest sat down.

The other priests we’re told here are standing up daily making sacrifice but He is seated.

He is seated.

He is seated before His enemies.

He’s not shocked,

He’s not worried,

He says it’s done.

Meanwhile as Christians on earth, worrying and freaking out because we’ve sinned, or because things are going wrong.

Jesus saying it’s fine I am still seated. I am still in control. It is still finished. I’ve still won and you’re still mine.
The next time Jesus stands is to wrap this whole thing up. He is still seated.

 

Ephesians 2:5-7 Jesus made us to sit.

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.’ Ephesians 2:5=7 

We often don’t want to sit.

Jesus is saying be seated.

We want to run around I will sort it out, I will fix things, I will deal with things.

Jesus is saying I’ve already taken care of it, sit down.

I want you to see that our position, needs to change from standing to sitting.

In the Hebrews 10 passage that we have been looking at it says ‘The blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin,’ this is a creative way of saying your striving, your works can never take away sin.

Only your all conquering victorious seated Jesus can do that.

You are not controlled by your sin, you are not defined by your sin, you do not have to spend the rest of your days focussing on your wickedness, on your faults on your failures.

You have been set free, you can now live preoccupied by your champion Jesus.

Our champion Jesus has done what you could not do for yourself. He has cut the power of sin off. He has crushed him, he is gone It has been buried, your sin has been removed from you as far as the east is from the west.

This will change the way you live.

It is time for you to celebrate again, it is time for you to stand up again, speak up again, dream again and walk in victory, and be all that God made you to be.

Lets start living this way, lets start living in the light of our seated saviour.

Know that what was dead has been brought to life and because we have been raised with Christ our sinful nature did not.

Know that the theme of our lives is not Sin, but it is falling in love with our saviour

Stay conscious of our seated victorious saviour and know that He is still seated through it all. And stop being paralysed by our sin and celebrate His victory sit with Him, rest in Him and be all that He has called you to be!

Change your Thinking: Sin to Saviour

A few weeks ago in a post titled ‘Change your thinking: Death to Life’ we looked at how it’s not a change of behaviour that’ll be the main cause of life change but it’ll be a change in your thought life that will bring about change.

Today I wanted to write about one key thought that so often plagues many Christians. It is the concept that we are sinners and need to focus on our sin to see change.

Hebrews 10 looks at the idea of the sacrifices that the priests brought to the temple & tabernacle.  Every time they bought those sacrifices back there was a reminder of sin.

The priests were busy, they had lines out of the tent, killing one sacrifice after another.   There are Christians today that approach our gatherings, purchased by a blood so greater than the blood of goats and bulls and yet still want the focus to be about sin.

If constantly focussing on sin, was the way to overcome sin then the Israelites would have done it years ago. They would have found the way to true holiness.

But they did not.

What world do we live in where we think that the blood of a bull is greater than the sacrifice of a living majestic, prince of peace and son of God.

A son of God who hung on a cross and said ‘it is finished’. I have come to forgive once and for all.

And now our theme of our gatherings is not sin , it is saviour.

 

Now the theme of everything we do is not sin it is saviour.

Our life is not defined any more by sin but by saviour.

We gather together not to be reminded of Sin but to fall in love with our saviour. Because in the consciousness of Christ we can live free from sin.

Don’t let sin become a self fulfilling prophesy over your life.

Kris Vallotton said ‘If you believe you are a sinner you will sin by faith’

When we fix our eyes on Jesus, when we see it is not about sin but it is about trusting the saviour. The things that we are facing, the things that we are tempted by and we are struggling will fade.

There is a beautiful line of an old hymn.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Fix your eyes on the saviour because in the consciousness of Christ we can live free from the trap of sin.

 

What sin do you need to live your eyes of off today?

Thank God it’s Sunday.

It’s Easter Sunday, and Jesus is alive.

But let’s look at  Friday, Jesus the great king is defeated, hanging on a cross.

The crowds gathered at the cross hear the words “It is finished” and they do not see a victorious saviour, bringing an end to sin and death. They see their defeated champion saying “This is the end”

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea take his body, the body of the greatest one they have ever known.

Isn’t this what religion so often tries to do?

“If we can just try and hold onto this old story, this old tradition, this memory for a little bit longer.”

Metaphorically you can feel the tension, they want to preserve this dead thing. There is hopelessness and there is darkness that rolls over the entire earth.

And as the hours roll by and Saturday arrives, there’s a tension in the air. There’s the tension of the promises of Jesus and God broken and unfulfilled.

For some of us Saturday has never ended.  We are still sat in the middle of a failed story, with all our hopes and our dreams left in a tomb somewhere.

All we have is a memory of the past, but no hope for the  future.

It reminds me of the hopelessness of Ecclesiastes.

 “What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. 8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.”  Ecclesiastes 1:3-8

The writer draws his conclusion in chapter 2

“So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless–like chasing the wind.”Ecclesiastes 2:17

Do we live like it’s Saturday…

In the shame of Peter,  afraid alone and full of regret. He has rejected the one that he loves. He has walked away from the one that chose and loved him.

Have you ever made a mistake that has brought shame to your life. A mistake that went against the very thing that you believed for yourself. A mistake that you thought there was no way back from.  Can you sit with Peter for a minute and feel his pain. He can’t even say sorry because Jesus is dead.

Can you imagine the regret that Peter is feeling the pain and the hurt.

The hours roll past and Sunday comes. Light breaks over the horizon, the sun rises again.  The breathe of God comes over Jesus and his eyes open.  He is alive, the son of God is awake.   The greatest surprise in human history has taken place and many people don’t even realise it was happening.

As the sun rose on Jerusalem that day it was the first day of a whole new creation.  Do you know most people are still living like it’s Saturday they don’t realise that the son of God has opened His eyes.

The resurrection changed everything for Peter.

In John 21 you see the disciples fishing out on the lake, they’ve been at it all night and  caught nothing. They hear this voice call to them from the shore and quickly remember the voice of their saviour who called them those three years ago. It says they follow the instructions of Jesus and the nets are full of fish. Peter jumps in the water and swims to shore.

Have you ever made a mistake that just destroys you?

Jesus looks at the eyes of Peter and says “Do you love me Simon son of John? You’re going to be a Shepherd not a fisherman, feed my lambs”

“Do you love me Peter?” “Take care of my sheep” Then after a while he looks back over at Peter, I know all you wanted to do was say sorry, but I want to ask you again

“Do you love me Peter?”

“You Know I love you”

“Feed my sheep”

He reinstates Peter for the three times he failed. Three times he welcomes him back with love in the middle of his greatest pain.  The resurrection meets us and takes away our greatest pain.

He wants to meet you if your hopeless

He wants to meet you if you hard work

He wants to meet you if your disillusioned and doubting

He wants to meet you if you feel like you have failed and your unrecoverable, there is no mistake that he will walk away of.

He walks through walls you have put up and doors that you’ve locked.

Because Jesus awoke to resurrection life He is saying no matter the situation no matter who you are. I will restore your worth, dignity and hope.

 

Sunday is here

Change your thinking: Death to Life

Change is hard, we all struggle with it. Maybe it’s those new year resolutions that by this point in the year you have given up on. It’s hard to change but I believe that the call of the Christian life is a call to move from one degree of glory to another.

The biggest call over the Christian life is not so much a change of behaviour as it is a change of belief.
So often our behaviour flows from our belief. It flows from what we believe about ourselves, about our world and about others.

In Christ we have  new identity, we’re born again. The old has gone and the new is here and it’s here to stay.

The learning process is not about getting rid of the old but it’s in changing our thoughts from our old mindset to our new mindset.

In 3 posts I want to set out 3 ideas that need to shift from old to new.

Death to Life

Sin to Saviour

Standing to sitting

 

Let’s look at that first one, Death to Life

1 Corinthians 16-28 says

16-20 If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

21-28 There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.

In life there’s often the idea of digging up old stuff as if it is important. I’m sorry if you’re a fan of that kind of tv show,  you know the kind, where they search through old antiques trying to find hidden treasure.  The truth is that a lot of the time the stuff is just junk with little value.

In life we often try to dig up these old things as if they are still important to us. The truth is they so often aren’t. They aren’t important they don’t have control and they aren’t that relevant to our lives now.

How many of  us believe that Jesus, actually, physically rose from the dead. If we’re christian it would be most of us, I know I do.

1 Corinthians 15:17

‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sin!’

Your sins whether they are alive or dead, hinges on this verse. If He rose then your sins didn’t and if He stayed in the grave then your sins rose.

Maybe it makes more sense to look at it this way ‘though we still sin, you are not in your sin’. Which is to say our sins that bind us do not define us, our sins do not stick to you, our sins no longer make us who we are. Because we’re a new creation.

What does it say in 2 Corinthians 5:17

‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come’

You are no longer a sinner, but you are a son or daughter of the king. You are righteous, you are a saint. You can say I am His. Though I sin it cannot change what my risen Jesus has finished.

Because He moved from death to life, and clothed you with new white robes. You’ve been moved from death to life in His power. You have resurrection power in Jesus.

The old has passed away the new has come, we need to change the way that we think sometimes we need to see that Jesus has taken us from death to life with Him.

Let’s jump back to that 1 Corinthians passage just one more time

1 Corinthians 15:17 ‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sin!’

If Christ did not rise, you did not rise and you are still in your sin but He did rise He conquered.

Yet we as Christians so often think that sin has resurrection power. We need line our thinking up with what God has finished in our lives.

When Jesus says the words ‘it is finished’ the actual Greek word is tetelestai, it means to endto bring to completionto bring to a conclusionto completeto accomplishto fulfill; or to finish.

In Him you’ve been brought to life and your sins have not.

Have faith that you can walk free from the power and control of sin and live life in the resurrection power of Christ that is in you! You died in first Adam and you have life in Christ, live like it.

What areas of your thinking needs to move from death to life? Maybe it is how you view your finances, your relationships, your spiritual life. Remember today that God comes to speak life not death into every area.

It’s not a manual for life.

I do not like the metaphor that the bible is an ‘owners manual for life’

I have never enjoyed reading an owners manual, whether its for a car or a toaster, owner’s manuals just aren’t that fun. To limit the word of God to a manual that helps us succeed at life does a terrible disservice to the bible. We can’t just pull the bible out when things are going wrong. It is not meant to be a book of quick life fixes.

I believe the bible is a story, it is a story that is still unfolding, it is a story that we have a part to play in.
We have to embrace the Bible as uncensored, wild account of people experiencing the king of kings. It is not something pulled out when we need a problem fixed. It is a messy, exhilarating story of life change.

It has people doubting, arguing with, worrying about, reconciling with, loving, worshipping, thanking and following the one true God.

We cannot put it in a box, we can’t tame it.

The bible is about real people in real places at real point in time writing about their growing understanding of who they are and who God is.

Truth meets us wherever we are yet there is something powerful about seeing the historical contextual significance of the story.

For example, Paul writes to Timothy about women being saved in childbirth and he is making a direct reference to the goddess Artemis, whose temple was just down the street to Timothy who was based in Ephesus.

Artemis’s followers believed that the goddess saved women in childbirth. Paul’s writing has a big social and political impact. He is basically saying that the goddess Artemis is a fraud.

 

The writers of the bible are speaking in a language that the readers of the day will understand. The bible has authority and God is speaking into real space and time. The bible is a story that shows us what it looks like when God interacts with ordinary people. The point in the book of Acts isn’t the early church. The point is that God is using people to change the world. He is using ordinary people to represent His love, power and authority to the world.

We have a choice today to believe that the same God that was at work in the bible is at work in the world today.

He is the same God doing the same kind of things.

Ask God what He is up to in your world today?

Partner with the King of kings and allow the story of God to unfold.

Live life with a green light

One of the main questions I’ll get asked by teenagers, students and adults in my church is how do I know I’m in the will of God? How do I know that the decisions I make and the things I do are in the will of God for my life.

Who should I marry?

Should I take that job?

Should I move city are questions we all think about.

If we see our lives as a set course and the will of God like a program that we walk along then it is very hard not to be troubled by these questions.

The will of God is not one little road for your life, it is a way of living and it is a state of being.  If Jesus is our good shepherd that gives His life for the sheep. If through His love He welcomes us into the pasture and provides us with fullness of life. Do we have freedom in the pasture? Does the Shepherd bring a blade of grass to us, and then when we have eaten that, He brings another one and then another. Does He direct what we are allowed to do.

Paul says in the letter to the Corinthians that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

How is this way of living in the pastures of our Shepherd freedom?

This is often the lens that we interpret and see the world through.

When God is ready He will speak, guide and direct us to that ‘next thing’. And yes of course He speaks, guides and directs but He also gives us the responsibility to live our lives with wisdom in the power of the Holy Spirit.

There’s so much more freedom than we realise.

I believe that as we enter the kingdom, through the good shepherd we’re given freedom in the pasture. We’re given the green light, to eat, enjoy life, live and learn to love well.

So if there is so much freedom and it isn’t about a pathway through life. What is the will of God?

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The will of God in Christ Jesus is to

rejoice always

pray continually

and give thanks in all circumstances.

This is the same that any good husband would want for his wife. We are the bride of Christ. Does our good husband Jesus want to control us with one clear, set pathway. We say to our loved ones  I want you to be happy, communicate and that you are content. Jesus is saying to us, be happy, communicate with me and be content. That is His will for us it is a state of being.

‘For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’ Philippians 2:13

God is in you and is working out his will in you (A state of being) for his good measure.

‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Romans 12:1

What is God’s will for you? To have your mind renewed and transformed from the way of the world.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.’  James 1:5

We are in God’s will and now.  It is a state of being in Christ Jesus. We are in the flock the pasture and now you need to ask for wisdom. The will is a state of mind, when you are in the will you need to ask for the wisdom of God.

The apostles lived with a green light. They didn’t spend their lives waiting for the green light as to whether to serve, help, preach or pray. They went, they lived and the loved. They spent their lives living in the green light of the Spirit of God that says I am with you, you are my representatives on the earth and I give you authority to represent me well.

If you were an ambassador in a foreign country and every time you’re asked to help and see an opportunity make the country better you said “I need to wait and double check if the country that has sent me will allow me to help” you wouldn’t be a very good ambassador. As an ambassador you have been given authority by the home nation to go, make a difference. In Life we have been given authority by the king of kings to go.

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.’

Acts 16:6-8

The apostles lived with a green light, they heard go and they are going, they are healing the sick, preaching the good news and casting out the demonic. Then as they are going they are asking for wisdom and guidance and they’re then blocked by the holy spirit. They are directed by a vision in the night. The direction came as they went, not as they sat and did nothing.

We’re not supposed to live in fear of being blocked and redirected. We’re meant to have a green light, enjoy the pasture. We aren’t meant to let anything hold us back until the holy spirit redirects us.

Ask for wisdom in the process,

live life not questioning the will of God,

live life with the green light of the Holy Spirit,

rejoicing always, praying constantly and always being thankful.

Free Will V Predestination

This is a great infographic on ‘Free Will and Predestination’. It’s from Cris Cruz at Equip the Saints.  Equip the saints in an amazing website. Make sure you check it out and enjoy the fun graphic.

Freewill-VS-PredestinationCHRISCRUZ

 

Cultural Sandcastles

Culture is constantly changing and reshaping, how are we meant to build something that can make a difference, how are we meant to live a life that’ll last in the middle of so much uncertainty.

It feels a little bit like we are building on sand, that is always going to change. God calls us in the book of Hebrews to be a people that are of a different kingdom, an unshakable kingdom.

We live in an unstable culture.  As we look all around we see huge shifts in mindsets, pressures in society. There is a cultural earthquake happening all around.

I believe that culture is shaking and soon there is going to be a revealing of a people that is unshakable.

Hebrews 12:26-13:8

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Sacrifices Pleasing to God

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

We’re called to be a rescue team reaching in and saving those trapped and hurting in the earthquakes of culture we see all around us.

Hebrews, I believe is written  by Paul in prison to Jewish Christians in Israel.  Before this text was written, the Jews had risen up against Rome, and the emperor was fed up. So the emperor dispatched his best general and the might of the Roman military machine to crush the zealot rebellion.

The Jewish people knew what was coming they knew the destruction that was on the way.

The Jewish nation was about to live through the reality of Roman destruction.

There was a push from the Jewish Christians to leave the sect of Christianity they were being squeezed on every side. Their world was being turned upside down.

photo-1413977886085-3bbbf9a7cf6eThey were afraid, there was massive upheaval on the way. You know what we all need to be ready, we need to be ready for change we need to be ready for hard times we need to be ready to face tragedy and disaster.

We have been called as the rescue team, as the ones reaching down into darkness disaster and pain and being a rescuer. Being a movement of God here on earth.

The writer gives us 4 things to do at this time and in these moments.

  1. HAVE COMPASSION. You are to keep the compassion of God burning in your heart. Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

It is easy to become bitter, to become resentful and angry. Do we judge those that are shaken or do we have compassion on them?

  1. FOCUS ON COMMUNITY. You need to turn away from self-interest and turn towards community Hebrews 13:2-3 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

What do we see in countries around the world hit by devastation? In times of trouble we need to remember to stand alongside each other, to embrace those in greatest need. When everything else is being broken, you need to tend to community. In times of trouble it is not good to isolate ourselves and we need to fight that impulse and build each other up. People want to feel community that is stable. They want some where to call home. A place to find identity to find calling.

  1. WE NEED TO CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE BIGGER STORY. As earthquakes shakes the world, peoples security falls. What they build there identity in, there security in, there jobs there families it crumbles. We need to show people that there is a story bigger than us. As the world around us shakes and falls remember there is a Connection story that connects you to all of the people of God down through the ages, that connects you to all the Christians who love the Lord. There is a bigger story there is more than your here and now. There are seasons coming that you needed to be prepared for and this is a preparation time. Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

 There is a bigger picture here, let me show you. Keep holding on keep moving forward. This is happening for a reason, but the Lord is faithful throughout it. We need to show people that there is a connection story that there is something bigger happening. Something that is not about loss but about redemption.

  1. BE A COMPASS POINTING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. Where do we go when there is confusion, when the maps are no longer clear. I believe as a rescue team we are called to point people to Jesus to give them a stable and secure compass. Be a Compass pointing the way Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’ follow the one that is unchanging and teach others to do the same. Be a disciple. You have the spirit of God living in you in the midst of a shaking world. We are the people of God. Remember who you are. Point people to Jesus. It is all about him.

Be the rescue team of God reaching into a hurting world. Show compassion, demonstrate community, connect them to the vision and redemptive story, and lead to the unshakable one who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

God gave us a Story.

I wanted to spend some time unpacking two types of study that hopefully can help you in your understanding of the bible.

There are two main types of theological study.

Systematic and Biblical theology

Systematic theology groups theological study into specific topics. So if you were studying theology in a systematic way you would likely study, atonement theory, the doctrine of salvation, doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Eschatology and the doctrine of the church. You will begin by searching the bible for everything it says on a topic and then sharing views and opinions on it. It runs through the beautiful story of the bible drawing threads together to form a viewpoint and an opinion.

I’m not convinced that studying a systematic theology is a good way to learn about the Bible. It has it’s uses but it also limited. It is a bit like a big net, you will pick up a lot from a systematic study but the net has holes and a lot is missed.

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God speaks to us in a story, His revelation to us is anything but systematic.

The story is messy, it’s complicated, it tells the story of people who mess up, of God who gets involved in the life of his creation. The Bible narrative is compelling; sometimes exciting, sometimes hard and complicated but it is not systematic. God did not give us a system, he gave us a story. Trying to force something that has so much life into a system can squeeze the life out of it.  It’s His Story

Biblical theology looks at the story of the bible as a whole, it examines the truth of the bible in it’s historical and contextual position. Biblical theology recognises that the there is a progressive revelation of the nature of God throughout the story. Strong biblical theology puts us in the context of the writer and the reader and asks the question “What would this have meant to the writer?” “What would this have meant to the reader?”

Biblical theology helps us see the Bible as a unified narrative, rather than as a collection of unrelated points.

When studying the bible I believe we need to

1 . Have a solid historical and contextual interpretation.

2. Understand that God is revealed progressively throughout the bible.

As you read and study the word of God, ask God to reveal himself in it. Recognise the process of the nature of God being revealed to the writer as it is written. Ask yourself what would this passage have meant to the writer and the reader at the time and how does this help me understand the big picture of the story of God.

 

 

 

 

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