The leader of our rogue movement known as Threads is Jim Johnston. He is a figure much like Batman that hides in the shadows and encourages and helps us to minister to churches trying to minister to young adults. Jim is a great guy with a great heart and I am proud to be part of this team. With all that said, I want the world, or more accurately my 6 readers that did not see my site by searching for a Google image of a wombat, to get to know him and check out his blog. Click here to see his take on the world, church and baseball. Show him some love!
Posts Tagged ‘Threads’
The Beast from the Sea. 666. The Antichrist. The Rider on the White Horse. That’s right – get ready for a series in Revelation. Though it might appear we saved our Revelation study for the summer months because the attendance is lower than at any other time, it’s not true – I promise! I do know that studying Revelation can be a daunting task but do not pass up this study in favor of a book study or something else just yet. While this study is not going to walk through the whole book (Revelation in four weeks?), we are going to hit a few hot areas throughout this book. The deal with the title is that we wanted to explore the end times(eschatology) and see what the Bible teaches and compare it with what we see around us presented by pop culture. On your drive to work alone you may run across one or all of the sayings we chose as lesson titles. I assure none were made up by us, they are all actual bumper stickers or billboards or slogans. The idea being that every day pop culture tries to teach us about the end times and often gets pieces of it right, but they miss so much of the story. So this month, fasten your seat-belt, ok I admit that was cheesy but I couldn’t help it, and lets take a look at what the Bible says about the end times.
This week we’re going to take a closer look at Jesus. Of all the titles this month, this one bothers me the most and also expresses how so many people truly feel. Guess what? Jesus is absolutely not the copilot. In our culture we’ve relegated Him to that seat, the seat where we ask Him to take over so we can take a bathroom break or grab a cup of coffee. Or maybe if things are going bad we may ask for a bit of help, but overall, we are OK if He just sits there until we need Him. It’s this view of Christ I don’t understand. If He is not THE pilot, we are all in trouble. The fact that He allows us into the cockpit at all is truly amazing. I remember my first time on a plane and the pilot letting me see the inside of the cockpit and then giving me those cheap plastic wings. I felt privileged that the pilot had let me in to see what the others were not allowed to see. How crazy would it have been for me to say, OK Capt. Bob, thanks for the tour. I think I can handle it now. I’ll let you know if I need anything. But how often do we see that taking place in our lives and in the lives of other Christians around us. I could teach a whole lesson just on the title alone!
These verses in Revelation show the glory and majesty of Christ. They depict thousands and thousands of thousands bowing before His throne worshiping Him. They reveal Him to be the only One worthy to open the scrolls and turn us, Christ followers, into royalty. He is the One who created the universe. He is the One who died and rose again, and He is the One who allows us to have life. Where in there did we get the idea that He would be OK with the copilot’s seat? I can only truthfully speak for myself, but as I survey the state of the church around the country, I don’t think I am wrong in this. We need to take our relationship with Christ very seriously. It is not a casual fling, a summer romance, or a childhood friend type relationship. It is the Creator and createe (I just made that word up), the King and the servant, the Father and the child type relationship. The imagery of Him being worshiped by “every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them” truly boggles my mind. And to think He, the One worshiped by everything, wants to know and relate to me—that’s a very humbling thought. It is even more humbling when I think of all the times I relegated Him to the passenger’s seat. This week just focus on the idea of Him being who these verses describe, because He is. It’s time we started responding accordingly. It may begin with a bowed knee and a quiet prayer, or it may be a beautiful song sung along with the countless choir in heaven. I’m not sure what the response will look like for you, I just know this lesson has definitely reminded me of who He really is and who I am, and I don’t want to fly the plane anymore!
Words have a very unique ability. Very few things have the power to immediately bring tears, laughter, anger, happiness, inspiration or discouragement like the use of words. As a famous masked philosopher once noted, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I have to admit here that I was smacked in the face this week as I studied through this lesson from LifeMatters(focusing on selected passages from Proverbs). It’s not that I use bad words in the sense of cussing or to intentionally destroy or anything, but I fail miserably at fully thinking through what I’m going to say before I say it. This flaw has the ability to get me in trouble from time to time. I also feel the need at times to say something that simply does not need to be said. I’m not sure if it is an attempt to impress someone or just an attempt to be liked, but very often I find myself thinking, “Why did I just tell that person that?” after a conversation. It’s like the conversation is going along just fine and an ending point is approaching but rather than taking the exit I decide to journey on. I then find myself lost and confused in a conversation I didn’t mean to have. I quickly take the first available exit, but then I beat myself for looking stupid. I’m learning several things in life right now, and this week’s study pointed very clearly at a few lessons:
Think through what you’re going to say before you say it. Sounds pretty simple, but many problems would be cut off before they happened if we made this a constant habit. Sometimes the thought is correct, but there’s a better way to express that thought.
Sometimes saying nothing makes you look smarter than anything you planned on saying. This also applies to ending a conversation at the appointed time. You know when that time approaches, so gather your bags and get ready to hop off.
Use words for good. This does not mean always saying the popular thing or the easiest thing. Sometimes tough things need to be said—just make sure you know how to tell the difference. I love Solomon’s picture here of words spoken at the right time being like golden apples or gold jewelry. This even applies to corrective words when spoken at the right time. So not only do we have to use the right words, but we have to use them at the right time. Man, I have lots of work to do!
Don’t join the wrong conversation. At the very moment when you recognize a conversation has turned onto Gossip Lane or Worthless Discussion Drive, make a turn and get out of there. This is one of those things I always know I should do, but too often I’m guilty of pulling up a chair rather than getting out.
Use good words. Don’t confuse this one for using words for good because it is different. Here, the words we use are actually examined. I know many people who choose their words poorly, especially when anger sets in. From a young age, my parents wouldn’t tolerate bad language, so I’ve had many years to perfect using words like “peanut butter” rather than cussing. There’s just something that bothers me about the use of generally accepted “bad words” by people who claim to follow Christ. There are simply too many words to use to choose ones that come with negative baggage.
I, by no means, have it all figured out. I’m just now seeing the exposed part of the iceberg, but lessons like this one really make it simple to see my shortcomings and the right answers. I’m quickly finding beauty and wisdom in being quiet. I’m also working on a look, possibly eyes squinted a bit with my hand on my chin, to use when I am being silent that will add to the effect. If you have any suggestions or comments, join the conversation.
While this lesson is kind of about change, I think it is more importantly about our view of God. Abram, or Abraham as he will later be called, was an ordinary man. Up until this point we know very little about him. Having access to Scripture and knowing the majority of the story, we know what Abraham will become. We have the New Testament, which looks back at Abraham as a great man of faith, and we know that God chose to make a huge covenant with him and bless him greatly. We know of his miraculous ability to have children at the age of 99 with Sarah. We even know of his mistakes, one being his attempt to get things done on his own by having a child with Hagar. But the funny thing is, we forget that all this took place after he was 75 years old. What did he do in those previous 75 years? Why did God wait so long?
It seems that the purpose God had for Abraham was not to be fulfilled or even attempted until he was 75. Was he a slow learner so it took 75 years to get where God needed him to be? No, God’s plan was just a bit different than one we would have designed. What did Abraham do that was so extraordinary? The answer is much more simple than I would like it to be—he simply obeyed. I wish it was bigger than that, but that is not how God works, because God wanted the story to be about Himself, not about Abraham. As I read back over this story, I found myself looking past Abraham to see the rest of the story. The rest of the story is about a God that knows us, loves us and has a plan for us. I am at a point in my life where I want to see the bigness of God. I want to know that God can and will do what He says He will do. I want to serve a God that has a plan and allows me to be a part of it not because I am good enough but because He is my Father. (You can finish the rest of this blog at our Threads website.)