Posts Tagged ‘The Bible’

Okay this is going to sound unusual coming from me, but the world’s most dangerous book is the Bible. I know, you want to fight me on this, but hear me out. The reason it’s dangerous is because people misuse it. I once heard someone say that Hitler was a Christian. It’s absurd, Christians follow Jesus, and clearly the atrocities Hitler did not follow the model of Jesus in any way. What Hitler did was misuse a few verses, WAY out of context, to justify himself and his hatred. Some racist hate groups do it too, but again that’s a misuse of the Scripture. If you try hard enough, you can find a verse here or there that will seem to justify any evil thing you want to do, and that makes the book very dangerous. Of course the same can be said for virtually anything in print. The real issue is self justification, trying to justify things in us that are not justifiable.

The same can be said of the people who want to eliminate certain texts because they don’t like what they say. Discredit a few texts or change their meaning and now we can do what we want. Eliminate the inconvenient truths and we can justify anything we want to do. Again this is self-justification. Don’t miss this, both are wrong! Both attempt to mold God into our image, but that’s not haw this works. We’re created in His image and never the other way around. Both attempt to change the Bible, but again, that’s not how this works. We’re not supposed to change the Bible, the Bible is supposed to change us.

Yes, we can find verses we can twist to justify ourselves and our own evil desires, but that is not what is supposed to happen. No, we need to take the whole counsel of Scripture. How does the whole book speak to our lives? These little self-justifying attempts at misuse are torn asunder when these verses are seen in the context of the whole. You can’t justify hate with a verse when the whole text points to the central figure (Jesus) telling us to love friends, neighbors, even enemies. You can’t justify antisemitism, when you read that God told Abraham He would bless the whole world, all nations, through Abraham’s descendants and for those who would say, “But the Jews put Jesus on the cross.” I would say, “No they didn’t, I did.” He died for my sins after all.

The whole counsel of Scripture points to sin, but it also points to redemption. It shows us that we are lost on our own, but saved through Jesus. It teaches us to love our neighbor, and by extension everyone, sacrificially. It teaches wisdom and love, grace and repentance. It points to salvation and eternal life. It is the guidebook for life in this world, written by the One who created the world. We ignore it at our peril or we allow its truth to set us free. Is it dangerous? YES! Used properly it is dangerous to the destructive forces in our world. It is dangerous to the plans of the one who came to steal, kill and destroy. To those who take it in, take it seriously and take it to heart, it is powerful. The teachings in its pages, followed and applied, could make this world a much better place. In the hands of those who would justify themselves by misusing it, it is dangerous. In the hands of those who would apply its full counsel, it is powerful. And in the hands of those who let it gather dust on a shelf, it’s useless.

Unleash the power… Open the book, read it, study it, learn the whole counsel and apply it.

It’ll change your life—maybe even your world.


51-kgOGer0LSpoiler Alert. If you’ve not read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series and you want to, don’t read any further. When I went on vacation in June. I thought I might have a lot of time to read so I brought along my copy of the complete collection of all five of the books in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy (that’s not an error). Over 800 pages of Pythonesque British humor. There were a couple of moments I could have done without but for the most part it was a funny as I remembered. I had never read the final book Mostly Harmless, so I read through the entire trilogy to get to that point. It took weeks. Last night I finished it and here comes the spoiler, you have been warned. I was nearing the end. about five pages from the end and I thought, I know there are no more books and the author has since passed away, and there are a lot of things in this book that still need to be resolved.

And then it happened. He tied up all the loose ends by killing everyone, all the main characters and the entire population of the earth. On one hand it was masterful storytelling, on the other hand, I can’t stand it when a story ends without hope. Don’t get me wrong, the main character dies in a lot of great books. The Bible comes to mind, but in all great stories, there is a point to the death, someone is rescued, someone is helped, freed, cured, etc. I couldn’t stand the idea that these characters that I started to relate to no longer exist, nothing was gained from their deaths, nothing but a scorched, vaporized earth. It felt so pointless. Sometimes the hero dies, but the hero needs to win.

That’s called hope.

My conclusion, interesting at times hilarious book, terrible ending. three stars.

Read the Bible instead. The hero dies, rescues all of humanity and then rises again. True story, with an awesome ending, a Googolplex (1 followed by a billion zeroes) of stars.

A long time ago, pretty much at the start of my ministry journey, I was on a literal mountain top, crying out to God for direction and a bunch of other related things. I felt in my Spirit a very clear mandate. “I want you to preach the Gospel in a way everyone understands.” I took that very much to heart and it has shaped much of what I do today. Yesterday it was challenged… but not really.

Here’s what happened. I was doing my message about the parable of the talents called Hurried, Buried and Worried when someone in the room thought the sermon was audience participation time (it’s usually not) and began calling out things about the parable, things that were way outside what is seen on the printed page, things that would require a radical reinterpretation of the passage. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know everything there is to know about Scripture and that some passages may have prophetic meanings, but here’s what I know.

For the most part, in the vast majority of situations, nearly all the time, the Scripture says what it means and means what it says. Sometimes there is a deeper meaning, but for the most part, you can’t go wrong taking God at His Word. Of course this implies that you are taking the passage in context as it was intended and not cherry picking verses that support whatever argument you’re trying to make. (That can be disastrous.)

The Bible is a unique book. It holds within it the basic truths of life, constructed in such a way that, nearly anyone can understand (and receive) it’s simple truth. At the same time it is so complex that it requires a lifetime of study.

Receive the simple truth, and share it.

I don’t usually post across platform (i.e. the same post to all my different blogs) but today I am going to make an exception. Yesterday, a friend of mine was talking me about trying to get more into reading and asked me for some recommendations. Then today as I was working my way through today’s assignment in Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century I was asked to write about ten books that I love and why they impacted me. As I began to think of all these great books, it was hard to pick the top ten (I ended up with 12). but these are some of the best books I have read in the past few years and al of them would be beneficial to any creative. If you’d like to read any of these books, please click the image beside them and order them from Amazon. If you do, a very small portion of the purchase price will go to support this website.

  1. The Bible because it is the Word of God and contains so much information necessary to life on this planet and in the world to come. Nearly every time I read it, I see something new.

  2. Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park because it showed me the power of research in telling a story. The science in the book makes the premise so plausible that one begins to wonder is this being done.

  3. Andy Andrews The Traveler’s Gift. I read this book at a time when I was feeling very depressed and self-absorbed and it reminded me that there was more to life than what I was seeing and that there are principles that can help everyone all the time. This book also introduced me to Andy Andrews and secured in me the desire to become a professional speaker.

  4. Andy Andrews How Do You Kill 11,000,000 People? This small book is an exploration of the holocaust and the thinking behind it showed me that evil prospers when good people do nothing and the evil power of lies.

  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read this book because I had to for a school assignment, and several times since because I wanted to. Tolkien tells the story of a comfortable little man living a comfortable little life who discovers a big world full of problems and decides to do something about it. It’s a classic coming of age good versus evil story where good prevails. Of course one cannot speak of The Hobbit without the follow up epic, THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    . There are so many great things in these stories, but I guess the biggest thing I took away was it doesn’t necessarily take the most powerful to make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is for ordinary people to step up.

  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It almost seems wrong to mention Tolkien without Lewis. These two contemporaries and friends wrote some amazing stories. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis gives one of the truly great examples of allegorical story telling. From this book, I learned that you can tell a great story that makes a fantastic point without beating people over the head.

  7. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This book was one of the quickest books I have ever read which is strange for a memoir. I didn’t agree with everything in this book, but it really challenged me to look at how I communicate and live out my faith. The other reason I loved this book is because it got me to read…

  8. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. So here’s what happened. Miller writes Blue Like Jazz and it sells like a zillion copies so of course some film makers decided to make a movie out of it. In their meetings with Miller, he discovers they are taking a lot of liberties with the story. What Miller discovers is a great book does not always translate to a great movie. The problem though is BLJ is in many ways Miller’s life story. He begins to question how you live a better story and sets out to live one. This book made me check the story I am living and set out to live a better one too.

  9. Tribes by Seth Godin. This short little book has a basic premise. There are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of interests, and what they need is for someone to bring them together into community and lead them. This book was a huge influence on what I do. I started blogging immediately after reading this book and helped to bring so much of what I was trying to do in this world into focus.

  10. Linchpin by Seth Godin. This book talks about living artistically whether one is an artist or not. Living a remarkable life and being remarkable, living one’s life as a gift to the world and becoming indispensable. This book also made me look seriously at my life and the way I am investing my talents, abilities and pretty much my life in general.

  11. Re-Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson This is a business book, with a lot of really great ideas for creative folks. In addition to all the great content, I loved the way this book was formatted. It inspired the way I designed my own creative ministry book Running A.M.O.K.: Random Musings for the Creative Hands of the Body of Christ

  12. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. This book was a huge influence on me. I got it after reading about it in Linchpin. This book deals with the resistance that keeps people from creating and how to overcome it. This book is a must read for every creative. It will help you smash through creative block and also to fight the resistance.

If any of these books looks appealing to you, click the image to order them from Amazon

TheBibleCvr_rev-2Last night I watched the final installment of The Bible Miniseries. I have to say they did an incredible job. It can’t have been at all easy to cover all that material in the relatively short amount of time they had, which brought me to my thought of the day. This was a great piece of story telling. If Roma Downey and Mark Burnett do not win an Emmy my suspicions of bias against the material will be justified, but as I watched last night I saw them coming up on Pentecost and I really wanted to see Peter give his message to the people and the mass repentance and Salvation that occurred. It didn’t make the cut. Then we crept up on Revelation and I looked forward to seeing the imagery of the apocolyptic book but again that didn’t make it. I can’t say I was disappointed, they really covered a lot of ground and really hit the high points over all, but I wished I could have seen those things.

In this sense, it’s kind of like life. We believers are entrusted with the message of reconcilliation, on a mission to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In most cases, with any given person, you don’t have enough time to tell the whole story. What are the high points you need to cover? How do you bring the story to people in the time you have? How do you get more time and how do you win the right to be heard? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves and matters of prayer we should take before our Lord.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett took the time they had, combined it with their gifts talents and resources and used it to take the Gospel to the world. What will you do with your time, talents and resources? What will you do with His story?