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May Newsletter: Backwards

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Good News: the report of something that has already happened!
!happened already has that something of report the: News Good

Jane and I were in a conversation recently, actually it was about 1am, on one of those couldn’t get to sleep nights. Those kinds of nights always seem to create subjects that she or I don’t find time for in daytime. Anyway, we were talking about sharing our Gospel belief with our 3 daughters, and I said something that I don’t know that I’ve thought about saying before. If I only had one sentence of advice to give to our daughters, what would that sentence be? There were some obvious responses, I would even go so far as saying, and traditional things I might say. You know most of them so I’ll not list them for you here. But, after going over many responses in my mind, my ‘final answer’ is this: ‘If you want to discover the mystery of the Gospel, want to know Who God is, read the Bible backwards.’ It’s always been interesting to me that the Jewish text has to be read right to left rather than the other way round. That’s kind of similar to what I’m saying about reading the Bible backwards. Start at the end and read to the beginning. Kind of hard to wrap our heads around actually, but how much easier would it be if PBS’s Poirot knew the answer before the investigation to fill in the blanks?

I know our habits are to read from Genesis to Revelation; we were taught that way from our childhood. But after 50 years of this faith journey, to really come to the cornerstone of our faith, that would be my advice to our children. I always start study with Paul’s Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc and look how those revelations shed Light on the earlier. Jesus is the Light and has specifically come to show us the Father. Now, you might say, really, the Word backwards is a bit nuts, and I’d let you say that without argument. It may just be my ‘easier way’ of perceiving the Truth. However, let me at least explain what I’ve come to over the years. It all started long ago when a friend of mine asked me to hit the restart button on my Bible studies, asked me to start the Gospel with the book of Colossians, letting it affect the reality of what I would read after that. That moment has paid many dividends in my life. You see, Paul wrote Colossians in past-tense. It is news that has already happened, happened in Christ Jesus. So here we go…

What I’m simply saying is that it’s easier to understand the Gospel when we understand our present situation because of what Christ did, easier to understand when we take a look at what is finished. The whole Gospel message, from Genesis to the Book of Acts, was about something that was in the heart of God the Father and God the Son even before Genesis. The whole story of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Israel and even the life of Jesus was a journey from the heart of God the Father and His Son before the foundation of the world. Truly, Genesis to Acts was all the beginning of something, it was the progress until the cross, burial and resurrection. Something changed with that death, burial and resurrection that was a journey through human history until the ‘it is finished’ actually accomplished something in the heart of God. Now, for the very first time we really have Emmanuel, God with us. It created a new covenant, one prophesied by Jeremiah, one of the heart rather than the head. It ushered in a new way for God and His creature to relate to one another.

The Bible after all is one thing and one thing only, the revelation of Jesus Christ. He was in Genesis and He’s in Revelation. By beginning our study with the Mystery Himself we can better understand the journey from Genesis through the end of the book. Paul, having written so much of our Gospel, did in one simple statement while on the road to Damascus ask the question that is common to all, ‘Who are you Lord?’ In that statement found in Acts 9, Paul seems to have an understanding that Jesus is Lord, but who are you Lord implies a need to know Him in a way. A way that does not simply acknowledge His existence, but a deeper ‘knowing’ and intimate knowing of just exactly the essence of who this Lord is, not just that He is but what does He do. A knowing that brings us closer to not only what He has done for us but also what He has done to us!

Starting with the present and then interpreting the past, in this case, is most necessary to really and completely understand that past. That’s not to say we should throw out history, it’s just that this history is subject to our present. In this history Jesus said He was the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life, so we probably should start with Him to understand all that preceded Him. He told us no one knows the Father but the Son. That can only be placed in two categories: a crazy statement or a profoundly true statement. If true, it changes history. Simply said, that means no one in the room, no matter who is in the room, no one, knows the Father but one in that room, the Son of God. He came to reveal Him to us in a new and profound way. Therefore, it’s probably good to get our understandings about the Father from Him. Learning Jesus, we can then look back and see the Lord parting the Red Sea, being a Lamb slain, being a Scapegoat, being the blood of the Temple. Jesus was the Good Samaritan. He was the Promise made before the foundation of the cosmos. He was the priest liken unto Melchizedek, all those things and much more. Scripture says thousands of volumes could have been written about this Jesus.

The whole of scripture is not just a chronological history but truly His story. He alone is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is not a footnote to Adam, he is the Lord of Adam. Reading it from Genesis we have a tendency to read the New Testament with a ‘yes, but Adam.’ If we read it from Jesus, when we get to Genesis we get to say, ‘yes, but Jesus.’ He’s the King of kings. I am suggesting, how ‘bout we start with Jesus to understand all things, after all, all things are fulfilled in Him, He holds all things together. No man comes to the Father, can know the Father, except by Jesus Christ. From His life forward we are under His authority, even more than Moses, David, Mathew, Mark Luke, John, and Paul or any other man. While He was the Finish to the old things, the same Jesus was the beginning all things new.

If He is all these things mightn’t we start with Him to discover the Mystery of the Gospel? He is what was hidden for thousands of years, only to be discovered in this day, the day of the Spirit. One of Jane’s favorite scriptures, one that became so real while critically sick a few years ago, is John 14:17-20:

… the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, does not know Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. In a little while, and the world will see Me no more; but you will see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day (in this beginning, this day of the Spirit) you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Bottom line, Truth is only possible through Jesus Christ. He was, and is, in perfect communication with the Father, the Spirit; everything (mediation, salvation, righteousness, forgiveness, and reconciliation) comes through Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s language to humanity. He was full of Faith, actually the only wholely faithful, the true Believer. For our girls, ‘read ‘er backwards’ to prioritize the Son of God.


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April Newsletter …3/6/10/50/62/620/320/300/3…

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OK, here’s what I want you to do. Pick a number. I want you to double it. Then add 4 to that number. Now, multiply it by 5. Simply add 12 to that. Multiply it by 10. Subtract 320 from it. Take away the two digits on the right hand side of that number. Now, you have your original number back again, Right?

While we are talking numbers let me take that number ’3′. One thing that helps me have confidence in the Truth of the Gospel is the order found in its consistency; from the front to back, the Bible is full of confirmations of Divine patterns. It’s as though there are threads that run through it, and if you pull on it, all the other parts are connected. That constancy helps me be settled and peaceful in my Faith.

’3′ …well, let’s start with the scripture explaining that we need to understand the height, width and depth of God. How ’bout the three offices of the Old Testament: Prophet, Priest and King. ’3′ has always represented fullness in God. Simply, God is 3: Father, Son and Spirit. That’s as full as you can get! There’s more, lots more consistency. The temple was made up of the outer Court, inner Court and the Holy of Holies. The O.T. was identified in Luke’s (24:44) writing as the Law, Prophets and the Psalms. There’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob used to represent the whole of the Jewish faith. In Numbers 6, we find 3 blessings of God: to bless and keep us, to make His face to shine upon us and be gracious, and to lift His countenance upon us and give us peace.

In the New Testament, that consistent thread follows. God for 4000 years has patterned the fullness of things using the number 3 as a rhythm, if you will, of His Word. Jesus responded to the great temptation stating 3 times ‘it is written.’ John tells of man’s 3 weaknesses: the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The Spirit, the water and the blood testify/witness to the Grace of God. The world, the flesh and the devil is referred to in Jesus’ teaching as one connected group. Christ had a 3 year ministry. Two thieves and Jesus were crucified. Jesus was crucified at the 3rd hour, then 3 hours of darkness, and three hours later, ‘It is finished,’ crossed the lips of Christ. Jesus rose from the dead on the 3rd day. The order of belief for us is Faith, Hope and Love. We’re made in one ‘dirt ball’ referred to as Body, Soul and Spirit. Christ’s ministry is identified with death, burial and resurrection. As mentioned earlier the fullness of the Godhead is referred to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being One. The angels of Revelation bring a final period to the Gospel sentence with worship by crying out: Holy, Holy, Holy!

This Gospel has overcome death, fear and darkness with Life, Love and Light. Simply, in the Creation, light itself is made up of 3 kind of light rays. That Creation is consistent as well. The smallest unit we can see and measure is the atom. It’s the smallest unit of matter and it’s made up again of 3 parts: protons, neutrons and electrons. They, by their very nature, are held together as one unit. Maybe better said, they (the 3 parts) are in relationship with one another. They form what scientists call an electromagnetic field. Simply, atoms are bonded together. The smallest bit of matter is similar to the largest, the most huge ’3′ thing: Father, Son and Spirit. The smallest unit thing and the biggest Thing are both uniquely in relationship inside their unit.

God (F,S,S) stands outside our universe with its billions of solar systems and trillions of stars and creates an atom on a small planet: earth. As Christians I sometimes think we are afraid of science and make it an enemy. DNA chains and the human eye, heart, the human brain and the content of our souls scream there is a God. Certainly, there are those scientists that oppose the Truth, but science itself does not prove there’s no God. Actually, God proves science! Someone once said that the knowledge of science only adds to the awe and wonder of a flower. Scientific discovery has not proven that God is dead; rather it has opened His Creation to show us more splendor, wonder and complexity. Science only shows how incomplete our understanding of who God (F,S,S) is and what He has done. Unfortunately, the way we use science leads us to power over people, rather than leading us to Wisdom. Typically, science alienates itself from the Wisdom of God; yet at the same time it closely observes the Creation’s order.

It was and still is the great plan of God to bring us into relationship with Himself just as that atom and its protons, electrons and neutrons. God invites us, encourages us to the same kind of relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit, a firm, un-destroyable relationship. Before the foundation of the ‘cosmos’, when only the relationship between Father, Son and Spirit existed, before any atom, universe, earth or creature made of dirt arrived, there was just God-three persons in one deep, interpersonal connection to one another (F,S,S). That’s how 3 can be 1, their hearts are for one another, they are merged with one another in purpose and desire. That desire for a relationship with His Creation did not die, but continued, when Adam fell. Instead of turning His back on Adam and Eve, God moved toward them, embraced them and began a plan that would make eternal relationship, creating an environment where He would be their God and they would be His people. Simply said, ‘I will not let them perish, will not let them fall into ‘nothingness’. The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the cosmos to preserve and invite us into His circle of Love. Adam was big enough to capture the world in a problem; the Son of God, even before the cosmos existed, was planning to do even bigger! It has always been His plan and hope that none should perish. That’s His same plan today: God coming down into His Creation, His Creature and embracing ‘dirt.’ He is Love and Love is natured to embrace, can’t help but embrace.

Jane and I love our 3 children. Raising them has, as with all children, had challenges, but we have completely enjoyed the opportunity to be related to each. In our hearts, we want them to believe us, and we want them to know, and even more to experience, our love for them. Many of our hopes and dreams are wrapped up into their hopes and dreams. And while our love is imperfect and fails to always be sufficient, we still have relationship with them because our hearts are toward them. Jane and my relationship creates a union of care and love. We would never leave or with purpose damage them. Surely we can have confidence that God is super that! Immeasurable that!

Atoms are always moving, but always connecting with one another. God (F,S,S) is moving in the same way, contained in their wonderful and unique relationship and at the very same time wanting to bring in ‘children of God.’ They are seeking us out in order to invite us into their circle of Life. Will we accept the invitation? Will we say yes?