Friday, May 03, 2013

The revelation of God

I love the word of God.  I have studied it, memorized it, and meditated on it. I have found direction and comfort in it many times.  Most importantly, I have found glimpses of His glory as He passed by.

I have been taught and repeated the teaching that God reveals Himself and His truth in 4 ways.
  1. Special revelation - dreams, visions, and from angelic messengers
  2. General revelation in His creation - "The heavens and the earth speak day after day of His glory"
  3. Incarnational revelation - He is revealed in lives of those whom He indwells
  4. Scriptural revelation - the Bible
The latter is the superior form because it's more explicit and clear than dreams and visions.  it's more broad in scope and situational in specifics than creation, and it's less distorted by the sin of the individual in whom God is revealed. 

But I think the fourth form of revelation - scripture - may be over-rated.   Don't get me wrong, I still love the Word, I agree with every word in Psalm 119, if I miss a day reading, studying, and meditating on it, I feel the loss as a shrinking of my own soul.  

The Word of God is "living and active," but it's not living and active in the same way that you are. Your life is more flexible, variable, and dynamic.  That makes you more facile, specific, and individualized as a source of revelation.  But seeing revelation of His truth and His person in His people is tricky because His people can reveal Him, or conceal Him, or distort Him.  

If others see a distorted view of Him in you, what misinformation do you suppose you communicate?  

If others don't see Him at all because you conceal Him, how do you suppose you accomplish the feat of concealing the most real part of you.  

Finally, and this is a trick question, how and what truths of Him do you reveal.  The suprising answer is, you don't.  You don't reveal the Christ that indwells you.  I don't reveal Chrsit who indwells me.  HE REVEALS HIMSELF.

That's not a simple technicality.  It means that the third source of revelation - incarnational revelation - is a much more reliable source of truth than I and most of my biblically learned friends thought.  It means that I can completely rely on the accuracy of the truth of His character as He is the one that revealed Himself in this way. 

Finding the truth of Christ in the scripture He breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and in the people He indwells (2 Cor 3:18) requires discernment to clearly understand the truth without distortion.  But i think that the clarity and advantages of incarnational revelation has been highly and unfairly maligned.

Would you prefer to learn from Christ by reading the Gospels, or by being there, listening to him speak, watching him work?  I think that most honest people would plead for the chance to have been there and witnessed his life, even conversing with him.  Why would the same pattern not be true today.   Would you rather experience the compassion of Christ by reading about it, or by resting in the supportive embrace of his people?

My beloved, more importantly His beloved, let us not conceal Him, let us not distort Him.  May we be in communion and fellowship with Him in such a way that He reveals Himself easily and clearly through us.  May we seek to learn of His nature and His holy perfection as He reveals Himself in and through the people He indwells.  

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The faith that saves

I used to think about Faith that saves and wonder what that Faith had to contain.  Is it possible to have saving Faith and not believe in a virgin birth?  Is it possible to have a saving Faith and not be certain the resurrection actually occurred?  Is it possible to have a saving Faith and believe that not all of the 66 books in the Bible are inspired?

Those discussions were always interesting in Seminary and Bible College.  But I’ve finally decided what should have been obvious.  They completely miss the point. 

I’ve come to think that saving Faith has a whole lot less to do with what facts I believe are true, and a whole lot more to do with how it changes me.  Faith that produces no change in me is not saving Faith.  Faith that saves is faith that changes.  What I do because of faith is the evidence that I’m His.  Faith that creates action is the evidence of things that are otherwise unseen… like the virgin birth, the resurrection, the inspiration of scripture, and personal salvation.
(James 2)

Monday, March 28, 2011


Better strife, confusion, difficulty and dependence on Christ, than comfort, convenience, ease, and self-sufficiency.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Lord, Speak. Soul, Listen

The title has been my prayer this week.  My soul did listen, and it did hear him speak. 

 "Steve, you spend way to much time and energy fearing you will be exposed as a. weak; b. foolish; c. wrong; d. selfish; e. a fraud; f. arrogant; g. all of the above.  Everyone fears being exposed, but you are wasting too much time and energy on it.  You learned if from a home that lived in constant fear of being exposed.  But it's still foolish.  There is nothing you can do to prevent being exposed.  Even if you were perfect (chuckle) the enemy would just make things up. 

Spend less energy, effort, and anxiety trying to avoid being exposed.  Spend more energy and effort living obediently in my abundant grace.  Live with such freedom and joy that I would want to expose your life to others as an example of my easy yoke.  Do not hide your failures.  Embrace them because they prove how marvelous is my grace toward you and in you."

BTW: He spoke clearly, but it took me about 10 focused prayers, 2 dreams, and 5 illustrations and assurances to hear all of that.  He held up his part of the prayer much better than I held up mine.  I know... you're surprised.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Replacement 2

Foolish ancient Israelites trusted in idols rather than God.
Foolish ancient Israelites trusted in political alliances rather than God.
Foolish ancient Israelites trusted in "nobles" rather than God.
Foolish ancient Israelites trusted in wealth and riches rather than God.
Foolish ancient Israelites trusted in their own strength and abilities rather than God.
Foolish ancient Israelites.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Taking a risk, please post your comment here.

"In your own words, how would you summarize the ideas from Jeremiah?  I have called them "the 'replacement' view of sin."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jer. 1:17-19 (my loose paraphrase)

"I have given you a task.  Hitch up your jock strap and get on with it.  I know you are frightened, but you can choose: you can choose to be afraid of them and not speak; or you can choose to be afraid of me if you disobey me.  I am much more to be feared.

You will need to be strong, not the kind of strength that charges at and overruns the enemy, but the kind of strength that stands firm, on task, unmoved, no matter how fierce the enemy's attacks may be.

Make no mistake about it, they will launch attack after attack against you, but they will not destroy you.  You will be able to stand firm in the face of the attack, for I am with you to deliver you."

Note there are three reasons to obey God.
1) If we allow our fear of men to control us, we stand in opposition to God,
2) AND we stand alone. 
3) But if we allow our fear of God to control us, we stand in opposition to the world, but we have a mighty ally. 

Which do you fear?  Who is your ally?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jeremiah 1:11ff

"Do you see the stick? Do you see the pot? Do you know what they mean?"

How many sticks do you see in a day? How many pots? How many rocks, birds, dead bugs, hairstyles, tools, heat shimmers, or poodles? Is God speaking to you through the things that are right in front of your eyes? Are you watching and listening?

The stick and the pot mean that God sees, He is watching, and His justice is coming. Good things to know, but Jeremiah wouldn't have heard them if he hadn't noticed a stick and a pot.

(If you were in church at Common Ground tonight... please notice that we were in Chapter 1, verse 11..... 1:11.)

Look. Notice. He often speaks by the things He puts right in front of our eyes. We need to notice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jeremiah 1:5

"Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations."

If God knew you before he formed you, and if He also knew what role he had set for you, wouldn't he have formed you in a way well suited for that role? No need trying to be somebody or something. His calling for you is to be you, in His will.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mustard Seeds and Yeast

Matt 13:31-33 The simple idea is that the Kingdom starts small and grows. It gets bigger. It's just a natural process and it works in a natural way. Nothing especially mystical about a tree that gets big and birds nests in it. Nothing especially strange about yeast mixing into the entire lump of dough. It's what happens (unless something intervenes to prevent the natural order of things).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

three judges in Judges 3

Othniel - pronounced oath-knee-ell - with emphasis on the last syllable. His name means "Lion of God." He defeated Cushan-Rishathaim, which means "twice wicked blackness" who was King of Aram Naharaim which is literally "exalted of the two rivers."

Ehud - pronounced eh-hude - (hude sounds like "rude") the emphasis in on the last syllable. His name means "I will give praise." He defeated Eglon which means "calf-like." Eglon was King of a nation that descended from Lot.

Shamgar - pronounced sham-gare - with emphasis on the last syllable. His name means "sword."

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Rev.

You can call me “the Rev.” or “Revdoc” but I’d prefer “Steve.” My church held a wonderful ordination service for me yesterday. It was a wonderful blessing to hear people affirm qualities of God’s Spirit in me, but it was also a little uncomfortable sometimes. Those same people know many of my shortcomings, but were gracious not to focus on them.

I wanted to read this poem sent by a former student, but I couldn’t find it in time. The author is anonymous, so I didn’t feel bad editing it a bit to suit me.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm saying, "I was lost! That's why I desperately need saved."

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I don't speak with pride in myself
I'm confessing that I stumble, and need a great God to be my guide.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not claiming to be strong,
I'm admitting that I'm weak and pray for strength.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot pay the debt I owe.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I don't think I know it all.
I know I’m confused and I need to be taught.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God is perfect and He believes He can do something with me

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I do not wish to judge someone else
I recognize that the judge loves me.