Arnold Cook makes a wonderful point in his book, Historical Drift which we all must keep in mind as we study the Word of God and teach and preach its principles.
I again argue for a view of Scripture that begins with the question: “What appears to be the clear pattern in the Bible?” In our academic sophistication we easily forget that the Scriptures were written for the ordinary believer. The vast majority of Bible readers world-wide have no access to commentaries, seminaries nor even a formally trained pastor. But they do have the Holy Spirit to illuminate their understanding.
Let me take this a step further. Not only do many lack the access to “theological resources,” but many Christians and potential Christians (everybody) do not have the ability to read or learn through written means. We easily forget in Western culture that most of the rest of the world is comprised of oral learners, they learn through audio visual means.
I have no problem with Biblical scholarship, in fact, I support it and I practice it to the best of my ability. However, do we not at times over-complicate matters? Do we do more harm than good for ourselves and others by constantly question everything when the Bible clearly teaches that God’s Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth? The Holy Spirit is the key to understanding God’s Word.
Again, I don’t wish to oversimplify. I do, however, attempt to re-prioritize. We need to be in tune with the Spirit. Let’s allow the LORD to open up our understanding as He illuminates the Truth revealed in Scripture. In a world of confusion and questions, we must have a clear sound for those who Cook calls the “ordinary believer” as well as those who will never have the ability to read a single word of Scripture for themselves.
This is a neat little exercise that I first read about on Chris Brogan’s website. Every year, Chris picks three words that will serve as “guiding pillars” for the year. I thought this would be worth trying for myself so I have picked three words for 2011. I will not focus on these three items at the expense of other important things, but I will narrow my focus in 2011 to improve in these specific areas.
I have been taught to distinguish between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Knowledge is recognition, wisdom is application, and understanding realizes the value and purpose of application. Need an example? Lying is wrong; recognizing that is knowledge, not lying is wisdom, and realizing the value and purpose of not lying is the understanding. All three of these can be applied to (and may even be considered the components of) Truth.
I will endeavor to increase in my understanding of Biblical Truth in 2011.
I will be preaching and teaching in 2011 more than I ever have in any given year of my life. Let me tell you, the guilt of feeling unprepared to share the Truth is not a good feeling. We ought to be well-prepared regardless of our duty, and even more so when we are called on to share God’s Word. Good preparation is vital if we are going to be effective.
This one is a little tricky for me because my personality can lead me into the ditch on the other side of the road. It is possible for preparation to become a form of procrastination. And when it comes to preaching and teaching God’s Word, it is possible to lean too heavily on preparation at the expense of Divine interruption.
I will endeavor to be well prepared and willing for God to interrupt when He desires.
I want to get my focus off myself and more on others in 2011. I don’t want a ministry that serves me. I want a ministry that serves others. It is easy as a young minister trying to become established to always look for the personal benefit in opportunities. This year I want to look for opportunities that serve others.
In ancient China the people wanted security against the barbaric hordes to the north, so they built the great wall. It was so high they believed no one could climb over it and so thick nothing could break it down. They settled back to enjoy their security. During the first hundred years of the wall’s existence, China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbaric hordes break down the wall or climb over it. Each time they bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right through the gates. The Chinese were so busy relying on walls of stone they forgot to teach integrity to their children. (Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell)
Walls are only as strong as their gates. Gates are only as strong as their keepers.
Walls serve a significant purpose, but they are useless if the gatekeepers don’t understand and uphold their purpose.
Build strong walls but don’t forget to teach people why the walls are important!