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Do you remember Sunday school?

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I know not everyone experienced it, but I did, and I have vivid memories of it. I remember the flannel board doubling first as the back- drop of stiff cutout Bible characters and then, second as a sort of Velcro-like adhesive, only much warmer and cozier. I remember the smell of the potluck dinner we would have after the service wafting down from the fellowship hall and into our classroom.  I always hoped there would be fried chicken. It would be my reward for enduring to the end. If you were ever there, then you remember the kid in class who always got the right answer, because her answer was always Jesus, God, the Bible, or John 3:16. That was, of course, unless the question was about the cause of evil in the world or about sin. Then, the answer was the devil.

So when Chris, our COM leader, gave us a set of questions to answer in our monthly meeting, I was intrigued. Could I answer them without resorting to trite, stock, Sunday school-isms? Could I answer them in a way that would stir my fervor for the Gospel and my faith in Jesus? There were five questions: Who is God? What has He done? Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it in our unique context/ contexts? (I paraphrased the wording but tried to stay true to the meaning) Chase, one of our elders, rightly pointed out that the knowledge of God is a great mountain; we could “climb all our lives and never get to the top.” So, I will just start here at the trailhead by sharing my ponderings on the first question this time. Here goes:

Question 1: Who is God?

  • I know He’s one God, but also three: The Father, Spirit, and Son. Honestly, this is so hard for me to swallow, though. I think about it pretty often, and it’s a faith builder every time I rediscover, then believe God’s Word about this truth; then I fall in love with it all over again. I know that sounds like a sappy Journey song, but it’s true, and the root of that truth grows a little deeper in me each time. The cool thing about it, I heard a good preacher say, is that it helps us better understand the very often quoted, very often misunderstood, claim that God is Love. How? Ok, the Father has loved the Son forever and the Spirit has loved the Father and the Son has loved…well they’ve all loved each other forever and will, for all eternity. God is the first family. The picture of perfect community.
  • What about the fact that He exists eternally? I can actually imagine someone existing eternally in the future. What boggles my finite mind, though, is that He has always been! He was never made. Never imagined by anyone. He’s not the product of anything or any being. He is utterly other than us. He’s not just holy (set apart). He’s Holy, Holy, Holy! It’s so difficult to grasp, but it is a must-believe. Without that piece of who God is, we are doomed. He is I Am. We are, well dead, until he blows His breath into our dead spirit nostrils. You have to have breath to blow breath. He had that breath first: His Spirit. He did it when he created the first man, and he does it every time he brings another dead, non-breathing spirit to life- to His life.
  • God created everything. I get that. I make things too. But I run into a wall in my understanding when I contemplate the astounding truth that He made it all out of nothing. Absolutely nothing! I don’t do that. I have a hard time making something out of what He gave me to work with. I feel like a kid fumbling with finger paint sometimes- figuratively and literally. (I’m an art teacher) Oh, and let’s not forget that Jesus was there as well. The Spirit too. They were all there! Yeah, I know Jesus was born as a man, but He has always existed and always will. That makes Him God. I’m glad about that, because without that integral truth, we are left hopeless. How could a regular fallen man have done any eternal work toward reconciliation to the God with whom we made enemies? It is impossible for man, yet possible for God. Praise Him! He not only created everything, but He is recreating us. He is the true artist, and the best teacher.

I could go on and on (I know that surprises some of you), but I’ll pause here. My aim was to stir up some food for thought on God. I hope your curiosity was rekindled about what God says about Himself, and I hope your desire to explore the amazing truths about God was enlivened a bit. I’m still chewing on these few I shared with you here. I will be mauling over the other four, well, forever.

Thanks for asking them Chris; it was a healthy exercise. I’m more excited about the Gospel, and I am spurred on to more fervently seek out the soul nourishing wisdom of God. However, even more importantly, I am getting hungrier for the very one who calls Himself the Bread of Life, our glorious Lord, Jesus Christ.


Posted by Kevin Gentry with


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It came up in redemption groups recently that “behold” is a bit archaic. So, if I could swap it out with just one other word, that word would have to be “fantasize.” For many, that word is tainted to connote something sexual. But it simply means to daydream. It means to play a little movie in your head and to melt over it. It’s something we do nearly incessantly. Pay attention to your thoughts and think about what “movies” commonly occupy your own mind. I wonder if any other activity we do better exposes the direction of our worship than fantasizing.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
(Psalm 63:1-5)

Near death with thirst and then finding water. Fainting with weariness and then resting. Searching desperately and then finding at last. Dying of hunger and then feasting on rich food. King David is not informing you of facts to gain your nod of assent. He’s inviting you to join him: to drink, to rest, to find, and to taste! Fantasizing involves our thoughts, our hearts, our drool, and our physical posture. True beholding cannot merely be inward thought. It is imagination, engaging emotions, and tangible expression either aloud or written.

I firmly believe that a moment-to-moment practice of fantasizing over God is foundational for wise counsel. We do it so instinctively about everything else, and yet it seems unnatural with God. But scripture is filled with stories, pictures, movies, and gut-level analogies like food and water. It’s all a call to join: to taste and engage. As we considered last week, your worldly fantasies can give you ideas of how to fantasize about God.

This discipline is filled with delight. It’s like God “commanding” Israel to rest and feast. Seriously, did that really have to be a command? It turns out that it did because Israel disobeyed resting and feasting quite often. Well, God commands us to rest and feast as well, often in fact. Will we forsake cheap entertainment and sinful preoccupations in order to rest and feast?

In daily life, we suffocate sin as we proactively engage fantasies over God’s nature, promises, and actions. Doing this often in everyday life is where we’ll find sinful desires losing their influence and Godward desires raging outward. It’s God’s power at work in the gospel we behold. Without this, those you counsel probably won’t get very far.

Posted by Matt Norman with

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