Monday, November 26, 2012

Moriah 3: Scriptures


“If God wanted, He could make a tree grow up big and tall right in front of you.  A scientist would come along, cut the tree down, count its rings and tell you it was 80 years old.”  Ed spoke those words to me as we made the five hour trip from Oxford to Shaker Heights.  I’d thought things like that before, but could never have phrased it the way he just did.  I grew up in public school and had bought into the idea of “millions and billions of years.”  It was refreshing to talk to Ed.

I once heard a preacher say, “How you approach this book [the Bible] will determine how you live your life.”  I’ve found that to be true.  I’ve also found the opposite to be true, “How you live your life will determine how you approach the Bible.” 

I find it tempting in our modern way of life to explain away creation.  I often hear phrases like, “God made it all, but it wasn’t a literal seven days.”  Or, “We know the sun must have been created before light existed, so the writer of Genesis is speaking metaphorically.”

I myself believed many evolutionary theories for a long time.  It took me a while and a lot of searching to really change my views at their core.  I can say now that I chose to believe the writings of Scriptures on creation as they were written down.

You might ask how I came to that position.  I believe the writer of Genesis was Moses, and I believe he talked with God on a daily basis as he wrote Genesis.  In my opinion, he got the straight scoop, and the theorists behind evolution have yet to discover the real truth.  Consequently, I believe the world was created in seven days and in the order Genesis presents it. 

I believe God made the world the way the Bible says He made it.  All arguments aside, He is God and He can make it any way He wanted to.  I don’t get much more complicated than that.  Perhaps your beliefs conflict with this view?  No problem, you may still get something out of this. 

So, why do I bring up Creation?  The Creation as recoded in Genesis is a central theme of the message I put into my pocket. 

I believe when God said to Abraham, “upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. He was talking about a mountain of significance, not only in the creation story, but in man’s story as a whole.  It is a central piece behind a powerful message in the Bible that is often overlooked, simple though it may be. 

***

I’ve spent my life in a variety of churches and Christian movements.  When it was up to me, I chose the churches I attended based on how closely they aligned with the writings of the Bible. 

In College I was swept away with various fundamentalist movements.  Being fundamental about what you believe can be good, being caught up in it is bad.  Let me explain.

By the age of 24 I found myself as Paul says in Ephesians 4:14, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness.”  My typical mode of operation was this:

 A feeling of emptiness and a time of searching, followed by…

         An experience of enthusiasm from the charisma of a great message, followed by…

                 A period of obsession about that experience, followed by…

                        A discipleship and proselytize-ation of others, followed by…

                                A rude awakening to the weakness of the movement, followed by…

A feeling of emptiness and a time of searching, followed by…

         An experience of enthusiasm from the charisma of a great message, followed by…

You may recognize that cycle in your own life or in the lives of others around you.  I think this is what Paul was warning us about.  It’s not the way the Christian life is to be lived.

After about the third such experience, and feeling the tug of a new movement, I decided to put on the brakes.  After all, the various movements I involved myself in couldn’t all be right.  The things they said usually conflicted with one another.  I figured I had been duped somewhere along the line.

I made up my mind to not let it happen again.  Modern day Christianity is rife with this tug and pull of various movements.  How can a Christian be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” as Paul says in I Cor 15:48?  I didn’t know, but that became my prayer. 

I figured what attracted me to the various movements of Christianity was the Biblical basis and the fundamentals of it.  I decided to turn my focus to the Bible and away from the movements. 

I stayed in church, and would encourage anyone reading this to do the same.  I augmented church with intensive Bible study. 

If the Scripture was true, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11) I had nothing to lose. 

If I wanted to truly be fundamental about what I believed, I needed to get back to the fundamentals.  Those are found in the Bible.

Becoming, “stedfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord,” became my goal.  The Bible became my venue.

I found when I focused on God’s Word in the pages of Scripture, I found peace.  Along with that came understanding and knowledge.  The roller-coaster ride of movement Christianity ended.

Through my intensive Bible study sessions, I began to learn the importance of that simple message I didn’t preach.  As the pages of Scripture turned, and as I grew more solid in Bible learning I began to see the profoundness of the message I had stuffed back in my pocket.