Thursday, September 12, 2013

People of the Book by Mike DeCamp

In recent weeks, I’ve encountered three unconnected, yet related, comments or phrases that have spurred my thoughts down a path that I’d like to ask you to consider.  I’d like to share each of those with you now, and then explain what is subsequently on my mind.

“Dust on your Bible leads to dirt in your life.”

I spotted this little saying recently on a sign outside of a church building not far from my house.  Basically, it is saying that when we neglect the infusion of God’s word into our lives, the void that is left fills up with those things that makes our lives into a mess.  While our Bibles gather dust, our lives gather the chaos of brokenness.

I know this is true. 

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

I often read my Facebook news feed with a heavy heart when I read about the messes in people’s lives.  They just spew it all out there for the world to see:  The pregnant, single woman who cannot get the “father” to own up to his responsibilities.  The man who cannot find a good girl to date (no matter which bar he looks in for her).  The girl who’s “had enough drama” and is “done with it all” for the fourth time in four days (and that’s just this week).  And the list goes on.

If only they would realize that by keeping their lives according to God’s word, they could avoid so much of that mess and really live a satisfying and happy life!  If only.  If only they would realize that real joy comes from above and can exist in their life despite the rocks that life throws at them.  If only.

“You ‘Church-o-Christers,’ you really know your Bibles.”

This came up in a conversation that Nancy and I had with a couple of really good friends of ours.  We’d been out to a concert together, and we were talking about various worship issues in the church.  One of our friends had grown up in a different faith fellowship, and had only in recent years been attending a church of Christ.  The comment that my friend made was meant as a compliment.  She noted that while she had grown up with the Bible stories, those of us in the Church of Christ often knew the book, chapter, and verse in detail on a vast array of topics and issues.

That has been our reputation.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1 Corinthians 8:1b – But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

1 Timothy 4:16 – Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I could add some more verses, but I think you get the point.  The Bible does contain what we need in order to be thoroughly equipped for the Christian life.  It applies to our lives and we can use it to guide our steps.  And, while we need to avoid being “puffed up” with pride in our Bible knowledge, we do need to watch our doctrine just as closely as we do the way we live our lives.

But, what I wonder is:  Is that perception of us is still true?  I wonder.  Just how well we do know our Bible these days?  Are we growing or declining in our biblical knowledge and understanding as a congregation…as a fellowship?  How well do you know your Bible?

Or, are you like the seven year-old boy who said this when he was told he was expected to go to soccer practice:  “I don’t know why they want us to practice; we already know how to play.”

“My kids often go to Bible class by themselves.”

Now, this one disturbs me.  This person shared with me that very often when they take their young children to Sunday School…here at Southeastern, it is often JUST the child and the teacher who are there. 

How can that possibly be?

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The above verse may be “old law” and referring especially to the Ten Commandments, but I think the principle holds true.  We need to teach our children the word of God.  They need to understand more than the “stories.”  They need to know the heart behind the messages, and understand the Being behind the Book.  Why would parents neglect the opportunity of more Bible training for their children (and themselves) that is provided FOR FREE by our church every Sunday morning?

Is that extra hour of sleep really worth that much?  Really?

I recognize that this blog is read by folks well beyond the Southeastern Church of Christ family, and if it is spurring to them on as well, then that is wonderful.  However, I especially want this message to be an alarm clock ringing in the ears of our congregation.  I want it to wake us from our slumbering approach to our Bible study commitment. 

Southeastern family, our level of attendance at our Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible classes is scary low.  I want to ask you, as one of your selected shepherds, to recommit yourself to attending our classes.  We need you there.  We need your hearts, your minds, your strength.  We need your encouragement.  If we are going to be a people of the Book, then we best be people who are learning the Book.
If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about our Bible study programs, please see one of the ministers or elders and express yourself.

Please recommit yourself TODAY!

1 comment:

  1. Edit note: 2nd paragraph following scriptures has several grammatical errors. Unintentional I'm sure. Otherwise, important points. This is something I've been struggling with myself lately. Prayers and encouragement appreciated.