October 20, 2005


That seems to be a lost art in our society, listening. People are often too busy trying to convince someone that their point of view is right that we don't make any effort to consider what the other person or people are saying.

This also applies to prayer. It is easy, especially if we lead a very busy life, to talk to God (isn't that the essence of prayer?) and get on with the next task on our long list of things to do. We often don't take time to be still and give Him a chance to respond.

I had a great experience doing just that last night. The leadership of our church met at our new facility, still strewn with construction debris, lights dangling from the unfinished ceiling, and no functioning toilets. After opening with corporate prayer, Apostle Dale was led to direct each of us to pray about a specific area of our church's ministry. We then came back together and shared what God has told us regarding those prayers. It was some truly exciting stuff!

I'm still new at some of this, and I felt the Lord touch me in a way that I could not remember happening before. As I talked with Him about what we needed to reach the lost (the area I had been asked to cover with my prayer), I stopped several times and soaked in whatever the Holy Spirit would send me.

I stood there by myself in the shell of our upstairs office area with only the light from the parking lot providing any illumination. What I saw, though, was Apostle Dale's office, very tastefully appointed, with him sitting there providing guidance and leadership as per his Apostolic calling. I saw myself and others leading small groups in the meeting room, teaching and reaching out to people, helping them open their hearts and minds to be filled with the Spirit.
I've never heard "The Voice of God," but I never felt his presence more than I did last night. He showed me part of his plans for how he would answer my prayers and gave me not only encouragement to stay the course but also emboldened me to give even more of myself to His ministry.

I listened and I received answers. If you are praying without ceasing, you may need to stop long enough to give God time enough to answer them. Praying is a form of communication, and any type of communication is only effective if it is two-way.

October 16, 2005

The Bible is Not a Play By Play Report

If you gather a group of people together to watch a football game or a movie and ask them to write a summary, it is very unlikely that you will see two write-ups that are the same. Even though there is only one set of facts, it is human nature to filter events through our own set of values and perspective.

In summarizing the game, some would talk about the defense, others would focus on the offense. While reviewing the movie, there are those who would write about the cinematography and others that would give their views on the story line.

It is important to remember that, although the words in the Bible were inspired by God, they were written by human beings. Recently, the Catholic Church published a teaching document including instructions that some parts of the Bible are not literally true.

A key quote from the document, as reported by the London Times, states "We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision."

To put this in some perspective, admittedly mine, there are some fundamentalits that will practically fight to the death to defend the idea that Creation actually occurred in six calendar days, ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary. Are details like that really important? Not if you're reading the Bible to seek God's will for your life instead of using it like a textbook.

God's word will not lead you to him like a set of directions to put together a bookcase. You know, insert screw A into slot B. It doesn't work like that. There are fundamentalists who swear by their literal interpretation, in my opinion, because it's easy and they don't have to open their hearts and minds.

There are people with whom I have interacted regarding the editorial content of this site who quote scriptures to point out how I am misguided and how homosexuals are sinners. When I come back with the fact that I have seen gay men and lesbian women who have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, they have no answer for that. It gets them out of their comfort zone where they answer everything by quoting scripture.

Don't get me wrong, the Bible is of course the most important book ever written. It contains wisdom well beyond what we as mere humans can understand and the writers could communicate in its full meaning. The Bible as I have come to understand it is a tool that teaches us important concepts about how to live our lives and be more like Jesus. It also teaches us how to grow closer to Him. When we do that, he fills us with the Holy Spirit and it is that Spirit which guides us through our lives.

The rest is just details which, if we are not careful, can take us AWAY from the Lord, particularly if people professing to be christians fight over them.