Genesis 25:1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.
Luke 4:29 They got up, drove Jesus out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
Okay, hands up all of you out there who knew that a) Abraham married again after Sarah died and b) that Jesus was almost thrown off a cliff to His death by his own neighbors?
I’m thinking that there may not be many hands up out there and that you are probably surprised by these events. Not many pastors preach on those topics and I can’t ever remember a Sunday school class ever tackling these passages. And yet, these events are written and described in the Bible, so why don’t we know about them?
We’ve stopped reading the Bible, plain and simple. We’ve all the time in the world for a best-selling novel, or checking our emails, or reading our tweets and texts, but when it comes to actually reading God’s best seller, God’s text message – the Bible, we’ve grown careless and inconsistent, making ourselves biblically weak and scripturally ignorant.
That’s why the church in Western society is encountering so much inner turmoil. Mainstream Christians believe that their own life experiences and personal feelings, their own ideas and individual opinions outweigh God’s Word. They want their faith to be relevant, but they don’t want to read the scriptures. They want their culture to be accepted, but they don’t want to accept Christ’s Gospel. In fact, when faced with the audacity of the New Testament message, they want to throw the uncompromising Christ and His First followers, like Peter and Paul, over a cultural cliff. In other words, they want the church to catch up with the world and alter its Christian ways, rather than face up to the world and challenge it to change.
I firmly believe that if people want their churches to grow, they have to re-invest their time in God’s Word. It’s no use hoping for the best and wishing things were different; if Christians really want to be effective and influential in the world, they honestly need to know God’s Book from beginning to end. Anything else will just be superficially experiential and grossly inauthentic.
Questions for personal reflection
How often do I read the scriptures? How can I make this a daily practice?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, our generation of church going people is guilty of setting aside scripture reading. We may pray to You several times a day especially in times of crisis and trouble, but we are forgetting or failing to read, meditate, and study Your Word.
Forgive our foolishness and keep us from becoming ignorant of Your Ways. Help us to make the time to read the Bible, as well as continually praying. In Your Holy Name, we humbly ask. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.
Today’s image is John’s latest “Bonnie Scotland” drawing. It’s a winter scene of the beautiful Eilean Donan castle which has been used in many movies. If you would like to view a larger version, then please click on the following link: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8160/7532542862_5b7b31bd43_b.jpg