Thanks for checking back in for one more reflection on whether we are playing the right game or not. (If you missed Sunday’s message, CLICK HERE for the video) As strangers in this world, it’s easy to get sucked into the games that the world plays – and as Christians we’re going to feel like we are losing because the objectives and rules just don’t parallel the objectives and rules that God put forward. We can try, and be frustrated, get overly anxious and worry a lot. We maybe try to adapt the rules, but finally we have to realize we are just playing a different game…one that still very much works in the world, but gives a different objective and different rules, and really put forward a game that provides much more meaning and significance to the world in which we live as well.
On Sunday we talked about three shifts in the games we play…
Game #1 – Instead of playing to Create Heaven on Earth … Live on Earth in View of Heaven
Game #2 – Instead of playing to Get Rid of All Suffering … Grow through Suffering
Game #3 – Instead of playing to Find Joy in the Visible … Find Joy in the Invisible.
Today, let me give you one more.
Let me start with a short disclaimer – I loved science in school. I still love to discover and understand how things work. Science is a great discipline and adds much value to our lives.
However, really a trend for about 200 years has been to make “science” the final authority on all matters of life. If science can’t prove it…it can’t be true. If I can’t experiment with it…it must not have happened. If I can’t explain it…it’s not real.
For example, how many times in the last 6 months have you heard or read, “What does the science say?” This phrase has been used a lot in regard to COVID-19 and finding a solution for the virus. Experiments, research, numbers, trends, predictions, graphs, etc. all trying to find the answer, predict the solution, and bring to an end the pandemic around us. For the most part, this is all good work and a blessing to our country. But it also indicates where we look for solutions to the problems of life…the final authority in the world in which we live: Science. If science says it, we can believe it. If science doesn’t, the theory is to be discounted and dismissed. If science has an answer, I won’t be afraid. If science tells me I can, I’ll move forward.
Again, don’t get me wrong, science and the study of the world is a great blessing to our lives and our families…no doubt. But science can subtly lead us to play the wrong game. What do I mean?
Here’s the 4th game:
The world puts its confidence in SCIENCE. God puts our confidence in the SCRIPTURE.
Science and the Bible are not mutually exclusive. Science can and does answer many questions about nature and the physical workings of the earth…and for that matter a treatment for COVID. However, the Scripture is what provides the framework and the worldview through which science exists. Science without the divine, will always come up short in understanding the world around us. Science cannot answer questions about the divine and eternity, scripture can. Science is limited to the knowledge man can observe and accumulate. Scripture reveals to us the knowledge of the all-knowing God! Science can change our mind and understanding. Scripture can change our heart and our beliefs.
Let’s tie this back to 1 Peter. Honestly, science isn’t mentioned in these verses, but I want you to hear where Peter points the people living as strangers, enduring persecution, realizing heaven is not on earth, people looking for answers. Consider 1 Peter 1:10-12
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
If winning is finding solutions for life in science, we are losing. If winning is finding solutions for life in Scripture, we will win.
I find this fascinating that even the prophets searched THEIR OWN writings to find the truths the Spirit of Christ was revealing to them. Perhaps like a scientist going back over his work to make sure he didn’t miss anything, the prophets “searched intently and with the greatest care” to understand the “time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ was pointing. To be sure…science is a great discipline that discovers the depths of reality of the God-created physical world. Scripture, however, is a great writing that reveals the depths of the heart of God and his love for people. Science can never explain grace. It will never provide a solution for sin. It will never tell you you are loved and your sins are forgiven. Scripture will.
Do you realize you have truths from God revealed in the pages of Scripture that even the angels long to look into? The truth of the Gospel, pointing us to the sufferings of Jesus on our behalf and the glories that will follow, will never be found through the lens of a microscope or in the experiments in the lab. These glorious truths are only revealed in the pages of Scripture.
Perhaps in essence Peter is saying, “Strangers in this world search the Scripture to understand this world…especially what is most important in this world – our relationship with Jesus.”
Enjoy science. Be blessed by it. But see this world through the lens and view point of Scripture. Scripture is not a science text book, but it reveals the one who gave us this world to study. Don’t get caught playing the wrong game…the world puts its confidence in Science…Strangers in this world put their confidence in the Scripture!
Have a blessed rest of your week!
Tune in Sunday (9am or 11am) for week three of our series…Strangers: Conform or not conform? Get a head start and reflect on 1 Peter 1:13-16!
Maturity Is Defined by What We Wear
Every morning we make a choice of what clothes to pull out of the closet (or the hamper?) and put on to present ourselves to the world. When you were really young, your mom probably chose what she wanted to present to the world by choosing a cute little dress if you were a little girl or a sports outfit if you were a little boy. But as we grow up we get to make the choice of what we want to wear.
So what have you put on this morning and what does it say about you…especially as a Christian? Briefly, our spiritual maturity can be shown in how we present ourselves with clothing and attire that reflect our Christian heart and values – those choices are important too. There certainly are pieces of clothing or styles of clothing that better reflect Christian values and modesty than others. Use your wisdom in choosing these for your wardrobe.
However, I am talking more about what we wear spiritually every day. Here are four verses of Scripture for you to consider as you decide what to “wear” as a Christian today.
Romans 13:12-14 So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.*
Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.*
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.*
Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.*
Reflect on these questions: What do I need to take OFF each day to better reflect Christ? What, with God’s help can I PUT ON to better reflect Christ to the world?
Perhaps just start with one little change in your “spiritual wardrobe”…what will it be today?
Respond to this email or make a comment on the blog post so we can pray for one another as we seek to “Grow Up!” and put on the Lord Jesus Christ more fully each day!
*Scripture verses are quoted from: The New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Grow up! – Maturity is defined by what you eat…
(This series of posts is a follow-up to a sermon preached at Cross and Crown on October 15 by Pastor Mike Geiger. The video to that sermon is found at THIS LINK.)
“Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
What do you crave? I have to say that it is much easier to crave the food that is not so good for me. At our pastors’ conference earlier this week the snack table was filled with chips, candy bars, rice crispy bars, and coolers of soda as well as water. There was a bowl of grapes and a cooler of water. Inside I wanted to load up on the things that weren’t so good for me. I will admit in the afternoon I broke down and ate a Baby Ruth candy bar…it was good and I haven’t had one in a long time! But I wanted another…
Don’t you wish when you ate a handful of carrots you would crave more of that? Don’t you wish when you had a green salad, you’d want another one later in the day? Craving things that are good for you is part of growing up. I hate to admit it, but I still struggle to crave the food that is good for me.
Spiritual maturity is very similar. The world around us has so many other things we “crave.” We love to watch hours of TV, Netflix or YouTube videos. We can spend hours cruising through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. We dream about the weekend to head to the ranch, the ball diamond, or to the backyard BBQ. At face value these things aren’t inherently bad…it’s just not feeding our faith.
Spiritual maturity comes when we crave “pure spiritual milk.” This “milk” is the basic truth that Jesus loves you by living for you, dying for you and rising again. It is perhaps the clear teachings of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is realizing the mercy of God that reaches out to us to ensure us we are forgiven, loved, and secure in God’s love.
But spiritual maturity doesn’t stay with the basic truths of God’s love, but digs in deeper so that we can help to teach others the truths of Jesus. “…become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)
So here’s a suggestion. Consider how often you are “eating” something from the Word of God and working to put it into practice. Perhaps a start is to get the “Verse of the Day” from biblegateway.com. Perhaps getting a daily devotion from “whataboutjesus.com.” Begin to “taste and see that the Lord is good” once again and realize that healthy spiritual food, like healthy physical food, brings greater energy, healthier emotions, clearer perspective, and much more.
Return regularly to the “pure spiritual milk.” Eat solid food so “by constant use” you are being trained to “distinguish good from evil.”
What do you think? What have you found helpful to grow spiritually a little every day?
What benefits do you have when you are growing in the love of Jesus and his Word?