I was maybe a sophomore in High School and attending a Bible study at church with a few other kids when one of them, a new girl to our church, asked me a question. We had just finished our closing prayer and said "Amen" when she turned to me and said "Why do we do that?" She had questions, lots of questions. She wanted to know why we said Amen, why we bowed our heads, why we held hands and many other questions about the Bible and prayer. I don't know why she decided to ask me, and not my youth pastor, but it was clear that she was curious and eager to learn.
We spent the next 10-20 minutes in a really good conversation going over her questions. Sometimes I had a good answer (I did know that Amen meant "this is true" and was able to tell her) but sometimes I didn't know the answer. Her questions actually made me think through some of the things we were doing and ask myself why we did them and do some research into it. Her curiosity and willingness to speak up and ask questions helped us all to learn more about our faith, our religious practices and eventually more about the Bible too (she had lots of questions about the Bible).
Over the next month, we are going to be taking time to talk about the Bible in our Sermon series and weekly Thursday night Zoom Bible Study called "Bible 101" and it very well may spark some questions for you...which is great! Questions are how we learn. If you have a question about the Bible that you've always wanted to ask or that is brought up during our study; please take a minute to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can help you.
The Bible is awesome, but it's not easy, so let's take time to ask, learn and grow as we study it together!
And remember, God will bless us as we read and study his word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says "all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
So let's dig into the Bible, read it, study it, ask questions about it so that we can learn it, understand it, apply it and then pass it on to others!
Today is the Inauguration Day of a new President of the United States. Some of my friends on social media are happy and excited about new leadership; while others are upset or sad about this change...but no matter how you feel about a new administration or new leadership, we need to remember a few important things as followers of Jesus.
#1: Jesus is still on the throne.
When Emperor Nero was ramping up persecution of Christians who he blamed for the great fire of Rome...Jesus was on the throne as King. When the Black Plague was ravaging the world with illness and death...Jesus was still on the throne as King. When the World Wars took our sons and husbands away, many never to return...Jesus was still on the throne as King. And today, as we usher in a new President...Jesus is still on the Throne as King. No matter what may come, good or bad...Jesus is still on the throne and He is still with us.
#2: We are to pray for our leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 says "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior."
You may like or dislike Joe Biden...but you should pray for him regardless. As Christians we are commanded to pray for those in authority over us. Pray that they make good and wise decisions. Pray for them personally, for their safety and protection.
I am grateful for a nation where we can worship our Lord and Savior openly and I pray for our many brothers and sisters around the globe who cannot. Let the freedoms we enjoy remind us to pray for those who do not have the luxury of free speech or worship.
May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts forever,
Romans 12:18 says "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Our nation is deeply divided and we have already seen violence, destruction and even death as a result of the anger in our country. I fear that over the next weeks we will see even more conflict and pain.
Sadly, there is little I can do to stop this. I am not part of the FBI, police or military. I am not a world leader with millions of followers. I am just a pastor in a small town in middle America.
But I will do a few things because this is what I can do.
1. I will set an example. I will seek to live at peace with those I disagree with and I will work toward reconciliation. I hope people will see my example and follow it.
2. I will teach those who will listen that violence is not the answer. I may not have a church of 10,000 but I do have a voice, a Bible and confidence that my teaching is of God...and I will use that voice to share the truth that my God is a God of justice, peace and hope.
3. I will pray. Prayer is an undervalued commodity. I believe in the power of prayer because I believe in the power of the God to whom I pray. So I will pray for peace. I will pray for change in the hearts of people toward kindness. I will pray that God will do a miraculous thing in our nation and bring us to repentance.
I can't do everything, but I will do what I can do to live at peace with everyone.