Scripture: The Foundation of Encounter

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As someone who follows Jesus, there is an ancient promise that someday after this life has passed you will be with Him forever in paradise. On that day you will see Him face to face. All the years of wondering what He looks like, wondering the specific sound of his voice, wondering how his hug will feel…will finally be answered.

You will stand face to face with the man that you gave your life to. That man that you got on your knees at a camp, or in your bedroom, or at a church service and asked to come into your life. That man you devoted your life to. That man you taught your children and your grand children was not just a man…but the living God. That man that you heard loved you so much, and wanted you to meet Him face to face so badly that He decided to die a horrible death…so that you one day…could be standing face to face in paradise after a lifetime of following him.

How can you follow a man you’ve never met? How can you call Him the The Way, The Truth and the Light, yet never have a single memory of seeing Him teach a crowd or teaching in the temple. When addressing a crowd, over 2000 years ago He once told a group:

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

You never looked upon Him, you never touched Him, you never heard Him, you never sat with Him…but you will. One day, in Paradise…you’ll meet Him face to face. You didn’t see Him on TV. You weren’t told about his words in the newspaper. You didn’t encounter someone who saw him first hand and told you about it. Everyone one of the earth’s current appx 2.2 billion believers heard about every word, every encounter and every promise through one, solitary source.

They call it “The Word of God”.

And when you stand before Him in paradise, face to face and finally do hear him, and see Him and touch Him…so many things about the earth we live on will have faded away. There is one thing that will not change…in the era where EVERYTHING has changed, and that is the book that originally told you everything about the God you are standing in-front of that day.

“Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” and “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”.

We live in a world where truth is subjective. The mantra “you do you boo” has become the calling card of our day. As long as your version of truth works for you, then its your version of truth…and that’s good enough. For most millennium Christians there is a wholesale drifting from being immersed in the Word of God. The bible.

Lots of podcasts, lots of youtube clips, lots of sermons. None of those things are bad, but most people aren’t feasting on the scriptures with a dash of their favorite teacher or podcast. Their feasting on other people’s revelation with no room or desire for their own.

I don’t believe the bible is a nice teaching resource. I don’t think a bunch of guys created a council in the year 382 and haphazardly got the right books together to make up God’s word on earth…or at least we hope.

I believe it’s Holy. It’s a supernatural book. When I read it…it reaches out and unlocks something in my spirit. The Comforter in me connects with the One who authored the pages I’m reading. It’s a star gate to heaven, awaiting for me to come and read and receive and encounter the living Jesus and all of His realm. It is a vessel of mystical encounter.

How many followers of Jesus in America that desperately love Him, follow Him…yet cannot say that they have fully read the book He authored? We’ve read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Simon Sinek’s book, Tony Robbins book, Tim Ferris’s book, Dave Ramsey’s book, Bill Johnson’s book, John Piper’s book, Steven Furtick’s book…but we’ve never fully read Jesus’ book.

We came into faith in Jesus through what was preached to us from the Word. Therefore, to say that this book is anything but the foundation of your faith would be foolish.

We has a people have to return to a lifestyle of being saturated in it. We have to sit on it, chew on it. We have to not throw away the parts that offend us or seem too hard. The famous U.S. president Thomas Jefferson had sections of the bible he didn’t particularly care for cut out and made his own version of the bible. In America there is a growing trend of creating what I would call “Jeffersonian Christianity” stemming from people making their own “Jeffersonian Bible”. People throw away the parts that offend them, are hard to swallow or don’t make sense. We then make a Christianity based just on the parts we like and sell it to the masses. We preach the gospel of Jim, or the gospel of Ashley, or the gospel of Matt…all the while Jesus standing by saying “What about my gospel?”

We’re not going to all agree 100% on every interpretation of the scripture and that’s fine. God made us all with different eyes, different angles, different perspectives. However, as a community of people we are called to hold each other to the standard of the scriptures. I desperately want my friends to look at my life and tell me if my application of faith, my charity to the poor, my value for the church, my stewarding my sexuality, my handling of money, my faithfulness in work…doesn’t line up with the bible. The bible is the standard…we are not the standard, and the sooner we come to peace with that…the better off we’re going to be following Jesus. We are opinion machines, and never so fervently than in this current era of social media. However, we need to learn supreme peace of submitting to something greater than ourselves…even when we don’t understand it.

If you dive into this mysterious, supernatural thing…it will change you. It will begin to transform you. There is no greater lie that affects Christians in this era that the lie of “familiarity” with the bible. “I’ve read that” or “I don’t really get a lot out of reading the bible anymore”, etc. If we read the bible void of inviting the Holy Spirit it will be boring. However, with Him it is an encounter. Every time to sit down to read…actively start your time asking Holy Spirit “As I read, teach me and show me God that I might encounter Him”

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”

 

 

Homework:

1) Have you read the entire Word of God? One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to remind you of the word of God. However, how can He “remind” you if you never put it in your mind in the first place?

If not, sit down with a pen and paper and do a personal assessment:

a. What have I read

b. What do I still need to read.

With the parts that you still need to read, break them out into a personal plan to work your way through them. Break out a calendar. Calculate when you’ll have complete finishing reading the entire Word of God.

2) Sit and ask the Lord “Jesus, is there any part of my heart where I’ve made my own Jeffersonian bible? Are there any parts which I cut out because they offended my heart, seemed to hard to swallow or I just didn’t understand?”. Write down anything He brings to mind and ask His forgiveness for only applying the parts of scripture that you liked and not others. Ask Him to sit with you and teach you about the parts that you’ve wanted to exclude or didn’t understand.

3) Pick one topic you’re dealing with right now in your life. Whip out a notepad or laptop and create your own word study on this topic. Compile multiple scriptures that speak to what you’re dealing with. This is not the same as reading someone else’s word study on this topic. There is something that transacts when we go searching out the scripture itself and study it. Write down any revelation the Lord brings to mind as you’re crafting your own personal topic study.

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