Friday, December 14, 2018

Gleanings 4) Beginning for real

Finishing training in the Summer I began in earnest on September 3rd 1972.  This was for real.  I was exercised about where to begin.  I wanted big themes. 

In the morning just four words: In the beginning, God ( Gen 1:1-13).  Emphatically everything begins with God.  These 4 words 1) put the world in its place.  I mentioned a friend who said to me "What I don't understand is why you need God.' How absurd to talk about our need! Without God there is nothing. It's not that man without God becomes a heap of dry bones or a handful of dust.  He's not even that - without God there's not even any dust.  In the very breath we draw to question God's significance we depend utterly and completely on him.  Its God first, humans second; God independent, man dependent; God Creator, man as maker; God as Love, man as loved.   These four words bring us to our knees in wonder and awe.

But, also these 4 words 2) put the church in its place.  Everything of value about our past and future as God's people depends on Him.  What a challenge to our pride, our spiritual assumptions, our future planning.   Our dependence on God should show in our humility, prayer, worship and listening to him  I told the story of the Hull politician Stanley Twidle who thought he had given such a important speech the local newspaper would be full of it. But he found just one line: Mr. Twidle also spoke!

 All this linked with the evening message:  In the beginning was the Word (John 1.1).  Jesus is the 1) first word - without him we would not have heard of God's love and gift of new life.  I warned of the church using a 'Do-it- yourself kit' and by our practice denying God the first word - excited by our own ideas, exalting common sense, talking all day without ever mentioning Jesus.   But Jesus is also the 2) personal word (v14) -  'we can meet Jesus as a person and in trust prove him future ministry in Blackburn will be spent spelling out what Jesus means to us - his personal word.  He is also the 3) last word  - Alpha and Omega who has the final word on us.

Yes, I was keen to push big themes but the following Sundays I was to reveal my inexperience.

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