Sunday, May 31, 2009

Outside In

I thought I should get a start thinking about next Sunday already. I'm hoping to take it a bit easier in the next couple of days, at least as far as church work goes, but it's always good for me to take a look at the scriptures for the upcoming Sunday early on.

I am so thankful for the scriptures. I'm also thankful for the community of people whose lives are influenced by them. Some are liberal. Some are conservative. Every one of these people is imperfect, sinful, broken and fallible. When we use the scriptures rightly, they correct us and transform us as they work on us from the outside in. (The scriptures are inspired by God and are just as God wants them to be.)

Each of the scriptures assigned for next Sunday (you can find them at this link) highlight the need to receive something from God in a supernatural way.
  • Isaiah is terrified because somehow he has seen God--but what terrifies him more than anything is that, in seeing God, he recognizes he himself is lost and without hope because of his sin. But then one of God's servants comes to him and symbolically touches his mouth with a live coal, explaining that "your guilt has gone and your sin is erased." Having received the gift of righteousness, he then responds to God's call, going out to proclaim God's Word to his people. (See Isaiah 6:1-8.)

  • In the Romans reading (8:12-17) and in John (3:1-17) our Lord makes it clear that we can't get what we need only from our natural birth into our own human families. Instead, God needs to go to work in our lives after we are born physically, giving us new birth and adopting us as his own sons (see On Being a "Son" of God for how this applies to both female and male) and gives us a glorious inheritance.
The main way God goes to work on our lives is through his Word as we live in relationship with others who are being confronted by that same Word. This summer, don't think you can go it alone, or with your own personal family. Stay connected with the "church" wherever you are, so that you can be strengthened and corrected, from the outside in.

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