Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Welcome to the Wilderness!

Where shall we begin? Are you looking for a daily devotional? A thought for the day?

The most powerful people in Scripture began in the wilderness. Let's take time to be alone with God and put ourselves in a position of receiving something out of His Word. It will take a commitment.

The answer is to come apart in the wilderness until life makes sense again. My family has been to the gates of hell itself and has been sent back to share with you how we survived. It all starts with living and breathing God's Word.

That sounds like the super-spiritual talk we used to hear in the Jesus Movement but just because there is a false walk doesn't mean there isn't a real way to walk.

Plain and simple, the world needs a forum where the teachings and insights of Scripture can be discussed in a Christ-like spirit.

I'd like to introduce you to a method of Bible study which is guaranteed to make your daily Bible reading significant.

The goal is to begin an ongoing, online Bible study. We'd like to invite you to share what God is showing you in the Scriptures. Perhaps we can all converge on a passage and find categories, cross-references, applications, and textual evidence to make it come alive!

In order to do this we have to agree to play fair. Denying the deity of Christ, etc. would understandably bring a strong (but hopefully Christ-like) response but far too often today Christians are crucified by each other for the smallest deviation in beliefs.

Here are some recent examples we have heard at churches:

"Why study the Bible since we already know we are going to heaven anyway?"
"Peter never denied Christ."
"When Jesus called Himself the bread which came down from heaven it is a personal preference if you believe that He was relating this to the manna in the wilderness."
"God hates sinners."
"Baptism is what saves you and this can proven in the Greek."

Make a note of the fact that people who talk this way aren't witnessing, they aren't denying themselves, etc. but they love to debate Scripture.

A large segment of our churches are teaching the ideas of men and have placed the Scriptures beyond the reach of the "peasants" who have not studied Greek or Hebrew. As it was in the medieval days, the Bible is still chained and supposed to be opened only by the church leadership.

You will ask, "How can this be? I have a Bible and can read it anytime I want to!" If you have been taught to open this book with a pre-conceived template of extra-Biblical doctrine then it is still chained for you.

Here are The Fundamental Doctrines of Christianity:

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

God is spirit and is manifested as three persons in one substance.

Jesus was born of a virgin.

Jesus' death on the cross was the only substitution for our sin.

Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after He was crucified.

Jesus is coming again to receive His own.

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

Hardened suppositions about the end-times, prescribed prayers, Christian liberty, etc. should not be mistaken for doctrines of the faith. "No man knoweth anything yet as he ought." 1 Cor. 8:2 also see 1 Tim. 6:3 for a definition of what sound dcotrine is.

Would you like to share what God has been showing you in a non-threatening environment? Do you have a question about a passage that we can all research?

Are you tired yet of reading the Bible and going to church while your life slips away with no ministry, no joy and no understanding of what you are reading? How long has it been since you led someone to Christ? How long has been since you tried to witness to someone?

One of the most vital ministries we know of today is found at www.wayofthemaster.com. These folks use the 10 Commandments to reveal to people how they have broken God's law. They have beautiful testimonies of people accepting Christ and understanding where they stand with God.

We thought it would be interesting if these methods were shared with Christians. If a Christian has a broken relationship with God, he needs someone to care enough to point it out to him. This can only be done by knowing His Word -truly KNOWING and understanding what you are reading.

There are other good Bible study materials out there -www.precept.org is the best we know of- but we have tested our methods for 34 yrs and feel God urging us to make them available. We have paid a heavy price to learn these things and want to pass them on to save someone else the trouble of wandering around as we did.

We hope that you will look at this material the same way the NET Bible (www.bible.org) has been presented -as a beta test which solicits your suggestions.

Knowing we will be misunderstood, we are launching this blog anyway in the same way Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis to the door.

We need to be men and women of the Word and to do that we need to KNOW the Word backwards and forwards. If you want to pursue that goal, welcome to the blog!

Future postings will list insights we are gaining as we continue to fill in the Stop, Look & Listen study guides found at: www.stoplooklistenbible.com.

Examples:

Rom. 8:2 - the law of the Spirit has made me free from the law of sin and death ---is it possible that Chapter 6 is the law of death and Chapter 7 is the law of sin? Does this help us put the main topics of these chapters together?

Did God embed a special insight into Mark 6:39 which refers to Psa. 23:2?

If you enjoy chewing on ideas like this -please join in and share with us what God is showing you!

Your Servant in Christ,
Jimmy Gallagher
Dan. 12:3
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