The Bible (Part 2)

Nearly every family has a set of beloved stories they tell over and over. It may be how Grandpa came to this country with five dollars in his pocket. Or of an ancestor who fought in a famous battle. It may be the story of a romance, or a child’s rescue, or a moment of accomplishment. I enjoy telling the story of Ashley proposing to me.

In some ways, the stories we remember—and tell—shape us. They explain where we’ve come from. They shed light on who we are. They guide our steps as we move forward in life. That is one of the reasons the Bible is so important, or should be, because it is the story of all of us, from the first words of Genesis to the last lines of Revelation. And the stories of the Bible are more than just stories—they are the history of God’s relationship with humanity.


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The Bible (Part 1)

Nearly a hundred years ago, a little boy in England received a stuffed bear as a gift on his first birthday. Soon after, his father, a playwright and novelist, began writing stories that featured the little boy, his bear, and other toys in the boy’s playroom, as characters. You know the bear as Winnie-the-Pooh. You know the boy as Christopher Robin. Since then, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh stories have been loved by generations of children, translated into more than fifty languages, and featured in songs, movies, and television specials. But it all began with a little boy and a stuffed bear as characters in a simple story.

Everyone here has a story, whether you have a stuffed bear or not. I have a story. You have a story. Some read like tragedies, some like comedies. Some are mysteries, and others are romances. Some are much longer than others, and some are just getting started. But everyone has a story.


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Jesus Revealed: Part 3

H.G. Wells, who is famous for his fiction novels like The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, once said, “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

His assessment couldn’t be more accurate. In fact, Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him; we date our letters, our birth certificates, our checks, and everything else from the year of his birth. Jesus never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his hometown. He never wrote a book, never held a political office, never married, never had sex, never went to college, never visited a big city, and never even had a Twitter account. And yet, Jesus remains—as H.G. Wells keenly discerned—the most dominant figure in all history.

But the question is—who is Jesus really?


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Jesus Revealed: Part 2

Jesus is the world’s preeminent person. The greatest event in human history was the coming of Jesus into this world. The greatest words ever spoken were his words. The greatest deeds ever done were accomplished by his hands. The greatest gift ever offered was his blood at Calvary. Jesus stands alone in all of history—the single most significant person who ever lived.

Yet countless people across the globe have no idea who Jesus really is. Mormons believe Jesus to be the spirit-brother of Lucifer. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that he’s the Archangel Michael. Muslims claim that he was a prophet of Allah, but certainly not the Son of God. There are a lot of different interpretations of Jesus out there. A cartoon version of Jesus has made several appearances on long-running TV shows like The Simpsons and South Park. Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Ben Affleck, and Brad Pitt have all been spotted wearing “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirts. In the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, comedian Will Ferrell leads his family in prayer to an “8-pound, 6-ounce, newborn infant Jesus” wearing “golden fleece diapers” and watching developmental video about shapes and colors. Apparently, he liked the Christmas Jesus best. There was even a bizarre Canadian kung-fu/comedy/horror/musical about the second coming, called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, which pairs Jesus with Mexican Wrestling hero El Santos to battle an army of vampires!


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Jesus Revealed: Part 1

Jesus. There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more loved, more revered or more controversial than Jesus.

At first glance, Jesus’ résumé is rather simple. He never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his hometown. He never wrote a book, never held a political office, never married, never had sex, never went to college, never visited a big city, and never even won a poker tournament.

Nevertheless, Jesus is the most famous person in all of history. More songs have been sung to him, artwork created of him, and books written about him than anyone who has ever lived. In fact, Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him; we date our letters, our birth certificates, our checks, and everything else from the year of his birth.


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Scout Sunday: Do Your Best!

Most of you are probably familiar with the Boy Scout motto—always be prepared. You might not be as familiar with the Cub Scout motto though, which is—do your best! That’s not just good advice for Scouts; that’s biblical advice for life!

The Bible says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV). And then in the New Testament: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord not for men” (Colossians 3:23 NIV). I really like the Message translation of this verse, which says, “Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God” (Colossians 3:23 MSG).


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Getting Into God’s Word (3)

If you haven’t been here all this month, I started off this year talking about the Bible. Like it says in your bulletin, the Bible is the most-read, most-loved and most controversial book of all time. In America, Bibles are everywhere. You can find them in grocery stores, prisons, and motel rooms. They’re available in all sizes, shapes, translations, and versions—leather-bound, hard-cover or paperback. Every year the Bible outsells every other book. Last year 500 million Bibles were published in the world in 18,000 different languages. In America we are inundated with the word of God. It’s everywhere. Yet millions of people still miss the blessing of the Bible.


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Getting Into God’s Word (2)

The Bible is the most-read, most-loved and most controversial book of all time. Almost everybody has one and everybody has questions about it. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about this ancient book, I’m glad you’re here and I hope I can help answer some of those questions this month. I also want to help you discover how the Bible can make a difference in your life!

Last Sunday, I talked about our need for the Bible, the nourishment that we can derive from the Bible, and the nature of the Bible. The Bible is unlike any other book ever published or printed because the Bible contains the very words and thoughts of God. The Bible is God’s book and God’s voice in the world. The Bible “never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 NIV).

The question today is—how do we know that?


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Getting Into God’s Word (1)

I hope that your New Year is off to a good start for you. And there’s nothing better you could be doing on the first Sunday morning of 2013 than worshipping with God’s people. And I don’t think there is any better place to do that, than right here at the Grove. I hope that’s the experience you have as we worship together each week. Because we’re glad you’re here.

For 65 hours one October several years ago, students at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, read the Bible aloud at a crossing in the heart of the university campus. Standing under a tent and reading into a microphone in 30-minute shifts, they read from Genesis to Revelation.

Erica Wothen, a senior student and member of His House Christian Fellowship, led more than 200 students in the event. Erica said, “We came together to read the Word. We didn’t worry about what we would say or do. We just read and watched God move.” (Christian Standard, January 2011).


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New Years 2013

Kenny Rodgers once recorded a song titled, “I am the greatest.” The song tells the story of a happy little boy who went out into the field wearing a baseball cap. In one hand he carried a baseball and, in the other, his trusty bat. His face bore a look of tremendous confidence. Cocking his bat, he tossed the ball into the air, saying, “I’m the greatest player in the world!” Then he swung and missed. “Strike one,” he said. He picked up the ball, examined it, and then threw it into the air again. As he swung, he repeated, “I’m the greatest player in the world.” Once again he missed. “Strike two,” he said. This time, he stopped to examine his bat as if looking for a hole in it. Then he picked up the ball, adjusted his cap, and tossed the ball into the air for the third time. He repeated again, “I’m the greatest player in the world,” and swung with all his might—and missed for the third straight time. “That’s strike three.” It’s supper time and his momma calls him in. The little boy starts home with his bat and ball. Now, most boys might be discouraged, but this boy said, “I am the greatest, that is fact, but even I didn’t know I pitch like that!”


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