Saturday, January 31, 2015

In A Nutshell...

A story is recounted of an interview with the late Flannery O'Connor. O'Connor was asked to explain "in a nutshell" the meaning of one of her short stories. With a bit of agitation in her voice she responded, "If I could put its meaning into a nutshell, I would not have needed to write a story."

As I wrote in the blog prior to this one, I will be speaking for the last time at First Baptist Church, Phenix City, where I have been interim for the last six months. During the time allotted we will look at our back trail and review "in a nutshell" the journey we took together.

We spent most of our time in the first thirteen chapters of the Book of Acts. Luke, the human author of  Acts, began this way: The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach…" From my view of the deck that introduction speaks to three critical acknowledgements Christ-followers need to be fully aware of and committed to:

1. Christ's work didn't end when he ascended, and He expected his Church to continue what he started.

2. Christ modeled what he wanted His Church to continue, and showed that in His relationship to the twelve.

3. Christ taught his apostles what he wanted His Church to know, and then commissioned them to teach the same things to His future Church.

The breadth and depth of God's Word is as immense as its Author--what I say, or all the volumes penned by centuries of believers say, will not exhaust it. It won't fit into a nutshell. But at its center is the redemptive mission of His Son. Any person's journey into the loving, healing, restoring, saving heart of God must begin there. From that encounter with the gospel, we then join God in what He has been doing all along. And just like those disciples for whom Christ first modeled what it means to "follow him," we will at times stumble along in tottering baby steps. And like those whom Jesus first taught, and the Spirit continued to teach, we won't immediately "get it." Like them, the grace of God will sustain us, and the love of God will cover our multitude of failure. In spite of our up and down journey, in the end, we will glorify Him. But we must never get away from the high calling of continuing what Jesus started, living the way he commanded, and teaching the message he entrusted.

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