I have a couple of friends that I only speak to about once each year. Even though we connect very infrequently we remain friends and we talk as though time had never passed. It’s as though our friendship was simply meant to be eternal. You may have a couple of friends like that, too. And you may appreciate them as much as I appreciate mine. But, lets make sure we understand that this is really rare, not normal, and absolutely not the way we grow our friendship with God.
When I bought my first car as a Teen I experienced what FREEDOM truly feels like! I loved it! My Hyundai Pony cost me $500 and was rusting apart really quickly, but my agile rear-wheel drive piece of heaven got me on the road where ever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there! I thought I finally knew what freedom really was. That is, until I accepted Jesus. Then, I truly knew what freedom felt like. But the freedom I found in Jesus was also different than I thought it should be – it made me really nervous. How does a person live without something (like rules, or point form do’s and don’ts) to keep them in check and on the right path?
Babysitters are great! Our 4 kids create a busy life for Michelle and I. Without babysitters my wife and I would never have a moment to connect. For me, a good babysitter is one who helps our kids stay within the guidelines we have for them. A babysitter is a representation of Michelle and I until we return. They serve a purpose for a limited time – once mommy and daddy are home the time of the babysitter is over.
“I’m a fraud.” “My relationship with God is on the rocks.” “I think I’m failing.” As a pastor, those are statements I hear from time to time from really great people, both new Believers and long standing Believers, who are being really honest about their feelings. Thank God that Christianity is based on our inadequacy rather than our ability.
I have some friends who are really good people. I mean, the kind of people that freely give away their money to help people in need, who share their really expensive things, who give back to the community, and who put on some really great poolside BBQ’s for the neighbourhood! I think they’re really good people. But, there’s something missing.
The Gospel is really simple. Yet, I’ve heard some really crazy presentations of “the Gospel” that made me think, “You and I must have different Bibles.” In this inductive devotional on Galatians 2:1-10 we discover how the Gospel message was preserved and what it was protected from – a good heads up for all of us who desire to share the Gospel with the people we know around us.
I just spent the day with a friend on our motorcycles. It was about 9 hours of complete joy! Mechanically speaking, I don’t know a lot about motorcycles, but I do know a couple of things that are absolutely true. Here’s one that a friend taught me when I started riding: “To keep it fun, keep the rubber side down!” That’s the truth! Just like there are things we can know to be true about bikes, there are spiritual things that we can know are true. In Galatians 1:11-24 we learn that there are at least 3 spiritual things that are absolutely true. In a world where everything seems to be an option, and everyone seems to think their opinion is god-like, these three spiritual trustworthy things are truly helpful!
I’ve bumped into some strange ideas thought to be biblical in some of the churches I’ve visited. I think that most Believers have a good understanding of the basics of the Gospel. Then, there are others who seem to be able to quote everything but the Bible. Add to that the ideas that stream to us from magazines, YouTube, FaceBook … (man, our social media list keeps growing!). It can be a challenge, particularly for newer Believers, to discern what is real and what is fantasy. That is exactly what Paul is addressing in Galatians 1:6-10.
I recently had a chance to spend a weekend with Toronto Mass Choir (www.tmc.ca). What a great weekend! It was an incredible experience being surrounded by people who can sing amazingly and harmonize to anything! But, their voices and talent wasn’t what stood out most to me – it was their humility.