From an interaction between GOD and his prophet, Jeremiah, as GOD was preparing him for his prophetic ministry to the nation of Israel:
But I (Jeremiah) said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
“Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work.
I’m making you as impregnable as a castle,
Immovable as a steel post,
solid as a concrete block wall.
You’re a one-man defense system
against this culture,
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
against the priests and local leaders.
[Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Je 1:6-8, 18). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.]
And, from an interaction between the wizard, Gandalf, to Frodo, as he prepared for his ministry of ring-bearer to Middle Earth:
"I am not made for perilous quests," cried Frodo. "I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?"
"Such questions cannot be answered," said Gandalf. "You may be sure that it was not not for any merit that others do not possess; not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have."
Eugene Peterson comments:
If we look at ourselves and are absolutely honest, we are always inadequate. Of course, we are not always honest. We budge and cheat on the tests. We cover up a bit here; we bluff a bit there. We present to be more sure than we are.
Life, in fact, is too much for us.
This business of living in awareness and response to God, in attentive love to the people with us, and in reverent appreciation of the world round about exceeds our capacities. We aren't smart enough; we don't have enough energy; we can't concentrate adequately. We are apathetic, slouching and slovenly. Not all the time, to be sure. We have spurts of love, passionate risks of faith, impressive episodes of courageous caring. But then we slip back into indolence or greed...
It is not our feelings that determine our level of participation in life, nor our experience that qualifies us for what we will do and be; it is what God decides about us.
God does not send us into the dangerous and exacting life of faith because we are qualified; he chooses us in order to qualify us for what he wants us to be and do...
(From Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best)
If you are going follow in the way of Jesus, living life at its best, you must get the order down rightly, and you must do so now. It is not that you are qualified. You are not. You are supremely inadequate. So be of good cheer! For you have been chosen, and the Father, by the work accomplished through the Son, and by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, will qualify and make you adequate to the good works that he has created for you before the foundations of the world, that you might walk in them.
I had a class on preaching once, many years ago, from a pastor and a professor. And here is what he argued was the key question the preacher must ask of every text of Scripture:
2 Corinthians and The Whole Story
The reason that we began the Whole Story sermon series in January of last year was for the simple reason that we wanted to inspire you to read the Bible.
In the unsearchable counsel of God's will for the world, he has so designed that salvation will come through the church, that body of people gathered by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Why Should I Read The Bible?
Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Whole Story
On Sunday, January 7th, we will begin a year and a half exploration of the whole story of the whole Bible...
1 Corinthians (part two)
This last Sunday in our Gathering, we studied the book of 1 Corinthians together. The week of preparation leading up to that moment in the pulpit was deeply encouraging, as I sat at the feet of Paul, and watched him apply the reality of Jesus and the fullness of the Good News to four main issues in the lives of Christians in the church at Corinth. I discovered that each issue was a case study in the application of the good news to the very practical matters of our lives.