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Scripture Reflection

Acts 1 and Holy Spirit

Reading Acts 1, I can't help but notice Luke's emphasis on the activity of Holy Spirit. I specifically noticed two things. First, he would give power to the disciples when he came. It makes me think of Paul's comment to the Thessalonians that the Gospel came to the in power and the Holy Spirit. It is hard not to ask the questions, "Exactly what kind of power is he talking about?" and "Is that kind of power present today?" and "Is that kind of power to be the norm for Christians today?" I am really interested in BIBLICAL answers to these questions. I know I kind of danced around these specific questions in our small group's study of the Holy Spirit. I do think that people err either on the side of ignoring these questions or focusing on these questions. I'd rather be neither.

My second observation is that in Acts 1:16 Peter claims that the Psalms are a record of what Holy Spirit speaks through the mouth of the writer. I had never noticed this specific attribution of scripture to the Holy Spirit's work.

M'Cheyne Readings

Here is the Bible reading plan that I am going to try to follow this year. Some in my small group are trying to follow it with me so that we can encourage one another both in our reading scripture and with the scripture we are reading.

It has two "family" readings and two "secret" readings per day. The "family" readings to to be read with your family, and the "secret" readings are to be part of your personal devotions. I think they are probably set up to be one of each for the morning and evening.

Our family is going to read the New Testament family reading for the day at night together before the kids go to bed. The rest we are going to read as "secret" readings for now.

I am going to be writing entries with reflections as often as possible.

Amos Readings

For Advent, I am reading the year B readings from lectionary in the PCUSA Book of Common Worship. I am really enjoying reading scripture. It is exciting to see connections between the readings in different parts of scripture throughout the week.

Happy Death

John 16:16-24

There are very few deaths over which I am happy. There is one, however, over which I am ecstatic. It is the death of Jesus. Without his death and resurrection, I would be utterly lost.

Difficult Passage for Calvinists

John 15:1-17

This is a difficult passage for calvinists. It is particularly difficult for the sonship flavor of which I have become over the last couple of years. One key to interpreting this passage is to remember that we must not forget all of scripture when we interpret a particular scripture. Many errors have been born by forgetting about the whole of scripture.

Jesus and the Father

John 14:15-31

This is a puzzling passage. I don't pretend to get all that the passage is talking about. It is a little disturbing that a passage this simple could be this puzzling.

One thing I notice is the relationship between Christ and the Father. I guess because of the Sonship stuff, I recognize this more. It seems to be particularly prevalent in John. It surprises me that that Christ stated motivation in going to the cross is to show the world that he loves his father and will do whatever he commands.

This makes me think of how much the Father loves us, and gives a window into that mysterious heavenly relationship. I will be keeping my eye on this.


John 12:42 "for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God"

This verse speaks for itself. It is not only the Pharisees that get caught up in the myriad of ways to seek the glory that comes from man. Religion is one of the primary ways. Christianity is no different in this respect. Depending on the denomination it will manifest itself differently:

Pentecostal - How loud you yell or how many "gifts" you display
Reformed - How much you know or how much you can quote Calvin or Luther
Fundamentalist - How morally righteous you are or How orthodox you are
Liberal Protestant - How much you care about the poor
Evangelical - How current you are with the latest books or active you are in church or how much you practice the spiritual disciplines

You create your on list. This one is my spiritual history. In reality God couldn't give a flyin' flip about your list or how well you live up to it. You have to be as righteous as he is or you are toast. He provided a way for those whom he humbled. Give up and trust Christ for your glory. Let go of all other ploys.

Desperate to save their way of life

Reading: John 12:1-11

I have been reading this same section to my children in their story bible. The confluence of the two made me realize just how close to Christ's death this was. I have also gotten a better idea of the growing controversy surrounding Jesus and how desperate the religious leaders were to squash the growing momentum behind Christ's ministry.

They were even plotting to kill Lazarus because he was causing others to believe. They were willing to go to any length to preserve their way of life. How far am I willing to go to preserve my way of life from Christ's invasion?


Reading: John 10

One of my favorite scriptures is Matt 16:10, "I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves."

In this passage, John reveals the shredness of Christ.  He never really gives the Pharasies a straight answer.  However, whenever his the most transparent with them, the end up trying to arrest him.  I guess this reveals Jesus's motive in his shrewdness.

None of us are bastards

Reading John 8:31-42

Jesus is still confronting the clueless religious leaders of his day. Now he challenges their ancestry. He keeps talking about their father, and they indignantly reply that Abraham is their father and then that God is their father.

Christ, however, has another father for them in mind: Satan. How does he know? He knows because they do his works. They are trying to kill him. We are all children of God or of Satan. It is our works that reveal our ancestry.

However, Christ has made a way for us to change fathers. He has opened up the way to adoption by God by his righteous life and sacrificial death. After our adoption, we begin to reveal our new father. We now do his works because we enjoy pleasing our father.