August 08, 2018
Ever read something that left you inspired? Something so profound that it lifted you in unexpected ways. Happened to me recently, though I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit it.
You see, as a pastor, I should not be taken aback by reading a book of the Bible, after-all, it's profound teaching should be a continual source of inspiration. But recently I was especially struck by the book of 1 Peter.
I was moved by the power of Peter's arguments, especially in the context of the 1st century world. Christians, then known as People of the Way, were beginning to experience persecution. What struck me most is how Peter's words for them are such timely words for us today.
Peter wrote to believers who were scattered throughout Asia Minor. Theirs was an existence filled with suffering, trials, and persecution. The early years of the church were not easy ones. Faithful disciples became targets of every cultural power group; whether they be social, religious, or political.
Peter was aware of the tensions this creates in a believers life. The constant struggles and attacks have a way of wearing us down. Especially if we live out our faith in any kind of isolation. Doubts begin to creep in and depending on the intensity of the attacks, have a way of challenging even the most stout of heart.
It's not easy being the brunt of everyone's derision, if not outright hatred. These were times in history where lives were in jeopardy simply because of the god you professed to follow. So, faith in Jesus was not something to take lightly.
Peter wrote to wearied believers. He masterfully reminds them (and us), of key truths that we should never forget as followers of Christ. Our North American culture does not persecute believers to the degree of the early church, but, its telltale signs are all around us.
A year barely goes by that doesn't remind us of how quickly we are moving away from the tenets that formed the heart of Western Civilization. So even in our day it becomes more difficult to stand firm in our faith when there is so much around us that is trying to knock it down.
Reading 1 Peter brought to light three important questions that every believer needs to answer. Scratch that, these are profound questions everyone needs to ask. Because without them we become in some way, less human.
Further, these three important questions are at at the heart of our ability to stand strong. So, here they are. I hope you take a moment to contemplate what they mean to you. Consider each of these as a leg of a three-legged stool. When all three are firmly in place, the stool can withstand a lot of weight. If one of them becomes compromised, so does the stool.
I present these without explanation but as a starting point for deeper personal reflection.
1. Who am I?
2. What do I stand for?
3. Why do I stand for it?
I believe these are three critical questions that you need to answer. Here's why; without a solid understanding of these three, you will fall for anything. Take time to read through 1 Peter with these questions in mind and I believe they will help you see the words of Peter in a new way.
August 10, 2018
Interesting post. It made me think about who I am and also who I want to be. Thanks Jon.
August 13, 2018
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There are moments in life when any forward movement seems impossible. Especially after a difficult season or a period of trauma and hurt. In those times, it's natural to look for answers and to even question the necessity of the experience.
Church leaders often come face to face with the existential questions people are asking after seasons of difficulty and pain. There is a natural tendency for people to want answers, but often, the answers are elusive at best.