Monday, April 11, 2016

Are You Headed to Bible Nerd Heaven?

By Allen White

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: …growing in the knowledge of God Colossians 1:10

Another part of living a worthy life and pleasing God is by growing in the knowledge of God. I think believers miss it on this one most of the time. We have grown to believe that knowledge of God is the accumulation of vast amounts of biblical information. If our goal was to become Bible eggheads to win some sort of Bible Jeopardy to make it into Bible nerd heaven, then I would be at the top of the class. But, that my friends, doesn’t cut it.

Part of the error surrounding the Colossian church was a belief in acquiring superior knowledge that would make them superior beings. Then, they could look down their bespectacled noses at other lowly, mere earthlings. Paul’s point here is that knowledge is not just from any celestial source. It comes from God. And, again, if this knowledge was only the possession of a few elite believers, then how could others ever please God and live a worthy life?

I have a Master of Divinity degree in Christian Education. I have to admit that I disagree with most of what I was taught. The accumulation of knowledge for knowledge’s sake misses the point. Avoiding your family and serving others to get your nerd on, is not the intention of knowing God.

I believe the knowledge of God goes beyond memorizing verses and parsing Greek verbs. To gain the knowledge of God, we must use a multi-disciplinary approach. At Brookwood Church, we call that Connect, Grow, Serve, Worship and Reach. We learn in community with others. We grow in the application of God’s Word, not just remembering facts. We don’t just read the owner’s manual. We also put the things we read into practice to learn them thoroughly.

We take what we learn and share it with others. We learn more when we teach others than we ever learn on our own. That’s why I would encourage everyone reading this to open your hearts and your homes to host a small group this Fall.

Worship takes us to a place where we sense and experience God unlike where studying will take us. Worship gives us the experience that we know that we know that we know the presence and reality of God Himself.

Now, don’t get me wrong. God gave us a book, and He gave us a brain. That’s not a coincidence. He expects us to spend time exploring and trying on His Word. But, He also expects us to do something about it. Francis Chan put it this way, “If I told my child to clean this room, and he only memorized my words, would that be enough?”

I apologize for being a little preachy today. I feel strongly about this point. If the accumulation of Bible knowledge was the sole point, then Jehovah’s Witnesses would be better Christians than we are.

A few years ago, we challenged all of our small groups to prepare and serve a hot meal to the homeless. We committed to every Friday night between November and March.

One small group was made up mostly of home builders. One member in particular, Alan, admitted to me later that his attitude toward the homeless was “Get a job.” He had built his business from nothing, so could they if they decided to work hard.

His group signed up to serve a meal to the homeless one Friday night. As he stood in the line serving, Alan looked each man in the eye. He began to realize that if circumstances were slightly different, he just might be on the other side of that line.

A few months later, he learned that a ministry was renovating a building in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. The building was soon to be a homeless shelter. Every Friday, Alan sent his crews to San Francisco to work on that homeless shelter instead of building multi-million dollar homes.

What Alan learned by serving that meal in the homeless shelter and what he committed to do after that was a far greater lesson than just discussing God’s attitude toward the poor. That experience changed what he thought. It changed how he felt. It changed what he did.

How is the knowledge of God changing you? Are you letting it sink down deep? What need is right in front of you? What can you do about it? Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? Take that step today.

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