Being Called by your Full Name

Have you as an adult ever been called by your full name? Maybe by a grandparent, parent, or spouse? If you have experienced this sometimes-startling call, you know the power it has to stop you in your tracks and grab your attention. It has not happened often, but I cannot tell a lie, it has happened to me.

Over the many years of listening to sermons, lectures or simply reading scripture, my attention is peaked when the speaker or author refers to Jesus as our “Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”. For me, there is a sense of having to stop and pay attention to what is being said and who it is being said to.

Three times in Peter’s second letter to the church he speaks of our “Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (1:11; 2:20; 3:18) The context of these words in time and place of writing would likely have had more impact on the hearts and minds of the people than they do today. In our abundantly different contexts of our Western culture, many “Christians” have distanced themselves from the reality of Christ as Lord in their lives, the need for a Saviour, and for some, even turning a blind eye to the name of Jesus Christ all together.

Peter communicates through his words that Jesus was so much more than just an extraordinary human being, He was the incarnate Son of God, coequal to and coeternal with God the Father. Understanding the triune nature of Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been an ongoing quest of humankind since the day Christ entered this our world as an infant. For you and me, understanding who Jesus is through reading scripture strengthens and grows the relationship we have with him. 

When I hear the name of Jesus in this context, I am reminded that He is the Lord of my life, that I need to live in obedience to his will and calling, to carry on his mission through the work and power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I am forever reminded that as my Saviour, Jesus paid the price for all my sins, that only through him may I have a relationship with our Father in heaven.  

While Peter speaks to many different powerful themes in his letter (the authority, truthfulness, and inspiration of the word; salvation, judgment, and the final days to come) the foundation on which our faith is built is the relationship we have with Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. 

In chapter 3:1 Peter states his purpose for writing this letter along with his first. They are written “as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.” The written words of Peter are reminders for the people of the church to “stir up” or “wake up” the truths (the foundations) of their faith that had been taught to them. “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” (2 Peter 3:2)

Words like “Lord” and “Saviour” certainly stimulate my mind when I hear or read them. How do you feel when the name of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is spoken in word or read in scripture? Are you reminded of the truth of the gospel message that has the power to forgive, save, and promise eternal life?  Stop, listen, and reflect on the gift we have in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Allow the words of scripture to stir within you, to inspire, comfort and challenge you, then share those thoughts with those around you.

True North

Most people are familiar with the designations of north, south, east, and west that are represented on a compass, but did you know a compass doesn’t point to true north? True north is where the lines of longitude converge in the geographic north pole. A compass (depending on where you are on the earth) locates the magnetic north which is approximately 500 kilometers away from the geographic North Pole. A compass works by magnetic force and can be affected by a variety of different factors, weather, other magnetic forces, and metal objects. 

What is your compass in life? Where is true north for you? 

This past week as I was reading scripture, I asked myself these same questions. 2 Timothy chapter 3, and particularly verses 16 and 17 inspired me to look and think about how God’s word to us is like a compass, but one that points to true north. These verses read, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

As followers of Christ, the Bible should be the compass or guide that we follow in life and faith. Paul, in his second letter to Timothy gives some instruction on how scripture (our compass) functions. First, he establishes the direction we receive comes directly from God himself, speaking to its authenticity and usefulness. Following this foundational truth Paul breaks down some of its usefulness for us. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness; while each one of these tasks is important, correcting was one that resonated with my thoughts of direction and being on a pathway to our true north destination. 

All of scripture points us in one direction. Think about all that happens in scripture, both in the Old and New testaments. Imagine for a moment that all of scripture, the many events that take place are the longitudinal lines on a map, they all converge in one place, at the foot of the cross with Christ and ultimately with our father in heaven. 

Like finding the point of convergence of true geographic north with a compass, our life and faith will need some course correction along the way. Often when we read these verses in 2 Timothy we have an outward focus, we use scripture to teach, rebuke or correct others. What if we applied the charge of correcting to our own life? There are forces at play in life that can easily pull us in directions that keep us from reaching our final destination of true north. 

Course correction is common in any form of navigation so why wouldn’t it be important for our life and faith today? While wrong turns in life are sometimes difficult, they are some of the best times in life that help us correct our course of direction.

We have been given the words of scripture to be our compass in life and faith, we have also been given a guide. As we stand at the foot of the cross and live a life that honors Christ, he equips us with the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. The word of God (our compass) and the Holy Spirit (our guide) work together to help us reach our true north destination. As we apply the word of God to our lives and listen for his voice for direction in life there is no greater power that can knock us off course.

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

This blog is a reflection and study on the Fellowship Pacific Statement of Faith

“Straight from the horse’s mouth” is a phrase that describes information that has been received straight from a source of authority and has not been constructed or distorted by a third party. When we want to make a statement or persuade someone that the information we have to share comes from a trustworthy source, the author himself, we often use this idiom to make our point. 

Paul, in his letter to the church of the Thessalonians makes an incredible declaration of truth that points us to the authority and source of the words given to the people through the ministry of Silas, Timothy and himself. He writes, “…when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” (1 Thes. 2:13). “But as it actually is”, fast forward a couple millennia and we have a different way of saying these words. 

I “believe the Holy Bible to be that collection of sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation which, as originally written, was objectively the very Word of God” *. The writer of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is alive and active”, a statement that I believe is as true today as the moment it was written. As a believer, I hold fast to the truth of the promises found in the scriptures and have experienced the work which is indeed a part of my life. The Bible, filled with the words of God, communicate to us who he is; he reveals himself to us and leads and guides us into a closer relationship with him through his son Jesus (the word of life). 

Have you ever taken someone’s word as true? Have you trusted their words and been let down? I imagine we have all been there. The word of God is the ultimate truth, one that will never let us down. These written words, through the work of Holy Spirit awaken our desire to live like Christ, they become a part of who we are. God directed the lives of some incredible men and women whose stories fill the pages of the Bible. As we remain faithful to and live out the words and instruction found in these sixty-six books, we are to accept them not as human word, but as it actually is, the word of God. Like Silas, Timothy and Paul we have received these words it is now our responsibility to share them with others. 

*Fellowship Pacific Statement of Faith Article 1 – Scripture.