Paul’s letter to the Philippians starts out with the standard greeting, identifying himself (and often who he’s with), who the letter is intended for, followed by thanksgiving and prayer.
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice Paul is directing this message to all of God’s people, not just the overseers (those who oversaw the spiritual needs of the body) and the deacons (those who took care of the practical needs of the body). This means all, my friends, and that includes you and me.
This week I’ve been musing on the raising of teens and just what a dangerous endeavor it can be. I suppose parenting in general, really. It’s this seemingly never-ending cycle of need and rejection that starts in infancy, cruises along, and really hits its stride in the preteen or teenage years.
Teens are funny creatures. No longer children, yet not quite adults, they reel you in with need and vulnerability, firing off every nurturing mama-nerve you possess. When one’s baby is struggling, it’s a visceral response that comes out. We want to help. We want to offer wisdom. After all, we have a lot more life experience to draw from.
So we start momming.
Back in grade school I was taught to write stories using the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why. It was a great way to remember all of the important bits to writing a story that would impress my teacher.
It’s rather funny, but studying a book of scripture requires a remarkably similar approach if we want to get the most out of our reading. We need to know who wrote it, what sort of writing it is, when it was written, where it was written from and for whom (if applicable), and why it was written in the first place.
I’m not much of a history buff. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that, until quite recently, I detested history. Back in my school days (oh, so long ago!) I found the study of history to be nauseatingly dull. However, as I’ve ripened with age, I find history to be rather fascinating, likely because after almost half a century on the planet, one has amassed enough general knowledge to understand its value.
Every culture and subculture has their own jargon, words and phrases that don’t make a lot of sense to those outside of it. Christianity is no exception. We use a lot of language that makes sense to us, but the meaning behind some words or phrases are really hard to articulate. The concept that God’s Word is ‘living and active’ is one such stumper. We accept that the Word is indeed living and active because it says so. But what exactly does that mean?
Like many in the Christian community, I was devastated to hear of the passing of TobyMac’s eldest son, Truett, on October 23rd this past year. I hesitate to use the word devastated, but that indeed is how I felt for his family that day. He was 21 years old, same as my own boy, and I could empathize on that rare gut level, that place we connect as parents.
When I was a child, the church folks told me the Bible was God’s love letter to mankind, which seemed a bit odd to me with its stories of strong men with gouged out eyes, decapitated giants, and mighty warriors felled by tiny women and tent pegs. Not to mention the incest and adultery that ran rampant through the Sunday school stories. A mighty odd love letter indeed!