Monday, April 20, 2009

Blog Series Begins! Deep Roots ~ What Christians Believe

Greetings Blog Friends!

Recently I have had the wonderful honor to be reunited with an old friend.
He has long been an inspiration to me with his example, his strong quest for the Lord and his passion for the Word of God.

When I heard he was in the midst of writing a four volume set on the basics of Christianity I was ecstatic! I was even more pumped to discover the first volume of that series is now available!!

This week I have invited him to be my special guest. Beginning today through Friday we will join hearts and efforts together to bring you a chest full of treasures. It is our prayer that these words will awaken, strengthen and stir your understanding and belief in Christ!

You will not want to miss out each day as we share excerpts from his new book and have a sweet time experiencing God together...and enjoy some fun giveaways in the midst of it!

We would love to hear from you!
So leave us a comment or question on the post by clicking on the word "Comment".
This will automatically qualify you for one of several giveaways this week...which include a copy of Bishop Ken's book, a music cd, and other surprises to encourage you!

I am so excited to introduce to you my friend and special guest, Bishop Kenneth Myers, of Christ Church Cathedral in Sherman, Texas!

Be Inspired!

Vern



Deep Roots

Man, I love Hill Country peaches. If you're not from Texas, you don't know what you've missed in being able to have fresh Hill Country peaches chopped up and mixed in with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream! We all enjoy good fruit - it's not only healthy, it tastes delicious! But good fruit comes from good trees, and good trees come from good roots. Everyone knows that a healthy tree has deep roots. And everyone has heard the analogy of believers being like trees. The Psalmist said that a righteous man is "like a tree planted by streams of water" (Psalm 1.3), and the last book in the Bible describes the people of God as "trees, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22.2). Can we talk?

Too much of modern day Christianity produces barely tolerable fruit because it hasn't given much attention to the root system. In the early church (I'm talking about the first 1000 years, when there weren't Methodists and Baptists and Roman Catholics and Presbyterians and Pentecostals and Non-Denominationalists and - well, you get the picture - but when there was simply "the Church")...I got a little carried away there; where were we? Oh, yes: in the early church there were four things that made up the "root system" for growing Christians. I would suggest that we modern followers of Jesus would do well to recover these four things, not just in theory, but in practice. Here they are:

The Creeds
The Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creeds are succinct statements of what it means to believe like a Christian. I'm not going to go into detail here as to what they said (you can Google them, or you can order my new book and explore them in detail!), but suffice it to say that before there was ever a New Testament (which was canonized in A.D. 431) there were these "symbols" of Christian faith which clearly lined out what it meant to think like a believer. In our day of pop-psychology passing for biblical sermons and polls showing that many Christians have no idea what they really believe, we need to rediscover, understand, and embrace these core statements of faith.

The Ten Commandments
These ten "words" are directives from God that show us what it means to behave as Christians. "But that's Old Testament!", someone might cry. And so it is. Of course, it might matter that Jesus himself repeats them (so that makes them New Testament, doesn't it?). The Commandments are not harsh, nor are they burdensome. Ten simple rules that God gives us to direct our lives and which bring a life, not of legalism, but of true liberty.

The Lord's Prayer
This short prayer models how to pray as Christians. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them an outline to follow (Matthew 6). To this day no one has written or prayed a better prayer (but to be fair, competing with God himself on writing a prayer is a pretty tough challenge)! We ought to pray it everyday. We should study it and understand it.
A serious study of the Lord's Prayer will spiritually form us, and the regular and intentional praying of it will order all the rest of our praying.

Worship
Finally, early Christians were rooted in how to worship.
One of the mistakes we make today is thinking that worship is for us. It isn't. It is for God. So instead of worshiping in a way that I like, maybe I should figure out what God himself says about worship and do it that way. Fortunately, I don't have to work too hard at figuring it out, because it's already been figured out before me. Worship is for an audience of One: God himself. And it involves the people of God (not, mind you, a gathering of individuals, but this single entity called "the Church") gathering in his name, thanking him for his amazing grace, growing in his Word, and feeding on him in the sacraments. Obviously there isn't space here to fully develop all these things (that's what books are for), but we can at least maybe see the importance of focusing on the roots instead of just on the fruit. In the coming articles, I'm going to pull a few ideas from my new book, What Christians Believe, and share just a taste of the power of the Creeds.

Here's to your roots going deeper than you know!

God Bless,
+ Bishop Kenneth

Website to order the book: http://www.kennethmyers.net/kennethmyers/Welcome.html and click on "Books I've Written"

5 comments:

Susan said...

I'm looking forward to the focus on these points in my study this morning. In our culture of premade, prechopped, easy serve, we still forget the Lord has layed out so much for us already! I'm off to dig in!

Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Oh Vern - thanks for featuring this. Off to pour myself another cup of coffee so my brain is fresh to dig into this. :)

Anonymous said...

Bp. Ken is doing it again as he brings out the truth with pragmatic clarity.

It is important today more than ever before that we return to the Church - the original non-denominational Church of the first thousand years - to realize the truths we need not only to bear good fruit (from strong ROOTS), but also to realize the unity Jesus prayed for us to be as He and the Father were.
It is no wonder there is no unity when there is no unifying works to look to (the Early Fathers and Doctors and councils of the Church.)

Looking forward to the next installment Bp Ken.

Dn. Chic Harmon said...

The comment above from Anonymous is me. Had some problems with the username/password on Google.

Its all good now.

Jenn said...

This gets me excited!!

Looking forward to tomorrow's!

Blessings,
Jenn

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