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Monday, June 15, 2009

Honest Talk with God

Welcome to the discussion. That is what I am attempting with this blog - a discussion. My aim is to bring people and the Bible together. Here's what I firmly believe. The Bible is God's word and has something to say people today. The Bible is relevant, helpful, and needed. It is more than that. It is God's word. For the person who follows Jesus, the Bible is authoritative.

However, the Bible is also read by, taught by, preached on, and pondered by human beings who have a million different thoughts. I one time estimated that I had led about 500 small group Bible discussions in my life. That is a conservative estimate. The number is likely much higher. And, I have been in an equal number, or maybe more, where I was not the leader. The point is I have heard 1000's of people read the same Bible verse and see different things.

This is why dialogue and prayer are so important. We have to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us understand what we read. We have to pray for the Spirit to convict our hearts, so that our lives will conform to God's will, which we find revealed in God's word. And, we need dialogue because we learn from one another. With respect and love, we need to share with one another and listen to one another as we read the Bible.

I hope this blog will spur dialogue around the word of God.

I tried blogging once before and just couldn't keep up with it. It was too random. I couldn't just sit down and type in my personal thoughts for all the world to read. Who cares about my personal thoughts? I needed a more structured format. I hope this accomplishes that.

I will begin with the Biblical book of Job. Our church is going through a study of Job that I am leading. I am supplementing the study with newsletter articles that come out every two weeks. As long as that is going, I will base my blog on the book of Job. When the study is over, and my thoughts on Job are exhausted, I will move on to blogging through other books of the Bible.

Please, submit your comments! Read Job. Think about your life, all you've seen, experienced, thought, and felt. And write in the comment section what you hear God saying. Your words could be a great help to a lot of people.

Why Job?
I am interested in Job because I have become acutely aware of the suffering of people. Maybe the fact that people in my church are being dramatically impacted by the worldwide economic woes has awakened me to the pain people have to go through. Maybe the fact that one of my good friends has had to watch his mom die of leukemia has prodded me to think about the problem of suffering. Maybe my visits to some of the poorer areas of third world countries have led me to think about how difficult daily life can be. Maybe watching the Ahmadinejad regime stamp out democracy and free speech in Iran is alerting me to the reality that people are hurting in the world.

Suffering is a reality, and right now, it is on my mind. I personally am not going through suffering. But, as a pastor, I must help other people interpret theologically and spiritually what they going through, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The book of Job is unique both in composition and in theological perspective. Job deals with suffering without offering any easy answers. Job's raw honesty invites the reader to also be 100% honest with God. Because God is relational, I believe we can't really know God or receive God's blessings until we are 100% honest with God about who we are.

So, I invite you. Read Job. Talk to God. And share what you can with me and with the readers of this blog.


  1. The book of Job and the character Job present wonderful insights into the relationship between the Spiritual realm and the material world. In doing so, it address many of the profound questions of the human experience. One place to start is to understand, as best we can, who, what, where, when and how. Asking these observation questions help us get to the key question: Why?
    Job is a unique book in so many ways. It is always a blessing for me to read and to study. A statement which helps me with understanding the book is: things are not always the way they seem!

  2. Rob,

    The problem of suffering is something I often think about. What I have found in my studies of Job is not an answer to a specific question, but an attitude of a sort, that strengthens a worldview centered on the hope and love of Christ. I look forward to seeing what your group members say.


  3. Brooks, I appreciate the way you articulated this - that Job has presented you with an attitude... that strengthens a worldview centered on the hope and love of Christ. The heart of Job, as I see it, is that God, because of who he is, is worthy of worship and praise no matter what circumstances his people are in. Job seems to be a man who understands that God's praise-worthiness is not based on our comfort, but rather on who he is, period. He is creator, he is GOD. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, and either way, I will bless his name.

    Interestingly, I have thought a lot recently about the fact that I have never known true suffering. My life has been really protected, and while of course I have had my share of disappointment with life's ups and downs, I have not suffered. God has been tremendously merciful and kind to me. Yet I pray that, should the Lord ever see fit to allow me a season of suffering, I would respond with the submission of Job.

    I love the parts of Job where God displays his glory... talking about creation and the vastness of what his hand has done. I was in a tremendous thunderstorm once in the middle of the night, thunder and lightning cracking all around my house as I lay in my bed trembling, and I thought of these passages from Job... looking forward to this discussion!


  4. Thanks for starting this blog. Two recent experiences have sparked a new passion in me for those who are suffering. My family and I are so incredibly fortunate and blessed, and I'm feeling the need to give and serve others like never before. I'm looking forward to rereading Job and learning from all the participants in this blog. I've found Job to be very challenging to understand in the past, but very encouraged by it as well.