Thursday, October 4, 2012


I'm in a Wednesday night small group/Bible study right now that's really been good for my soul. We are studying Revelation in parallel with our Sunday morning lessons in church and it is slowly opening my eyes and confirming to me why it is that my entire Bible-reading life, I tend to turn to Revelation when I don't know what else to read. I'm always confused when people say they don't like this particular book, or don't think it belongs, or that it scares them... I'm in the "intrigued" camp.

Here's what I'm slowly realizing.

I've been taught what's in the Bible.

Don't skip that. Don't skim right over it.

I've been taught. We teach our kids to tie their shoes, to clear the table after a meal, to walk on the sidewalk on the way to school and to drive a car. We teach our dog to sit/down/stay. We teach our children multiplication and how to color inside the lines neatly.
I was taught the Bible by my family, the world, cliches, sound bites and 80-something credits of college Bible courses. 

But I'd submit to you that the Bible - the Word of God - needs to be LEARNED. It needs to be absorbed slowly, intentionally, and often. You need to put down your commentaries, put down your favorite lady-teacher Bible study books, put down your motivational poster quotation snippets and plaques above your door and actually READ the WORDS for yourself. Let them seep into your soul. Each word is there intentionally - so ask why it's there! You should be so familiar with the words and stories that when you hear a phrase, your mind immediately jumps to the words you've read. When a friend is struggling, you have an idea where to go for encouragement because you've read that encouragement yourself.

Last night in Bible study we were asked "What is your mental picture of Heaven?", and how our view may have been skewed over the years. I've thought more about my own answer last night and more about my own ideas that I was taught over the years (if you ever need to be entertained, be in a Bible study with me. I'm not famous for my "Sunday School answers").

The idea of sitting on a cloud for all of eternity strumming a harp is not exciting.
It's not even desirable.
Okay, some days I'd take a cloud-sitting break in a heartbeat because the silence might be nice for a while. But for ETERNITY?? No thanks. So is it any wonder that when we try to "sell" salvation via eternity in this kind of fabricated, cartooned, movie version of Heaven - we lose the attention of those we hope will hear?

And what of the Jesus we offer to the broken and hurting?

The idea of an Omni-Omni Jesus  (yes, I made that term up, unless someone else has already said it...) who looks like that Sunday School Bible story Jesus sitting on a rock holding a lamb while the little kids gaze up at him... frankly... He would be GREAT for story time at my house, or maybe in a particularly quiet time he could lead some little songs or hold someone's hand while I go get an ice pack. But strong enough to lift me up out of my deepest despair? Mighty enough to come rushing the gates of Hell to save me from myself? Umm... no offense, but I wouldn't want him to hurt himself rushing to my rescue.

Now, I'm not saying Jesus isn't big enough to be both... but there's a particular brand of effeminate Jesus that I just find distasteful by the standards I read in MY Bible. Mark Driscoll once said "I cannot worship a guy I can beat up." By the artists' interpretations of Jesus over the years, they have stripped him of all masculinity and reduced him to some sad, tame, metrosexual version of the lanky unpopular kid in high school. I mean this with ZERO disrespect to the Christ of the Gospels... but really people??? Is that YOUR Jesus?

I need the Jesus of Revelation and Daniel and Ezekiel.
I need the Jesus who storms in with lightening and thunder and brightness that knocks the strongest men on their faces in awe, fear and reverence.
I need the sword-wielding Jesus on a white horse who says "You are MINE and NO ONE will take you from MY hand."
I need the Jesus that inspires worship - spontaneous, genuine, heart felt, I-have-no-other-option-in-my-being-but-to-worship WORSHIP. Not some half-hearted, lip synced song on Sunday mornings.
I need the Jesus who fights for injustice.
I need the Jesus who says "I SEE where you are. I KNOW how hard this is. I struggled too and I'm WITH you in this."
The Jesus who grabs your face, turns it to his and looks right in your eyes and says with authority "I know the life are living right now is CRAP, but hold on because I've got you and WITH ME you CAN do this. I'm right with you."
For my friends who are dealing with horrible stuff and wonder where Jesus is... they need the warrior Jesus clearing the path for them, holding them up when they fall and strengthening them when they can't do it for one more minute.
For my daughters, I need the Jesus who says "unless I hold his heart- he's not the one for you." 
For my sons, I need the Jesus who says "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with Me and lead your family in that same path." 
For my daily routine I need the Jesus who puts my busy hands in His and says "You are the mommy/woman/wife/friend/sister/daughter that I love! Your love is your worship. Loving them is loving Me! Quiet your heart and know that I am strong enough for all of this."
This is not what I hear coming from the mouth of pacifist 60's "Peace, Love and Lambs" Jesus in my kids' illustrated story book Bible.

To my non-believing friends, maybe your picture of Jesus was drawn by stained glass windows, felt boards and illustrated children's books.
Maybe you were hurt and someone said something like "This is God's Will!"
Maybe you blame Him for not being stronger.
Maybe you need someone to stand up for you, too - to toss some people out of your life, flip over some tables and show them who's the boss.
Maybe you need the Jesus we find in Revelation.
After all, it's the same Jesus from Genesis who crushes the heads of serpents.

He loves fiercely. He is strong enough. He knows. He feels. He protects and He saves.
He's the conquering King, I tell you.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”


  1. Thats the awesome thing about Jesus, is He is different things to different people, depending on what we need HIm to be. I dont need Him to be a warrior, I need to be someone who will sit beside me when I had a hard day, who will make cookies with me, and give me a hug when life gets overwhelming.
    But thankfully we are all different, and He knows how to meet our needs, though they are not the same.

  2. The Revelation study (both Sunday and Wednesday) is rockin' my socks off! I love having you there on Wednesday. It's good stuff.


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