Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hearing God: How to Believe the Bible Stories

I recently started reading Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard. I learned about the book from the Ransomed Heart Ministries recommended reading list. (Ransomed Heart was co-founded by John Eldredge.) And, since I have enjoyed Eldredge's books and I desire to hear God, I bought the book and so far have enjoyed the first two chapters.

One section in particular stuck out to me, How to Believe the Bible Stories. It begins:

If we are really to understand the Bible record, we must enter into our study of it on the assumption that the experiences recorded there are basically of the same type as ours would have been if we had been there... Unless this comes home to us, the things that happened to the people in the Bible will remain unreal to us. We will not genuinely be able to believe the Bible or find its contents to be real, because it will have no experiential substance for us (p. 35, emphasis mine).
This is good. We need to believe that God is both still working today and wants to work in my life and your life. Willard goes on:
The other problem that arises when we do not understand the experiences of biblical characters in terms of our own experience is that we simply stop reading the Bible altogether. Or else we take it in regular doses, choking it down like medicine because someone told us that it would be good for us—though we really do not find it to be so (p. 36).
Oh...

I sometimes (er, often) feel like the reason I read the Bible is more because I'm supposed to than because I want to. Sometimes it really ministers to me, but sometimes it can seem pretty dry. Kinda like medicine. But, didn't someone say the Bible is supposed to be alive? Isn't it supposed speak to whatever situation we're in?

Give me a good story and I'm enthralled. Especially if I haven't read it or seen it before. And, when I first began following Christ, the Bible was a whole new world. But after reading it for a while, it doesn't always hold my attention quite like before. Plus, it's not written the same as the Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings. So, what to do? How does the Bible again become like an engaging story? How does it speak to my situation? Here is Willard's conclusion:
If we are to hear God's voice ourselves and on an individual basis, we must above all else observe how his word came to those people described in the Scriptures. How did they experience God's communication? What was it like for them to hear God? We must prayerfully but boldly use our God-given imaginations as we read the stories of people who encountered God. We must ask ourselves what it would be like if we were Moses standing by the bush... We must pray for the faith and for the experiences that would enable us to believe that such things could happen to us. Only then will we be able to recognize, accept and dwell in them when they come (p. 36, emphasis mine).
We have to use our imagination when we read the Bible? Oh yeah. I've heard that before, but needed this reminder. Sparking our imagination is what makes a good story engaging. Reading the Bible doesn't always spark our imagination automatically. So sometimes we have to do a little work to imagine ourselves as a part of the story, asking the Holy Spirit for help. Or imagine the story for our situation. And that's when God can make the Bible alive, relevant and engaging to us. And we can ask God what He wants to show us. Cool.

I'll be trying this out, in hope that it will add some spark to my Bible reading and walk with God. Hopefully this helps someone else out there, too. I'm trying to resist reading through Hearing God as quickly as possible like I tend to do with good books. I'll try to share some more tidbits as I find them.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cal Band - Video Game Show 2007

The Cal marching band recently paid tribute to some video game classics with their halftime show during the Cal vs Washington State football game on November 3, 2007. Just one of the many reasons why I love my Cal Bears! Too bad I wasn't there to see it ... but thanks to those who recorded and posted this video on the internet. See if you can catch all the video game references.



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote from Meet the Robinsons

A cool quote from the end of Meet the Robinsons:

Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.
We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
- Walt Disney