I just returned from a long road trip last night. I left Virginia Wednesday morning heading for Saint Louis, MO. On Thursday I was heading to Peaceful Bend Vineyard, in Steelville, to film a concert DVD of three national flatpicking champion guitar players (read more on The Bluegrass Blog). My Dad drove over from Kansas City and met up with me Thursday morning. He served as my assistant Thursday night shooting the performance. Friday morning I loaded up and hit the road home.
An interesting part of the trip, and the part I want to talk about here, was Wednesday evening. There’s a bit of a back story that goes into this, so please bear with me.
I teach the youth at church. I’m attempting to give them a good solid foundation for their faith before they head off to college. I had taught through Mark’s Gospel, then through the book of Acts. It took us months to get through each. We had done these studies on Sunday Mornings. Wednesday evenings saw us studying through Nehemiah, and then doing an apologetics/comparative religion course with the kids. As I began thinking and praying about what to teach next, Colossians began to burn in my mind. It had everything in it that I wanted to stress to the seniors before they went off to college. It lifts up Christ as supreme. It demolishes the ‘wisdom’ of worldly philosophies. And it is one of Paul’s prison epistles, so it would follow nicely after the completion of our Acts study.
As a prelude to the study of Colossians I decided to do a two part message on the importance of, and methods for, memorizing Scripture. When I published the first of these lessons to the youth website I was shortly contacted by a Christian brother living in Saint Louis (you see where this going now, don’t you?) who has a heart for Scripture memorization. Christopher contacted me because he has a ministry he has started called Dwelling Rich Ministries. His work is to promote a passion for Scripture memorization among Christians. He’s written a book to that effect, and if you have an interest in the topic, I suggest you contact him and obtain a copy. Also be sure to stop by his blog while you’re surfing around. The entire ministry, including the name, is based on the admonition of Colossians 3:16 to
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
So, as I was going to be in Saint Louis on a Wednesday evening anyway…
I thought I’d drop my newly found friend an email and see if we could arrange a meet up at his church. We did, and I was able to attend the Wednesday night service this week at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. It was great to meet in person, shake hands, and get to visit a little bit. Christopher is a very intelligent and articulate man of God and getting to visit with him was a pleasure. It was also great to worship with fellow believers and to see such a vibrant community of Christians enjoying God’s glory in the heart of the city.
As an added surprise, and bonus, Christopher’s dad was teaching that night! The pastor was out of town and had asked the Sr. Mr. Pearson to step into the pulpit during his absence.
The church is in the midst of an exegetical study through the book of Exodus and it fell to Mr. Pearson to teach chapter 20, the Ten Commandments. He did an excellent job and expounded the Scriptures quite well. There was a lot there to chew on, but one of the most penetrating things he said that night was concerning verse 2, before the commands even begin. In this verse God reminds the Israelites who he was, and what he had just recently done for them. Mr. Pearson did something they teach in seminary, he drew attention to the fallen condition focus. What that means is that he told us we are no different than the Israelites of old, we share with them this condition of our fallen nature: we are forgetful. We need to be reminded often who God is and what he has done for us.
As I meditated on that during my ride home Friday, I realized just how accurate that assessment of the human heart is. It is so easy to get caught up in today that we loose sight of the great things God has already done for us. The cross! How could we forget? But we do. We let the troubles of today overwhelm us, forgetting that God was big enough to rescue us from our sin, big enough to get us through the troubles of yesterday, and he hasn’t changed. So we need to be reminded of just how big our God is, and of how much he has already done for us. That will bring us joy and confidence to face whatever troubles today and tomorrow might bring our way.
But by tomorrow we’ll probably need reminding again…