Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Me & Matthew 17

Hello All,

Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak at Kingsfield Church for Pastor Chris Norman, who was in Honduras. Initially I had intended to continue the course that our church is currently on in First Corinthians but Pastor Chris wanted the opportunity to continue his study. He then gave me carte blanche to choose any topic under the sun and I eventually chose one of my favorite passages of all time, Matthew 17:1-8. That passage covers the transfiguration of Christ. I have taught this passage 7 times and each time provides me with a greater appreciation for what is said there. My latest "take" on this passage is available at my Bible notes blog, right here. I thought then, that I would take a blog entry and devote it to what makes Matthew 17:1-8 so special to me.

I first encountered and "taught" this passage to the Junior High group at Calvary Chapel of Redlands over 12 years ago. It was basic survey style, so it was a broad, broad brush approach. When it came time for me to teach this passage again a few years later, having kept "good notes," I figured that I could simply reproduce what I had spoken before and save myself the studying. I now know what "good notes" are and that no matter how thorough you are, there are still insights to be had at every pass through scripture.

It's important to mention that I was in the middle of a major decision in my life at that time. The ministry was wearing on me. I wanted to get out and go back to anything, but mainly drumming. As I look back, I realize what a bad choice that would have been, but at the time, it was a tantalizing proposition. I had typed up my resignation and was going to turn that in to Pastor Ed, leave the ministry and pursue a career in drumming.

Before I could do that, I had to fulfill my obligations, one of which included a Sunday morning service that I had committed to teach Matthew in. I normally finished my study on Friday after everyone else went home at noon. It was Friday at the Packinghouse and as such, it was quiet and my office was dark. I looked over my notes and realized upon a more intimate look that I had missed quite a bit of information. Actually, it was an embarrassment. I was surprised how bad it was, especially since I remember it being so "good."

Before I knew it, I was feverishly typing, hoping not to break the momentum and, at the same time, trying to finish before the weekend. I was unraveling a thread that I not previously seen and it was exciting to me. At the same time, the passage was speaking to me on an emotional/devotional level. I found myself saying, "I wish I could have been there on the mount! I want to see Jesus as He is." I kept saying this and sincerely desiring that. Somewhere in the middle of that afternoon, I sensed the Lord speaking to me in a direct way. "Do you really want to climb the mountain and see me?" I answered that I did. He said, "You can't climb with your drums."

Now, this is where so many have asked for clarification in the past. I did not understand this to mean that I could not play drums any longer, but that the drums would not be my pursuit. That would no longer be an "option" or an "out" from the ministry. I did continue to play and record, the latter being a passion of mine, but the thought never again occurred to me that drumming would be my life's work. Studying the Word and making Him known would take that place in my life. And God, in His goodness, has still allowed me to satisfy that desire in a good and healthy way. At the time of this writing, I have recorded on over a dozen albums and demos. As I surrendered to Him, He still in grace, met a desire with an appropriate channel that never competes with the ministry of the Word.

I had found a new love for studying and I could not wait to teach what I had learned. Teaching that Sunday to that Junior High group was so inspiring and exciting that I decided to stop teaching the book of Matthew and return to the beginning of Matthew so as to make sure that I did not miss anything else. This is where I earned the reputation for trying to hold a record for the longest time in any given book, as I was in Matthew for the next two years and I only got as far as Matthew 19! Those poor Junior High kids! They really suffered while I was learning my craft. They did not get many good answers about life, but they knew what R.C.H Lenski thought about the Greek word "Splangchidzomai!"

And even as thorough as I tried to be, I still felt that I did not get it all. Some of this is the dynamic nature of the Word of God, the other part is that with every return to the scripture, there is a greater awareness of Bible knowledge that helps to open the doors that were previously locked to you. Even this last Sunday...I know there is more, even after 7 times of teaching that same passage of scripture. Thankfully, should the Lord tarry, I will have another chance to climb the mountain.

Blessings...To Our Friends,

1 comment:

Carrie Marie said...

Isn't it amazing how God can still speak to us today? He is our true, living GOD!