In the movie, Chariots of Fire, Olympian and future missionary Eric Liddell famously told his sister, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” When and where do you feel God’s pleasure? I feel it when I write.
Admittedly, I began this blog several years ago with an agenda. I perceived an imbalance in our common teaching on living the Christian life. I felt the emphasis was too negative, too focused on the overwhelming power of sin in our lives, too critical of ourselves and our fellow believers. I sought to bring the pendulum back by explaining all that became new at our new birth. I unpacked the provisions of the New Covenant – including our new label as holy and beloved (Col 3:12) – and what they meant for living the supernatural Christian life.
When I started writing, I probably had 20 or 30 posts in my head. To my surprise, the more I wrote, the more the ideas came flooding in. Now, 300 posts later, my motivation has changed. My emphasis is still the same, but I no longer write to put forth a theological agenda or a persuasive argument to support my position. Without being presumptuous, I write to be God’s messenger and to feel His presence. As I read God’s Word, I am compelled to explain – in the clearest terms possible – the Message He has conveyed.
As a geophysicist, I also have an unusual platform and maybe an uncommon approach. Geologists and geophysicists have the whole world as a laboratory. Hence, we are trained to think “big picture”. We are trained to process large amounts of data – some of it contradictory – and uncover the “truth” about what is going on beneath and on the earth’s surface.
When I apply this training to reading Scripture, I see the Bible as an epic story of redemption. I am not bothered by apparent contradictions. I am not concerned with mysteries that seem to remain mysteries. I have no problem separating the “Old” from the “New” while also celebrating their combined contribution to the story. I see the Old Testament for what it is: God’s old arrangement with man. And peeking through that arrangement are pictures of something new; the coming Savior. I see the New Testament for what it is: God’s new arrangement with man, and the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. I think because I have learned to change my geophysical interpretation with new data and information, I am comfortable with God changing His arrangement with man without any diminishing of His sovereignty or greatness.
Geophysicists are not 100 percenters. We can celebrate, explain, and understand what we do know without having to know all of it. Does that make sense? I don’t need everything in the Bible to fit into neat theological pigeonholes to get excited about the Message. I am content to let the Bible speak for itself. And I believe when we do that, we encounter a Message that is coherent, dynamic, and mysterious all at the same time. It is a Message that is alive, filled with resurrection power.
Early geophysical pioneers, with their primitive listening equipment had a phrase, “Let the earth speak to you.” It seems a little corny now. But I guess that is what I am saying about Scripture. In my writing, I try to let Scripture speak for itself without a lot of theological system overtones. I try to provide just enough commentary to help others put the big picture together, including how all these incredible concepts like the New Covenant apply to our daily lives.
Anyway, several of you have asked about where I get my ideas and my motivation. A surprising result of “just starting” with post #1 several years ago has been the sense of God’s presence as I write. May you experience His presence in the endeavors He has given you to do.