In HOPE 7.14                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

We've all experienced conflict in the local church. One useful resource that helps identify the dynamics is Peter Steinke's How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems (Alban Institute, 1993: 128 pages). The book insightfully applies family systems theory to the local church, and will certainly give you some "aha" moments.  

Hope Happenings

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the School of Advanced Leadership Training - an initiative of the University to serve churches, that provides 5-week online courses to equip church members for more effective ministry. It fills that gap between small group Bible studies and the full seminary experience. You can now get all the information from a dedicated web-address: .

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"Far too much of our so-called study of the Bible is an attempt to come up with explanations or programs that fit the Holy Trinity into our Holy Needs, Holy Wants, and Holy Feelings." -- Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book

It's About Him

The Bible is not about how God fits into our story, but how we fit into His. Yet, we often get it backwards.

How often do we open the Scriptures to understand (and help) ourselves? We want God to clarify our lives, not highlight His. Five principles for prosperity; three steps to healing; six truths for parents; four keys to personal happiness. We scour the Book for timeless tips on marriage, family, friendship, and a settled soul.

It's all about us. Or so we think.

How does God want to bless us, use us, help us, heal us, guide us, and give to us? If we study the Book at all, it's often to get advice for our own issues ... our "Holy Needs, Holy Wants, and Holy Feelings" as Peterson puts it.

We analyze verses and chapters looking for tidbits to teach or some private guidance for today. Genie in the bottle: God in the Bible.

But the Bible is not a therapy textbook. It reveals His story and relentl essly asserts that the main character of history is Christ. Everything in the Old Testament points to Him (see John 5:39; Galatians 3:24). Everything in the New Testament reveals and explains Him (Gospels & Epistles). Even the Revelation reminds us that He remains the central figure for eternity (see Revelation 19:6-16).

When we read, study, teach, or preach Scripture, where do we begin? Have we too quickly and unconsciously elevated our own needs and self-importance, thinking that we play the leading role in the divine/human drama?

The inspiration and preservation of Scripture means little if we simply manipulate it for ideas and insights into better lives.

Wisdom literature abounds. We don't need another text to dispense common-sense. We do, however, need a Divine Word that opens our eyes to the cosmos and the extraordinary mystery of God -- who He is, what He is doing, why He does it, and where He's taking it all.

The drama of the Word beckons us to join God's world, where He takes the initiative, has control, and determines the outcomes.  May we find more of Him and a little less of ourselves on its pages.



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.