Tag Archives: bible

Who We Are

Who am I? That seems to be the age old question, right?

“Left to themselves, humans never reach right answers to the question, “Why am I here?”1

Jesus had a lot to say about trying to figure things out apart from Him, Jesus says2

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

It is imperative we look to scripture to find meaning, truth and purpose for ourselves.

Image Bearers

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”3

In reading scripture, especially as leaders, we must view it as truth. And the truth explained here is simply this, we as humans are all made in the image of God, with dignity and value. In Genesis 9:6 it is repeated in a universal context when God speaks of His creation of man.4

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

This following commentary explains this verse well,5

“It is true that image has been injured by the fall, but it is not lost. In this view, a high value is attached to the life of every man, even the poorest and humblest, and an awful criminality is involved in the destruction of it.”

In addition to this understanding of human value, we must realize that we have blown it, and we find ourselves in desperate need of redemption, and the redeemer is Jesus.

Jesus is always the hero, and history and all of its scenes point back to Him. In Colossians 3:9-106 it explains the need for the Holy Spirit’s power to renew our minds back to our image in God as Christians. It reads:

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

Without Jesus, how we are imaging God is radically distorted by sin,7 and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being transformed daily if we are in Christ.

The Bible says that His law is light (Psalms 119:105), and to image Him without distortion means to obey Him and follow His instruction to have life. A working definition of imaging God is clearly defined by Pastor Bill Clem, a Pastor at Mars Hill Church Ballard, he states,8

“Imaging God is the human capacity to declare God as your ultimate value through a life of worship, loving others, and bearing the fruit of being transformed by God.”

Memorize This Scripture

Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Personal Reflections

  • This may take a while, but take time to journal and consider these following distortions of imaging God, and confess what distortion you may be mirroring in your own life to another friend. Please note the parenthetical scripture following each statement; it is the scriptural rebuttal to the preceding distortion.
    • I am what I do or whether I fail or succeed (Col. 3:12-14)
    • I am what’s been done to me (Phil. 3:8-10)
    • I am my relationships , roles and responsibilities (Matt. 7:24-27)
    • I am my roles and responsibilities (Phil. 4:11-13)
    • Sin as a noun (1 John 2:1-2)
  • What does imaging God look like and mean for us as leaders in our families and work-places?

Things to Pursue on Your Own

Spiritual Discipline

  • Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual discipline that is still being practiced today by many faithful Christians. Based on your answer with the group questions of pinpointing your common identity distortion, practice with a lectio divina format using the proceeding scripture next to the distortion that you pinpointed with the group. The following set of stages and/or movements is the standard in lectio divina as described in Dr. Bruce Demarest’s book, Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality.9
    • Read (read the scripture slowly)
    • Meditate (think and ponder on the words of the scripture that jumped out to you)
    • Pray (ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and be transformed, talk with God and worship Him)
    • Contemplate (just remain in His presence as He does His work, this may mean remaining silent for a while)

Personal Study

  • Do a study on Zachaeus in Luke 19
    • What was Zachaeus’ profession?
    • What was his identity distortion?
    • How did he understand this new gospel identity?

Action Points

  • Take out your spouse or best friend out to dinner and share with them how God is working in your life and how important that person is to you. Ask each other questions as to how you can image the gospel and a grace filled life to people around you, and how as Christians, you can image God together.

Footnotes


  1. Easley, K. H. (2002). Holman QuickSource guide to understanding the Bible (130). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers. 

  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 15:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 

  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ge 1:26-27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 

  4. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ge 9:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 

  5. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Ge 9:6). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc 

  6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Col 3:9–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 

  7. Clem, Disciple

  8. Ibid. 

  9. Bruce Demarest, Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality (NavPress, 1999), 320. 

All For God and His Story

If you look at the picture attached to this post, you can see my family is pretty amazing. Everyday I look at my talented and gorgeous wife (I don’t even know how I snagged her), every moment of my 3 child’s lives, I do my best to capture somehow that exact moment in time so I can never forget it. As a family, we haven’t been able to avoid life’s difficulties either. Over the last few years God has really shaped me and helped me understand more of who He is and how He changes the way we react to life’s challenges.

The situations in our life are sometimes so hard to understand; death, divorce, miscarriage, abuse, slavery, greed. I can’t answer some of those questions as I have asked them myself. The way we feel can also be very a very valid emotion. So, why does He allow hardship to happen so often? A lot of questions can stem out of a confusion of who God is, why He has put us here, and then, what we’re supposed to do while we’re here. It’s really all about Him. Oh I know, that seems to be the mantra of everything you here when going to a religious conference or even within the fellowship that you are in. Well, I’m going to say the same thing, it’s all about Him, we just get to play a part in His story. We have an important role too, we are made is His image, that’s a big deal. This idea that we made in His image should cause us to see every human being with immeasurable value.

We might ask, ‘OK, what is the story then?’, well let’s dive in and look at some parallels between history past and the future to come to help give us a wider perspective of time itself rather than only our particular piece in history.

Story Summary

The story begins with God creating the Earth and being beautiful and good (Gen. 1). He creates Adam and Adam sins (Gen. 3), so sin enters the world, and is the place in history where death enters the picture. Abraham is promised a nation (Gen. 12). Moses is called by God to be involved in His story where people are liberated, and is given The Law (Exod. 3, 12, 20) . David reigns as king over Israel (2 Sam. 2). Prophets speak of a coming messiah (Isa. 53:4-6), and then 400 years of silence. King Jesus arrives and everything changes, and He makes all things right. Jesus is as the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45–49) and defeats sin by His death. Jesus is the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). Jesus fulfills the law (Matt. 5:17) given to Moses. Jesus is the King (Matt.1:1) and infinitely greater than David and at the cross defeats the reign of death (2 Tim. 1:10). Who is the hero of the story? Jesus.1

So what’s the big take-away? The story of God has never been at risk, because Jesus is the hero of every scene along the way. A humbling part of it all is that we can be included as He places us right in there as part of the action, even if we get to play just a tiny part. The real question is not whether we’re in the story or not, it’s whether we’re going to be ready to acknowledge for ourselves that Jesus is the hero of the story, and whatever role we get to play we are content because it is for His glory!

Every week there will be memory verses to memorize to etch on your heart, discussion starters for the group, spiritual disciplines to practice, as well as homework for your leader to take note of your comprehension of these biblical concepts of discipleship. Remember, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you insights that you do not understand. The goal is for you to be transformed by God, not merely informed.

Memorize This Scripture

Hebrews 12:2

“. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. “

Personal Reflections

* What part are you playing in a church within God’s story?

* Share with your group (any group of close friends) what part of your journey of where you are at. Share nuggets of information you assume most people know like when you came to know God for real and what role your faith plays in everyday life.

* What part of Jesus being the hero of the story inspires you the most?

Things to Pursue on Your Own

Spiritual Discipline

* During your prayer time, try setting aside 10 minutes reading Hebrews 12:2 over and over again. While reading, paint a picture in your mind and visualize God rescuing humanity with wisdom and strength.

Personal Study

* Look at the table below called “God’s Unshakable Design”2 after the lesson and journal about how it impacts your view of God’s sovereign plan for His story and glory. Read Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, as well as Revelation 21. Journal about your exploration of creation and new creation.

Action Points

* This week, ask a close friend or family member that you really respect as a Christian, to share with you how their journey has played a role in the bigger story of God and how Jesus has been their hero. Journal about your findings.

God's Unshakable Design
GENESIS 1 REVELATION 21
Original Creation New Creation
God is Creator / Designer God is Creator / Designer
Humans are image bearers Humans are sons of God (image bearers)
We are designed to love We are called the bride of God
We are designed to worship We declare the glory of God
We are designed for life There will be no more death

Footnotes


  1. Bill Clem, Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus (Crossway, 2011). 

  2. Ibid.