A Radical Perspective

A thousand missed calls from God

Berni Dymet is an inspiration to me. He came to know Jesus at the age  of 36 – a bit late in life as he always say. He was a former military and an IT-consultant. He loves his wife, Jacqui, a lot; taking her on a date especially Saturday mornings down at their favorite café. He loves to walk around the harbour foreshore. He loves blogging also,  and he is the CEO  and bible teacher of the Australian-based, global media ministry Christianityworks.

Quick confession; I have no idea who Berni is (though I wish I could meet him). I know about him because I listen to him every morning on his radio show. A quick google and poof! I can tell you this lot about  him.

Social psychologists would say that I don’t know Berni, I know about Berni. And they will use the terms impersonal knowledge and personal knowledge.

Impersonal knowledge(also referred to as shared knowledge) is that I could see Berni, recognize him, say hello to him, ask him about his radio program, his wife, even his latest blog. But still the psychologists would say, “You don’t know him, you just know about him.”

On the other hand, personal knowledge is to know who someone is, to know information that is particularly intimate or private. 

I could talk about Berni and what he does but to actually know him, I need to sit with him and him to begin to unpack to me unseen things. Things that google cannot tell me, aspects of his life that is hidden in the general information. Then I could begin to say, “Yeah, I know Berni.”

That is exactly how we know God.

Most of us only have impersonal relationship with God. Our only knowledge on what He did only came from the sermons we attend to, the tv shows we watch every Holy Week, and sometimes from Christian friends. Not that they are bad sources of information about God, they are actually very good! I would even recommend you to indulge in them. But for you to know God, is to have an intimate, personal relationship with Him.

I’ve seen so many believers who are content on what they know about God – I was too. I grew up in a Christian family. I pray, I sing praises, I go to church, I even post Bible verses, but that’s it. I don’t have any relationship with Him whatsoever, I don’t even want to know Him deeply! I was afraid that He’d take things from me, things I don’t want to give up.  I confess that I know Him with my lips, but not with my heart. God became someone that exists around me, not with me. Until one day…

I was sitting at our dinner table, late summer of 2013, surfing Youtube for tutorials about typography. Just browsing, getting ideas, nothing special, but then I came across a certain clip, about 2 minutes short, a sermon by Matt Chandler, discussing about Jesus and what he did on the cross(which I heard like a thousand times). But this time…it’s different.

Within those 2 short minutes, everything I knew about God, in my 22 years of existence, made sense. First is that I am a sinner not capable of saving myself. That God does not despise me even though He knows my sins (this truth was really difficult for me to accept, you mean He’s not angry on what I did? Well, yeah.). That despite my blasphemous dirty heart, despite my unwillingness to come to Him…He came to me. Not to condemn me, but to forgive me. And He gave me something that I longed for, deep inside my heart – a restart. A brand new life, anchored in a relationship with Christ.

I wish I could tell you how it felt like, but it’s no use(believe me I tried). That feeling is for you to find out. All I know is that I won’t feel what I feel(yes I still feel it today), if I did not let God enter into my heart, if I did not accept His call to a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

God wants you to know Him – personally. He is relentlessly knocking at your heart, if only you would answer. He is using the whole universe just to draw you close to Him, everything in this world at His disposal. As for me He, used a 2 minute clip. Maybe for you He will use a 2 minute blog.

Rrrring rrrring!!

Phone’s ringing….It’s for you.

Am I in the Bible?

I work 111 miles away from my parents. And whenever I have time to spare, I visit them. The trip takes almost 5 hrs, long enough to have a 30min bus stop break. I wouldn’t go out of the bus, I’m excited to get home. I wished we never stopped so that I could go home earlier. Why are there breaks anyway? I always thought that these breaks are for the passengers – for us to eat, drink, etc. Until one day, a thought struck me. What if it is not for the passengers? What if it is for the drivers? For them to eat, to drink, to take a break from that long drive, to rest a little?
It showed how selfish my heart is. And that is just about a bus stop break! I could go on for days writing stories of my selfish heart. But there is one that I would want to share with you. My selfish Bible reading quiet times.
Some say the Bible meant “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”. For some, it is the “Roadmap to life”. An instruction, a walkthrough, a manual. Like it’s all about us. I remember turning the pages of my Bible just to read about me – what should I do, is this for me, are my decisions aligned with the will of God. Some says every decision should have a “word” from God, a verse that supports my choices in life. I read it skimming the books looking for a certain verse that could relate to me. Page after page, I am looking for “ME”. Page after page, I am overlooking “HIM”.

The Bible is not about us. It is about God, and what He did for us.

Not that they are entirely wrong about reading the Bible, but I think we are missing the point. It is more of a diary than a manual, a love story than an instruction, a scandal of love than a walkthrough.

The Bible is personal – I couldn’t agree more. Personal that it speaks to us, but not about us.

If it is about us and for us and we know that we are uniquely wired by God, shouldn’t each of us get a personalized Bible? But there is only one Bible, for there is only one God – one unchanging God.

If your crush had a diary, of course you want to read it. The first thing is to know if she/he was writing about how she/he feels for you. Well, the Bible screams how much God loves you! From the first book to the last, His grace and love echoes from the scripture.

And yes, you are in the Bible. I cannot count how many times I read a story in it and say, “That’s me!!”. But you are not the centerpiece.

And after knowing that your crush likes you, would you still continue to read? Of course you do, you now want to find out who she/he really is – what’s her/his hobby, what she/he loves to eat, what she/ he likes or dislikes. And this is the point that I would like you to understand. Our main source of who God is, is the Bible. The Bible is God (John 1:1). Clearly it is not about you and what you should do. It’s about God and what he did – mainly through Jesus Christ.
I have read the book of Romans five times. The first two of them was with my selfish-Bible-reading quiet time. Nothing remained in my heart. But after God graciously changed my selfish heart, reading the Bible never stayed the same.
I never stayed the same.
My hope and prayer is that God would do the same for you. The Bible could be misleading if read with a wrong heart. Ask God to renew your heart. A heart that seeks Him.
I challenge you to read the Bible with curiosity about God. Ask it questions, pour out your doubts on it, but be faithful. With all your heart be faithful.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” says the Lord.
-Jeremiah 29:13

I understand that this is controversial. I don’t want you to miss the point – I am speaking from experiece. But there are so much more in the Bible than just you. It is full of Him.

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