Friday, May 27, 2011


The Bible presents the story of divine-human relationship throughout all time: a grand tapestry which humans often view only from the reverse perspective as a mere tangle of loose thread-ends. But... it is history woven from God's perspective: His-Story from Genesis' origins to Malachi's final promises, working all things together for good!
Its grand scope reveals God – eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent; relating with man – finite, remarkably ignorant at times, especially when professing wisdom, limited, and very weak when confronted with the truth of who he truly is. How can these two possibly dwell and walk together? The Bible presents this God-man story: Creator and Creation and both their efforts to restore their broken relationship.
However, man perceives this historical journey and its events very differently from God. Frightened, driven by fear, greed, lust and power, history reveals man has constantly fallen short of all God has offered him. He initiates, we react. He builds, we destroy. He loves, we retaliate. How such differences can be overcome for restoration to truly take place is His-Story. God has never been frustrated. He has always steadfastly stuck to Plan A and never reverted to Plan B, although He might well have been justified to abandon this pitiful dust that we are. Such is God’s Love that He never gives up on mankind, but continues always with His Original Plan, regardless of our failures.
Old Testament history in particular outlines His-Story from The Beginning to one of the darkest times in human history: the 400 years just before the dawn of His Messiah! Right from the moment Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, God's plan to save, reconcile and restore us to Himself was set in motion. However, man has not always understood God's ways and resisted His attempts to draw us close. We have been rebellious chicks, quite unwilling to be gathered under His wings! But His Genesis 3:15 Promise stood firm: the seed of woman would one day crush the head of the serpent’s seed and all the devil’s work would be undone!
First, mankind had to see his need for broken relationship to be restored with God. All man-made substitutes needed to be exposed as poor counterfeits indeed. Man cannot make God in his image; God made man in His! Nor could man advise God about how to fix this broken trust; that is God's part. Man fell from the inside when they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The corrupt seed took root, defiled their heart and bore not only shame, guilt and fear in Adam and Eve's generation, but murder in the next: Cain slew his brother Abel. But Cain's further lineage reaped a fuller harvest of 'only evil continually'.
Until God intervened. The Flood destroyed the entire human race, except Noah and his family. However, even with this destruction, man continued in his own devices and built Babel to 'make a name for ourselves'. Again God intervened, broke their proud schemes and scattered them as 70 nations over all the earth.
Then the process of re-gathering by faith began. God chose Abram, a former idolator, called him out of Ur of the Chaldees, and promised to bless him and make him a blessing to all nations. Abraham (father of many nations), became a pilgrim model of what it means to be a true worshiper and 'friend of God' here on earth. He
'went out, not knowing where he was going...
looking for a city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God.'
He walked with God, looking for life beyond himself. Then followed Isaac, the promised son, and after him, Jacob who became Israel (prince with God) and, through his 12 sons fathered 12 tribes. However, this dysfunctional family eventually ended up in bondage in Egypt, slaves for the next 400 years.
Seemingly forgotten, but not by God, Israel was persecuted in Egypt until God answered their cry for deliverance and raised up Moses to miraculously free His people. Israel now became a nation, birthed through a series of 10 Plagues that totally decimated Egypt, destroyed every one of its 1st-born males and ultimately drowned its armies in the Red Sea. The Law-Giver then led them to Sinai to receive the Old Covenant, specifically embodied in The 10 Commandments, to teach them how to approach, dwell with and worship their God.
From the Exodus, Israel's history chronicles the nation's inconsistent walk with their God. It is the oldest and most detailed record of any people's history. The Greeks and Egyptians have their mythologies. However, the Bible records Israel's history in often minute detail, outlining not only the nation's triumphs, but also its many failures. God does not spare even His heroes from the whole truth. In not always literal or chronologically-ordered themes, we find God patiently pouring out His heart to His people, seeking their heart repentance and reconciliation. But to no avail. Rather than believe God's good report and enter The Promised Land, they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. A generation passed. Joshua eventually finally led in a new generation, but their unbelief persisted. It was easier to get Israel out of Egypt than Egypt out of Israel.
Israel stumbled through the next 850 years in cycles of sin-addiction: sometimes walking in faith + blessing, then recurrent sin + idolatry, subsequent conquest + servitude, followed by repentance + restoration. But neither judges, prophets, priests nor kings were able to save Israel from themselves. A zenith of power under kings David and Solomon was short-lived and Israel fragmented in two.
10 tribes led by Ephraim separated to form the Northern Kingdom of Israel with its capital at Samaria, while 2 tribes remained with David's dynasty in the Kingdom of Judah, still centred in Jerusalem. The two kingdoms often warred against one another, sometimes allied against their neighbouring kingdoms of Syria, Moab or Edom, but rarely repented and served the God of their fathers with all their hearts. Both peoples eventually lost their focus on God and ultimately their kingdoms. God Himself put an end to their unfortunate cycle.
First, Israel: the Northern Kingdom, after 9 dynasties of ungodly kings, was defeated and its 10 tribes scattered among the nations by Assyria in 709BC. Just over a century later, in 586BC, Jerusalem and its temple were also destroyed and its people led captive to Babylon for 70 years. The land would finally have its Sabbaths.
Empires pass, but God’s Promise always stands faithful. In 539BC, the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon under Darius and shortly thereafter, Cyrus decreed the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple! Beginning in 536BC, true to Jeremiah's prophecy of 70 Years' Captivity, 3 remnant waves of exiles returned to the land under Joshua + Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. Together with the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, they rallied the nation in rebuilding and revival, but the people soon became disheartened, discouraged and addicted to dead religious forms. Idolatry had been broken, but a more formal legalism now took its place. Malachi trumpeted a final prophetic message: hearts needed to turn back to the Father. God spoke again, but his people apparently had no ears to hear and 400 years of silence followed!

Friday, May 20, 2011


I finally completed a two-year project: an Old Testament Survey manual of all 39 books!
It is finished!
You might ask, ‘So... Why’d you do that?’ There are lots of other Old Testament studies available.’
...Yes. But I’ve never done this before and I must confess it was first of all primarily for my own benefit: I needed to find out whether I really knew and understood what the OT truly said or was I merely believing and repeating what I thought others thought it said. Does that sound confusing or is that really where many of us are concerning God’s Word?
… and furthermore, I felt a simple, practical tool was needed to help hungry & thirsty hearts see all the Old Testament’s signs clearly pointing to Jesus. Truth- seekers just need a few basic helps to unearth Scripture’s treasures and reveal their fulfillment in Christ, the Father’s heart.
A few years ago, I completed a similar overview of the New Testament’s 27 books and used it in our Training Centre with the goal to help disciples discover and walk in God’s Will. He likens us to eagles, called to fill up, mount up and grow up in the revelation of His kingdom. But we need both wings: the Word + the Spirit. A merely intellectual, academically top-heavy Word-wing only leads to a dry, bumpy, unbalanced flight, while a similarly lop-sided ‘winging it in the spirit’ over-emphasis on experience fares no better. Both extremes share the same fate: if they do get off the ground, they merely fly around in circles, create a lot of hyper-activity and havoc, but inevitably crash-land in heaps of vanity and confusion. As Shakespeare said, “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!’ Flopping around with one wing may seem exciting for a brief time, but ultimately ends up being remembered only for its foolishness.
I believe God deserves better. The Word confirms the Spirit’s work and the Spirit empowers the Word’s truth. We need both and this manual’s purpose is to help us develop both wings. May it stir hearts to rediscover their Bible for what it is: Our Father’s love letters powerfully revealing the ‘simplicity of Christ’. No longer a mystery, but ‘in Christ’ now a revelation! Jesus didn’t just show up in the New Testament. He is present throughout the whole Bible: both Old + New! He is the Word of God!
Personally, I gained a deeper awareness of 2 uniquely new wings during this project: Content + Context. If we can hear and see these letters’ original message to their original recipients in their original setting, then we can better interpret their message, understand how it relates to our day and apply it more effectively. That is: Context clarifies Content. This requires teachable disciples who desire to become mature and trained followers of Jesus, hungry and thirsty for the undiluted Will of God to obey it! However, many believers barely subsist on a watered-down diet of speculation, doctrine and tradition, far removed from the strong meat of the Word + Spirit. We have church-attenders, but not many workers; spectators but few participants; perhaps 10,000 teachers, but not many fathers; milk but not meat. Milk is anything you receive from someone else, like infants who breast-feed from their mothers. We also have become too dependent on others for what we believe: preachers, teachers, televangelists and even ‘Christian fiction’, and have often settled for Scripture wrenched out of context rather than searching out the Word for ourselves.
‘For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.' (Hebrew 5:12-14)

God is calling sons and daughters to rise up and grow up, to become strong men and women of God in both Word + Spirit, mature not just in knowledge, but in wisdom, discerning + walking in His Will. We need to hunger for meat and not settle for mere bones.

And so I offer this manual to whoever is hungry + thirsty for God. May it help/aid/guide your heart and mind to search out God’s Word for yourself, experience the Holy Spirit’s leading into all truth and release your Identity into Destiny! This is not the meat. It’s simply: a tool to help you ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ to eat the meat; a spade to help you dig, discover and value its priceless gems; a key to unlock what was once mysteriously hidden, but is now gloriously revealed in Jesus Christ!
May it help challenge, encourage and incite you to probe greater depths than you’ve known and also stir, equip and lift you into the boundless heights of His faith and love!
Life is a journey. Take time to stop along the way: rest and drink beside peaceful waters, enjoy the fullness of His healing and restoration, and let Him release fresh vision and strength to continue! It is written that we might read and run that race set before us, our very lives proclaiming His Good News!

The following excerpts are from the Introduction-Overview of the manual. If you are interested in either of the complete Old or New Testament editions, please contact me at:


The Bible is THE BOOK of God + humanity, presenting the grand story of human origins, history and purpose as well as reaching beyond to future hopes and destiny. Its view is all-encompassing and beyond human comprehension. The Bible is a revelation of not only our existence, but also the meaning of things, people, events, struggle and ultimately, God. It purports to be the Creator’s Handbook to His Creation on 'How to Live this Precious Gift of Life', outlining its God-given covenant warranty with provisions for healing, recovery and renewal even when things break down.
It offers such a grand scope and scale of the picture of the Divine-human story that we often run the risk of losing its full and proper perspective: God’s macro-cosmic panorama compared with our own micro-myopic, self-centred portion. We need to see both the forest and the trees; not merely our own personal part in the drama, but the overview, the entire script, the BIG picture: the whole of the human landscape from God’s perspective.
Just like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together, so we need to approach this mystery called life. We must first see the picture on the box before we randomly jam pieces together. The Bible gives us the BIG picture for those seemingly disconnected pieces in life's box. Without this primary revelation, all will remain a confusing mystery and we will frustrate ourselves, trying to force pieces together that seem to have no meaningful relationship.
People tackle puzzles in different ways. Some just dive in. Others are more methodical: they first turn all the pieces picture-side up, separate various colour-groups from one another and then connect the corner and edge pieces. They prefer defined parameters and marked limitations to measure and order their task. Some approach life and the Bible in the same way, but these defy such simplistic methods.
The Bible's pieces do not often fit our ways of thinking. God's life cannot be forced into a box mentality! He will always break out of whatever box we might try to force Him into! They tried to do that to Jesus once and He broke out! It's called The Resurrection! Genesis to Revelation chronicles the God-man story from both divine and human perspectives, revealing God's faithfulness and man's inability. It is life, filled with all its struggle + loss, triumph + defeat, passion + betrayal, disappointment + courage, fear + faith. The Bible asks and explores the Eternal Questions of Life, unlocks mysteries and reveals its one focus, key and purpose in this journey of faith: Jesus Christ.
The New Testament does not accomplish this alone, but finds its full revelation together with the Old Testament. The 2 are 1! In at least 3 relational aspects:
1) literary: the New quotes the Old over 500 times! Its language and style are birthed and shaped by the Old.
2) both affirm the same basic truths: the New assumes the Old's historical foundation: eg creation, origin of sin, central role of covenant in redemption, atonement.
3) inter-dependence: the New claims Old Testament types, shadows, and future hopes are now present realities, fulfilled in Jesus. The Old is the theological centerpiece of the New while the New describes the climactic fulfillment of Old Testament themes.
You cannot comprehend the New without the Old nor the Old without the New for
The New is in the Old Concealed
The Old is in the New Revealed!