Howard Carter is a Presbyterian minister and church planter in Auckland New Zealand. In this blog he reflects on God, life, the scriptures, family, Church and church planting, film and media and other stuff. Join him as he reflects on the Journey.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Being Open To The Reading Of Scripture
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12
In my One Year Bible reading for Tuesday the above verse from the book of Hebrews was highlighted. It reminded me that often we think the important thing is that we read and study scripture, and it is, but the thing that really brings change and transformation is when we let scripture read us. That is that it show up our attitudes and the narratives we tell ourselves and lives by and shows them up as needing to be changed to the likeness of Christ.
In his book ‘The Good and Beautiful God’ James Bryan Smith talks of the process of spiritual formation revolving around allowing our narratives about God to be exchanged for Jesus narratives about God. He goes on to say that we then need to develop spiritual habits and practises to allow those things to become part of and bring transformation in our lives, and to be part of a community that encourages in that. Of course in the end while we may plant water and weed it is God that causes growth and a harvest and central to such a process of spiritual formation is the work of the Holy Spirit.
I am working on becoming more disciplined in my reading of scripture and I hope in the midst of that, that I am becoming more open to the reading of scripture.AS I dig deeper into it, I pray that it digs deeper into me. I find it being more constantly on my mind but aware that it really hasn’t got to the core of bringing change to my actions and my reactions.
Recently I enjoyed reading through the book of Jeremiah and I found a pattern there that challenged my response to the Word of God. Jeremiah would give oracle after oracle to the king and people of Jerusalem as they faced the Babylonian siege, people would seek him out to ask him the word of the Lord, however there is this sad repetition all the way through, they went off and didn’t do what the Lord had said. People often focus on God’s wrath and judgement in the Old testament and forget that lengths at which God went through to communicate and call his people to follow him and sadly the lengths we all (I like Paul identify with being the chief amongst sinners) go through to forget and often deliberately not do what we read. I don’t want to be like that.
Lord change me, as I read your scripture may your spirit read me and change the narrative to reflect your son. Amen
Howard Carter is a Presbyterian Minister in his early fifties. He is the minister at St Peter's Presbyterian Church Ellerslie Mt Wellington. A congregaion that is wanting to face the challange of being Christ's body in a twenty first century, multi-cultural, multi-generational, suburban environment. "it's challanging", says Howard, "I feel totally inadiquate, but rely on Jesus, who is able to be strong in my weakness".
Yes he's married to Kris and has four children. So he'sboth blessed and busy.
Howard posts the messages he preaches on Sundays (the long posts with heaps of images), the occasional reflection, prayers he writes for services (when he's in a liturgical mood) and movie review.