Thursday, October 31, 2013

If there is a God . . . ? .............................. Parables 036

A well-remembered journalist seemed to take great delight in trying to stump TV Quiz Show “Front Page Challenge” guests with this question, “If there is a good God, why did he allow the drowning of all those children in the flood?” Few answers seemed to satisfy him. He kept asking the question. Maybe he didn’t really want an answer.

No doubt there are many people who ask the same question, but do want answers. They want to know about God, but cannot get past the so-called “acts of God” that occur from time to time in our world. They find it difficult to believe that a good God could allow such sorrow. It is a serious question, actually several questions, but there are answers.

The first part of the question shows doubt concerning the very existence of God. The Bible clearly tells us that while the natural man cannot perceive spiritual truth without supernatural revelation, God has clearly revealed that He exists. He reveals Himself in three basic ways: 1) through an orderly, intricate, and magnificent creation; 2) through the life of an extraordinary person who was born in a stable, lived without sin, died on a cross, and rose from the dead; and 3) through a book that says things that the human mind could not have invented. Even without the last two, the first one is available to all. Anyone who ignores or denies any of the three will find that God seems remote, even nonexistent.

The second part of that question casts doubt on the goodness of God. Part of the problem is that people often have a definition of goodness that is based on what makes them comfortable, or what profits them personally. God’s goodness is beyond any standard of measurement that we have. Jesus Christ claimed to be God in human flesh, a revelation from the Father of Himself. An honest look at the life of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the New Testament, leaves no doubt that God is good.

Another part of the question is based on an assumption that people, including children, are innocent. The Biblical account of circumstances before the flood says that everyone did evil, continually. Children are just as capable of sin as adults. Furthermore, God says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) 

If we understand even a little bit about God’s holiness, we will realize very quickly that the question should not be “Why does God destroy anyone?” but “Why does He let anyone live at all?” Besides, can we not grant God, who created us, the right to do with us as He sees fit? What options does He have in dealing with our sinful nature?

Some claim atheism, believing that “no God at all” is better than one who does not make sense, or that does not fit into their criteria of what God should be like. This leaves the issue at the bottom line - faith. “ . . . Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

He gives the revelation of who He is - in His creation, in His Son, and in the pages of a book. Then He asks us this question: “Will you trust me on the basis of what you see there?” Anyone who believes the light that is already seen will be given more light, and will come out of the darkness of not being able to really understand, into the light of knowing the existence and the goodness of God.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Decision by majority rule? ................................ Parables 035

The kindergarten children were excited. They had a new class mate, a furry hamster. As they gathered around the little ball of fluff, one of the children asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

The teacher, recognizing a teaching opportunity, asked them, “What do you think?”

One child said, “It must be a boy, because it has whiskers.”

Another responded, “No, it’s a girl, because it has long hair.”

For a few minutes the children tossed various reasons back and forth for their opinion of the sex of the hamster. Finally, one frustrated little fellow said, “I know, let’s vote on it.”

“Kids,” we laugh. Yet how often do you and I make decisions based on similar reasoning? Not everything can be decided by popular vote. In this instance there was a right and a wrong answer. The hamster was either male or female, and voting would not change the fact of the matter. In fact, to make a decision based on the opinions expressed by voting, could not only be a mistake, it could be evil.

In case anyone should think that is just my opinion, I didn’t say it first. Jesus Christ did. He said, “You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts — for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)

Jesus was speaking to a group of Pharisees, religious leaders who went through the motions of their religion. He perceived that in their hearts they were doing it to impress people (since people are sometimes impressed by outward form). The popular vote determined how they acted, rather than an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. God was not impressed.

In contrast, Jesus did things like eating and drinking with prostitutes, tax collectors, and the rejects of His society. He did not win the vote of the religious leaders by this, and other things that He said and did. Eventually everyone turned against Him, and He was crucified, but several times in His life a voice boomed from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He was highly esteemed by God for doing things that men did not consider of value. 

Children voting on the gender of a hamster is funny. Children following the “vote” of their peers to do drugs is not. Neither are a lot of other decisions that are based on an “everybody does it” philosophy. The trend away from black and white into a “follow the crowd” philosophy has led many an undiscerning person into tragedy and despair.

God’s way is seldom a matter of “majority rules.” Jesus said, “Wide is the way that leads to destruction but narrow is the gate that leads to life . . .  and few there be that find it.” That “few” that find it have learned not to pay any attention to “election returns” but to listen to the One who brought them through the “gate.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

The work of the church is like football? ....................Parables 034

After attending the Calgary/Edmonton Labor Day football game, This analogy came to mind: “Christian work could be compared to a football game - 35,000 people who badly need exercise watching a couple dozen players who badly need some rest.”

I began to wonder if the analogy could be expanded. Why do some play while others prefer to sit and watch? Here are a few suggestions:

First, some people are more skilled than others. In sports that means the difference between winning and losing, so it only stands to reason that the players are the very best that management can find or afford.

But is it like this in the church? Do we have a mentality that says only the “more skilled” can effectively do the work of ministry, and the others who think they are less skilled should sit and watch? Christians who think this way have let the thinking of the (sports) world invade their theology. The Bible says that spiritual gifts are “given to everyone, to profit all,” and “those members of the body (of Christ) that seem to be more feeble are necessary,” not just to sit and cheer, but to use what they have to complete and complement the work of others.

Secondly, those in the playing field must exercise time and energy to become what they are, while those in the stands have other priorities. Certainly, not everyone can be a big league pitcher, or a hockey player, yet priorities are a major theme in Scripture. None of the commands in the Bible say anything like this, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, except of course if it cuts into what you want to do.” Or this, “Abstain from fleshly desires . . .  unless you find it too difficult.”

Self-denial and hard work are the foundation for excellence in athletics. Certainly they have a key role in Christian ministry as well. 

Thirdly, some spectators do not play because they simply don’t know anything about the game. In fact, no coach in his right mind would play a person that has never read the rule book, or never been in training camp.

Christians sometimes sit because they feel inadequate and ignorant too. In contrast, God says that we are “complete in Christ” and have all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1) We also have a “rule book,” the Spirit of God, and the example and encouragement of others who have gone before us for our instruction. Furthermore, the Lord promises wisdom to anyone who asks for it. (James 1) Ignorance and a sense of inadequacy are no excuses to sit and watch.

Another reason that some don’t play is that they prefer to coach from the sidelines. Listen at any game - most armchair quarterbacks, baseball players, and hockey fans know exactly how to call the plays, hit the home runs, and keep the opposition from scoring. Sadly, the same is true of many “armchair Christians.” They could preach a better sermon, give a better witness, teach a better class. They know all about how to do it. They just don’t do it.

Perhaps This analogy could continue. There are spectators who attend the games for a break in their routine, and there are those who go because they would like to play but are afraid to try. Others use sports to socialize, or to impress their colleagues.

Still others get a thrill from watching the action. Whatever the reasons, none of them are valid according to God’s game plan. The work of the church is successful only if everyone is involved, doing what they can at the level of skill that they have, motivated by a love for their Coach and a desire to please Him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Focusing on the forbidden? ............................. Parables 033

Have you ever noticed that the word that really stands out in a list of words is the one that is misspelled? Or that the kids may behave themselves for hours but the first little squabble is the thing that gets our attention?

It seems to be a human characteristic to notice the errors, the out-of-harmony, the imperfect. We even tend to focus on the things that someone else says we cannot do. How many children will touch the stove, just to see if it’s really hot? How many people test the wet paint, even with the “wet paint” sign plainly visible? Our jails are full of people who push against the legal, ethical, and moral limits in our society. Resistance to outside authority is the common expression of a very human attraction to the forbidden. 

Christians are often challenged from this point of view. “I could never be a Christian, you have too many rules, too many things that you can’t do.” Again, their focus is on the forbidden.

This attitude has its roots in a character who Jesus Christ calls “the father of lies.” It began when the serpent came to Eve in the garden of Eden. His approach, although new to her, has become very familiar to us, in all its variations. “Didn’t God say you couldn’t eat of “every” tree? After all, Eve, what kind of a paradise is this if you can’t eat from “all” the trees?” 

Eve had been freely and innocently enjoying everything that was there to be enjoyed, but with the serpents suggestion, she lost her perspective. She began to look at the one thing that God had forbidden her to have. It began to have an appeal. Forgetting that all her desires were already being perfectly fulfilled, she took the forbidden fruit. In doing so, she gained what she thought would be good, but she lost everything else. Ever since then, the human race has been unable to relate to paradise with restrictions.

It is not easy to focus on the positive. Afraid that we will miss something, we are drawn to the negative, to the forbidden. In doing so, we lose, lose our perspective, and perhaps lose much more.

Jesus Christ tells us that since He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” we can keep our own lives moving in the right direction by steadfastly focusing on Him. He has never been affected by the negative or the forbidden. He is the perfect role-model, and in following Him, we will have “the light of life.” This light helps us to see beyond the negatives to the abundance of positive things that are ours in Him.

The Apostle Paul, in giving his life entirely in service to his Lord and Savior, was able to endure the negative because He looked beyond them. He said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 

Christians are by no means deprived by not involving themselves in some of the activities that others do. Instead, we are freed from bondage to those things. He has opened our eyes to see Him, the life-giver, and He takes our focus off the forbidden things that others think they cannot live without.

(Amusing note: when this was first published it had to be retyped from my hard copy. It went into the newspaper with thirteen spelling mistakes.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

They shoot horses ............................ Parables 032

There is a vintage movie available in the video shops called “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Someone was telling me that in the course of the plot, the competitors in a dance marathon are told that the prize money, which they have spent many hours trying to win, has been eaten up by the expenses of the marathon. The response of the dancers, as it was told to me, reflects two common life philosophies.

1) Some people think that the living of life itself, the dance as it were, is the only reward they will receive. Blisters are part of it, but so is the pleasure. There is little concern for any prize money at the end of it. Perhaps the philosophy is “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die . . . ” The eating might produce obesity, the drinking hangovers, and the merriment is infrequent, but “what difference does it make?” 

2) For others, the reward is the thing. Life can only be “endured since much of it is a hell of sorts.” It is thought that since this life has been hell, heaven is the only thing that is left. They want the prize.

Would it be a surprise to know that these philosophies have been labeled and classified? They even could be found in a dictionary, if one knew which words to look for. To those who interpret life either way, and live according to those interpretations, it might be more surprising to find out that they are living inside of a box.

We humans can and do philosophy but we do not make the rules of life by our philosophies. We have no ability to do so. We did not create life, nor do our philosophies control it, as much as many would like to think otherwise. People only label life, or try to, by their personal perspectives. And the labels are greatly limited by the scope of their experience.

Outside of the boxes is God. He looks down at the creation He made to “see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.” But sadly, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.” Humans, in rebellion against God, make their own philosophies, and not one agrees with the other, nor do any desire to know anything else. And they cannot get out of those boxes. 

So God came in . . . in the fullness of time, born of a woman in a manger in Bethlehem. He entered our locked system, to unlock it and set us free from the blister-creating marathon that has no reward, the tyranny of the contest of life whose prizes are eaten up by the expenses incurred along the way, and the philosophical labels that only seem to fit the ones who invent them. 

The dancers in the movie looked at their wasted efforts much the same way an old cowpoke would look at his horse when it had just broken its leg in a badger hole. The only solution was to shoot it. But Jesus Christ didn’t enter the box we are in to do that. He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” and He came “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) When we study Him, we find that our concept of life is narrow and restrictive. He promises freedom, purpose (even in blisters), and full understanding of that which is outside the boxes of our experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What about John 3:16? ................. Parables 031

A man asked, “Why do you, and some others, tell me that my faith is not Biblical faith? After all, I do believe John 3:16, that Jesus came and that he died for the sins of the world.” 

“But what about YOUR sins?” 

He paused some moments, then soberly replied, “I see what you mean.”

Sad to say, that man was not prepared to acknowledge that his condition was serious enough to warrant the death of the Son of God. Other people were perhaps rotten to the core, but his failures did not need that kind of drastic action. He believed John 3:16, but he didn’t believe John 3:16.

That kind of “faith” could be called “head knowledge,” a verbal acknowledgment of what God says, and a general agreement that it is true, but that truth has never been specifically and personally applied to the total person. That man had an intellectual understanding of the gospel, but he failed to understand that believing it involved a little more than just agreeing that God did send His Son to die for sin. 

James 2:19 tells us that “even the devils believe and tremble.” It is inconsistent with all of Scripture to conclude that intellectually agreeing with the Bible is Biblical faith. The legions of Satan know that book is true, but they are not going to share eternity in heaven with God. Their “faith” will not save them.

God speaks of a different kind of believing. It is a faith that not only says, “Yes, I agree that this is true,” but it also says, “Because God is true, I respond to Him, mind, soul, and body, surrendering all that I am and have to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” When that happens, there are some drastic changes. In fact, if the changes are not there, the Word of God boldly charges that such “faith” is dead, and the person who has it is like a man who looks in a mirror, sees what he looks like, and then walks away and does nothing about it. (James 1) It is a useless and fruitless faith, not affecting anyone’s eternal destiny. It could be compared to the person who is told his house is on fire, and he says, “Oh, I smell the smoke, you’re right,” and then stays inside to be burned. He never really believed it. 

Genuine faith cannot assent to verses like John 3:16 and then go on living as if it were not true. If someone truly believes that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” there will be changes, and those changes will testify to the reality of their faith. Those who genuinely know that they “will not perish but have everlasting life” cannot remain the same, because this truth, when applied personally, has the power to transform lives. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Need crutches? ....................... Parables 030

Every now and then, someone says “Christianity is just a crutch.” The implication is that a strong person doesn’t need crutches. Only the weak should have to rely on God.

Self-reliant, capable people, and people who are satisfied with their own moral condition, will definitely see no need for Christ in their life. They may not deny that others need “that sort of thing” but they consider themselves above moral or spiritual crutches. Surprisingly, Jesus Christ doesn’t offer them any.

A New Testament passage in Matthew 9 reveals his response to the self-reliant . . .  He had been eating with “sinners and tax-collectors,” and was being criticized for it. His critics could see no point in His actions. Why would this man, who claimed to be sent from God, want to associate with a mixed group of prostitutes and assorted riffraff, including those despised tax collectors? They were the weak people, the people who did not live upright lives, who did not keep the Jewish laws, and who lowered themselves to take jobs for their oppressors, the Roman government. The critics were the moral elite, the teachers of how to live right. It made no sense to them that this person, who claimed to be God in human flesh, ate and drank with the bottom level of their society.

In response to this criticism, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus didn’t come to call those who feel no need. He didn’t come for the strong, the self-confident, the capable, those who scorn weakness and consider themselves morally and spiritually healthy. He can do nothing for them.

But He, quoting an Old Testament prophet, did say something to the “crutch-rejecters.” “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

This command was originally given to a rebellious and unrepentant nation. They knew of a sin-hating God, but they didn’t take Him seriously. They thought He overlooked their sin because they were successful, at least in their own eyes. But they were ignorant of the nature and desire of God. God wanted them to acknowledge Him, and to show mercy to others. Mercy is “undeserved kindness.” Instead, they continued to do as they pleased, thinking that their occasional sacrifices would make up for their selfishness.

Those who say they do not need God, or Christ, are also ignoring the desires of God. He is not impressed with self-reliance, and the ability to be strong. Instead, he desires a people for Himself that acknowledge their utter dependence on His mercy, recognizing that they do not deserve it. And He desires that we show the same mercy to others. He wants us to do good to those who do absolutely nothing to deserve kindness.

Can you do that without a crutch?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are guilt and church bad? ........................Parables 029

“I stopped going to church when it gave me a guilty conscience and started to conflict with what I wanted to do.”

Those are among the saddest words that I have ever heard. They reveal such a misunderstanding of not only the purpose of the Christian church but of the purpose of human life. Both topics are too broad for this short article but the above quote grieves my heart. To those who say it, I offer these truths with a prayer that you will read, understand, and reconsider.

First of all, the church is commanded by God to tell people the gospel, which is the good news: “Jesus Christ died for their sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) That is very good news, definitely not intended to send people running, but to fill them with joy.

Secondly, the reason Christ had to die for our sin is that we are sinful people. Sin isn’t only the “big” transgressions, murder, adultery, stealing. Sin is simply doing what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do. And sin violates the laws of God - not the laws of a church. While some”churches” do not teach God’s law, but replaces it with human philosophies and traditions, there are those churches that teach the truth of God’s Word. They are essentially speaking for Almighty God, who is not in the business of trapping people into a miserable lifestyle or sending them on an unresolvable guilt-trip. Instead, “God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world: but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

Most of the world hasn’t the slightest idea that anyone needs saving. The gospel has the effect of revealing that to us. The Son of God came and died for our sin. That clearly spells out the severity of the need . . . we must need saving since the remedy was so drastic.

Thirdly, God, in His wisdom, built into us a faculty called guilt so we could recognize our plight, so we could receive that good news. He doesn’t intend that we plug our ears, cover our eyes, and run away. Would anyone avoid surgery for a malignant tumor just because they couldn’t bear the anticipated pain? Hardly! Yet sin affects more than our bodily condition, it affects our eternal destiny. The initial pain of diagnosis is worth the joy of the remedy.

Lastly, the reason Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world is that He didn’t have to . . . it is condemned already. Verses 18-20 say this: “He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds be exposed.”

There is a choice: Hiding selfishness and walking away to do our own thing, or letting it be exposed (yes, it hurts) and be forgiven. Choosing to push aside guilt to feel good may be rewarding for a little while, but anguish, darkness, and eternal separation from God awaits those who reject the good news. A stinging conscience is a small thing compared to eternal regret.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Biblical faith .......................... Parables 028

This week my daughter remarked, “I wonder if it will ever stop raining?” I responded with, “God said He’d never again destroy the earth with a flood!”

Later, as I thought about this conversation, two things came to mind. First, many people are either optimistic or pessimistic. An optimist determines to find something pleasing, even in difficult circumstances. In contrast, a pessimist will find something wrong with even the happiest of occasions.

Secondly, both optimists and pessimists have some kind of faith. One believes that the sun will shine again. The other believes that we will never see another sunny day. Both have “faith” in something, however the foundation for that faith is rather unclear.

Biblical faith is not the same. Although it is described as “the evidence of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), this assurance is not vague and unfounded. It is an assurance that rests upon the character of God and the reliability of His promises. This faith is not focused on the unseen that we hope will happen, but on the Person who controls the unseen and who is sovereign over all happenings.

The optimist, relying on the past or his own hopes, will say, “Everything will turn out okay.” This statement sounds good but has no certain foundation. It jumps over problems, hoping to reassure but without any solid base for encouragement.

The pessimist will say, “I just knew this would happen,” expecting the worst, and sounding almost glad to have his “faith” affirmed.

Biblical faith looks beyond circumstances and personal hopes to the character of God as revealed in the pages of His Book and in the life of His Son. There, faith sees a loving God who desires our eternal good, therefore enabling our acceptance of the situations of life without any unnecessary analysis. This person can say, “God is on His throne, He knows everything that I don’t understand.” That trust overcomes the multitude of “whys” that fill our minds during events that defy our understanding, events like floods in Alberta.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging . . .  The Lord Almighty is with us: the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46 NIV).

Some would be quick to blame the current devastation on God, but faith remembers that even though He controls the storms, He also loves us enough to die for us. He knows what we do not know, about the rain, about everything.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Guard your mind ....................... Parables 027

There is a phenomenon known as “writers’ block.” It happens periodically to authors, whereby something seems to impede the flow of ideas. It can last for a few minutes, or it can obstruct creativity for a long time.

For the present, I’ve not experienced writers’ block to any great degree. However, I do not attribute that to some superior creative skill or imaginative powers. I have no more potential in that department than anyone who writes or aspires to write.

Creativity is a God-given characteristic. Made in the image of the Creator and molded in His likeness, our creativity expresses itself in the kitchen, under the hood of old cars, in front of an easel, or on the blank walls of old buildings. Everyone creates, in one way or another.

Behind inventive activity is the faculty of imagination. We first create in our minds. Some ideas are good, but too often creative thinking is self-centered, wasted on useless pursuits, foolishness, or even evil schemes. My mind is capable of ideas that, if carried out, would be highly destructive. My imagination can pervert and twist reality, justify sin, and even call evil good. All rebellion against God begins with such sinful thoughts. No wonder He warns, “Guard your (mind) with all diligence, for out of it proceeds the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The battle of diligently guarding my mind has shown me that avoiding evil input is the least of the problem. Foul thoughts pop up without any obvious provocation, threatening to change the course of my behavior. Trying to put them out is not always easy. Vital to their control is the principle of replacement, but again, I must be careful what replacements are used.

Many times I thank God that He has provided marvelous resources from which Christians can draw their thoughts and ideas. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says that we actually have the mind of Christ. Because of this provision, it is possible to win victories in this battle to guard what is going on inside our heads.

The Bible says that God’s thought are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9) and the psalmist says, “How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand . . . ”

Personally, I find that very exciting. Those who have the mind of Christ have the capacity to never run out of creative and godly ways to think. The challenges of writing articles, or doing anything else for that matter, become opportunities to rely on the Lord and to discover that He never stops creating.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Learning how to rest ...................... Parables 026

School holidays are officially here but most of us realize that we seldom take a rest from learning. 

I have been doing some research concerning education. One article describes the learning experience something like this:

An effective learner involves himself fully, openly, and without bias in new experiences or information, making thorough observation and giving thought to what has been observed. The learner than forms concepts or conclusions from those observations and uses the results to make decisions or solve problems in the future.

A simple illustration: A young child goes to a friend’s birthday party, tries to take the new toys home for himself, and gets spanked for his efforts. He sits on the front step, thinks about the experience, reflects on the results, and tires to imagine how his friend might feel about it, as his mother suggested. After a time, he concludes that it is not a good idea to take someone’s toys. It might seem like it would bring pleasure, but it brings pain. The next time he plays with his friends, his conclusion helps him to respect their belongings.

It seems as if many of us go through life learning things like that . . .  the hard way. Or we try to learn backwards, forming our theories according to what we desire and then exhaust ourselves to push experiences to fit them. Or we try to do something and it doesn’t work but we keep doing it over and over, and never learn from the mistakes that we make.

According to the information that I have, anyone who does not learn has neglected or misconstrued one or all of these learning stages and suffered the consequences. Personal bias can hinder correct observations, and learning from false or incomplete information results in false or incomplete conclusions. Some learners just never think through new information. Another possible reason for failure to learn is to look, examine, agree, but leave it at that, without any application to life.

Some people have called Jesus Christ the Master Teacher. That distinction alone merits a look at His perspective of learning. Of This topic He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me: for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28).

Learning from Christ, according to the four stage learning experience, would involve:
1) Approaching what He says, fully open, leaving aside any bias.
2) Making a thorough observation of His teaching as recorded in the New Testament.
3) Forming conclusions from those observations.
4) Using those conclusions in future decision -making.

One lesson that Jesus offers to learners is that He came to give rest to the weary of soul. That could be a student glad to be out of school, a home maker needing a break, a worker looking forward to days off, or someone without a job and weary of the concerns of his situation. Whatever summer vacation holds for each of us, it, or anytime, is a good time to learn from the Master Teacher what real rest is all about.