It is difficult, if not impossible, for most of us to read and interpret the Bible objectively. I have espoused the belief for years that "The first casualty of biblical interpretation is objectivity." We enter our study of the Bible with all the things others have taught us. We carry all our religious baggage with us as we study and attempt to learn, and are thus reinforcing our predetermined beliefs rather than discovering the spirit of the message in scripture.
For instance, when you have been taught that Christians go to church on Sunday and worship God, and there are specific requirements of what God wants to see happen during that "formal worship" time, you tend to use scripture to prove and support that premise rather than honestly seek to understand what was written. After all, those practices, rituals, ceremonies, or "Acts of Worship" are laws commanded by God, and they must be obeyed - or are they? Most Christians are surprised to find out that nowhere in the New Testament does it ever say that followers of Jesus met together on Sunday to worship. There is a gathering of Christians mentioned as happening on the first day of the week, but other places mention "day to day" meetings. We label what those meetings were with traditional language, because worship was never a time and place, but a life given as a "living sacrifice" to God. Worship is our life not a block of time.
The things that God's people do when they come together are more a product of traditions, preferences, and manmade ceremonies. God's Tool Box is a challenge to rethink how we look at many of the things we do when we are together, and be biblically true about why God wanted these things to happen. If God is simple and clear about what He wants, He is not in the business of creating hoops for his followers to jump through or religious puzzles that people need to piece together and "figure out." He wants us to love Him completely and learn to do that by loving one another. Everything He call on us to do, is to support that objective.
God's Tool Box is a call to a paradigm shift in how we view God's requirements for growing in love and helping others grow in love too. Instead of giving us rituals, ceremonies, acts of worship, or any list of "religious requirements," He gave us tools. Tools are used to get a job done. They are not the god to be worshipped or rituals to perform. They are practical tools with practical results.
I define God's tools as anything He gives us that we can use to help others grow spiritually. It's all about being together to help each other grow in love for Him and each other. I have fourteen tools in my list. There may be more, but a tool is a support not a goal.
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About the Author
Mike was born and raised in our Nation's capital in the days when one could roam the halls of the Capital and other government buildings freely. As a boy he stood on Pennsylvania Ave and watched the funeral procession for JFK go by, and use to walk past Ford's Theatre on Sunday morning as he walked to church. He finished High School in South Georgia at Georgia Christian School and received a BA in Bible from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He has been in full-time ministry since 1974 and later earned an MA in History from George Mason University, and an MTh from Trinity Theological Seminary. He has worked with churches in Fairfax, VA, Ft. Worth, TX, Antioch, TN, and has been with his present church in Florissant, MO for ten years. He has authored five published books: Spilt Grape Juice, Unbroken Bread, and Empty Baskets are all about worship; Life's Cobwebs and I Knew That are devotional/inspirational books. While in Fairfax, VA, he was a Police Chaplain with the Fairfax County Police Department from 1980 - 1988. He has three married children, nine grandchildren, and is an avid bow hunter - and occasional writer.