The Talking Book
Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!
Everyone has a Masterclass these days. People who have expertise in an area teach their skills to others. There’s a Masterclass on film production, baking, mindfulness, writing, negotiation, effective selling - you name it, there’s a class for it. Not just a class, a Masterclass. I even heard that someone is starting a Peace and Healing Center in Los Angeles. I know, it sounds like a great tagline for a church, but it’s a Peace and Healing Center. There are so many things that we can learn with the help of someone who has mastered the art of that craft. But as the Message Bible points out, “The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.”
He [Jesus] quoted a proverb: “‘Can a blind man guide a blind man?’ Wouldn’t they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn’t lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.
Luke 6:39-40 MSG
Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He spoke these words. In this one chapter, Jesus taught about picking grains to eat on the Sabbath and healing on the Sabbath. He went to the mountain alone and prayed all night long. When done, He chose twelve from His disciples, who He called to be apostles. He healed many, taught about loving and judging people, and preached the Beatitudes.
Jesus was in essence giving them a Masterclass; they just didn’t know it. He was pouring into them all that He wanted them to remember. It was going to be important because they would be the ones to go out and preach the Gospel, planting churches along the way, encouraging folks, and imparting to people all that they had learned from the Master Teacher.
Our teachers are important. It matters whose voice you listen to. That’s why I believe that the best thing we can do for ourselves and for our families, is to read the Bible. Because in the Bible we hear from the Master Teacher; we hear the heart of God.
You could say that the Bible speaks to us. In its pages the grieving find comfort. In its pages the weak find strength. In its pages we learn about the love of the Father who sacrificed His own Son for us! In its pages those who were in slavery found a freedom beyond chains, so they called it “The Talking Book.”
It is amazing how the Bible speaks to the uneducated and the educated; the rich and the poor; the young and the old. And to this day, the Bible remains the #1 best-selling book! There’s something so practical about it, and yet it remains so mysterious.
One day, the Holy Spirit sent Philip, an apostle, to help an Ethiopian in his quest to understand the writings of Isaiah. The Ethiopian didn’t understand what he was reading. So, Philip started with Isaiah and broke down the Good News of Jesus Christ to him. The Ethiopian was so moved that he wanted to be baptized on the spot!
When the Apostle Paul gave instructions to Timothy, his son in the ministry, he charged him:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have known sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
Paul told Timothy to first remember who taught you, and then remember what you’ve learned from the Word since childhood. Paul saw the faith of Timothy and wanted to remind him that if you stick with the message of the Gospel, you too will be able to teach others a Masterclass about salvation through faith in Christ Jesus! And friends, the same is true for you. Whether you’re a Philip, encountering someone along the way, or you’re a Timothy, raised in the faith. The question remains - who needs to take your Masterclass?
Join us for worship this Sunday, as we see how the Bible came to be called the Talking Book and how it still speaks to us today. You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Kelly Clarkson Show! It was a whirlwind week! The Kelly Clarkson Show flew me in to do an interview about our work on the African Schoolhouse No. 4, and it was quite a time. I’m not free to talk about details until right before the show airs, which is on February 16. But I believe that you will be proud of the history you are helping to preserve!
Save the Date - Unity Luncheon on Sunday, Feb. 26, after worship. We will celebrate with a catered lunch and a presentation on the African Schoolhouse Number 4. We will have special guests in the house, including Mrs. Doris Frazier, one of the Schoolhouse teachers, and Mark Ohlendorf, Pres. of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation, so please mark your calendars and let’s celebrate together!
Faith Forward Challenge How are you doing with it? It’s not just for January, but for all year long! Remember, this is the year of extraordinary faith, so stretch yourself and watch God move in your life! Don’t what the Faith Forward Challenge is? Check it out on our website: umcgt.org