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The automobile tycoon Henry Ford once famously said, “history is more or less bunk.” Why look back when you can look forward? Get busy making history rather than reading stories of those long dead and gone?
Fair enough, except that sometimes the stories of the past are the very thing that inspires us for the future. A man named Luke had a front-row seat during the early days of the Christian church. Like an investigative reporter, he had already captured the story of the life of Jesus into a biography we now have in the New Testament.
But Luke had a second book in him, a book about the early Christian church. The church grew, Luke believed, by the will and purpose of God in fulfillment of promises God made years before. His is an encouraging story, of how from a handful of Jesus followers in a single church, this movement spread beyond geographic, ethnic and racial boundaries. The message, that salvation is found in Jesus, raised from the dead and ascended to heaven, changed lives and communities everywhere it went. And the catalyst for all this change, Luke believed, was the power of the Holy Spirit, the gift Jesus left with the church when he ascended into heaven.
It’s an inspirational story and raises interesting questions for us today, none more important than this: How can we, at City Church, capture today something of the confidence, enthusiasm, vision, and power these early Christians and their leaders had? It’s a question we will explore in the weeks to come.
It’s disappointing to learn our heroes have feet of clay. David, considered to be Israel’s greatest king, was no exception. Identified as the nation’s future king when he was a boy of ten or eleven, he quickly demonstrated competence, character, and devotion to God until, after twenty years of waiting, he finally got his shot.
After Saul’s final failure as Israel’s first king, David was then made king, but of just half the nation. For the next seven years, he reluctantly fought a civil war against forces loyal to Saul.
When the rebel forces collapsed, David was made
Now a man in his early fifties, David then stumbled into his greatest personal and professional failure; an abuse of power so egregious that we cannot think of him without recalling his sexual assault of a beautiful young woman, and the subsequent murder of her loyal husband. As great as David is, this episode remains a stain on his reputation, the consequences of which plagued him for the remainder of his life.
This makes David a complicated figure. Revered by later generations for his competence and piety, he was also a man with great flaws. But before we point fingers and throw stones, are we not also equal parts virtue and vice?
During the next few weeks, we will look at this part of David’s biography, learning what we can from his virtues and how to avoid repeating his failures.
John Sommerville - City Church senior pastor
The oldest book in the Bible was compiled some 3,400 years ago. And the final book, Revelation, was written in the last decade of the first century. That makes the Bible a very old book. Yet it has proven to be remarkably relevant. But of