Friday, October 21, 2011

The Bible for Dummies

If reading the Bible leaves you dumbfounded, you are not alone. ~ Michael Mulligan

Please don't be offended by the title of today's post.  I'm mainly referring to myself and my feeble attempts to understand the meaning of all those ancient stories.  If you're one of those Mensa people who stood in line for seconds when God was passing out brains, you're probably not paying much attention to my simple-minded anecdotes.  Today's message is for those who may have trouble figuring out what the Bible is all about.  The bottom line is that God is trying to reach you.  He wants you to know how special you are in His eyes.  It's the greatest love story ever told.  No wonder it's an all-time best seller.

The Bible is like a giant roller coaster ride.  It commences with the construction of the roller coaster in Genesis, the first book.  Adam and Eve are the first to get a free ticket and the ride begins at the peak.  They sit there admiring the view from the top and the ride isn't moving.  Life is nirvana.  A snake sneaks aboard and convinces the couple to eat an apple, something not allowed while riding the coaster.  As soon as they eat the fruit, they open their eyes and discover they're on the roller coaster naked.  Before they can put some clothes on, the ride jolts forward and the rapid descent makes them want to vomit.  That's the end of chapter one.

In chapter two, Exodus, all the kids are stuck in jail.  Along comes a guy named Moses who thought he was in charge of the prisoners.  Turns out Moses belongs with the captives.  He has trouble sorting things out and ends up getting in a big showdown with the Pharaoh.  Things between Moses and the Pharaoh escalate and Moses wins.  The kids escape Egypt but they're not happy when the food and water run out.  They get mad at Moses and turn away from God.  God punishes them and gives them a time-out in the desert....for forty years.

In the third chapter, Leviticus, the kids learn how to behave.  There's lots of rules about how to prepare food and how to live.  Most of this is to get the kids ready for a new King.

The rest of the Old Testament is about the new King coming.  The kids keep getting in trouble and they can't wait for this new King to wipe out all their enemies.  The prophets keep telling the kids about the new King.

In the New Testament, the King arrives, although He's not what the kids expected.  The roller coaster ride continues and the new King invites a bunch of rift-raft to get on board.  The kids get mad because they always believed it was their roller coaster.  They are so mad at the King that they get Him crucified.  On the third day, the King is resurrected.  Some see Him and some don't.  The whole town goes into a frenzy.  After forty days, the King disappears into the sky.  Before He leaves, He tells the kids He will come back.  He promises to send them a gift and asks them to wait patiently on the roller coaster until they receive it.

On the fiftieth day, the gift comes roaring in, almost blowing down the whole roller coaster.  Some of the kids are so moved that they jump off the ride and search for anyone who will listen to them as they talk about the King returning.  Thousands hear the Good News and ask to board the roller coaster.  The kids are angry because they really don't want to share the ride with anyone else.  The roller coaster is for all people.  No matter where you come from or what you've done, you belong on the ride.  The King bought your admission ticket and He paid for it with His life.  There will never be enough money in your bank account, even if you're Bill Gates, to purchase a ticket.  Everyone riding the roller coaster is asked to invite others to ride along.  It's not easy, but the Spirit nudges us to invite our enemies to ride next to us.  Failure to do this can get you kicked off the ride.

The last chapter is a Revelation about how the ride ends.  In the final part, the roller coaster almost gets destroyed.  There's a big fight and lots of people get killed.  At the end of the ride, the King returns and the ride stops at the top of the roller coaster where it all began with Adam and Eve.  The kids in the car recognize the King even though they didn't see Him the first time.  The fighting ends and the King remains with the children for a thousand years.  All the people who made fun of the roller coaster disappear.  According to the last chapter, they are sent to a place where the weather is a little on the hot side.

The moral of the story is that you belong on the roller coaster.  At times the ride will get bumpy.  Stay buckled in.  Ask others to ride with you and don't pay attention to the people who make fun of you for wanting to keep riding.  Wait for the King to come back.  If the rides gets a little scary, it's a sign that He will be back soon.  When He returns, the ride will come to a stop and everyone on board will be free at last.  No more fighting, no more hunger, no more problems.  And the view will be Heavenly, at least for the people who remained on the ride.  Jesus is calling you right now to jump on the roller coaster and he will be with you through all the ups and downs.  Hold on to Him.  He will never let go.  He loves you such much that He died for you. You are more precious to Him than silver or gold.  He loves you perfectly.

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