Ministers help people make sense of events in life

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Minister's Forum

I think the way that I write…and I write the way that I think. Allow me to explain.

I see the Holy Bible as a history of the Judeo-Christian people. Whether you are reading the Hebrew Bible (what we call the Old Testament), or the New Testament, you are reading about people and their relationships with each other and with Almighty God.
When I write a sermon, an article for our church newsletter or a Minister’s Forum article for the local newspaper, I try to put into words my interpretation of the scriptures and the teachings of the Bible,  explaining how the scriptures apply to our everyday lives.
This is the task of every minister. Ministers must read and interpret the Bible for those whom we serve. We need to have knowledge of the context in which the scriptures were written. Otherwise, we might misinterpret the meaning of the scripture.
We also need to communicate our interpretation of the meaning of all this information and how it affects our everyday lives.
We are not Christ Jesus, but he gave us excellent examples of how to communicate.
Jesus interpreted the Old Testament to the people in terms they understood. There were farmers who came to listen to him. To them, he spoke about where to plant seeds. Of course, he was referring to the Word of God when he spoke. Some seed is planted on hard ground, and the rain washes it away. That’s referring to those who hear the Word of God, but fail to follow it. But there are others who hear the Word of God and it grows within them and they produce good fruit…living their lives as God, through Jesus, has taught them.
He told those who were builders that you don’t build a house in sand where the rain will wash it away. You build a house on solid ground…on rock…where it will withstand the forces of weather. There, Jesus is talking about those who receive the Word of God and use it as the foundation of their whole lives.
There were also shepherds in the crowds of people who came to hear Jesus. To them, he spoke of the good shepherd who watches over his sheep. A good shepherd knows his sheep and they know him by his voice. He told them that he was the good shepherd.
The people living in Oklahoma just faced a disaster that no one should have to face. Some lost their children; other lost family members and friends to a terrible tornado. Our hearts go out to them.
My family was lucky when the tornado of April 19, 1996, destroyed our home in Ogden, Ill. Our oldest daughter and her three sons were living in the home that she grew up in. I was serving a church in the Mattoon area when the tornado struck.
We drove to Ogden that night, to find out if our family was safe, but we weren’t allowed into town due to the escaping natural gas. The next morning, when we returned to Ogden, our oldest daughter told us that they were in the house when the tornado struck. Yes, our home was destroyed, but they were OK. That was all I needed to know. We thanked God.
Today, only one other house in an area three blocks by two blocks remains. All others are new since that day. The grade school, our home and several other homes on the outer edge of that six-square-block area have also been replaced.
Like in Ogden, the homes and schools in Oklahoma will be replaced, but the toughest part will be for the children who survived. They have lost classmates. They will live in fear of storms from having lived through a tornado.
Only time and the grace of God will heal their wounds.
We need to especially pray for them, and for the parents of the lost children. Their children are now in God’s care.