Saturday, November 22, 2014

THEY LIGHT UP THE SCREEN by Claude Houde

One of the greatest surprises of a new believer who begins to read and explore the Bible is to discover that the men and women of Scriptures are so incredibly human. There is no makeup, no tricks and no face-lifts in the Bible narrative. There are no Hollywood scripts, no “too good to be true,” larger-than-life flawless heroes.

One of the reasons the Bible is the all-time worldwide best seller year after year is the fact that the action and characters found in its pages are simply fascinating. The Bible is the most read book in the world because the sixty-six books that make up the Scriptures are, in fact, a mirror in which we all find a reflection of ourselves sooner or later. Although the men and women of the Old and New Testaments are very distant from us in time, space, contexts, customs and cultural reality, they are right there, so incredibly close to us in their human experience and humanity. Take a look and you will have to admit that these people literally “light up the screen.” Reading the Bible is the ultimate “reality TV” experience! Each page is riveting and propels us into the front rows of the theater of human lives in connection with the Divine.

We are staggered, appalled, “confronted” and moved by their adventures, battles, hopes, doubts, passions and faith, because they are painfully and implacably like our own (or at least like somebody we know when it comes too close for comfort, so close in fact that we turn the mirror away). These Bible life stories make us both laugh and cry. Our spirits are crushed by their failures, shattered at the mistakes they make and lifted with every exploit.

These men and women of the Word of God are made of flesh and bone. They dream, suffer, fall, cry and are disappointed and betrayed by their closest friends and the people they trusted the most. Sometimes they are afraid of what’s inside them. They can doubt horribly and shake their fists at heaven in anger, confusion and sheer pain. They cut and bleed. They turn their backs on God and doubt His very existence, and then run madly toward Him when tragedy strikes. So strong and yet so weak, they do not do what they know they should and often end up doing what they hate and know is wrong. They dream of beauty and nobility, of a better world, of justice and of “starting their life over.”

The Bible is a veritable jewelry box, filled with rough diamonds. Each book and each chapter reflects a facet of the human experience in search of the essential, the eternal and the meaningful. As you read the Bible, you can discover God and find yourself.

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Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.