Headlines from First Thoughts

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Home by Another Way

The Bible is full of people outside the mainstream who inform and change how people come to God.

The Spirit of the Lord falls an ancient sorcerer or magus named Balaam. He blesses Israel and refuses to curse his enemies in Numbers 24.

Midianite priests give Moses advice in Exodus 18.

Magi, successors to Balaam, arrive in Matthew 2, giving gifts to Jesus.

All of these characters participate in pagan religious rituals prior to their role in God's story. All of them enter the story at pivotal times in the history of Israel and the church. Balaam, the Magi, and by implication, the Midianite priests live differently after their contact with God and his people. In each case, the people of God learn something from outsiders that enriches their journey, changes their lives, and affects the world. Both the insiders and the outsiders go "home by another way."

God is always at work drawing people to God's light. How does God go about this process? How does God use the people of God today to be his agents in this process? What can we learn from the outsiders that can help us as we share that light? All of these questions and more will be part of my study entitled "Home by Another Way" at First Baptist Knoxville, January 12-13.

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