Bible Study is the # 1 show on Apple podcasts: The transformative hope of a daily encounter with the Risen Christ

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Forty-eight hours after its launch, The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) became the # 1 show on Apple podcasts. The show now has over 1.3 million downloads. The producer explains the popularity of the podcast: “People are hungry for God, and we are honored to help them meet the word of God through a daily podcast, especially since many of us continue to be cut off. of our parishes, communities and loved ones. during these difficult days.

“People are hungry for God” because, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism States, “The main purpose of man is to glorify God and to rejoice in him forever.” However, the catechism adds that “all humanity by its fall has lost communion with God”.

The news shows every day that we still live in a fallen world. For example:

  • A ship that would be taller than the Empire State Building if it were righted got stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking all traffic on one of the busiest maritime arteries in the world.
  • A black hole three million times heavier than our sun is races across the universe and scientists don’t know why. (Fortunately, he’s about 230 million light years away from us.)
  • A man in Los Angeles said he found shrimp tails in his breakfast cereal, along with a length of string and something resembling dental floss. The company says it is investigating.

Other stories are more disturbing, like the death by the suicide of Kent Taylor, founder and CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain. His family said he had been facing symptoms related to COVID-19 and that “the suffering which has intensified dramatically in recent days has become unbearable.” And of course, the shootings in Georgia and Colorado continue to make headlines as we mourn those who died and those who knew and loved them.

A brilliant article explains our cultural moment

Desmond Tutu noted, “The hope is to be able to see that there is light despite all darkness.” The question, of course, is where to find such a light. In this context, a fascinating item by John Doherty of the Witherspoon Institute caught my eye recently.

He notes that ancient Gnosticism (from the Greek gnosis, meaning “knowledge”) asserted that living for good reason is the way to salvation. Doherty believes that many contemporary lay people are following a “new variation” of this approach in seeking to ground human reality entirely on knowledge only found in human intelligence. Machiavelli, the “founder of modern political thought”, built on this approach by posing a public life based on justice.

The problem, however, is that humans are unable to achieve true knowledge or righteousness outside of divine grace.

Doherty notes that when the last generations of secular society began to abandon the Judeo-Christian worldview upon which Western culture was built, “the results were disastrous.” Society expected from public institutions the services that Christians and churches had provided, such as schools, hospitals, and businesses. To replace them, “nations have set up heavy bureaucracies of social services and socialist states, animated not by the wisdom of mercy, but by paid work, the law and an increasingly inhuman secularism.”

However, “when these fell short of expectations, citizens demanded even more government intervention. Their logical results have been the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century and today’s state-sponsored promotion of [secularist] ideologies.

Doherty concludes: “We must live better, get in order, freely cooperate with our Creator. No one else can do it for us. The state can help, but only in a secondary role. The more honest and humane we are in business, family relations, and civic life, the less we need the state to oversee us, the more freedom we gain to develop our potential, and the wiser we become in making laws and regulations. institutions that serve man. dignity and the common good. The outer order of society begins in the inner order of each individual.

More attached to Christianity than to Christ?

How then to develop this “internal order”? This question brings me to today’s point Article of the day.

As we move towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it has become clear to me that many of us live more in the former than in the latter. After nearly forty years as a pastor and almost fifty years as a Christian, I must admit that I and many Christians that I know can be more attached to Christianity than to Christ. We confuse time with Christians with time with Christ.

We asked Jesus to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life; now we are doing what our religion demands in response: go to church (mostly online during the pandemic), read the bible, pray, donate money and time, and try to live a moral life. But too often we do all of this with our own strength rather than that of the risen Lord Jesus. We separate Sunday from Monday and religion from the “real world”. It is as if Jesus is still in the tomb rather than living in our lives and our world.

Part of the explanation lies in our Greco-Roman cultural heritage and transactional religions (place a sacrifice on the altar for the god to bless your crops). But part of the problem is our fallen nature and our desire to be our own God (Genesis 3: 5). If we meet the Risen Jesus every day, he can change us into something we don’t want to become. He can send us somewhere we don’t want to go. He asked Abraham to follow his call “not knowing where he was going” and may ask the same of us (Hebrews 11: 8).

However, as Pastor Greg Laurie noted, “God’s plans for you are better than any plans you have for yourself.” Corrie ten Boom testified, “The safest place to be is at the center of God’s will.

“A living Christ does everything for me”

If you seek wisdom today, I encourage you to come to the risen Christ, for his wisdom is even “greater than Solomon”, the wisest man who ever lived (Matthew 12:42; 1 Kings 4 : 31).

If you seek forgiveness, I encourage you to come to the risen Christ, for only he can give us “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1: 7).

If you are looking for strength today, I encourage you to come to the risen Christ, for only he can give you the power to “do all things” (Philippians 4:13).

If you seek peace, I encourage you to come to the Risen Christ, for then “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 7).

Andrew Murray was right: “A dead Christ for whom I must do everything; a living Christ does everything for me.

What is true for you today?

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