By Michael C. Mack
We believe God’s Word “is alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
We believe it goes out from God’s mouth and will not return to him empty but will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose for which he sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
We also believe it is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
We are a people devoted to God’s Word. We stand on the Bible alone, and not on human creeds, human opinions, or man-made rules. The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice.
This accurate description of the people who worship our Lord in our particular brand of independent Christian churches is one reason I am so excited about this issue of Christian Standard, which focuses on key players in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. At the same time, this issue is our first to include Bible lesson material that will help foster growth in God’s Word. This lesson material—a new monthly feature for many of our readers—until now has appeared in The Lookout magazine.
This Month—Eyewitnesses to the Resurrection
This month, we decided to honor God’s Word in a special way. The feature articles in this issue tell the story of the resurrection from the viewpoint of those who witnessed it (and one person who didn’t but could have, which was his great loss). All nine articles take us into the Bible narratives themselves, helping us look back at how the resurrection deeply affected the people who were there and, just as importantly, how it must affect our lives today.
Several of these articles are written as first-person “eyewitness accounts,” in which the writer assumes the persona of the witness. Others are told as third-person narratives. In order to present each character’s perspective on what they experienced, many of the writers employed some creative storytelling techniques, including some imagined dialogue and description.
We hope you can put yourself in these narratives and thereby learn and grow in your faith in our living Savior.
Every Month—Incorporating The Lookout
This month we also incorporate The Lookout Bible study section into Christian Standard. If you have been a regular reader of The Lookout, you’ll notice we are using the same writers and that our Study and Application articles have not changed. We will continue to provide biblically accurate, trustworthy, and enriching lessons to help individuals, small groups, and classes study and apply God’s Word.
We have, however, decided to make changes to the Questions pages in the studies. We want these questions to be used in groups and classes that meet both inside and outside of church buildings to do several things well:
- engage people directly in God’s living and active Word, allowing Scripture to speak for itself,
- provide space for God’s Word to saturate the minds of group members so it may teach, rebuke, correct, and train people (while we want groups to get into the Word, even more so, we want God’s Word to get into group members!),
- connect people in biblical community, where the New Testament “one another” passages can be lived out,
- discuss God’s Word alone (without a dependence on outside sources), which helps people grow in obedience and maturity in Christ, and
- apply God’s Word so that it may thoroughly equip and empower people for every good work, enabling groups to grow, bear much fruit, and reproduce themselves.
We’re calling this page “Discovery.” You’ll find it simple to use and profound in its impact. It’s a biblical discipleship and shepherding tool that relentlessly builds authenticity, accountability, personal responsibility, evangelism, prayer, and acts of service. For more details about Discovery principles and process and how to lead a group using this method, please go to https://christianstandard.com/Discovery.
After 30 years of involvement in small group ministry, discipleship, and Christian education, I’m excited for groups to try this transformational discipleship process . . . to grow personally and expand God’s kingdom.
Imagine being a part of a community, like the one pictured in Acts 2, that receives God’s Word and then overflows it into the lives of the people God has put around them. Imagine being an eyewitness of God’s Word not returning to him empty but accomplishing what he desires and achieving the purpose for which he sent it.
I think all of us would love to be a part of a group and a church like that!