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My Story

Galatians 1:11  For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12  for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13  You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. 14  I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15  But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased 16  to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, 17  nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. 18  Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19  but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord's brother. 20  In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! 21  Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22  and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; 23  they only heard it said, "The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy." 24  And they glorified God because of me.

Paul writes to the Jesus-followers in Galatia, who were in danger of adding to the central content of the gospel by requiring Gentile Christians to maintain a Jewish lifestyle. He begins with a rebuke: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel[1] Then, instead of plunging into theological debate, he offers a personal testimony.

This then is the core of our faith – we have a story to tell. While this does not excuse us from theological reflection on our story – if all that we have is clever theology, then we have nothing. Ours is a faith that speaks of a personal spiritual encounter with the God of Jesus; and this is the testimony we share.   

For Thought

I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
Faint was I from many a fall,
Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
But He freed me from them all.

          Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
          Of the Christ Who died for me

Francis H. Rowley, 1886


The First Sunday in Lent

Preparation  for Ministry

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 106.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.   

[1] Galatians 1:6

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)