Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Have you ever looked through the wrong end of a telescope? The purpose of a telescope, as you know, is to bring distant objects closer, to give us a bigger and clearer picture of objects we otherwise could see only faintly. But if we turn the telescope around and look through the wrong end, it creates the opposite effect, making objects near seem farther away, smaller, and less clear.
The outstanding British theologian, J. I. Packer, has suggested that in much of the contemporary church, we are looking at God through the wrong end of the telescope. So much emphasis is placed on “what God can do for me” with sermons and teaching that center on us rather than on God – “Three Ways to Raise Your Self Esteem,” or “Six Keys to a Happy Marriage,” or “Finding Fulfillment in an Empty World,” or “Destressing in a Stressed-Filled World.”
Now I’m not against that and certainly God wants to and has promised to meet our needs and help us find meaning and wholeness for our lives. But if that is our steady spiritual diet, we are going to be very weak and anemic Christians. It is like looking at God through the wrong end of a telescope. It minimizes God’s size, greatness, majesty, and wonder for the focus is mainly on us.
This is partly why I am preaching a sermon series this fall on “Getting to Know God.” We’ve already considered the love of God, and in the coming weeks we will look at the holiness of God, the wisdom of God, the power of God, the faithfulness of God, and the sovereignty of God. We will examine both what these attributes mean for God and what it means for us that this is the way God is. During this series we will be trying to turn that telescope around and look through the right end, thereby getting some glimpse, a bit of a vision of the greatness of God. And that will have a powerful effect on our experience of God.
Grace and peace,