Why all the Rules…..?

So, as I continue to read through the Bible, I’m working my way, right now, through the book of Psalms and also the book of Leviticus.   

Psalms reminds me of a buffet – there is so much there that one reading of it barely even helps  you fully understand what all is in there.    Wisdom, pain, suffering, talking with God, wrestling with God, rejoicing with God, it’s all there.

And then there is the book of Leviticus.    Rules, rules, rules and many of them seemingly obtuse, unrealistic and just plain weird.   Why?   Why are there so many rules in the Old Testament?

And then it hit me – what changed between then and now?   Jesus died and rose again.   The fact that He came and gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins means that our focus shifts.   Our focus shifts from following all of these rules (don’t eat an animal that chews it’s cud unless it’s hoof is clove?  Seriously?) to Jesus command to follow Him.

As Mary said to the workers at the wedding in Cana in John 2:5, “Do whatever He tells you.”   The focus shifted from showing our love and devotion to God by following nit picky rules in the Old Testament to loving Jesus and doing what He tells us to.

May we all approach today and the future with that mindset,  “Do what He tells us to.”


The Short Story……. Is Not a Short Story……..

The short story is, “God told us to.” But this isn’t a short story.

We started by going to adoption agency informational meetings. We went to one that specializes in infant domestic adoptions. Does the phrase, “Been There Done That” mean anything to you? We had done the infant thing and felt that God was calling us to let other couples who hadn’t experienced that live through the diapers and the sleepless nights have that experience.

We went to another one that was based predominantly on adopting from the foster care system. I don’t know a nice way to say it, so I’m just going to say it. The foster care system scared us. At this point in our lives, we didn’t know enough about trauma, attachment, abuse and its effects to feel comfortable venturing down that path.

So then we went to an informational meeting about adopting internationally. We “kind of” felt that God was calling us in that direction, but didn’t feel a firm push in that direction. Colombia? Too long of a time in country. China? Too long of a wait. Eastern Europe? Too many concerns of RAD and FAS (Reactive Attachment Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

And then it started happening – first it was a whisper.

A couple we met on a cruise and stayed in touch with, when told we were thinking of adopting told us, “My boss just adopted a little boy from Haiti.”

My brother (runs a youth camp) said, “Hey one of my counselors last year was a missionary kid in Haiti.”

My wife is a big Karen Kingsbury fan. Karen has adopted a number of her children. All from Haiti.

Then one day, our oldest came home from school and said, “Guess what I found out! Chelsea and Chloe’s parents are adopting! From Haiti!”

So we called them and asked if we could meet them for coffee and just talk about it all. They invited us over and we spent a very enjoyable night with them talking about adopting, about Haiti about who, where, how they got there and a multitude of other things.

The upshot of the conversation? A direct quote from the husband, “You need to work with Dixie Bickel and adopt from Haiti.”

And that’s the longer answer to the question of “Why Haiti?”

Through a couple from Montana, an employee of my brother, Karen Kingsbury and fellow classmates of my daughter, God told us that our kid(s) were waiting for us in Haiti.

Makes Me Wonder…….

So, I’m working on reading through the Bible during 2014 (and I’m only 6 days behind schedule) and right now I’m plowing through some of the really exciting  chapters in Exodus where God is instructing the Israelites how to build the temple and how to make the priests clothes and robes and such.

The detail is rather mind boggling.    But then it made me wonder, “If God was that particular about how His people worshipped him in the Old Testament, why was worship styles and places much different in the New Testament and beyond?”

I think the reason for that is that after Jesus died on the cross for us, the focus became much less on following a prescribed ritual and more on a relationship with the one that saved us.

So, that raises another question – if the important thing is having a relationship with Jesus Christ and doing what He wants us to, then why do we argue so much about the style of worship?   Why does it make a difference if we use drums or an organ?    Why do some people get upset no matter what way worship is done?

God gave specific directions before Christ and worship styles have definitely changed and relaxed since then.   The important thing is not the how, but the relationship.   Are you studying a God who is out there?   Or are you having a conversation with a friend who can help you get through what you’re struggling with and can help you follow Him?

It’s not about the how, it’s about the who.  

Are you studying a God from afar or are you seeking a relationship with the one who saved you?