Friday, November 28, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-28 [Apostle's Creed] Fearfully and Wonderfully MADE.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalms139:14-16

We are not here by accident...
We are not randomly here...
We are not a mistake...

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
This applies generally in the sense that our bodies and the intricacies of our biology are beautifully designed and engineered. But also specifically in the sense that I am a beautiful combination of body, personality and history and that makes me unusual and special.

I'm not the handsomest (although Brenda disagrees :-) )
I'm not the strongest (although a young Caleb used to disagree)
I'm not the smartest (and my teachers definitely agree!)
But I am perfectly me.

I don't have a serial number or a producer's brand-label. I don't even have a "copyright reserved" label on me - because there just can't be another like me...

God made me.
He carefully designed my DNA and moulded my body.
He chose my parents and my geography.
He laid out a pathway for me, allowing me forks in the road where I could draw closer to Him or wander away from Him.
And He lovingly calls and guides me on the way if I would just let Him.

Every every cell in my body contains DNA that speaks of the miracle of being and the incredible comfort that I am not a random spark generated by some incidental cosmic reaction - I am MADE.

And God doesn't make junk!!!

You can watch a lovely music video by Hawk Nelson about this:

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Thursday, November 27, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-27 [Apostle's Creed] Of HEAVEN and EARTH (Shalom!)

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. Psalms133:1-3

(I'm going to stretch a premise this morning, but bear with me - I think you'll agree when I'm done...)

When the creed indicates that God is the "Maker of Heaven and Earth," it is affirming that the totality of creation is a gift from God.

But the totality of creation isn't simply the physical part of creation... Because we are made in the image of God and have His Spirit breathed into us, we also have relational, emotional and spiritual dimensions that are part of creation.

In many ways modern society has inherited Greco-Roman thinking that was analytical and dis-integrative in its world view. We have tended to see life as separate dimensions. We separate physical and spiritual, we distinguish between "sacred" and "secular" and we compartmentalise life. We live life out of tune with nature and our artificial environments leave us out of sync with the seasons and the rhythms of day and night.

Hebrew thinking (the language and mindset of the Old Testament) was integrative in its approach to life. Life is a whole (a "SUM of parts") and not just "some PARTS."

This psalm captures this reality beautifully - the Psalm talks about relationships between people, the blessing of God, the physicality of anointing someone with oil (it can be messy) and the phenomenon of dew that usually falls on Mount Hermon in the North occasionally falling in Jerusalem.

The Hebrew blessing "Shalom" (Peace) means implies wholeness, togetherness and integrated-ness. It means the celebration of Heaven AND Earth. That ALL of life is a gift - our bodies, our time, our seasons, our relationships and our physical world.

The well-loved Welsh preacher Granville Morgan once preached that God's favourite word is "AND": God made heaven AND earth, moon AND stars, flowers AND animals, birds AND fish, you AND me. Life is a glorious gift and it's bounteous Creator should be recognised as the God is is Lord of ALL and God over ALL. And that His blessing is pronounced "Shalom!"

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-26 [Apostle's Creed] Sustained (MAKER)

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians1:16-17

Here, in his letter to the Colossians, Paul is talking about Jesus who was co-creator with the Father and the Spirit.

Two things to note about this beautiful passage:

1. The extent of creation and attention to detail. ALL things were created by Him: Heaven, Earth, Visible, Invisible, Thrones, Powers, Rulers, Authorities - All things.

There is nothing that has not received the intimate attention of the Triune Creator. Nothing was left to accident. I have a unique finger-print and each zebra has its own pattern. We are cherished creations and God broke the mould when He made me and when He made you.

2. All things hold together in Him. Creation isn't like a clock that the watchmaker builds, winds up and then observes from a distance. He actively sustains creation - He holds it in His hands. He in INterested in His creation. It's just as it was in Genesis 1: The Spirit still hovers above creation.

Jesus reminded the disciples of this: Not a sparrow falls to the ground without God's knowledge and the very hairs on our heads are numbered.

This is easy to believe when things are going well and our prayers are being answered. It's harder to believe when we engage the heartache and suffering in our world and in our lives. Here we have to return to the two circles of "allows" and "wills" that we drew on Friday. We must recognise that, in the flogging, the crucifixion and His God-forsaken death, Jesus is INcarnate to creation and sustains it by conquering sin, death and Satan. It's not the absence of trouble, but that He is at work IN our trouble.

"LORD help us to know You are at work IN our lives even when we struggle to see You."

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-25 [Apostle's Creed] Is there life on other planets? (MAKER)

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts17:24-27

The Apostles Creed reminds us that we believe that He is the "maker of heaven and earth." Paul is talking to the philosophers of the day in Athens. He's addressing the brightest and the best.

Creation is a controversial subject. People argue creation vs evolution. Literal seven days vs figurative seven days. Real Adam vs mythological Adam and so forth.

Paul does a helpful thing when he discusses creation with the scholars: he doesn't talk about "how" but "why". When one gets down to the "why" of creation, the "how" is less of an issue.

Paul gives two reasons for creation:
Firstly creation is a display of the glory and grandeur of God. God doesn't need a temple made by human hands - all of creation is His temple. Creation is an expression of His glory and majesty.

Secondly creation is a signpost that points humanity toward God. God didn't create us because He was lonely. (God enjoys perfect community in the Trinity!) God creates because giving life, beauty and vastness to creation is an expression of WHO HE IS.

Creation is vast and majestic. The astronomers tell us that the universe is still expanding. As we unpack the wonders of DNA and other microscopic wonders scientists are using the phrase "intelligent design" more and more.

So... is there life like us on other planets?
If there is - then the vastness of creation speaks of a God much bigger than they can think or imagine and calls them to worship. If there isn't then creation still serves its two purposes:
- To speak of God's grandeur
- To call us to reach out for Him and find Him - though He isn't far from us.

Creation isn't centred around us - it's about Him.
Creation makes best sense when its creatures know Him.

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Friday, November 21, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-21 [Apostle's Creed] ALMIGHTY

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory. Selah

(You'll need pencil and paper for today's message...)
God is Almighty - another word for this is Sovereign.
It means that He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.
He is either God over all or He is not God at all.

This has challenging implications and forms the basis of one of the most common and challenging objections that non-believers have: "If God is good and loving then why is there pain and suffering in the world?"

We'd prefer to say that God is God of the good things and that He has nothing to do with evil. The problem with that is that evil would then be independent of God and out of His control...

We have to hold on to a more complex reality. The best way to explain it is to draw two circles, one inside the other. Label the inside circle as "What God wants or wills" and the the outer circle as "What God allows (but doesn't necessarily like)" All of reality fits into one of these circles because anything outside the circles would be out of His ultimate control and then He wouldn't be Almighty.

Psalm 24 paints a picture of an Almighty God, but it also paints a picture of a humanity that may choose. It may choose for or against God - this freedom of choice is what necessitates the "Allows" circle. When God lovingly created us with the freedom of choice, it meant that He allowed us the possibility of choosing against Him. He _allows_ us this freedom and the consequences of this freedom results in the heartache and brokenness in the world that we struggle with. God is not the author of pain. God is good and He gave us freedom, but when we walk away from the light, we find ourselves in darkness and we become the authors of pain.

Take your drawing of the two circles and draw a cross that has its centre in the inside circle of "Wills" but its arms stretch to the outer edges of the "Allows" circle. By coming into our broken world and dying for us, Jesus revealed that He loves us and is concerned about the brokenness. By rising from the dead He conquered and trumped heartache and pain. He can heal the pain of the things that happen in the "allows" circle and bring them into the "wills" circle.

Finally draw arrows pointing outward on the "wills" circle and remember that the King, the Lord Almighty, is coming again and when He does, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Rev21:4)

Read the Psalm again and celebrate that He's truly God over all.
Let's resolve to be a generation who "seek Him." Do it with your church family this Sunday!

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Thursday, November 20, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-20 [Apostle's Creed] the FATHER

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God 2Corinthians1:3-4

Believing in God as Father is difficult for some whose earthly fathers have been absent, abusive or cold-hearted. Others think about Father Christmas when they think about God as Father - a sugar daddy who spoils us with gifts based on our behaviour but is pretty much absent in times of trouble or pain.

Part of the problem is that we think that God needed to reveal Himself to us and so He said "Well, everyone has a father and fathers are generally good guys so I'll reveal myself as father..." (Theologians call this anthropomorphism - God morphing into anthropological terms to help us understand Him)

What if it was the other way around? That God was Father (and Mother*) first and that we, who are His image-bearers, are to reflect these facets of His nature and we either do it well or badly?

Could it be that bad fathers obscure the reflection God's nature in themselves and that good fathers reveal more of Him and less of their own brokenness?

The Father Paul reveals here is awesome:
- He is the Father of Jesus, And Jesus loved Him and trusted Him so much that He was willing to say "Not my will but yours be done" and went to the cross.
- He is the God of all comfort. He had to watch His Son carry the weight of our brokenness and His heart was broken over our sin. He understands pain. (As an imperfect earthly father I would rather give my own life than sacrifice my son Caleb's)
- He comforts us. He sent His Son. He sends His Spirit. He finds sulking Jonah outside Nineveh. He finds Elijah burnt out under the broom tree. He finds Hagar and Ishmael alone in the wilderness. He _sees_ and _hears_ and _comes_ down to the Israelites in slavery in Egypt. When the world was broken and lost He sent His Son.

Take the word Father and embody it with the VERY BEST you have seen of Fatherhood and you have only scraped the surface of what God is like.
* The Scriptures portray God as Mother ("Can a mother forget her children" (Isaiah 49:15) "As a mother comforts her child I will comfort you (Isaiah 66:13)) It think it is important to recognise that God transcends male and female but when human beings reflect the nature of God, they often do it as "mother" or "father" and when they do it well, God's nature is reflected.)

** Patriarchal societies have focussed on God as Father almost to the exclusion of the truth that God is also Mother. Some have compromised by talking about God as the "perfect parent" but some of the richness is lost. I believe it is best to just do justice to the concepts as Scripture gives them to us.

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-19 [Apostle's Creed] in GOD (Job's encounter part 2.)

Then Job replied to the LORD:
2 "I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, `Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 "You said, `Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes." Job42:1-2

If yesterday's devotion left you with a sense of "God is God and you are not so shut up and accept your fate," you would be missing the point of this beautiful encounter.

Job started his journey of suffering with great trust: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." (1:21) But he had three friends, who were immersed in an "action and consequence" theology, who were convinced that Job had done something wrong and this had brought about the suffering that he was going through.

Their view of God was too small. They saw God as a "cause and effect" God. They simplified Him to a set of rules - "If this, then that." This created a faith of reward or punishment. God was a cold impersonal being who simply applied the rule-book and it was a simple to understand Him - stick to the rules and it goes well and vice versa.

Job wouldn't and couldn't buy his friends' version of a mechanistic cause-and-effect God. So, partly in reaction to his friends' bad theology Job swings to the other side of the pendulum to make God so personal and private that Job could "have his day in court" with God.

Where Job lands up after God reveals His spectacular grandeur and awe-inspiring majesty is that he realises his own finitude and comes to a place of trust in God even though he doesn't understand God's ways.

The story ends with God putting the three friends in their place and He tells them to ask "my servant Job" to pray for them. He restores Job's health and riches and lives happily ever after.

What is powerful about Job's story is that it wrestles with an adequate God picture. Is God a cold cause-and-effect God or a God who is accountable to His creatures? Job discovers that God is neither of the afore-mentioned, but rather that He is sovereign, free and that we must trust Him even when we don't always understand Him.

Theo Groeneveld theo @

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-18 [Apostle's Creed] in GOD (Job's encounter part 1.)

Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God's dominion over the earth?
34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, `Here we are'?
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?
40:3 Then Job answered the LORD:
4 "I am unworthy--how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth. Job38:31-40:4

We know the story of Job. He suffered terribly and as he struggles to make sense of his anguish, heartache and pain, he comes to a place where he wears his trouble like a badge and _demands_ a hearing and accounting from God.

It's a crucial tipping point in the story...
While we feel sorry for Job, we have to recognise that he has reached the point where he (Job) wants God to "please explain" (like a naughty school boy) why he (Job) who as already proclaimed his righteousness and innocence should suffer so. Job wants God to explain the universe to him. (See Job31:35-37 below)

Because we know that Job is innocent we feel a certain camaraderie with him. We feel he deserves an answer - but it would come at the cost of making God accountable to Job.

And so God puts Job in his place.
Job is a creature not the Creator.
Job is not infinite - he is finite.
Job can't put the starry constellations in place.
Job doesn't have rain, thunder, lightning and hail at his command.

You can read ch38-41 to see God relentlessly making one simple point.
God is God and Job is not!

To truly be "God" means and implies that any Being carrying that title is not limited by humanity: Such a Being transcends our limitations, conceptualisations and our imagination. Such a Being isn't answerable to us or can even be grasped by us. (In a beautiful illustration of this, in Ephesians 3 we see Paul praying that we have the "power to grasp (understand)" the height, depth, length and breadth of God's love. Even His love is beyond our natural ability to grasp - God has to help us understand it!)

To declare that there is a God is to admit that I am not God.
To declare that there is a God is to recognise His transcendence.
To declare that there is a God is to worship.

Here's Job getting ahead of himself...
JOB 31:35 ("Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
I sign now my defense--let the Almighty answer me;
let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
I would put it on like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of my every step;
like a prince I would approach him.)--

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 14, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-14 [Apostle's Creed] Believe (#3) Certainty...

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews11:1-2

(I've re-used an old dev - I can't say it better)

The language of faith is never the certainty of the laboratory litmus-test or the court-room's "beyond reasonable doubt."

The language of faith is hope, trust and imagination.

You're probably are worried about me using the word "imagination"...
I don't mean imaginary (as in "not real") - I'm thinking of the high jumper who imagines themselves sailing over the bar even before they take the run up. I'm thinking of the bride-to-be imagining the wedding.

It's imagination that anticipates a certain future.

The language of faith is trust and relationship.
It's believing when we can't see.
It's trusting when the numbers are too complicated for us to add up.

Faith is about realising that I am not and cannot be ultimately in control, but that the universe is in the good hands of a God we can know.

Faith is not about knowing or controlling the future, but about knowing the One who does.

We live in a "I'll believe it when I see it" world.
But faith calls us to recognise that we can't see it all.
We are not god.
But we can know, trust and hope in the One who is...

This is what it means when we start the Creed with "I believe."

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-13 [Apostle's Creed] Believe (#2) Incorporating Doubt

Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23 " `If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark9:21-24

The boy had been having seizures or fits since he was little. The man was desperate. The disciples had been trying to help but to no avail. They brought the boy to Jesus and the evil spirit threw him to the ground. The conversation in our reading is happening while the boy convulses on the ground...

Jesus has already rebuked the disciples and the crowd for unbelief. Now Jesus tells the man that anything is possible for those who believe. In a moment of beautiful clarity and outright honesty the man exclaims "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Faith without doubt is fact - not faith.
Faith requires trust - it's always a leap into the unknown.

The man, with a convulsing child on one side and Jesus on the other, turns and looks Jesus in the eye and asks for help. "I want to believe, but I've been disappointed and I doubt, but I believe YOU can help me."

Faith is never without some element of doubt. Faith is not the "power of positive thinking." Faith is always a plea for help. It's an expression of trust. It's realising that whatever the circumstances two things are sure:
1. Jesus is _good_.
2. Jesus can _help_.

That evening that man walked home with his arm around a healthy boy: The awesome outcome of doubting faith brought to trustworthy Messiah.

This is what "Believe" is all about.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-12 [Apostle's Creed] Believe (#1) Take a step towards Him

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29 "Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew14:28-33

The second word of the Creed is "believe."

We've already seen that faith is personal and intimate - a relationship. Now we move to the foundation that this relationship is based upon: Faith.

But faith is a tough word to define.
Our gospel account of Peter's Galilee-stroll is a very valuable lesson in the nature of faith.

It's the fourth watch of the morning (3AM-6AM).
The disciples have been pulling against the oars all night.
Their body clocks are at their lowest ebb.
Then a scary apparition comes across the water.
But it's Jesus - they recognise His voice and it looks like Him.

Peter calls and is invited to do what he asked to do.
And so Peter hoists his leg over the gunwale and plants his first foot on the water and takes his first step.
Towards Jesus.

Maybe Peter's faith is best described as his trust in Jesus.
Maybe faith is not about a complex set of beliefs.
Or even the tight set of a determined jaw...
It's not about mind over water.
It's that Peter sees Jesus and wants to be with Him.

Faith is a relationship with One who is Trustworthy.
Faith is trust. It's wanting to be where He is.

Peter is fine while he's moving TOWARD Jesus.
It's when He looks elsewhere that he sinks.
But even then Jesus has him - because Jesus is trustworthy.

Faith is not a cranial mindset - it's a trusting relationship where we move toward Him. It's taking another step closer to Him and knowing that no matter where He's standing - on water, in the fire, or in the tomb - He is able to catch us.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-11 [Apostle's Creed] Me, myself, I (part 2)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there...
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalms139:14-16

On Friday we recognised that faith is a personal thing. Not personal as in private and not to be talked about, but personal in the sense that it is INtimate, INdividual and INteractive.

Faith is not merely an intellectual assent to a corpus of institutes. Faith is a relationship. Declaring, as the Apostles' Creed does, that "I believe" is to recognise that we are the relational quarry (object of pursuit not a place where you collect stones) of a relentlessly loving God.

David recognises this - God has made him, God pursues him, God has a purpose for him and God will transform him.

Faith is a personal thing. I cannot talk about God objectively - He is not distant, disconnected or dissociated - He is passionately personal, intensely intimate and relentlessly relational.

The late Prof Johan Heyns was my Dogmatics lecturer when I was a student. He opened every lecture with prayer. His impassioned prayer was that God would open our hearts to His majesty and love.
He used an analogy that has always stayed with me. He suggested that many theologians try to objectify God: to examine God as though He were the object and that we were the scientific subject. He said that it was like trying to put God on a microscope slide and examine Him. He argued that whenever we talk about God we should realise that we are on the microscope slide looking up into the loving eyes of God who is the ultimate Subject and that we are the beloved object.

This analogy suits Psalm 139 perfectly.

Let's go into today recognising that we are the object of God's passionate pursuit and that He knows us and longs for us to know Him.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 7, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-11-08 [Apostle's Creed] Me, myself, I (part 1)

For the next couple of weeks we're going to explore the Apostle's Creed which dates all the way back to the First Century AD.
What I'm hoping to do is to reflect more devotionally than theologically and to apply the precepts of the Creed to our lives.
O LORD, You have searched me and You know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O LORD.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms139:1-24

We start with the very first word of the Apostle's Creed: "I"

As Christians we are in the awesome position that while we can talk about the faith of the church - we can also describe faith as a beautifully intimate and personal experience.

Faith is not merely a cerebral assent to a doctrine subscribed to by a community. Faith is a relationship at its most intimate: An encounter between the imperfect me-myself-and-I and the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit.

Psalm 139 is an exploration of this intense intimacy. David explores this intimacy thoroughly in the Psalm. If you read it in its entirety there are moments that one senses how white-hot the Divine Interest in David is and it is as if David struggles to cope with God's loving attention to detail: He says
"5 You hem me in--behind and before;
You have laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?"

But by the end of the Psalm David responds to Divine Interest - let's call it by its true name - LOVE. He opens himself to the fullness of relationship: Search me, know me, test me, lead me!

To believe is a personal thing. Not personal as in private and not-to-be-shared but personal as in INtimate, INterested and INvolved. To believe is a relationship between the "i" and the "I am" and the deeper the relationship is the more I am truly me.

(More on Tuesday)
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again:
he ascended into heaven.
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at