I learnt so much from the Michael Card seminar, that I feel that I should write it down. Initially I thought it would be somewhat of a worship workshop, but it turned out to be a really instructive biblical history lesson on the Synoptic gospels.
I also enjoyed it deeply, because he had a great sense of God’s word as a whole, a Gospel and Kingdom mentality, as opposed to giving His Word short shrift through shoddy interpretation.
If you’re wondering who Michael Card is, here’s a short introduction:
In a career that spans 25 years, Mike has recorded over 30 albums (403 songs!), authored or co-authored 25 books and hosted a radio program. And yet, Mike’s goal in life has always been to simply teach the Bible. To that end, and in addition to song and book writing, Mike is branching out with a new focus on community and itinerant teaching inspired by the Gospels and Mike’s own biblical imagination.
Here are some of my key takeaways from the 4 hour seminar, where he mainly taught, sang a few songs, and brought us through the land of Israel through more than twenty photos.
- Firstly, to wear the appropriate lens when we look at the world. To remember that we live in an extremely fallen and fragmented world. I felt that it helps to answer many of our “whys”.
- He explained “bullet theology”, an interesting mental model to me. As he used to bring bibles into China, he got thinking about which aspects of dogma he’d take a bullet for, and which he wouldn’t. It has since helped me divide the majors from the minors. It is true that churches split on tiny things that we wouldn’t “take a bullet for”. Stuff that we should be taking a bullet for include the divinity of Christ, the efficacy of the cross, the deity of Jesus. Organs or pianos, raising hands or not, women preaching or not – I’d say these are things we need not be dogmatic about.
- Miracles worked against Jesus’ ministry. Many times he tried to escape the masses, or spoke out against this generation that seeks signs. Rather, he sought out those he healed to speak the gospel to them, and to emphasise that they were to tell others that the Kingdom had come. He was there to preach repentance against sin, rather than to heal and have people covet his gifts, instead of Him as the Christ.
- I was reminded to “always work at the level of your own inadequacy”. We don’t have to work in areas where we have clear strengths. In doing so, we allow God’s hand to show more clearly.
- God provides – once he was away in Israel doing filming for free (explaining landmarks from biblical times), and his wife called to say that their water well had trouble, and it cost USD $1200 to repair. They had to since his 4 children were very young, and they needed water. They didn’t have that USD$1200, but they ended the call with a prayer. Not that he felt particularly full of faith then. As he put down the receiver, there was a knock on the door. “Hey Mike, we feel bad that you are away from your family for so long with no pay. Here’s a cheque for USD$1200.” WOW.
- God uses the “foolish” things of the world to shame the “wise”. Contrast between Mary (teenage girl) and Zechariah (established priest) when angel Gabriel spoke to each of them on similar matters. Mary said “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it unto me, according to your Word.”, whereas Zechariah totally doubted. Women, who were downtrodden and of little status in the times Jesus lived in, were elevated and well-treated by him.
- The two different sizes of “baskets” in the two miraculous feeding of the masses were pointing at different truths. In Matthew 14, the word means 12 lunchbox-sized basketfuls, where the miracle is of perfect provision. In Matthew 15, the word means 7 man-sized baskets, where the miracle points to God’s abundant provision. I never realised that!
I learnt so much from the talk, and was inspired to get out there and live a life that is worthy of our calling. Also developed a great yearning to visit Israel again, this time with proper biblical teaching and devotional times – check out this video, I think it’s a great option for our tenth wedding anniversary trip (hints to the hubs)!
Really enjoyed the new song he sang – “This is who you are”, which is based on the Beatitudes in Matthew. The lyrics are haunting.
Have also followed his FB page so I don’t miss the call to the Israel trip in 2017, haha!