Thanks to Glen at Territorial Bloggings for his post on CrossWise Magazine's Quote Box. Here's two excerpts:
Some Christian teachers among us unwittingly encourage us to read our Bibles apart from Christ. They look to the Bible primarily as a source of advice for practical living. They may tell members to open the Bible randomly, and to "let God speak" through the words on that page. But while God does speak to all people through Holy Scripture, it is important to remember what He is saying. Jesus told us Himself: the Holy Scriptures "testify about me." (John 5:39)
When we open our Bibles, may God show us Christ at the center. When we read or hear Christian teaching -- in books or even from our own church's pulpit -- may God give us the wisdom to discern whether Christ is front and center. And if Christ is not at the center, may God give us the courage to speak the truth in love, gently pointing our brothers and sisters back to the True Foundation of the faith: Christ Jesus and His work on the cross.
No matter how ridiculous it sometimes seems, the Word of God accomplishes what God wants. When Simeon saw Jesus, he spoke words that were ridicuous on their face. Simeon called Jesus his "salvation"--a light for the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. To those without faith, it must have seemed insane.
But Martin Luther points out that God's Word is not effective merely when it seems reasonable. Whether we think God's Word makes sense or not, it is still powerful to do what God desires--'the Word of God must produce results,' Luther says. In this case, Luther points out that Mary and Joseph did believe, though most in the temple scoffed.
Our sinfulness naturally inclines us to doubt the power of God's Word. We sometimes wonder whether proclaiming God's Law and Gospel are enough--especially in today's world. In fact, many churches, with the best of intentions, have taken steps to water down God's Word in an effort to reach out to unbelievers. There is a movement among many of America's largest churches -- even some Lutheran ones -- to move or remove crosses, out of fear that the bloody message of Christ's crucifixion will be too harsh for modern, unbelieving ears. Sermons speak less and less of Christ's actions, and more and more of Christians' actions. The powerful Word of God is set aside for the practical word of man.