Summary: The first in a series of 5 messages based on the HBC Core Beliefs
The Bible is My Guidebook
* Anyone who has ever given served in the military recognizes the acrostic “UCMJ”. It stands for the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While still under the “common law of the land”, people in the military are held to a higher standard of behavior. For instance, you and I cannot be convicted for “conduct unbecoming of a citizen.” Conversely, a service person can be charged with “Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” This is an act punishable under the UCMJ which, while not necessarily criminal under common law, reflects adversely on the government, the military service, and the officer corps and violates the standard of behavior for a military person. Excessive use of profanity or engaging in a drunken brawl might also be considered “conduct unbecoming.” Make no mistake this very real and is strictly enforced. Additionally, the Armed forces have a “Code of Conduct” (CoC) which also sets standards of behavior. Staying home from work called “faking an illness” (if proven guilty) will result in forfeiture of pay, confinement, AND a DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE? While that might sound hard and harsh, the truth is this; after over 20 years of being around service people, I believe they have the highest character and moral integrity of anyone you can meet. Why? Because they know what is expected & they abide by it. Here’s the point, if you are to be in the service, you should know what’s expected of you because what you don’t know can hurt you.
* Let’s develop this a little more. To be accepted into the Military an individual must pass certain tests. While I don’t know “all” the required tests, I do know there aptitude vocabulary test and a health test. Once you pass those tests, are accepted, and are sworn in, you are under the standards which are required for members of the Armed Forces. At this point, you better make it your task in life to know what is expected of you.
* In the same way service people are called to a higher standard of behavior than non-service people, so are believers called to a higher standard of behavior than non-believers. The UCMJ & COC are guidebooks on how to behave for members of the Armed Forced and similarly the Bible the guidebook for believers in Jesus Christ.
* Three years ago I took an entire summer to offer us a series of messages on HBC’S statements, core beliefs, and functions. Over the last couple of months I have sensed God’s leading to revisit our core beliefs.
* Core belief #1 – THE BIBLE IS OUR GUIDEBOOK. I begin with a personal question for you; “Is the Bible the guidebook for your life?” It will never pass the test of being the guidebook for the church until it is YOUR guidebook. The two are inseparable.
* Three years ago this message offered you three reasons which expressed the “WHY” it should be our guidebook; because it was inspired by God, it contains information about God, and because it gives us instructions from God. While each of these reasons is true, the practical question now is this: “HOW” does the Bible actually become my guidebook? We can say the Bible guides us, but how does the Bible impact us when the waiter gets our order wrong, the boss treats us unfairly, the conversation turns to gossip, or ‘the’ temptation which Satan knows rings our bell? How is it that in these difficult times can the Bible guide us?