It’s a well-known secret that every year I try to learn something new. It started when I became a Christian at age fourteen and the kids at my school teased me about how “boring” Christians are. Even then, I instinctively knew the Christian life was supposed to be an “abundant life,” (John 10:10). I’ve learned soaring, sailing and scuba; skiing, spelunking and sewing; and that’s just those that start with the letter “s.” Some years are great and I continue to play and practice my newfound hobbies. (Jan calls them “obsessions.”) Other years are disastrous and I am happy to sell my golf clubs and fishing poles after 365 days.
This year Jan and I are learning about Ham Radio so I am deep in memorizing electronic formulas: P = IE, E=IR, P=E2/R and other fancy collages of letters. It is much easier to remember P=IE (and not just because I like “PIE”) than it is to remember, “Power in watts is equal to E (voltage) times I (current in amps).” I like “memory hooks.” They really help me remember a lot of information concisely.
After studying before bed, I went to sleep thinking about these things and woke up in the middle of the night with a new formula: IA2R. It may be the most important formula ever – even greater than E=MC2! It describes the four points of the Christian message: the Gospel. They are: Incarnation (I), Atonement (A), Reign (R), and Return (R).
I – Incarnation
God became a human being, just like us, to show us He understood our situation, to teach us how to be His children and to show us how to live.
A – Atonement
Jesus didn’t come to earth to bring “enlightenment” or “knowledge” or end world suffering. Jesus came to earth to die. His sacrifice took away our sins. Think about the cross as a bridge between heaven and earth for us.
R – Reign
Jesus the King, reigns in heaven today but that doesn’t mean he is far away. Jesus is near each one of us, cheering us on and providing us with power to live lives that please God. He sent his Holy Spirit to live in each of us and transform our bodies into the Temple of God.
R – Return
One day Jesus is coming back to take all of God’s children home. That is an event that we long for and it provides us with a sense of urgency to share the Good News with everyone.
Not a bad formula that IA2R!