Monday, March 31, 2014
I love it! Don't want the bad omen to happen this month? Simple, just change the month! Good thing we can't do than anymore—I can just see some politicians manipulating the calendar to make the bad news old news : )
Like butter melting in the sun
I like that metaphor, very graphic. I also like the fact that he doesn't emphasize wrath, but love. I've been listening to some sermons online lately, and noticed two things: The preachers love to shout and pump up the listeners. And they emphasize the wrath of God in order to get response. I don't think either approaches are necessary.
If you want people to respond from the heart, don't you think that a response based on love is better than one of fear? And if God's basic nature is love (and I believe it is), then why not emphasize that? Sure, there is wrath, but that's only if you turn your back on the freely available offer (made to everyone equally, by the way) of atonement and reconciliation through Jesus the Messiah.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Thought for today
Friday, March 28, 2014
It served a purpose
Why else would you watch the stars? If you believe the gods write the future in the skies, then it makes sense to learn the language they speak. After all, the life you save might be your own!
I am always amazed at the number of people who treat the Bible the same way. It's as if God has hidden a secret message in there that we have to decode—and only we have the key! Or, more often, this particular book or popular speaker has discovered the secret code and you only have to read their book or listen to their interpretation to get it...
That's an unexpected definition
Not what you expected for a definition, is it? Me either. I expected something more about justice, righteousness, etc. You know, something more performance based...but that's not who God is, is it? God is about grace and love. I'm liking where this book is going...
Thursday, March 27, 2014
This could have been written today
Some things never change, do they? This could be written today about a good many churches and what they peddle...
Indeed. The ancient world didn't make a distinction between the secular and the sacred. If you read ancient documents realizing this, you will be confused by the continual references to checking the omens. Armies would camp across from each other and not engage in battle unless the omens were favorable—especially the Romans.
Can you imagine the U.S. Army—or any other "modern" army—not engaging in a battle because the liver of the animal sacrificed this morning didn't have good readings? I can just imagine it:
Good morning, Mr. President. I'm giving you the latest update on the D-Day invasion. We have delayed it for at least 3 days.Just an
Yes, sir, I know that will put the landing boats at risk and cause the soldiers to have to run up the exposed beach longer because of the tide.
Yes, sir, I know that casualties will likely increase dramatically and that more boats will be sunk.
Yes, sir, I know it puts all of our plans for the last 4 years on hold.
Yes, sir, I understand that the public is getting impatient.
Yes, sir, I know we've had this conversation for the last 5 years and that it is now 1949, but the omens were bad again this morning!
Upside down Christianity
Amen! Good preaching! The gospel is about restoration. About creation, including humanity, being restored to what it was intended to be when God created it. And that includes holiness—biblical holiness, not legalistic, external holiness, but heart holiness, Spirit-controlled living.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
What are you talking about?
Listen to someone for about 5 minutes and you can know what is important to them. Also, listen for what the subject of most sentences is. If it is "I," then you can rest assured that death to self won't be high on their priorities...
Cheap grace revisited
The whole gospel—again! We need to believe God for complete deliverance. Scripture points us in that direction, if we are willing to read it without putting on our atonement only glasses.
Thought for today
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Brutal, but true
Ouch! I know a few other theories that could use the same treatment...
Thought for the day
Yes, Virginia, there is a metanarrative
Today we begin excerpting from a new—really an old!—book. I had John Oswalt as a professor in seminary, way back when. He would start classes with prayer, but it wasn't just a rote, do-it-because-we-have-to kind of prayer. He would pause before praying, and you could feel the presence of God fill the room. Then he would pray. I can sense that same spirit of waiting on God in this book.
I think this is one of the best expositions on Christian holiness that I've read. I encourage you to think about what you read in the excerpts from this book over the course of the next few weeks. Prayerfully consider what he says—maybe even pick up a copy of the book (I got mine via inter-library loan) and read the whole thing...
In the overworked (at least on this blog) words of Augustine: Tolle! Lege!
Believing it might lead you to quote this book, tell others about it, feel better about your life, or even go back to church.
But that doesn’t mean you trust.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 8
An appropriate way to end the book, isn't it? And what about you? Do you really believe that God loves you unconditionally?
Don't confuse the indicative with the imperative! God said it. Repeatedly. Throughout the Old and New Testaments. He loves you—"while we were yet sinners" as the KJV puts it. No striving for acceptance. Christ did it.
Of course, that doesn't mean you sit back and take a vacation, talking about how you are a king or queen, or whatever other self-indulgent, self-centered lie you want to believe. But, it does mean you aren't striving for acceptance anymore. You are already accepted in the beloved. Live from it—not in order to obtain it.
Monday, March 24, 2014
But it just doesn't make sense
There is something so scandalous, so flat-out impossible about that truth that it almost becomes comforting. This is not a truth about God that I would have made up if I’d been in charge of writing the Bible. I would have made the plan something like this:God does something amazing for me, so in return He requires me to do something amazing for Him.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 8
It doesn't make sense, does it? It's scandalous! That's what Paul says, anyway, so I guess we're in good company...
Usurping the usurpers
What the usurpers and descendants didn’t know was that Jesus was actually entering into their usurpations and the death they deserved for their sins. He was dying their death, he was shouldering their sins and the punishment due their sins, and he was absorbing the just wrath of God against all sin. What they didn’t know was that God could reverse their usurpations and reverse their death and start all over again. What they didn’t know was that his way of dying as a servant was to become the only true way of living and making peace in this world. What they didn’t know was that the cross was the crown and that the power comes only when it is surrendered. They didn’t know this. No one did. Not even Jesus’ closest followers. What the usurpers didn’t know was that they had met their match in King Jesus, who was about to usher in an alternative kingdom.— The King Jesus Gospel, page 151
Sometimes—maybe most of the time!—it's what you don't know that counts. Deep magic from before the foundation of the world, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis.
My question is, have we learned? We still define power by conquest. We still define success by popularity. We still trample on the "other." It's easy to get discouraged sometimes, but then I remember that God is at work—especially in me!
How easy it is for me to point the finger at others in areas where I don't have the same problems...but watch out if it's an area where I have a blind spot!
We all need Jesus...and we all need revival...especially me!
A Cure for legalism
Indeed. If we are obeying from the heart, it isn't legalism. Legalism is an attempt to force conformity of external behavior in hopes of creating a corresponding internal change. It never works. Ever. No, not even then! Never.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Of course, the wind made some changes. The backyard now has drifts up to six feet again and the path to the compost bin is filled in...
Word order matters
Pleased as man with men to dwell...Obviously a poetic turn of phrase, but I suspect most people read (and sing) it as if it were saying
Pleased with men as man to dwell...Catch the difference? Subtle, but significant, isn't it? In the first version, it doesn't matter what humanity has done, the initiative is all from God. In the second version, God is pleased with humanity, so he decides to dwell among us.
That little change in word order has a profound affect on how we see God. If we see God as coming because he is pleased with us, then we end up with a performance-based "gospel."
But if we see the initiative as from God to begin with, irrespective of what humanity does, we end up with a Gospel that is grace-based from beginning to end. All God, all the time!
By the way, there are two more verses that rarely, if ever, get sung. Personally, these have become my favorite verses after discovering them a few years ago on Cyberhymnal.org:
Come, Desire of nations, come,Isn't that great? It doesn't leave us at atonement only—it takes us to restoration. It doesn't leave us with a "sin management" gospel, but broadcasts the full deliverance from sin that is possible in Christ. That's something to sing about!
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Friday, March 21, 2014
There's more to the gospel...
Amen! Good preaching!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
What are we?
Short, to the point, and correct. We are before we do—and we are "holy in Christ" and "accepted in the beloved." That's good news!
Would Nero take issue with me?
I just ran across a nice little snippet from Finney that highlights the same thing:
You hear a man say sometimes, I am so much engaged all day in the world, or in worldly business, that I have not time to serve God. He thinks he serves God a little while in the morning, and then attends to his worldly business. That man, you may rely upon it, left his religion where he said his prayers. He is not serving God. It is a mere burlesque for him to pretend to serve God. He is willing, perhaps, to give God the time before breakfast, before he gets ready to go to his own business, but as soon as that is over, away he goes to his own work. He fears the Lord, perhaps, enough to go through with his prayers night and morning, but he serves his own gods.—That man's religion is the laughing-stock of hell! He prays very devoutly, and then, instead of engaging in his business for God, he is serving himself. No doubt the idols are well satisfied with the arrangement, but God is wholly displeased.Again, we serve an all-consuming God who loves us and is jealous of and for us...
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Wisdom from James (the book, not me!)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 2:1&endash;9; 3:13&endash;18; 4:1&endash;4 NIV)
I had never put these three sections of James together in my mind before today. What if we take the person with the fancy clothes and put a title like PhD, DMin, MD, or such after the name? Would that change the way you viewed them?
And what if we put high school dropout, or redneck, or fundamentalist, or Tea Partier, or some other epithet after the poor person's name?
I submit it would. I also submit to you that James is calling it sin. I need to repent! What about you?
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7-10 NIV)
Maybe it was an interrobang
Yes, the problem is our sin; yes, we need to be forgiven of sinfulness and our sins. But that sin and that forgiveness are connected to our lordly assignments and to our priestly responsibilities and to our flailing and failing attempts to usurp God’s tasks to make them ours. The only one worthy to sit on that throne is King Jesus.— The King Jesus Gospel, pages 141-142
It definitely is an exclamation point, but I also think an interrobang accurately expresses the surprise that most felt at what God has done. My own response when I encountered the unconditional love, forgiveness, and new life in Christ was definitely an interrobang—"He loves me?" and, "He loves me!" in a cosmic mash-up whose repercussions are still being felt in my life 42 years later. Praise to Him!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Last week, while riding, I got to thinking about riding styles. I generally spend most of my time "on the hoods." That's a fancy way of saying that my hands rest on the top of the brake levers. The brake levers on newer bikes are covered with a softer rubber piece that is called a hood. I also try to spend about 30% of the time "in the drops," a fancy way of saying on the lower section of the handlebars. The drops are a good place to ride if you are fighting a headwind, but it also takes a bit of getting used to, so I practice in the winter. It really does take a bit of getting used to...generally after about 1-2 minutes, I want to change positions, but I stay there anyway.
But, getting back to riding on the hoods. I was musing on what an philologist 2,000 to 3,000 years from now would think if they ran across that phrase. What definition for "hood" would they use? There's the hood of a car, but there is also the slang term 'hood for neighborhood. What if that was the only context they had for the word?
Imagine reading about someone riding their bike "on the hoods." I've been editing a book about Persian power and it's deconstruction in the Psalms, so that turn of mind entered into my thoughts. Someone can't literally ride "on the hoods" if the hoods are neighborhoods, so obviously something else is going on. Could it be they meant "in the hoods"? or maybe "through the hoods"? I can see a whole new school of thought growing out of this debate. : )
But what if we take "on the hoods" as a symbolic phrase? It must mean that they see themselves as somehow superior to, or conquering the neighborhoods—rising above their circumstances. Maybe they are making a theological statement of what will happen in the future! Maybe...well, you get the idea.
Maybe it helps if you have read The Motel of the Mysteries! Maybe you just had to be there. Maybe I'm just nuts!
Garden? Yes, garden
So what do you do? Simple! You plant seeds! So, over the weekend, I started some seeds—5 flats worth. Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, onions, watermelon, squash all nicely sitting around and getting ready to germinate.
Right now, they're in the study and office where it is warmer. Once they germinate, I'll move them downstairs under lights to grow until transplanting them into bigger pots and, eventually!, moving them outside to their permanent home.
This year I'm planning on using the greenhouse that Dave had built to grow some tomatoes. Last year I didn't get it repaired in time. I'll be using self-watering containers made out of 5 gallon food service buckets. You need to use food grade plastic buckets or all kinds of stuff will leach into your soil. Why grow your own if it's loaded with as many chemicals as the commercial stuff?
Meanwhile, in the basement, I've been experimenting with various stuff all winter. I've tried spinach, Romaine lettuce, mizuna, and radishes. Our basement has been running about 50-60°F this winter, what with the cold outside. The first planting in December didn't do too well except for the mizuna. In fact, the second planting in late December passed them by! Before we left for Wisconsin in mid-February, we had consumed all the radishes and spinach (only one cutting is worth keeping when you grow them in rain gutter). The lettuce was about half gone and we harvested the rest to take with us. Well, not quite all of it; I left about a quarter of it to die—or so I thought...
When we got back, 2.5 weeks later, I found out that the Romaine I didn't cut had survived without light or water! I turned the lights back on, watered them well, and they are growing! Amazing.
We haven't gotten enough produce from the rain gutter garden to keep us from buying produce, but it has been a treat to get fresh stuff to supplement. You can't beat the taste of a fresh radish in the middle of January—and I mean fresh as in pulled 2 minutes ago :)
But what of my hoop house? It didn't survive. In fact, it came down the first week in November. I didn't reinforce it enough, thinking that being in the backyard, surrounded by wood fence would control the wind. NOT! The wind took out a good percentage of it, so I finished taking it down. Just as well, Debbie was getting tired of looking out the kitchen window and only seeing the top of a hoop house! We harvested a good bit of lettuce and other greens before its demise, though. In fact, we took about a week's worth of greens with us to Wisconsin back in November.
Next year I will try low tunnels—3 foot high hoops with row cover and plastic. I've got to figure out a way to keep the snow from drifting over them though. Right now there is between 3 and 5 feet of snow where they would be. Of course, this winter has been unusual, but with the wacky climate change, who knows...this may be the new norm.
Where it all began
It certainly isn't performance based, is it? : )
Image and likeness
Monday, March 17, 2014
But it feels good
Just as it does when we try it.
Transformation doesn’t begin with cleaning up and getting our acts together. It begins with meeting Jesus. When we do that, we are identified with Jesus and given new identities—identities based on His righteousness and standing with God.
And that is how we become who we are. Not by our own effort or achievement, but by virtue of our being hidden in Christ. When Christ is our life, then we—just like Christ—are God’s beloved.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 6
Amen and amen! Good preaching! Self improvement can never remake us—and that's what we need—only God in Christ through the Holy Spirit can do that. We need to become who we are as we release ourselves to him.
I like that idea. Usurpers. We decided to become God—and it has haunted us ever since...
</ idle musing>
Thought for today
Our narcissistic, materialistic world could use a dose of this...
Friday, March 14, 2014
So paying attention to how aspect interacts with features of a verb’s lexical meaning or with various adjuncts used with the verb (subject and object phrases, adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc.) is essential to finding the larger significance of aspect in a specific context. It is only natural that in seeking to understand one element of a text’s meaning we would pay attention to related features and see them in their larger connections with each other. This has always been an important part of good contextual exegesis.—Buist Fanning, "Greek Presents, Imperfects, and Aorists in the Synoptic Gospels: Their Contribution to Narrative Structuring" in Discourse Studies & Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. Levinsohn; ed. Steven E. Runge; Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2011.
He put his finger on the main problem we have—performance-based acceptance. God isn't like that—he loves us. He took the initiative; he is the one who pulls us out of the pit—even when we didn't even realize we were in the pit! How awesome is that?!
We are not creating a false alternative here. The latter can be done within the former, but much of the soterian approach to evangelism today fastens on Jesus as (personal) Savior and dodges Jesus as Messiah and Lord. If there is any pervasive heresy today, it’s right here. Anyone who can preach the gospel and not make Jesus’ exalted lordship the focal point simply isn’t preaching the apostolic gospel.— The King Jesus Gospel, pages 133-134
Amen and amen! A.W. Tozer used to bemoan the "Jesus as savior" approach to salvation. For him, either Jesus was preached as Lord or he couldn't be preached at all—no lordship, no salvation. It's that simple. I agree.
We need the full gospel—from Genesis 3, where God takes the initiative and seeks mankind as they try to hide, all the way through the descent of the bride clothed in white at the end of Revelation. God taking the initiative, humanity responding. Always God, always love, always reaching out to us...
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Hit the flashing animal
When I'm copy editing, I usually have a few windows open on my desktops (I run 4 desktops). For example, on the first desktop, I'll have Chrome open with a tab for Google, a tab for WorldCat, and a miscellaneous tab or two (usually Google Books, or some such); on the second desktop, I'll have Word open with the chapter I'm working on, the abbreviations file, and the bibliography chapter; I usually also have a Finder window open in case I need to access another file. On the third desktop, I keep my style sheet, any notes from the publisher on that book, iTunes, and Accordance with the Hebrew, Greek, and whatever English text the author is using. On the fourth desktop is my e-mail and RSS feeder. So much for background...
A few weeks back, I installed Google Drive and then we left for Wisconsin—and no Internet for a week. Everything was working fine—until the day we got Internet back. That day, for the first time ever, I got a blue screen on the Macbook! I rebooted and everything seemed fine. I save continually, so I didn't loose any work. For some reason, I didn't have the Finder window open on desktop 2 and the Word windows took up the whole screen, so I couldn't see the desktop.
Over the next few days, I noticed that the laptop didn't always wake up after going to sleep and I started to wonder if I didn't have a hardware issue. I did a bit of googling (on the iPad—praise God for a second computer!) and found this on how to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). Apple says that it controls
Responding to presses of the power buttonamong other things. So I did the reset. Everything worked fine—until we got home. I plugged in the Time Machine backup (I didn't take it with me, depending on Dropbox for backup of the book I'm editing). Next morning, the computer wouldn't wake up. I did a hard reset and powered back up. I got the Apple logo with the spinning whatever, then gray screen. Yikes. I tried again. Same thing. Now I'm getting worried. I tried resetting the SMC again. Nothing. I tried booting into Safe Mode (hold down the right shift key while powering up) and got in. Whew!
Responding to the display lid opening and closing on portable Macs
I started editing, and noticed that the Finder window on my second desktop would keep showing itself over the bibliography window and then disappear. Hmmm...had I been hacked? I turned off wireless just in case. Still doing it...strange. I kept editing until lunch. I made lunch and came back to a nonresponsive computer : (
This time it didn't come back with any of the above techniques. Now I'm worried. I have a book that is due by Friday and I'm 2.5 hours from the nearest Apple store. I really think it is the logic board, based on my Google results. But I ran across a post that suggested I reset the NVRAM. How in the world do I do that? Oh, here it is. Apparently resetting the NVRAM will clear any kernel panics and reset a few other things. One thing that I had noticed was that I wasn't getting the normal Mac startup chime, but I chalked that up to the possibility of a bad logic board.
I reset the NVRAM, praying the whole time! Everything came back—including the startup chime! But what could have caused the kernel panic? Maybe my Time Machine backup drive is bad? I disconnected it and turned it off. I went back to editing...and noticed that the Finder window was doing its funky thing again. I moved to desktop 4 to check e-mail and noticed that all the folders on the desktop were flashing. Weird! Could this all be related?
Quick Google check on flashing Finder and Desktop icons. Hmmm...turns out Google Drive and Mavericks don't play well together! So far nobody else has mentioned that it also affects coming out of sleep mode, but I figured its worth a try. I quit Google Drive (I use Dropbox anyway) and uninstalled it. Flashing is gone!
Great! But what about sleep mode? I didn't plug my Time Machine back in, just in case it might be the culprit. I let the machine go to sleep multiple times and it came back every time.
OK, let's try plugging Time Machine back in...just in case, I closed all my windows : )
I made supper and came back. It started right back up. Great! Now, let's try it with a few windows open. It came back!
OK, now let's open all the normal windows back up and see what happens...No problems. Great, I'm going to bed!
This morning, the computer woke up with no problem! So, it wasn't a hardware issue after all. Now to finish that book before tomorrow!
Update 3/18/14: It isn't Google Drive. It just happened to me again. Not sure what it is...but I'm experimenting.
It’s the high and beautiful gospel indicatives that sustain the gospel imperatives. In Christ, we can become who we are.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 6
In other words, be yourself. But, we need to qualify that with be your real self—the one you are in Christ. Don't be the moody, cantankerous, selfish, difficult person you used to be; be the new person you are in Christ.
More than a transaction
reduced the life of Jesus to Good Friday, and thereforeThe King Jesus Gospel, page 119
reduced the gospel to the crucifixion, and then soterians have
reduced Jesus to transaction of a Savior
I would add:
reduced the Christian life to a struggle to survive until death.
and then we wonder why there is not transformation...
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The order of things matters
I know people like that, don't you? Sometimes I'm that person...I get focused on the do and forget about the be.
How it's framed
It's interesting that what most people consider the "center of the gospel"—atonement theory—doesn't even get mentioned in the early church. They were too busy concentrating on who Jesus is and was. It's telling that the most common manuscripts of the New Testament from the early period are the gospels. We tend to think of Paul first, then Jesus. Who got it right??
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Christ is your life
He did not say that Christ is your life if you accomplish this, give away that, and forgive those. No. None of that. Paul stated, qualification free, that Christ is your life.
This kind of statement in Scripture is called an indicative—something that has already been indicated or declared about you as a fact, a truth.
Indicatives aren’t the only kind of statement in Scripture, however. There are also imperatives. An imperative is something we are supposed to do, phrased as a command or a direction. It might sound dry to talk about types of speech, but it is hugely important for this reason: when we confuse indicatives with imperatives, we sabotage our ability to live in our new identities.
Colossians 3 is full of indicatives. You have been raised with Christ. You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ. Christ is your life. All of these things are declared about you as facts that are already true.
The minute we hear these as instructions for us to accomplish—as imperatives—we hear a lie. Some of us have the feeling that all we hear in church or around Christians are imperatives. Commands that threaten our freedom. And some of us church types actually love imperatives, but for selfish reasons. See, if we keep all the commands and rules, we can chart our progress toward holiness and present ourselves as righteous people.
But both of those approaches are wrong!
Here’s why. Every imperative in Scripture is based on an indicative. In other words, we’re never asked to do something until we’re told something true about who we are.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 6
Grammar matters! He's totally correct here. So often we confuse a statement for a command and consequently short-circuit God's plans for us.
I had never noticed that before...
Thought for the day
Monday, March 10, 2014
Ain't it the truth
As I approached the end of the volume [Saebø's Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of its Interpretation, Volume III/1: The Nineteenth Century — a Century of Modernism and Historicism], Katharine Dell helpfully articulated what was beginning to take shape in my own head: “sometimes when we think we have a new idea we need to heed Qoheleth’s warning that ‘of making many books there is no end’ (12:12) and that there may be little that is ‘new under the sun’ (1:9) after all.” As an author who has also worked in publishing, I understand the immense effort and expense that goes into making books at all points of the process. We ought to have a significant and useful contribution to show for our investment when ideas see print, yet so many books cover the same territory using the same well-trodden paths. Knowing the story can spare us running in circles and spending our energy in vain.<idle musing>
Far too many books I've read fall into the latter category...but then you hit a gem that makes it all worthwhile!
Living a lie
Drive this truth, this identity, so deep into your psyche, your personhood, your sense of self-worth, that this truth becomes your fountainhead, the source of your life.
Become who you are.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 6
Amen! Good preaching! We only need to become what we already are! I know it sounds almost too good to believe, but it is true. We are the righteousness of Christ; we are loved; we are accepted in the beloved. Believe it!
We become what we believe we are. We become what we focus on. If we focus on ourselves and our failings, we fail more. We begin to believe the lies that we can't do anything different—that we have to fail. But, if we realize that in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are more than that, we can become what we already are! Believe it!
The Gospel according to Mark
Indeed. You are almost breathless getting there, but once to the passion week, Mark slows down to include all the details. Another advantage to knowing Greek : )
Thought for the day
That is like saying you are a married bachelor. That is like saying you are an honest thief, or a pure harlot.
You can´t be a saved sinner. You are either saved or you are a sinner.
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall save his people from their sins."—Leonard Ravenhill
Friday, March 07, 2014
Backwards, as usual...
When something sounds too good to be true, many of us tune it out. We assume it must be false. Life doesn’t work like that, does it? It can’t be that easy, can it?
God is relentless, however, and He continues to call out to us. He continues to speak over our lives, just as He did for His Son, Jesus, at the Jordan River, telling us in no uncertain terms that we are His beloved children who bring Him pleasure simply by existing.
Before God tells us what to do, in other words, God tells us who we are.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 6
As usual, we get it all backwards. Who we are has to precede what we do. If we try to do it the other way around, we will be like the hamster on the wheel—round and round we go, but we don't get anywhere.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Looking all around
When we look to God for our identity, however, we can find rest.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 4
Probably why we are encouraged to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2)...
I've known people like that...Wesley used to say to pity them, they had too much of God to enjoy sin, but not enough of God to enjoy God!
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
A true definition
Things change—and not always for the better! We need to get back to a gospel-oriented foundation!
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
King of kings and Lord of lords
I like the fact that Scot doesn't throw out the necessity of salvation as a part of the kingdom story. He is simply trying to realign our priorities into a biblical order. Salvation is an important part of what God is doing, but it is only part of what he is doing, not the sum total of it.
The imago dei
So this is the Genesis key: we don’t find our identity.
That runs counter to the stream of our culture, but it is an undeniable biblical truth. We don’t find our identity.
Rather, we receive our identity. We are given it by God. Everything true about our identity is true because it was created and gifted to us by God.
That is why our self-worth derives from the act of our creation. We are rooted in the imago Dei. You are. I am. The weird smelly guy who sleeps in the armchair at your favorite Starbucks is. Every single person who has ever lived reflects and represents the everlasting God who created the universe and everything in it. That’s the imago Dei.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 3
Amen! Good preaching! Reminds me of Weight of Glory, a collection of essays by C.S. Lewis:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization&mdsash;these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.Pretty heavy stuff, isn't it?
Monday, March 03, 2014
God works differently.— The Truest Thing about You, chapter 3
I don't know if his claim is true or not, but it does make sense. I know that when I dehumanize someone by labeling them, it is easier to snub them or be disrespectful of them...
Limited (to) atonement
This story begins at creation and finally only completes itself in the consummation when God is all in all. This is Paul’s gospel, and while it includes and encompasses the Plan of Salvation and leaves open how one might construct a Method of Persuasion, the gospel of Paul cannot be limited to or equated with the Plan of Salvation.— The King Jesus Gospel, page 61
A truncated gospel, the "atonement only" or "soterian" gospel just doesn't do justice to the love of God—and it doesn't transform people. We need a fully-formed gospel—the apostolic gospel, as Scot calls it—in order to see people transformed. Anything less is a mockery of what Christ did.