Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wisdom is not a nag. Wisdom breaks through to happiness. God shaped the pre-creation, “without form and void” mess into a world of genius and joy. We have every reason, in the doctrine of creation, to say to God our Creator-Savior, “Here is my messy life. Please re-create me.” If we will, he will, and happily, to the praise of the glory of his grace in Christ.I am reminded that sins greatest triumph is not the things we do, but who it makes us think we are. We stay away from the wisdom literature becasue WE think it a nag - but it is not, it is advice on how best to be who we were created to be.
Joy, deep joy and happiness comes when we stop fighting our created nature.
We are created to be God;s creatures - wholly and in submission. But here is the thing - when we finally do submit, we learn that it does not feel like the denial of self that submission usually feels like - it feels like an accomplishment of self because we are finally becoming that which we were intended to be from the beginning of time.
We have such a poor view of submission for two important reasons. For one there is the inherent selfishness that is our own sin. But secondly it is because we have submitted to earthly powers and people that have been such crappy bosses. Whether it be our bosses at work, our parents, our teachers, so many that we find we must submit to abuse our submission.
But ultimately we must submit tot he perfect Lord of creation - He who is without flaw, He who can make our submission our freedom. Therefore, it is also important to have a clear view of just who God is. We have to understand that we do not understand - we have to accept on faith that He is so much more, so much better than even the best we have ever experienced.
Final point - as Christian leaders - and those who call people to submit to Christ, we must do everything we can to become good models of submissibility. When the church, in any form or guise, abuses the submission it accepts on God's behalf we stand in the way of those that would submit to God. It is a deep evil and becasue we are sinners we cannot avoid it, but we must humbly confess it ad constantly be on guard.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Related Tags: Illuminated Verse
In some Christian traditions, worshipers show reverence to God by dressing specially, or by bowing as they enter the sanctuary, or by speaking only in hushed tones before a worship service begins. Yet it seems that most of us have lost touch with tangible signs that honor God’s holiness. I expect this has contributed to a general loss of reverence among Christians today, though it’s surely not the only reason. In recent times, we have rightly emphasized that God is our friend, but we have wrongly minimized the fact that this friend is also the holy, all-wise, all-powerful creator of the universe, a God worthy of our reverence and submission.I very much like the fact that Mark ends that with the word "submission." So often we claim God but we do not submit to Him. We sing His praises but we do not sacrifice to Him. In fact, the phrase "sacrifice of praise" that I hear so often these days is a bit silly don;t you think. Is it sacrificial to sing loud n Sunday morning? I don't think so.
Lots of people like to claim Galatians 2:20 as some sort of "life verse," but they really forget the first part of that verse, "I have been crucified with Christ..."
When was the last time you laid down your life?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
...this world is not reserved for the perfect, the wealthy, or the athletic. Each person, no matter their physical, mental, or emotional condition, is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and is of equal value and significance. Our Lord has compassion for the weak, the broken, and all He has made (Ps. 145:8-9), and we should mirror that concern (Eph. 5:1-2).Amen!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
When To Divorce?
So, on the one hand we love Jesus. On the other hand, we’re not quite sure what to do with the corporate community that represents him in the world. Many of us call ourselves “post-evangelical”—that is, we no longer feel comfortable within the system known as the American evangelical church. So we’ve moved out to seek something more deeply grounded in sound Biblical theology and the Great Tradition of the historic church, and more attuned to the Kingdom of God than the ephemeral culture of this world. Our quarrel exists not because we stand against the church, but because we want her to fulfill her high calling. Ours is a lover’s quarrel.It is an excellent review and sounds like a good book, but in some ways the conundrum presented at the end:
What will break the chains of cultural captivity by which the American evangelical church is bound? Like many books critiquing the church, Smith’s analysis of the problems is much more extensive than his outline of a better way.is answered in the paragraph quoted above, "the Great Tradition of the historic church..."
There is a presumption amongst post-evangelicals, to borrow the iMonk catchphrase, that the traditional churches are somehow dead - that's just not true. Ill to be sure, sickly, weak, on-the-rope - yes, but dead - most definitely not.
Why not bring what is good about Evangelicalism home to those churches. Will it be a struggle? OH yeah, the liberal inclinations that have driven the mainlines to near ruin will not die easily, but die they will in the face of genuine faith and real commitment to our Lord.
The most interesting thing to me is that there is nothing really to divorce oneself from when it comes to the Evangelical churches, at least nothing that can not go with you to the next church, or hopefully denomination. That's kind of part of the problem with Evangelicalism.
We do not need something new - we need revival. We need to quit worrying about ourselves and actually focus on reviving God's church. It;s there, we just need to clean it up.
Monday, November 15, 2010
How Dare He?
Yet Paul tells the Corinthians, not just to model themselves on Jesus, but also to imitate him as he imitates Christ. When we first read this, it might seem a little arrogant. Why not just say "Be imitators of Christ"? Who does Paul think he is?His brief answer:
Paul is not just the deliverer of the message, but also the embodiment of the message.Roberts prayer:
This is a high calling, indeed! It is so much easier, Lord, to tell people what is right than to exemplify it. It is simpler to point to Jesus and let myself off the hook. But I am reminded today that you have called me to live in such a way that people see Jesus. I am to be an example of righteousness to my children, my staff, my friends, and all whom I am called to serve. By your grace, Lord, help me to live so that people might see Christ in me.Guess what? - you are called to do the same. Are you up to it? Is this your prayer? Would you join in it?