Sunday, December 30, 2007

Seeker-Sensitive Contextualization

"Our Lord attracted sinners because He was different. They drew near to Him because they felt that there was something different about Him. And the world should see us to be different. This idea that you are going to win people to the Christian faith by showing them that after all you are remarkably like them, is theologically and psychologically a profound blunder." - Martyn Lloyd Jones

"The Reason men worship God in a casual way is because they do not see God, in His Glory. If a man has ever had Isaiah's vision of the Holiness of God, he would be changed in an instant. But until men have seen God as He truly is (as 'the High & Lofty One') they will be forever guilty of the very same rebuke God gave to the wicked in Psalms 50:21: 'You thought I was just like you.' - Jeremiah Burroughs

3 Super Bowls Wins Aren't Enough for the Soul

Founders Blog reports:

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Tom Brady, the 3-time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the New England Patriots was featured the week in a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft on CBS. Brady is already a sports legend in one of the citadels of professional sports in America, Boston. His current team is 15-0 and is poised to finish the season undefeated, something that hasn't been done in the NFL in 35 years. He has won the Super Bowl MVP twice and been named to the Pro Bowl 4 times. He also was recently named the Associated Press' "Male Athlete of the Year."

He has dated actresses and supermodels and makes millions of dollars a year. He has been called America's most eligible bachelor. By most popular standards, he has it all. That is why I was struck by hearing him make the following statement during the interview:
"Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, 'Hey man, this is what is.' I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, 'God, it's got to be more than this.' I mean this isn't, this can't be what it's all cracked up to be."
When Kroft asked him, "What's the answer?" Brady responded, "I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I'm trying to find."

The Founders Blog has a response for him. You can read it here.

(HT: Vit.Z)
Noah


Monday, December 24, 2007

Missions and A Meaningful Christmas
(By Lukas)

As I was reflecting on the latest DWYL Podcast, featuring Joshua Project and its focus on world evangelization, I was drawn back to read about this unfinished task in the book, Don’t Waste Your Life.

For its own soul the church [and me too] needs to be involved in missions. We will not know God in his full majesty until we know him moving triumphantly among the nations. We will not admire and praise him as we ought until we see him gathering a company of worshipers for himself from every people group on earth—including all the Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist peoples. Nothing enlarges our vision of God’s triumphant grace like the scope of his saving work in history. (pg. 172-3)

Many Christmas celebrations, stories, gatherings, devotionals, etc. seem to focus simply on the baby in the manger, and often they don't leave the manger.

If I never leave the manger in my Christmas meditations, I miss the scope and depth of Christmas. The baby Jesus left the manger, increased in wisdom and stature, showed us true righteousness, and gave his life to ransom a people from the many peoples of the world.

For a meaningful Christmas season—and a meaningful life—it is essential to see that Christ was undertaking a global mission when he became a little baby in a manger.

(HT:dontwasteyourlife.com)


A Christmas Tale

The moral of John Piper's tale is this:

When things don’t go the way they should
God always makes them turn for good.

When things go better than they should
For people who are bad,
Remember, if they stay that way,
At last they will be sad.


Click here to read more of the whole story at the Desiring God blog
Prayer Needed for Japan
Though Japan in some sense is being evangelized, (as the above map shows) the hearts of the overwhelming majority of Japanese are still very closed to Christianity. Please pray for our friends in Japan. As we share our lives and testimonies, only God can do the surgery of taking out hard hearts and putting in soft hearts that respond to the love of God in Christ. (Ezekiel 11:19) Pray especially for men to see their need for Christ. We are in need of spiritual miracles, not just more information.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Distant Starlight and a Young Earth?

One of the biggest arguments I hear from many Christian scientists concerning a young earth is the issue of distant starlight. The logic goes, "If we can see stars that are billions of light-years away, then the universe must be old otherwise we would not see the light from these stars yet." AIG has some very provocative answers to this question. Click here and scroll down to the bottom to view a video over this topic; or click here to read an article over the same topic.

http://www.ccd.com/images/astronomy_1.jpg

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For the Glory of it All
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Being away from many good friends and family members as well as being away from my native land during Christmas is never a fun thing. However, I am sure that there are many things in all of our lives that aren't necessarily fun!

Tragedies, hard-times, and afflictions of many forms and degrees abound in this imperfect world.

Lately, I have been studying Lazarus from John 11. Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. They were his good friends. However, when word was sent that Lazarus was sick, Jesus stayed two more days where He was. The actual word there is "SO... he stayed two days longer where he was." (v. 6)! Why would a loving God PURPOSEFULLY allow pain into the lives of His beloved? Of course the answer is that He has a good purpose and a plan! Jesus stated that purpose very clearly to his disciples: "This illness does not lead to death. (though death did come at one point) It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it." (v. 4)

Most people don't like the sound of God-centered love. We want God to make everything nice right now, or else! Jesus realizes that the greatest blessing is not in receiving material/ physical comfort now, it is in knowing God and in seeing His glory, even if that means hardship. This is exactly the path that Jesus Himself took.

Of course when we get down and discouraged we want to know that God is not standing there coldly saying, "This is for my glory, so deal with it!" The truth is is that Jesus weeps. He mourns in our losses, and He has suffered such that He can understand our deep pain. A little further in ch. 11 is the shortest verse in the Bible. It says, "Jesus wept." Jesus wept with his friends in their great grief. He hated the pain, he despised the cross too and did not want to go there, nor does he wish any to perish. (Ez. 18:23) But above all of that, He has a plan through pain. Jesus wants to bring us into the greatest story and the greatest climax ever imagined: the revelation of God's glory - and the complete and eternal joy of His children in it.

Just like Lazarus we will see the living Christ standing over us saying, "LIVE!" and "Come out of death" again. We will live a full life with Him forever and ever and all our tears will be dried away - if we belong to Him by faith. But if we simply live for today, we will never know the amazing glory of God and the realization of our complete joy in Him.

The David Crowder Band song, "For the Glory of it All" sums all this up very well for me:

All is lost
find him there, find him there
After night
Dawn is there, Dawn is there

After all falls apart
he repairs he repairs

Oh the Glory of it all is:
he came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

oh he is here
for redemption from the fall
that we may live
for the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all
the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all

After night
comes the light
dawn is here
dawn is here
it’s a new day
it’s a new day
everything will change
things will never be the same
we will never be the same
we will never be the same
we will never be the same
we will never be the same

Oh, The glory of it all is
you came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

Oh you are here
with redemption for us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all
for the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all

from the "Remedy" album - by David Crowder Band

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sometimes I feel like Joseph
(Merry *early* Christmas)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Huckabee on Faith and Politics



(From my friend Vitamin Z)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Moravians

"Lo, through ice and snow, one poor lost soul for Christ to gain; Glad we bear want and distress to set forth the Lamb once slain." - Moravian missionary to Greenland

http://mki.wisc.edu/HGIA/graphics/Moravians.jpg
Sixty years before William Carey set out for India, Moravian missionaries landed on the West Indian island of St. Thomas to make known the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Moravians were a group of Protestants that esacaped from anti-Reformation reaction in Bohemia and Moravia (present day Czech Republic) during the 17th century and had taken shelter on an estate at Berthesdorf at the invitation of Nicholas Zinzendorf, an evangelical Lutheran nobleman. "The whole place represented truly a tabernacle of God among men. There was nothing to be seen and heard but joy and gladness." (Grant)

In the first 150 years of this "passionate and glad" community, the Moravian community was to send no less than 2,158 of its members overseas! Stephen Neil said, "This small church was seized by a missionary passion which has never left it."

"I have one passion, and it is Him, only Him," - Zinzendorf

My prayer is that we all find more of a deep love for Christ and for the world He was born to die for this Christmas!