June 6, 2003 Grinding Nemo
|Don't try this
at home kids...
June 5, 2003 What you need
to know about World Religions 101
Billions of people on this planet don't share your
Christian faith. So what do they believe, and how can you reach out to
by Martin Cockroft
|I am 30%
geek- from Thudfactor
||"You are a geek liaison,
which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people
or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as
friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks
and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you
should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Normal: Tell our geek we
need him to work this weekend.
You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have
to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!
Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but
we need more dilithium crystals!
You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime."
Take the Polygeek Quiz
June 5, 2003 The Church as Resident
Aliens- the parepidemos
"... the theological task is not merely the interpretive
matter of translating Jesus into modern categories but rather to translate
the world to Him. The theologian's job is not to make the gospel credible
to the modern world, but to make the world credible to the gospel."
"What we call 'church' is too often a gathering
of strangers who see the church as yet another 'helping institution'
to gratify further their individual desires." (p. 138)
Quotes from -
Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony by Stanley Hauerwas,
William H. Willimon...A summary of the book is here.
Here's a review.
Chief End of All Flesh- saw this while surfing- read and enjoy!
June 4, 2003 Christian Zionism,
Preterism and Apostacy notes
Here's an article
about a new book by Wheaton College New Testament scholar Gary M. Burge
that challenges the "unqualified endorsement of Israelšs politics"
June 4, 2003 IMHO section of today's blog...
The more preterist
dogma I read, the more hateful and reactionary it seems to get. ..and
the more I see an anti-semitic agenda that is the driving presupposition
behind at least some of what's out there on the web... In fact I may just
quit reading anyone who is so arrogant and condescending and hateful towards
anyone who doesn't subscribe to their dogma-While I am not a dispensationalist,
I have high regard for the character of many subscribing to that hermeneutic.
So, Preterists, if you want to infl;uence the world for christ you'd better
start with a Christlike attitude or you won't be worth listening to. In
much of the Preterist online commentary, I keep running into the contention
that "Dispy's" are fools, lacking intelligence, stupid, moronic,
embarrassingly misinfomed, etc...While I don't think God is happy with
plans of raising red heifers and rebuilding the temple Jesus tore down,
Jews can come to salvation in the same way anyone else can and we need
to love 'em into the kingdom...R.
C. Sproul's ever deepening wade into preterism (he still claims as
always that his eschatology is "in transition"cf the forward
to the 1999 ed of The
Parousia by Russell) is doing much to fuel it's explosion.
IMHO a bunch of the links on the recent CT
blogs by Ted Olsen have NOTHING to do with Jesus. So if you want to
see the state of that anomaly this is a good place to see it- what it
newsworthy in the apostate church, as so many of the links have to do
with so-called church doings that are actually anti christian in nature-
denying Christ in every way imaginable- I guess it leaves me wondering-
what's the point of calling yourself "christian" if in reality
you really hate who Jesus is?
June 4, 2003 Miscellanea
of X2 to make you think.
While there, check out the return of Jim
Bakker to TV...
...and on a less serious note:
You can track the tragic unfolding of the Barry Manilow
injury at Dave
Dead man's car slams
into gas station...
Are Lizard Lounges next? Check out "artificial hibernacula"
- aka "toad
Things you can read: books, signs, symbols, people,
events, comics, cartoons, photographs, artwork, film, news, yourself,
ideas, philosophies, religions, histories, propaganda, fine print, margins,between
June 2, 2003- Think Geek
Get your very own Duct tape wallet and other
cool toys. Favorite quotes from there:
"Never offend people with style when you
can offend them with substance." --Sam Brown
Remember me? You tore my wings off when
you were a child. Now I'm going to
lay eggs in your nose.
Chaotic evil means never having to say you're
click on wallet
June 2- Weakness of the Week
This teaching represents something
I feel strongly , and is close to my heart. I would say that
the understanding we derive from studying the passage as we look at it
will serve as a reminder to some of us, to others it can be life changing,
as it was for me. It has shaped my view of ministry and challenged my
understanding of my own motivations as well as showing me God's viewpoint
of how I am to live my life...Once we understand that the mundane, the
small thing, the insignificant is transformed by the realization that
in ALL things Christ is Sovereign, we have the raw material for an abundant
life- rich in every way.
We want to look at one aspect
of that truth. We want to look at God's modus operandi for moving, working
and ministering to the world he has created, the world that rejected his
faithfulness and forfeited in doing so the ability to see him as He is
until such time that he completes his plan for us in the next age.
For some of us this will be a reminder to filter all of our days through
this truth, for others who hear it, this can be the beginning of a focus
in life that is truly life changing... the Bible purposefully is very
concrete in its expression and application of this truth.
Deep in our conciousness
is the desire and drive to know what we were made for. Everyone
wants to know their purpose. There is an abiding sense that God has something
in particular in mind for our lives, but in oder to have discernment about
this, weneed to know His strategy for dealing with this world and how
we are to fit into that plan.
Western culture is a
very skillful teacher, and knows her pupils well. She indoctrinates
her children persistently and carefully. She forms in their minds a model
for success and achievement. Everywhere they turn they are reminded what
to strive for. In order to overcome this influence, we have to choose
our teacher wisely. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God's ways are not our
ways. When we begin to grasp eternal values by the enlightening of the
Holy Spirit, all the world holds will seem empty.
Here's a letter
to "Dear Abby"
|| "One of the toughest
tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister. A member of an official
board overseeing the process finally lost patience...He had watched
the pastoral search committee reject applicant after applicant for
some fault, alleged or otherwise. It was time for a bit of soul searching
on the part of the committee, so he stood up and read a letter purporting
to be from another applicant:"
your pulpit is vacant and I should like to apply for the position.
I have many qualifications. I have been a preacher with much success and
I have also had some success as a writer. Some say I am a good organizer-
I've been a leader in most places I have been. I am over fifty years of
age and have never preached in one place for more than three years. In
some places I left town after my work has caused riots and disturbances.
I must admit I have been
in jail three or four times, though not for any realwrong doing. My health
is not good though I still get a great deal done. The churches I have
preached in have been small though located in several large cities.
I've not gotten along with religious leaders in the towns where I've preached,
in fact, some have threatened me and even attacked me physically.
I'm not too good
at keeping records; I've been known to forget whom I've baptized.
However, if you can use me I shall do my best for you...
The board member looked
over at the committee and asked, "Well, what do you think? Shall
we call him?" The good church folks were aghast...Call an unhealthy,
troublemaking, absentminded ex jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who
signed the application? Who had such colossal nerve!?
The board member eyed
them all keenly before he answered"It's signed the Apostle Paul"
|| We might be somewhat sympathetic with that
committee, because when you really think about it, Paul didn't match
up with our profile of a successful church leader. A successful
church leader is someone who is a good communicator. He has poise
in front of people, he has a winsome manner ,he is dressed in an understated
respectability. His manner with people is warm and affirming
and yet he is a dynamic leader. He is someone who is a peacemaker-
he doesn't ruffle feathers. He is respected in the community and is
looked to for leadership.
On every count that I have just
mentioned, Paul did not match up. Paul was none of those things. In this
case it is easy to understand why there would be questions concerning
his leadership capability.
One of those places where
these questions were raised with the most frequency was the city of Corinth.
Corinth had serious doubts about Paul's leadership capability. Corinth
was a town where they were used to good communicators. They knew good
oratory...they were not well disposed to anything less than it. Now at
one time, Paul had been on the fast track to success . The prize pupil
of one of the great Rabbis of his time, He had advanced to heights surpassing
his peers. Yet he walked away from it all when he was faced by the Glory
of God in the face of Christ Jesus on the Damascus Road.
So much for the success story of Paul . According to 2 Cor. 10:10,
Paul was now viewed as a real loser. For his letters, they say, are weighty
and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptable".
|He was unskilled in speech. He stumbled over
words, he oftentimes was not clear. His appearance was something else.
Sometimes when he spoke he didn't look like he had had a good meal
in some time.He often didn't even look like he had rested the night
before.His past followed him. He was a troublemaker, some said he
was a real pest.. He got into trouble with either the religious leaders
or political figures everywhere he went. He cut an unimpressive figure
as a leader in ministry. Given that kind of background it is not surprising
that the Corinthians would call into question Paul's capacity
as a minister.
But there were tremendous stakes involved in that question.To call Paul
into question was also to call into question his message.
But when discredit to his reputation could be used as a means for people
to discredit the message of Christ he was compelled to make a defense.
He felt himself drawn into having to explain why he was doing what he
was doing, and why his ministry was a genuine ministry marked by God's
hand. That very thing was going on at the time Paul wrote the second letter
to the Corinthians. Paul is saying "here are the reasons
why my ministry is effective and authentic, despite the fact that you
view me as a failure." Here is how God is choosing to use it.
There is one passage we want to look at that serves as a vital component
in that defense. Turn with me to 2 Cor. 4: 7-12.
The people have a question...How
can you possibly say Paul is a success in ministry given the fact that
he is such a failure? How can his ministry be marked by the power of God?
On every count he is unimpressive. Paul answers this here. Paul's answer
is going to seem very unsatisfactory. Paul's answer is that he is successful
because he is a failure. Is success a function of failure?
You are probably
thinking "I am with the Corinthians...that doesn't make any sense.
To them Paul did not even understand the incongruity of what he has said.
His detractors basically had said, this man is ugly and he can't communicate.
That is a pretty good argument from the world's point of view. Maybe
they thought that Paul had taken one too many blow to the head in his
many beatings. They also argued that anyone who was a good apostle wouldn't
be facing the opposition and reactions Paul was gaining fame for.
A "true" apostle would be gliding thru life on God's blessing...
||Have you ever wondered what today's motivational
and success gurus would say to the Apostle Paul? They would probably
shake their heads and just consider him hopeless. Pauls sufferings
are chronicled later in this letter.
But this passage reveals that Paul is the only one who is upright and
everyone else is upside down. As you begin to appreciate what he says
you begin to understand why Paul looks so topsy turvy. The rest of the
world is all upside down.
Paul's answer breaks
down into 4 parts
I.What is God's ministry strategy?
II.Why does God use this strategy?
III. How does this strategy work?
IV.Why does this strategy work?
First, what is God's ministry strategy? We have this treasure...what
treasure? This is identified in the previous verse 6. : the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.. God has chosen
to take his glory, of inestimable worth and to place it in an common,
mundane container- human flesh. In a limited man, subject to failure.
This is akin to placing your most precious jewels in a coffee can. Yet
we would only do that to hide them, not to display them. God
does not use competence, but incompetence as a basis of his power. God's
strategy is to use ineffective , weak people to use as vehicles for his
ministry in this world. It seems like an odd strategy, but
I know you know of many instances where God has chosen to do this.
| One example is Gideon.
Imagine God said to us, I want you to take your church and another
of like size, about three hundred people, go and conquer Baghdad,
and I want you to do it using hot water bottles and flashlights. That
is in essence what he told Gideon to do. God apparently delighted
in using weak, ineffective, almost absurd items as a basis for a profound
outpouring of his power.
There are other instances in
scripture to accomplish abundant displays of his power. We see its ultimate
expression in the scandal of the cross of Christ. God likes to use limitedness,
finiteness as a means to fulfil his plans. God's purpose is most
effectively achieved in this way.
Our strategy is different
from God's. So many Christians are spending all their time and energy
in seeking to become qualified to minister, in seeking a platform of respectability
before they feel able to witness to the truth, to achieve some position
from which, once achieved, and only then, can they begin to make a difference
in this world for God. The fear of failure paralyzes them. I put it to
you that this is a primary reason why so many Christians have so little
effect on our society.
|| Sometimes it seems that
God actually sets us up to fail, and we are at odds with his sovereignty.
But we do not want to be like the ballplayer who steals the ball at
half court and rushes down the court in the wrong direction to score
the winning goal for the opponent. How embarrassing.
God deliberately brings us to
failure in order to deliver us from the ultimate failure.: to stand before
the judgement seat and find that we have spent our life scoring
for the wrong team. God deals with the essence of life, and we have the
assurance that God is FOR us, not against us. Yet nothing is more painful
to the flesh than failure.
So we now know what form God's strategy for ministering to this
world is to take...
2 . The next
phrase tells why God uses this strategy- that the surpassing greatness
of the power may be of God and not from ourselves. The reason God is excited
about using weakness is that when His power is poured out and success
is achieved, there is no doubt to whom the glory belongs. There is no
question as to how it was accomplished. God did it. As long as we
think our ability or skill is the key to success, a part of us will take
responsibility for the accomplishment. God delights to take the incompentent
and work His competency through them.So God shows the world His power
and glory through us.
| The idea of the vessel is also in
keeping with God's sovereign plan for us. In Isaiah, Jeremiah and
Romans the imagery of the potter and the clay is used. God created
us to be vessels of his glory in this world. Isaiah 29:16.
Jeremiah 18:6. Romans 9:21. So what is the nature of a vessel?
It is to be a container. The contents are of infinite worth when compared
to the container!!!
In many ways this is leveled directly at the misconception of the
Corinthians. They thought that sucess was a function of being competent,
strong, skilled, appealing, all the things they were used to being influenced
by, that is how you will be an influence for Christ. Paul says it is precisely
the opposite. The people who influence others for Christ is those who
see that there is nothing in them that is going to be influential. To
minister Christ in Christ's stead we must allow Him to live through us.
This is how we are to be obedient to Him. So the view we havew of
our abilities has profound ramifications in a number of ways.
One of these ramifications
we will develop more fully later . It relates to pride. If we are
successful in ministry, it is not because of the greatness of our ability.
This principle says there is no basis for pride. It is wholly of God.
God did it because He chose to do it. We must understand that
our strength is always weakness in light of God's strength.
We will develop this at the end of the lesson.Talent, ability, a
compelling personality, these are not sufficient for the task, but his
grace is sufficient for me, for power is perfected in weakness. 2 Cor
The positive ramification
is that success in ministry, seeing God work in our interchanges with
one another, and as we seek to win others is not limited by our inability.
That is a profoundly significant word from God. God actually delights
more to work in my weakness than in my strength.
God wants to use the areas where I feel
limited and stifled more than the areas where I feel sufficient
for the task. God wants to use the areas where I am a failure
more than the areas where I view myself as a success to His glory.
When He works, there is no doubt who is doing the working. On balance
it seems to me that we need to develop what I shall refer to as
The world acknowledges only skill:"When you
earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling
your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do."
Jesus says "Without me you can do nothing"
What is "cultivated incompetence"?
This is really divine viewpoint stated another way. Given the kind of
power God speaks of here, we need God's viewpoint. Power to take someone
who is bent upon serving self, one who is consumed with being God in their
own life, and make them into a person whose heart's delight is in serving
God, this is a task that none of our abilities can realize. We are not
sufficient. We may think we are persuasive. You are kidding yourself if
you think you can persuade others to make that change out of your own
ability. Only God has this ability. I need to cultivate some incompetence.
God will do this work ..God can use a mere conversation to provoke and
draw someone unto repentence. If I am tempted to glory in my ability to
persuade, I will fall into a trap. If I find myself striving outside of
the work of the Holy Spirit, I may get results, but not God's results.
That attitude inhibits God's willingness to use you to work his will.
God is pleased to use earthen vessels that are weak. He was pleased to
do this in his incarnation and it is a principle that does not change.
|| I think the best
illustrations for a particular text can often come from other parts
of the scriptures. We see again with Gideon in Judges 7 that
in attacking the Midianites, not an arrow was fired. As
they blew the trumpets the great earthenware vessels they used to
hold the light within were cast to the ground and broken the
lights shined forth, causing the enemy to flee in terror. We are vessels
who do not want to be cracked, yet this reveals the power of God for
all to see.
Paul describes us in verse 7 as vessels, as clay pots. The problem
with the clay pot is that God has chosen it to house the most precious
treasure in all of earth or heaven. We are real, living clay pots, committed
to covering up things like fear, guilt, bitterness, hurt and pain. The
pots are full of cracks. Some of us have been abused, some misused. And
yet inside resides the precious treasure. this treasure is the power of
God, total acceptance by God, and lasting impact thru his life. The inside
of the pot is the God shaped vacuum that only God can fill. Nothing else
can compare. And even mor than this, he pours more by his grace than we
can ever us or let leak out. grace upon grace is inexhaustable. Tho this
earthen vessel wear out, the inner man is renewed day by day. Even as
the vessel becomes weaker, glory is to pour through. So even as we age,
when we become frail and limited in the world's eyes, as well as our own
eyes "I can't do what I used to do". God wills that we keep
our vessels clean, and the fact that they may be leaky or broken only
allows him to flow forth from you by the power of his Glory This is what
we were created for!!!
| When cracks formed in pots in antiquity,
people filled the cracks with beeswax to seal in the contents. God's
glory will not be sealed in. God's treasure vulcanizes the pot and
blows out the wax we stuff in the cracks. The pressures of life reveal
God's power. 2 Cor 1:1-11. Businesses fail, finances dry up, some
live on the edge all their life. Cancer creeps up and destroys
our health. We even fail at things we should be able to handle when
we fail to get God's viewpoint on life. God has hidden his treasure
in common, mundane places and we are surprised by them continually
as we live in Christ.
The fact that spirit indwells
us can constrain us to obey him when we are weak.An
illustration of this is found in Jeremiah 20:8-9. Jeremiah was a prophet
who spoke for God, and in so doing somebody was always there to knock
him down. He was thrown in jail, put on a diet of bread and water... So
he determined to solve his dilemma by not saying another word. But there
was a problem. There was a fire that God had placed inside of Jeremiah
that was worse than the persecution on the outside. He had to speak the
truth of God that had been given him. He was a faithful witness in spite
of affliction. God does not need for us to be faithful to
fulfill his purposes in this world, nor will his purposes be fulfilled
sooner or later than he resolves. It is by grace that we are given a new
nature that can figure into God's redemptive work on this earth. God's
resources are infinite and our finiteness does not hinder him in any way.
Having said what God's strategy is, (to bring power out of weakness.)
and why God does this, (because God wants the glory,) Paul
then proceeds to give us four examples of how this works.
He says (v.8) a. we are afflicted, not crushed...b. perplexed, not
dispairing...c. persecuted, not forsaken...d. struck down, not destroyed.
What is he talking about? Paul never saw a serial movie. In
these you would have an incident in the life of the hero and they
bring you right up to where he is ready to go over the waterfall and
then "continued next week" would come up on the screen.
It looked like an impossible situation of escape and yet you would
come back next week and through some unbelievable thing the hero would
be able to escape.
This is something of what Paul
is saying here. Just as it looks like we will succumb, just as it looks
like there is no hope, we are delivered or sustained. God's mode of operation
will bring him glory when he saves the day. Paul speaks inb a dramatic
way because we have a dramatic God!
We are afflicted, not
crushed...We are forced in a corner like a boxer. We are buffetted and
afflicted but not crushed because of the power of His glory. But the power
does not show up until the pressure comes. You have probably heard of
adrenalin and instances of its impact upon a person. Like the man who
had a car slip off a jack on him and associate was able to lift the several
thousand s of pounds. Adrenalin is in your body but it is not available
for use until that man was in a position of absolute helplessness and
accompanying fear. At that point the adrenalin was poured out enabling
him to do what he otherwise would never have been able to do. So it is
with God's servants. At the point of greatest need, the power and grace
of God is poured out to enable us to do things beyond human imagination.
God's power is the adrenalin that pours forth into the helpless and hopeless
so that his work can be accomplished in his way. What a tragedy to never
have been afflicted. Suffering is vital to the outpouring of God
in our life.
| We are perplexed but not dispairing...The
word perplexed speaks to us of being at the end of a rope, with a
thousand foot drop to the rocks below. We have all heard the story
of the mountain climber who found himself in this position and cried
out Is anybody up there?An unseen voice responded " yes I am
here and I can see a ledge just out of your view. If you just let
go you will land safely there."The mountain climber replied "Is
there anyone else up there?" God wants us to see ourselves as
utterly helpless, to let go and let his glory rush in to fill the
broken areas in our lives.
Persecuted but not forsaken . Missionaries died like flies in bringing
the gospel to China. In the 1950's people decried this loss, believing
that missions in China were an utter failure. Today we know that there
are 100 million Christians in China. Some remote villages are even as
much as 70% Christian. There are stories of antiphonal praises arising
in the work fields. Later in 2 Cor.11:23-30 Paul boasts in his many persecutions
for in his weakness, God has brought forth much.
Struck down , but not
destroyed.... Phillips version says "down but not out"
. We see the ultimate representation of this in that when it looked like
the kingdom of God was to perish with its King, the morning came and the
stone was rolled away from the vessel that was his tomb. God still rolls
stones away today. His glory was manifested in the resurrection. You cannot
hide this glory.
IV. The fourth thing Paul says is in answer to
"Why does this strategy work?' v. 10-11 "That the life
of Jesus is manifested in our mortal flesh." What he is saying may
sound simple on the surface, but there is a profound theology that underlies
it. God gave his life for you so that he can give his life
to you, so he can live his life through you. Without Him you can do nothing.
Without Him we are like corpses in need of life.
Let us capsule what Paul is saying: The most profound example of
the principle that success is a function of failure is the cross of Jesus
|| Dietrich Bonhoeffer said "The figure
of the crucified invalidates all thought that takes success for its
standard..." The cross was the ultimate failure.
God incarnate hung on a cross to die, subjected to the ultimate limitation,
death. Yet that point of greatest limitatioin was also the point of
greatest power, for in that limitation, in that failure, came the
greatest victory. By his death we are given life.
Through God's conformation of
us in sanctificastion this physical truth is acted out in spiritual terms
as well. By his stripe we are healed. We are the righteousness of God
in reality from God's point of view. The flesh blinds us to this so we
must believe God's own witness unto this, the cross, not our feelings
of the flesh.
The mechanics of it is this:
to the degree that we are identified with Christ in failure, affliction
or persecution, or even death we derive the power and the life that is
that of the risen Christ who indwells us. I am of course speaking in pretty
broad strokes of something that has a tremendous amount of depth to it.
That is what he is saying in v. 11. The life of Christ flows through us
to the degree that our flesh is broken. The point of this last principle
is that even the ultimate limitation- death- the very picture of weakness
itself, even that is the occasion of God's outpouring of power. In conquering
death, God has created in the believer a place where he can dwell, where
the nature of God which rules the univers shall at last be in one accord
with his creation. Acts 17:28 In him we live and move and have our being...
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism in death,
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life...
The physical reality
of the death and resurrection of Christ along with the infinite
spiritual reality behind it deals with our flesh's nature to want
to cover up, and frees us from all fear. It delivers us from all guilt.
We are secure and significant. The cross touches all the weak places,
the pain, the bitterness, the pride and resentment. These are crucified
on the cross, and the glory of the new life in Christ flows in to fill
the burned out areas. So may the life of Christ be manifested in our weakness.
Verse 12 goes on to say that death works in us to work Christ's life in
others. At the basis of why God's stategy works is that it
is He himself who is at work to will and to do his will in all of
life. He is the one that is sovereign in all of the realms
of the universe.
| Our perspective is truly topsy turvy. In
so many ways we are looking for competent people. We say to ourselves,
we would really like to win this or that person to the Lord, Look
at the influence they would have for the kingdom... Look at who they
are, boy the Lord could really use that.
We even glamourize people with
ostentatious testimonies that tickle our ears with "look how far
the Lord brought me... look how evil I was", rather that seeking
a lifestyle of quiet holiness as our model, a life that does not
stand out in the world's terms. We are too much defined by the world in
this case. The Lord can use the one who realises he has nothing for the
Lord to use. Nothing less than nothing will do. Divine power is poured
out to the degree that we realize that we have nothing to contribute or
provoke it. Even death results in victory.
In the study of Ecclesiastes
we see Solomon's perceptions as to the upside down thinking that reigns
in man. We have seen in the study of Romans some of the working out of
the theology of one whose mind was turned completely around
and set right by a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
After his conversion this man who was on the fast track to success took
little stock in his early educational, and spiritual accomplishments.
His perspective drastically changed...
I do not know the situations
you are facing where you would say "I am incapable" or "How
can God possibly use me in this?" Take courage. Establish an attitude
of Holy Boldness and march out knowing that it really does not matter
how competent you are. God desires to use your sense of inadequacy. He
looks to make successes out of failure, The last shall be first and the
I would like to
place a caveat in here, and develop one of the earlier points that the
presence of ability is not the determining factor in doing God's will.
This is not to say that we must despise competence or skill. By all means
let us develop, increase in wisdom and stature. But let us never forget
that it is not our competence that wins the day. What
this says is that we can have a holy boldness. Know who it is that you
are being strong and courageous in. In a day that specialises in
strength and weakness surveys that a little holy boldness is in order.
We begin to think in the church that it is strength that is the
basis of effectiveness in ministry . We shy away from places where
God is prompting us to act because we think we are not gifted in that
area. It is God who provides gifts in his time. March forward with a boldness
that says "Lord, if anything happens, it will be because you choose
to work, not because of anything in me." God uses precisely this
attitude. He is delighted to do so. Be obedient in areas of profound weakness
and be amazed at what God will do. We will be a people who acknowledge
God's sovereignty and yield to his provision of power. It is for His name's
sake that he operates in the world this way.
||We want to think of ourselves as glorious
vases, but we are half baked dirt. We are in ourselves the dust molded
by the hand of God into a vessel. God has determined that we should
be his treasure chests. Even with our flaws and cracks we are to be
the expression of the treasure of the power of his Glory.
We must wrestle through our false sense of sufficiency. Those who
realize that success is a function of failure are a people of desperate
prayer. They are constantly aware of their insufficiency and God's
God has provided for us to be powerful - the most powerful people on earth.
Yet is is not the wisdom of the wise that he uses to accomplish this.
God's power is a kind of power the flesh does not seek. Since we are alive
in Christ, we are free to allow this power to operate through us. This
is the power to meet people's needs, to hang on a cross in love.
The Bible proposes a radical view to life and the universe. There is another
more crucially complete reality in every sense of the word, and that reality
is the source of every thing we perceive as reality. Not only that but
it follows that truth is based on this ultimate reality not the one we
perceive. This builds a relationship that precludes that if we are to
live in accord with that reality we must live, as scripture puts it, in
the light of the unseen. This is faith . There is a way that seemeth right
unto a man... then there is the way of wisdom. ther is darkness and there
is light. There is time and there is eternity. The point at which
the creator graces us with his reality are seen subjectively and by implication
in the fact of the creation. This is why there is something rather than
The reality of the other
is seen most fully in the overthrow of one major piece of logic, which
is embodied in the maxim finitum non capax infinitum...The finite will
never touch or invade this infinite realm, but God has been pleased to
invade our world in a manner that we can now perceive through our spirits.
This is impossible with man, but possible with God. This was realized
in the incarnation and is seen today in the indwelling of the
Holy Spirit of Christ in our lives. God has in effect, pitched his tent
within those whom he has chosen
Therefore there is a sense in that everything we know as creatures
is wrong. We realize the need to find our purpose, to know our origins
and the basis of morality in this life. Yet there are no suitable
explanations to be found without reaching outside of our sphere for
an absolute. This is impossible for man, but for God all things are
He has reached into his creation
and stamped his presence upon it. He has not remained silent, but has
through his spirit moved men, personalities to express the mind of God
for all the world to hear. It is through inspired revelation that this
is accomplished. This is therefor the truest truth available to us in
this present world and is only limited by our inability to comprehend
the infinity of its truth. It is truer than we will ever know.
The Bible says that when
God created man, he created him with the ability to commune with God in
a fuller sense, person to person. In the fall man lost this ability because
he chose to reject the truth of what God proposed, and in effect revolted
against this blessedness. In creating finite creatures, this triune God
planned for their ultimate redemption even before his creation of them
by providing that The Son would be the one who would be the instrument
of that redemption. In order that his creation not lose sight of
the fact that thier creator demands, by his nature to be loved and for
us to love also that which he has created he also revealed these truths
in his word to man. This precludes that we should ever become "other
worldly to the exclusion of this world.
It behooves us, therefore
to walk in faith in the things which are not seen on the basis of what
has been revealed. God reveals himself to be faithful, so we should trust
him. He reveals himself to be love, so we should love him with all that
we are., and love his creation as well. We should hate that which works
in a way that is contrary to these propositions.
June 1, 2003 Mel's Passion
This one is likely to be as controversial as Last Temptation
only among Jews instead of Christians. See Scripting
the Scriptures. Probably at least some of the controversy will be
raised by Mel's Dad's AntiSemitic views.
Asian-Americans, whites switching religions. Asian-Americans
are rapidly becoming the face of Christianity on many college campuses
across the country, joining evangelical clubs in large numbers and, in
some cases, starting their own Christian organizations. See this excellent
article from the Houston Chronicle.
Biblical Literacy is at an all time low? It took a Barna
study to determine this? Doh. Check this
June 1, 2003 Christian e-zines
Worth watching from
President Bush Urged to Help Free
Sudanese Slaves Now
Today, (May 30, 2003) Christian Solidarity Internationals (CSI)
Director, Dr. John Eibner, urged President George W. Bush to help make
2003 the year of the eradication of Sudanese Slavery. Writing
following his return from a fact-finding visit to Sudan, Eibner reported
the current ceasefire
offers a window of opportunity for
exodus of slaves from northern Sudan to their homes in the South.
in Sudan, Eibner and his CSI colleagues found that many Arab slave
masters are now prepared to release Black African slaves, without
compensation fees and that land corridors for the return of slaves to
Southern Sudan are now open and secure. During Sudans 20-year-old
car, over 200,000 women and children have been enslaved, according to
leaders of the victimized communities. The U.S State Department has
indicated that it expects a peace agreement before the end of June.
Eibner encouraged President Bush to use the current window of
opportunity to support Sudanese civil societys efforts to free the
slaves now. There will be no true peace in Sudan as long as black
African women and children and children are enslaved, Eibner concluded.
June 1, 2003 My Turn to be
|I shall no longer...dream.