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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Incredible Universe

Some time ago an article appeared in the National Geographic entitled "The Incredible Universe," by Kenneth F. Weaver and James P. Blair. It included this paragraph:
How can the human mind deal with the knowledge that the farthest object we can see in the universe is perhaps ten billion light years away! Imagine that the thickness of this page represents the distance from the earth to the sun (93,000,000 miles, or about eight light minutes). Then the distance to the nearest star (14-1/3 light years) is a 71-foot-high stack of paper. And the diameter of our own galaxy (l00,000 light years) is a 310-mile stack, while the edge of the known universe is not reached until the pile of paper is 31,000,000 miles high, a third of the way to the sun.
As incredible as the universe is, what's more amazing is that God created it all with the power of His Word. And what's even more amazing is that we can know this God personally. The Creator is our Redeemer. This is what He says:
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Truth and Power

An astute friend pointed out a concern about my reference to John Wesley's "heart strangely warmed" experience at the point of his conversion. Here is a quote he passed along from How Wide the Divide? a Mormon & an Evangelical in Conversation by Craig Blomberg and Stephen Edward Robinson:
"Joseph [Smith] confessed a greater affinity for Methodism than Presbyterian or Baptist thought prior to his supposed encounter with God (Joseph Smith History 2:5-Il). Is it a coincidence that Mormonism subsequently turned out to be closer to Methodism than to its Protestant competitors on a whole host of doctrines, from denying the major tenets of Calvinism (predestination, original sin, eternal security) to affirming the strong call for holiness and moral perfection? Even the testimony of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, that he found his heart “strangely warmed” at his conversion is reminiscent of Mormonism’s “burning in the bosom.” None of these were issues that concerned t…

Heart Strangely Warmed

On May 24, 1738, John Wesley famously attended a meeting of the Moravian society in Aldergate Street which lead to his understanding and embracing the gospel for the first time. Here is a description of that evening from Wesley's journal:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
If you haven't ever read Luther's Preface to Romans that Wesley refers to in his journal, I recommend that you take the time to do so. Here is how it begins.
This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian&…

Seeing Jesus

I received an email from Paul Miller this morning. Paul is the executive director of seeJesus, a ministry that produces some great small group material. Paul's passion for people to see Jesus comes out as he describes a meeting he had with some seminary professors:
This summer I took two seminary professors that I know to lunch and asked them, “Has the church missed studying the person of Jesus? I know of only three books or articles in the last 500 years that have thoughtfully studied what Jesus is like as a person.” After about an hour discussion one said, “Yes, I guess it slipped through a crack.” At which point I about jumped out of my chair, “A crack?! It is a huge hole! How could we have missed something so fundamental?”
Then I read this from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening:
This morning we must endeavor to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man to-day till we have seen …

Root and Fruit

We're going through Romans on Wednesday night at Redlands Community Church (our new church home). Ken Boodhoo and Jerry Frye are doing a great job walking us through this monumental book. When we got to chapter 2 verses 6-10 we were somewhat puzzled. Here's what it says:
God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Our question was this: Is this a contradiction of being "saved by grace through faith...not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works" (Ephesians 2:8-9)?
We need to give Paul some credit. He isn't…